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As observed on the physical map of Iraq, this region also features several lakes. It was the only regional state to do so, forging a bond that has since served both states well. Though oil and terrorism are both important, the real reason is the Middle East’s potential to draw the US, Russia, the EU and China into a global conflict – a risk that is rising. This has significantly strengthened the Shia crescent, which now critically links Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran along the spine of the shatterbelt. “The increasingly painful waiting game is escalating global tension, and linking the Middle East into a single, multi-dimensional crisis.”. The country exhibits four major physiographic regions as mentioned below. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting the Syrian Sunni opposition with guns and funds, some of which are now thought to be falling into extremist, al-Qaeda-affiliated hands. With an area of 437,072 sq. The recent record shows that the five permanent Security Council members are unable to agree on a plan for either Iran’s nuclear programme or Syria’s civil war. As the First Cold War wound down with the demise of the Soviet Union, the Middle East expanded eastward. The East-Med crescent, begins in Israel, goes through Cyprus and onto Greece, and is built on Mediterranean gas. Two of the most significant rivers in all of Asia, the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, drain the land. Whether several airstrikes will interdict it remains to be seen. As the five crescents turn, intersecting through Syria and Iran, they are setting the Great Powers against each other. Second, the border conflict and the complex, if close relationship between Erbil and Istanbul, are seriously straining relations between Turkey and Iraq. This came amid rising Iran-US tensions. This report looked at several possible routes, one in the north through eastern Syria and another in the south through Tanf. However, today, another Middle East heart beats inside the shatterbelt, raising the pressure of conflict. As the Shia and Sunni crescents collide, with their great power supporters at their backs, their fulcrum is Syria. Strategy.”. In June 2018 it published images and a map of “Iranian land bridge from Tehran to Syria and Lebanon. The question is, will the Brotherhood adopt an extremist approach now that they’re in power – as former presidents, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Tunisia’s Ben Ali, warned? The air travel (bird fly) shortest distance between Iran and Syria is 1,387 km= 862 miles. The reincarnation of the Arab Cold War is the first sign. Next-door Lebanon is restive in the shadow of Syria’s civil war. Roxane Farmanfarmaian is a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, Centre for the Study of the International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa. Even as Maliki acquires institutional powers disconcertingly reminiscent of his predecessor, Saddam Hussein, his hold on the western region of Iraq is slipping and his outlook hardening, as attested by his condemnation of his own Sunni vice-premier, to hang. Syria's strategic alliance with Egypt ended around the same time due to Egypt's treaty with Israel. His report included a map showing three routes that Iran was using, one through Baghdad and then Syria’ Tanf, another through Baghdad and Al-Qaim on the Syrian border and a … Under President Obama, the US has begun to pivot toward the South Pacific. Nor is it because of what Samuel Huntington called the “Clash of Civilisations” or what others might call terrorism, although events in Benghazi which led to the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens serve to remind that social and cultural differences can still easily lead to tragedy. Assad’s army is five times the size of Gaddafi’s, its opposition forces are deeply divided despite the agreement in Doha to paper over their differences, and its location deep inside the Levant makes establishing no-fly zones considerably more dangerous than in the open ranges of desert-bound Libya on shores much further west. Where France and Germany view Greece as the sacrificial lamb of the European debt crisis, Israel views it as an opportunity. He noted it had been in place for years and might not be Iran’s main priority. Baghdad is the most populous city as well as the cultural, commercial and economic center of Iraq. A second November 2017 article by Hussein Ibish in The National also concluded that Iran’s land bridge was moving “closer to reality.”