Reviving Multilateral Security Dialogue in the MENA: Finding the Hard, but Possible, Compromise
While possible, prospects for repairing existing fractures through multilateral dialogue and compromise have become elusive as crises in the region persist. There are quite a few unfavorable conditions hindering the emergence of some form of multilateral security process: areas of hot conflict have widened in recent years making violence almost endemic in the region, in countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya; the Middle East peace process is in a stalemate and already thin trust between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships is all but gone as both have become more contested among respective constituencies and less respected abroad; in some countries, the social contract seems to be breaking after a failed Arab Spring, challenging government authority even in places like Tunisia where a fragile democratic transition audaciously continues despite growing socio-economic discontent and a deteriorating security situation; some other MENA states have become weaker as a result of chronic violence and dysfunctional governance; while non-Arab states, from Turkey to Iran, have seen an opportunity to expand their clout in a Middle East in flux, even if themselves under great pressure, extra-regional actors have never appeared more divided about the course to follow, or more distracted by other priorities.
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