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Redrawing the map of the middle East.

The existence of the Islamic State is now a fact. We expect the “new country” will eventually be recognized as we have seen before in history in similarly cases. Kurdistan Regional Government will be independent within a couple of years.  Basra area will become a protectorate of Iran. Annalist and financial and political planners better accept the reality to get the most out of it.

middle-east

ISIS originate from the US-Turkey-Saudi Arabia supported Jihadist movement that battled Assad in Syria since 2011. Up to the spring in 2014 the group did got moderate positive media coverage.

In 2013 Obama was on the verge of giving Jihadist groups in Syria , including ISIS, full air support. It was Russia that successfully  prevented Obama’s biggest mistake ever by preventing a full US aerial assault on Assad’ army.

Since 2013 it seemed Assad was winning the battle against the insurgents. Assad’s victory over the Jihadist consolidated Iran’s influence in the region. With Maliki in power in Baghdad this resulted in an Iranian alliance that stretched from Basra, Baghdad, Damascus up to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy in Lebanon, considered a more dangerous enemy for Israel than Hamas in Gaza .  For the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia this situation was clearly unacceptable.

Especially for Israel and Saudi Arabia the defeat of the Iranian influence by ISIS victory in 2014 was an welcome relief. ISIS suddenly success, resulted in the disposal of Maliki in Baghdad and a reclamation of Shia held area by Suni militia’s. Many Suni’s did welcome ISIS more than they ever welcomed the US “liberators”. ISIS is not despised by everyone whatever the media narrative does make out of it.

In 2014 ISIS did overrun a big chunk of Iraqi’s army, defeated Peshmerga units in Syria and Iraq, destroyed Shia militias and forced Assad’s army on the defensive. The public has to believe that the group was able to accomplish this without  any support from outside.

The events from 2011 up to now has resulted in a permanent change of the Map of Syria and Iraq; the Islamic State is a fact. There is no change the state will dissolve in the near future. The idea of an collective Arabic alliance against ISIS does only exist in Pentagon Propaganda, copied by many media outlets.

 

If we enumerate the key actors in the Middle East it becomes clear why.

Turkey. Although Turkey has good relations with Iran, Erdoghan AKP is also closely related to the Muslim Brotherhood. While the Muslim Brotherhood do oppose ISIS the Brothers as the AKP see Assad as a bigger evil than ISIS. It is clear the Turkish secret service MIT has good relations with the Jihadist fractions in Syria and even a communication line with ISIS. The Turks were able to return all their Embassy personnel in Mosul hold captive by ISIS in 2014, something other nation never accomplish as far as we know. Turkey knows that, an head on confrontation with ISIS or other Jihadist could bring the fight to the soil of Turkey. Many Syrian refugees including Jihadist use Turkey as a save heaven, while the supply lines of the Free Syrian Army and other Syrian opposition groups  originate in Turkey. The Reyhanlı bombing in Turkey shows that the Syrian war could be extended into Turkey.

An extra complicated factor for Turkey is the prospect of an independent Kurdish state in Syria that is regarded as a bigger thread for Turkish security than ISIS.

Hezbollah. Hezbollah is the most important alley of Assad against the Suni Jihadist including ISIS. While the group is well equipped and battle hard it is under a lot of strain and its strength is tested by ISIS and other Jihadist groups. making it Hezbollah is extreme vulnerable for an assault by Israel that could use this temporary weakness to get rid of its old enemy. It is not likely the group will be drawn in a wider conflict outside its own sphere of influence. It will continue clashing with Sunni groups including ISIS around Lebanon borders and in Golan. During the last years Israel did gave the Suni Jihadist including ISIS air support by attacking Hezbollah and the Syrian army.

