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Stronger Together: A Better Future For the Middle East

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Message Sam Amer

If one looks at the Middle East, one easily sees that the three main countries in terms of population and influence: Turkey, Egypt and Iran have more to unite than divide them. After all, the three are Moslem-majority countries. Yet, each of them belongs to a different sphere of influence, which is reducing their geopolitical weight and allowing external powers to keep their countries and the entire region divided and underdeveloped. If they adopt a common international political stance they could form a formidable block that would be good not only for their people but for the entire region as a whole.

At the core of their differences is the interpretation of what their uniting force should be. Although they are all Moslem majority countries, they have different interpretations of what Islam really means. This is silly in today's world since in the end, it doesn't, and shouldn't, make much difference. Whether you are Sunni or Shia or something in between, you still believe in the same God, his prophet Mohamed and in his teachings: the Koran. All other differences could, and should, be discarded in the interest of their people's well-being and future. In fact, there are now significant movements in several Moslem-majority countries to de-emphasize the differences between the Islamic sects and emphasize that religion should only be personal and should not interfere in politics or governance. With greater education, development and new means of communication, the importance of religion, as a whole, decreases. Look at what is happening in the more developed world. The role of religion is becoming less and less important. It is easy to see that the three countries should grow above their ancient rivalries that kept them apart and start working together for the benefit of their people. Their present disunity is allowing outside powers to disrespect and abuse them and treat the entire region as their sanctioned playground.

The leaders of the three countries: Erdogan, El-Sissi and Khameni are intelligent and accomplished enough as leaders in their own rights. They should easily see the clear advantages for them acting together rather than acting as underlings to the divisive and aggressive actions by the United States, Russia or other external powers. These powers are intent to keep them divided and weak in order to maintain their hegemony over the entire Middle East.

It should be easy for the three leaders to see the value of getting together and seeing eye-to-eye. This won't be easy to accomplish but can be done with determination and devotion to the interests of their own people and that of the entire region. If it happens, the entire Middle East will be forever changed and the future for Moslem Middle East would be much brighter. After all, the three countries were much closer together not long ago in Islam's golden age and later still during Ottoman period. They certainly have a long history of working together under the same umbrella. This may sound simplistic and naà ve but the expected great results clearly justify serious consideration.

Saudi Arabia and the Arab Monarchies were intentionally left out of this discussion because they represent more of private enterprises that may not reflect the desires of their people. In general they are adopting extreme views of Islam and of their role in it. If concordance overtakes the Islamic main Middle East countries, the Arab Monarchies will have no choice but to follow suit. The region could be returned to its glory days and become the leading light in science and technology that it once was.

What needs to happen is a meeting between the three leaders and their associates to try and develop a common strategy for the region. They can agree on common stances in relation to the various problems they are facing as ISIS, big power meddling, Syria, "etc. Afterwards, they could declare their combined positions regarding the different issues facing them and declare their intention to diffuse tensions among them and announce their plan to use their combined stances to inhibit outside interference in the region's affairs. This may sound difficult to achieve but is certainly possible.

This way, the three countries and the entire region can stand together against outside meddling and will be in a better position to coordinate their activities and policies for the benefit of their people and that of the entire world.

Sam Amer

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Retired Pharmacologist with two masters and a Ph.D.
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