There has been a lot of analysis of the processes taking place in the majority of Middle Eastern countries. Clarifying geo-political factors behind what is called the Arab spring is very important. Still, there are different arguments and explanations. Al-Murid, one of the leading bloggers in Russia, has recently put forward several interesting theses (see: http://el-murid.livejournal.com/691209.html). In his analytical article, called A gulf system of security, he tries to analyze the processes known as the Arab spring from the perspective of a “controlled chaos” strategy. The “controlled chaos” is a modern scientific term, originally used to refer to natural sciences. It is also applied to political, geo-political and social events.
Applied to politics, controlled chaos is maintaining the control over chaotic processes by means of a small number of factors. In other words, some forces cause chaos, and then manage it in line with their own interests.
Obviously, the geopolitical complexity is what stands behind the Arab spring`s being “controlled chaos” because a large geographical area undergoes fundamental changes. Sometimes these changes take a surprising turn against all forecasts. But one feature is constant: the events set off a chain reaction and spread to neighboring countries. And this usually ends in a change of government.
El-Murid says that it is Qatar and Saudi Arabia that are behind these processes. So given the fact that the Arab spring affects the whole of the region, it is natural that Qatar and Saudi Arabia attach high priority to protecting their own interests.
In this context, it is not ruled out that there will be attempts to create a “Sunni zone” in the region and gain more control over the region`s energy resources. There can be certain moves against other regional countries – Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain. But one should not forget that the issue affects Iran to some extent.
However, the thesis that only the two Arab states are behind the fundamental changes in the region is not convincing, and, probably it has political and ideological goals. Such views are dangerous, and split the Middle East in several fronts. First of all, they cause a religious split. Second, they sow hostility among local tribes. Third, they bring about long-standing controversies. Fourth, they cast shadow on the true essence of the processes.
Interests of super powers
Other conclusions can be drawn too. The main point is that the Middle East has for long been the scene of a struggle among geo-political super powers. If we look at the processes taking place in the region, then we`ll see quite a different picture.
First and foremost, it is reasonable to consider the Arab spring another stage in the geopolitical battle between the West, Russia and China. The United States started to loose influence in the Muslim world after the Iraq war. And the Arab spring was meant to stop this process. This requires the U.S. protect its interest without military intervention in the events.
Control over energy sources is one of the crucial factors here. The West is losing confidence in Arab sheikhs amid OPEC`s manipulations of oil prices. So they have to be brought down a peg or two.
There has to be a response to demography and rapid socio-economic development in the Islamic world. The process should at worst be taken under control, and a West-oriented development model should be proposed to Muslims.
Finally, in the Far East, China`s rapid development forces the United State to exert more power in its struggle against this country. This requires causing chaotic processes in unstable Middle East, and shift the focus to China. But there should be local states supporting the realization of these plans in the region.
In this context, Qatar and Saudi Arabia can be involved in the West`s games. Under such circumstances, according to El-Murid, more problems will emerge in the region. And solving these problems may probably require second Arab spring. But this course of events is advantageous to main actors.
Russia is compelled to take a defensive position because the country is now unable to build a scenario of global geo-political processes. This is what stands behind Russia`s close cooperation with and support of Syria. Iran is concerned about its own security. The country is unable to change the course of the processes.
As an U.S. ally, Turkey is seeking greater possible advantage. As far as China is concerned, the country is unable to seriously interfere in the processes because of its geographical location, its relationship with the United States and Washington-caused problems in the Pacific Ocean. Official Beijing can only take the advantage of its position in the UN Security Council.
Facing a boomerang effect
Can these processes affect those who planned them? In principle this option is not ruled out. Unrest can spread to Qatar and Saudi Arabia too.
Some external forces put forward ideas mostly aimed at sowing religious sectarianism. Many Middle Eastern countries are home to different religious sects. And certain forces now try to politicize them.
For example, they try to cause controversy between Sunnis and Shias in Bahrain and Qatar, different tribes and religious sects in Saudi Arabia, Sunnis and Alawis in Turkey. They say that it is religious reasons that stand behind the events in Syria. In addition, they try to make the situation tenser by using a Kurdish factor.
When speaking of Iran they underline a Sunni threat, and when it comes to Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia they foreground a Shia factor. Major powers try to justify their allies in the region, which makes the real picture more complex, and encourages destructive trends.
But the reality is that the Middle East region is being completely rebuilt as a geo-political area. But main actors should unite the regional countries instead of drawing borders among them. Borders should be removed. This idea has recently been put forward by Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Why should this region divide into small countries in a globalizing world?
Causing unrest in the Muslim world means putting the planet in the grip of confrontations. International terrorism “feeds” on such processes, and it is a fact that it has already encompassed the world. In addition, terrorist organizations are feeding on illegal drug trafficking. So many serious problems…Therefore one should build a dialogue with this rapidly developing cultural area rather than preventing its development.
Otherwise, there can be a boomerang effect, which means that controlling the Arab spring from the outside is a dangerous game.