December 12, 2010

Turkey Proposes Alliance with Iran and Syria as Russia Regains Mideast Influence

Turkey Has Proposed Turkey-Iran-Syria Alliance

By Rick Francona, Basil & Spice
June 5, 2010

The Israeli military confrontation of the so-called "freedom flotilla" earlier this week has precipitated a crisis not just between unlikely allies Israel and Turkey, but between NATO allies Turkey and the United States. As the two American allies start a verbal clash, the Obama Administration is finding itself in the middle.

This is just another event in a series of events that have been festering between Ankara and Washington as Turkey gradually changes its focus from being a European Union contender to a regional power broker between Israel, the Arab countries, Muslim/Turkic states of the former Soviet Union and Iran.

Looking a the map of the region, Turkey occupies a key location in a strategic part of the world. It truly is the bridge between East and West - mediator/broker is a good role for the Turks to play, assuming they can pull it off. Their efforts so far have merely alienated one group or the other - not exactly successful mediation.

The latest poke in the Ankara-Tel Aviv spat came today as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Hamas - a group committed to the destruction of Turkish ally Israel - as "resistance fighters." He failed to mention that if Hamas or its affiliated groups had refrained from launching over 8000 rockets into southern Israel over the last five years, the Israeli-imposed embargo would not have been necessary and the recent incident, not to mention last year's IDF incursion into the Gaza Strip, may not have taken place.

Erdogan's words go further:
"Hamas are resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land." Defend it from whom? The Israelis have no designs on the Gaza - they were happy to be rid of it in 2005, the settlers not withstanding. There are no Israeli troops in the Strip as there are on the West Bank. The only Israeli military operations in Gaza are generally retaliatory air strikes following the unending Qassam rocket attacks on southern Israel."
Turkey's spat with Israel is not the only thing that appears to undermine American foreign policy in the region. In an effort that was contrary to the Obama Administration's goal of gaining international support for tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Turkey, along with Brazil, negotiated a sham nuclear deal with Tehran. Turkey has also proposed a Turkey-Syria-Iran alliance - a move that certainly would not be viewed in Washington as the action of an American ally.

For decades, Turkey was a stalwart ally of the United States and NATO. It allowed the coalition in 1990-1991 to use its bases and airspace to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkey looked toward Central Asia as its rightful sphere of influence.

During the run-up to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, in what many American military planners regard as reneging on a commitment, Turkey first allowed U.S. Army forces to move through Turkey to the Iraqi border, only to change its mid at the last minute, forcing the United States to withdraw an entire mechanized division and redeploy them via the Arabian Peninsula. Again, not the actions of an ally.

Turkey needs to decide whose side they want to be on. Right now they are trying to be all things to all sides while addressing increasing Islamist pressure at home. Unless the Turks determine where Turkey stands, they are likely to become part of our foreign policy issues and not a foreign policy partner.

Lt Col Rick Francona (U.S. Air Force--Retired) enlisted in the Air Force in 1970, and served as a Vietnamese linguist until 1973, conducting aerial reconnaissance missions over Vietnam and Laos. After Arabic language training, he served at a variety of locations in the Middle East from 1975 to 1977, and supported the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in 1976. In 1978, he became an Arabic language instructor at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

Iran-Turkey-Syria: An Alliance of Convenience

By Richard Javad Heydarian, Foreign Policy in Focus
July 19, 2010

One of the most striking political consequences of Israel’s raid on the Gaza flotilla at the end of May has been the emergence of a seeming new strategic triangle in the region: an Iran-Turkey-Syria axis. While Iran and Syria are touted as implacable "enemies" of Israel, it is precisely moderate Turkey’s tentative alignment with the two revisionist powers that has caused much anxiety in Western corridors of power.

Turkey’s “neo-Ottomanism,” however, is about climbing the hierarchy of power and becoming a major voice in global affairs, not leading a wave of anti-Israeli sentiments. Moreover, Iran isn't in a mood to relinquish its hard-earned clout in the Arab street and allow Turkey, a NATO member, take the mantle of leadership in the Islamic world.

In fact, in an effort to avoid losing the limelight to Turkey, Iran dispatched its own flotilla to Gaza. On the other hand, Syria, squeezed between two bigger powers and right next to Israel, is most interested in defending its territories, regaining its lands in the Golan Heights, and carving out a place among the region’s main powers. There is no assurance on how Turkey and Iran would effectively assist Syria in achieving its main political goals.

