March 22, 2013

Military-Economic Component of the Policy of the Persian Gulf Monarchies. Part 2 “U.S. - Geopolitical Retreat”

Part 1 "The Persian Gulf since the end of the last millennium has firmly taken the position of an "explosive site of geopolitical reset"

 

So what about Iran? Iran is preparing for war! But more about this a bit later.

First we will turn to the United States, which, according to Western analysts, are going through a difficult period of a “geopolitical reboot”. The matter is that the world is more complicated, competition for resources, including natural, has increased, all this requires from leading states new solutions and approaches for keeping the captured positions, and expansion of their influence in order to protect their national interests.

Fundamental changes taking place in the modern world, have led to the situation when the USA has to “start a general geopolitical retreat”. To this conclusion come numerous independent Western analysts. In this regard, experts’ attention was drawn by the published in the latest issue of the influential journal “Foreign Affairs” article of the President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, one of the most influential US military analysts Andrew Krepinevich “Strategy in the Times of Austerity”.

Andrew Krepinevich, the President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
Andrew Krepinevich, the President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
http://www.globalstrategyforum.org/

In his work E.Krepinevich writes that Washington now is trying to minimize its losses and maintain strategic opportunity to regain by the middle of the century, its absolute global leadership. To do this, Washington, as a minimum, should develop a new structure of its priorities, and a new concept of national security, the main idea of which will be a need “to ensure direct access of the USA to key markets and regions of the world”.

The new strategy direction is supposed to be less focused on traditional invasion of the territory of other countries, changes of regimes and conducting large-scale operations, mainly relying on the maintenance of means of access to major regions of the world, which is a key position for US security. Difficulties at this are that with this approach, the United States will need to lower the priority of a number of goals and at the same time to agree to a higher risk for a number of areas. However, the positive here is that this new strategy will allow the USA to protect its interests in the situation of cut funds. In this case, Krepinevich writes, the USA must adhere to two forms of deterrence.

First - Deterrence through Denial.

The essence of it is to ensure that the United States must convince a potential enemy that it is not able to achieve its goals and therefore there is no point in even trying to do that. “Deterrence through Denial” can be used both, in the Western Pacific and in the Persian Gulf, as the geo-strategic situation there is more favorable to the defense than to attack with conventional weapons.

The second form - Deterrence through Punishment.

That is, we need to convince the enemy, that even if it is able to achieve its goals, eventually it will suffer such a significant loss, after which the price of its efforts will exceed the prize.

The Middle East region will quickly turn into an arena of new  bloodshed conflicts“Within the next ten years, the Armed Forces of the United States have to do the most dramatic strategic reversal since appearance of nuclear weapons about 60 years ago, - the author notes. – In the situation when there is a reduction of the defense budget, the price of the use and maintenance of military power rises, and the list of objects needing protection, is expanding. This means that all the talks have ended and a difficult strategic choice must be made at last" (based on rodon.org).

In case of a rapid shift of the center of interests of the United States in foreign policy from the Middle East region to South-East Asia, the Middle East region will quickly turn into a zone of geopolitical chaos and a bloody arena of new conflicts. There are confirmations of this.

Thus, the US President at the beginning of his first term methodically insisted on giving up the U.S. direct presence in the Middle East. But it is clear that it is not so easy to leave that region, Americans are too much dependent on Middle Eastern hydrocarbons. But, even having reached a very impressive progress in re-orientation to the production of its own energy resources (“shale boom”, the launch of the program of production of shale oil and gas), the U.S. cannot just leave the Middle East - their place will inevitably be occupied by China. And this is what Washington fears.

Was the “shale boom” just accidentally in sync with the proverbial “Arab Spring” and rigid “cleanup” among the Middle East oil and gas producers, as well as with an attempt to disintegrate most important infrastructure countries in the region - the same Yemen, Syria? Not everything went as planned, but one way or another, and in the region today there are two centers of power - the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Their time is coming.

