by Andrew Korybko
(Please read Part I prior to this article)
Part I expounded upon the theory that Mideast developments can be understood through the prism of four ideologies (and three subcomponents), and now it’s time to test the idea by seeing if it can accurately explain key events in regional history. Those concerning Egypt, Turkey, and Yemen were already addressed, so let’s look at the Arab-Israeli Wars, the Lebanese Crises, the Iraqi War on Iran, and the theater-wide “Arab Spring” Color Revolutions:
The Arab-Israeli Wars
The three conflicts are very interesting to examine through the proposed ideological lenses, since they shed light on the progressive political changes that took place in the Arab countries. The first war was a coalition of Secular Republics and Monarchic Absolutists against Israeli Exceptionalism, and it was waged before the Saudi and Jordanian monarchies recognized the threat that Republicanism posed to their control. At the time, Egypt was still a monarchy too, with recently independent Syria and Lebanon being the only Republics, but they were so early into their modern political development that it wasn’t a factor affecting the Arab Alliance against the common Israeli foe. Arab Nationalism was the regional zeitgeist at the time, so this obviously trumped any considerations of the contradictory political nature of the coalition (if such points were even brought up then).
The Six-Day War of 1967 was a bit of a different matter, as Egypt had transitioned into a Secular Republic by then, but the third major participant alongside it and Syria, Jordan, was and still is a monarchy. Again, Arab Nationalism served as the rallying cry, and it was for this all-encompassing reason that the Republics and Monarchies united once more in trying to liberate the Palestinians and crush Israeli Exceptionalism, but yet again, it was a regrettably failed attempt, noble as it was. Jordan, it should be noted, was much more pragmatic at this point than Saudi Arabia, which had already begun viewing Secular Republicanism as a threat to its monarchist control. Jordan had up until then not fallen for the artificial divisions to Arab unity that Israel was trying to stir up, still seeing Arab Nationalism as the primary driver for cooperating with Egypt and Syria in trying to take down the Israeli state, but that was quickly to change by the time the next war came along.
In 1973, it was only the Secular Republics of Egypt and Syria which fought Israel, since Jordan and the other Arab states stayed on the sidelines. The importance of Amman’s refusal to enter the war after it began, despite Israel still occupying its formerly administrated territory of the West Bank, cannot be overstated, since it revealed two important aspects of the changing geopolitical calculus: Israel had broken the bonds of united Arab Nationalism; and Saudi Arabia, the symbolic “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”, did not chastize it for doing so and implicitly supported its decision to stay out of the fight. This showed that an evident rift had emerged between the Secular Republics and the Monarchic Absolutists, in that the latter no longer saw the need to fight against the Israeli Exceptionalists and instead opted to de-facto recognize its existence and peacefully accept this state of affairs.
Another major change in the regional dynamic revealed itself during the war as well, and this was that Sadat was holding secret talks with the Israelis without informing his Syrian allies, who were left completely out of the loop and had to unexpectedly retreat from their military gains after Sadat abruptly betrayed them. Unsurprisingly, Sadat would go on to formally recognize Israel and conduct a peace treaty with it in 1979, signifying the spectacular end of Secular Republicanism’s slow death in Egypt and the country’s unquestionable reorientation from Resistance Bloc member to Western puppet state. As luck would have it, this would be the year of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which would then take Egypt’s formal place, but it needs to be emphasized that Syria is the only country in the Mideast to continually remain a member of the Resistance and never change its relationship to Israeli Exceptionalism in any shape or fashion.
The Lebanese Crises
Lebanon makes for an intriguing case study of the theory put forth in this article, as there are a couple major crises to which it can be applied. The US launched its first invasion of a Mideast country in 1958 when it sent around 14,000 troops to assist the beleaguered government of President Chamoun, which was facing domestic resistance from forces that wanted it to join the United Arab Republic recently formed between Egypt and Syria. Lebanon, on paper, was a Republic, albeit a sectarianist one, which has been at the heart of its instability since its French-imposed creation. The US, wishing to retain influence over its Arab foothold in the Eastern Mediterranean (to complement its Jewish one in Israel), felt compelled to prop up its proxy using a loosely interpreted ‘justification’ from the Eisenhower Doctrine unveiled the year before. This policy stated that the US would assist Mideast states that requested help in repelling armed aggression, especially if this was to defend against anything even remotely associated with communism or the USSR. It was through this flimsy ‘justification’ that the US argued that the oppositionist forces in Lebanon were associated with Syria and Egypt’s United Arab Republic, a country friendly to the USSR, and that the government in Beirut was thus eligible for American military assistance. It was through this manner that the US retained controlling influence over its client state until its follow-up invasion in 1982.
This brings one to the US’ participation in the “ Multinational Force ”, which ironically was composed solely of a small handful of Western countries, that was in Lebanon from 1982-84. As it relates to the ideological spectrum presented in this article, it was an attempt to reinforce a puppet state Republic and prevent the real Republic, Syria (which was present in Lebanon at the time), from freeing its neighbor from external control. Damascus would ultimately be successful after the end of the Lebanese Civil War as a result of the 1991 Defense and Security Agreement Between the Republic of Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic that allowed for the stationing of Syrian military units inside Lebanon. From that time until the 2005 Cedar (Color) Revolution, Lebanon, although still plagued by the domestic difficulties endemic to the sectarianist system, basically functioned as a de-facto member of the Resistance Bloc.
