The Creation of an Open Society Encompassing Geopolitical, Economic, and Cultural Cooperation
Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact Alliance, the world’s political, economic, and military dynamics have drastically changed. Three strong centers of economic, financial and political powers have emerged in Europe, East Asia and North America. The three powers are competitors at the regional economic level, while forming strategic partnerships at the global level.
Reasons for the global expansion of terrorism:
Communist governments, mainly in the former Soviet Union and China during the Cold War, found support among people in some underdeveloped countries with impoverished socioeconomic conditions, unstable political and backward cultural infrastructures. In such situation, many Heads of State and authorities in the United States, United Kingdom, and France were supporting the extremist Islamic movement and creating Islamic terrorist groups (as seen in Bin Laden’s Taliban, or Khomeini’s Iranian regime). These extremist groups wielded power to use their destructive policies in opposition to the Soviet Union.
After the fall of the Soviet Union and communism, some political movements – particularly in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa – were looking for new alternative ideologies and sources of support. In doing so, many groups rediscovered the meaning of Islamic radicalism and fundamentalism. Many governments and radical organizations were able to exploit the religion, effectively using it as a vehicle for transmitting their own ideological agendas and gaining support for their perverted destructive policies.
Lack of freedom and democracy:
Many countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have been ruled by autocratic and dictatorial regimes. For many years, the United States and several European countries (UK, France, to name a few) have adopted a misguided foreign policy – supporting repressive and corrupt governments in these regions while crushing the liberal sentiments and democratic aspirations of entire societies.
Corrupt governments grossly violated human rights and accelerated their country’s economic and cultural bankruptcy. Religion became the political alternative to failed secular regimes. The extreme political conditions allowed room for ideological groups to flourish into mainstream culture. Terrorist fundamentalist groups appealed to new members by advertising their nation’s economic and political salvation through the destruction and eradication of real and perceived enemies. The extremist propaganda made it more difficult for the moderate liberal regimes to slow the growing number of Islamic extremists and to ignore the demands for a more fundamentalist religious state. In addition, many civilian populations rejected the legitimacy of moderate governments because of the continued unemployment and poverty, as well as the lack of democratic representation.
The Palestinian cause and the detrimental policies of Arab and Israeli leaders:
For many decades, the fate of the Palestinians has remained unclear, and it remains so today. Millions of Palestinians have lived in refugee camps all over the Middle East, specifically in Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, for more than half a century. Corrupt and weak Arab governments in their ill-fated attempts to resist against Israeli Aggression policy have exacerbated the Palestinian problem and reduced regional security throughout the Middle East. Efforts to make peace were met with resistance; in 1995, after years of chaos, Yitzahk Rabin was assassinated by the hand of a Jewish extremist following attempts at achieving meaningful Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
The former Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, as well as the current, Benjamin Netanyahu, had chosen a path directly opposed to that of Yitzhak Rabin. These extremists believed that they could protect the security of Israel with military occupation and killing the civilians or the assassination of Palestinian political leaders. Yet, these acts have done nothing but create more hate, martyrs, and suicide bombers.
Extremists within Israel have no amassed the power. This is due in large part to particular lobbyist groups in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.
Nevertheless, we are still optimistic for hope and change. We believe that the creation of a Palestinian state, and Two –State Solution, will cease the expansion of terrorism and slow the conflict between the democrat Jews and democrat Palestinians.
How to combat terrorism and extremism:
Many so-called underdeveloped countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have vast reserves of natural resources, which give each country important strategic clout. However, internal conflicts, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, and economic deprivation have created unstable political, economic, and social structures.
Example: Iran could play a critical role in linking the Middle East to Central Asia as well as Turkey and Israel to EU if three pre-conditions are met:
First, the results of the Middle East peace negotiations must prove to be positive with a focus on the long-term stability, not short-term fixes.
Second, should political reform in Iran take root, the results would be changes in the tides of fundamentalism and radicalism within the region.
Third, widespread cooperation between the Untied States, Israel, and the EU brings the two-state vision into reality and ends the long suffering of the Palestinian people.
To achieve the necessary peace in the Middle East, any negotiation should be written with provisions to meet long-term goals. In addition, with conditions for a democratic change in the Middle East, it becomes imperative that the United States, EU, Israel, and Iran create an agreement of long-term cooperation to establish democracy and peace.
The Strategic Alliance of the US, EU, Israel, and Iran for Democracy and Peace in the Middle East and Central Asia will lead to:
- A new vision for cooperation within the three main powers. The global development, technological trade, and political alignments can help the countries in the region both contribute, and shape global events.
- Economic and social developments, and political stability through establishment of democratic process in the Middle East and Central Asia will be key in bringing long-term stability. The anchored environments within each region will go far in ending terrorism as well as internal conflicts.
Extensive research is still recommended to harness ideas that will help engineer solutions to these challenges, as well as implement effective short-term measures. Several questions should be raised in the formulation of this prospective plan:
- What are the parameters of the peace negotiations in the Middle East?
- What is the likely result of the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine?
- What role should the United States and EU play in bringing about a meaningful solution to peace the Middle East?
- What impact will a peace settlement in the Middle East have on the rest of the region? North Africa? Central Asia?
- How can the Islamic Republic of Iran be transformed into a cooperating democratic power in the region?
- How can political stability and democracy in the Middle East and Central Asia be established?
Some possible pieces of the puzzle:
- The establishment of economic and social relations in the Middle East and Central Asia will slow the expansion of radicalism and the disruptive influence in the region.
- The establishment of democratic and social reforms could seriously undermine Islamic fundamentalism.
