Middle East Affairs
- Pages: 4
- Word count: 940
- Category: Islam
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Middle East Regional Issues
During the last 50 years, tension and insecurity have been the major concerns of the global community regarding the Middle East. In the pat, the Middle East threatened global security and peace through various crisis and wars that ensued between various states. The trend has currently changed and today, the Middle East threatens global security through global terrorism. After 9/11, the world has become aware of the existence of a new kind of terrorism whose roots are undoubtedly associated with regional issues facing the Middle East. The new kind of terrorism is deeply rooted in the cultural, economic and political problems that have existed in this region as well as the reaction of the international community towards these problems. This kind of terrorism is mainly driven by Islamic radicalism represented by Al Qaeda, U.S policies political involvement in the Middle East especially the support for Israel in the Israel-Arab conflict which has resulted in growing Arab frustration and the growth of extremism (Petersen, Pablo-Guerra & Pugwash 2005, p.113).
Political Islamic movements and Middle East regional stability
Since the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1989, secular leaders as well as various Arab governments have cited a fear of political Islam as a justification of their repressive and near oppressive policies. But the more that they try to crack down political Islam, the more popular that these movements have become; apparently leading to a sinking of the credibility of these governments. As a result, secularism in the Arab world has become synonymous with anti-Islamic policies, oppression and widespread corruption. Those involved in the Islamic movements represent a considerable part of the electorate in Arab nations and to achieve democracy, such movements cannot be excluded from the democratic processes. But these movements have attracted jihadists worldwide as extremist groups under Al Qaeda try to oppose the democratization of their fellow Muslims and to wade off western influence in the Middle East (CISD 2008, pp.3-8).
The Arab-Israeli conflict is currently one of the major problems facing peace and security in the Middle East but like all other regional problems and issues, this conflict has all along proved difficult to resolve. This is mainly because of the Middle East culture that has always felt threatened by the globalization process and thus attracted a lot of opposition towards achieving peace and stability in this region. Since Gaza and the West Bank have become a hot-point of conflict, any move towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict must address such issues as stopping Israeli activity in Gaza; improving the Palestinian security forces; ad boosting the West Bank economy so that it becomes stronger (Indyk & Pollack 2009, pp.1-2).
Egyptian stability and the Middle East
The stability of the Egyptian regime has a great role to play in the regional stability of the Middle East. This is because Egypt is home to one of the most influential Islamist movements; the Muslim Brotherhood. Considering the stand that these movements have continued to have against secularism and the influence that such a large group exerts on other upcoming groups, the influence that the Muslim Brotherhood currently has on the Egyptian government will determine its stability and subsequently control the reactions that other Islamist movements have towards the regime. Since the brotherhood is the reigning Egyptian opposition party, its growth must be watched keenly because such groups are known to provide an umbrella for terrorist groups and the implementation of harsh Islamist laws both of which destabilize regional stability (POMED 2009).
The Saudi Arabian Regime and regional stability
Until the year 2003, Saudi Arabia had not experienced the type of violence that Al Qaeda was now carrying out in the region. The Wahhabist religious tradition which controls the Saudi government can be blamed for creating the type of tension that eventually led to extremist action against Saudi Arabia. Because Wahhabi Islam determines Saudi Arabia’s style of governance, it is very hard to maintain regional stability because extremist groups will continually oppose any western influence in this nation and the whole of the Middle East (Hegghamer 2008, pp.703-709).
Positives and negatives of a resurgent Iran in the Middle East
A resurgent Iranian regime is a threat to both Middle East regional stability as well as global security. This is because Iran has continually failed to safeguard the diversion of its nuclear program to civilian weapon purpose; a factor that poses a great threat of nuclear warfare because of the increased number of insurgent groups in the region. The Middle East has become a region of so much tension and given rise to a new form of global terrorism that has proved hard to control due to the rising number of Islamist movements in the region. Iran has also continually supported terrorism and the resurgence of its hardliners can pose a serious set back to the war on terror (Phillips 2005).
Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) (2008). 9th Annual Conference, May 14, 2008. “What do Islamists and Islamic movements want?” Reviewed July 11, 2009
Hegghamer, T. (2008). “Islamist violence and regime stability in Saudi Arabia.” Reviewed July 11, 2009 http://hegghammer.com_files/Hegghammer_Islamist_violence_and_regime_stability_ in_Saudi_Arabia_pdf.
Petersen, A, Pardo-Guerra J.P and Pugwash Y/International Student (2005). Remember your humanity: International student/Young Pugwash yearbook. Amsterdam: International Student/Young Pugwash
Phillips, J (2005). “Dealing with Iran’s Resurgent Hardliners.” Reviewed July 11, 2009 http://www.heritage.org/research/iran/em977.cfm
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) (2009). “Country background Series: Egypt.” Reviewed July 11, 2009 http://pomed.org/country-pages/egypt/country-backgound- series/