Origin Of The Conflicts In The Middle East..

Rational and Irrational Interests versus Universal Values




The termination of the Cold War has changed the character of international conflicts but it has not reduced the violence and the pain human beings suffer from. In the last years, fatal and deep conflicts increase rapidly, especially in the Middle East. The structural and strategic analyses made by main stream social scientists usually remain insensitive to the pain human society goes through. In an atmosphere where the ones which are not part of a community are discriminated and where enemies constantly change; communication is nearly impossible; insecurity, vengeance, revenge, and hostility are increasing. In fact, it is important to analyze the problems in the Middle East from a wider perspective instead of discussing on a psychological level the daily tactics of the actors which are directly or indirectly involved in the civil war. Of course, motivations leading to a social and political reality on a degree that even Hobbes wouldn’t be able to predict, brought Iraq and Syria in such a difficult and complicated state and should be analyzed in details. Moreover, it is obvious that it makes more sense to analyses the conflicts and persisting problems in the area on a balanced and deep way.


In this geography where fears are dominant, there was not enough pressure from the international community to end the civil wars. The consequences of this situation have even reached our daily routine life in Turkey. Leaving aside Hatay, Gaziantep and Istanbul, seeing Syrians arrested by gendarmerie forces, each time I visit Datca, is a clear sign that the danger is not far away. The conflicts include dynamic processes; but even though some of the basic actors have changed, interests and relations are different in appearance, we might allege that there are consistencies. To clarify further, ethnic and denominational conflicts we have been following in the Middle East Region do include both rational and irrational consistencies.


Official Statements and Analyses: Dominance of the Interests over the Values


It should be put an emphasis on if the official statements and analysis concerning official statements do reflect the social and political reality. If we follow simple logic rules, we might face many discrepancies. Considering the percentage of reality for the official statements in the past, our suspects will grow increasingly. Therefore, a more “suspicious” analysis of the Middle East is inevitable. We should be careful about unofficial actions.


When we analyze the civil war in Syria, it is obvious that the gaining ground of ISİS in Iraq is a strategy followed by USA, Israel and Turkey. Within this context, democracy is restricted to a notion covering the geo-political interests, energy and commercial priorities of the dominating capitalist states. The more complicated and unbalanced local order makes diplomatic solutions based on reconciliation and settlements impossible. The geo-political and commercial interests of Western Countries are corrupting democratic values. The decisions causing more deaths and making the civil war in Syria even worse were not taken in Damascus or Aleppo, they were taken according to the plans of global actors and intelligence services in Teheran, Istanbul, Riyadh or Doha. We should never forget that the bloody conflicts have increased with the support of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The region was ridden for


a huge uncertainty with these supports. It has not been declared which groups profited from this support. The regional balances are about to be completely vanished. The statement regarding fighting for human rights and justice in the Middle East has become tragical-ridiculous. There is a huge gap between the statements that dominate the public spheres of developed countries and social reality. The public of Western countries has been misinformed regarding the developments in the Middle East.


Problematic of Power Distribution and Maliki


To relate the progress of ISIS in Iraq to the conflict between Shiites and Sunnis would be a quite simple evaluation. The Saddam Hussein era and the role of U.S. intervention in the region also needs to be questioned. The structural-political gap growing between Shiites and Sunnis, also brings into consideration that the opportunity for balance policy has been missed due to the mistakes made by al-Maliki. Unlike other Middle Eastern Countries, Iraq’s national unity has not risen on religious affiliation. During Saddam Hussein era, an Iraqi nationalism was established respecting the Sunni-Shiite balance. Sectarian differences and disagreements also existed under Saddam Government, though, they were suppressed by the regime. Sunni-Shiite conflicts replicated with the intervention of the U.S., this also terminated the efforts to establish national identity.


The situation in Iraq is far sharper than the intransigence between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Shiite political and economic discrimination has led to deep social polarization, mistrust and finally to violence. Minorities in Iraq couldn’t interfere in the political decision process. Maliki has failed to establish a federal political system and a system to provide political participation for all groups. Iraq today, can pay the costs of these mistakes dearly. Moreover, political failure of the Maliki government can also be explained with the intervention of the United States.


Balance of policy and equal distribution of power could prevent the current intransigence. Today, with the approval of the U.S. forces in Iraq, Shiites, Sunnis concentrated in the hands of the politicians has led to frustration and concern. A balance should be established between the actors in Iraq.


ISIS, Caliphate and the Islamic State: Skeptical Perspective


The transitivity and uncertainty between heterogeneous structures is facilitating the application of strategic plans. The last example for this is that ISIS conquered Mosul without fighting. The fact that ISIS is progressing between the Kurdish zone and the central government can be considered as a plan to divide Iraq into three parts. When we carefully look at Iraq and Syria, we see heterogenic and variant groups. We can only guess about the relations of these groups with each other, other governments and intelligence services. However; emerging developments and contradictions contain parameters about the interests of United States, European countries, Russia, Israel and other regional powers, and about the decisions which group or groups would be supported. It is clear that sectarian wars do not create unfavorable situations for the U.S. and Israel.



