Embroiled in regional conflict

Dr Farooq Hasnat & Dr Zamurrad Awan

Throughout history, the Middle Eastern region—stretching from Iran to Morocco (Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the periphery)—has been complex, attaining a close inquiry by scores of historians and other social scientists. Even today, whether it is oil-related policies, regional conflicts, civil wars, or apartheid occupation, this region is embroiled in chaos, posing challenges for experts and politicians, especially when it is presented to find a solution. Taking advantage of this complex internal environment, the external forces have been attracted to pursue their interests, to enforce influence and authority or merely to gain undue financial gains; leading towards multiple problems and entanglements.

With the encouragement of the Americans, the Israelis further strengthened their evil agenda to colonise the Palestinians, under a strict apartheid regime. Together, the Israelis and Gulf rulers alliance, hurriedly put together, geared to move forward in full speed, sidelining the aspirations of the inhabitants of the respective citizens, to the surprise and shock of the neighbouring nations. They allied, under the leadership of President Trump, through the “Abraham Accords”, resulting in the abandonment of the already crushed Palestinian people.

The former American President had already unilaterally withdrawn from the Obama Administration’s brokered Iran Nuclear Accord of 2015, which had promised pace and betterment of relations between Iran and the US and imposed inhumane and a wide range of sanctions, accompanied by assassinations of the Iranian officials. But Iran made all efforts to not let its country’s economy derail. With the change in Washington, D.C., it is speculated that in the coming days, Iran along with the Biden administration, will be able to reactivate the agreement. It is also important to understand that this matter will not only be limited to being a nuclear issue but also stimulate economic and trade relations between Iran and the world, especially the United States and the European Union. For example, after the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran signed a $16 billion deal to buy 80 passenger planes from US aircraft maker Boeing. It is important to understand that, to restore economic and trade relations between Iran and other countries and to ensure regional peace, it is imperative that the United States first re-enter into the nuclear agreement to restore it in its original form. Second, it should not allow countries such as Israel and any other Gulf states to become a stumbling block.

Both the Biden administration and Iran desire to restore the 2015 Nuclear Deal, but their approaches vary. The United States attaches the deal with Iran’s other activities in the Middle East. However, Iran strongly believes that the inhuman, unilateral and illegal restrictions on its country by the former US president should be immediately lifted. In this regard, from the platform of the European Union, the negotiations are underway between the two countries, in Geneva with expectations of advancement.

Soon after Joe Biden took office, he reversed Trump’s policy in many ways. He immediately denounced Trump’s “Muslim Ban” and promised to strive for peace in Yemen and elsewhere, putting an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He also, with immediate effect, came back to negotiate with the Iranian government to renew the Nuclear Accord, with a promise of lifting the unjust Trump sanctions.

The mentioned change of US administration’s policies unnerved the Gulf rulers and they hurriedly vouched to correct worsening relations with Iran, with whom they had drawn daggers to please Trump and the Israeli leadership. The Gulf leadership realised that the security protection that Trump had provided has vanished and that they have become vulnerable to internal and external challenges. Now, they sought consolation in normalising relations with strong non-Arab Muslim countries of the region.

Biden, however, was slow to address the growing Palestinian unrest and it caught him by surprise. According to an assessment, the “Israel-Palestine flare-up has caught Biden administration unprepared” and that the White House is playing for time and needs to decide quickly how to deal with Trump’s legacy of unwavering support for Netanyahu”, which was to enslave the Palestinians. A clear message is sent by the Palestinians, that no matter how much they are suffering, they will not compromise their dignity and freedom.