Undoubtedly, the protracted humanitarian crisis in Gaza represents a convergence point for the three countries. But for an alliance to be cemented, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. The “ménage à trois” is far from an assured deal.

An Evolving Regional Order

The Israel-Palestine conflict has been at the heart of regional affairs since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Defending the rights of Palestinians became the foundation upon which ideology-based movements, alliances, revolutions, and wars were justified, organized, and pursued. Leadership in the Islamic world has also been heavily tied to the same issue. This is the context wherein the de facto Iran-Turkey-Syria axis should be understood, although substantive normalization of relations in the last decade between Turkey and its neighbors Iran and Syria served as a pre-requisite for the supposed alliance.

Syria’s involvement in Lebanon and the Palestinian issue were an inevitable consequence of its pan-Arabism, regional ambitions, and conflict with Israel. After the 1979 revolution Iran became a key sponsor of resistance movements in the region, which placed the Islamic republic at the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict. For the Islamic Republic of Iran, being part of the struggle against Israel became part of its very raison d'être.

For decades, both Iran and Syria remained as the main proponents of anti-Israel politics in the region. The election of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, and the country’s rise as a military and economic power added a new pivotal character to an unfolding drama in the Middle East.

Turkey’s involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had a lot to do with its foreign policy soul-searching — under Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutuğlu — and its ambition to become the main mediator and power-broker in the region. Hence, resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict became central to Turkey’s foreign policy démarches.

But, prior to the Israeli raid on the Gaza flotilla, Israel consistently frustrated Turkish mediating efforts at bringing Syria and Israel together to negotiate the issue of the occupied Golan Heights.

After the 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza, Israel’s refusal to allow Turkish officials to enter Gaza enraged the Turks. According to Ali Babacan, then-Turkey’s foreign minister, “I personally warned Ehud Barak that we would react very seriously if Israel did anything in Gaza.”

The drama culminated with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s emotional display at the Davos World Economic Forum in 2009, where he shrieked at President Shimon Peres, “You Israelis know how to kill.” This was followed by a series of diplomatic spats between the two countries and a wave of anti-Israel television series in Turkey.

The flotilla massacre, which led to the death of nine Turkish citizens, reinforced Turkey’s growing opposition to Israel’s war on Gaza. Turkey’s explicit opposition to Israel’s actions and threats to end diplomatic relations with the Jewish state this summer was an unequivocal response to Israel’s intransigence.

Looking at the bigger picture, recent years have witnessed a significant shift in Middle Eastern affairs. Regional powers have stepped in to resolve conflicts and diffuse growing tensions in different corners of the Middle East. This took place as the United States gradually lost both its leverage and political will to address protracted crises in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and security concerns in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. With this shift away from the United States as the dominant power-broker, it’s natural for regional powers to extend their reach and step up to fill the power vacuum.

Marwan Bishara of al Jazeera writes, “The rapprochement between Iran, Turkey and Syria is creating a new regional axis that, for all practical purposes, could replace the diminished Arab triangle of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria and transform the region in the process."

On the issue of Gaza, Iran, Turkey, and Syria happen to share an identical concern: Israel.

Iran-Turkey Rivalry

Iran and Turkey are perhaps today’s most important regional powers and their growing ties signal a positive move towards a new and more stable regional power configuration. The warmth of their rapprochement — which started in 1997 with Iran’s election of President Mohammed Khatami, and was consolidated with the rise of the AKP in Turkey since 2002 — has concealed the underlying tensions that define the rivalry between these two powers.

While Iran and Turkey’s strategic interests have converged in recent history, the roots of the contention between the two states is buried deep in their past. While the Persians dominated the entire region for almost a millennium, the Ottomans occupied that dominant role after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. For centuries, both the Ottomans and the Persians competed for influence in the Caucasus and West Asia, waged intermittent wars against one another. Such imperial legacies are, in many ways, embedded within the national psyche of both countries.

Adding to this nationalist antagonism, ethnic tensions have been a dent in bilateral relations. Worried that the Turks might influence Iran’s huge Turkic Azeri minority, pre-Revolution leader Reza Shah and his successors embarked on a program of “Persianization” and political centralization at the cost of the Azeri’s demands for federal autonomy. This policy caused significant unease between the two countries.

