Where the Road of Middle East Peace is Heading

first_imgSome of the very recent developments in the region undoubtedly convey that instead of peace and stability the road of the Gulf peace is heading towards a more chaotic and unstable future, making Joe Biden, President-elect’s task more difficult and challenging.If I say that all future rumblings in the region started after the two statements the President-elect made, it won’t disqualify my arguments. Though, he appears steadfast in his vision and determination. First, he would not change the current venue of the American Embassy; and, second, start a nuclear (JCPOA) talk with Iran.More than Biden’s statement about the Embassy and resuming the possibility of nuclear talk, the Iranian response that it is ready to accept if the President-elect entirely do away with the sanctions, has perhaps disturbed both Israel and the Gulf states more. Think where the Islamic Republic of Iran would be without sanction or control on its economic potential. In just five years Iran will be so stable and powerful that it won’t need nuclear weapons as such. Then, how the regional countries sitting with big dreams and ambitions will control the heavyweight. Growing Chinese obsession will definitely not let the US be as forthcoming and involved in the security architecture of the region as it has been. Then who carries the deterrence value? Certainly, not the oil-dependent big emerging eastern countries such as China, India, South Korea, Japan. They know their power and limitations. Negotiation instead of conflict is more suitable to their profiles.Iran is in such a position that even if it abandons its nuclear ambition no regional power is in a position to bring to its knees, including Israel. No doubt, Israel has the power to destroy some vital points, carry out blitzkrieg attacks but can it sustain a long-drawn war, or war of attrition with the ragtag militia, boasting of 90,000 rockets in its basement. This is as clear as the conflicts in the region itself. It is a historical fact that conflict with Egypt during the 70s was draining out more than 50 per cent of the budget, leaving less and fewer resources for strengthening national security and development.It is better not to say anything about the capability and capacity of the other regional powers. Syria, Yemen, Aramco, Houthis’ missile reach have exposed them all.Here is a brief decoding of why the road to the Gulf looks chaotic and full of rumblings. Just I am raising some questions readers can very well find the ‘truth from the facts’:1. All of a sudden why there has been a need to patch up or do rapprochement with Qatar. Please don’t think Qatar has been so weakened to be submissive by the boycott. How Qatar will return to the regional game, very soon we will realize it. If the US shifts the Al-Udeid airbase to any other country, Doha would hardly give a second in inviting Turkey to set up a fully-fledged air base. This is also obvious because four countries punished Qatar for its anti-terrorist activities.Just consider two scenarios why a rapprochement with Qatar became imminent at this time: (i) reunite Qatar to build and strengthen a common united GCC platform to bargain with strengthening with the new administration in the White House and hedge their wrongs. Second, who will benefit from the FIFA cup if Big brother is out of the game? Can it afford to remain isolated from such a huge opportunity? Will they allow Turkey and Iran to grab the opportunity? Under such assumptions, patch up between Doha and Abu Dhabi will automatically become a matter of time only.2. Why Saudis felt the need to patch up with Turkey despite so much washing each other’s dirty linen in public. Why King Salman took the matter in his hand and called President Tayyip Erdogan before the G20 Summit and later on in the 47th OIC Summit in Niamey, Niger.3. Now consider why Turkey all of a sudden became so malleable and agreed to resolve the ‘lingering disputes’ and both the leaders (Turkish and Saudi) agreed on ‘keeping channels of dialogue open in order for the bilateral relations to be enhanced and for issues to be settled’. (Al Jazeera, 21 Nov 2020). Now consider, will Ankara be able to turn down Biden’s advice to correct its Human Rights records in Syria, Libya, and treatment with Kurdish, when it already had some taste of his style of functioning during the Obama Presidency. Turkey too won’t like to keep all its eggs in the Russian basket especially after the Armenia-Azerbaijan episode. Looking at Ankara’s past and US-NATO alliance, Moscow may not allow Turkey to expand its footprints in its backyard. Simply, it cannot trust Erdogan who is ambitious to use all leverages, historical, political, and economic, defense for enhancing his profile.4. Now what will Iran do? How will Iran limit the new administration at the White House to only a nuclear deal? With two of its actions, Tehran has drawn its red lines. First, the response to the US’ open killing of its General Qassem Soleimani with a missile attack on its Iraqi airbase, shows that Iran will directly convey no more tolerance to the killing of its valuable personnel. Asymmetric response to an asymmetric action will soon become a new normal between Israel and Iran.Second, the timing of the capital punishment to Rohullaf Zam simply coveys President-elect that our nuclear talk does mean to include other issues such human rights, internal interference, or long-dream of discrediting, defaming, and destabilizing the Islamic government. Nuclear talks mean only nuclear. No other issues such as missile development, manufacturing of small arms, deployment of boats in the Persian Gulf, or Houthis. Instead of lumping all issues, Iran mat like a comprehensive dialogue with a condition of reduction of exogenous powers in the region and no nuclear blackmailing.Biden is famous for what… Democracy, Human Rights, arms supply with strings and no more war, instead of negotiation -are some of his USPs, true? and will he deliver what the world is eagerly waiting for?Too many ifs and buts or red lines will turn the entire exercise into a zero-sum game and once again other Tehran will remain the same pariah. Therefore, it is important for Tehran to play its cards carefully. Iran’s size and reach are more in danger than holding some nukes because their region itself has enough nukes to convert the region into a holocaust.Let’s see what more magic the Biden-Harris Middle East box carries to surprise and make the Gulf game a win-win for all loggerheads.last_img read more