Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A new political bloc in the Middle East?

Memri reports that a series of meetings took place last August and September between representatives of Syria, Iran, and Turkey in an effort to form a strategic bloc. Interesting idea that could be significant. The articles cited by Memri say that Turkey has given up on its attempts to be recognized as part of Europe. Of course Syria has needed a partner, and Iran has made no bones about wanting to be the hegemon on the Middle East. So, it seems that these three countries are trying to form a bloc. Interesting, but one wonders how likely it is that they will hold together, given the under-the-surface differences among them. Turkey is mainly Sunni, even if nominal; Iran is Twelver Shiite; Syria’s dominant family are Alawite. Worth tracking.

[Click on the title for a link to Memri site.]

1 comment:

Sami said...

MEMRI's "political analyses" are hardly ever insightful. I wonder if the same folks who scour the Arab/Muslim media for expressions of anti-American/anti-Semitic conspiracy theories don't often also succumb to a similar sort of paranoia themselves. After all, monitoring Middle Eastern television day and night from a pro-Israeli perspective (if not also from a location within Israel itself) must at times take its toll on the poor souls who make a living presenting this and other bizarre nonsense to American audiences. Although MEMRI is often accused of deliberate mistranslation or omissions, no one can wrong them for having an agenda if they merely go about showing (if not shaming) Muslims and Arabs at their stupidest. The current analysis regarding an Iran-Syria-Turkey bloc, however, is taking at face value some rather hyperbolic news reports and editorials to exaggerate the significance of recent contacts between these countries. The Syrian press propagates the regime's message and Gulf Arab newspapers need something (other their own countries) to write about, while the writer for MEMRI seems to have selectively assimilated that which feeds his (or his readers') concerns about changes in the regional order.