The Gulf and the Mashreq: The State of the Debate
Iran, Iraq, Syria and Israel-Palestine are the four areas of greatest immediate importance. The tragedy that the region now confronts is that the different conflicts feed off one another and engender new, divergent narratives and sources of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Iranians, Emiratis, Saudis and Bahrainis, Egyptians and Qataris, Turks, Iraqis and Kurds, and between Sunni and Shia, and adherents of the Muslim Brotherhood and salafists. The history of the world is replete with such experiences, and their occurrence has always destroyed human capital, rent the fabric of society, and prompted and sustained conflict. We are at a crossroads, with big power relationships that have shaped recent history being transformed, and new influences emerging. How the people of the Gulf and the Mashreq region engage, both within their own communities, and between the societies that define the larger landscape, will determine the outcomes. We shall all be accountable to our children, and their children, for the consequences.