Is Diplomacy in the Middle East Better Than the Threat of War?
By: Alena Khan/Arab America Contributing Writer
Throughout history up until now, the Middle East and North Africa region has become “one of the most hostile regions in the world.” With conflicts spreading throughout both territories, including one of the biggest, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, some sort of agreement or solution is long overdue. About 60 plus years have passed and there is still no agreement between either party. There have been both bilateral and international efforts made, yet we still haven’t come to a conclusion. Is it time to consider a different approach? To be more specific, is diplomacy the better option rather than the dangerous threat of war?
More recently, the latest clash is the Palestinian/Israeli conflict has resulted in thousands of casualties. “Civilian casualties are the deaths of non-military individuals as a result of military operations.” Almost a year of negotiations and there has still been no successful result. The same goes for many other conflicts throughout the region. “With the rise of other conflicts and changes in the geopolitics of the region, the priority keeps changing in resolving this conflict.” There have been plenty of other clashes between two territories, such as the Iraq-Iran War, the invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the transition in both Yemen and Egypt, the Syrian civil war, the Lebanese and Libyan civil war, the list goes on.
With so many conflicts on the rise throughout the years, thousands of casualties turn into millions. According to the UN’s children agency, at least 83 children were killed in conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa. UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere, called the deaths “unacceptable” and said they represented a breach of international law. During the Iraq-Iran war, close to 1 million people died on both sides, many of which were children. In fact, children were sent to march in front of soldiers. Earlier this year, around 50 children were killed in Syria, and a few months later, 16 more. UNICEF even reported that they were given updated reports of casualties on a “daily basis.”
These issues have impacted the lives of millions of people and in the worst way possible. Children are without parents, parents without children, homes, and communities destroyed. These disputes whether it’s directly or indirect, are changing our world and now more than ever, something needs to be done about it. In fact, diplomacy might just be the answer we’ve been searching for.
Diplomacy is vital in international relations because without being diplomatic, you lose protection over your national interests. Conducting multiple negotiations is what gets people talking. Although some may say that fighting with your enemies is easier than debating or maintaining a progressive conversation, it’s actually quite the opposite. Getting conversations going between two nations is essential to upkeep international affairs.
Diplomacy serves a myriad of purposes, all of which concern national policies with other nations while keeping things civil and non-violent. Whether it’s communication, negotiation of agreements, gathering intelligence or information, diplomacy has many functions to get the job done. It facilitates communication between political leaders which creates a flow throughout world politics. Without communication, you might as well say goodbye to any international system or interaction among nations. Diplomacy is a conversation, a conversation is important, and conversation can prevent contention. Negotiating is what advances relationships resulting in mutual benefits. Political leaders during diplomacy must figure out similar interests, common problems, and what could be done about it. Information and intelligence gathering are also important in diplomacy because it’s what gets the conversation going. Without information and intelligence, there is a lack of research that’s needed to create strategic plans to solve issues.
Essentially, diplomacy is an instrument of good governance. It’s many factors and functions contribute to the security of our nations, and create national and international peace and order. It’s time to stop the unnecessary threats of war, and major attacks on several communities. As political leaders, their job is to keep their people safe and secure, and war and violence do the exact opposite. Children have time and time again paid the highest price for wars that they have no responsibility for. The never-ending riots, attacks, invasions, and wars, all end with the same result— death. It’s time to put peoples lives at a top priority, and in the middle east, the only way to do so is diplomacy.