By Arif Ansar
PoliTact has previously noted that since 9/11 the threat perception of the Middle Eastern nations have transferred from being fixated on Israel to dealing with and countering violent extremism. A similar shift also occurred in South Asia, where the debate has continued if the threat Pakistan faces is primarily external or internal. More specifically, should Pakistan focus its defense and security strategies towards dealing with India, or fighting extremist groups that are specially targeting the country.
Despite years of effort, in the absence of political roadmap and deadlock on the diplomatic front, reaching a peaceful settlement to the perennial Arab-Israeli and Kashmir conflicts, appear remote. However, a new ‘Outside In’ approach is emerging in the Middle East that is equally applicable towards the Kashmir conflict and the Afghan political reconciliation. And it has to do with the change in the ecosystem in which these conflicts persist. Moreover, what appear to be the key challenges in the campaign against extremists, are also the key facilitators for the emerging approach.
At an event hosted by Atlantic Council on May 7 (video link), the author asked the former US special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the present executive vice president of Brookings Institution, Martin Indyk, about how the Iranian nuclear deal and the US-Gulf partnership can help or hinder the Middle East Peace Process. And now that a nuclear deal with Iran has been reached, this linkage is no longer just a hypothetical construct. His answer, and our research, points to the emerging approach.
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