Prof. Robert Dussey

Professeur de philosophie politique
Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, de la Coopération et de l'Intégration Africaine du Togo

Prof. Robert Dussey

Professeur de philosophie politique
Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, de la Coopération et de l'Intégration Africaine du Togo
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The Situation in the Middle East And Lessons for Africa

Four axes/blocks in the current Middle East

Currently there are four main political players in the Middle East (excluding Israel).

The first, and until lately the strongest, is the Iranian – Shia axis. This Axis is stretching between Iran (its center) in the east, through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and a proxy in the Gaza strip (Palestinian Islamic Jihad). Short of the last one, in all the other areas Iran is leaning heavily on local Shia communities.

The
second is the Sunni moderateblock. This block includes Egypt, Saudi
Arabia (those two are considered as the leaders of this block), Jordan, The
Palestinian Authority, UAE and the rest of the Gulf States (short of Qatar).

The
third is the Sunni radicalblock. This block includes Turkey, Qatar, Sudan
and Hamas (in the Gaza Strip). This block identifies itself with the Muslim
Brothers (an Egyptian Ideological movement that was established in Cairo in 1929
and is outlawed now in Egypt).

The
fourth is the Sunni radicalNon-State Actor – Al-Qaeda and the “Islamic
State in Syria and the Levant” (ISIL). This group (not an axis though) is
nearly defeated in the Middle East. Against this defeat, you can see their
attempts to infiltrate to Africa.

Conflicts between those axes/blocks

There
are two main conflicts between those groups that are currently casting a shadow
over the Middle East. The first is between the Shia axis and the Sunni moderate
block. The second is between the Sunni moderate block and the Sunni radical
block.

The
conflict between the Shia axis and the Sunni moderate block is taking place in
some different places in the Middle East – in Syria (where actually the Sunnis
were beaten), in Lebanon, Iraq and the most active front – Yemen.

The
conflict between the moderate Sunni group and the Radical Sunni group is taking
place in the Persian (Arab) Gulf between Saudi Arabia and the UAE on one end
and Qatar on the other. Another front is in the Horn of Africa where Saudi
Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are competing against Qatar, Turkey and the Sudan in
an attempt to reach more influence.

Common denominators between the Middle East and Africa that makes both “Terror Friendly”

Terror
is always leaning on an ideological agenda (usually radical Islam). However,
some “environments” are more “friendly” to terror. Among the
conditions that help terror spread we can find the presence of “Failed
states”, weakness of the central government, lack of social cohesiveness
between the center and the periphery and the above all – economic frustration.
All those elements can be found in both the Middle East and Africa.

So what can be done?

There
are some lessons that Africa can draw from the Israeli experience in fighting
terror. First,a holistic approach that brings together military sticks and
economic carrots. Second is determination (the war on terror is always longer
than a conventional war). Third is deterrence (does deterrence actually work
against terror?). Fourth is an attempt to build a national unity. The fifth is
an attempt to create partnerships in the war against terror (G 5 in the Sahel
or Amisom in Somalia).

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