The Arab world: sharing influence between Turkish and Iranian projects | Dr. Khattar Abu Diab


The situation continues to worsen in Libya and the repercussions of the expansion of the Turkish project interact. The situations in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria are also witnessing a crisis and an economic collapse linked to the consequences of the concentration of the Iranian project. Thus, as the Israeli government prepares to announce its plans to annex parts of the West Bank in completing the end of the “illusion” of the two-state solution, influence in the Arab world from east to west is shared among imperial regional projects. Turks and Iranians in a competitive or coordinating context depending on the position and size of interests.

And if non-Arab expansion were one of the results of the fall of the Arab regional order, then this would not have been achieved without the approaches of the great powers that are concerned only with achieving their interests in the first place and allowing to fill the Arab void. with the growth of regional expansion projects that benefit from the absence of an Arab project or alternative Arab projects.

What fuels the conflict is the enjoyment of the Arab region of great economic and strategic importance. It contains about 62 percent of the world’s oil reserves, as well as gas and minerals. This region is located in the center of the globe and represents 10.2 percent of the world’s surface. Its location overlooks important seas and seaports and includes a large population. This is why it was and still is a scene for the various projects and axes, trying and trying to control their interactions and exploit their potential, and try to draw their map again or organize the balances in them.

A century ago, the Ottoman Empire was “the sick one” and its Arab heritage was shared among the European victors of the First World War. Currently, the Arab world is considered the “sick man” in the early 21st century, and we are seeing a serious effort to dominate it and share influence over it, not only at the level of adults in the international game, but also among the regional powers surrounding it.

During the era of “Arab turbulence” or (Arab Spring) that began in 2011, hope for the emergence of the “Arab democratic wave” crept behind a new and clear dynamic of emerging powers in the Middle East, practically crystallizing a future of Turkish and Iranian influence at the expense of a “new Arab future”. There is no doubt that the wars and events that followed the waves of “Arab transformation” have greatly weakened Arab countries, leaving them vulnerable to the effects of external interference and internal disintegration.

Looking back, we can realize that the tremors that began in the year 2011 caused a sharp break in the political scene in the Middle East just as in 1919, after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Britain and France divided the Middle Arab East among them, and the first got The lion’s share.

In the current era, however, the competition between Tehran and Ankara appears, and there is a phase of complementary coordination, as well as with regard to the Kurdish question in particular. At first glance, the “Islamic Republic of Iran” appeared to be the winning party, but the conditions of Iran and the countries in its orbit show the fragility of the gains. From here, with what is happening in Iraq, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean, up to Libya, Turkey appears as the party advancing in the regional game under the watchful eyes of Washington and Moscow and in the shadow of an eclipse of European roles.

Amidst the turmoil of the Arab countries and the efforts of the political forces of Islam to lead them, it can be said that Turkey and Iran have divided Islamic movements between them. The Turks turned to support the Islamic Brotherhood from Tunisia to Egypt, while Iran tended to support the Syrian regime and its regional forces and militias, including Hamas and some radical Sunni Muslims. .

And in view of the absence of an openly affiliated loyalist current in Sudan and North Africa, the Brotherhood and its peers have appeared in political Islam as the major players in the region, which has made Erdogan Turkey an emerging power (in collaboration with the Qatar), while Iran has not opposed this. This scenario of accepting the role of the other and integrating with it could happen in Lebanon, where Turkey is trying to focus in some areas, and this will not necessarily be to face Hezbollah, but rather to try to play an alternative role to historical roles. Arabs.

Regarding the Palestinian question, despite strong Turkish-Israeli relations from the 1950s to 2002, Ankara under the rule of the “Party for Justice and Development” continued its relations with Israel and was also close to the Iranian approach. in focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in favor of its regional game; For example, when it comes to Hamas, there is sometimes harmony and competition. On the other hand, with the worsening of the situation in Syria, the clear difference between Turkey and Iran has emerged. At a time when Iran supported the Assad regime, the Turks supported its opponents and provided them with a safe haven. However, within the framework of the Astana process, understandings and practical sharing of spheres of influence under Russian auspices emerged. Hence, the two sides could find a way to protect their strategic and financial interests, whatever regime takes over the government in Syria.

Indeed, in recent years there has been an Iranian-Turkish rapprochement on the Kurdish question and the situation in Iraq. He also appeared in the recent Turkish military operation in northern Iraq, as Ankara seeks to expand its tripartite military coordination with Baghdad and Tehran to include energy and trade fields as part of the Turkish-Iranian influence-sharing in Iraq and Syria and help the Iranian regime evade US sanctions.

It is evident from this presentation that the convergence factors prevail over the conflict factors between the Turkish and Iranian projects when it comes to the Arab world. Despite the difference between Wilayat al-Faqih’s ideological proposition and Turkish Islam which embraced the last Islamic caliphate, and despite the historic Ottoman-Safavid confusion, Recep Tayyip Erdogan approached all currents of political Islam, including that led by Iranian rule. In this regard, we can say that the interplay of mutual interests organizes the bonds between the two neighbors inhabited by the nostalgia of imperial glories.

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