The modern Middle East is passing through one of the most turbulent periods in its history. Bloodshed, internecine conflicts, absence of state actors and no moral authority have all contributed to the total chaos that has made the most optimistic well wisher of the Arabs plunge into the depths of despair. We are in 2015. How will the Middle East look in 2030 asked an American analyst. Well it all depends on various socio-economic factors. And these depend on the political situation in the area. For without stability and security there can be no progress or development. This is something we have to look into seriously. The factors that will decide our fate will be population control, oil prices, alternative energy and water and food security. If we are semi-independent in addressing these issues we can be hopeful for a better future. It would be disastrous if we end up with bands of jobless young men roaming around to be easily picked up by some future murderous cult. On a larger note, the Middle East including Egypt and the Levant, which are connected to the Israel-Palestine conflict, will still remain key players and can act as partners in a peace process. Any further delay in a peace process will deprive the area of stability and usher further chaos that the people of the region have had enough of. Meanwhile, to solve their problems the Arabs will have to travel alone. Too much focus on the United States will get us nowhere as their grand strategy is to move towards SE Asia where it will increase its involvement because of economic gains. Therefore in order to survive and to be viable the Arabs have to do some serious thinking and ask themselves: Are there leaders up to the task of good governance? Can they erase at least some of the ills like sectarianism, corruption and injustice? Can they defend themselves locally without running to Uncle Sam for a nuclear deterrence? They should not forget that nuclear weapons are firmly intertwined with conventional weapons. Can there be at least a GCC command and control system for its defense forces? Will the West allow the Arabs to independently develop a peaceful nuclear program? Strategic deterrence in the Middle East can be assured more so by equality in conventional weapons vis-a-vis Israel and by a strong alliance. The US is not expected to be an ally because of its heavy pro-Israel tilt. We Arabs should realize this once and for all. And so to be prepared for the future we need to depend on ourselves and find the right partners and the political framework to ensure our existence. Let Arab strategists prepare from now. — Reprinted with permission of the Saudi Gazette and Khaled Almaeena. The writer is Editor-at-Large. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena
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