G-Zero and the Middle East

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The G-Zero refers to the failure of the main international powers to take responsibility for emerging perils and burdens. This attitude will manifest itself more in 2012. The Euro zone crisis will definitely have a major impact but Europeans have mechanisms to sort out their mess. Asia however presents a major challenge and will take a longer period to resolve. The Middle East in particular is a headache to regional powers and the international community due to its religious conflicts, sectarian strife, ethnic differences, and lack of a strong regional security body. These factors are worsened by raging anti-government protests, old regimes trying to cling to power and new governments in the process of establishing control.

The United States has found itself isolated after the after the Arab spring. The departure of Hosni Mubarak dealt a blow to the U.S has he was its major regional ally, poor diplomatic relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia’s mistrust of U.S intentions in the region and avoidance of the muddle In Iraq presence a tight scenario in the volatile region which the international powers should pay a closer attention to as the conflict in this region can spill over to other stable neighbors.

The absence of the U.S leaves the major three regional powers – turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran with a wide playing field to influence the course of events in the region. The three key issues that should be prioritized by the international community and the United Nations in particular this year are: the conflict in Syria, Iran nuclear crisis, post America Iraq and the Israeli- Palestine conflict.

The Syrian conflict was motivated by the ousting of regimes in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. The major conflict erupted in Daraa on 15th of March. The main aim of the protests is to create a wider political space by ending the autocratic rule of president Bashar al-Assad. The government responded by mounting a serious crackdown on the protesters leading to the death of many. Other tactics employed by the government include cutting electricity, shutting water supply regulating foodstuffs and executing army defectors. Despite calls by the international community and the Arab League for the resignation of Assad, the government continues to refute claims that it is engaging in crimes against humanity. What make this conflict a priority is possibility that it can spiral to its neighbors because Iran supports Assad while the protesters have the support of Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shows that Iran is working towards development of a nuclear weapon which has been strongly condemned by the Iranian government as false. Iran claims that it is engaging in civilian nuclear program to generate electricity. Israel has emerged has the strongest regional opponent to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Tehran. According to the British foreign secretary William Hague, Iran’s action may lead to an arms race in the region which may degenerate to a regional conflict. The situation was worsened last week by the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist which the state has blamed on the Zionist regime in Israel.

The state of affairs in Iraq continues to degenerate on a daily basis after the withdrawal of American troops. Suicide attacks are on the rise, the Sunnis are also claiming autonomy as well as the Kurds. Saudi Arabia which is a Sunni Muslim state, Iran, a Shiite state and turkey which has majority of Kurds each continue to assert influence in Iraq making it a regional time bomb.

The Palestine-Israeli conflict remains a stalemate. Under Hosni Mubarak, Egypt and Israel co-existed mutually but the recent election results in Egypt brought Islamism to power mainly the Muslim brotherhood. The issue of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is a threat to Israel as the Islamic state has claimed on many occasions that the Zionist state should be wiped off the face of the earth. Iran’s provocations and the likelihood of Israel striking its nuclear facilities will undermine peace efforts between Israel and Palestine and also Lebanon. The regional players and the international community at large should not take a backseat in the middle east rather it should take a leading role in solving it.

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