Mid-East, still the US’stumbling block
of who emerges victorious at the next Presidential poll, the Middle East
will continue to be the Gordian Knot of US foreign policy.
Unfortunately, the indications are that the ‘knot’ is unlikely to be
‘cut’ in a hurry, which means that the Middle East would continue to
bleed. If the US administration is to pause awhile, it would figure out
that the unresolved Middle East conflict provides the fuel that keeps
many a regional conflict raging. It is the continuing spread of
religious fundamentalism that renders seemingly unresolvable numerous
armed and political conflicts around the world, and they are overtly or
circuitously linked to the spread of religious militancy, which is in
turn linked to the unresolved Middle East conundrum to a considerable
For instance, armed religious fundamentalists are generally
supportive of the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings and are currently even backing
sections of the rebels in Syria, but they could prove a highly
complicating factor if the rebellion succeeds in Syria and a new
broad-based government comes to power. Depending on the influence these
religious hard-liners, exert, the new administration would be for or
against the West. But the point to be comprehended is that it is the
Middle East problem which partly provides the rationale for the coming
into being of these hard-line elements.
Although, the Israelis were as dispossessed as the Palestinians, and
could make out a case for themselves, it is the Palestinians who have
managed to capture both the moral backing and the imagination of a
considerable proportion of international opinion. This is largely on
account of the fact that the West has not done anything much in terms of
helping to resolve the Middle East conflict equitably.
It would not do to merely call on the Israeli state to halt the
construction of settlements in contested territory. The West should
cease to be seen as being an uncritical ally of the Israeli state and
provide the evidence that it is prepared to deal even-handedly with all
parties to the conflict.
As long as matters remain this way and as long as the Middle East
conflict remains unresolved, Israel and the US would provide a rationale
for the emergence of mainly religious fundamentalist armed outfits which
would be staunchly opposed to both parties. Such organizations would not
only proliferate on Middle East and Mediterranean soil but in other
parts of the world too.
A case in point is the Taliban in Afghanistan. No doubt, local
political and social conditions gave rise to the emergence of the
Taliban on Afghan soil but it is also drawing considerably on the Middle
East conflict to spread its influence worldwide and pose a threat to
Western and US interests all over the globe.
Likewise, Al-qaeda, which seemingly has links with the Taliban and is
proving a threat to Western interests, is drawing on the Middle East to
spread its influence among impressionable sections. The US-Iran
confrontation too could be reduced in severity if the US acts in a more
constructive manner to end the conflict in the Middle East. Besides,
armed religious fundamentalism is spreading in some African states and
here too one of the causative factors is the Middle East problem which
could be resolved if the West makes constructive and positive moves,
which it is fighting shy of initiating in a major way.
Accordingly, it is difficult to see any easing of the bloodshed in
the Middle East inasmuch as it is difficult to see any US President
moving concertedly and positively to end the conflict on account of the
US’ vital economic and strategic interests in the Middle East. But an
ending of tensions in most parts of the world depends on a containment
of the Middle East conflict.