The Five Seas Region: Al Assad - Erdogan strategy hijacked by MBS
The Red Sea Project is a bold initiative that has the potential to transform the region and position Saudi Arabia as a major player in the global economy. However, the project also faces significant challenges.
Bashar Al-Assad had a relatively strong relationship with Turkey and its then-Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two leaders had engaged in significant trade and economic cooperation and strategic partnerships on issues like water resources and regional stability.
The Five Seas Region, comprising the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, has been an important center of trade and commerce for centuries. Today, it is home to some of the world's most critical shipping lanes, facilitating the transportation of goods to and from the East and West. The region's strategic location at the intersection of Europe, Asia, and Africa has made it a crucial crossroads for trade and a site of great power competition.
At the time, both Syria and Turkey recognized the strategic importance of their geographic locations and their proximity to the Five Seas region. The two countries also shared a vision of regional integration and cooperation, with the potential to transform the region into a hub of trade and commerce that could rival other global centers.
However, the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011 dramatically altered the regional landscape and strained the once-close relationship between Syria and Turkey. The conflict quickly became a proxy war, with regional and global powers vying for control over the future of the country and the region.
As the conflict continued, it became clear that the control of the Five Seas region was a key objective for many of the players involved. The region's vast energy resources, strategic location, and critical shipping lanes made it a vital area for global trade and commerce.
The West, and in particular the United States, saw the potential of the region and recognized that control over it would be crucial for maintaining their global economic dominance. As a result, they have played a role in undermining the Syrian-Turkish relationship and fomenting the conflict in Syria in order to gain greater control over the region.
Bashar Al-Assad's and Erdogan’s strategy of developing Syria's Mediterranean coastline as a center of trade and commerce was well known before the outbreak of war in the country. Moreover, maybe this was what triggered the conflict and subsequent political instability in his country and derailed those plans, leaving the region in a state of chaos and uncertainty. This vacuum has created an opportunity for other countries in the region to step in and assert their influence, and none have been more active than Saudi Arabia.
The Five Seas Region is about much more than just energy. It also connects major markets in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Ports like Dubai, Istanbul, and Piraeus have emerged as major centers of trade, handling millions of tons of cargo every year.
The region's vast energy resources, including some of the world's largest oil and gas reserves, have been a key driver of geopolitical competition, with countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia using their energy exports to project power and advance their strategic interests.
Erdogan’s involvement with the ongoing conflicts in Syria, and Libya has created significant instability in the region. The Saudis and UAE also started a war against Yemen and created a very threatening situation and chaos in their backyard. While piracy in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden has threatened shipping lanes in the region.
Despite these challenges, Prince Mohamed Bin Salman had his vision and accelerated a plan to take over the Five Seas Region control, as it remains a critical hub of global trade and commerce, with enormous potential for growth and development.
At the beginning of 2023, a shift in the political strategy of Prince MBS has been evident. He recognized that his military campaign in Yemen was impeding the realization of his vision for the future. As a result, he has opted for a different approach to establish stability in the region, taking the lead in this endeavor.
Bin Salman capitalized on the opportunity for the Five Seas Region and executed a plan to take advantage of the growing demand for renewable energy. With the world moving towards cleaner sources of energy, countries in the region have the potential to become major producers and exporters of renewable energy.
Given the significant financial investment required and the uncertainty surrounding the region's political and security situation. It was mandatory that MBS take the lead and put down all fires in the region. We now see MBS is approaching the Erdogan-Kilicdaroglu approach of 0 conflicts in the region. While the Red Sea Project has the potential to transform the region, it is not without its challenges.
MBS concluded that the current state of affairs posed a threat to the realization of his 2030 vision. Consequently, he pursued the Iran-Saudi deal, facilitated Syria's re-entry into the Arab League, and welcomed Al-Assad back into the Kingdom.
Countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have already made significant investments in renewable energy, and others are expected to follow suit in the coming years.
Another area of opportunity is the development of new transportation infrastructure. The region's ports are already major centers of trade, but there is potential to expand and improve these facilities to handle even greater volumes of cargo. In addition, new transportation links, such as highways and railways, could further enhance connectivity between the region's major markets.
The Five Seas Region also has enormous potential for the development of tourism. The region's rich cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and world-class attractions make it an attractive destination for travelers from around the world. Countries like Turkey, Egypt, and Greece have already developed thriving tourism industries, and others are expected to follow in their footsteps.
The Red Sea Project, launched by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to develop the Kingdom's Red Sea coast into a major hub of global trade and commerce. The project's ambitious scope includes creating a new tourism and business destination spanning more than 10,000 square miles of pristine coastline and islands, as well as building one of the largest ports in the world on the Red Sea coast. These efforts are part of Saudi Arabia's broader Vision 2030 plan to diversify its economy away from oil and gas and position the Kingdom as a major player in the global economy.
Despite these challenges, Saudi Arabia's efforts to develop the Red Sea coast and assert its influence in the region have been successful thus far. The Kingdom has secured significant investments from international partners and has made progress on the construction of the new port and other infrastructure projects.
However, it is worth noting that Saudi Arabia is not the only country vying for influence in the region. China and Russia have also been investing heavily in the area, seeking to secure their access to vital resources and markets. This competition for influence and control over the Five Seas region was likely to intensify in the years ahead, as countries seek to position themselves as major players in the global economy, but with the recent agreements between China and the Saudis and the Saudis with Iran, Syria, and Yemen, things have been put on the right path.
The Red Sea Project is a bold initiative that has the potential to transform the region and position Saudi Arabia as a major player in the global economy. However, the project also faces significant challenges, including political instability, security threats, and environmental concerns. The success of the project will depend on the Kingdom's ability to navigate these challenges and establish itself as a stable and reliable partner for international investors and trading partners.
In the near future, we will see how the West and the US would react to this progress and what they will be doing to challenge this plan. Is there a new 9/11 on the horizon? Or perhaps a newer version of Al-Qaeda? We will wait and see.