It wasn’t until the US orchestrated the Mideast’s first Color Revolution in 2005 that Syrian troops were forced out of the country and the state reverted back to its general pro-Western orientation (despite resistance from Hezbollah), which incidentally led to the Israeli Exceptionalists launching an embarrassingly failed invasion one year later. Presently, Lebanon is now engulfed in a political crisis that has rendered its government dysfunctional, which runs the risk of drawing valuable Hezbollah fighters out of Syria and back to the home front in the event that the situation turns more serious. It can also cripple the viability of the Beirut-to-Damascus highway on which so much of the Syrian capital depends. Looked at from this perspective, the Dysfunctional State status of Lebanon clearly works out to the advantage of the enemies fighting against Syria’s Secular Republic, thus confirming the ideological nature of Lebanon’s weaponization against Syria.
The Iraqi War On Iran
This conflict has clear shades of ideological opposition, pitting a fake Secular Republic against the region’s only Islamic one. Although the US did arm both sides to a certain extent, it obviously favored Iraq, even turning a blind eye towards its use of American-acquired chemical weapons against Iran. This was because Saddam advanced the US’ proxy interests in weakening the fledgling Islamic Republic, fresh from Revolution and thus in a vulnerable position, out of concern that its ideological influence could inspire similar popular movements in the pro-American Gulf Monarchies. Real Secular Republicanism as last practiced only by Syria, while also a potential inspirer for anti-monarchist revolts, was seen as progressively less effective by that time owing to the Wahhabization of Saudi society and their rejection of secularity governance. Instead, should there be any domestic destabilization in Saudi Arabia, it would thus have to exhibit some form of religious affiliation in order to satisfy the preferences of the population, hence the potential appeal of Islamic Republicanism.
Saddam was a man who offered his services to the highest bidder, somersaulting through alliances and eventually turning on everyone until he was ultimately taken out. For example, although officially of the Baath Party just like then-President Hafez Assad in Syria, Saddam almost immediately created problems with his neighbor due to geopolitical greed disguised as ‘ideological disputes’. In a way, this mirrored the Sino-Soviet falling out that, although based more on real ideological differences than the Syrian-Iraqi case, was also largely due to geopolitical considerations. Although not friendly with Syria, Iraq still had a good relationship with its Soviet ally, this despite Baghdad’s secret relationship with Washington which was predicated on fighting Iran. So at this point, Saddam had turned on his nominal Secular Republican ally and also initiated a war against the Islamic Republic. The end of that stalemated but bloody conflict saw the Iraqi leader falling for nuanced American approval and invading an Absolute Monarchy, Kuwait, which severed his already dismal ties with that ideological bloc of states. Furthermore, it’s what gave the US the ‘convenient’ excuse to turn on its proxy in order to justify an eventual military invasion into the geopolitical heart of the Mideast. For the US, the pursuit of unipolarity is the only ideology it ever consistently adheres to, and its alliance with anything seemingly contrary to this (such as the socialist-leaning and nominally Secular Republic of Iraq) is only a temporary tactic to advance this grand objective.
The “New Middle East” And The Theater-Wide “Arab Spring” Color Revolutions
Former American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice joyously proclaimed “the birth pangs of a new Middle East” in the summer of 2006 during Israel’s War on Lebanon, but at the time, it wasn’t particularly clear what she was referring to. The government of Lebanon had just fallen to the region’s first Color Revolution, but the social infrastructure was not yet in place to roll this tactic out region-wide. A certain period of time had to pass in order for the subversive networks to take deeper root and maximize their societal impact, but the surprisingly successful Lebanese test run proved that it was indeed possible to transplant this political technology to the Mideast, thereby earning the greenlight for its theater-wide application in the near future.
The US and Israel also had to coordinate on their response to all possible scenarios, especially given that the Arab world’s largest country and Israel’s neighbor, Egypt, was going to be targeted as well, and the full planning for such a wide-scale contingency operation took time. Finally, the US also had to achieve full operational compatibility with Qatar’s covert Muslim Brotherhood network, since as was mentioned in Part I, this was envisioned to become the basis for the transnational pro-American “Islamic Democracies” that would rise out of the ashes of the overthrown fake Secular Republics and herald in the “New Middle East” that Rice had alluded to half a decade earlier. Furthermore, it could also give the US a strong lever of influence in destabilizing its Monarchic Absolutist allies (except tiny Qatar, which could be pressured in other ways) if the need ever arose.
Thus, as understood through the ideological theory being argued in this article, the “New Middle East” and its associated theater-wide “Arab Spring” Color Revolutions were a major geopolitical gambit by the US to replace the fake Secular Republics (and the last remaining true Secular Republic, Syria) with a new form of ideological governance, “Islamic Democracies”, which would be much easier to manage given their cyclical electoral cycles. Likewise, it could also threaten the Monarchic Absolutists, which if they were ever deposed of via these means, would then create a unified ideological space stretching from North Africa to Turkey and then all the way through the entire Arabian Peninsula, giving the US the possibility to create a civilizational EU-like political structure that it could thenceforth control by proxy.
Suffice it to say, this massive geopolitical construction would work for the direct benefit of the US and the Israeli Exceptionalists, who would then have achieved their vaunted Yinon Plan for the establishment of a series of manipulatable and easily controllable Arab states. Unlike the vision of mid-Cold War Arab Nationalists, this supranational entity would not be directed against Israel, but would be manipulated against Iran, owing to the fact that “Islamic Democracy” as practiced by the Muslim Brotherhood is totally opposed to Islamic Republicanism, which thus gives it something else importantly in common with American and Israeli strategic objectives (aside from being a weak and disorganized mass). Therefore, this Muslim Brotherhood-controlled “Arab Union” would purely be an artificial construct on behalf of the US and Israel and designed to further each of their overlapping geopolitical objectives.