Mashal Rehman


The Middle East is a transcontinental region and it includes the area from Libya to Afghanistan, usually including Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Arabian Peninsula. The Middle East is a region which has always remained dominant in world history. The significance of this region can be seen from the fact that half of the world’s oil reserves are in the Middle East. Secondly, it is a juncture between three continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa). Thirdly the Middle East is a cradle of civilizations and a birthplace of three main religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism). Lastly and chiefly Suez Canal which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea is in Egypt and Egypt is in the Middle East. Suez Canal is as important as Panama Canal which connects the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean through the state of Panama. It is due to the presence of Suez Canal that ships do not have to travel around the southern tip of Africa when they move around Europe and Asia. Apart from Suez Canal, there are other waterways in the Middle East too including Strait of Hormuz, Bab-al-Mandeb etc. and the existence of these waterways make the Middle East a critical region as waterways play an essential role in boosting trade which ultimately flourishes the economy of a state.

Although the Middle East is a region which has all the blessings but currently almost all the states in the region of Middle East are in political turmoil. For instance, Syria is in a state of civil war. This war has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and apart from killing people, this war has left 1.5 million people with permanent disabilities. The consequences and effects of this war are as severe as the consequences and effects of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the USA. Another state of Middle East which is continuously fighting for its sovereignty and its people are still fighting for their freedom in Palestine. Palestine issue aggravated in 1947 when United Nations under considerable Zionist pressure gave away 55% of Palestine to a Jewish state-despite the fact that this group represented only about 30% of the total population and owned under 7% of the land. Up till now, Palestine issue has remained unsolved and nobody is doing anything to stop violence against its people. Then there is the crisis in Yemen. There are sectarian issues in the states of Middle East. Non-state actors are fierce in the Middle East and they are making the political situation of Middle East more critical. Due to occupancy of Non-state actors, foreign actors have started to intervene in the Middle East. For instance, in the case of Syria, there are rebel groups and there are forces of Bashar al Asad but apart from these two opponents there is Russia, there is the USA and there is Turkey and all of these foreign actors know that whosoever will control the Middle East will ultimately control the world.

It is quite sad to see that foreign leaders know the significance of Middle East but leaders who are ruling the states of Middle East are not realizing its importance. The Middle East is a region which has produced leaders like Jamal Abdul Naseer and Yasser Arafat but nowadays there is not a single leader in the Middle East who can take a stand against foreign leaders and can fight for the sovereignty of his state. There was a time when Arabs leaders who were not ruling Palestine were fighting for Palestine issue (Jamal Abdul Naseer, Yaseer Arafat). It is because of this that the wars which were fought against Israel for Palestine issue are not known as Palestine Israel wars but rather these wars are called as Arab Israeli wars. But unfortunately these days no leader is willing to consider this issue seriously and most of them just say a few words just to show superficially that they are not supporting USA or Israel. Jerusalem is an essential state for Muslims due to the fact that is religiously important. Recently Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced that US embassy would relocate there from Tel Aviv. This announcement should come as a death blow to all the leaders who are currently ruling the states of Middle East but no one responded accurately. There were protests in Lebanon near the United States Embassy but those protests were not organized by the leader of Lebanon but it was an effort of the general public. The leadership of Saudi Arabia condemned it but the question is what can he do practically do to reverse this decision and the answer he cannot do much because he is not a charismatic leader who can influence the political dynamics of Middle East. He is more concerned about issues in his own state as right now there is a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Before leaders of Middle East used to talk about Pan Arabism and they were anti-westerners. Pan Arabism is the principle or advocacy of political alliance or union of all the Arab states but nowadays leaders in the Middle East do not want this. They want that their state should gain maximum power as one can see in the case of rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia and their state may become the most powerful state of Middle East. As states in the Middle East are fighting against each other it is providing an opportunity to foreign actors to intervene in their states and can create their own supremacy. Leaders of Middle East are right now not realizing this fact that if in one state foreign leaders will become successful in creating their dominance then they would intervene in the political affairs of all the states of the Middle East and no state in the Middle East will remain sovereign.

Right now Bashar al Asad is the leader of Syria and Syria is in a state of civil war. Russia is one of Syrian President Bashar al Asad’s most important international backers. On the other hand, there is the USA which is supporting Syria’s main opposition alliance, the National Coalition and provides limited military assistance to moderate rebels. There is a dilemma of leaders of Middle East that they do not want to lose their prestige no matter what and are power hungry. It can be seen in the past too that when Arabs lost the war of 1967 Jamal Abdul Naseer could not tolerate it as it had hurt his pride. Same is the case with Bashar al Asad right now that he does not want to lose his power and his prestige and for this, he has gone to the extent that he is even using chemical weapons against his own people. He knows that Russia is against the USA that is why it is supporting him and it’s solely for their own interest but still he does not bother and he right now just wants that he may not lose his power. He is not realizing this fact that if Russia would become successful then he will ultimately lose everything. To make a long story short leaders of Middle like Gaddafi only care about their own well-being and they do not care where their country is going and how much misery their people are facing. Due to this people go against them and the situation becomes worse. There is a dire need of a strong and charismatic leader in the Middle East who can control this political turmoil and can save it from foreign actors because the Middle East is an extremely important region. This region just needs a leader who won’t do corruption, nepotism and will sincerely care about masses instead of caring about his prestige and power. Only then political instability would come to an end in the region of Middle East.




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