National Academy of Public Administration, President of Ukraine,
Associate Professor of Political Analytics and Forecasting Department,
Kyiv Institute for the Humanities,
Associate Professor of International Relations Department,
Candidate of Political Sciences, Senior Researcher
Dear Mr. chairman, dear participants of this international conference, please let me introduce you the the Ukrainian vision of the risks and threats for security of the Middle East and Northern Africa region in consequence of the events of “Arab spring” 2011. By the honor of having a chance to make a speech today I’d like to contribute the highest salutations from the administration of National Academy of Public Administration, President of Ukraine, in particular, Sergiy Teleshun, head of Ukrainian National Committee of Platform “Dialogue of Eurasia”, head of Political Analytics and Forecasting Department National Academy of Public Administration, President of Ukraine.
The modern regional system of international relations at the Middle East and Northern Africa had undergone some major changes, which were caused by mass disorders at the end of 2010 and at the beginning of 2011. Large-scale protests were burst in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Libya, as well as demonstrations of unrest were held in Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Sudan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Somalia, Morocco, Western Sahara and Djibouti.
It is essential to point out, that the current acute system crises and conflicts not only within the Middle East and Northern Africa region but also in general are stimulated by the processes of searching by nations and states of the new forms of coexistence and realization of their political, economical, social and humanitarian projects. The same crises are provoking the structural changes in specific regions and in the world in general. In this context, it is significant to make a point of Alexander Teleshun’s idea of the statement that the core Europe crisis is not the matter of development of civilization it is a matter of absence of workable behavior models of the national states in terms of unstable political and economical system and predictable reaction and possible actions on the threats of XX century .
“Revolutionary Arab spring” has created prerequisites not only for changes of the ruling regimes but also for transformations in the political landscape of certain countries, as well as redistribution of spheres of influence and establishment of the new borders of zones of geopolitical responsibility of the main actors of international relations in the region of the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Nowadays it’s became obvious that there are no constant formal institutions in the region of the Middle East and Northern Africa that can support regional stability. Events of 2011, especially situation in Libya, proved inefficiency of existent institutional structures, particularly League of the Arab States, on the issue of safeguarding the security in mentioned region.
To stabilize situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa region it is proposed to elaborate the common vision of risks and threats to security of countries of this region within the frame of LAS at the national and regional/interregional levels.
It is essential to point out the significant importance for Ukraine to acknowledge the events that took place in the Middle East and Northern Africa in 2010-2011 years. Analyzing aftereffects of “Arab spring” as well as defining their risks and threats for the region and world within the frame of implementation of Ukraine’s Middle East foreign policy direction.
The consequences of the “Arab spring” (2011) for Middle East and Northern Africa states
There has been no tangible change in the socio-political order in any country which were embraced the revolutionary wave. Thus, it is not correct to implicate that the mass strikes that took place in Middle East and Northern Africa were revolutions in the classical sense of this term. There is a common idea that these events can be defined like spontaneous outbreaks against the authorities, rebellions, riots and armed conflicts. For example, the presidential change in Tunisia and Egypt has not yet led to any visible fundamental social or political transformations in these states. Libya is suffering badly from the lack of coordination in the decision-making process of its opposition as well as leadership which can lead the country to long-term civil war. Therefore, the euphoria, in which the Libyan nation soaring after the homicide of M. Qaddafi, will not stay long. It is obvious that the majority of the experts are right claiming that the possible continuation of political crisis in Libya will cause another military intervention into the internal affairs of Tripoli.
Extensive reforms in all spheres of public life have been started in the Arabic countries (Kuwait, Jordan, Oman and Algeria) by its leaders lately, though there weren’t any changes in the ruling regimes. The similar outbreaks were suppressed in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain yet the strikes in Syria continue to escalate. The President of Yemen has agreed to relinquish his powers in exchange for personal security. Moreover the positions of radical Islamist organizations have been enormously straighten especially in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Risks and threats to security in the region of the Middle East and Northern Africa in consequence of “Arab spring” (2011):
(1) Further escalation of the inter-clan confrontation for powers in the countries of Northern Africa and the Middle East. Ultimately this will strengthen the military presence of USA and Washington’s allies in NATO – France and Germany in the states of this region pursuing an aim of so-called “stabilization”. Due to the diplomatic, military, economic and political pressure form USA and NATO and increasing threats for the stability of countries in this region the new regimes will have to agree on placement of US and NATO military bases on the territories of their states. Such scenario of events fully complies with the US foreign policy strategy one of the key tasks of which is to affiliate the Greater Middle East .
