By Hassan Al Mustafa
25 October 2018
In his speech addressed to the participants of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly last September, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed highlighted four major obstacles that threaten the security and stability of the region, and they are “foreign interferences in affairs of the Arab world, the spread of extremism and terrorism (including the exploitation of modern technology by terrorists to spread their dangerous ideas), settling with managing current crises amid the absence of solutions, and finally the exacerbation of economic, social and humanitarian conditions.”
These complex overlapping obstacles have turned consecutive and inherited problems into a state of an “ongoing crisis” that cannot be resolved by the individual effort of one state or by focusing on a specific aspect of its many branches.
Collective, persistent effort
Instead, these issues require collective, strong and persistent effort that neutralizes points of dispute and focuses on points that constitute a common threat thus taking it from here and moving forward by promoting trust among all parties and establishing this trust via joint action since the crisis surrounds all of the countries in the Middle East and its repercussions spare no one.
In his book ‘For a Crisiology’, French philosopher Edgar Morin points out that there has been a change in the meaning of the word ‘crisis’, which originally meant “decision” in Greek, i.e. “the decisive moment, which during the development of an uncertain process, allowed a diagnosis.”
According to Morin, in the present times, the meaning has taken on a contradictory meaning, which is “hesitation”, explaining that now the word refers to “the moment out of which uncertainties as well as disruption originate.”
Going back the speech of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, we find that there has been in fact ‘uncertainty’ which characterizes policies in the Middle East regarding the issues he has pointed out and there is a reluctance to come up with radical solutions, which prompted him to call upon the international community to “take an assertive stance towards countries with hostile policies that violate international law and the charter of the organization,” because this inconsistent policy towards rogue states or groups would exacerbate crises and make the latter more difficult to resolve.
According to the UAE Foreign Minister: “It has become inevitable that we become more effective in maintaining regional security by strengthening partnerships to address existing challenges. We are aware that we cannot continue to rely on other countries to resolve the crises of the region, and that no single country, irrespective of its capacities, can alone restore security and stability.”
This frank call by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to “remove problems” should be taken seriously by major capitals.
These states should work to find some sort of formula for serious dialogue and understanding, not just make meaningless slogans or statements because ongoing crisis would mean that terrorism, fundamentalism, wars, poverty and illiteracy will find suitable environments for growth and wise men and wisdom will have no influence whatsoever and the region will drown in a sea of crises, which will produce more of them.
Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.