Possibilities That Require Careful Observation, Not Rushing To Conclusions

Possibilities That Require Careful Observation, Not Rushing To Conclusions

Hazem Saghieh |

Some observers and analysts are rushing to conclusions and predicting outcomes. For instance, American-Western dialogue with Iran is portrayed as inevitable rapprochement, and talk about the Geneva 2 conference depicts it as a complete victory for Assad and his regime. Even as regards the attempt brokered by John Kerry to bridge the gap between the Palestinians and the Israelis, some are preempting the outcome and cheering its guaranteed success!


Naturally, a strong strain of wishful thinking is behind this hastiness.


But things aren’t so. Indeed, the dialogue session with Iran in Geneva hit an impasse, while the many existing contradictions, between the regime and opposition in Syria, and the Russians and Western powers, could doom the Geneva conference on Syria to failure. As concerns the Israelis and the Palestinians, meanwhile, that process has barely started, and faces an insurmountable number of settlements.


This does not mean that yesterday is like today, and that there is nothing new on the horizon. Most likely, there is a desire bringing together the Americans, who want to scale back the size of their commitments, and the Russians, who want to expand the spheres of their influence, to reshape the Middle East, a source of conflict, unrest, and concern for the whole world. If we add Geneva’s meeting on Iran, Geneva’s meeting on Syria, and the U.S. attempts along the Palestinian-Israeli front together, then features emerge of a precursory desire for an inclusive international conference of the kind that reassesses policies and even maps. This requires consequently for the parties concerned to be in contact with one another, as evident by developments such as warming Russian-Egyptian relations, or the resumption of Anglo-Iranian relations.


A desire as such is inseparable from the major development revolving around the fact that Arab revolutions have profoundly shaken the old status quo, but which have all the same shown their incapacity for creating a new stable status quo. In the resulting breach, however, the scope of chaos has widened, and extremist forces that the world cannot tolerate have risen. In addition, certain forces, like the Kurds for example, if not in particular, have managed to become a major player in many countries whose national fabric has been torn asunder.


Of course, a desire as such requires summoning and highlighting the points of intersection among the actors concerned, most saliently here, the issue of terrorism. However, evoking the intersection should not mean obscuring the differences; otherwise, there would be no need for any conference or politics altogether. This allows us to say that this process, which is in its infancy, shall change Iran, more than it shall change other countries and regions. To be sure, it is difficult for an ideological regime with imperialist tendencies to withstand amendments made by parties seeking to uproot the causes of tension and turmoil.


Nevertheless, there is something that calls for some caution, namely, that a huge initiative as such, if it should have the chance to take off, would require a U.S. administration riding on its initial momentum, not an administration in the second half of its second term. It also requires stronger military support for forces like the “moderates” in the Syrian revolution, and stronger political support for forces like the Palestinian Authority, in a way that would alter the balance of power to make it more conductive to a more just, more stable future.


In the meantime, it is best to give priority to careful observation rather than rushing to conclusions.