Iran. Iran could be considered as ISIS most serious adversary. Iranian advisers and army units do support the Iraqi government and Syrian government in its fight against ISIS. We expect that Iran will primarily try to prevent ISIS to overrun area’s held by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria and Shia militias in Iraq. While it is widely reported that Iranian army units ar in Iraq, Iran’s deputy foreign minister has denied claims that Iranian forces are fighting the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq.  A full scale Iranian invasion in Iran could result in a aggressive reaction by Israel and Saudi Arabia. From a strategic and a tactic point of view we do not expect Iran will openly invade Iraq to expel ISIS.

Saudi Arabia. It is not clear how much ISIS is a real threat for Saudi Arabia but it is completely clear Saudi Arabia did create ISIS and the country is not participating in an coalition against ISIS now. The Saudi Arabia Kings are maybe not happy with ISIS but they consider Assad and Iran as a bigger enemy.

Kurd’s. The Kurd’s are not a homogeneous group. The chaos in Iraq do increase their change for international recognition and independence. The Kurd’s in Iraq in the Kurdistan Regional Government do have a good relation with the Turks. After Tony Hayward visit to Erbil in 2011, Kurds start to export their oil via Turkey’s port Ceyhan, even without the consent of Baghdad.  In 2014 Germany stat to deliver weapons to the KGR independent of Baghdad a clear breach of international laws. The fall of Baghdad will speedup the process of an Kurdish independence. The fight between ISIS and the Peshmergas from the KGR will be primarily about the oilfields around Tikrit.

The Syrian Kurdish area are seen as an hideout for the PKK by the Turkish government. While the Turks do support the KGR in Iraq, the Turkish government will do everything to weaken the Kurd’s in Syria. During the fight against ISIS around the Kurdish town Kobane it was clear the Turkish government did everything to prevent a swift victory for the Kurd’s.

Shia Militias. The Shia are the predominately population in and around Baghdad and south Iraq. In preparation of a break up of Iraq, Basra applied for autonomy in 2014.  The Shia Militia’s in Iraq are despised by the Suni population in North Iraq. There are a lot of Iraqi’s who see ISIS as the liberator from Shia terror. The Shia Militia’s in cooperation with Iraqi army did not show any effort to defend Mosul. It is not expected the Shia militias will Battle all the way into Suni hard land.

There is now unity nor any willingness  around the different factions in Iraq to route up ISIS. The  battle for Iraq and Syria is already over. We expect ISIS will do an assault on Baghdad and Damascus. From a tactical point of view we do not expect ISIS will extend its fight deep into Kurdish or Shia area’s. With the fall of Baghdad it is to be expected negotiations will be started with ISIS leaders. We do expect Turkey will take a leading role in the definitive reshaping of the area and establishing the new state. It could take an other ten year before IS will be recognized by the UN.

Syria and Iraq do not exist anymore outside the books of history.

 

Interesting links

Tony Hayward moves into Kurdistan with Genel Energy as tensions rise (The Telegraph November 17-2011)
Vallares, Tony Hayward and Nathaniel Rothschild’s oil investment vehicle, will issue its Genel prospectus at lunchtime on Friday – three days sooner than expected.

Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels (Reuters July 22 -2012)
President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, U.S. sources familiar with the matter said.

Exclusive: Secret Turkish nerve center leads aid to Syria rebels. (Reuters Aug 1-2012 )
Turkey has set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border, Gulf sources have told Reuters.

Reyhanlı (Wikipedia)
The Reyhanlı bombings took place on 11 May 2013, when two car bombs exploded in the town of Reyhanlı, Hatay Province, Turkey. At least 51 people were killed and 140 injured in the attack. The attack was the deadliest single act of terrorism to occur on Turkish soil.

German weapons delivery heads to Iraqi Kurdistan. (Deutsche Welle September 25-2014)
The first plane carrying German weapons to aid the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq has left the country. The arms delivery is intended to help in the fight against the militant “Islamic State” forces.

Qods Force commander Soleimani reportedly spotted in Anbar province (The Long War Journal June 1-2015)
Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commanding officer of Qods Force, the special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, has reportedly been photographed in Iraq’s Anbar province alongside Shiite militiamen.

 

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