The largest increase in armaments in the Middle East since World War 2

The militarization in the Middle East and North Africa for ten years has become increasingly significant, so much so that there is currently the greatest proliferation of weapons ever recorded since the end of the Second World War. This is what emerged from the NATO Foundation College study seminar held in Rome in recent days, together with the awareness that peace is built through concrete commitments.
The multiplication of weapons in the field is parallel to the multiplication of non-state actors, i.e. armies and militias linked to non-governmental characters, or to real terrorist groups, or to various criminal organizations, or in the pay of private individuals, precisely of companies to defend. All this strongly threatens the stability of the Region, weakens the multilateral action of the international community and above all offers fertile ground for the expansion of regional powers, beyond the principles of international law.

The conference entitled “What future for the Middle East?”, Which was attended by representatives of the Atlantic Alliance and international scholars, spoke of sovereignty and radicalism as two sides of the same coin. We talked about it with the Middle East scholar Gilles kepel, professor at universities in Paris and Lugano:

Kepel explains that “this mixture of political Islamism, nationalism and the military dimension represents the real challenge to peace”. He adds that it is really difficult to imagine today how to “restructure a peace project” talking about “enormous difficulties”. But then he underlines that the search for peace can go through a concrete commitment on the field and cites what he defines as the “extraordinary example of a Christian “: The work of the archbishop of Mosul, the Dominican father Najib Mikhael Moussa. Kepel recalls that thanks to his commitment the Library of Mosul has been saved and above all underlines his ability to create dialogue and to bring a word and a gesture of peace.

Shares the delicacy of the moment Mitchel Belfer, president of the Euro-Gulf Information Center, who spoke of the “difficulties of a NATO with rivalry within it”, of the distance of the United States – also for the economic and health difficulties related to the pandemic, for the lack of desired autonomy in terms of energy supply from shale oil, for the commitment of the election campaign – and for a Europe committed to the internal front of the crisis. In this context, regional powers such as Turkey or international powers such as Russia and China consolidate power and – it has been emphasized – have leaderships that represent stable interlocutors over time.

When asked what NATO can do today to defend international law in the face of pressure from regional powers that move independently, General Morabito replied: “Nothing, or at least very little. NATO is a political-military alliance, everything that is decided within it is binding only and exclusively for member countries. But the question gives me the starting point to note that today we are in a phase of uncertainty on this point. The strategic concept is not touched, as confirmed also by the Secretary General, but we are thinking of operating extra-mandate, even if it is not yet as good as it is. Then there is the question of resources.

To conduct certain activities you need a precise budget shared by all. In the meantime, everyone including China will continue to behave as they do. ” But what is the “red line” that Turkey that – remember – was a Member – must not overcome in order not to lose credibility to the Alliance? Turkey – Morabito explains – is a special ally: in recent times President Erdogan approached Russian President Putin, then last March he returned to ask the allies for support under the “hat” of art. 4 of the Alliance Treaty, following the confrontation with Syrian troops in Idlib. And he clashed with Macron following the tensions over the case of the French frigate Courbet who intercepted the ship flying the flag of Tanzania escorted by three Turkish ships “. Seondo Morabito, “everyone in Europe protests but does little or nothing”. Therefore, “with Erdogan there are no red lines: Turkey is an important ally for NATO”. Morabito said he was “confident that not even the destruction of the Hagia Sophia converted into a mosque could undermine Ankara’s position towards the Alliance. We cannot afford not to have a place of constant confrontation with Turkey like that offered by NATO in Brussels. ” The point is “that European countries as well as Italy have lost years in Libya leaving space for Turkey”. And in Morabito’s words, a quote from Albert Einstein: “The world will not be destroyed by the wicked but by those who remain to watch without doing anything.”
By Domenico Greco

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