After the Iranian revolution Turkey was increasingly anxious vis-à-vis Iran’s fundamentalist politics, while Iran resented its neighbor, a NATO member, a staunch regional ally of the United States, and a strong supporter of Israel. The political systems in the two neighboring countries were almost an antithesis to one another, adding to the rivalry between the two countries

Iran and Turkey also have reason to compete for Syrian loyalty and support to reinforce their influence within the Levant region. While Iran is interested in having Syria as a key military ally in an event of confrontation with Israel, Turkey might want Syria to be play a more constructive role in the region and serve as a springboard for Turkish maneuverings in Lebanon and Palestine.

Energy is another issue that is driving the competition between the two regional behemoths. Turkey’s growing importance as an energy hub is beginning to overshadow Iran’s ambition to become a global energy superpower. Although Iran is a host to the world’s second largest reserves of oil and natural gas, it is Turkey — while exploiting Iran-Russia energy rivalry — that is serving as a global energy transit point between Europe and Asia.

However, perhaps the most important point of contention between the two countries is the apparent mutual exclusivity of the grand ambitions harbored by the two powers. An assertive Turkey is beginning to position itself at the center of the Islamic world and regional affairs in central Asia and the Caucasus. This directly challenges Iran’s political objectives, which are directed at making Iran a major player — if not the main player — in the same spheres.

Trade between the two countries is also hugely one-sided — irking the Turks who complain about Iran’s protectionism — and there are no serious military relations between the two countries. Additionally, Turkey is a major economic and political partner of Azerbaijan, a fellow Turkic country, Iran’s northern neighbor, and a country that has cultivated strong ties with Israel despite Iran’s vehement objections. Moreover, Iranians by no means appreciate Turkey’s subtle appeals to pan-Turkism in Central Asia, supposedly in Iran’s backyard.

Finally, Iran’s nuclear program is a main source of concern to the Turks. Turkey is simply against the idea of a nuclear Iran, or a virtually nuclear Iran, since it knows how this will reinforce Iran’s position as the main power in the region — assuming others do not follow in Iran’s steps.

Meanwhile, Turkey is also ensuring that no major additional conflicts erupt in the region. By pushing for the implementation of the May 2010 Tehran Declaration (the nuclear deal between Turkey, Brazil, and Iran that bypassed the United Nations) and pursuing aggressive diplomacy, Turkey is trying to ameliorate growing tensions between the West and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program. Caught at the crossroads of East and West, Turkey is trying to avoid a war between Iran and Israel, and Israel’s staunch ally, the United States.

In addition to deterring a battle on it’s borders, Turkey has economic incentive to defray tensions with the Islamic Republic. The two countrys enjoy multi-billion-dollar energy-related trade and investment relations. Any conflict over Iran could compromise those lucrative deals.

Common concerns may have pushed the two countries closer to each other — as exemplified by the Tehran Declaration — but serious issues, collectively, could undercut a true alliance between the two powers. Syria might also be forced to decide between the two, if push comes to shove.

Approaching Syria

The rapprochement between Syria and Turkey started in the late 1990s, as part of Turkey’s broader strategic designs — in line with its plans to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria for membership in the European Union — to normalize relations with its neighbors to the East and South. Syria and Turkey have been relatively successful in improving their ties on three pivotal politico-strategic issues: territorial disputes, water-related disputes, and support for Kurdish rebels.

In the last decade, Turkey has been a major investor and trade partner for Syria. In 2009, the two countries engaged in some limited joint-military maneuvers with the defense ministers announcing plans to expand military relations in the future. However, Turkey’s strong ties with NATO members and still operational ties with Israel, Syria’s arch-foe, will remain a sticking point for any deeper partnership between the two.

Given the rivalry between Iran and Turkey, Syria’s strong ties with Tehran might also serve as an obstacle towards a deeper strategic partnership with Ankara. On the economic front, Syria’s trade with Turkey is deeply one-sided. In 2009, Turkey’s exports amounted to $1.4 billion, while Syria only exported $328 million in exchange. Many are beginning to ask if Turkey is engaged in a new phase of neo-colonialism, establishing new patterns of center-periphery relations within its own region. In many ways, the growing bilateral interdependence is highly asymmetrical and fraught with potential challenges that could alter the course of the rapprochement in the future.

Turkey-West interdependence

Both Syria and Iran are aware that Turkey is far from leaving the western alliance and its ambitions are not confined to the East, not to mention Turkey’s deep interdependence with western economies and politico-security alliance.

