World Powers’ Conflicting Interests Globalize ISIS Crisis

While the ISIS’ terrorist attacks on Paris were just a very small portion of its wide-ranging terror actions which have hit a European country, but this small terror portion has made clear for the European countries the significance of joining the campaign which seeks destroying the ISIS terrorist group. The European understanding comes while the US and Russia have already been involved in anti-ISIS fight. The internationalization of the ISIS threat more than any other factor has taken place as a result of power weakness in West Asian countries which has originated from the regional powers’ inconsistent interests and objectives. In fact, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the three significant regional powers involved in the current developments of the Iraqi and Syrian crises. The inconsistency in interests of three sides of this regional triangle of power has caused each of them to fail to make tip the balance in their favor.

Turkey, for example, as an influential neighbor envisions Syria’s future without President Bashar al-Assad’s presence as it looks forward to see the shrinking of the Kurds’ power. Saudi Arabia’s priority is to overthrow President al-Assad as Iran’s largest regional friend. But, Riyadh pays less attention to the Kurdish issue than Turkey does. Ankara and Riyadh, while different on some cases, are united in chasing the shared goal of removing Bashar al-Assad from power, and this is what makes them different from Tehran. In addition to the significance of holding back ISIS which is considered a serious threat for the Shiite people, Iran views the Syrian developments from a different dimension. Actually, the fall of al-Assad’s government, which represents a linking point between Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is part of Iran’s policy in the region, would be a big blow to Iran. Therefore, Tehran sets high on the agenda of its regional policies the protection of the Syrian government along with staging measures to push back the threat posed by ISIS to Iran’s security.

Due to these discords and the disconcerted responses of the region’s power claimers to ISIS the ground is prepared for the intervention of international powers in the Syrian crisis. Now that Europe stepped in, the same triangle pattern could be imagined for the global powers. Russia, the US and Europe triangle, with different objectives, are striking ISIS’ positions under the excuse of fighting against terrorism. While the US views West Asia as its vital area of interests, and backing its allies, protecting the Israeli regime and ensuring the energy security are of significance for Washington, it does not like the stay of Bashar al-Assad in the power, because he serves interests of Russia and Iran as works against Tel Aviv’s interests. But, the European countries’ priority is to immunize the green continent against risks oncoming from West Asia’s devastating crisis. Concerning the future of al-Assad’s government, it seems that Europe would follow the US policies; however, after the blow dealt to it by ISIS, Europe would set the obliteration of the ISIS terror group as its priority even before President Assad’s ouster.

Therefore, the borderline between the US and EU policies in the West Asian region is that the EU seeks a speedy and comprehensive obliteration of the terrorist groups while the US in the event of a protracted crisis would be happy with eruption of fight between such regional powers as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey and shrinkage of their power. Washington would also be satisfied with the rise of a balance of power between the three countries and a rise in the consumption of arms in the region. But Russia has a different vision of the region’s developments which is closer to that of Iran. Current Syrian government is one of the places that represents a toehold for Russia, enabling Moscow to intervene in the region’s affairs to counter the US. So, the second power triangle owns three conflicting sides, too.

Merging two triangles of the international and regional powers, instead of coming up with a balanced hexagon of power which in case of coordination would be able to choke off terrorists, we would reach an unordered shape every side of which is heading towards a different direction, with the only motive keeping the engaged sides to stay beside each other is the need to fight extremism and the violence originating from it in order to preserve their own security. To restore stability to the region, an inclusive anti-terror coalition including the current regional and global powers must be formed in a balanced pattern. The balance would emerge only after the abovementioned sides reach the necessary result, agree on the Syrian future and secure their own national interests. However; these goals can be achieved in the light of of genuine negotiations and exchange of advantages which can be overlooked. Otherwise, the most expected result would be protraction of the crisis.


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