The red sea is a new tidbit for superpowers and the future arena of tough geopolitical confrontation between different powers, predicts the Jordanian newspaper As Sabeel.
A desperate race for the expansion of the political, military and economic influence in the Red sea intensified following the summit in China (may 13-14), which was attended by the heads and representatives of more than 130 countries in the world. Forum on “One belt and one road” marked the revival of China’s silk road and the “incense Route”, which runs through Southeast Asia, Europe, the countries of the Arab Mashreq and Africa, which in turn contributed to increased competition for influence and control over ports in East Africa and the red sea from the Arab countries. And not only.
China intends to invest about $ 120 billion in new project when the existing volume of trade turnover with Africa was $ 150 billion, India has increased its trade volume with African countries up to 72 $ billion. But the United States still can’t overcome the “China wave” and to develop trade relations with the African continent. The United States can reduce this gap in the future by increasing its presence in West Africa by activating sea lanes and Western ports, however, they seek to gain a foothold in East Africa through collaboration with the Sudan, and advocate for the lifting of sanctions imposed on him. All this will affect the Indian and Chinese trade volume and impact on the land and sea routes, which pass through the Arab world, from the Persian Gulf and ending with the Arabian and Red seas, said As Sabeel.
At the same time, the war in Yemen has led to growing political and economic importance of the area of the Strait of Bab-El-Mandeb and sea routes, increasing competition of the parties on creation of military bases in Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia. Current development is pushing Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey for action.
So, it is possible to allocate Turkey, which has a base in Somalia, and there has greater political weight to counterbalance the efforts of the Iranians to gain a foothold in Eritrea and Yemen. At the same time, Saudi Arabia by increasing presence in the Red sea, and participation in military conflict in Yemen intends to spread its influence in the Northern part of the red sea. The Kingdom has a geographical advantage with which it seeks to expand its zone of influence from the Strait of Bab-El-Mandab to the Suez canal.
Thus, the new economic map of the world, the contours of which delineates China, concentrated in the South of the globe. Today, the region draws attention of all countries and is becoming a new center of competition and conflict, which contribute to the cultural contradictions and challenges with which the world was familiar in the period of major European wars (First and Second world wars and the cold war), the paper concludes.
Russia has also made attempts to gain a foothold in the region. So, according to “Kommersant”, in 2012-2013 Moscow held talks with Djibouti on rent the runway and a pier for the construction of naval base “or at least its prototype”. However, in 2014 — because of the Ukrainian crisis the United States had on the authorities of Djibouti severe pressure, “is actually put forward the ultimatum: the Russian bases on the territory of the country should not be”.
However, experts note that Moscow, along with bases in Syria, will create objects in Libya (the rumours about this are circulating among the Orientalists), this will allow it to control the Suez canal from both sides.
If the area of the red sea can be a place of stiff competition many players, and whether Russia is to claim any influence? Comment “SP” asked the head of the center for Islamic studies of the Institute of innovative development, RIAC expert Kirill Semenov.
— China is rapidly developing and expanding the might of its armed forces, and in the long term its presence in various parts of the world will be even more noticeable. But even demonstrating military force in Africa, where single ships and units of the Chinese Navy began regularly to appear in the late 90-ies, he pursues still economic goals. While Beijing excludes the possibility of conducting military operations far from its own territory and prefer to maintain relations with different countries, which is important for economic expansion.
I think that in the future the military-political activity of Beijing will also be helpful economically to projects of China. In fact, the emergence of the Chinese strong point in Djibouti directed not to involve itself in the Affairs of the coastal States, but only on the power support trade relations. Turkey is actively developing Africa is also largely in terms of the economy.
However, there are countries that have political objectives. For example, the UAE, taking advantage of the Yemeni crisis, decided to take control of not only the Strait of Hormuz, but oil artery such as Bab-El-Mandeb Strait. And I must say not without success — in fact, the Emirates of building a layered database system. So, Emiratis are present on Socotra island, where the camp for the preparation of the South Yemeni units. In fact, under the pretext of cultural development, they’re just going to occupy.
Also they are present in Berbera (Somalia), on the Yemeni island will Perim, where a military air base UAE, Eritrea to Assab. They took control of Yemeni cities-ports of Aden and al-Mukalla, and under the pretext of operation “Golden spear” against the Alliance Saleh-Houthi — the city of Moss, and are likely to be in Hodeidah. In addition, the Emiratis have a base in Libya to cooperate with Egypt and, in principle, able to project power in the region of Suez. So, in this case, the most active player in the military-political plan is not China and KSA, and UAE.
“SP”: — the Red sea is a district competition, or may become a war zone?
— Despite the trade route, it is an area of high instability, because there is not stop the fighting. Ethiopia does not refuse plans of access to the sea through Eritrea. In Djibouti’s two main ethnic groups not averse to war among themselves, however, they are holding back foreign presence on the bases. In Somalia, South Sudan, war has not stopped, as well as Northern Sudan, with its Kordofan and Darfur. The fighting in the Sinai Peninsula, not to mention Yemen. Even in Saudi Arabia, the Houthis are conducting operations, and how effective they can be judged by the attacks of various courts in the district of Bab-El-Mandeb Strait. Therefore all interested players are trying to set up military bases to protect trade routes.
“SP”: — can Russia here at something to claim?
— If there is ambition, then some action should be taken, another thing is that in our region there really aren’t any allies that would be willing to provide their territory for military infrastructure. The Soviet Union had e & p of Nokra in Ethiopia, which was a real base. Currently, Russia is not particularly close relations with Eritrea (Ethiopia, after her office lost access to the sea), and the presence there of the Emirates and force the Pro-Saudi coalition excludes the possibility of creating a database.
In Yemen, former President Saleh hinted that he is ready to give Russia the territory under military facility, but Russia is a nuclear settlement is more of a Saudi point of view, although this is not particularly advertised. The only opportunity to project power — is to negotiate with Egypt on the use of ports for simplified entry of ships.
“SP”: — In the expert community it has long been rumored that the field Marshal Haftarot in response to the support could provide Russia with a territory for a military base…
— Yes, I heard, but honestly don’t really believe in it. To this end, Moscow should become a party to the conflict and to stand fully on the side of the Haftarot. Yes, it is supported by the Emirates and Egypt, but many players are unlikely to approve of this decision, for example, the same groups from Misrata or Saraca with which Russia is trying to interact. Russian military base in Libya can be deployed only when in Tripoli and Tobruk will make peace.