Publicat în 17 octombrie 2012, 20:55 / 599 elite & idei

Dan Dungaciu: Hot Spots on the World Map

Dan Dungaciu: Hot Spots on the World Map

Earlier this month, NATO’s 28 Member States decided to extend the mandate of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen until July 31, 2014. Many have interpreted this move as strictly connected to the completion of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, a key priority on NATO’s agenda. Set up right after the terrorist attacks of September 11, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will be dismantled with the withdrawal of military forces from dozens of countries. 

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen has already made public his decision to complete by the end of this year the largest stage of NATO’s mission to train, advise and assist Afghan security, military and riot-police forces, which is due to kick off in 2015. Political pundits argue the success of this transfer of power relies on a couple of key elements. Radio Romania’s Washington correspondent Doina Saiciuc told us more about this issue:

Doina Saiciuc: “Analysts in Washington believe that, should the US and its allies take up a more realistic and efficient stand in the case of Afghanistan, there is a high probability that Afghanistan would stop being the focus of US strategy, as it has been since 2010, and enter the domain of ridicule by 2016. Political analyst Anthony Corpsman with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington believes a successful transfer of power is grounded on several key elements. The first would be the fact that an Afghan security leadership must enjoy the support of a competent enough Afghan government in order to win popular support as well. Anthony Corpsman also thinks another key prerequisite is the existence of sufficient funds allowing the economy and government to function properly. Economic pointers so far are telling of the fact that Afghanistan’s reliance on narcotic exports might increase dramatically in an attempt to cope with the outflow of major capital. This is why the biggest problem in the 2014-2017 period won’t be development per se, but rather the stability of the economy and steering clear of an economic failure that might severely dent transition efforts”.

Another key element, says Corpsman, is that the Afghan government has to offer attractive terms for continued American and allied presence during the transition period, after 2014, because the US now has higher priority strategic commitments, facing increasing problems in the Middle East and Asia and growing issues at home. At the same time, Afghanistan is not the only troubled spot on the map. Syria has been gripping the world’s attention for a year and a half, and the last few days have seen mounting tensions with neighboring Turkey. What differences divide Turkey and Syria, who have been enjoying an excellent relationship economically for years now? We find the answer with Radio Romania’s Middle East correspondent, Carmen Gavrila:

Carmen Gavrila: “There are at least two reasons behind this: disputed territory and disagreement over regime changes caused by the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa. On the one hand, the Assad regime found itself painted into a corner, while Turkey is the main regional beneficiary of the Arab Spring, both economically and politically, especially since it is given as example for political systems in countries such as Egypt. As for the revolts turned civil war in Syria, Turkey may be the most open supporter of a regime change in Damascus.”

In Turkey, even though the government firmly points the finger at the Assad regime, public opinion strongly suspects that the odd attacks against Turkish territory originating in Syria are the work of radical Islamist groups, which are not necessarily Syrian in origin.

The whole world has its eyes on Syria, and everyone knew that the so-called Arab Spring would stall or conclude in one form or another in that country. Syria is therefore a sort of testing ground, according to professor Dan Dungaciu:

Dan Dungaciu: “It remains to be seen what happens in Syria, if it will be a pretext for a resettling of positions in the Middle East. Of course, no neighbor of Syria feels safe, and from this point of view the situation affects us all. My feeling is that we can expect geostrategic changes, not only in Syria, but overall, over the entire security equation in that space, a space which is not marked only by Syria at this time, but also by Iran. Iran remains the only great power that can decide the geostrategic situation of that space, and if something happens to Syria, in my opinion something will happen to Iran too.”

According to Duncagiu, if things will evolve in that direction, the Black Sea strategic area will have a role to play.


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