Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’
To some Iranians, the Turkish flotilla shouldn’t be interpreted as an attack on the Israeli siege of Gaza, but first and foremost as an assault against their influence in Gaza.
Iran’s efforts to send its own flotilla are testimony to that.
Failure to address Israel’s diplomatic shortcomings may mean that Iran’s supreme leader, despite his country’s military inferiority, may actually win the diplomatic battle.
Ayatollah Khamenei seems to be moving away from Moscow, and towards Ankara. This strategy has its merits, but it won’t be without its own challenges.
By: Meir Javedanfar
Many in the West and Israel believe Iran’s nuclear program will be Ahmadinejad’s priority on this trip.
In reality, he will achieve very little in this field, because the Turkish don’t have enough leverage with Tehran or the EU to force any major changes.
One area which I believe will be his priority, and a realistic one, is energy export.
What should worry the Israeli and the US government is that the recent Russian assault on Georgia has made Iran even more attractive as a energy supplier, for 2 reasons:
1. BP has just shut down a oil and gas pipeline which runs through Georgia. That has damaged the credibility and stability of the Ceyhan-Baku-Tbilisi line, which avoided Russian territory.
2. With Moscow flexing its muscles in such a brutal manner, less countries will now be willing to become dependent on it for energy purposes. This is compounded by the fact that the Russians are not shy to shut gas or oil supplies as a tool to force clients to change their foreign and domestic policy, as was the case with Ukraine and the Czech republic.
This leaves Iran as the other alternative. Iran has the gas resources (2nd largest in the world), and Turkey has the proximity and the required route to Europe, and wants to become a major energy transfer route as this brings more income from oil companies and adds to Turkey’s strategic importance. It also wants to move away from Russia as a energy supplier.
Meanwhile, the Iranian government is a very enthusiastic exporter, especially in the energy sector, for two reasons. One is it needs the extra income, and two, this sector can be a useful foreign policy tool which Iran can use to promote its interests.
Therefore, the combination of Iran’s gas resources and enthusiasm to export, plus Turkey’s ambitions make them a powerful alternative, which many European countries may find more suitable to Russia.
This will make the already difficult task of isolating Iran, even more cumbersome. And Tehran has Moscow to thank, again.