In terms of external relations, Turkey is still a member of the NATO and its semi-export-oriented economy is heavily dependent on European investment, trade, and tourists. Europe is by far Turkey’s top trade partner and source of investments. In 2007, 56.4 percent of Turkish exports were destined to E.U. markets, while 40.8 percent of its imports came from Europe.

Its politico-security ties with the United States are still atop of the Turkey’s policy agenda.

On the domestic front, AKP’s current actions could be understood as part of its domestic political calculation. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country and undoubtedly many of its citizens have very strong feelings vis-à-vis Israel’s policy in Gaza. The fact that Turkish citizens were killed during the Israeli commando raid adds to this intense affinity between Turks on one hand, and Palestinians and the Islamic world on the other. Given the fervor of democracy in Turkish current politics, it is incumbent upon the Islamic-inspired, democratically elected AKP to respond in strong terms against Israeli actions, if not tap into such sentiments for electoral gains.

Nevertheless, there are limits to how assertive and “Islamized” AKP’s foreign policy can get. Given AKP’s relative losses in the 2007 elections, and growing criticism over and opposition to AKP’s seemingly anti-secular polices, there is simply a limited room for foreign policy alterations.

Principles of secularism are deeply embedded within Turkish politics and entrenched within the Turkish society. The military, as well as a huge portion of Turkish society, is in no position to accept the overriding of fundamental secular principles laid down by the much-revered Kemal Ataturk and the Turkish constitution.

The AKP leaders themselves consistently reiterated their commitment to be part of the European Union and their role as a bridge between East and West. In Foreign Minister Davutoğlu’s own words, “We are proud of our religion and identity but at the same time we are part of European culture and European history and we are proud of that identity as well."

On Turkey’s commitment to EU membership, he said, “Until 1999 we had some difficulties, we know that, but after 1999 we were very active to fulfill the criteria."

The AKP’s ideological fervor is in no way geared towards disengaging and decoupling from the West so as to join a Muslim alliance against the west and Israel.

On the other hand, Turkey’s growing nationalism — which feeds its growing assertiveness — has more to do with the EU’s almost insulting reticence vis-à-vis admitting Turkey into the community. It has also something to do with Bush-era U.S. policies in the region, especially the brutal wars still being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the instability they brought upon the region.

Turkey has also recently been a target of virulent attacks by neoconservative institutions. For instance some have indicated that some of Turkey’s emerging alliances in the region are grounds for it to be kicked out of NATO. According to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), "If Turkey finds its best friends to be Iran, Hamas, Syria, and Brazil (look for Venezuela in the future), the security of that information (and Western technology in weapons in Turkey's arsenal) is suspect. The United States should seriously consider suspending military cooperation with Turkey as a prelude to removing it from the organization.”

Neoconservatives are no longer the dominant force in the U.S. political establishment. However, they have been exerting immense pressure on the Obama administration on a range of key issues: from the healthcare reform, and the war in Afghanistan, to isolating Iran over its nuclear program. Moreover, the stance of the Israel lobby on the issue, and its influence on the Obama administration, is a key consideration when speculating on the future approach of the United States and Turkey. Nevertheless, good relations with Turkey are a prime consideration for the Obama administration in their attempts to reach out to the Muslim World and preserve unity within the NATO alliance.

Yet despite the residual animosity of past policies in the region, and internal politics that are always a factor, the United States and its allies are not totally bereft of leverage vis-à-vis the Turks. After all, Turkey’s regional maneuverings, in an effort to meet the membership criteria, have a lot to do with its plan to eliminate any of the EU’s doubt with respect to Turkey’s security to the South and East.

The Europeans are in a position to offer more preferable economic incentives to Turkey, as well as ease “political” restrictions on Turkey’s bid for E.U. membership. The United States can also expand its policy of “integrating emerging powers” into the global decision making processes by offering countries like Turkey a more prominent voice in the G-20, the UN Security Council, and other top political bodies.

In light of Turkey’s relatively huge foreign debt, about $274 billion, the West’s influence over the International Monetary Fund and other international financial institutions can serve as some leverage.

Israel is also actively courting Turkey’s favor with its speedy response to many of Turkey’s demands. First, Israel started releasing Turk members of the flotilla in its custody to appease Ankara. Secondly, Israel also considered easing the blockade on Gaza as part of its publicity campaign.

