Beneath the surface, are Iran and China battling for control?

This file photo shows the TCG Anafartalar submarine. Hürriyet photo


At last, NATO is going to take over operations in Libya; without revealing the details, Turkey announced that its concerns had been addressed and Turkey can therefore endorse the plan.  Turkey also announced that it was willing to send five ships and a submarine to aid in the efforts.  The government was asking parliament’s authorization to send troops and military equipment abroad today.  It is also being reported by the Financial Times – the above was from the Turkish Daily News – that Turkey has attacked France over its crusade in Libya, accusing the French of trying to gain control of the natural resources. The Turkish Prime Minister said: “I advise our western friends, when they look at this region, to see the hungry children, the suffering mothers, the poverty…I wish they would not only see the oil, gold mines and underground wealth.”

The accusations and counter accusations can be quite entertaining, particularity because most of it is focused on other countries and for once not centered around American foreign policy.  In truth, France does have a real history as a colonial power and exploiter in the region, which ended rather badly for France with the “Battle of Algiers” which was actually a film depicting the decade long battle for control of Algeria and not a single battle.  The events of that fight certainly helped set the stage for the governments in Libya, Tunisia and Algeria and therefore the revolts of today.

The Russians have softened their approach, well that is not exactly true – Putin has not said anything to indicate he has softened his position, but Medvedev called Obama and suggested that American forces be careful not to injury civilians while attacking Gaddafi.

The Chinese have been rather cautious, but the Chinese People’s Daily has published several editorials questioning American and European motives in the region; and China did not support the United Nations Resolution 1973.  They occupy the moral high ground in this conflict, after all who could accuse China of a hidden agenda? This from the Daily:

Many people hold that the ongoing political turmoil in Middle East is occurring because authoritarian governments pushed people to the point of revolt. Is that really the case? The answer lies in the constantly changing attitudes of some Western countries. The Western coalition, led by the United States, United Kingdom and France, jointly launched military assaults against Libya on March 19 under the pretext of the deteriorating situation, escalating violence and massive civilian casualties.

The 18.8 billion dollars from China invested in 50 separate projects around Libya under Gaddafi’s government would not represent a conflict of interest would it?  While the west has been posturing around all of the governments in Africa for the last decade, China has been busy making investments and building relationships.  The Chinese did not attempt to change and government or support dissidents, it simply took whoever was in power and started  to make deals.

On another subject; the Egyptian government passed new laws yesterday criminalizing demonstrations and political organizing of the type that lead to the overthrow of Mubarak.  Elections have been announced for September with both Mubark’s National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood support a quick election. The Syrians have now joined several other countries promising to eliminate the same kind of emergency measures and controls like those just passed in Egypt. Confused yet?

And one more twist to the intricacies of the events in the Middle East.  There is an interesting development in Bahrain and other Arab Gulf states; those states are deporting Lebanese Shiites.  They are accusing the Lebanese of being part of Hezbollah and working with Iran to destabilize the Gulf monarchies.  It may just be that Gaddafi was not entirely wrong – there may have been al-Qaeda, Hezbollah or Iranian forces at work in Libya.  If so, those forces might have been significant in creating the revolt.  Which, if true would mean the UN, NATO  and the Arab League are tool of Islamic radicals, who like Lenin in Russia are waiting in the wings to take over.  Am I dreaming up a  conspiracy theory or are China and Iran battling behind  the scenes to control the region – one with investment and one with fifth column organizers buried inside the religious communities in every Arab country?

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March 2011
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