Two Different Patterns of War and Disputes
Two Different Patterns of War and Disputes
What is going on between Iran and Israel has no other name than war. The war continues with or without Qassem Soleimani and whether there is a Likud government or anti-Likud government in power.
This war is mostly being fought on and above Syrian territory. However, some of it is being fought in Israel and Iran themselves, and in Iraq and Lebanon too. The most recent major operation was the assassination of IRGC officer Sayyad Khodayari.
A broad array of attacks have been launched as part of this war - both direct and by proxy, from land, the sky and cyberspace. Some were part of an effort to alter the political status quo in some way. However, they are all part of this war that is likely to escalate amid reports that Russia will gradually pull out of Syria and that the Iranians are keen on “filling the gap.”
This would bring the two warring sides closer to each other and increase the number of flashpoints in the war, as well as eliminate what remains of Israeli caution imposed by its arrangements with Moscow.
The picture is even bleaker if the news that Tehran has grabbed the airports in Aleppo and Palmyra, ammunition stockpiles in Homs, and dozens of towns and villages surrounding these sites is true.
The paradox here is that while the Iranian-Israeli war is feeding off of the belligerent atmosphere that has been spreading around the world, it preceded the emergence of this atmosphere and is independent of that atmosphere and exists in and of itself. Neither is Iran fighting part of Russia’s war against Ukraine, despite Tehran’s sympathies lying with Moscow, nor is Israel waging part of Ukraine’s war against Russia, even though it is, in the last analysis, closer to the Ukrainians.
It is also difficult to argue that the Israelis and the US under Joe Biden have a common strategy on how to deal with the Iranian nuclear project, which remains the main engine of the Tehran-Tel Aviv war.
The theory of parallel minor wars also applies to Turkey’s conditions and policies. Its threats of a new invasion of northern Syria would not be acceptable to the US nor, in all likelihood, to Russia.
On top of this, Turkey is fighting two political wars - one to prevent Sweden and Finland from joining NATO and the second to politically and strategically isolate Greece, with Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceling his meeting of the Strategic Council, which brings the two countries together, and sharply attacking Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Regardless of the degree to which the Turkish narrative is sincere, it remains that these two political wars unequivocally prioritize Erdogan’s disputes with his domestic rivals (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Fethullah Gulen, and perhaps his rivals in the Republican Party) over Turkey’s commitments to NATO.
This equivocation, marked by its inconsistency and circuity, is in complete contrast to Asian alignments.
Japan recently witnessed a summit for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which includes the United States, Australia and India. As a result of that summit, the US warned Beijing not to try to change Taiwan’s status by force, and Biden categorically announced that his country would defend Taiwan “militarily” if it were invaded by China, which he said is “playing with fire” by increasing its military exercises. Biden’s statements, which announced the end of the “politics of ambiguity,” were approved of by Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, whose country, like Australia and India, has not concealed its apprehensions of China’s ambitions.
Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken finished what the US President had started, explaining his country’s strategic vision for China, calling it the only country that has not only the desire to change the world order, but also the multifaceted levers of power needed to do so. Thus, the way Blinken sees it, China poses the most serious challenge to the international order in the long term.
China was not late to respond. Hours after the Quad summit, Japan announced that Chinese and Russian warplanes had conducted joint flights over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea during the leaders’ summit, a move that the Japanese Defense Minister considered “provocative.”
As a part of this same strategy, Biden announced that the economy would be immersed in the battlefield as he talked about a long-term economic plan that 13 countries would contribute to. The goal, according to observers, is to save Asia from its growing economic dependence on China.
Around the same time, the new South Korean President Yoon Suk- yeol told CNN that the era of accommodating North Korea, an ally of China, is over, adding that any future talks must be attended by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un directly.
And who knows, the pattern that has shaped wars and disputes in the Middle East could evolve to become more consistent and in line with the global trend currently taking shape. However, even then, this evolution would be extremely slow and winding.
At this time, what can be said is that the difference between the two patterns of war in the Middle East and the Far East, and until further notice, eloquently reflect the positions of the two regions vis-à-vis the rest of the world and the position of the rest of the world vis-à-vis them.