Hegemonic Designs in the Middle East Clash

Kurdish people fight the Islamic State and expect independence; Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, Turkey’s Recep Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin have other plans

The United States has been reticent about over-involvement in Middle East conflicts in recent years, notwithstanding the April 14 airstrikes on Syria in response to a chemical attack. Russia filled the vacuum in Syria with support from Iran and Turkey, explains author and military strategist Ehsan Ahrari. He details the internal contradictions in the three allies’ goals and suggests the alliance could be short-lived. Russia takes advantage of the Turkish president’s fury over US support for Kurdish forces and refusal to deport a cleric accused of instigating a failed 2016 coup. Iran seeks a permanent foothold in Syria, with the Assad regime in place, and influence in Lebanon. Russia, looking for control, has less interest in a role for Assad whereas Turkey wants his ouster. “The most significant uniting force for Iran, Turkey, and Russia is their resolve to safeguard their respective regional strategic interests, and for Russia, an additional and overriding motivating factor is to be recognized once again as a superpower,” Ahrari writes. Foreign powers find the region hard to control, and he concludes, “Great power hegemonism in the Middle East may well become an artifact of a bygone era.” – YaleGlobal