With all these factors to take into consideration, there might be little reason to expect a true foreign policy shift on the part of Turkey and an enduring alliance with Iran and Syria after all.

Syria, Iran, and Turkey Openly Defy Obama, as Russia Regains Mideast Influence

Obama continually ends up with egg on his face, while Russia is shoring up its ties and influence in the Middle East ahead of a nuclear Iran.

By Barry Rubin, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
May 14, 2010

The world is getting into the habit of making Obama look inept.

The U.S. sends a delegation to Damascus to wean Syria from Iran, and Syria promptly responds by inviting Iran’s president to the country and tightening the relationship. The U.S. praises Pakistan and sends billions in aid, and Pakistan responds by being less than cooperative in dealing with the Times Square bomber.

Now it’s Russia’s turn. Just hours after the Obama administration praised Russia for allegedly cooperating on sanctions against Iran — to justify pushing forward a bilateral nuclear weapons limitation agreement with Moscow — Russia eagerly responded by subverting U.S. Middle East policy.

Russian President Dimitry Medvedev visited Syria and Turkey, taking a very large entourage with him to work on trade and military cooperation agreements. In effect, these meetings marked another step in the creation of an anti-American alliance in the region with Russian backing.

How do we know about this alliance? Because Turkey, Syria, and Iran are openly declaring its existence. How do we know Russia is backing it? Because Medvedev is openly claiming this.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be a “friend,” and that Iran is using its nuclear program “for civilian purposes only.” He also said that Israel, not Iran, threatens regional stability.

Syrian government newspaper al-Baa’th declared, in so many words, that the Middle East is coming together in an alliance to reject Westernization, artificial borders, America, and Israel, while embracing various anti-Western conspiracies. What countries are in this new alliance?
Syria, Iran, and Turkey, with their great peoples and their lively peoples and their rejectionist [the Syrian term for radical, anti-Israel, and anti-American] policies are moving toward brotherhood.
The comments from Iran? President Ahmadinejad declared:
[The Americans] are forced to leave the region. … [The U.S.] government has no influence [to stop] … the expansion of Iran-Syria ties, Syria-Turkey ties, and Iran-Turkey ties. God willing, Iraq too will join the circle.
In its own way, Russia is joining the circle as well. Medvedev signed deals suggesting that Russia might help Turkey and Syria build nuclear reactors. Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Russian parliamentary foreign liaison committee, called Syria “a strategic partner” with Russia.

In Turkey, Medvedev and his hosts agreed to support Hamas merging with the Palestinian Authority, and insisted that the radical terrorist Islamist group be a full participant in any negotiations on Israel-Palestinian issues.

In the words of Turkish President Abdullah Gul, while standing next to Medvedev:
Unfortunately Palestinians have been split into two. … In order to reunite them, you have to speak to both sides. Hamas won elections in Gaza and cannot be ignored.
Obviously, bringing Hamas into negotiations or melding it together with the existing Palestinian Authority would guarantee the failure of any talks, and possibly result in Hamas takeover of the West Bank, anti-American Palestinian leadership, and the renewal of war with Israel.

Why is Russia doing this? Clearly, there are commercial considerations involved. Russia is desperate for money and export markets, including the ability to sell its weapons which — being inferior to those of the United States — only have a market of countries ineligible to buy American.

Yet commerce is only part of the picture. The current Russian leadership sees the United States as a rival, is jealous of its power, and is angry about losing the Cold War. The shrinking of their country from a mighty superpower to an impoverished wreck makes them steam, and they blame their fall on U.S. machinations. Building up Russian nationalism and returning the United States to enemy status is a way to mobilize popular support for the government.

And finally, there is a genuine ambition to rebuild the old Russian/Soviet empire and spheres of influence.

In short, this is a problem for U.S. leaders that isn’t going to go away. On her first visit to Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously declared that the Obama administration was going to “reset” U.S.-Russian relations. Now, Russia has defined that reset as to be largely — of course, not fully — a return to the pre-1991 era.

A false issue is the idea that Russia is going to have a problem with the Islamism of its new partners because of its own internal Muslim problem. On the contrary — this alliance is a way to reduce the domestic threat.

By giving Turkey, Syria, and Iran an incentive to be friendly with Russia, Moscow is ensuring that they won’t intervene by backing revolutionary Islamist groups. Indeed, Iran has stayed away from such involvements — Tehran even supports Russia’s ally, Christian Armenia, against Muslim-majority Azerbaijan.