On the one hand, it is on the shoulders of these countries that the burden of ensuring a minimum order to prevent slippage of the region into chaos, is laid. This chaos is not beneficial to anyone, Washington included. On the other hand, chaos is necessary in order to prevent China from firmly taking place in the region. In this situation, Washington has to help both players, keeping them at the level sufficient for solving these tasks. Here it is also important to try to keep the balance of hostility between the old eternal enemies – Riyadh and Tehran. It is this hostile confrontation that will continue to have a negative impact on the situation in the Persian Gulf, while drawing away considerable resources of both opponents.

Dominance of Iran will become absoluteWithin the framework of this strategy of indirect actions, the U.S. policy around Iran is becoming exclusively important.. Iran should not under any circumstances be allowed to develop independently. The rapid growth of its level of economic development, in spite of many years of tough sanctions regime, shows that in case of their canceling, its economic leap will be unprecedented for the region. Dominance of Iran will become absolute.

On the other hand, holding Iran with sanctions over the last year, the USA will inevitably re-orient it on China - due to the closed for the Persians traditional European market. And this is all the more unacceptable. Obviously, the sanctions should be removed partially. This is exactly what a few days ago Foreign Minister of Iran told the Iranian news agency Mehr. He believes that sanctions against Iran will be alleviated in the next calendar year "(Iranian year started March 19, 2013).

How to do it without starting the pro-Israel lobby and causing hysteria in Israel itself is hard to say. Possibly, this explains the reserved position of the USA concerning Syria, because Syria has to become a through corridor for the Iran-Iraq-Syria trans-border gas pipeline with prospects of going out to Europe.

The largest gas resource in the world is “South Pars / Northern”
The largest gas resource in the world
is “South Pars / Northern”

http://bintel.com.ua/ru/analytics/arabskaja-vesna-prodolzhaetsja/

If Qatar, which together with Iran owns the largest gas resource in the world, “South Pars / Northern”, failed to destroy Syria and send gas from this field to Europe through its pipeline, Iran should be able to do it. The main thing here is not to give this gas to China. Therefore the “5+1” meeting in Almaty was very important to the USA, as it will allow the USA to slightly loosen the noose around the neck of Iran. Carefully and slowly - but to loosen. (Based on el-murid.livejournal.com)

Another factor, which brings uncertainty into the developing situation, is connected with the upcoming Presidential elections in Iran. Right now making any agreements with Iran is pointless for the United States: it is not clear who will get the victory in this election. At the moment there are two central figures - a trustee of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Mayor of Tehran Mohammad-Bagher Qalibaf and the Head of the Administration of the President Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei - the man, and a relative of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Other candidates so far seem to be extras. But only so far – one cannot be sure of everything.

Note:

Mohammad-Bagher Qalibaf , a trustee of the Supreme Leader of Iran

Mohammad-Bagher Qalibaf was born in 1340 by the Iranian calendar (in 1961/1962) in Mashhad, North-Eastern Iran, 51 years old.

When Iran's Islamic Revolution was accomplished, Qalibaf was 17. In autumn of 1980, he graduated from the School of Mathematics and voluntarily went to the front. Aged 22, he took command of the “Nasr” Division (Horasan province, Horasan), part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Upon completion of Iran-Iraq war, Mohammad Qalibaf briefly served in the military and engineering base “Hatem al-Anbia”.

Simultaneously with the service in the IRGC, Qalibaf continued his studies at the University of Tehran. In 1994 he graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences and in 2001, at the Pedagogical University of Tehran, he got a PhD degree in “Political Sciences” specialty.

Until June 2000 Qalibaf had been heading the Air Force of the Revolutionary Guards, and then was appointed Commander of Low Enforcement Forces (Police) of Iran. In 2005, by Decree of the President of Iran, Qalibaf was appointed Special Representative and Head of IRI Department of struggle with goods and currency smuggle.

M.Kalibaf was one of 24 senior IRGC commanders who wrote the July1999 letter to the President M. Khatami demanding to solve the problem of the protests of students. Otherwise, the IRGC was ready to take responsibility for the consequences under its authority.

