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Full Version: New Axis: Turkey and Saudis
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S. Arabia, Turkey to sign military accord.

Quote:RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi King Abdullah will start a three-day official visit to Turkey on Tuesday during which a military cooperation accord will be signed with Ankara, a Saudi-owned newspaper reported Saturday.
....

Fairly logical: a Sunni axis to oppose the Shia axis.

But:
Very religious Iran with secular Syria.
Very religious Saudis with secular Turkey.

Let's see how it develops further, but one possibility is two blocks:

Iran/Iraq/Syria/Lebanon -- the Shia Block
Turkey/Saudis/Egypt/Pakistan -- the Sunni Block

Could be quite interesting...
That is definitely interesting diplomatic activity. Here is a quick overview of the Sunni/Shiite composition in the ME:

[Image: P1-AF392_NASR_20060803202816.gif]

The corresponding article: (subtitleS1 "Vali Nasr Says 'Shiite Revival' Is Met by Sunni Backlash; Resurgent Iran Leads Way".
As far as I know, Shia sect is minority in Syria.
Shia's are only majority in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.

As far as Turkey goes there is Alewi sect (about 35% of population) which is closer to Shia's than to Sunnis, but they are staunch secularism supporters. Overall, average Turk does not distinguish different sects.

There is an anecdote about the religious feelings of Turks in one Eastern province, one time Shites and Sunnis had some problems. A delegation was sent there to patch up their differences. After a few years of settling time another delegation was sent to report on the progress.

Most of the interviewed villagers said, "We don't know if they accepted our religion or we accepted their religion, but now we are getting along fine".
True on Syria, but the ruling class is Alawi (probably the same sect as you are referring to), so the Shia alignment makes some sense.

With Turkey, the Sunni alignment is not just about religion: it is also about the old rival suddenly coming in control of the neighborhood.

It is interesting to see how the Kurds will behave if this divide does materialize. On one hand, they are mostly Sunnis; on the other hand, it is equally hard to see them aligning with Turkey or with the Iraqi Arab Sunnis (Saddamites).
Actually the Alewi of Turkey and Alevati (?) of Syria have apparted their ways long time ago. Alewis of Turkey permit drinking of alcaholic beverages, they don't go to mosques or Hajj, and won't accept any religious theory if it can not be proven scientifically.
Both Shia and Sunni Arabs don't accept Turkish Alewis as Moslem religion followers, and will say that they have first convert to Christianity before they can become Moslems.
On the other hand Turkish Sunni Moslems have picked many practices from Alewis, and the dividing line between Sunni and Alewis of Turkey is very blurred.
Any idea on Iran's next move? With the Sunni axis responding to the Shiite axis' latest moves, Hezbollah slightly weakened, another UN deadline drawing closer, an oil production in decline and the Hariri investigation progressing they might want to pull off something new. Time does not seem to be on their side.
The Syrian government is going to collapse. This will bring a majority sunni to power which means this will literally drive a wedge between Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran. No Syria to take Iranian weapons and give them to Hezbollah in Lebanon. I think President Bush should do more to push the teetering Syrian regime down already.
It would be impressive if this split was an intentional aim of the Bush administration's rationale to invade Iraq. But I doubt it was.

But it certainly was an unintentional result. Strangely, Hussein was the only thing keeping the region stable - everyone was afraid of him. Now that he's gone the Muslims are turning against each other.
Anonymous24 Wrote:It would be impressive if this split was an intentional aim of the Bush administration's rationale to invade Iraq. But I doubt it was.

This is the question that bothers me for the last two years. Obviously, all the rationales generally given for the Iraq war (WMD, Democracy, Saddam-AQ links) are designed for blind believers, but the Sunni-Shia realignment makes certain sense. After all, AQ is a Sunni op, and by changing the balance and elevating Iran, the administration might have tried to bring the AQ support states in line.

This would indicate deep strategic thinking on the part of Bush...copied from the British textbook on European history.

Quote:Strangely, Hussein was the only thing keeping the region stable - everyone was afraid of him. Now that he's gone the Muslims are turning against each other.

A secular opportunist, even fascist, is also usually preferable to apocaliptic nutcases like the Iranian pres.

Quote:The Syrian government is going to collapse.

I suspect that first candidate for a collapse is Olmert. The second is the Lebanese Gov. If Iran manages somehow to grab control of the region, we can add Bush to the list too, together with Kuwait and Jordan.
One good thing is that Iranians are not Arabs, but I'm afraid that the unity you mentioned could happen based on Islamic Government which is following Sharia Laws.

As far as Turkish Military pact with Saudii Arabia, I thought the only military power that Saudii's have is a promised protection from the USA to protect them against outside powers.
mv Wrote:Obviously, all the rationales generally given for the Iraq war (WMD, Democracy, Saddam-AQ links) are designed for blind believers, but the Sunni-Shia realignment makes certain sense.
Strange how those "blind believers" are proven correct time after time. I wasn't aware many on the Left still had the chutzpah to deny the existence and threat of WMD from Saddam, or that Democracy isn't a good thing, or that the Saddam-AQ links haven't been thoroughly traced.

I totally agree that a secular opportunist, even fascist, is preferable to apocalyptic nutcases like Mahmoud Ahmadiwhackjob.

I doubt a collapse by Olmert would be of the same stripe as a collapse by Mahmoud or admitting the already existent collapse of the Lebanese government. A better PM would step in - perhaps Benjamin Netanyahu. There can be no win by Iran to control the region. The consequences of such an event would be defined by reaction to such a power grab. Mahmoud couldn't stand against the Grand Duchy of Fenwick, let alone a true coalition of aggrieved States.
Quote:There can be no win by Iran to control the region.

Don't underestimate the Iranians. They are not Arabs, they tend to be quite capable, and so far they were moving quite well...toward their goal.

Incidentally, about a week ago Stratfor proclaimed the Iraqi experiment a failure. The Shia decided not to play along... one wonders why and how it all connects.

Quote:As far as Turkish Military pact with Saudii Arabia, I thought the only military power that Saudii's have is a promised protection

and $. MENL previously reported that Turkey is going to cut the army size because of budget problems...
And what does your sig mean?
Yes, the ground forces will be reduced by 30% by earlier releases of conscripts. However, same amount of trained troops as before will be available in case of emergency.
The saved money will be allocated for modernizing and development of new weapons for the Airforce and other military branches.
Anon His sig basically means: "Simple minds believe anything." To my way of thinking, I think it should be more atuned to: "Give a contrary thinker enough words, and he will deny his own existence."

I find George's (Stratfor) opinion amusing. He just doesn't think beyond his own prediction and writes until he's rationalized it. International positions swing on a minute's notice upon the most uncharted things. Take for instance Kadaffy's gesture to rid his country of WMD, it was reached after months of negotiations that we never ever heard of until two years after the fact. Stratfor got it wrong then, and continues in that same vein.
WmLambert Wrote:Anon His sig basically means: "Simple minds believe anything." To my way of thinking, I think it should be more atuned to: "Give a contrary thinker enough words, and he will deny his own existence."

It is unrealistic to expect a signature to include a long winged thesis, right or wrong. Only the essense.