- The great powers continuing promotion of Iran’s future role as a strong democratic entity because of the significance of Iran’s natural resources, financial might, and cultural and social ties to the Middle East and Central Asia.
- The abundance of natural resources, such as oil, gas, and petrochemical, in Central Asia and the Middle East increases the importance of an alliance between the two regions.
- The capitalization of human resources and foreign investments to maximize economic growth, production, and industrial development.
- The strategic regional alignments for economic and social developments, political stability, and democracy will take the place of the previous environment of dictatorships, chaos, terrorism, fundamentalism, and internal regional conflicts
Role of the European Democratic Parties and Democratic Forces in the Middle East and Central Asia:
The people of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, along with those Central Asian countries must serve as a democratic forces in this region. They need support and solidarity from the European progressive political parties to promote democracy and defend human rights. The lack of freedom and democracy in some Middle Eastern and other Asian countries and the misguided foreign policies of the United States, United Kingdom, France and Israel (which for many years supported and kept in power repressive and corrupt governments) have left few alternatives for these people. These bad policies have fanned anti-western sentiments that have been used in turn by the Islamic extremists to further their cause. To eliminate poverty, promote democracy in the region and adopt environment-friendly policies; these are the main factors that can bring about the progressive and democratic European parties together with the democratic forces in the Middle East and in Africa.
Fundamentalist groups are not capable of grandiose operations and therefore can only proliferate and act when there is the financial and logistical support of fundamentalist and terrorist governments.
Isolated use of military forces by governments to combat terrorist organizations is counterproductive to eliminate the root causes of such activity. Furthermore, any foreign military force against a country’s general population will only intensify hatred against the West, leading to an increased participation in attacks from terrorist groups. The United States – or any other country trying to combat terrorism – first needs to have a clear understanding of the root causes and ideologies of terrorist organization. It is only after this can they devise a solution that attacks the root of extremism and prevents any future attacks. Were they to be numbered, there should be:
- Recognition of the causes that launch extremism on a world scale and dedication to combating fundamentalism by supporting the democratic forces in the regions. Always, there has been a tendency in United States, United Kingdom, and the French to support authoritarians, anti-democratic regimes that serve Western economic and strategic interests in the short-term; however, this has created disinherited, volatile populations who flock to fundamentalist revolution in the long-term.
- Identification of terrorist groups and their network across the world in order to penetrate the ranks of these groups to better gather intelligence.
- Identification and destruction of extremist’s group’s financial backing and infrastructure.
- Identifying the supporters of terrorism within governments, non-profit foundations, and ideological organizations located in countries such as Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Algeria, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Republics of Central Asia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
- Creation of a regional coalition of democratic forces in the Middle East, and Africa, to foster international unity among democratic allies that would be able to curb the support of countries like Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia who promote, coordinate, and train fundamentalist terrorist groups in unstable countries such as Lebanon, and Iraq. Lebanon and Iraq are currently a planning and coordinating a center for terrorist groups funded covertly by countries such as Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other international terrorists networks. Disarmament of these terrorist groups is imperative, and cannot be stressed enough.
- Changes in American, Russian, and European foreign policies in order to stop military intervention, cooperation with governments who create and support terrorism. Without exception, democratic forces should be supported and human rights upheld, most specifically in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
- Worldwide coordination for fighting terrorism without jeopardizing the promotion of human rights, civil liberties and racial and gender equality in these regions.
- Creation of a 24-hour radio/TV station for the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa that promotes a democratic alternative and educational material about different cultures and religious around the world. The radio/TV station should be coordinated by democratic representatives of these countries, but remain independent of governmental regulations so a democratic message can directly reach the people.
- Incorporation of democratic, political activists from countries involved in the decision-making process of US economic and political policy. The activists will be able to provide counsel and insights into the culture, socioeconomics and religion of the peoples with whom the United States is forming relations. The creation of a permanent institution and commission where ideas and understandings would be exchanged between American political business interests and democratic activities from the Afro-Asian, and Latin-American countries would be greatly beneficial to both sides.
- Most importantly, the creation and promotion of an economic development program, similar to the Marshall Plan implemented after WWII in Europe. The necessity for financial investment in the political, commercial, technological, and education infrastructure of these countries is paramount. The Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa must be made partners in development with the United States and EU.
Please note: This plan is devised by a group of Middle Eastern researchers and experts living in the US and Europe. We are available to further discuss these proposals with appropriate foundations, institutions and government agencies, as well as democratic parties.
1: To Create an “Independent International Criminal Court.” One that brings all Heads of State responsible in the creation of in the Islamic terrorist groups. It is these important political figures, including those from various administrations in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, to name a few, that were in some way involved in the creation of the Islamic terrorist groups. War Crime Against Humanity must be enforced if we are going to claim any responsibility for what was created by their hands.
2: To organize an international solidarity conference with the Representatives from peace and civil right organizations with the ambitions to promote peace, democracy and human rights around the world.
3: To create an international coalition and solidarity union in the world. One that takes the proper action in eliminating poverty and combating against terrorism and extremism, while taking steps to end foreign intervention in African, Asian, and Latin-American countries.
4: To stop the veto regulation in the United Nation and to promote equal rights for all members of United Nations.
5: To stop the support of corrupt regimes and dictators around the globe.
6: For a serious shift in the United States internal and foreign policy, it is necessary to create a strong progressive party. One that is able to stop the influence of the reactionary and anti-democratic lobbyist groups. With these serious, and sweeping changes, the creation of a new democratic and progressive sociopolitical structure in the United States can finally be realized.
Hassan Massali, Ph.D