Home » About the Committee » Members Blogs » Evgeny Primakov » Neither peace nor war. Evgeny Primakov on the situation in the Middle East

Neither peace nor war. Evgeny Primakov on the situation in the Middle East

This morning he returned from Bahrain, where they discussed at several high meetings the events in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, which developed right before our eyes.

When attacking the ARAMCO plant, key considerations:

Any rebels can now be technologically advanced, the use of shock drones does not depend on the degree of “advancement” – it is cheap and simple;

Ansar Alla is not so much Iran’s proxy or Iran’s client, as the Hussites will fight without Iran. They do not consider themselves an illegitimate group that seized / took power in the country, but Iran, obviously, supports Ansar Alla and has influence on it;

The reason for the US sharp reaction to the attack is not only that the confrontation with Iran became one of the main ideas of American foreign policy, but also because the oil market suffered, suffered as much as it had never before, and the blow was on ARAMCO, the company in which there is a lot of American interest;

Previous attacks have even been rated differently inside the Gulf. Despite the sharp accusations against Iran, there were proposals not to rush to conclusions and to conduct an investigation from, among other things, KSA allies. Rhetoric and emotions are one thing, official accusations are another. I’ll clarify this not because they believe in the innocence of Iran, which, presumably, is behind the attacks. But because they do not want to commit themselves to starting a war – this is important;

The damage from this blow to the refineries is also evaluated differently: the United States is inclined to exaggerate it for political purposes, as it paints Iran in even darker “villainous” colors and exposes the United States as a guarantor of the stability of the market as a whole (with reserves sufficient to cover market deficit), KSA for political and economic purposes tend to downplay the damage (firstly, the humiliation from the “Holodroots” who have been fighting with since 2015, secondly, the damaged reputation of a stable producer and supplier, and the amount of damage should always be underestimated) ;

The position of “Iran has nothing to do with it” is strange, we wouldn’t have to raise the question this way, we insist that an open conflict should be avoided, no matter who starts it, we condemn the attacks, we don’t appoint the accused, we refer to the need Investigations were previously indicated by Gulf countries for previous dramatic events. The PRC is behaving in a similar way now. At the same time, we emphasize the destructiveness of military steps and the risks of the development of a military conflict and its spread in the region;

The main question is whether the war will be, whether the United States is ready for attacks on Iranian targets, on Iranian territory or on its proxy – the most important. As long as there is no investigation and its conclusions, we cannot agree that the strike is “retaliatory,” but this is little consolation: the argument about terms alone cannot prevent such a development of events. But I will write about this separately to everyone, so as not to immediately overload;

The KSA and the allies in the Gulf expect Russia to articulate its position with regard to Iran – “with us or not with us” – assuming that we have some special ties with Iran that are close to allied ones. This is a very unpleasant situation for us – we have no alliance with Iran and there is no such influence in this view either.
Will there be a war with Iran? We pose the question directly, which many are shy of: the risk is great.

Summary: Iran’s proxies and clientele will be hit, as they see it in Washington and Riyadh, plus pressure on Europe will sharply increase to force the EU to end the story of the JCPOA.

We can rely on the fact that Trump is still not a “warrior”, but a “merchant” in terms of character and his mission. Tough negotiations with pressure on the brink of violence – yes. War as a goal and the practically set task of “regime change” is not.

At the same time, we will not fall into complacency – we remember that Trump gave the command to strike at the Syrian airfield, that is, a missile (presumably bomb) strike is still permissible. Another thing is that in the current White House they understand that this is not Syria, here a limited blow to targets on the territory of Iran will not be limited, an escalation will inevitably follow.

Therefore, it is unlikely that the United States will now launch attacks on Iran – it would surprise me very much as an example of real courage and dementia. Tehran’s “answer to answer” will be around the perimeter, where Iran has proxy forces. The costs are too high: the exit from the Persian Gulf will close, the Lebanese-Israeli border will light up, there are targets for strikes in Bahrain, Qatar (which is especially interesting because Qatar is under strong Iranian influence), Saudi Arabia and on and on and on and on and on other things.

