The Middle East is at a crucial point of progress in it’s fight for security and peace in the global scene. Many issues have complicated the thought process and have obstructed the path foreword in the area. With the War in Iraq raging on and the Sunni politicians resigning due to disputes with the Shiite majority, Iraq might be in trouble. The Israeli/Palestinian ordeal has only gotten worse since the rift of power in the Palestinian Authority between Hamas and Fatah, back in mid June 2007. Iran is still funding terrorist organizations and pursuing nuclear resources for energy and possible weapons. These factors along with the ever mounting Al Qaeda minded militia forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan has put the U.S. and the rest of the world on edge.
As far as the War in Iraq goes the U.S. is at odds within itself regarding the progress of the new surge; while many U.S. citizens demand a pull out immediately. In a recent poll taken by The New York Times and CBS News on July 20-22, 2007 42% approve of the U.S. being in Iraq and 51% disapprove of the U.S. ever going there. Even though the majority polled disapprove of the U.S. involvement in Iraq, the percentage of approval has risen to 42% from 35% back in May. Since the surge reached it’s maximum troop levels in June it appears that many skeptics to the new U.S. strategy have voiced there surprise in the results so far. In a paper published on the Brookings Institute’s website Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack state, “there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008." Will the surge results on Sept. 15th be already scared by the sway of the American people. It is generally agreed that even if the U.S. started a withdraw now, it would take about a year to get the majority of the troops out. Another problem is the separation of views between the ruling Shiite and the minority Sunni. Reuters Aug. 1st 2007 reports that Five ministers and a deputy prime minister have resigned from the government do to protest. It’s going to be hard to unite a country when it’s governments beliefs are so different and cause rifts from inside their nation. So hopefully the surge will make great progress and the Iraqi government will come together by the year 2009, that would give the new U.S. President something to propel themselves.
A journey into the Israeli/Palestinian conflict brings one to a critical junction. The Hamas had taken control of the Gaza strip in June; to counter that the Fatah led President of the Palestinian Authority took control over the West bank. This situation has brought the region’s peace process down a new path. With Israel and the U.S. recognizing the Fatah party in the West bank and supplying them with aid, it looks bleak for a unified government for the Palestinian people. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in the region this week and are holding talks with two keys to the crisis, Saudi Arabia and Israel. These talks are aimed at getting the Arab nations and Israel together for a peace summit on Palestine. The Saudi Government has laid an offer on the table for Israel to review. It states that Israel release land supposed to be governed by the Palestinians in the 1967 accords and in return Saudi Arabia will push its Arab neighbors to sign treaties /recognize Israel’s existence. BBC.com reports Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal saying, “we welcome this initiative.” The summit will be held in the Fall and the U.S. is hoping for a good turnout. To make this crisis disperse the U.S. needs to agree to talks with the Hamas leaders and try to help both parties come together with Israel.
Rice and Gates are also in the region promoting an arms deal between the U.S., Israel, and many Arab nations. The deal calls for the sale of 20 billion in military equipment including: satellite guided missile packages to Saudi Arabia and a increase in military funding to Israel. The deal will also supply military aid to smaller Arab nations in the Middle east. The increase in aid and sale of military weapons is in part due to Iran’s influence in the region. According to Paul Reynolds a world affairs corresponant at the BBC, Condoleezza Rice has described Iran as "the single most important, single-country challenge... to US interests in the Middle East..." This is said as Iran continues to develop nuclear power and technology against UN disapproval. The U.S. is pushing for more sanctions against Iran and is still stating that Iran is helping insurgents in Iraq with weapons and other support. During his visit to Camp David, Britain’s PM Gordan Brown said in a report by reuters that, ”On Iran, we're in agreement that sanctions are working and the next stage we are ready to move towards is to toughen the sanctions with a further U.N. resolution." It is still uncertain if sanctions and aid to U.S. allies in the region will deter Iran’s nuclear capabilities quest and suppress their shipments of supplies to insurgents in Iraq. Only time will tell.
To go further east over to Afghanistan and Pakistan there seems to be chaos on the horizon. Because of the positioning of troops from this area to Iraq the U.S. has lost ground on the fight against hostile militants in these countries. The border between the two countries is jam packed with Al Qaeda movement along with other radical groups vying for control of tribal regions. The real problem arises in Pakistan, the U.S. has creditable Intel that Al Qaeda has amassed and regrouped their strength in the northern region and maybe planning new attacks out of the Middle east. From Reuters, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said on Wednesday Aug. 1st 2007, "the United States must be willing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan." The problem with this is that General Musharraf will not agree to let the U.S. position troops in his country for strikes at Al Qaeda militants. The General also got angry at the U.S.’s aid package when it included stipulations for fighting terrorism in the north. The U.S. should sit down with Pakistan’s leaders and explain to them how America can fix the problem. And then, go from there. Maybe nudge Musharraf into the realization of a better world with out Al Qaeda blowing buildings up.
It is a possibility that the world with the UN at the fore front could unite and quell the problems and dilemmas that face the Middle east. With the U.S.’s assistance and knowledge the planet for the first time has a chance to be at peace and generate solutions to humanities problems; less war. The UN needs to step up to a more vocal voice in today’s global community. This might give the U.S. a brake that it really needs.