Mid-East violence triggering fresh global repercussions



Displaced Palestinian civilians in the Gaza.

A violent attack on a civilian in Paris recently by a seemingly deranged man of Palestinian origin, could be the mere initial proof that the current upsurge in violence in the Middle East is beginning to have fresh global repercussions. That is, there is a heightening of the threat of ‘global terrorism’.

It should only be expected that Western capitals in particular would be bracing from now on for increasingly brutal and brazen terror attacks on civilians by parties claiming allegiance to either of the antagonists in the Middle East conflict. That is, there could be widespread societal destabilization and escalating law and order questions from the Gaza violence, going forward.

More so why efforts to bring about a durable ceasefire, followed by a cessation of hostilities in the Middle East should be among the foremost concerns of the international community, led by the UN. An ignoring or soft-pedalling of such challenges could amount to further encouraging the bloodletting since the violence in question is only intensifying on multiple fronts, as could be seen, thereby relentlessly aggravating existing social divisions.

If allowed to worsen, the above conditions could lead to not only unprecedented social destabilization but worsening crises in governance as well. Accordingly, time is of the essence. We are likely to find the world an increasingly dangerous place to live in, provided states close ranks and find an equitable political solution to the Middle East conflict.

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami drew the attention of the world to a profound truth when he said that what the world needs most now is a ‘Dialogue among Civilizations’. This is particularly true of the Middle East. A sustained constructive dialogue between Islam and Judaism, for instance, could reveal many a commonality between the civilizations, which could in turn, perhaps, help in building bridges of unity between the divides concerned. This huge challenge is waiting to be undertaken.

However, in the short and medium terms, practical, tangible measures need to be taken to bring into being a ceasefire and a cessation of hostilities, which would enable the sides to think through the gut issues to the conflict. A cessation of the fighting would perhaps reveal that it is the question of land ownership and connected issues that initially led to the conflict.

If the land demarcations to a Palestinian state and a Jewish state are clearly drawn out and the sides are obligated to adhere to them, the possibility of the antagonists getting back to a confrontational course could be reduced. However, much will depend on the effectiveness with which the foreign backers of the conflicting sides bring pressure to bear on the latter to prevent them from violating their land boundaries.

That is, in the case of the Israelis it is the US and the rest of the West and in the case of the Palestinians it comprises those international forces backing militant Islam. Hopefully, the rising savagery in the Middle East would convince these external backers of the wisdom of reining-in their respective sides before long.

However, it also ought to be plain to see that, besides the main parties to the conflict, no one would stand to gain in any way as a result of allowing the confrontation to perpetuate itself. In fact, the world would be propelling itself on a suicidal course by permitting the Middle East to be in a state of constant bloodshed and war.

As the stabbing in Paris alone shows, no relevant quarter would be having peace as a result of the conflict. Clearly, the adverse repercussions from the conflict would exceed the geographical confines of the Middle East and grip almost every part of the world, ensuring they would ‘sleep no more.’

Accordingly, the world would be acting in its best interests by helping to end the conflict by peaceful means. While law and order problems would constitute an area of huge concern for the international community, economic consequences would emerge as another such sphere of profound worry. For, Western governments in particular would be compelled to prune down their welfare budgets in view of rising defense expenditure and law and order maintenance on the domestic front.

The final result could very well be polities whose welfare is very much blighted. Besides, the cost of living would rise exponentially all over the world as a result of spiraling energy bills in particular against the backdrop of the conflict. Clearly, all relevant parties would emerge losers from the conflict.

Right now, though, steady brutalization of the main sides to the conflict is a certainty. For example, Jewish settlers in contested territories are showing signs of desperation and are reportedly accelerating their ‘ethnic cleansing’ operations.

Accompanying this trend, would be a rallying together of pro-Palestinian militant organizations the world over that would render the threat of ‘global terrorism’ increasingly real, since there is likely to be closer coordination among these militant actors. One upshot of these developments is that Western targets almost everywhere would need to be in a state of eternal vigilance.

Among other things, the above deleterious tendencies in the Middle East ought to underscore the inherent weaknesses of the concept of national security. It ought to be clear by now that the world would not be a safer place until and unless the collective security of countries is ensured.

That is, the world needs to think well beyond the primacy of the nation state. Rather, there needs to be fresh international deliberations on the crucial importance of a system of collective security for the world.

No doubt, such a system has eluded the world thus far but giving up the challenge of establishing an international security arrangement which would protect the entirety of humanity would be tantamount to compromising the future of mankind.

Essentially, what needs to be done is to put the human being at the heart of the international community’s efforts at bringing into being a comprehensive system of collective security. That is, humanity should be the prime consideration of the international community.

The continuation of war and conflict the world over is proof that humanity is being constantly downplayed by states and international actors. National security is continuing to win priority but the consequences are proving catastrophic for mankind. Clearly, international security deliberations are in need of a radical paradigm shift in the direction of humanity and the latter predominantly. The world could begin with the Middle East, in these renewed exertions focusing on security.