• Monday, December 11, 2017

Expanding Russia-Iran-Turkey Alliance Puts the US on Back-Foot

Discussion in 'Turkish Defence Forum' started by TheMightyBender, Dec 8, 2017 at 2:40 AM.

  1. TheMightyBender

    TheMightyBender PROFESSIONAL

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    Expanding Russia-Iran-Turkey Alliance Puts the US on Back-Foot
    Muddled foreign policy, bumbling by the US and Saudi Arabia lead to emerging alliance among Russia, Iran, Turkey and Qatar
    Dilip Hiro
    Thursday, December 7, 2017


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    Realignments in the Middle East: Vladimir Putin of Russia, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Turkey’s Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan meet to discuss Syria’s future while Saudi Arabia’s new enemy, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, meets with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei


    LONDON: Kaleidoscopic changes in the Middle East have produced a constellation of power posing fresh challenges to the United States. The emerging alliance among Russia, Iran and Turkey gained its newest member in Qatar, thanks to a rash move by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. Most alarming for America: Turkey is NATO’s easternmost member with the second largest military in the defense partnership. Qatar provides the Pentagon’s Central Command with its forward base, the region’s largest.

    The alliance is by no means the result of expediency. The elements undergirding it – geopolitical, economic and ideological – have long been in the making. It’s been helped sharply by President Donald Trump’s muddled foreign policy, a contrast from the coherent policies of the Obama administration with its commitment to democracy and human rights. Trump’s repeated statement before foreign assemblies – “We are not here to lecture you how to run your countries” – is too vague to form the base of Washington’s policy in international affairs. Even that mantra fails when Trump lectures Iran’s elected rulers on how to govern. Iran’s strategic importance was highlighted on 27 November when Turkey, Iran and Qatar signed a agreement naming Iran as transit country for trade between Qatar and Turkey. The move undermines Saudi efforts to isolate Qatar.

    On the world stage, the triad of Moscow, Tehran and Ankara has made its mark by acting as prime mover to end Syria’s long-running civil war. But their economic interests have been in play for more than two decades and geopolitical considerations have a longer history.


    This is also true of Qatar. Since his bloodless 1995 coup against his father Emir Khalifa Al Thani, Emir Hamad Al Thani has focused on ensuring that his tiny sheikhdom does not become a vassal of Saudi Arabia. To give Qatar a high international profile, he set up Al Jazeera TV channel in 1996, staffed largely by BBC-trained journalists. When the Saudi ruler refused to let the Pentagon use its state-of-the-art airbase near Riyadh for its air campaign against Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, Hamad struck a secret agreement to let the Pentagon use Al Udeid airbase, reinforcing Qatar’s links with Washington to deter Riyadh from attempts to dominate the emirate.

    To supplement this strategy with a regional power outside the Arabian Peninsula, Hamad signed a defense-industry cooperation agreement with Turkey in 2007 and a military training agreement in 2012. The next year he abdicated in favor of his son Tamim. In March 2015, the parliament in Ankara passed the Turkey-Qatar Military Cooperation Agreement. Four months later, Tamim informed Saudi King Salman of the true extent of the accord – basing 3,000 Turkish troops in Qatar for training and joint exercises. The monarch reportedly welcomed the deal as a counter to Iran's growing regional influence.

    Almost two years later, with the ascendancy of Prince Bin Salman in Riyadh, the Saudi-led axis of four Arab countries demanded that Qatar “Immediately terminate the Turkish military presence in Qatar and end any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatar.” The demand backfired. Ankara sent more troops to Qatar, and its tanks rolled through Doha, lending political and moral support to Qatar. The top demand of the Saudi-led Axis for Qatar – “Curb diplomatic ties with Iran and close its diplomatic missions” – ignored a critical economic element. The emirate shares a vast gas field in the Gulf with Iran.

    Overall, Saudi Arabia has ignored Iran’s geopolitical strength. Iran has shorelines on the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Caspian Sea and shares land borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iraq. It has ample reserves of oil and gas. It shares a fluvial border with Russia in the Caspian Sea. In August 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s government signed a contract to construct and operate a civilian nuclear plant near the Iranian city of Bushehr. After long delays, the facility started producing electricity in 2013. Later Iran and Russia signed an agreement to build two new nuclear reactors at the Bushehr site, with an option of six more at other sites.

    During protracted negotiations between Tehran and six global powers on Iran’s nuclear program, Russia favored a moderate line in contrast to the hard line advocated by France with the United States taking a middle position.