Skeptical Analysis ISID: Caliphate and the Islamic State


The existence of conflict between values and interests is so intense that, without writers and philosophers like Chomsky, Pilger, Eggert, Roth, and Hersh, it is going to be hard for us to reach the social and political reality. Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of economics at the University of Ottawa is also one of these important figures: In his latest article, he explains that Iraq is deliberately intended to get divided and the U.S. intends to be the sponsor of an Islamic caliphate. If this is true, it is clear that what we have learned from the press about ISIS has definitely no value. Therefore, we need to question the accuracy of the social and political realities; because most reviews in the media or public sphere do not reflect the truth and want to give power to the various strategies. Chossudovsky points out that ISIS is not an organization by itself. He claims that the U.S. Intelligence Services are using ISIS as an instrument for war management. He also says that this Islamic organization is part of the project of the U.S. intelligence services to create the Sunni Islamic Caliphate. He claims that the intransigence between Maliki’s government and the militants of ISIS, sponsored by the U.S. and NATO, aims to destabilize Iraq. He makes the point that the U.S. and its allies have long followed a policy for the Ethnic and sectarian fragmentation of the Iraqi state.


The establishment of ISID may be planned in Washington. The support for terrorists active in Syria and Iraq in disguised form may be a facilitating factor to do what they want in terms of logistics in both countries. The caliphate project followed by ISIS, is also likely to be a reflection of the trials to split Syria and Iraq into three states: the Sunni Islamic Caliphate, the Shia Arab Republic and the Republic of Kurdistan.


Chossudovsky also points out that the Western media reflects the war in Iraq as a war between ISIS and the Maliki Government. In this context, the question of which supporting forces are behind these camps is decisive and explanatory. El Nusra and ISIS terrorists in Syria have been trained as paramilitary fighters under Western control. The progress of ISIS was desired. The aim concerning the Sunni population was to provide a broad resistance against the Maliki government. The purpose behind the support in disguise for ISIS is not a regime instead of the Maliki Regime or a regime change. To emphasize again, the main purpose is to divide Iraq on ethnic and sectarian lines. The fall of the regime in Baghdad and the collapse of all institutions of the central government is required. And this is a strategy which will directly affect Syria. The establishment of the Caliphate may be the first step in the expansion of the conflict in the Middle East.


One of the public deception was this: the U.S. was seen worried against the progress of ISIS, it was expressed that they will be helping in the fight against the terrorists. But the interesting thing is that these terrorists are in fact supported by the United States. It appears that the U.S Government has aimed to define a U.S. supported group as terrorist and sought to reassure the public that he was against this group. But, it should also be expressed that the



establishment of an Islamic caliphate was not only supported by the CIA but also Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey’s intelligence services. To shred nation-states and to convert them into open regions is the current military and expansive logic of capitalism in areas which are open to foreign investors.


The point to note here is that ISIS sponsored by NATO and the United States, has been defeated in many places in Syria. There is no military explanation for the fall of Mosul. Chossudovsky is also addressing on this subject: The Obama government has announced that this is an unexpected development, and has succeeded to convince the public opinion. But recently, we all found out this simple truth: Pentagon and the US intelligence was aware of it; at the same time it offered logistics, weapons and financial support over Turkey. They coordinated the Mosul attack behind curtains. In the logical context, it is clear that the conquerence of Mosul has no other military explanation. Here is a simple logic question: How can about 1000 ISID militants conquer a city with over one million habitants against 30.000 Iraqi soldiers? Who has decided for the surrender of Mosul without even fighting?


Some news on the media showed that Maliki accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia for supporting ISIS, but we have not seen in the content that both Doha and Riyadh had acted in close cooperation with Washington. According to Chossudovsky, the current civil war is an attack of U.S and NATO to collapse Iraq’s institutions and economy. At the same time, the world public opinion has been given the impression of a conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. Both the Iraqi army with modern weapons systems and ISIS by Western intelligence services are being armed to make the civil war go on.


Enduring Regularities Versus Daily Tactics: World Systems Analysis


It is important to understand in which cross-section of the capitalism/rulership interaction is the currently dominating radicalism based on religion and secticism in the Middle East. In terms of World Systems Analysis, we’ll notice that we’re currently in an extensive hegemony-decentralized rulership cycle starting from 1970, lasting until 2060. This should actually bring to mind the pain of exiting the intensive hegemony-centeralised rulership cycle in effect between 1870-2020. During the intensive material process of 1870-2020, the signal crisis of 1970 began to shake the regimes of centralised rulership.


During Cold War, the private sector was under the pressure of the statism in single-party Republics like Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia and Iraq. Therefore, the statist autocracies are located in fault lines between the capitalist and the rulership sectors. Hence they should be separately positioned compared to Latin American and South European countries which are generally in a semi-peripheral status.


Statist autocracies were seriously touched since the 1990s; they have been witnessing civil wars. At this point, it is noteworthy to emphasize that radical sectarianism is mainly effective and in the agenda during the expansive hegemony-decentralized rulership cycles. We have to admit that this is not a coincidence and the well-known strategies of external capitalist actors have also to be taken into account. We should keep in mind the inference of the expansive capitalism and take the religious differences into consideration afterwards.



Otherwise, our analysis will be incomplete and insufficient. We are experiencing the process where the state structures of statist autocracies get shaken and blown away during the transition process from the cycle of intensive hegemony-centralized rulership to the cycle of expansive hegemony-decentralized rulership.





Chossudovsky, Michel: The Engineered Destruction and Political Fragmentation of Iraq: Towards the Creation of a US Sponsored Islamist Caliphate, Globalresearch, 2014. http://www.globalresearch.ca/5386998, [June 14, 2014]

Osborne, Peter: A powerful and merciless force has emerged on the world stage, The Telegraph, 2014.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/10892615/ [June 12, 2014]

Sherlock, Ruth: Iraq crisis: Generals in army ‘handed over’ entire city to al-Qaeda inspired ISIS forces, The Telegraph, 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10899134/ [June 13, 2014]

Umruk, Okan: Two World Systems: Modern World-Limits of The System, İmge Kitabevi Yayınları, 2013.



About Can Büyükbay

PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science Center for Comparative & International Studies, University of Zurich