“The Absence of Security Community System in the Middle East and the way forward”

Wars and conflict on inter and intra-state level, from clash between ethnics, sectarian and religious, to the most recently proxies war by terrorist groups as well as asymmetric warfare lead by the regional to global power was the common characteristic that have dominating the presentation images of Middle East (See. Goldschmidt and Davidson, 2009). The region has been fractured for many years and there has been a rise and fall of state along with the proliferation of such a growing powerful non-state actors.1 From those fault line and proxies war, made a term of peace became an elusive part of the Middle East. The region also contributed the most in Failed State Index, where in 2005 ranked Iraq and Yemen in Ten most at-risk countries, while in Fragile States Index measurement, included more Syria and Afghanistan in the top Ten list of 2017.2

To understand the conflict in this region, following are the main fundamental factors; The first is to tied the relationship between the region in term of geopolitics equation because Middle East was the traditional battlefield epicenter of great power bid to world domination, second is recognized that Middle East was the richest world fossil reserves and it’s bedrock to sustain the oil-driven international economy and it’s huge importance to global security and the last was the regime of petro-state.3

Unlike to predict the course of the future that notoriously hard,  thinking about the current situation is the self-constitutive and systemic interaction between many political actors in the past. Most scholar offered the cold-war mind set on solving the regional problem such as power balancing and bandwagon to maintain the regional stable and to avoid the single primacy military power.

In this essay, author will briefly introduce on the emerging alternative on international settlement on Middle East, by put the theoretical framework such as constructivist that aimed to serve as a guide to a practical ground in Middle East peaceful settlement process. First we have to accept that there are so many things in term of political aspiration and ideological to philosophical level of sophistication that has been proposed to address the whole security dilemma and political crises in the region such as realist, liberalism and how initiatives to assert the block of pan-islamism.

A number of efforts had been taking from bilaterally, as well as both regional and global approach aimed to solves this trouble region, for instances Oslo Accords and Camp David, Nuclear deal between p5 + One and Iran within the framework of UNSC and the recently Astana Talks on Syria crises. The conflict remain persist and in responds the regional actors and the legitimacy of international community for their political solution and their legal compliance being questioned for many decades until now.

Every of those attempt has been implemented in a comprehensive and constructive way, but Middle East peace process has been a deep, complex and complicated as it engaged multiple actors from both in the region and outside and it included a cross cutting issues and interest. Given on this situation, the “complexity of this conflict is so daunting that facilitating a successful peace accord seemingly needs a divine miracle” (Barari, 2009: p.9).


A various initiative had been introduces to bolster a regional cooperation through an integrated form of regionalism but in this case, the absence of the security community efforts being modest during many decades, and in fact there is no model of such kind of regionalization, for instances Gulf Cooperation Council, in which are not a security community (Bernett & Gause, 1998: p.161).


School of thought from the constructivism almost being neglected for many years despite of it’s successful attemp to build a more harmonious, stable and peaceful coexistence regional community for instances EU and ASEAN. The constructivist views asserted toward a regional state system that operating on “which the states in question go beyond mutual expectations of peaceful relations and consensually arrive at a set of rules and norms to guide their interactions” (Kupchan, 2010: p.184). It’s prime concern was a conflict avoiding mechanism, in turn, it could lead to a possible decrease in efforts of militarization and long-term stable relationship. Such way are believed could reduces the number of inter-state conflict, secessionist movement, proxy wars and enhance the efforts of confidence-building measure(CBMs) on the region. My argument is that, the regional security community shall be constitute in two different form, between the key regional states and leading powerful nations in shaping the new formation of regional system.


Following was the political projection under the leadership of key regional actors on the Middle East. The absence of viability of regional security environment in the Middle East constitute a great obstacles to the regional economic cooperation (Anderson 1995; Solinbgen 1996a; 1996b). The key states assume a pervasive influences on shaped a regional order. Recognized that, key states such as Turky, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Israel should take a critical role on shaping and directing future regional order. Either regional political structure nor any arrangements, it should take a lead and determined the course of cooperation in the Middle East and granted to share the burden with the great power nations. Despite of League of Arab whose traditionally was a platform for Arab states against Israel, or GCC in collectively perceive Iran threat, this new entity should accommodates and cooperate on wide ranges issues particularly on economic, energy and how to promote a dialogue and consultation among civilizations. In continuum, one of the important model was a Madrid process, known as multilateral track, this open conference was convened under the auspices of the United States and the Soviet Union on 30 October 1991 (Carcoglu et.al: 1998, p.159). Despite of it’s deadlock, this could be a rule model to responds on current region wide political upheavals. The critical issues that need to add was the energy security. Energy at the crossroad, the need to substitute fossil-running economy has become a top and increasingly global agenda and it’s failure and successful also depends on the commitment in the region and vice-versa. In this case, if it included those of traditional and emerging net of oil consumer from US-alliances and China while joining Russia, a prospect for peace by piece in the region would be inevitable.


The last was the reconciliation among the great powers which following with the new model of relation between powerful nations should be conducted in the Middle East even it is impossible to pursue. As the region had been fragmented and transformed by the outside invention and subject to great power sphere of influences. This is very important for the contemporary world powerful nations such a balancer US, a resurgent Russia and the challenger China to rebuild the Middle East based on rule-based regional order. Power in the global level has been shifting, US and it’s allies being challenged by multiple actors on their credibility in securing the current liberal international order particularly the primacy of international law and regime. The Middle East settlement process are tied to those evolving international system, by another words this great power accommodation process to share the leadership and co-joined between them are very crucial for the Middle East and to secure the peaceful power transition on global level, as described from Charles Kupchan’s theory of peaceful systemic changes “warm peace”.  


To conclude this, with these two cooperative interactions between regional and global powerful nations, a new settlement for the Middle East will growing steady and the inclusive pluralist regional system will be construct and endure. As reconciliation become the last resort to achieve a regional modus vivendi, dialogue will arose and become a norms and there are the time for the primacy of the rules and law.




Final notes:

1 See the absence of Westphalia order in Middle East on, Amitav Acharya & Hiro Katsumata, “Beyond Iraq: The future of world order”, Iraq War and it’s Consequences, Vol. 3 (World Scientific Publishing 2011) p.37. 


2 Retrived from http://www.google.com/amp/foreignpolicy.com/2009/10/22the-failed-st... and http://fundforpeace.org/fsi/2017/05/14/fsi-2017-factionalization-an...


3 See how the imperium and power nation strive in Middle East on, Walberg, Eric “Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Game, (Atlanta, Clarity Press, 2011); and Kaldor, Mery et.al. Oil Wars, (London, Pluto Press, 2007).


Goldschmidt A. and Davidson L.  (2010) ‘A Concise History of the Middle East’, US: Westview press.  


Barari, Hassan (2009) ‘The Middle East-Peace by Piece: The Quest for a Solution to the Arab-Israel Conflict’, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Deposit No. (2009/10/443).


Barnett, M. and Gause, F. (1998) ‘Caravans in opposite directions: society, state, and the development of community in the Gulf Cooperation Council’, in Adler E. and Bernett M. (Eds.) Security Communities, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Çarkoğlu, Ali et.al. (1998) ‘The Political Economy of Regional Cooperation in the Middle East’, London: Routledge.


Kupchan, Charles (2010) ‘How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace’, Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Kupchan, Charles (2001) Introduction: Explaining peaceful power transition, in Kupchan, Charles & Adler, Emanuel et.al (eds) Power in Transition: The peaceful change of international order, New York: United Nations University Press.

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Tags: Accommodation, Community, East, Great, Middle, Power, Security


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