    Military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran started in 2007 when Iran inked the $900 million contract for five Russian S-300 missile batteries. Delivery started three months before the landmark July 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear program, with Russia shipping an upgraded version of S-300. In September of that year, Russia intervened militarily to bolster President Bashar al Assad of Syria where Iran had been aiding his government with weapons and armed volunteers in the civil war. This led to Moscow and Tehran regularly discussing military planning for Syria.

    Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Assad share the view that groups raising arms against an established government must be termed “terrorists.” Strategically, Putin was keen to maintain a base in the Syrian port of Tartus to maintain a Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.


    In November 2015, Putin attended the summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Tehran. While meeting with Putin, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly praised his interlocutor for “neutralizing Washington's plots,” adding that economic relations between the two countries could expand. To his delight, Putin relaxed an export ban on nuclear equipment and technology to Iran. In an unprecedented gesture, Tehran let the Kremlin use its Hamadan military base to launch aerial strikes on a range of targets in Syria in August 2016, enabling the Russian air force to cut flying time for warplanes and increase payloads. The following April, Sputnik News reported that Moscow and Tehran were considering sale of Russian fighter jets to Iran and a joint venture for Iran to manufacture Russian helicopters under license.

    For Russia, events in Turkey also moved in its favor. In September Turkey strayed from NATO’s protocol when President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Ankara had transferred money to pay for Russia’s S-400 missile system. A NATO official admitted that the alliance had not been informed about the deal’s details. Dismissing possible NATO objections, Erdoğan declared, “Nobody has the right to discuss the Turkish republic’s independence principles or independent decisions about its defense industry.”

    Turkey ranks 17th in the world for GDP yet has no energy resources of its own while sharing borders with hydrocarbon-rich Iran and Russia. As early as 1996, Turkey signed a natural gas contract with Iran starting at 2 billion cubic meters in 2002. In 2008 Turkey and Iran inked a memorandum of understanding on natural gas production and export. This envisaged Turkey investing in development of Iran’s gigantic South Pars gas field and pipeline construction to deliver Iranian gas to Europe via Turkey and also supply the Turkish market.

    Once United Nations and European Union lifted sanctions on Iran in January 2016, there was a spurt in Turkey’s imports of Iranian oil. During the first seven months of 2017, Turkey imported 7.4 million tons of crude, up from 3 million tons for the corresponding period in 2016.

    In February Putin ratified a deal to build the 1,100 kilometer Turkish Stream pipeline, foreseeing three decades of Russian-Turkish collaboration, to transport Russian gas across the Black Sea into Turkey and southern Europe. The news came weeks after the successful co-chairing of peace talks for Syria’s civil war by Russia and Turkey, backed by Iran, in the Kazakh capital of Astana. On the eve of Trump’s inauguration in January, Moscow sent a last-minute invitation to the United States. The incoming administration sent its ambassador in Astana as observer. After Trump moved to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Erdoğan warned that the United States is "plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight."

    By design or happenstance, Washington is reconciling itself to a lower profile in the fast-changing geopolitics of Eurasia. In contrast, the planned congress of all Syrian groups in the Russian resort of Sochi in February is set to highlight Moscow’s rising profile in the strategic region.

    Dilip Hiro is the author of A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Middle East (Interlink Publishing Group, Northampton, MA). Read an excerpt. His latest and 36th book isThe Age of Aspiration: Power, Wealth, and Conflict in Globalizing India (The New Press, New York). Read an excerpt.

    https://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/expanding-russia-iran-turkey-alliance-puts-us-back-foot
     
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  2. TheMightyBender

    TheMightyBender PROFESSIONAL

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    New world sees rise of Russia, Turkey, Iran: German FM


    Syria crisis has shown EU’s weakness, while 'old empires' are reasserting themselves as great powers, Gabriel says

    home > politics, world, europe 05.12.2017

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    By Ayhan Simsek

    BERLIN

    The emerging new world order is seeing the growing influence of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday.

    Speaking at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum on future scenarios in international politics, Gabriel was critical of U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, saying that as the Americans ceded their leadership role, the power vacuum in the Middle East and Africa was being increasingly filled by other powers.

    "We see that the competitors are not sleeping," he said, arguing that China had significantly increased its influence in Africa, while Russia, Turkey and Iran had carved out a stronger role in shaping developments in the Middle East.

    Gabriel described last month’s Syria summit between the presidents of Russia, Turkey, and Iran in Sochi as emblematic of how "the old empires are rising" again.

    "The great powers who met in Sochi are no friends. But they have things in common," he said.

    "Each of them promotes its historical greatness both at home and abroad. And what is different from us, they are using their own capital, to actually show it to the West.

    "They are in a way ready to pay a kind of a tax for the status of being a great power ... Economic losses, diplomatic tensions, financial penalties, sanctions, many such things are accepted by them to uphold their claim to regional leadership and to demonstrate their national sovereignty," he argued.

