Recently, the Middle Eastern conference caused quite a turmoil in the media. It stirred up a lot of controversy in the international arena, including Poland. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that the Conference will revolve around the future war with Iran. However, he later reconsidered his sentence, speaking against the influence of Iran in the Middle East. When it comes to hosts of the meeting, sharp tone provided by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Vice President USA Mike Pence at the Iranian State was strongly counterposed with a gentle tone of the speech given by the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz. It clearly showed who exactly was guiding the Conference.

Poland, a member of the EU, expressed its willingness to support the nuclear agreement with Iran, taking the same position as other bodies representing the European Union. Iran promised in the agreement to suspend its work on the development of nuclear weapons in exchange for other states’ withdrawal from imposing economic sanctions on Iran. It is worth saying that about the United States degraded some time ago the diplomatic rank of the EU delegation from the Member State to the international organization. This is a clear symptom of the general anti-EU direction of the foreign policy pursued by the administration of President Donald Trump. Because the tariff policy still remains in force of the European Union, the representative of the Union has not agreed to take a part in this Conference.

Initially, the scope of the Conference had to be narrowed down to the issue of Iran, but there was also the issue of the Middle East region in general, including the question of Syria and Yemen. This is one of the main reasons why the Conference in Soczi took place with the participation of Russia, Iran and Turkey (interests in Syria have also Russia and Turkey). It is long known that President Trump carries out a long-term policy of withdrawal of U.S. Troops from the region of the Middle East (precisely it is about Syria and possibly also about Afghanistan). What it creates, is the political vacuum, which is the object of concerns of such countries as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Jordan and, above all, Israel. One should realize the essence of internal conflicts in the Levant region. It consists of three different causes: religious (Sunni and Shia), political (the monarchy and the theocracy) and international (Palestine and Israel). The conflict between the Iranian Shia and Sunni Arabs can be cleverly used when preparing the U.S. to withdraw from the Middle East (Sunnism is the dominant Islam fraction in the above-mentioned countries which cooperate with the United States). Israel at this point sees real opportunity in an alliance with Sunni and monarchic countries against Shiite and theocratic Iran.

Almost 62 countries accepted invitations to meet during the recent Conference, including significant delegations from the Middle Eastern countries. Countries which rejected to take part in the event were Russia, Palestine and Lebanon. The EU was also not represented (head of the European diplomacy, Frederica Mogherini, explained her absence with the scheduled meeting of NATO Defence Ministers).

Ultimately, the result of the Conference was to institutionalize the political conflict with Iran. There were solemn declarations to appoint six international working groups: the fight against terrorism and its financing, limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapon, safety at sea and in the air, cyber security, energy security, and the humanitarian, refugee, and human rights violations.

To begin with the assessment of the event, it is not justified to say it will provide efficiency in restricting the aggressive actions of Iran. One of the main reasons is fact that Iran was not invited to the Conference in Warsaw. Latin proverb Nihil novi sine communi consensu clearly applies to this case. Moreover, there are explicit remarks on the aggressive attitude addressed towards Iran – especially when we talk about the Israeli politicians (and using the afflictive and menacing word “war” by Netanyahu speaks for itself). These two premises speak for themselves when it comes to the Israeli ambitions in international politics. Indeed, the reaction of president of Iran, Hassan Rouhanni, makes us certain that participants of the Conference will be treated as lethal enemies of Iran. Poland has already taken a bashing – not only it is affected by the cut-off of petroleum and the natural gas but also by a ban on issuing visas to Iran. Interestingly, in the millenial history of Poland there was no conflict with Arabic or Turkmen peoples (except for Turkey in the seventeenth century). Careful approach of Arabic cooperators of the United States in sending only low-ranked diplomatic representatives indicates the awareness that they are walking on thin ice. President Trump seems not to resign from the withdrawal of the U.S. Troops and move them to the other front. Israel may see the opportunity in endearing the Arabic countries against Iran, but it is not desirable for these countries to allow Israel to possess the most powerful nuclear potential in the region. The American interventions have a fundamental meaning for the politicians in the all Arabic countries. Now, when the USA are withdrawing from the Middle East, they need to find substitutes to maintain future political interests. Radical and unpredictable foreign policy conducted by Iran is also not in taste of Sunni countries. Soon or later they will need to solve the geopolitical dilemma.

And how about your opinions? What is the immediate future of the Near East? Share, comment, and let us know what’s on your mind. 😉

Mikołaj Lewandowski