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The escalation of conflicts in Middle East

Mar 03,2024 - Last updated at Mar 03,2024

The persistence of the conflict, the failure of nation-states, the lack of enlightenment processes within countries, and the shifting focus, primarily on security, have contributed to deep psychological divisions among the region's populations. In many cases, people coexist in the same geographic area without feeling adequately represented by their governing structures. This sense of alienation persists and often escalates during times of conflict, leading to increased calls for fragmentation along geographic or ethnic lines.

The examples of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon highlight the challenges of recovery without comprehensive solutions. Moreover, ongoing conflicts may fuel demands for new states based on ethnic or religious identities, as witnessed in Yemen, Iraq and potentially Syria. For instance, the emergence of two Yemeni states and the perpetuation of the Shia-Sunni conflict in Iraq demonstrate the complexities of identity politics within the region. Similarly, the Kurdish pursuit of state recognition and the potential for Alawites and Druze to seek autonomy underscore the region's persistent challenges in fostering cohesive nation-building efforts.

These calls for independence and autonomy represent a fundamental shift in the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East, heralding the emergence of a "new Middle East" characterised by increased fragmentation and decentralisation of power. As non-state actors assert themselves and traditional power structures erode, the region faces a period of profound uncertainty and instability.

In Yemen, the conflict in Gaza serves as a cautionary tale of how localised disputes can escalate into broader geopolitical crises. The ongoing conflict between Houthi rebels and the internationally recognised government has already resulted in widespread humanitarian suffering and threatens to further destabilise the region. As external actors intervene and support various factions, the risk of escalation grows, raising concerns about the security of vital maritime trade routes in the Red Sea.

The impact of these conflicts extends far beyond the borders of the Middle East, affecting global security and stability. The proliferation of extremist ideologies and the presence of non-state actors pose significant challenges to international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism. Moreover, the displacement of millions of people and the breakdown of governance structures have created fertile ground for transnational criminal networks and illicit activities.

The conflict in Gaza serves as a stark reminder of the interconnected nature of conflicts in the Middle East and the potential for localised disputes to escalate into broader geopolitical crises. As non-state actors assert themselves and traditional power structures erode, the region faces a period of profound uncertainty and instability.

Considering these developments, it becomes imperative for the international community to address the root causes of conflict and instability in the region. Diplomatic efforts must focus on promoting dialogue and reconciliation among conflicting parties, while humanitarian assistance should be provided to alleviate the suffering of affected populations. Moreover, efforts to strengthen the capacity of nation-states with enlightenment vision to govern effectively and address the needs of their citizens are essential to preventing further fragmentation and promoting stability in the region.

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