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Thursday June 04, 2020

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Middle East: fire under the ashes during the time of COVID-19

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Author: Eva J. Koulouriotis

(Political analyst, specialized in Middle East)

The economy has been and continues to be the most important indicator influencing the structure of policy and geopolitical plans. No matter how many wars break out with the veil of religion, borders or power, they always contain the reality of economic gain and money. Thus, we see countries clashing with each other but due to their economic interests, their political relations remain unbroken. One such example is Ankara and Moscow.


Anyone studying in depth the actions of Russia and Turkey in Syria and Libya can easily understand that the two countries are at war. Turkey's statements rejecting the annexation of Crimea to Russia and the Russian media's attack on Turkey for its support of the Syrian armed opposition have not affected the political and diplomatic relations between the two countries, and the reason is economic interests. The Turkish Stream pipeline is of great importance for both countries. In addition, the millions of Russian tourists visiting Turkey each year are a necessity for Turkish economic development, as Turkish agriculture is essential in the Russian market. This simple example unquestionably confirms the importance of the economy for the politics, plans, political and military movements of the countries. As a result, the crisis of COVID-9, which is striking the world's economies hard, will bring about major changes in international geopolitics.

In a quick reading of one of the most important files in the Middle East, which is US-Iran relations, there is a significant development that has begun to take place on the ground. The medium-range missiles fired by Iranian-backed militias inside Iraqi territory against US bases have been increasing day by day, and the Americans have not responded, except with warnings, to Iran. The United States, the world's largest economy, is one of the most affected financially by the corona crisis.

On the other hand, the US economic sanctions against Iran have created a kind of immunity, as they say, the deceased is not afraid of death. Thus, Iran is taking advantage of this international crisis to blackmail and drain US forces in Iraq, urging it toward two options:

The first is their complete withdrawal from Iraq, opening the way for China, Iran's ally, to fill the void through huge economic projects estimated at about $ 500 billion, some of which will end up in the Iranian economy.

The second option is for the United States to comply in order to stop the attrition and lift part of the economic sanctions imposed on Tehran. In both cases, Iran will emerge victorious and strong.

This file and the impact that COVID-19 will have on it is a simple example of the magnitude of the change that can occur in state policy. America, which has never been slow to respond to any attack by firing its missiles and raising its warcrafts, is now forced to search for alternatives or diplomacy.

At the moment, however, our thoughts remain with health professionals worldwide.



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