Dangerous Situation in the Middle East

  • 9 March 2008

The Middle East region is passing through a very dangerous stage on various fronts, especially as the rhetoric of war and vengeance seems to be drowning talks of peace and tranquility, and the region is veering toward the brink of an explosion that could erupt at any time, in Lebanon or Palestine or elsewhere. The assassination of the Hezbollah leader, Imad Mughniyah, has raised the specter of an open confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel. The recent Jerusalem operation, in which many Israelis were killed and injured, has increased tension as Israel has threatened retaliation. In Iraq, large-scale explosions by terrorist organizations have again killed scores of innocent civilians after a period of relative calm that had raised hopes in the hearts of Arabs that the chapter of terrorism may have ended in Iraq. In Palestine, despite the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip, Israeli leaders are suggesting that this move was merely the first phase of a campaign whose forthcoming phases would be more fierce and bloody. In Lebanon, tumultuous developments are still unfolding and future scenarios are still open to dangerous possibilities. Perhaps what has increased the level of danger is that differences and disputes are inhibiting the possibility of any coordinated effort to tackle the causes of conflict.

Statistics show that the Middle East is facing a critical situation, which if not addressed immediately and effectively by all the concerned parties, could lead to a major relapse. In the wake of the existing complexities, any explosive situation has the potential of creating a state of chaos that could involve the whole region, especially when certain problems are evident, while others are hidden and festering silently.

The Middle East region needs the actions of the wise in this critical phase of its history. It needs to heed the voice of reason to curb the violence and radicalism, because if disorder prevails here it would cause suffering throughout the world because of the strategic and economic importance of the region with respect to global security and stability. It would also entail that this unruly situation will not be easy to control given the complexities of the regional crises, and the religious and sectarian sensitivities that surround it.