The new Middle East without foreign military forces?

Lorenzo Quinn, The Force of Nature

Is it with great pleasure that we are witnessing a New –and real- Global Order that is moving differently from what originally was meant to become: only one axis of power. The “trend” from the US to become a global political leader has been changed by a multi-polar power divided only by regions and national interests. A fact that contributes greatly to a results-driven global concept in the sense that shapes a counterbalance mechanism that makes the different powers a new structure better prepared to build resilience. A strong global democracy is built through diversity.

In the last two decades, the US has got too much exposure on their wrong strategy in the Middle East to “build democracy and keep peace” creating confrontation, also by financing opposites groups. Is it a fact that to bring peace we need good governance as well as the elimination of dictatorships that reject to be ruled by a global system. However, we realise that paradoxically they are regimens that have certain global standards, what is it a sign that it’s more about Diplomacy and international pressure rather than foreign military intervention. In the Middle East it has created a devastating impact and has reinforced Russia’s power by weakening NATO role. Besides, it has not served to build its own credibility as a “defender of peacebuilding”. One of the main reasons for the US influence in European Politics –and the Middle East- is because of their financial support. When in 2019 President Trump announced their will to reduce US-NATO contribution it was not welcome, however, is it time for reshaping European politics towards empowerment at all levels. Is not the time to continue with a paternalist link with the US, but a grown-up focus. Bretton Woods’ times are over and a global world that is going through multiple crises demands new paradigms to change effectively.

In a sense, it would be wiser to have Russia in NATO –despite all differences- than the US. It is key to transform the European Union into a pivot that balances power and not feeding more confrontation. In the end, that latest is not real, as Russia and BRICS are showing the capacity to negotiate spaces and boost a global mindset. Internal differences among BRICS countries do not affect the sense of cohesion within an international /global strategy.

The results in the Middle East considered by US as good seems to be: cities destroyed, collapsed economies and all those circumstances resulted from war – poverty, hunger, health crisis, insecurity, etc.-, all of them not successful enough to conclude that US presence has contributed to peace in the region. Is it only when the talks to withdrawal troops started that the atmosphere has changed positively, and shined the light in a stagnated process of full dependence on the US.

Is it time to change the equation “US aid to Europe” into “US-Europe cooperation” -including all big actors as Russia-. A more balanced relationship with the US is also part of their financial participation that is negatively linked with their leadership. A more democratic structure demands more Nations involved and more equality in terms of power. NATO may become the awarded piece for a new global order if it is reshaped.

The link Europe-US –even after Trump’s era- is becoming unnecessary, toxic and most of the time contradictory if we see it under the light of processes as with Iran JCPOA. Forcing a relationship with the US as in the past is not part of a solution within the vision and a results-driven action. The future is made by creative and strategical partnerships, not vertical international relations. Peace depends on it and only when integrating all actors, is that we get into minimum levels of stability. It doesn’t make sense to defend a global way of living from a central power that turns to become rusty, ineffective, somehow contradictory in terms of interests, and not updated to the new challenges. A new dimension for globalisation supposes an open, and diverse leadership as well as keeping regional and national perspectives as an asset not a threat towards cohesion.

The first step has been done: withdrawal of military forces in the Middle East as a way to be consistent with a global concept on democracy. Reinforcing US national sovereignty by imposing a model based on military presence in foreign countries is a contradiction in itself that does not boost global peace but more confrontation. Foreign military intervention is the last resource and should be kept that way. The assistance and aid that may be delivered to all Middle East countries should be done under strict respect and consent from local authorities under global scrutiny. Helping them to be empowered and not to play one or another role in an international struggle for a centered global power.

The abuses committed by the US during a too much long presence in the region –as torture, financial support to opposites, airstrikes, killing of civilians, destruction of cities or/and infrastructure- have exposure the need to make a change urgently. All the achievements to get into democratic systems are not worthy if we see it as a vicious circle of dependence instead of a healthy circle of empowerment, that in the end may easily lead to a resilient peace process.

The accusations against Russia, Pakistan, or Iran because of their power in the region turn to become more about resistance rather than terrorism. Against the US, and not pro- conflict and division. Besides, the role of any force in the search for peace is the eradication of violence and not the eradication of a group. In the end, they are – as the Taliban’s- supported by many people and control part of the territory even with disadvantages in terms of high military equipment. Their acceptance to be part of peace talks suggests that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  A democratic government is also the one that can conciliate all positions, and the capacity to heal the wounds, making the State an open place for all ideologies except those that suppose violence or restrictions to individual freedom within the framework of DDHH and the rest of international conventions. Once there is conciliation among opposite interests, peace is achievable, therefore political stability. Is a strong challenge, although is not acceptable that Afghanistan needs a parallel external Administration to resolve internal affairs. Support from the international community or even to their military forces is different from a permanent foreign military presence.

No matter the level of violence that they have escalated one of the most important aspects of a peace process is the conciliation of both sides of the conflict. It goes with the very essence of the Geneva Conventions and demands a new paradigm of relations. Is it here when we face another conflict: the cold war generated because of the incapacity and lack of leadership to conciliate interests and the awkward attitude of no resignation towards a new national order -for whom global institutions play a key role.

Peace is much more than justice, and justice much more than equity.

When there is negotiation is almost unreal to expect that all sides will be satisfied, but it is just the first step towards stabilisation and ceasefire. Reducing levels of violence do not necessarily mean reducing levels of confrontation that after decades it becomes part of the culture and societal codes. The latest represents the real burden to move forward. Is it so that expect that a peace process is just about military it’s a big mistake. Making all actors part of the decision-making process is one of the resources to make the peace process sustainable in the long term.

This focus may find rejection but is it only a cultural burden rather than a political one. Healing the wounds becomes the real challenge at the societal level in which citizen empowerment and engagement in a peace process is key to look at the future with optimism and independence.

There is no better way than integration at the political decision-making process to keep the peace, when both sides feel that they are among the same power rather than defending parcels of it, they create synergies beyond any conflict, and that paradoxically leads to stability.

I truly believe is a turning point for the whole region to transform themselves into resilient and empowered Nations, without excuses and foreign intrusions but within the power that delivers make changes that lead to stable systems. Controlling anger, violence and changing the culture after decades means strong leadership, creative minds, international support, and the determined will to make of national contradictions just one, now and for a wave of long-lasting peace.

*“Middle East “fabricated wars” Building peace from within” , Mar. Introini

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