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2 THE ROVING
fever as seen from Iran By
So Tehran is betting on the
strategic achievement of a "reliable anti-West
front consisting of Russia and China". His
conclusion; "The strategic equation of the region
as a result of the ongoing developments in Syria
has by no means changed to the detriment of Iran."
In an interview to the Iranian Diplomacy
(IRD) website  former ambassador and strategic
analyst Mohammad Farhad Koleini comments on how
"some Arab countries, which have very bleak
records in the field of human rights, have joined
hands with the United States in the current
equation in Syria in order to define a new
security game. This security game, however, has
mismanaged that it will
certainly taint the international image of the
Koleini notes that as the
West goes for a new security arrangement in the
Mediterranean, Moscow is trying "not to allow the
West to impose its geopolitical monopoly." So the
Russian approach to Syria "is not necessarily
focused on what is actually going on inside the
country, but it stems from a regional package and
how Moscow aims to regulate that package in
relation to its interactions with the West."
That explains why Russia "will never allow
Western states to impose a no-fly zone region over
Syria". Is this confrontation? Not really; "Russia
is doing its best to avoid outright confrontation
by any means. China has also shown all along the
way that it is following the same policy."
Mehdi Sanaei, the director of the Russia
Studies Group at the University of Tehran and the
director of the Iran and Eurasia Research Center
(IRAS), writing at the Tabnak News website goes
way deeper; Moscow is now working under
"unprecedented suspicion of the United States'
goals and intentions in the Middle East and
So forget about the famous
"reset" between Washington and Moscow.
Sanaei refers to the famous foreign policy
article  published by Putin on the eve of the
Russian presidential election: "Putin took a
direct shot at the United States by accusing
Washington of deception and abuse of the UN
structure and resolutions, applying double
standards to various global issues in different
countries, as well as seeking its own interests
under the cover of advocating democracy."
Sanaei also correctly describes how
Russian analysts see the Obama administration's
foreign policy as "based on two theories:
'ultimate realism', and 'new liberalism.' As a
result, the Americans actually believe that world
countries are simply divided into the United
States' friends and enemies. Hostile countries,
therefore, should be weakened and their presence
in global and regional strategic arenas should be
limited and even suppressed in political, economic
and cultural terms."
So, for Moscow, "a
new wave of the world order has been initiated by
the United States in order to create a new version
of the past unipolar world system. The main
targets of this wave, Moscow maintains, include
North Africa, the Middle East, Iran, Eurasia, and
finally China and Russia."
time writing for the Tehran Emrooz daily ,
introduces the Pipelineistan theme in the
Iran-Russia relationship; "Despite its cooperation
with Iran's nuclear energy program, Russia has
been always willing to cut Iran's hand in the
European natural gas market. Therefore, Russia has
been interacting with Turkey and certain Eastern
European countries on the Blue Stream project.
This proves beyond any doubt that Russia is trying
to take the lead in engineering security structure
in Europe through its energy policy and reduce
Europe's reliance on other energy sources."
All this while "trying to play a balancing
role in Iran's nuclear case."
outlines the main challenge to the "Eurasian
policy" laid out by Putin before his election;
"The point is that the West is designing new
political games, especially in Central Asia to
give new problems to Russia and divert Moscow's
attention from Eurasia to traditional spheres of
the former Soviet Union."
Iran kiss and make up Iranian intellectuals
are carefully monitoring neighboring Turkey.
Turkey and Caucasus expert Elyas Vahedi observes
how "the Turkish government came up with such
concepts as 'neither state religion, nor religious
state,' 'secular government, not secular man,'
'civilizing the constitution,' 'democratic
openness / Kurdish openness / Alawite openness,'
and 'civil control and supervision over the army'
and has been using them to strengthen and maintain
the political clout of the Justice and Development
Party." And of course, before the Arab Spring,
all talk was about "zero problems with our
neighbors" and Turkey's "strategic depth"
But now that Turkey is stuck in
Syria, the AKP government is "trying to justify
its failure by claiming that the policy of
minimizing problems with neighboring countries has
just entered is second phase ... Turkey believes
that the main feature of the second version of
this policy is interaction with people in
neighboring countries rather than interaction with
It simply doesn't
hold, says Vahedi: "This viewpoint, despite some
shortcomings, was somehow justifiable in some
countries like Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, but this
is not the case in Syria." Besides, Ankara
"remained silent toward the predicament of people
in Bahrain, under the pretext that political
protests in Bahrain are not popular."
Moreover, Turkey's foreign policy "has
also nurtured speculations that Ankara has joined
the Shi'ite-Sunni conflict which has been fostered
by the West. The damage that this notion will do
to Turkey's regional and international standing
and prestige will be too costly for Ankara."
Vahedi sees Turkey, as well as Saudi
Arabia and Qatar, as just following the West,
which is leading from behind, Obama-style. Turkey
"has apparently read the West's mind and is trying
to accept that role on behalf of the West in
return for certain concessions." But it won't work
- as, for instance, facilitating Turkey's
accession to the EU over immense French and German
Not to mention that Ankara "is
facing scathing criticism from nationalist
figures. They allege that while the rights of
Turks are being ignored in Karabakh as well as in
the Balkans through the oversight of the Western
powers, the government of Turkey has made
defending the rights of the Syrian people its
first and foremost priority."
Asadi, from the International Relations Dept at
the University of Allameh Tabatabaei, expands on
the key event of the next few weeks: the renewed
diplomatic relationship between Iran and Egypt -
which is drawing Washington's unmitigated wrath;
the State Department, in a childish move, is even
saying that Iran "does not deserve" to host the
summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in
Tehran, which will be attended by Egypt's
President Mohamed Morsi. 
Asadi goes to
the jugular - the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
petro-monarchies are terrified that "Egypt may
renew relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran
or even enter into strategic relations with
Turkey, thus working to undermine the influence
and clout of the GCC in the new balance of
So the GCC is doing what
it usually does; showering a bit of cash. "They
want to keep Egypt, as a big and important Arab
political player, on their own side."
Besides, they are demanding from Morsi and
the MB that "they do not take any step to export
their revolution and activate affiliates" of the
MB in the GCC. And they "expect Cairo to avoid
adopting a new approach to strengthening Hamas
against Fatah, helping Gaza and the Palestinian
population there, and taking an adamant stance
against the Israeli regime."
policy, supported by the West and Israel, is "to
keep Egypt entangled in its domestic challenges"
and thus unable to exercise its" historical claim
to leadership of the Arab world."
just a sample of the level of intellectual
discussion going on in Iran. Compared to the
bombing hysteria in Tel Aviv and Washington, it
does look like it's coming from Mars.