President for the Institute of Middle East Evgeny Satanovsky tells in his interview with Interfax-Religion correspondent Yelena Verevkina why West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar support islamists in Syria, what are the reasons to depose Bashar Asad, if there is a threat that refugees remake religious map of Europe.
- Islam in the Middle East has become an instrument in a big geopolitical game. Why West and Turkey support islamists in Syria?
- It is usual a political lay‚out. In this case we should speak about actions with different aims. Not only Turkey, but also Qatar and Saudi Arabia support Islamists in Syria. Each of them has their own purposes.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia needs caliphate, then they will decide who of them is the chief there, Turkey needs the new Ottoman Porte, where religion will become a natural center. Erdogan is a religious person and Turkish Islam, Islam in its Turkish variant is the kernel on which he founds his empire.
West here plays the role of a clinical idiot who falls into the same trap again. From the times of the Afghan war, when Saudi sold Washington the idea that they should put their stake on Islamists, both the CIA and Pentagon put on Islamists. In response they get September 11, the Boston terror attack, Al Qaeda and many other things, now it is the Islamic State (organization banned in Russia - IF). But they continue putting their stake on Islamists, as they believe it is the only serious power that will seize power, expand it, and thus deserve support as the dominating power. So, there are interested parties of the first row (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey) and interested parties of the second row - western countries supposing that if they lean on Islamists they will achieve happiness.
- As far as Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia are concerned, do you think that religious motivation dominate over gas interests?
- It is always mixed, one goes along with the other. Turkey's economic prosperity under Erdogan came together with Pan-Turkism, the so-called soft Islam, providing support to Muslim-Brothers and the Islamic State. Saudi oil and Qatar gas projects are connected with expanding Salafi Islam. It is the way it is, the way it was and the way it will be.
- What are the reasons of their desire to depose Bashar Asad?
- First of all, it is vendetta, it is a serious factor. The role of personality in history. Renowned Roman political figure Cato of Africa once said, Carthage must be destroyed, and it was destroyed.
Secondly, Asad personifies a secular state. Secular Arabian state is unacceptable for these countries. And it should be destroyed.
Thirdly, Asad is Alawite, a heretic, absolutely unacceptable for Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who should be killed. By the way, Turkey said that genocide of Alawites in the 19th century is absolutely standard for them. Alawites were almost eliminated in the 19th century in the Turkish empire. There were a lot of genocides in Turkey: there was a genocide of Pontic Greeks, genocide of Christians in the 19th century, in the time of Tuscany wars, there was a period of the Alawite genocide. What we are talking about, it is Turkey!
- What are interests of the Persian Gulf countries, for example Iran, in Syria? Is it true that the main reason is big money connected with gas projects?
- Iran is a Shia state, there is a Shiite vertical of power there. So Syria is the main Iran's ally in the region in its opposition to Saudi Arabia, Salafi-Takfiri as they call Salafis. Secondly, it is a natural bridge - economical, political, military - to the Mediterranean shore. In this aspect, key country for Iran is Syria.
- What is the role of Suni and Shiite factor in the Syrian conflict?
- Role of the religious factor is great. Suni and Shiite clash, first of all, Iranian and Saudi is number one problem. Yes, it is true.
- Can we say that the future of Syria depends on the correct interreligious relations in the country?
- It depends on many factors. It depends on the way Asad and his group would build their relations with Sunies, with Kurds, and it is not a religious factor. Arabs has war with Kurds on ethnic principle, with all these ethno-confessional groups. We can not divide one from the other. It is like asking a person, if he is Russian or Orthodox. How would you answer it? No answer. You can not take religious factor without ethnic one.
- Do you think it is real that refugees will make Europe a part of the Islamic world?
- Europe became a part of the Islamic world long ago. From Erdogan's point of view, it is late for Europe to become the part of the Islamic world which he longed to see it. That is why he radically islamizes it. For the last year, major part of Islamists who came to Europe, refugees from Africa and the Middle East, came there through Turkey with active influence of Turkish mafia that filled the channels of transporting these people, the Turkish army that pushed them to Greek islands, Turkish special services that helped the army and Turkish mafiosi.
- Is it possible to save Europe from new terrorist attacks?
- It is very easy. Security officials and politicians should start working the way it is needed, not the way they consider sufficient. If you are concerned with litter on the road, you need to sweep it, if you are not happy about dirty dishes, wash them. If radical Islamists bother you, start working with them with that degree of toughness and professionalism, which is required.