Under the leadership of Qalibaf, Low Enforcement Forces (Police) were able to raise their authority in the eyes of the population. Iranian Police Commander Qalibaf is known in Iran also

for his having rebuilt and extensively modernized the Police, created a system of emergency response (system 110, an analog of 02). He is thanked for the fact that during the student demonstrations in 2003, no one died. But he is responsible for the prosecution of journalists and intellectuals. Besides, M.Kalibaf managed to neutralize the influence of various political parties and fractions on the LEF.

The greatest attention in his election campaign M.Kalibaf is paying to three main issues: economy, international relations, and social issues. According to him, Iran's economy is in the state of stagnation, and, taking into consideration its geographical situation, the country is able to play a greater role in the region and the world in general. Qalibaf is for solving the accumulated social problems immediately.

When Qalibaf was elected Mayor of Tehran, the infamous prison “Evin” was removed from the city. In its place a park for recreation was made. He also created a website - www.ghalibaf.ir - to communicate with voters.

 

Note:

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei , the Head of the Administration of the President of Iran

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei was born in 1960 in the city of Ramsar, Northern Iran, the Caspian Sea Coast.

He has an excellent memory and skills of beautiful, by Islamic standards, reading of the Koran, so at the age of 15 he began to be involved in the religious activities, thanks to which he developed his great oratorical qualities.

On the eve of the Islamic Revolution 18 year old Esfandiar had been actively participating in the anti-Shah struggle, organizing demonstrations and distributing instructions and appeals of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

After the Revolution, Mashaei studies in Isfahan University of Technology, after which he joins the Revolutionary Guard and serves in the Intelligence structures of the Corps. His first assignment was Kurdistan. There he met Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with whom he became close friends. During the period of service in the IRGC, Mashaei constantly participated in operations against Kurds, for which fact he had been reproached until his appointment to the post of the First Vice-President.

After his discharge from the IRGC, for a few years he had worked in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Iran, was the Director of the Radio of Tehran which was in the system of the National TV and Radio Company.

When Ahmadinejad became Mayor of Tehran, he offered Mashaei the post of Deputy for Social Affairs and Culture.

As President, Ahmadinejad appointed Mashaei First Vice-President. In his turn, Mashaei appoints his son-in-law Mehdi Horshidi (Ahmadinejad's eldest son) as Head of the Office of the Vice-President. Mashaei's daughter is married to the eldest son of Ahmadinejad.

Since 2009, Mashaei is the Head of the Administration of the President of Iran. (Source:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2010/11/iran-primer-irans-political-elite.html)

 

The States are carefully clearing the way, giving a hope and drawing prospects. On the one side they draw to Iran possibility of the sanctions to be eliminated, on the other they threaten with tightening their policy in Syria, which immediately will put the gas pipeline project under the question mark. But it seems that Washington agrees to pass over to Russia the right to settle the Syrian crisis.

Iranians understand and see the trap being prepared for them.In exchange for the lifting of sanctions, the USA will inevitably push them to a conflict with Saudi Arabia, and the escalated situation in Bahrain may become the trigger for a sharp worsening of relations - Bahrain is critically important for both, the Kingdom and Iran. So Iranians are carefully thinking over their line of conduct - they really do not want to get into the corridor of solutions, the walls of which will have been built by Americans. (Source:el-murid. livejournal. com)

 The map of  Iran-Iraq-Syria trans-border gas pipeline
The map of  Iran-Iraq-Syria trans-border
gas pipeline

http://www.ethiopianreview.com/

Analysis of recent events allows to suggest that Iran actually wins in Syria. It got the right, confirmed by both, the USA and Russia, to lay the cross-border gas pipeline to the Syrian Baniyas. Qatar has nearly recognized its defeat, having sat at the table of negotiations with Gazprom and turning in the Egyptian direction. The USA is also in the role of a winner, having managed to build the combination in such a way, that any end of this war suits it. The goal of the United States is to transfer gas from the Middle East's largest deposit of “South Pars / Northern” in the opposite direction from China. Who exactly did it - Iran or Qatar - Americans, in fact, absolutely did not care. Both options promise an interesting continuation, and the Iranian victory, perhaps, in some aspects is even more interesting. Now the Iranian nuclear program is coming to the foreground again.

