By Sam Sasan Shoamanesh

The only region in the world without a security framework must at long last set about the task of creating one

The Middle East is once again the theatre for one of the world’s major crises – this time in Syria. Sophists and spin doctors are, to be sure, reducing the complexity that is Syria to a good versus evil moral play. This convenient packaging obscures an inconvenient, more fundamental truth – to wit, that it is the existing regional order that is largely responsible for the perpetual insecurity and the endless recurrence of conflict in the Middle East. Confusion about this diagnosis leads to blindness about an obvious remedy – that is, that this outdated order, a colonial concoction of the last century, must be overhauled, indigenously, for the benefit of regional peace and security in this century.

In order to correct the regional order and place it on track toward greater stability, Middle Eastern states must imagine a shared, more prosperous future, and work collectively to establish a long-overdue regional security architecture – recalling that the Middle East today remains the only region in the world without a regional security and cooperation framework. Of course, the question is begged: how is it that a hyper-volatile region like the Middle East does not yet have a regional mechanism for managing and defusing conflict?

To date, with rare exceptions, any meaningful discussion concerning the creation of a security framework in the Middle East has focussed exclusively on the sub-region of the Persian Gulf. More recently, due to the intensifying opposition to Iran’s nuclear programme and rising tensions among Persian Gulf littoral states, a number of American analysts have called for a NATO-style collective defence security regime for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in sole partnership with the US, in order to address regional threats. Recent US efforts to create a missile defence system for the GCC, as well as increases in US arms sales to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf are manifestations of this same strategic logic in action. Read more…

Sam Sasan Shoamanesh is Managing Editor of Global Brief.

As published by Global Brief on October 4, 2012.


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