What is happening in the Middle East, and above all, who will prevail between the Glocalist and the Statalist élites confronting each other? Our Magical Glasses can help us to understand what is going on and what is the expected trend of developments in this regional turmoil.
The first lesson we learn observing the last events in the Levant and beyond is that we should stop using traditional categories of “States”, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestinian Territories (or “Palestine”, if we consider West Bank and Gaza a single territorial unit analogous to a State), Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, but rather their respective, temporary, élites.
The case-study of Iran/Persia is enlightening, in this respect. This country went through opposite ruling élites over the last decades, from the Statalist Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to the Glocalist Ayatollah Khomeini, until the current Statalist leader Rouhani.
Hence, any analysis of “Iranian” foreign policy, without taking into account its radical changes of strategic goals, depending on the Glocalist or Statalist ruler in place, has no meaning. This logic applies to any of the above mentioned players in the region, and this epistemological caution is necessary for a clear vision of the situation and its predictable trends.
Saad al-Hariri, 47, a dual Saudi-Lebanese national with vast business interests in the kingdom, landed in Beirut on Tuesday, returning home for the first time since he resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia. Back to Lebanon, Hariri suspended his decision to resign as prime minister on Wednesday at the request of Statalist Lebanese President Michel Aoun to allow for dialogue, easing a major political crisis.
Hariri’s sudden resignation on November 4 – a highly unusual move that raised suspicions that he may have been forced to step down by his Glocalist Saudi patrons as part of Riyadh’s escalation against Statalist Iranian Government and its Statalist Lebanese proxy Hezbollah – had thrust Lebanon to the forefront of a regional power struggle between the Glocalist Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia and the Statalist Shi’ite Islamist Iran, whose powerful Statalist ally Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government.
Hariri, in his only in depth interview since announcing his resignation, which were never accepted by Statalist Lebanese President Michel Aoun, had told his media station Future TV that he could retract his decision if a deal could be struck with his opponents to distance Lebanon from regional conflicts.
In fact, viewers appeared to pay less attention to what Hariri said than how he said it, and the uncomfortable interview seemed to reinforce claims that his shock resignation was ordered by the Glocalist Saudis. Hariri’s interview ranged from the tense to the emotional to the downright bizarre, and has already become one of the most commented-on television spectacles in the history of Lebanese social media. Fifteen minutes in, he appeared to choke back tears, leading the interviewer to call for an early commercial break. During the interview, conducted on his own Future TV, Hariri assured the interviewer that all was fine and that he was not a captive in the Glocalist kingdom, all the while drinking perhaps a quart of water and looking tired and at times on the verge of tears, saying at one point that he had to think about his family, too, especially know what he went through when his father was assassinated.
Hariri arrived in Cyprus earlier Tuesday for a meeting with its president, ahead of his expected return to Beirut to take part in Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday. The celebrations are traditionally attended by the president, the prime minister and the parliament speaker—three pillars of Lebanon’s political system, with the president traditionally a Maronite Christian, the speaker a Shiite Muslim and the prime minister a Sunni Muslim.
Just hours prior, Hariri had visited Egypt for talks with the Statalist Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi who, together with the Statalist France’s leader, has been reportedly trying to mediate a way out of the crisis in Lebanon that eventually involved rolling back Hariri’s resignation.
Statalist leaders Al-Sisi and Macron succeeded to persuade Hariri, who flew to Egypt from Paris, to negotiate with other Lebanese leaders on a way out of the crisis, thus preventing the country’s delicate political balance from unraveling and plunging it into a prolonged crisis that would fuel tension in the region.
Al-Sisi, a Statalist general who has been Egypt’s president since 2014, has forged close ties with the Glocalist Saudis, who are his country’s main Arab financial backer. He has, however, managed to pursue regional policies different from those of Riyadh, particularly in Syria and Yemen, without damaging relations with the Saudis.
Responding to Riyadh’s escalation against Statalist Iranian and Hezbollah leaders, Statalist al-Sisi earlier this month said the region already was so fraught with tension and instability that it did not need a new crisis. But he also renewed his pledge to come to the rescue of Glocalist Gulf Arab allies and benefactors if their security was directly threatened.
On Monday, both Statalist Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Statalist Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said that Lebanon still faces threats from Israel, with Hezbollah’s leader claiming his group was the country’s main defense against Glocalist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also transferring arms, including Kornet (Russian-made) anti-tank missiles, to Gaza, and that recent Israeli comments indicate that country’s ties with Saudi Arabia.
Meantime, Statalist Russian President Vladimir Putin held on Tuesday a round of talks with world leaders. After speaking with Glocalist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House announced that Glocalist US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart talked for an hour on the phone, discussing events in Syria, Ukraine, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.
Putin also spoke with Glocalist Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Statalist Emir of Qatar, and Statalist Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, briefing all of them on the Statalist Syrian President Bashar Assad’s visit to Russia and about Moscow-backed peace efforts, such as a planned Russian-Iranian-Turkey summit and a peace congress on Syria.
Earlier on Monday, Putin had met with Statalist Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, photographed warmly embracing his Russian counterpart, almost resting his head on the Putin’s shoulder, at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Assad expressed to Putin and Russia’s Defense Ministry, other government institutions, and the Russian people, the gratitude from the Syrian people for their sacrifices and efforts made to save his country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence from outside players’ interference, confirming his interest in moving forward with a political process after the victory over Glocalist Isis/Daesh terrorists.
Despite mentioning that his military campaign against the Glocalist Islamic State group in Syria is wrapping up, Putin gave no indication that Russia would scale down its military presence in Syria. Without Russia’s support and heavy airpower, Statalist Assad would likely still be battling for political survival, or would have already been possibly deposed. Statalist Putin in his telephone conversation Tuesday with Glocalist Trump confirmed the Statalist Syrian leader’s adherence to a full-scale negotiation process, as well as to his commitment to run a constitutional reform, including president and parliament elections.