And again, in a situation with the sanctions and embargo, the United States have created an openly winning for themselves version regardless how the events will develop. Even if they agree to their elimination of sanctions in exchange for some concessions of Iran, they will return to their original positions - that is, will cancel only these sanctions. All previous ones will continue to operate, but Iran will willy-nilly give something in exchange.

Unequal exchange is a fad of the USA’s diplomacy. Final decisions even at favorable development of events for Iran will be taken later and, most likely, will be synchronized with the Presidential elections this summer. The USA really wants, and thus will have leverage over the new President of Iran. Today’s sanctions are exactly what are needed. That is why, until the election of a new President and seeing his position, there will be no progress. In a word, as analysts say, events begin to smoothly move to Iran. The further - the more clearly.

 

As it has been already mentioned, in the USA itself not everything is all right.

Sequestration - what a prickly word! And its meaning is prickly too.

Sequestration (automatic spending cuts), which came into force on March 1, will significantly touch the U.S. Army. Valid until March 27, the Interim Plan of Financing the Government’s Expanses, has already confirmed this. Further cutting of funds will cause even greater impact on the US Armed Forces military power, with far-reaching consequences.

Although analysts of Stratfor, as a rule, do not study American domestic problems, this aspect could not get past their attention, because it is very important from a geopolitical point of view.

Note:

U.S.: What the Sequester Will Do to the Military

March 1, 2013 | 1116 GMT http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/us-what-sequester-will-do-military

Sequestration, the automatic spending reductions scheduled to take effect March 1, will affect the U.S. military's ability to project force around the world. The current continuing resolution that Congress is using to fund the entire government until March 27 has already affected U.S. forces. The longer these funding cuts continue, the more degradation the U.S. military will incur, with longer-lasting effects.

Read more...

American Armed Forces, and in particular, the Navy, are the most powerful tool for the “projection of force”. Since the beginning of the activities under the automatic reduction of the budgets of all U.S. federal agencies, the Pentagon will need in the next 10 years to cut spending on the defense system of the country by 500 billion US dollars. The current plan for the financing of the military budget is kept at the level of 2011, having made it impossible to further increase spending or redistribution.

But not the amount of cuts as such is destructive, but the way in which this will be done. Extensive reductions dictated by sequestration, combined with the constraints imposed by the current financing plan, will not allow the planners of the budget to neutralize the effects of reduction of expanses. This will affect all the troops, military training programs, dislocation and purchase of equipment and weapons. The very threat of budget cuts has already affected the combat readiness of the Armed Forces of the United States. The US Marines have canceled sending a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, having stepped away from their usual standard according to which in each region there should be two aircraft carriers. Instead, the second aircraft carrier will soon be used as a rapid reaction force. Other types and kinds of troops already in place expanded deployment of some units and delayed rotation of others, so as not leaving the area of ​​the dislocation is cheaper than making intercontinental transfers.

Financial reduction will certainly have impact on the American military presence. In the zone of military operations in Afghanistan there are 66,000 troops, 34,000 of which must return home by the end of 2013 according to the plan. The rest, according to the same plan, will return home by the end of 2014. In the zone will remain 8,000 servicemen. (According to Stratfor)

Strange, but for B. Obama a small sequestrum, a significant part of which has been made by military expanses, is very handy. Now he gets stronger positions for leading the policy to which he sought all the previous term. The main task of the U.S. Administration is to abandon the costly demonstration of force at overseas territories and to return to the good old imperial politics when the U.S. did not spend money on war, but on the contrary - it earned money on it. Now the U.S. has a perfect opportunity to say to all the allies that they should count on themselves and solve their problems without American participation. This position, voiced by Donald Rumsfeld – “threatening with force, not using it” - best fits in the new policy of the current U.S. President. Obama is clearly preparing to move to a new level of technology and to transfer to it the U.S. military machine, as well as the whole doctrine of global domination. While others will be buying incredibly expensive military toys of the previous generation, and planning actions from the last century. (According to REGNUM)

The USA is obviously getting prepared for some very complicated combination with Iran, but they themselves demonstratively refuse to participate in it. Demonstrative refusal to patrol the Persian Gulf with two aircraft carrier battle groups, allegedly due to lack of money, obviously has some other reason. At this, the United States are not trying to calm down the increasing aggressiveness of Netanyahu, they are indifferent to the getting more aggravated situation in Bahrain, which can blow up the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran, quite brazenly handing out instructions in Egypt, apparently causing outcry of public and, of course, of the Egyptian opposition.

