Assad, the strategic fault-lineand international balance

By Nasser Qindeel

Before the war on Syria broke out and before the Western Spring was unleashed on the Arab world, President Assad foresaw the strategic vacuum resulting from the crises that hit the US role and presence in the region. He has observed the grand transformationsundergone in geopolitical equations and sciences. He recognized the fact that regional security can no longer be maintained merely through natural land barriers such as mountains or deserts. The outdated concept of the Middle East, as a region with certain specific identifying features and internal dynamisms, is no longer valid.  Hence, he came up with an alternative conceptualization of the new regional set up. To be more specific, he came up with a new concept about the new emerging regions. Seas and huge waterways would, from now on, define the natural barriers. With this concept, he  presented his vision of a new regional set up that would replace the old concept of the Middle East. His Five Seas Vision was meant to bring together the countries lying within the water rims of the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Gulf, the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea.

According to this vision, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Mediterranean European countries would become partners in one geographic region  sharing together its common hazards and similar interests. Back then, he called for a pan-regional cooperation system, by means of which key countries of the region would  maintain common regionalsecurity and economic cooperation for the common interests and benefits of all.

Practically, the Americans totally overlooked this concept andinsisted on enforcing their own old traditional concept.

They overlooked the fact that Europe and Russia are major powers having more interests in  the Middle East region than  the US, due to their being partners in this geography, despite the disparity in the size and strength of each. Then came the war on Syria.  As this war is drawing to its close, the final chapters of it, especially over the past  five years, have been illustrating  the  fact that the US remains an alien and outsider power that has no place in this region. And here we are: The US is withdrawing its fleets (out of the region). Europe, meanwhile, is an integral part of the region. No matter how theytried to appease Washington, the Europeans would continue to have an array of valid preoccupations starting with the demographic concerns and going through to key security and economic issues. Because of these concerns, Europe finds it imperative to take a different path from that of Washington’s regarding the Iranian nuclear file.

Turkey, no matter how it tries to show otherwise, it would not be able to keep  toing the line set by Washington for long. Unlike Washington , who has never been nor will ever be concerned in the stability of the region, Turkey is located in the heart of the region and shares with its neighbors so many higher interests,  foremost of which is the essential need to preserve the unity of regional members. After all these dangerous adventures and Ankara’ssemi-pivot, Turkey is gradually realizing the fact that it has to re-think a lot of her previous stances.

This soul-searching process will go on and Turkey will eventually realize many more facts along the way.  Russia, which has been treated as an outsider force engaging herself in a region she does not belong to, realizes how inter-locked and inter-dependent interests and concerns are. The US, who bases its stances on the premise of supremacy, realizes that ‘supremacy’ alone is not applicable everywhere. Supremacy is governed now by the geography.

That is why the Russians dare to ventureway longer than the Americans. From the outset, the essence of the matter has been and still is the strategic idea known as “The Five Seas Region”.

Approaching the contextual background of the war on Syria and cautioning the West against the hazards of their extensive meddling, President Assad has on several occasions noted the fact that Syria lies on a sensitive seismic fault-line. This characterization is an accurate strategic reading of the science of geopolitics.  In the realm of geopolitics, the peculiar  geographic locations of  certain entities who have a specific historical make up and sensitive political alignments on the rims of international alliances and fronts,  turn them into a sort of  geographic “keys”. Syria is an example of such a “Key” country. This is due not only to her proximity and inter-connectedness with the countries of thenew Five Seas region, but also with her special position among them. Fault-line countries are the ones where each and every change that might take place within one of them would trigger a series of similar  changes that would directly affect its immediate neighbors in succession. The extent of such a ripple effect is beyond any potential predictability. No one can foresee or predict the extent of seismic tremors triggered by any potential changes within Syria. It is  what is usually referred to as “Syria’s curse”, to avoid the consequences of which  messing and meddling in its  balance and future should be stopped.

The protection provided to her by this natural inherent deterrence isof paramount significance almost equal in value to as her acquired means of defense.

By mentioning this fact, President Assad was merely refreshing the memory of the West, especially the Europeans about the peculiar concept  of this seismic fault-line. Partitioning Syria by messing up with the confessional and ethnic composition of its population, would inevitably lead to the portioning of Turkey, Iraq and perhaps Saudi Arabia. The seismic fault-line may go even further. The Balkan states, which are already divided, might be divided yet further. The Ukrainian Fault-line gate may open the way for the successive collapse of many unitary entities in East Europe. The epidemic might get contagious and the spark of partition might hit other entities in the West under different shapes or slogans. Hence, the German and the Scandinavian fault-lines may open hell gates for untold domino-effect instances of partition in the European continent.

Equally hazardous is the messing up with security and stability. Any potential destabilization would risk triggering waves of refugees and displacements. The main destination of these  refugees would be Europe. They would overload host countries with such a heavy burden that is too difficult for them to bear or contain. Messing up with the Syrian geography is no less hazardous. Positioning or re-positioning in Syria should not be taken lightly. One thing might begets its exact opposite. See for instance, how the Turkish positioning has invoked the Kurdish problem, turning it into a bigger problem for Turkey than its meager revenues.

The occupation entity is now panicking from the resistance forces, whose presence has taken enough roots equal to the size of its messing up in the Syrian geography. Its delusional theories about the  “security buffer zones” as a supposed  source of protection are mere sources of more illusory protection. Equally so its absurd messing up and investment in terrorism under the illusion that its harmful effects would be contained within Syria to bleed her and drain her resources to force her into submission and subjugation. But Syria has not given in. And terrorism is now a far harmful problem threatening the West more than it has harmed Syria, because Syria has almost managed to defeat it  or about to do so.

The two equations of the “Five Seas” and the “Seismic Fault-line”  are just two theoretical  equations known in the science of politics and strategy. The West would not be able to take the right approach to Syria and her President unless these equations are fully understood.

Same was the case with the theory ofmaintaining “Strategic Balance”with the occupation entity. That theory was laid down by the late President Hafez Assad. On the basis of this theory, the late President invested in his relation with Iran and adopted the option of resistance and support for resistance.

The source: Translation into English of an article published in Arabic by



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