The Struggle for the New Middle East
By Nassim Yaziji
In the context of the international and regional struggle for the new Middle East, where freedom, democracy and peace have the chance for the first time in the Middle East's history to replace totalitarianism, authoritarianism and violence which came from the pre-2003 regional regimes' interdependent authoritarian system. The remnants of this system represented by the totalitarian regimes and entities are fighting to survive after the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and the semi-liberation of Lebanon in 2005 aiming to restore their previous stability through deliberate instability in the region.
Methodology through Essential Facts
The empirical approach with a comprehensive geopolitical perspective, in my view, is indispensable to find out the basic relations and rules controlling the Middle East political occurrences and then to develop the appropriate policy to cope with them in the comprehensive geopolitical scene.
We need to know more about the key facts and the key players in the Middle East starting from their domestic affairs and internal structure including the power structure, which are the essential context to their foreign policies, to find out about their political choices and the realistic potentiality of their political choices. This eventually will help us to understand the regional events and conceive a perspective about the region's dynamics and, finally, to have a transparent empirical insight into the Middle East affairs and geopolitics.
Any regime's foreign policy depends on the nature and the interests of this regime. The connection between totalitarian regimes and destabilizing and destructive efforts and policies is natural in contexts in which the historical hospitable environment of these regimes changes especially at the regional level, and this is the case of the post-Iraq Middle East. This is a genuine political phenomenon in terms of totalitarian political systems.
It is extremely important, in my view, to make distinction between what is 'pragmatic' and what is 'existential' in political choices for the Middle East regional players to define their political scope. This will explain and clear many regional occurrences and enlighten the Middle East policy-making process. The basis of classifying the 'pragmatic' and the 'existential' is the rationality of political determination for the concerned regimes. This rationality is fundamentally defined by the regime's interests at the first place and dictated by the ultimate objective of regime's continuation or survival which has a determinant quality in decision-making.
It becomes clearer day by day that the fate of the Middle East will be determined by the outcomes of the struggle between the Middle East totalitarians or the Middle East Totalitarian Axis led by Iran and international and regional powers supporting the Middle East-international stabilizing democratic integration.
The Middle East Totalitarian Axis, as already became obvious and in public, consists of the Iranian regime as leader and the remnants of al-Baath party in Syria (or the 'last Baath' as I would love to call) besides Hezbullah and Hamas.
To be accurate about stressing on the totalitarian regimes and entities, this is because of the fact that the general authoritarian Arab states are weaker than taking a leading position in this struggle.
Therefore, there should be more decisive international and, particularly, U.S. policies in the Middle East; some decisions should be made and some vagueness should be cleared toward the Middle East Totalitarian Axis. The regional-approach policy should be assertive and progressive motivated by a group of definite objectives. For now, it is not about what so-called "engagement," which means in the political sense of the current context in the Middle East moving back; this will be ultimately disastrous. It is rather about playing the whole game, the geopolitical game under one essential consideration that the pre-9/11 and Cold War Middle East status quo should be changed towards integrating this region into the rest of the world through the anti-totalitarian stabilizing democratic process.
It is totally wrong and misleading to think of this strategy as a moral option, it is rather a geopolitical necessity. The Middle East issues have never been of geopolitical nature as they are now; it is critical to realize that, in the current Middle East, geopolitics does matter.
Thanks to the historical experience with the Soviet Union and the Cold War, we do know that pressure constitutes the indispensable context for any productive 'engagement' with totalitarian regimes and entities and for any successful policy considering the necessity of the realistic policy resting on geopolitical sense.
Therefore, staying the course on the Middle East democracy, strategically at least, and cutting the geographical and regional extent and extension of the Middle East Totalitarian Axis alongside keeping it under international pressure are crucial pivots for an efficient deal with the Middle East issues and for a winning strategy in the struggle for the new Middle East.
The Strategic Axis: Iraq
I stress the regional dimension, and in many places and meanings, the regional nature of the Iraqi issue as I always stressed that the U.S. Middle East policy should deal regionally with the Iraqi issue.
It is quite clear that without foreign support the insurgency in Iraq cannot be sustainable or politically effective. As the Iraq's insurgency has its domestic roots, the foreign (regional) input and intervention were essential in turning its efficacy from the security level to the political level. Here I should remind that the insurgency course in Iraq was in reverse that the violence advanced or led the political issue or problem and not the political strife what produced the violence. That indicates that there are external roles and players taking their parts in this whole operation and manipulate the course of events there.
Therefore, as we should be totally aware of the domestic roots of the insurgency in Iraq, we should also be aware that it is definitely a regional issue and a deliberate war on the democratic world on behalf of the totalitarianism in the Middle East, especially the Iraq's two neighboring totalitarian regimes. Thus, the new 'regional' move in the new strategy through the acknowledgment of the regional active role in Iraq's instability and violence is really an indispensable step forward that will activate the regional dimension in the U.S. Iraq strategy as an essential element.
There is also a very important demonstration by the U.S. new strategy should be mentioned that the US has not accepted the blackmail of the regional totalitarian despotic regimes trying to save their heads after the geo-strategic change in the post-Iraq Middle East accompanying the beginning of the democratic movement in the region. If the US consented to that blackmail, ― as it did before in the past ― the consequences would be more than disastrous to the region and to the US and its interests in this region and to us, the peoples of the Middle East, especially the democratic intellectuals and activists.
Key Battles and Contested Future
While we should keep our close attention to two key battles, may form the future of the struggle for the new Middle East, are about the Iranian nuclear program and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, it should be clear that changing the strategic course in the Middle East after Iraq and blowing up the nascent democratic course there on behalf of totalitarian rogue regimes and their regional system of despotism, violence and extremism will be more than a huge historic mistake that no one can take.
Nassim Yaziji's Neo-Internationalism
Nassim Yaziji's perspective