Comment: The Iranian Elephant on the Middle East Table

iran dealSome of the main negotiators of the Iran nuclear interim deal at the table (from left): Russian Foreign Minister of Sergei Lavrov Russia, the EU´s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Cathrin Ashton and Iran´s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (BBC)

Comment: The Iranian Elephant on the Middle East Table

The US can´t handle everything in the world at the same time. Its focus shifts to the Pacific, away from Europe and the Middle East.

In Syria, Iran has manoeuvred itself into a position allowing it to extract concessions from its foes. It can´t dominate, but now it sits like a huge elephant on the table, in the middle of the region and just won´t go away. Its opponents have to deal with that, and they obviously don´t know how.

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Estimation: 2014 – Year of turnarounds in the Middle East (Part 2)

hariri-netherlands-aFormer Prime Minister Saad Hariri stunned his fellow countrymen with his readiness to build a cabinet together with his foe Hezbollah. (DW-TV)

An explosive and dangerous mixture of war and several security incidents has accumulated in the Levant. Lebanon is seen by many in the “eye of the storm”. We don’t think such is on the horizon for the time being.

With its engagement in Syria, Iran has carved out chances to broaden its influence in the region. It cannot dominate, but it has manoeuvred itself in position to force others into making significant concessions. A new balance of power is being established that could safe the region from catastrophe.

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Estimation: 2014 – Year of turnarounds in the Middle East (Part 1)


Will Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet Iran´s President Hassan Rouhani at the World Economic Forum in Davos? (World Economic Forum)

Indications of new settlements for the Middle East are peeking around the corner. From our point of view those potential developments are logic, because everything else would bring about chaos over the whole region. Chaos that could easily spread like wildfire and get out of hand. No major player can afford that.

Hawks can make decisions
On January 17, 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as reported by the Jerusalem Post, citing Canadian CTV News, he would consider meeting Iran´s President Hassan Rouhani if the latter recognized Israel´s right of existence.

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Analysis: Western support for Syria´s government on the horizon

kerry-lavrovUS Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in Syria at a meeting in Paris, on January 13, 2014. (DW-TV)

The international community and regional powers have obviously come to the conclusion not to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in order to ward off a bigger catastrophe in the region. We think the next step is not far: from passive support for the rebels to active support for Assad and his security apparatus against a growing Jihadist movement.

Payback statement by Syria
On January 15, as reported by Reuters and the Lebanese Broadcasting cooperation (LBC), Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said intelligence services of some Western countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have visited Damascus to discuss security cooperation.

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Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region

Iraq heating up again

Militants in Iraq show their readiness to fight on May 18, 2013. (Al-Jazeera)

Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – Part 5

Iraq heating up
Iraq is the most uncertain variable in any current estimation.

Conflicts are heating up in the country again, and gains of Sunnite fighters in Syria have given Sunnites in Iraq motivation to act against the Shiite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, by which they feel being discriminated against.

Iraq has the longest border with Syria of all neighbouring countries, running from Turkey to Jordan. With the US not anymore in position to play into internal Iraqi politics, the international community is fearful of future developments in Iraq.

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Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region

protest against king abdullah of jordanOpposition groups protest in Jordan on October 5, 2012. (Al-Jazeera)

Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – Part 4

Jordan´s strains
feels the strains of the Syrian situation as well. Throughout its history, the kingdom did steadily and carefully adjust to changing situations, constantly balancing pressure from bigger Arab countries and the West.

Though the kingdom gave Syrian opposition fighters training ground on limited scales, it did resist demands from Qatar and Saudi Arabia to heavily arm the Syrian opposition.

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ISRAEL/SYRIA – Warning Syria (Jerusalem Post)

mount hermonScreenshot taken from JN1.TV

DISQUS comment on: “Warning Syria” (Jerusalem Post)

“Following reported Israeli attacks, forces seem to be concentrating to threaten relative quiet that has characterized Syrian border.” (JPost)

Estimation: It is difficult to believe that the Assad government will open another front now.

The Syrian government – by all public accounts – seems to stand at the beginning of the winning street.

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LEBANON – Hezbollah’s Russian Connection

Hassan NasrallahHezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah giving a speech on May 9.

DISQUS Comment on: “Hezbollah’s Russian Connection” (Al-Monitor/Jean Aziz)

— “Nasrallah has finally assured his opponents that he is ready for anything now or anytime”

It seems very unlikely he is really ready to go to war and open the box of Pandora. Hassan Nasrallah is too clever a man to subject the whole Levant to a regional conflict.

The next war between Hezbollah and Israel will be the last shoot-out for long, and one of them will fall or at least be severely damaged for a long time. Both sides know that. Israel will turn southern Lebanon into an underground parking lot.

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SYRIEN – Einschätzung nach Luftangriff Israels auf Syrien

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Angriffe Israels auf Syrien werden nach unserer Einschätzung in nächster Zeit nicht zu einem großen Krieg in der Region führen. Die syrische Regierung verteidigt sich wie immer rhetorisch, möchte aber keinen Krieg riskieren, denn sie ist derzeit auf der Gewinnerstraße.

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SYRIEN – Kommentar zu: “Al-Qaida und das Machtvakuum in Syriens Blutsumpf (WELT Online / Michael Stürmer)”

DISQUS Kommentar von uns zum Artikel “Al-Qaida und das Machtvakuum in Syriens Blutsumpf (WELT Online / Michael Stürmer)” – Unser Kommentar ist von der Redaktion der WELT nicht freigegeben worden.

Michael Stürmer: “Wie kann der Westen, ohne Assad zu retten, Syrien in einem Stück erhalten?”

Vermutlich gar nicht.

Angesichts dessen, was mit einem zerfallenden Syrien der gesamten Levante und übrigens Europa droht (Terrorismus), sind die steten Rufe nach Intervention und Waffenlieferungen nicht zu verstehen.

Man fragt sich wirklich, wer die Politiker, die dergleichen fordern, in dieser Hinsicht berät. Solche Rufe zeugen von völliger Unkenntnis der Geschichte und Kultur der Region und Mentalität der Menschen.

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