The Middle East and North Africa: A Gridlocked Region in a Crossroads

This addition claims that from the German and European standpoint the conflicts and structural problems in the Middle East, if not settled, will inevitably increase the risks to German and European security, stability and prosperity.

Garber Andra, The Middle East and North Africa: A Gridlocked Region in a Crossroads, Compass 2020, 2007.

The Middle East and North Africa are blessed with 65% of worldwide oil reserves and a good 45% of global natural gas reserves, but suffer the curse of distinct lack of democracy and thwarted development, caused by the paralysing mixture of high level of political conflict and the authoritarian structure of most of the region's regimes.

This area's future will also be decided by the further unfolding of its great unresolved issues: The Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iraq conflict, the regional conflict between Sunni and Shia, the latest war in Iraq and the conflict over Iran's nuclear programme. These disputes are increasingly interdependent, as was clearly demonstrated by the "accidental" war between Israel and Hizbullah in the summer of 2006.

This background makes it clear that only a holistic political concept can offer a sustainable, comprehensive solution to defuse the crisis in the region. Germany, with its political and democratic strength and its network of relationships with the most significant external and regional players, could make a vital contribution, following 10 key points: harmonizing European policy towards the region, reviving the comprehensive Middle East peace process, securing Israel and establishing Palestine, strengthening Lebanon, involving Syria, integrating Iran, stabilizing Iraq, shaping a broad-based policy of disarmament and detente, supporting socioeconomic development and integration, and finally, demanding political openness.

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JC22 A1

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