    Gabriel described Russia’s policy towards Ukraine as an example of this new pattern in international politics.



    'Turkey not shrinking from military deployments'

    He said other regional powers were also taking an increasingly assertive foreign policy.

    "Turkey is also not shying away from military deployments which might lead to a confrontation with the U.S., and it defends its interests against Kurdish endeavors for independence," he said, referring to the terrorist group PYD/PKK’s activities in northern Syria.

    The top German diplomat acknowledged Iran’s greater influence in Syria and the Middle East, but also accused Tehran of providing support to Shia militias and terrorist groups in neighboring countries.

    "Iran is putting a lot of resources into supporting in part terrorist militia in the whole region, in order to control neighboring states, or make it difficult for others to control the region," he claimed.

    Gabriel also renewed his call for European countries to strengthen the European Union as a strong political actor actively participating in the formation of a new multipolar world order and taking more responsibility in global affairs.


    http://aa.com.tr/en/europe/new-world-sees-rise-of-russia-turkey-iran-german-fm/990381
     
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  3. AZADPAKISTAN2009

    AZADPAKISTAN2009 ELITE MEMBER

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    Pakistan has to be part of this group
     
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  4. TheMightyBender

    TheMightyBender PROFESSIONAL

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    Is it possible that this seemingly short term and realpolitik cooperation between the three give birth to a new axis in world politics?
     
  5. mohammad45

    mohammad45 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Of course it can.
    If we find a way for cutting dependence on dollar, this alliance can be a new axis in world politics/militarism.
     
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  6. Bismarck

    Bismarck SENIOR MEMBER

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    Not without an economic and technology power like China.
     
  7. mohammad45

    mohammad45 SENIOR MEMBER

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    China for her own benefits and resisting against US-Imperialism has to follow us.

    Turkey has ideological base in countries like Turkmenistan, Kavkaz, Kazaks etc specially in Turkish-majrity countries.

    Russia has similar condition with some of former Soviet-pieces, also has a big share from German energy market.

    Iran has her own allies, in Mediterranean region. Iran has the control of world's energy supply-line. If Yemen joins us and Bab El Mandab is controlled by Yemenis not US-pawns, almost 80-90% of world economy will be under our watch.

    Now tell me, who needs us?

    Turkey should also use her influence in Sunni world and remove US presence from Arabic-Sunni countries with Iran's help.

    We can write the world equations once again in which Israel doesn't exist and Muslims together have control of their holy sites not US pawns. BTW, it's my own assessments from a future world-power.
     
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  8. bedbin

    bedbin FULL MEMBER

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    This an another story by pro akp supporters, they build new coalitions everday, i do not trust my own goverment and Iran, russia is the only country fighthing against US-EU. World needs more putins
     
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  9. royalharris

    royalharris FULL MEMBER

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    The relationship between China and USA is complicated,there are confrontations mixed with cooperations

    The only possible alliance is SCO which can stand up with USA

    The question is would you like to join SCO,or would SCO like to adopt you?

    China will follow no one
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017 at 6:26 PM
  10. Bismarck

    Bismarck SENIOR MEMBER

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    Exactly. China is much dependent on EU and USA and always follow own interests with no ideological agenda expect economic growth. China will always follow China.
     
  11. mohammad45

    mohammad45 SENIOR MEMBER

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    China is an independnt country with enough structures to ensure her own stance. No one denies that.

    The bully will not tolerate Chinese strength and it's growing influence in east of Asia. Trust me, bully will not leave us alone, following blindly was not my issue. China will choose it because you can trust a hyena but not USA's leadership under any circumstances.
     
  12. royalharris

    royalharris FULL MEMBER

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    There is always confrontation between NO1 and NO2, maybe hard,maybe soft.It is normal.
    Just remember only possible alliance which can do Something substantial against USA is SCO
     
  13. Swezu

    Swezu FULL MEMBER

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    You need to come up with something constructive than wipe Israel of the map rhetoric. What governments are you thinking of replacing ''US pawns'' with? are you thinking of Hezbollah type government under control of Iran.

    The problem you have is the conflict of interest between Turkey and Iran and on top of that religious issues that will arise because of Shia and Sunni.
     
  14. Neptune

    Neptune SENIOR MEMBER

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    On the longer run gents, politicians come and go but the bureaucratic order stays here forever.

    There’ll be a time when all this crap about US-Kurdish relations are gonna end and Iran will start distancing itself from us once our interest overlaps with theirs. We will be back aligning with US and Europe and likewise them. The only standing change in diplomacy seems closer cooperation with Russia on energy and trade.
     
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