Three Critical Concerns for the Macro-Middle East
"Moving forward, state- and security-building efforts must be based on Afghan empowerment..."
Several weeks of residence in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia have considerably increased my concern about the future of the macro-region of western South Asia and the Middle East (or from the Nile to the Hindu) for three reasons: i.) the tribulations of state-building, ii.) the perilous potential of self-determination, and iii.) the very real dangers of a U.S. air attack on Iran in the near future. To address these challenges, it is imperative to launch a diplomatic effort for a regional initiative focused on creating a new regional compact. This initiative must focus on securitybuilding and confidence-building measures, including attention to territorial inviolability, nuclear security and socio-cultural dimensions, and energy and the environment. It should include the Gulf region itself – including Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and UAE – but also the macro-region encompassing Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Such a process should be undertaken with the involvement of the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, and China, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany.