Calls for one international political conference after another used to provide me with a glimmer of hope that some of our Middle Eastern challenges would be resolved through the initiatives of advanced Western nations – until I learnt that western bureaucracy is even worse than ours. Unlike most of my fellow Middle Easterners, I am not a believer in conspiracy theories; I believe that western nations are either unconcerned with exerting true efforts to solve some of our challenges or that they are happy with the status quo.
President Trump has famously described our region as “the troubled Middle East”, which would naturally imply that western nations would be making a wise decision by pulling out of the Middle East completely. However, the West does not want to kiss the Middle East a final goodbye nor does it want, or perhaps it is incapable of, constructively engaging in the resolution of our problems. The West is only good at assigning a delegate to each conflict, without giving him a mandate or making him accountable for any outputs.
Some western scholars argue that what we lack in this region is a clear strategy that is produced by the West, the United States in particular. However, this “no strategy” may be the intentional implicit tactic of the West in the Middle East, aimed at leaving the region to struggle with a number of clashes and thus empowering western nations to interfere at their convenience and on the scale of their choice. Meanwhile, western policy failures are often blamed on our unwillingness to resolve our issues.
The West often advocates for idealistic propositions and tends to turn a blind eye to realistic solutions. Moreover, when the West wants to stress a given problem, it is able to resolve it in only a few days, ignoring other considerably less complicated issues. Yet in certain conflicts, the West often draws red lines, indicating clearly that Middle Eastern governments should not cross these lines, and hinting at a number of political propositions that we should adopt gratefully.
The strike on Syria that took place last April is a clear example of the West’s insincerity! Three western nations (the United States, the United Kingdom and France) decided to strike the Syrian ruling regime in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. Regardless of the accuracy of this claim, the West appears to have no problem with the internal war raging in Syria that has led to the killing and displacement of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – but the use of chemical weapons is the red line that the Syrian regime should not cross.
Presently, the United States wants to pull its military forces out of Syria and replace them with Arab forces. The decisions to deploy forces, carry out strikes or withdraw troops are all western presidential decrees that might conflict with the needs of innocent citizens living in the countries concerned. Western leaders are always keen to provide their fellow citizens with some justification for their military interferences in other nations, yet they don’t really care to address the suffering victims in those nations.
The conflicts that have emerged in the Middle East are certainly our responsibility; our various political forces have contributed to their creation. However, once the West decides to interfere, whatever the method, it should assume some of the responsibility, which it often declines to do. Many of the West’s intervention policies intensify the conflicts on the ground that we alone must bear, without exceeding the political ceiling that the West has clearly delineated for us and that sometimes works to our citizens’ disadvantage.
I learnt from my western acquaintances that people should think prior to acting. However, when it comes to intervening in our region, the West tends to apply a “trial and error” approach. In dealing with western countries, Middle East nations have two clear options: either to endorse western (military or peaceful) interference or to submit a resolution to the U.N. Security Council – that will be vetoed by the same western nations. My answer to the famous Western question, “Why do you hate us?” is, “We do love you, but the magnitude of our love is equal to the extent of your intervention in our region!”