Bypassing Iran in Regional Crises Impossible

Bypassing Iran in Regional Crises Impossible
Bypassing Iran in Regional Crises Impossible

The former German foreign minister says a new Middle East is emerging, one that already differs from the old order in two significant ways: an enhanced role for Iran and the Kurds, and diminished influence for the region’s Sunni powers.

"The Middle East is not just facing the possible triumph of a force (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) that seeks to achieve its strategic goals by mass murder and enslavement. What is also becoming apparent is the collapse of the region’s old order, which had existed more or less unchanged since the end of World War I, and with it, the decline of the region’s traditional stabilizing powers," Joschka Fischer wrote in an article in the Project Syndicate on Monday.

  Biggest Winner

Referring to the latest regional developments, he said, "The biggest winner could prove to be Iran, whose influence in Iraq and Afghanistan gained a substantial boost from US policy under President George W. Bush."

"Iranian cooperation is essential to stable solutions in Iraq and Syria, and the country plays an important role in the Israel-Palestine conflict and in Lebanon," he stated.

"It is impossible to bypass Iran in the search for solutions to the region’s myriad crises. In fact, in the fight against the Islamic State, even limited military cooperation between the US and Iran no longer seems to be off the table."

He also said, "The key strategic question, however, will not be resolved on the region’s battlefields, but in the various negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. If compromise (or even a short-term extension of the current interim agreement, with a realistic prospect for a final accord) is achieved, Iran’s broader regional role will become both stronger and more constructive. But that outcome remains highly uncertain."

In conclusion, Fischer said, "One can say… the Middle East will remain the powder keg of world politics in the twenty-first century. Its stabilization, while of global interest, will be difficult to achieve – and only by a complicated mixture of military and diplomatic means. No single global power is likely to manage that alone."