Published on 22 June 2014, by M. Tomazy.
CIA is no longer the major player in the Arab World in comparison with both eras of Cold War and post-USSR. Nevertheless, US administration is still having the upper hand by 'managing' local proxies.
Syrian crisis alongside the abrupt rising of what-so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has exposed hesitated US formal role which triggered anger of allies and reinforced the opposed alliance. Al-Qaeda local branches have been revived to become the strongest anti-government forces in Syria, Iraq and even in Lebanon --it is worthy to mention that Hezbollah participates in Lebanese government--. Al-Qaeda affiliated groups (including ISIS) are fighting against Non-Sunni regimes, but if the conflict is actual sectarian one, the Omani regime should be included since it is Non-Sunni (Abadhi) one.
Excluding two regimes, the world sigh deeply for Western-Iranian negotiations as sign of no-war status in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Israel have strongly opposed presumed American-Iranian 'rapprochement' and they held private and public meetings to exert pressure on the US administration against negotiations. Meanwhile, Syrian regime restored initiative against opponent militias with Iranian and Hezbollah help. The US allies realized that they must care of their interests by 'themselves' since the Americans disappointed them by undesired 'diplomatic' negotiations.
Personal hatred plays a role
It is hard to understand regional politics without the role of personal hatred among Arab rulers. Most of Arab regimes are hereditary and the dynasty is the cornerstone. If Saudi prince has dispute with another Arab ruler, bilateral formal relations (between the two states) would be worsen and the ambassadors would be withdrawn. For instance, Libyan-Saudi diplomatic relation was frozen following personal 'fight' between the former Saudi crown-prince (current king) and deceased colonel Gaddafi.
Obama's Administration has changed previous Bush's doctrine. Soft power (including drones and proxy wars) have increasingly become among facilities. New energy sources and new Non-Middle Eastern oil resources required new thinking by American think-tanks, so the result would be clear shifting from Middle East. However, Western countries are still dependent on Arab oil and the US administration is 'worry' about Chinese economic and military acceleration, so they announced that Americans will re-enforce their presence (i.e, more military bases) in the Pacific region.
So far, Qatar is the only government holding official ties with Afghanistan's Taliban (al-Qaeda twin) world widely, and played a role in prisoners exchange between the US and Taliban recently. Moreover, Qatar officially supports anti-government militias in Syria and Iraq side-by-side with Turkey and Saudi Arabia despite Qatari-Saudi disputes regarding Egypt and the formula of Syrian opposition.
The US administration left vacuum in the Arab World to be filled by local proxies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel; al-Qaeda local branches have been revived to face Iranian influence in the region.That does not mean that the US has become 'weaker', but it is a strategic change as a result of consecutive wars, Chinese rising and the early signs of empire's deceleration.
Puffing the Venom
Encouraging sectarian conflict is a two-edge sword. It might topple Iraq's Al-Maliki for example, but puffs of venom will reach Eastern Saudi Arabia which inhabited by Shiite Muslims as well as Bahrain and Kuwait. No one can predict the results which will surely change current political and demographic maps. Saudi and Qatari media are 'celebrating' ISIS's control in Iraq (Arabic speakers can easily demonstrate these celebrations), for nothing, except because ISIS is fighting Iran's allies.
Lost amid the mess
Palestine News has the least media coverage. Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen channel might be the only pan-Arab media (as I can observe) that still put Palestine News as priority. Absurd wars have been started and no one knows the end.