Qatar and the geopolitical equation in the Mediterranean-Gulf arc

The agreement for the normalization of relations between Qatar and the other Sunni monarchies in the Gulf was welcomed by the international community.

The rift with Qatar caused great concern about the diffusion of instability.

At the beginning of the conflict, if one believes the authoritative reports of the time, even the possibility of military intervention was open.

The situation at the time rightly raised fears that it would pour water into Iran’s mill.

As expected, the news coming out of the recent Gulf Cooperation Council was treated in Greece in light of Qatar’s special relationship with Turkey.

More broadly, without this dimension, developments would be more regional in nature, despite the energy dimension clearly having a global impact as Qatar is the world’s leading supplier of LNG gas.

Qatar is Reinforcing its position as the world's leading LNG producer
Qatari LNG.

Doha’s funding of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political support or Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the combination of concern in the wider region.

While presented by some circles in the West as a “modernizing trend” within the Muslim world, the truth is that it obscures beliefs that pose a threat to the “Western way of life”.

The cover-up is aimed at making it possible for Muslim countries to seize power and then implement the Islamic agenda in an organized manner.

Unfortunately, the beliefs of conservative Islamic circles about the “infidels” (kafir) are not denied in any case.

Diplomacy is simply proposed to achieve the main goal, which is none other than the overthrow of the Arab monarchies that are not in line with the Brotherhood.

Fleeing forward from Erdoğan

Erdoğan’s policy is moving in the same direction. Turkey may belong to NATO, it may evaluate the effectiveness of relations with Russia and China, but the real geopolitical weight of Ankara and a factor of its power is its Islamic identity.

The Islamic identity is combined with Turkey’s Ottoman past in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.

In contrast, Erdoğan’s bigotry is fueled by insecurity about Turkey’s future, stability and territorial integrity.

The internal impasse usually leads to anti-diametric policies, with the typical example being the attitude towards the Kurdish community.

Erdoğan’s policy initially sought a political solution aimed at assimilating the Kurds and when he failed, he turned to a policy of severe repression.

Through a clear participation of Turkey in global balances, it seeks to overlap internal problems.

Their degradation becomes easier when Turkey’s invasive role in the wider region is proposed.

Turkey’s insecurity about its future is fueled by the belief that in the post-Cold War period, changes and new geopolitical arrangements are inevitable.

This is the reason for the unleashing of Turkish expansionism.

It is normal for us to be concerned with its dimension concerning Hellenism, but the picture is broader.

He turns a blind eye to the West, but…

Erdoğan’s foreign policy threatens many.

That is why the phenomenon of anti-conspiracies is observed, which maximizes the importance of Greece as an ally in stopping Turkish plans.

A typical example is the spectacular improvement of relations with Egypt and the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf that recognize Greece as their first zone of defense, therefore directly related to their security.

The more resistance he encounters in her neighborhood, the more difficult it will be for Erdoğan to realize grandiose visions.

Turkey is trying to extract as much as it can on all fronts.

At the same time, it tries to promote the rediscovery, for those who have “forgotten” it, or simply the maximization of the given geostrategic value of its position.

The adventure in Nagorno-Karabakh and the subsequent indirect reference to the Azeri minority in Iran fall into this context.

On the one hand, it is turning a blind eye to the West in order to create the expectation that it will fight for it, so that through Turkey it can secure the expansion of control, or at least the strongest Western influence, to the shores of the Caspian Sea.

The reference to Iran connects two different regions – Transcaucasia and the Middle East.

The destabilization of Iran, in theory, can be “sold” both to Saudi Arabia, a key competitor for influence in the Middle East, and to Israel, which considers Tehran an existential threat.

However, in theory, a possible absence of the Iranian dimension could invalidate the logic that led to the rapprochement of the Arab regimes with the Jewish state.

In addition, for the Saudis, it would mean replacing the Shi’ite threat with the more unpredictable Turkish one.

Observing Turkish activity on the map, an informal circle of “basic interest” is formed, defined by the Transcaucasia, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans, returning to the borders of Russian territory, Ukraine and even Crimea.

Beyond this cycle, Turkish ambitions to exert influence on global power relations begin…

The American role

Returning to the issue of Qatar, let us recall that the rapprochement effort was initiated by the United States.

Their military presence in the Emirate is strong and of great importance. It averts any threat to Qatar’s security and balances the Turkish presence.

As much as it is desirable to secure against neighboring Sunni monarchies, it is also a threat to overthrow the regime if it decides to deviate from the current mooring in Ankara.

The United States has a strong presence in other countries in the region, protecting them from Iran.

The approach was therefore legislative. It was only a matter of time before it happened.

The result will be de-escalation, but without drastic treatment of the causes that led to the cooling of relations with Qatar.

Qatar will not stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and will not expel Turkish troops from its territory.

Qatar tops safety index | TTR Weekly
Doha, Qatar.

Qatari leaders will not stop talking to Iran.

A marginal normalization of relations between Qatar and Israel may be achieved.

Moreover, it has the same role as that of Azerbaijan as an “agent” in Turkey’s attempt to normalize its relations with those it disrupted.

But the opposite is also true. It can also be a useful tool in the hands of US diplomacy to put pressure on the Erdoğan regime.

Let us not forget, for example, that the Qatari state energy company is a partner with the American ExxonMobil in the development of hydrocarbon deposits in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Qatar Collections: Ministry Of Energy & Industry
Qatari Ministry of Energy and Industry.

Sensitive balances

We are heading for a situation where the given rivalries will be mitigated, moving within a controlled framework that will prevent them from disturbing the delicate balances of the Middle East.

All this can move forward because the Erdoğan regime realizes that the policy of frontal conflict everywhere has reached its limit.

The economic pressure exerted on Turkey has led to glaring incompatibility between the goals and economic instruments.

It is called to manage the crisis for the S-400. It was this move that put Turkey’s independent contacts with Russia outside the US-acceptable framework.

In fact, it was done in a way that is very difficult for Erdoğan to retreat and balance between Washington and Moscow.

This situation led to numerous side effects that have not been limited to the financial level.

Turkey is in danger of suffering serious geopolitical losses, due to the counter-aggressions it has caused.

Although the US desire to return to its former “normality” (abusive term) is a given, the result is far from certain.

But it would be a mistake to underestimate Erdoğan’s ability to manage even the most difficult situation, even if he relies on the Western chimera of an irreplaceable Turkey.

What emerges with certainty is that the Erdoğan regime has proven its potential to cause unrest and reshuffle at the regional level, but it is spreading more widely.

The situation is far from clear. Ankara’s policy, however, has gone beyond what is called “calculated risk”…

Michas Zacharias is the co-founder and director of Studies at the Institute for Security and Defense Analysis, and regular contributes to SLPress.

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