Departing from the region, Washington seems to want to launch several combinations in the Middle East, which in its development may lead to a local or even a full-fledged regional conflict. At this, it may be both, an asymmetric and a traditional clash between nations. It is difficult to predict how exactly the USA will be developing the situation, but they won’t just leave. Because, as they say, the holy place is never empty, so some new force will immediately take an advantage of their leaving. And this force has only one name today - China (based on: el-murid.livejournal.com).

 Three islands in the Persian Gulf : Abu Musa, Great and Little Tomb are the subject of territorial disputes between Shia Iran and Sunni Emirates
Three islands in the Persian Gulf : Abu Musa, Great and Little Tomb are the subject of territorial disputes between Shia Iran and Sunni Emirates
http://gulfnews.com/

Apart from the military presence of the West, controlling the world’s pole of energy resources, in the Persian Gulf there is another important geopolitical factor, such as territorial disputes. Three islands in the Persian Gulf (Abu Musa, Great and Little Tomb) are the subject of territorial disputes between Shiite Iran and Sunni Emirates. The islands are located at the exit from the Persian Gulf to the Strait of Hormuz, which makes them strategically important at the oil transportation routes.

Note:

The conflict between Iran and the UAE around these three islands in the Persian Gulf not only has a long history, but ties up into a sole knot problems of the strategically important islands and Bahrain, which is dominated by Shia population.

During the First World War, Britain created a large military base in Bahrain, which Tehran considers Iranian illegally occupied territory. London’s military presence increased during the Second World War, and the main British residence in the Persian Gulf was located in Bahrain's capital Manama.

After the war, the British were planning to create a federation of Arab emirates of the Gulf, including the emirate of Trucial Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. But in August 1971, London, in agreement with the Shah of Iran, granted independence to Bahrain, in September was proclaimed independence of Qatar, in December the United Arab Emirates were created in Oman.

Then London sided with Iran in a territorial dispute with the Emirates over the three islands in the Persian Gulf. As a result, Iranian troops landed on the island on the 30th of November, 1971, two days before the declaration of independence of the United Arab Emirates. At this, only a part of the island of Abu Musa was occupied. In 1992, in agreement with the Emirate of Sharjah, Iran took full control of the island, causing a protest of the federal power of the UAE.

However, in March 2011, at a meeting of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, UAE Foreign Minister made a statement on the possibility of resolving the problem in the nearest future.

The islands, together with other Iranian military bases (Hormuz, Qeshm) are critically important for the control of international shipping at the exit from the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf.

 

After considering all of these options for a possible development of the situation in the Persian Gulf and the likely actions of the U.S. and Iran, a natural question arises - why does Iran ignore the signs sent by Washington?

Over the last three - four months the U.S. has done a lot of different movements, demonstrating a possible reversal of policy toward less hostile to Iran one - some, though very little, progress on the issue of the nuclear program, a temporary delay in the application of some sanctions, restoring individual banking relationships with major banks of Iran. The most likely answer is as follows: Iranians do not doubt that the United States are their enemy. One may negotiate trade and bargain with an enemy. The only thing one should not do with an enemy is to behave predictably, and as the enemy wants one to. Therefore, most likely, energy, oil and gas, as base for the Iranian economy will not under any circumstances be subject to auctions and discussions. Here, Iran will do what must be done to implement its economic programs and to defend its economic interests.

In Iran, the Strait of Hormuz is called “Mouth of the Persian Gulf”, and this mouth, metaphorically speaking, is full of sharp fangs

In Iran, the Strait of Hormuz is called “Mouth of the Persian Gulf”, and this mouth, metaphorically speaking, is full of sharp fangs.

 

But about this - in our next article.

To be continued.

Collage in the title of  the material http://www.i-g-t.org/