State of suspense in the Middle East (1-2) [Archives:2006/934/Opinion]

April 3 2006

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb
The current international situation, especially at the regional level, represents the ideal example of what is called the state of suspense. Files are open and issues unsettled ands all are waiting.

Here is the Iranian western confrontation in a way bearing worrying forebodings. The situation in Iraq does not seem approaching settlement in the short-run. In addition, the Palestinian occupied territories looks to be having a situation of waiting that may take long space of time and the Syrian-Lebanese relation enters an uncomfortable stage of for all parties, as well as the situation in Darfur is heading for a new turning whose probabilities look to be ambiguous and with dangerous outcomes.

In Yemen, the situation is not showing good omens between the ruling party and the opposition, especially before preparations for the local and presidential elections, at a time the supreme commission of elections does not read well the regional and international variables. The opposition has not yet announced its candidate for the presidential elections particularly under the situation of increased number of independent nominees and the absence of the ruling party's convincing the president to be its candidate to name the alternative.

All these situations collectively form what is can be called the state of international suspense against which all possibilities are probable and also all results are contingent. Reviewing aspects of suspense prevail these selected samples of spots of tension in the Middle East can be summarized with the following points:

First, We do not believe that breaking through the Iranian revolution will be an easy thing because the “struggling state” is, by its nature, founded on rooted principles difficult to negotiate with or to get concessions from. Though I personally feel concerned regarding an example of the Iranian president Ahmedi Najad, I know that the Iranian political decision is not in the hands of the president of the republic alone. There is the supreme spiritual leader and with him a strong group of governance strong establishments, more capable of formulating the final stands. A few years before I had he opportunity to visit Iran to see what I did not expect to see. There I found out a strong state, coherent society, advancing economy and the woman proceeding on liberation. I also discovered that Iran is the second Asian state, next to India, in cinema industry. It has the best program for family planning in the Islamic world. Then I believed that the western media try to underestimate efficiency of the mullahs' rule and to paint news and information with whimsical political tincture. Therefore, I think that Iran will go ahead on its road despite that we concede that Israel strongly seeks to deal a blow to the Iranian nuclear installation, it might do so, but an American involvement in Iran similar to the Iraqi type seems to be an impossible development, based on our reading of the international attitude and its ramifications. No doubt the entire world follows up that heated confrontation, particularly after the European stand has got close to the American stand versus the Iranian nuclear file that had been forwarded tot the UN Security Council in a step to intimidate Iran and in complication of the tense attitude between it and he west in general and the United States in particular.

Second, Iraq and its situation have entered the darkest spot of the tunnel. Let's be specific and call things by their actual names. Iraq is governed by Shiite imams and is hit by Kurdish-Arab, Shiite and Sunnis, conflicts, a situation heralding the most dangerous consequences. It is quite enough to ponder what we term the mosque war, an unprecedented development of bloody conflict taking place on the land of two rivers. Moreover, the victims of violence are on the increase and I do not think of a possible near end of this situation produced by the American invasion. Added to that are the strong charges of vexation and despair greatly dominating over the sons of the wounded homeland. As there seems to be a conflict on the person of the prime minister, the ongoing conflict in Baghdad is closely related to each party's use of its strength and political weight for a new formulation crystallizing the Iraqis perception of what the future Iraq can be. Although the Iraqi question, with all of its complications, seems still improbable of solution despite of the efforts to settle it, that will not affect the future of the great Arab people of Iraq.

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb is an economist and a professor in Political Science. He is the head of a number of professional associations, such as the Arab Group for Investment and Development