The middle East – the cradle of civilization and the powder keg


Wars in the Gulf and in the middle East, civil war in Syria, fighting the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, Iran’s Isolation and Blockade of Qatar – the Arabian Peninsula is the barrel of a geopolitical powder. An Overview.

Sunna and Shia

The Sunna, “the Tradition (of prophet Mohammed)”, is the largest faith within Islam; its followers hot Sunni. You have the Shiites, the followers of the faith in the direction of Shia, “the party”, who called on Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad. According to the legend, it was the first clash between the followers of Mohammed and Ali immediately after the prophet’s death, While Ali’s followers were still busy with the funeral of Mohammed, was proclaimed by the Mohammed group, Abu Bakr as the successor.

Sunnis and Shiites not only maintain different interpretations of Islam, they are also politically as an opponent. So war from 1980 to 1988, the Shiite Iran against Iraq, fought in the First Gulf. The latter is inhabited mainly by Shiites, but was dominated at the time by the Sunnis, the ruling family of Saddam Hussein. The Sunni Saddam Hussein, it went to oil Wells, mainly to regional Power and access, however, he alluded frequently to the Islamic Expansion – although Iran is an Islamic state. Today, Iran as a Shiite theocracy is an enemy of many Arab States, which are dominated by Sunnis.

A third, independent beliefs of Islam are the ibadis are neither Sunni nor Shia. Most of the ibadites live in the Gulf state of Oman.

The Monarchies

Across the Arabian Peninsula, from Jordan to the Indian ocean, a broad belt of conservative Islamic States. However, while Jordan under king Abdullah II, a Western-oriented monarchy, the even has concluded with the neighboring Israel, a peace Treaty, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman strictly Islamic monarchies, where the Sharia law applies, and often in the medieval sense is designed.

Women have few or no rights. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, you must have a legal guardian, usually the husband, before marriage, often the father or a brother. In the city women are not allowed to drive a car, and until the sixties of the last century, they were allowed to visit any schools.

The Arab monarchies are mostly from business, with crude oil-dependent, and apply as little prepared for the time after the big Oil business. So far, they are but wealthy business partner of Western States and buy weapons to luxury cars, everything that is good and expensive. At the same time they are repeated suspicion that Islamist organizations and terrorist: Osama bin Laden, the founder of the group al-Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 hijackers in the terrorist attacks on September 11. September 2001 came from Saudi Arabia.

Iran, Islamic Republic of

In January 1979, the head of state Shah Reza Pahlewi left Iran, after the USA, the UK, France and Germany had withdrawn their support. On 1. February 1979, the Islamic cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from French exile, returned and began the reconstruction of Iran from a Western-oriented monarchy into an Islamic theocracy. This tag was characterised by Terror and repression. In the years that followed, Iran is internationally isolated to a large extent. Cautious Attempts of the internal liberalisation failed repeatedly.

The conservative President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, operating since 2005, a policy of confrontation and repression to the inside. Internationally, he has been criticized for his rhetorical failures, in which he denied Israel repeatedly of the existence of the law.

Is considered to be temperate: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (R)

Since the year 2013, as a moderate force Hassan Rouhani is the President of the country, by 2017, was re-elected. In his tenure, Iran concluded with the UN-veto powers – including the United States – and Germany, a Treaty that regulated the Iranian nuclear program. In January 2016, the international sanctions were lifted against Iran. For some of the neighboring States and for the United States under the Donald Trump of Iran but as a “haven of terrorism”, though there are also in the country, terrorist attacks.

Turkey between East and West

Since its founding in 1923, the separation of Religion and state in Turkey. 99% of Turks are Muslims, mostly Sunnis. Religion wins in the past years due to the election results of the Islamic-conservative AKP of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unofficial influence.

In April 2017, the majority of the participating Turks for the conversion of the country into a presidential system in a Referendum, in which the President (currently, Erdogan) will have significantly more Power than in the past.

For his party, the AKP, and a strong Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey is a parliamentary Republic and member of NATO. Their orientation to the West was under Erdogan. The accession talks with the European Union are at a standstill. Since the failed coup in July 2016 and the subsequent mass arrests, the ratio of Turkey is disturbed especially to Germany difficult.

The internal politics of Turkey since the Foundation of the state, the conflict with the Kurdish minority. Erdogan’s fight against the banned Kurdish organization PKK was already in the late 1990s to threats of war against Syria, as Damascus supported the PKK. In the years since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Turkey Syria’s head of state, al-Assad called on several occasions to resign. Fighters of the Syrian Opposition will be trained by Turkey and supported. At the same time, Turkey supports international missions against the Terromiliz “Islamic state” and fight one of the opponents of Assad in Syria.

The torn state of Syria

2011 the protest movements of the “Arab spring” from Tunisia by the African and Arabic States of the Mediterranean spread. In Syria, the protests evolved into a civil war that cost since then, 400,000 people. More than 11 million Syrians are on the run. Since 2014, the so-called “Islamic state”, a Sunni-influenced Islamic organization, plays a leading role in the fight against the Regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. Assad, in turn, is supported by the Shiite Hezbollah.

In Syria and in Iraq, IS trying “to keep his” areas under control. Anyway, from the civil war-weakened Syria, he ensures that the country is still divided and torn.

Suddenly isolated: Qatar

At the beginning of June, Saudi Arabia broke, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain-surprisingly all the contacts to the small Emirate on the Persian Gulf. The reason: the predominantly Sunni Qatar support the terrorist organizations by the “Islamic state” the Muslim brotherhood and the Palestinian organization Hamas to groups that would be supported by the Shiite Iran.

However, these are allegations that need to let the other Arab States have to make. Unofficially, the cautious approach of Qatar to Iran, especially Saudi Arabia, a thorn in the eye could be the main reason. In the days following the international isolation of Qatar rumours from the US intelligence service circles have appeared, however, that Russian hackers had triggered the crisis by means of a deliberately-placed false information in the case of the state news Agency of Qatar.

Qatar’s capital, Doha, in the fog

Difficult balancing act for the world, USA

The USA are in the conflict between the fronts. On the one hand, they operate in Qatar, its largest base in the Persian Gulf; on the other hand, both Qatar as well as his opponents Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt are allies of the United States-and all of us together against the Islamic state.

Washington had, therefore, to know, the government’s Trump wool no permanent rupture between the Gulf States and is ready to explain to the mediation.