(2) Escalation of the conflict of interests in the region of the Middle East and North Africa between the key regional actors (Turkey, Iran) and extra-regional actors of global politics (USA, NATO, EU). Strengthening of the inter-clan confrontation as well as frequent breakdowns in negotiations upon the Middle East settlement creates the pre-conditions for possible full-scale war. Thereupon, it is important to emphasize according to the international experts it is very likely Iran will have a possibility to produce first nuclear weapon by the end of this year which will result in non-acceptance of international community of the new nuclear state in matters of regional and global security.
(3) Ignoring the mechanisms of establishing regional security by leading geopolitical world powers and the UN, particularly the perspective of LAS of the Middle East and North Africa as well as dual interpretation of UNSC resolutions by extra-regional actors that casted doubt the legitimacy of the UNSC decisions and right for their implementation.
(4) Imperfection of international rules of law. The system of international law in terms of the process of formation of a new world order requires fundamental changes. Thus, the international law has no clear definition of the right to armed invasion which can be put in doubt and appealed to the international authorities in terms of legitimacy. There are two main issues that will determine further constructive development of implementation of the mechanism of establishing the regional/global security they are: the armed invasion and the right of states and blocks on self-defense. Furthermore, expanding of the interpretation of Article 51 of the UN Charter finally vested the right of the key world actors on actions beyond their own geopolitical zone of responsibility and justification of the invasion on any territory . Emanating from the traditional understanding of right on self-defense, the granting of wide powers in the field of conflict resolution may allow to the regional organizations to consider a system of regional collective security as a way to respond on aggression leaving no opportunity to use this right outside the region. However, such an interpretation does not correspond to modern geopolitical realities and the interests of the world’s leading actors. The events in Libya and the UN Security Council resolutions (1970 on 2/26/11  and 1973 on 3/17/11 ) on the necessity of armed intervention in internal affairs of Tripoli received an ambivalent judgment from influential actors of world politics – both the states and international organizations.
(5) The strengthening of political value of Islam. The rise to power of Islamic regimes aimed to create the democratic socio-political state of affairs in the Middle East and Northern Africa countries by direct support of the West and has stipulated the emerging of the Islam political strengthening debates phenomena. The latest tendencies of hostility hits between the proislamic regimes (that were raised to power as a result of “revolutions”:) who are very hostile to western-type political system modernization processes, radical wings of Islamic organizations and secular Islamic organizations (Tunisia, Syria, Egypt) are clearly verifies the stated previously phenomena. Islam is used by all three powers of political process not only as an religion that consolidate, but also as an instrument of mechanism of realization of objectives of the state policy. The gained “revolutionary” experience by the countries of the region proves the flexibility of the Islamic political doctrine which is capable of adapt and react accordingly on the external and internal threats. The political consent upon further development of every state is possible only upon the condition of establishing the cooperation between all the political groups with the final aim of achieving the consensus among the key spheres of public existence . The main objective of these organizations is to create a worldwide Islamic state (nation) / international Islamic community (“Ummah” – is translated from Arabic (أمة) both a state and a community). This objective meets the ground ideas of Turkish geopolitical doctrines – neo-Ottomanism (Turkish – Yeni Osmanlıcılık) and pan-Turkism, main task of which is the creation of alternative to the EU – political, military and economic union of all Muslim states.
(6) Terrorism threat. It is become more often when the members of the oppositional forces are using the approach of terrorist attack the number of which is increasing accordingly to the stable or unstable situation in this or that state (Egypt, Syria). The more unstable situation is in the country the more possible oppositional forces will use the tactic of terrorist strikes. From the other hand, the events in the Middle East have caused the activation of the operations of Western European terrorist organization. In this case, it is essential to emphasize the fact that region of Western Europe is the place where most of the terrorist organizations operate - more then 312 of them, in comparison with 283 that are acting within the Middle East (without Northern Africa) [6, p. 76]. “Arab spring” on the one hand and domestic political crisis and economic difficulties in the countries of the Western Europe on the other hand have created conditions for intensification of the anti-government nationalist forces (a striking example is Greece, which also takes first place per number of terrorist organizations in Europe – 90, in comparison with Belgium – 7) [6, p. 77]. It’s very likely that in the short term we will witness the increasing number of terrorist strikes by nationalist organizations that use terrorist attack as the only veracious violent way for psychological pressure on society to enforce government on certain actions (conducting of administrative reforms with the aim of greater autonomy of regions, the implementation of more effective socio-economic reforms that it will be allowed only in case of exiting from the Eurozone etc).
