Mid-East violence, hunger and development
August 5 militant violence which rocked Egypt’s Sinai peninsular, coming
so disturbingly in the run-up to the 16th Non-aligned Movement Heads of
State Summit in Tehran later this month, should serve as an ominous
reminder of the convoluted nature of the Middle East question. The
violence which claimed scores of Egyptian lives also underscores the
fact that the world has been virtually looking on helplessly while the
problem took on more and more complex dimensions.
In other words, the world community, inclusive of NAM, has failed to
advance notably along the road of conflict-management in the Middle East
over the past decades and has, consequently, allowed the conflict to
grow in complexity.
Some quarters in Israel were quoted as saying that the Sinai is
currently matching Afghanistan from the viewpoint of political anarchy
and runaway violence and while this observation may not be factually
correct in most detail, it draws attention to the relentlessly growing
nature of militant anti-West and anti-Israeli violence, sourced
primarily by a non-acceptance of prevailing global political realities.
The continuing blood-letting in Afghanistan has its roots in the
Taliban’s non-acceptance of the West’s attempts to impose its political
and military will on the violence-battered country.
Egyptian soldiers stand on top of an Egyptian armoured personnel
carrier at a military
checkpoint on the Egyptian side of Rafah, in Northern Sinai.
Egypt temporarily reopened
the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip, which was closed
after militants attacked
troops on August 5, killing 16 soldiers. AFP
Given the links that sections of the Taliban are said to be enjoying
with the Al-qaeda, it could be safe to surmise that the unresolved
Middle East conflict, which, besides other factors, is providing outfits
such as the Al-qaeda with a reason to be in existence, is continuing to
detonate violence against the West and its perceived allies in the
Middle East and outside.
It is relevant to recollect that the Sinai militants were reportedly
going for some Israeli targets and although the Egyptian state has
initiated some law and order measures in the wake of the violence, it is
only a comprehensive political solution based on the two-state formula
which would bring some durable stability to the region.
Middle East peace would depend considerably on how even-handedly the
international community, symbolized by the UN, sets about the task of
resolving the seeming conundrum.
A Middle East settlement would also depend heavily on how
collaboratively the US, which is Israel’s principal ally, acts with the
UN in its peace-making. Unless and until these conditions are met the
Middle East would continue to bleed.
However, there are many not so easily perceivable dimensions to the
Middle East and other festering issues of its kind which the UN in
particular, must focus on and help in resolving, for the establishment
of relative global security and peace. This relates to the UN Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) and other kindred efforts at bringing a measure
of material relief to the masses of the developing countries. The more
concerned observers of world affairs would like to know how much
progress has been made by the relevant sections of the world community
in achieving the MDGs, for instance.
It is worrisome that the international community fails to keep the
focus on poverty alleviation and linked projects that have a bearing on
how evenly the wealth of the world is distributed among its masses. This
is of the prime importance because political violence is invariably
‘systemic’ in nature and if militants the world over are to renounce
arms, it will be on the basis of the degree to which they too could
share some of the wealth of the world, the bulk of which is today said
to be accumulating in the hands of some one percent of the world’s
No doubt, ensuring global economic equity is a profound and most
difficult challenge for the UN and other global actors who have set
themselves this task but the world ought to have made some progress in
this regard over the decades. It could do the credibility of the
international organizations concerned some good if they could keep the
world updated on how far they have succeeded in ensuring that the masses
of the world too partake of global wealth, if such wealth is indeed
‘trickling-down’ to the people.
This task needs to be taken on urgently because we are told that
world food prices are set to rise, once again, in the teeth of prolonged
drought conditions the world over. It is not correct to make out that
drought alone contributes towards world food crises in view of the fact
that the political will of governments to evenly distribute the wealth
at hand too, has a profound bearing on the problem but the ‘writing is
on the wall’ and something would need to be done to alleviate the lot of
the world’s deprived if the bogey of political violence is to be kept at