Of course, there is no way that the United States can truly compete with Russia (and Iran) over Syria’s loyalties. The Russians are prepared to fully back Syria’s policies of allying with Iran and returning Lebanon to the status of colony. Russia is happy to sell Syria arms (paid for by Iran).

Presumably, the Russians would encourage Syria not to launch even a Lebanon-based war against Israel, but that is one of the few positive notes.

The situation with Turkey is a bit more complex, since even the Islamist regime is wary of Russia. Yet here too, the Russians have sizable influence with a Turkish regime that has already moved much closer to Iran and Syria.

The big picture? The United States is being edged out of the position of primacy it has enjoyed in the Middle East for twenty years, which dates — and this is no coincidence — from the time of the USSR’s collapse.

With Iran on the verge of nuclear weapons, the strategic balance will shift even more. This outcome also makes Tehran even more attractive as a partner to Moscow.

The situation is very bad, heading towards worse, and made all the more worrisome by the failure of the current U.S. government even to realize what’s occurring.

Inevitable Iran-Turkey-Syria-Russia Alliance

Fars News Agency
Originally Published on November 5, 2007

The Middle East has acquired immense strategic value as one of the determining fulcrums in the global balance of power due to its being the world's largest known storehouse of low-cost energy supplies.

The region's geopolitical importance, the kaleidoscopic nature of politics among its states, the presence of volatile social and political forces within them and the interference of world superpowers all insure that the region will remain a potentially explosive source of tension for years.

Emboldened by its military strength after World War II, Moscow prepared to carve up its southern neighbors. It demanded territorial concessions and control of the Bosporus from Turkey and refused to withdraw from northern Iran, which it had occupied in 1941. Turkey and Iran rebuffed Soviet coercive diplomacy with the support of the United States and became key allies in the American effort to contain Soviet expansion.

The Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) was a defense alliance between Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Great Britain. Originally named the Baghdad Pact, the name was changed when the Iraqi revolution led Iraq to withdraw in 1959. The United States had observer status in the alliance but was not a party to the treaty. The fall of the shah removed the American shield from Iran, sounded the death knell for the anti-Soviet CENTO alliance and sailed Iran towards new horizons.

Now the same faith is on the road for Turkey. The measureless and injudicious backup given by the occupying power in Iraq -- the US government -- to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and to Massoud Barzani, the former tribal leader of the Iraqi Kurds and now the leader of the Iraqi Kurdish region.

Turkey, taking into consideration the ongoing assaults by the PKK terrorists in the southeastern regions and the measureless backup given by US government to Iraqi Kurds, has drawn up a new strategic alliance policy that weakens ties with the US and strengthens relations with Iran and Syria, its millennium-long neighbors.

The US has failed to keep its promise to Turkey to confront the PKK. Turkey now feels that it has no choice but to attack the PKK's sanctuaries in northern Iraq together with Iran.

Iran is also suffering from similar assaults originating from the same terrorist group located in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq under the name of Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK).

The US and Iran are increasingly at odds over a range of issues, and Turkey has stood nearby the US as an old and devoted ally for the past 57 years, but now the sympathy of Turkish people towards the US had fallen sharply over the past couple of years, and it will take decades for US to recover it.

It seems it is now mandatory for Turkey and Iran to form a common cooperative ground in regard to common problems and interests. New and stronger cooperative action in the economic field by Turkey and Iran will play a major role in the eradication of the political distrust and concerns between the two countries. The parties have announced an upcoming doubling of the volume of their trade.

Both countries have already agreed on the elimination of the main source of discord: support for each other's separatist and oppositional organizations. Iran has committed to adding the PKK to its list of "terrorist organizations." Turkey has done the same concerning the anti-Iran terrorist group "Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO)."

The second stage is the escalation of high-level cooperation between Turkey, Iran and Syria and this is moving forward, as well.

Aversion to American global policy, in particular to the actions of the US in Iraq, the common allies of Syria and Iran, and also shared economic interests, will lead to the merging of the political strategies of Russia and Turkey. Countries that were previously historical opponents will turn into partners in the creation of a new Eurasian coalition.

The final effect of the region's aversion to American policies will be the formation of the "union of four:" Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria. Of course, this rapprochement between Ankara, Moscow, Damascus and Tehran will definitely affect Washington's position in the Middle East.
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