Of course, Washington understands this. Dismissed John Bolton would now have developed violent activity – but he was fired.

At the same time, the United States must, are obliged to “respond,” since it has already been accused of attacks on ARAMCO Iran, since the last time the blow was canceled at the last moment in response to the downed drone, since so much was promised – this is the “Obama trap” when he described the “red lines” for Bashir Assad in Syria and immediately found himself in a dependent position on any provocations.

Another counterargument against the outbreak of the war against Iran or its “democratization” according to the Iraq model: Iran will be stronger, it is not so easy to cope with, and there is an election campaign in the United States. It would seem: fight and get votes on the principle of “unite around our leader in the face of a military threat,” but Trump collected votes, including because he promised not to get involved in foreign military adventures. And he does not want to lose these voices, fighting for allies on the other side of the Earth. In addition, a military operation will be used by his opponents in Congress, you can’t carry out a strike on Iran as a continuation of operations in the wake of 9/11, for this you will need to obtain permission from Congress, at least after the fact. Guess what Trump will give Congress.

I repeat: let’s not argue now in the expert discussion with the terms “answer” and “answer” – this looks exactly like that in the vision of the KSA and the USA, even if there is no investigation and no formal basis for blaming anyone. We are talking about the policies and steps that the United States and KSA will take (plus allies and satellites). Consolation in terms is weak.

In this case, the strike is very likely, and I believe it will happen, but it will happen on targets in Syria and / or Yemen, which will be designated as Iranian and military. This will partly satisfy the “sense of revenge” and “justice” and will not lead to a big war. But this, obviously, will not be the final. The blow will be supported from a political point of view: the US’s efforts to withdraw Europe from the “nuclear deal” with Iran (JCPOA) will be sharply strengthened, most likely the EU will simply twist its hands without sentiment, using all possible levers of influence and pressure to finally bury the JCPOA – Washington believes that such sanctions pressure that leads to the destruction of the Iranian economy is a good way to resolve the Iranian issue, albeit not by a quick blitzkrieg.

But in fact, the problem can be solved differently, and, I think, there are not very many ways. More on this later.

The change of regime in Iran is a real fetish, first for the USA and Israel, who cannot reconcile with what happened in the country in 1979, now for KSA. The relations of the Arab countries with Iran were also dramatic, the mistrust was largely explained by the idea of ​​exporting the Islamic revolution, the support of Shiite communities, which was always and reasonably, by the way, was assessed as a way of interfering in internal affairs. Shiite appearances in the same Bahrain in 2011 were obviously supported from abroad, despite the fact that the king and the country’s leadership insisted on the principle of “citizenship above religion,” because in the same Iran, during the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam failed to split off the Arab minority so that it goes over to its side: this instrument is familiar to Iran.

One must always keep in mind that in this whole story there are a lot of interesting people, and not only in the Gulf. I’m still waiting, when, finally, somewhere in Britain, as a result of an investigation of some conditional BillingRat, it turns out that the attacks on the tankers and the ARAMCO refineries are Russians – with photos and geolocation data from the Tsarevokokshaysky camel-landing division. What colleagues yawned such a topic? There are Salafi groups, there are separate “parties of the war” in Iran, KSA, Qatar, which themselves fish in the muddy salt water of the Gulf, there is, in the end, Israel, which has long pushed the United States to understand that it is time to change power in Tehran or bomb Iran into such a state that it no longer has the opportunity to support any Hezbollah and certainly for the development of missile weapons. At the same time, Israel is establishing relations with KSA, the Iranian direction is strengthening these relations. Some Gulf countries also believe that a more rational and pragmatic policy towards Israel should be pursued. And the essence of the Trump / Kushner plan for the Middle East is precisely the establishment of relations between Israel and the Gulf countries, primarily the KSA. At the same time, they forget in the Gulf – this is such a political aberration that in the event of a real military conflict, Israel will never “fit in” in defense of the KSA, Bahrain, Emirates and others, even if Israel’s contribution to the outbreak of war becomes significant: for Israel, the Gulf countries are very Really understandable reasons can be a market, they can be elements of external security, but they will remain a “bargain” anyway, Israel will not intercede for a conditional Dubai due to the fact that Iran’s Zolfikar or Shahab-2 flew in, and Israel itself will be rikryt systems PRO / defense, and even nuclear weapons, even if hit by Hezbollah attacks.

