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June 23, 2017

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Self-interest sinks hopes for peace

In the second half of the 1970s, a hand hit a button to turn the Muslim world into a blood bath. In the process that started with the acceleration of the Lebanese civil war, coups came one after another — in 1977 in Pakistan, in 1978 in Iraq and Afghanistan, in 1979 in Iran and in 1980 in Turkey. The era of military coups was followed by the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq war, the occupation of the Ka'bah and the Hajj massacres. Terror emerged in Turkey, Iraq and Iran. The massacres of Homs in Syria and Halabja in Iraq happened. In Afghanistan, civil war replaced the Soviet occupation. In the 1990s, violence escalated to the magnitude of extraterritorial wars. Kuwait was occupied and then came the first Gulf War. Violence began to show up in North Africa with the Algerian civil war. Terrorism exceeded boundaries. With the turn of the century, wars became more widespread, more intensified. Following the 9/11 attacks, Iraq and Afghanistan were occupied. During the Arab spring period, Libya and Yemen civil wars and the Egyptian coup erupted. In Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran, street demonstrations turned into conflicts. In the short period of 30 years, and with the disintegration of Syria more recently, the Middle East and North Africa have fallen into a spiral of violence, and the end doesn't appear on the horizon. Christians and Jews have been affected as much as Muslims have by this; Israel and Palestine have turned into open-air prisons where people live behind walls. The Christian population declined to one-tenth in the region. The followers of the Prophet Jesus are unable to live on the lands where Christianity was first born.

Nobody has Brought Peace

The Middle East problem wore out seven U.S. Presidents, 12 NATO secretary-generals, eight British prime ministers, five U.N. secretary-generals, seven Russian presidents, six French presidents and eight Chinese presidents. Hundreds of prime ministers, presidents, chiefs of general staff and religious leaders have come and gone in the countries of the region. Nobody has managed to bring peace because the priority of many has always been their own interests. Such parties looked for alliances in common interests. They did not see Muslims as part of any alliance. These self-centered and self-interested policies have made the world very dangerous.

In the second half of 2016, a glimmer of hope emerged that could bring peace to the region, particularly to Syria. First, Turkey, the neighboring country, and Russia, one of the countries most affected by what happens in the region, moved to establish the core of an alliance. In a very short time, an environment of mutual trust was formed. The participation of Iran in the alliance has become an occasion to prevent sectarian conflicts. Saudi Arabia and Israel entered into a partial rapprochement with their common energy policies. The Central Asian Republics, especially Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, started to give open and secret support to the alliance. For the security of Afghanistan, Iran and West Asia, Pakistan must be included in this new formation.

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