As U.S. and Iran Seek Nuclear Deal, Saudi Arabia Makes Its Own Moves

So maybe it’s really plunging into chaos now…..
It’s starting to look like a classic "power vacuum" situation.. and the US is looking like fools… and it really hurts to watch these naive WH people doing "diplomacy" and flying around the world to conduct negotiations and "top-level" meetings and so on…

CAIRO — As America talks to Iran, Saudi Arabia is lashing out against it.

The kingdom, Iran’s chief regional rival, is leading airstrikes against an Iranian-backed faction in Yemen; backing a blitz in Idlib, Syria, by jihadists fighting the Iranian-backed Assad regime; and warning Washington not to allow the Iranian-backed militia to capture too much of Iraq during the fight to roll back the Islamic State, according to Arab diplomats familiar with the talks.

Through Egypt, a major beneficiary of Saudi aid, the kingdom is backing plans for a combined Arab military force to combat Iranian influence around the region. With another major aid recipient, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia is also expected to step up its efforts to develop a nuclear bomb, potentially setting off an arms race in the region.


Turkish President Declares Lawrence of Arabia a Bigger Enemy than ISIS

The collapse of the British Empire is coming back.. things were not done right back then.. but Turkey/The Ottoman Empire as the losing part in WW1 might have some extra emotional components in this issue..
And, the current developments in the region are not a fruitful approach to solving these problems..

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took on the iconic Lawrence of Arabia Monday in a furious anti-Western diatribe. The Turkish president compared the outside meddling in the region now to the role the renowned British army officer played during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during World War I. And Western diplomats here say the tirade bears a rather striking resemblance to some of the propaganda that has come out of the so-called Islamic State, widely known by the acronym ISIS or ISIL. (..)

But on one very important point of history and geography it now appears there’s a serious convergence of views between ISIS and Erdoğan. In his speech Monday at a university in Istanbul, the Turkish president blasted the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret understanding (signed behind Lawrence’s back) that divided up the Middle East after World War I between British and French spheres of influence. That deal opened the way for a British vow to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine and led to borders drawn by the European powers that created modern Syrian and Iraq. Historian David Fromkin summed up the mess that resulted in the title of his book The Peace to End All Peace.

“Each conflict in this region has been designed a century ago,” said Erdoğan. “It is our duty to stop this.”

Mideast Risks Warlord Era as Jihadists Rise, Nations Fail

The legacy of nation-states after western occupation 100 yrs ago might not be the natural state of organizing territory and societies in that region… given the degree of complexity of cultural, religious and ethnic blends and differences.. and many thousands of years of history..

The Middle East may be sliding toward a warlord era, with nation-states increasingly struggling to control all their territory and millions living under the rule of emergent local chiefs and movements

Armed irregular forces hold effective power over growing areas of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya where central government authority barely reaches. Motivated by religious ideology or regional separatism, they have grabbed oil facilities and weapons, imposed taxes or changed school curriculums, and fought each other as well as national armies.

“It is almost like the whole regional order that was built in the 20th century is collapsing,”
Nadim Shehadi, associate fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House in London, said in an interview. “Non-state actors are filling the vacuum.”

The breakdown, in a region that holds more than half the world’s oil, has allowed extremist groups to thrive and drawn in external powers bent on stopping them.

ISIS Already in Gaza Strip

Chances are that many groups and factions in the region are looking at the window of 2014-16 with Obama at the US helm as a great opportunity for power-grabs in the Middle East.. and act upon the constant threats against Israel…

Despite denials by Hamas, there is growing evidence that the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] — also known as "The Islamic State" — has begun operating in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority [PA] and Israeli security sources are convinced that followers of ISIS in the Gaza Strip are responsible for some of the recent rocket attacks on Israel.

Hamas, they say, seems to be losing control over the dozens of terror cells belonging to ISIS and other jihadi groups.

Six powers clinch breakthrough deal curbing Iran’s nuclear activity | Reuters

This looks promising.. good work by Kerry…
But sad to see Bibi… and how the right wing in Israel is constantly overplaying their hand..

(Reuters) – Iran and six world powers clinched a deal on Sunday curbing the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for initial sanctions relief, signalling the start of a game-changing rapprochement that would reduce the risk of a wider Middle East war.

Aimed at easing a long festering standoff, the interim pact between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia won the critical endorsement of Iranian clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

(..) But Israel, Iran’s arch-enemy a U.S. ally, denounced the agreement as an "historic mistake". Critics in the U.S. Congress were quick to voice concern, with some raising the spectre of failure to rein in North Korea on its nuclear programmes, but they signalled that Congress would likely give the deal a chance to work.

Sense of Events: Will Obama bring the Middle East into Russian orbit, including Israel?

As expected for a long time; a smaller US footprint in the Mideast could quickly lead to bigger problems and more pressure on Israel.. and if Egypt moves politically closer to Russia this fear will increase further.. and Putins dreams of an Euraisan Union and influence beyond might be fed by these developments..

Washington is torn between the support for the Muslim Brotherhood (as supported by Qatar) and for the Egyptian military (read Saudi Arabia). Since this thread runs through Syria as well the Russians are trying to pull on it. If they pull hard enough the whole fabric may unravel. Foreign Policy’s Zachary Keck writes:

On Thursday afternoon President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would be cancelling a joint military exercise with the Egyptian Army over its violent crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Shortly afterwards, Egypt Independent reported that Putin had called an extraordinary session in the Kremlin to put “all Russian military facilities ‘at the Egyptian military’s disposal.’” The report, which cited several sources without providing any further details about them, also said that “Putin will discuss Russian arrangements for joint-military exercises with the Egyptian army.”

Before the Debate.. Iran and Libya

Two big stories might suddenly be leaning pro-Obama after all – before the third and last presidential debate tomorrow on foreign policy:


First, CIA support Susan Rice on Benghazi (WaPo):

The Romney campaign may have misfired with its suggestion that statements by President Obama and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice about the Benghazi attack last month weren’t supported by intelligence, according to documents provided by a senior U.S. intelligence official.

Then, Iran agrees to nuclear talks (NyTimes):

WASHINGTON — The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.

Turkey strikes back after Syria shelling

Iran’s economy collapsing.. unidentified drones over Israel… Turkey attacking Syria..

This could be nothing… but a crises now might be difficult to manage..

Turkey strikes back after Syria shelling – Middle East – Al Jazeera English:

Mortar rounds launched in retaliation after Syrian shells land in border town of Akcakale.

Syrian troops on Sunday pressed their offensive to retake rebel-held areas in Homs [AFP]

Turkey’s military has fired numerous artillery rounds into Syria in immediate retaliation after a shell fired from Syria landed in the Turkish border town of Akcakale.

The Syrian shell landed in the grounds of a public building on Sunday and there were no casualties, Abdulhakim Ayhan, the mayor of Akcakale, told reporters.

“Thank God there were no victims. Turkish artillery immediately responded to the shots that came from Syria,” Ayhan said.

There was minor damage to the building, which had been previously evacuated, Turkish media said.

It was the second time that Turkey returned fire on Syrian army positions since Syrian shelling killed five civilians in Akcakale on Wednesday. (…)