We never claim that Israel or any other unknown force hit the ARAMCO refinery. We argue that the conflict in the Gulf will not end with anything good for the Gulf countries, and that external players have much less risks – therefore, their fearlessness and determination can play a bad joke with the Gulf.

The reasons for the confrontation between Iran and KSA are numerous, a breakthrough of books and articles has been written about this. I would not want to write another sheet: we restrict ourselves to simplifying this to the classical competition of regional superpowers, with religious leaven. But in the end, you need to understand that attempts to actively “change power” in Tehran will open the door to hell.

Note that the last escalation of the attacks by “unknown people” in the Gulf began when the United States announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA. A joint comprehensive plan of action is not just an agreement of several countries, it has been passed through the UN Security Council and in this sense it has become part of international law. And in principle, one can assume the withdrawal of someone from some kind of bilateral or multilateral agreements, but we would like our foreign ministry to emphasize, constantly emphasize, talked about it from every iron and coffee maker: leaving the JCPOA is a violation of the Security Council resolution UN. Are we really so afraid of undermining the reputation and strength of the UN and the Security Council? It’s far worse, it will not be worse. And in the minds of European politicians it should be imprinted that this should not be done, illegally, illegitimate.

It’s no secret that conditional “liberals” and “conservatives” in Iran opposed the JCPO in the opposite way: Rouhani proposed a way to gradually lift sanctions and restore the country’s economy and improve people’s living standards. “Conservatives” (in fact, conservatives are literally everything, just some more conservative) said that you can’t agree with the “Great Satan” in anything and nothing – they’ll still be deceived. And when the sanctions remained in force, and some returned, and some were added, it turned out that the “conservatives” were right: “now let’s do it our way” – this is how the United States lost to the Iranian “liberals”, and the power groups led the game to escalation, because “appeasement” (in this case, the Americans by the Iranians) failed. All the recent statements by Tehran about increasing the degree of enrichment, increasing the number of working centrifuges and so on are the continuation of the Iranian story about increasing pressure on Europe. But the EU is at an impasse: either take the side of the United States and go on to further aggravate, lose the opportunity to pursue sovereign policy towards Iran (and, in general, globally as a whole). Or resist Washington’s desire to squeeze Iran and put up with Washington, which is more difficult. They developed a special financial mechanism to trade with Iran without intermediate settlements in dollars and posting money through American-controlled banking institutions, but it did not work in reality.

But Tehran will continue to aggravate. Just because he’s ready. To what extent no one knows, including in Washington no one yet understands this. And these threats from Washington and increased pressure are a way to achieve this certainty. If the North Korean political elite is characterized by a desire to calmly and safely equip their lives and the United States has something to offer: trade, the attractiveness of capitalism (even without capitalism itself), promises of security (which are also hard to believe), satiety and prosperity, reconciliation with the South, then the onslaught-bargaining technology is stalling with Iran: what can the USA offer there, what ancient Persia longs for more than will? Freedom of the press? Secularism? But in Iran, these problems and needs are not so acute, and therefore not so attractive. The US and KSA (with the paradoxical shoulder of Israel) can count on a “regime change” only in the very long term, if it takes a long time to pull the strap of constant external interference in Iran’s internal affairs, ruin its economy, manipulate the Iranian standard of living, engage in brainwashing, propaganda and counter-propaganda … Wait a minute, but all this was already without it, did it ever work in Iran? Moreover, in the new multidimensional polycentric world, there is no such need to measure everything according to the Washington time: and now China is entering into a strategic partnership agreement with Iran.

In fact, the idea “if only there was no war” and the rejection of an active regime change can save the world and the world – in both meanings of the word. It’s just that it’s already difficult for several players to abandon the very idea of ​​changing the regime, so let them remember that after 1979 we also got along somehow and traded.

Comments are closed