Dialogue is the Basis for Solving the Crises in the Region

  • 4 April 2007

The trend toward having dialogue as the basis for tackling various crises in the Middle East region is increasing after a period of tensions, which employed confrontation and strife for settling fiery issues, thereby threatening regional security. The recent Arab summit in Riyadh has made a breakthrough in inter-Arab relations, especially over establishing Syria’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, through an international conference on Iraq that was held in Baghdad recently. In this conference, the US participated along with Iran and Syria. The conference was marked by an air of dialogue and understanding among all concerned parties on the Iraq situation, as opposed to confrontation and conflict. In addition, the visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Damascus recently has opened an important window for US-Syria relations, and all this would help prepare the circumstances for solving the problems in the region. Moreover, the Arab affirmation of the “peace initiative” with Israel at the Riyadh summit has translated into a firm Arab belief that no settlement of Arab–Israeli conflict is possible except through negotiations, and that this conviction would reach Israel and get imbedded in the minds of its leaders. Perhaps, what makes the increasing trend toward dialogue in the region more important is that it comes at a time when various parties have exhausted the options of threats, coercion, and confrontation and have failed to achieve their ends. On the contrary, they have suffered reversals as the crises has escalated and become more explosive. This means that the trend toward dialogue and understanding emanates from a feeling of submission to the fact that dialogue is important and inevitable. It expresses conviction in the failure of the option of conflict and its incapability of achieving a decisive result.

The explosive problems in the Middle East have a special characteristic, in that they are problems involving a high degree of complexity and sensitivity, in which political, religious and sectarian dimensions have got entangled. The internal, regional, and international aspects are highly tangled, and this calls for a special kind of treatment based on dialogue and evolution of a consensus among all concerned parties. If the preceding period witnessed a tendency toward accepting this reality, it is hoped that this conviction would gain more ground in the future in a way that would include all the issues and tensions of the region. This should include all forces fighting in Lebanon and Iraq, as the likely result of the civil strife in Lebanon and Iraq, with all its bloody and catastrophic effects, should convince all concerned parties that it is impossible for any party to impose its will on the other. Consequently, these parties would have to stop the conflict and sit at the negotiating table.

Signs of dialogue are appearing in the Middle East region and need to be supported and pushed forward, because any relapse of this process would have unpredictable and catastrophic consequences.