(7) Increasing number of the flows of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa which have the backgrounds to further instability which may lead to the worsening of economical, demographical and political situation not only in the countries of region, but in other states as well. As a result, the flow of refugees to the countries of the Western Europe (especially to Italy, Greece) has increased. The current situation clearly shows that EU has no common vision on problems of the employment and especially readmission (return) of refugees and emigrants from Africa and Middle East (inquiries of Italy to provide Italian government with financial assistance from the EU on resolving of issues of deportation were not yet satisfied by Brussels). Moreover, there is an evident split-off within the countries of core Europe. Though the adoption of a new European program “A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean” from 8/3/11 was the only breakthrough. The program promotes the support for political reforms and financial assistance to Arab countries, which took the road of system transformation, as well as simplification of entry procedures in Europe for students, scientists and businessmen from the Middle East countries upon condition of strengthening of cooperation of Arab governments with EU in a sphere of illegal migration control . Europe today states the crisis of “doctrine of multiculturalism”, in consequence of the unwillingness of emigrants and refugees to integrate into the European cultural and civilization environment.
(8) The instability of the international political situation in the Middle East and North Africa region has led to price rise for energy resources. It is expected that prices for energy resources will continue to rise up approximately to 1/3 since 2010 to 2035. Moreover, due to the events in Egypt oil transporting through Suez channel has been banned for indefinite time. Tripoli declared that they can not implement a series of export contracts. Libyan ports activities are partially suspended; shipment of oil is half-way blocked. The experts predict that oil prices will exceed the barrier of 175-200 dollars per barrel by the spring of 2012 due to the possible threat of Israel - Iran open armed confrontation. In addition, the worsening of political instability in Libya, Yemen and Syria leads to supply interruptions of energy resources from these countries. Oil reserves in Europe continue to decrease. After publication of the IAEA report on the situation upon Iran’s nuclear program USA has supported necessity of taking the new sanctions against Iran. However the European community carefully reacts on such statements of Washington, taking into consideration that Iran is the third largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia in the world. Teheran controls the Strait of Hormuz through which more then 15.5 million barrels of oil are transported daily . In the case of possible Israel strike on Iran's nuclear targets Teheran automatically will block the strait. Due to such situation prices for oil may increase up to 200 dollars per barrel.
Conclusions. The development of the situation in the Middle East will depend not only on the ability of the states of the region to stabilize the political situation, but also from further redistribution of spheres of geopolitical influence by actors of international relations who are motivated and have a clear interest in the resources of the area. The rising on the political map the number of nationalistic orientated oppositional forces leads to further escalation of state of affairs inside the region, moreover the possible sharpening of the inter-clan confrontation for powers as well as possible loss of control upon the export of resources will inevitably lead to another military intervention of Western pursuing the aim of stabilization of the situation and obtaining of the total control over the oil upstream and supplies in the region of North Africa and the Middle East. However, in these circumstances USA and the key Western European countries will have to take into consideration the renewed Middle East vectors of foreign policies of China and Russia as well as the interests of the Turkey-Iran military-strategic tandem. The efficient situational military-strategic alliance between Turkey and Iran could lead to the creation of a new regional center of power opened for other Muslim countries. The idea of development of such alliance as an attempt to implement the Turkish project of establishing the Eurasian community commonly supported by European Union countries. They expect that the full-scale involvement of Turkey into the processes of regional integration in the Middle East will completely undermine its efforts to obtain the EU membership. Though, they do not take into account the fact that this possible Turkey-Iran alliance will have a military-strategic component (not economical) which will lead in the future to the strengthening positions of these core states as well as of the Middle East as a separate regional security complex with clear homogeneous pattern and to a fixation of the explicit zones of geopolitical responsibility and control over the energy resources. Thus all attempts of Western states to support further dialogue with pro-Western regimes will fail to as western-type modernization of Arab world is practically impossible; the situation of Iraq evidently proves this fact.
Positioning of Ukraine. The Ukrainian State is interested in establishing the stability of Middle East and Northern Africa. The excessive interest of Ukraine is determined by the problem of determination of the position of Ukraine in the Middle East regional processes as well as the relevancy of assurance of realization its geopolitical and geoeconomical/energy interests. In this context, Kiev is interested in searching of new forms of cooperation with the states of this region in the following spheres: (1) maintaining the civil order and post-crisis settlement; (2) the reducing of the possibility of armed conflicts; (3) anti-terrorism efforts; (4) combating with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The main objective of Ukraine’s Middle East strategy is the searching of the new ways of possible cooperation with key states of the region: Turkey, Iran, Israel.
It is considered that Ukraine’s participation within the processes of post-crisis settlement and stabilization of political situation in the Arabic countries will promote its image not only within the region but in rest of the world as well. The Ukrainian State also can be interested in the projects of reconstruction of infrastructural objects in the conflict zones.
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