middle east - The Trawler.org
Doug Saunders’ latest column looks at the effects of outside interference in the countries of the Middle East. His view is that foreign powers have treated these countries as “black boxes;” places where one makes inputs (money, weapons, etc.) and expects outputs in return. The result of these policies is that the countries of the greater Middle East become tools for achieving objectives, without much thought of the long-term effects of these inputs on domestic politics and society in the countries affected.
Saunders’ perspective on this issue is refreshing. Issues in the Middle East, whether economic malaise, political authoritarianism or ideological extremism, are often not contextualized in Western media. Many of the problems in this region result from the actions of outside actors. The United States and other foreign powers have supported numerous dictatorships in the region, providing money, weapons and training. These governments have in turn crushed political opposition, undermined the growth of a healthy civil society, squandered national resources on corruption and nepotism, and often exacerbated confessional tensions. Westerners then have the nerve to ask, “why are there so many problems in the Middle East?”
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani of Qatar is scheduled to visit New Delhi on Monday. During Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s visit to Qatar in 2008 an expansive framework for bilateral engagement had been outlined, though as of now little progress has been made on delivering on the agreement. C Rajamohan argues in this article that India should not waste this opportunity to lay the foundations for a sound and lasting partnership with Qatar. India has much to gain from such a relationship; Doha has one of the largest supplies of natural gas and is also becoming an important player in the Afghanistan conflict. Qatar, in turn, has every reason to look east towards India as an important element in its economic future and the regional balance.
Thomas Friedman presents his take on the possibility of a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, predicated upon regional factors that must be shaped first.