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Will the MENA Region Repeat the Mistakes of the Cold War Era?



With the rise of the Russian global hegemony, regional forces in the MENA region should avoid repeating the tragic fallacies of the Cold War era.  During the Cold War both (US & USSR) hegemonic powers used, misused and abused the developing world for their imperialist ambitions with no regard for the people of Africa, Asia or Latin America.

As the United States of America was carpet bombing Iraq, Afghanistan, and backing corrupt ruthless dictators in the MENA region, and politicizing sectarianism, the people of the region and authentic socio-political forces lacked the capabilities to present a strategic deterrent to Washington’s regional ambitions. Therefore, when Moscow came into a tactical conflict with the US and its allies in Ukraine and Syria, some regional forces, specifically those comprising the Resistance Axis (Iran, Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance) led by the Islamic Republic of Iran and those sympathetic to it, became overjoyed and at times began marketing Russia as a global liberator.

While the Russian moves in Syria and partly in Ukraine did lead to an emergence of a partial global deterrent mechanism to NATO, it would be primitive to unilaterally side with Russia or Washington.

Due to a mistaken and shallow reading of the situation in Syria, a great portion of Sunni masses bought Washington’s slogans of human rights and democracy and actively and at times subconsciously sided with its narrative in the MENA region in order to combat the “greater” Iranian regional “threat.”  On the other side, many supporters of the Resistance Axis expressed almost an unquestionable support to Moscow’s global ambitions.

While the emergence of stronger Russia definitely curtails Washington’s capacities in the MENA region, the people of the region cannot repeat the Cold War era mistakes of most of the developing world by turning themselves into regional proxies for non-regional powers. This scenario will embroil the region into a cycle of wars. Instead, the grassroots socio-political movements in the MENA region are ought to find a balanced approach between Moscow and Washington, in parallel to reaching out to grass roots forces on both sides of the hegemonic race. This will require delicate political manoeuvring, a fit to be easier achieved by the Resistance Axis due to its demonstrated sophisticated statecraft.

To strike a balanced position between the ongoing tactical conflict between Russia and the West, it is important to realize that on a civilizational level, Islam has many common points with the Western and the Eurasian (Russia) civilization. There is no civilizational obstacle for Islamic socio-political movements dominating the MENA region to build mutually beneficial mechanisms of cooperation with the West and Eurasia at the same time.



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