U.S. strategy on new developments in the Middle East

July 20, 2011

The huge wave of instability and insecurity in the Middle East in recent years has created many questions regarding the role of major powers and their conspiracies in the region.

Many believe that one must adopt a geopolitical approach in order to study this ambiguous role which can result in a better understanding of the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa.
Based on historical experience, during a transitional period, the major powers of the world apply various approaches and patterns such as competition, cooperation, or both to determine their position and responsibilities in the global balance of power.
In other words, each government tries to stabilize its position and role in the global pyramid of power according to various activities and achievements on the international scene.
However, the geopolitical transitional period is usually associated with the big wars, during which some new powers and states are created and the role and position of the major powers undergoes dramatic changes.
During this sensitive period, those geographical areas that are more significant in international equations are subject to further changes. Based on this theory, the Middle East became the epicenter of global attention after the First and Second World Wars and especially after the Cold War because of its specific advantages in terms of cooperation and competition between major powers.
Due to its wealth of energy resources and geopolitical importance, the Middle East has the greatest geographic sensitivity in the present circumstances.
Thus, major developments at the beginning of the 21st century such as the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq by the United States, Arab-Israeli relations, the idea of a new Middle East, disarmament of the Lebanese Hezbollah… all have been in line with this policy.
The current geopolitical developments in the form of popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (the Arab Spring) will have huge consequences both at the regional and international levels. A favorable result of these developments would be the weakening of Israel's strategic depth as the epicenter of plans designed by the West in the region. If realized, this new situation can pave the way for a more promising future for the new Middle East based on Islamic principles.
On the other hand, the U.S. is looking for optimal solutions in order to protect its strategic interests. One of the tools to realize this goal is to implement a strategy of disorder to control the process and to continue its regional hegemony.
This strategy is based on the disintegration of geopolitical and fundamental principles of countries, which will be projected in all domestic, foreign, political, geographic, legal, economic, social and ideological aspects. The most important policies can be summarized as follows:
A. Adopting a wide range of measures to prevent any popular decision-making and to control any social mobility, resulting in the confiscation of popular uprisings;
B. Preserving and strengthening the security interests of Israel;
C. Continuing to dominate the oil and energy resources of the Middle East and North Africa in order to establish a strategic balance in sensitive areas which are under the influence of other international powers such as China and Russia;
D. Absorbing the financial resources of the rich Arab states through various tricks, such as Iranophobia, which is aimed at selling more arms and creating more civil wars in countries like Libya, Yemen, etc.
Indeed, the new uprisings are considered an opportunity for the U.S. to exercise its soft power in the region. However, this soft power can backfire because it creates more public demand for democracy, human rights and social and economic justice, and this phenomenon in the Arab world will severely challenge U.S. interests.
According to some analysts, there are two options for the U.S. to deal with the current developments. First, it can strengthen and stabilize the revolutionaries through economic and military tools in order to find new allies in the region based on shared democratic values; secondly, to pursue the same policy as before, which mainly relied on the support of dictators and traditional allies like Saudi Arabia, and the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in order to push ahead with the old hegemonic objectives.
It seems that the U.S. is trying to create a pattern for other countries out of what is happening in Egypt. Therefore, the continuation of popular uprisings in the region necessitates the support of other independent national and international institutions such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which can pave the way for a real Islamic and anti-western system of governance in these countries.
Thus, the victory of the revolutionaries and the establishment of democratic regimes, not only stabilizes the teachings of Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979, which has hugely inspired the Arab spring, but it also revives the Islamic political awakening for other Muslim nations, resulting in the eternal collapse of family dictatorships in the Arab world.
Mahdi Kardust is an expert on U.S. politics at the Office of Political Studies and International Affairs of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, which is based in Tehran