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Think tanks call for adopting conflict resolution methods in region

By Mohammad Ghazal - May 26,2014 - Last updated at May 26,2014

AMMAN — Jordanian and Turkish think tanks on Monday said political transitions in the Middle East have created new security challenges that necessitate developing conflict resolution mechanisms to end foreign interference, which is complicating the prevailing regional conditions.

They said political transformations across the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring must be coupled with socio-economic transformations and reforms to meet some of the aspirations of the peoples of the region for a better life and livelihood.

“There is a competition between regional and international players seeking to protect their interests in the Middle East. When the Arab Spring started, things were different, but at a later stage interference started,” Musa Shteiwi, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS), said at a CSS workshop.

“New security challenges have emerged in the region.”

Noting that Jordan has historically been a target of terror groups such as Al Qaeda, Shteiwi said the Kingdom faces the challenge of terrorism in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, especially from groups coming from Syria.

“The increasingly worsening situation in Syria and the presence of several radical groups have created a new security challenge in Jordan,” he added.

Saban Kardas, president of the Turkey-based Centre for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), agreed with Shteiwi, warning that the lack of methods for conflict resolution in the Middle East has opened the door for regional and international powers to interfere in the affairs of the region.

“Middle Easterners lack such mechanisms, which has led to violence like in Libya and Syria, a matter that made countries in the region resort to international intervention,” said Kardas, adding that this has created a security vacuum in the Middle East.

Participants in the workshop called for addressing the socio-economic needs of the region’s nations.

“There are many socio-economic issues that need to be addressed in the Middle East and these are serious issues that need to be tackled along with political transformations,” said Kardas.

Speaking during the workshop, Mesut Özcan, director of Diplomacy Academy in Turkey, said peoples of the Middle East have economic expectations after they managed to change regimes in some Arab countries and caused major political transitions in others.

“Those great expectations can turn into great disappointments if economic and social concerns are not addressed,” Özcan said.

“People need better health, better education and basic services.”

“We need to tell our societies in the region that we cannot make political or economic miracles. Perfect democracy and better situations cannot happen overnight,” he noted.

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