. Losing Iraq to the Shia has been a significant irritant for the Sunni crescent, which hopes to balance the scales within the shatterbelt by encouraging a Sunni-dominated government in Damascus once Bashar al-Assad falls. The Al-Jazīrah is an upland region to the north of the alluvial plains and between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The were warned off with an airstrike. In fact, his job is equally urgently to forge common ground among the Great Powers, and to ensure that none becomes militarily involved on the ground. The center is staffed and provides answers on Sundays through Thursdays between 07:00 and 14:00 and Fridays only handles distribution requests between 7:00 and The Shia crescent is the oldest and it is Iran’s game. The power of the Shia crescent is, paradoxically, not due to its Shia religiosity, but to its shared anti-American and anti-Israeli ideology. To offset this malaise, Israel is looking to Europe, where it feels more welcome than it has ever felt in the Middle East. What Cohen realised was that shatterbelts are not just flashpoints for great power conflict. In the interim, both offered asylum to anti-Saddam Iraqi activists, among them, current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The maps, images and reports paint a clear picture of Iran’s emerging ambitions, but also show that the map of the road to the sea has changed a bit over the sea. It is located in the center of the country, in the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula. In May 2019 an article at Al-Monitor by Joe Macaron asked if the Trump administration would seek to abort Iran’s land bridge. His report included a map showing three routes that Iran was using, one through Baghdad and then Syria’ Tanf, another through Baghdad and Al-Qaim on the Syrian border and a third through Kirkuk and then northeast Syria. The modern Kurdistan map includes parts of eastern Turkey, northern Syria, northern Iraq and northwestern Iran. Often called the Iran-Saudi Arabia proxy war, it is a sectarian confrontation that mirrors the First Arab Cold War, when Nasser’s secular Egypt led radical, pro-Soviet neighbours Syria and Iraq against a pro-US moderate front of religiously vested monarchies nominally headed by Saudi Arabia. In May 2017 Chulov wrote that Iran had changed the “course of road to Mediterranean coast to avoid US forces.” The new route would go through Tel Afar near Mosul and then to Mayadin and Deir ez-Zor in Syria before crossing the desert to Damascus and continuing to Latakia. She directs the University of Cambridge - Al Jazeera Center for Studies media project, and is principal investigator of the media in political transition in the Southern Mediterranean programme. As the war on ISIS continued in 2018 questions about Iran’s goals remained. The PKK’s emboldened stance has led to harsh retaliation from Istanbul, which in turn has sent armed PKK fighters to seek cover across the mountainous Iraqi border. In alphabetical order, these governorates are: Al Anbar, Babil, Baghdad, Al Basrah, DiQar, Al Qadisiyah, Diyala, Dahuk, Erbil, Hewler (Halabja), Karbala, Kirkuk, Maysan, Al Muthanna, An Najaf, Ninawa (Nineveh), Salahad Din and Wasit. Indeed, the Middle East lies on the world’s largest “shatterbelt” – an area described felicitously by American geographer Saul Cohen as the region of contact between the world’s great sea and land powers. ImageSat International has done its own work on the land bridge. The civil war in Syria has strengthened it further. The map, the same as the one published in June 2018 by ImageSat, shows that the Land bridge is “under attack in Iraq.”. The American-supported Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil has responded by offering training, organisational advice and funding. Iraq Bordering Countries: Indeed, Egypt is showing regional leadership by joining with Turkey to invite Iran and Saudi to find new solutions to the Syrian conflict. The war in Afghanistan set the course; the newly independent Central Asian states, many of them Muslim, continued the trend. It would also give Iran public justification to build a nuclear bomb. This has inspired renewed activity by Turkey’s own alienated Kurdish Worker’s Party, the PKK, which for years has agitated for official linguistic and cultural recognition inside Turkey. Baghdad is the capital city of the Republic of Iraq. “Amid Syria chaos Iran’s game plan emerges: A path to the Mediterranean.” He argued that Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias in Iraq were using the war on ISIS to drive on of Iran’s “most coveted projects, securing an arc of influence across Iraq and Syria.” A map accompanying his article showed Iran’s influence going through Baquba, Shirqat, Sinjar, Qamishli to Kobani and then Idlib, Homs and the sea. The history of Iran’s land bridge go back many years. It is also the location of a real inter-state border war between Turkey and Iraq, with 500 lives being lost every month (Turkey’s own statistics). The second crescent: Sunni, with a Salafist tinge. Together with Syria, these two states straddling the centre of the Middle East shatterbelt are setting the stage for an emergent second Cold War. The New York Times has said some of the airstrikes were carried out by Israel.