Unworkable policy/ old policy:
The USA entered the middle east intending to make its foreign policy orientation after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1990. The USA first entered middle eastern politics by attacking Saddam Hussain’s regime for liberating Kuwait. Then after 9/11 USA completely established its foothold in the middle east and currently is the top major player in it.
The policy adopted by US policymakers to gain its interests in the middle east includes the ‘Divide and Rule’ and supporting one side tactics. The ‘Divide and Rule’ is inspired by British policies in the subcontinent in the colonial period. The USA is guilty of supporting one side in a country where conflict emerges.
For example, in the case of Syria, the USA supports the rebels against the Iranian and Russian-backed Government lead by Assad. And in the case of Yemen, the USA supports the government and Gulf cooperation against the Houthi rebels. The policy throughout the scenario by the US was to support one side in conflict against the other.
This support may be because the other side is against the interests of the US or the other side is being supported by US rival states like in Syria, the government is backed by Iran and Russia so the US supports the rebels. However, this is not the only thing to consider. Another major factor in US support of one side and divide and rule tactics is its interest in an unstable middle east.
The USA has an interest in selling arms to a conflictual middle east and another interest is in the oil resource of the middle east. If conflicts remain in the middle east, then the US will be easily able to sell arms to both sides directly or indirectly. And this also enables the US to legalize its interference in these conflicts and ultimately enables the US to use its military for controlling oil refineries. The main interest for the US is to sell its arms and take control of oil resources in the middle east. This is being done by keeping the middle east in an unstable condition so the US can legalize the military interference keeping its foothold in the middle east.
This US policy made by early policymakers especially neo-cons extends to its blind support to Israel against Arab countries and mainly supporting it in its conflict with Palestine. The US considers Israel as its main and only trustworthy ally in the middle east and also a kind of watchtower to keep an eye on the middle east.
The US cannot achieve its interests in the middle east without having Israel on its back and the same goes for Israel. This is the reason both support each other in everything and even a saying goes as to reach Washington, you can do it by reaching Tel Aviv as the Israeli lobby is very strong in White House.
Reforms needed/ New policy required:
This policy is shown above by the US so far has not worked for ensuring peace because this is not based to establish peace in the middle east. It is a policy to protect and achieve interests for the US and not to achieve anything for the middle east. The US has its foothold in the middle east mainly because of achieving economic gains by selling arms and controlling oil resources and this is not even slightly based on making peace in the middle east. The US needs to change this policy and make reforms in its thinking.
US needs to understand that this policy has so far not worked for peace and now this policy has also become a headache for the US as the US now seeks an escape from middle eastern politics but is not able to do it because of instability in the middle east. Just think about it for a moment, US legalized its move into the middle east to remove terrorism and to achieve stability in the middle east. The US used this to achieve its gains. Now when the US is fed up with the middle east and seeks a respectful removal from the middle east, there is no escape.
Because the instability has increased since the US arrived and now if the US leaves in the current middle east situation, then the world will be under a great threat as terrorism has increased and human right violations in the middle east after the US leaves are also grave danger.
Thinking about all of this, the US is in a kind of trap. Its policies have not worked for peace (They were not based on making peace) and the US cannot leave the middle east in its current situation. This is the time when the US needs to rethink its policies and make reforms in them. Policymakers in the US need to reconstruct their policy-making mindset in making peace in the middle east its priority.
Only this move will allow the US to make stability in the middle east and long run to keep stability in the world and not let the world fall under the gave threat of terrorism and extremism. This can happen by the US not taking sides in conflicts in countries but playing a role to solve these conflicts.
Another important point to ponder here is the US thinking that by liberalizing these countries peace is possible. This is a wrong approach as middle eastern culture is very dense and simply forcing liberal culture and liberal policies won’t work.
Policymakers need to reconstruct their policy thinking by allowing the middle east to follow its own culture and this can happen by engaging local bodies and allowing them to make and take decisions and to construct policies for their respective countries.
Policymakers need to know that peace can only be possible in the middle east if the US changes its thinking of not putting its gains at priority but putting peace as the priority. Policymakers of the US need to understand the concept that this will ultimately help the US itself and the current expenditure on keeping military in the middle east and soft power expenditure in the middle east be removed if peace happens.
Policymakers need to make policies that can end conflicts in the middle east namely the conflicts between Israel and Palestine, the Houthis and Yemeni government, and the Assad regime and rebels in Syria. Policymakers in the US also need to reconstruct their thinking regarding this that these are not terrorists but only rebellion and freedom fighter groups and engaging against them will not end terrorism.
There needs to construct such a policy that the US policy-making body needs to work along with these groups to repel and remove terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS from their respective countries. The US cannot handle these terrorist organizations and need local support. Only then terrorism can be reduced and controlled in the middle east. Policymakers need to accept the fact that without local help, terrorism cannot end from foreign forces and only foreign pressure.
The bind between terrorist organizations and local freedom fighters needs to be destroyed and these freedom fighter groups need to ally with the US to remove terrorism. Only then, terrorism will be removed from the middle east and after its removal, chances of peace in the middle east will rise to a great extent.