Is a Collective Security System Possible in the Middle East?
Igor Ivanov, RIAC President, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (1998–2004)
It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the future of international relations as a whole depends on how the situation in the Middle East develops. Right now, attention is focused on more obvious and heated examples of regional instability. Solutions are being sought to a range of complex issues, including the long-standing civil war in Syria, the settlement of internal conflicts in Iraq, Libya and Yemen, and the restart of the Israel–Palestine peace process. New and extremely dangerous forms of international terrorism are springing up all over the region. And migration flows are growing at an unprecedented rate, causing problems for neighbouring countries and entire continents.
Meanwhile, despite the significance of these difficult issues, in the end they all are manifestations of a fundamental crisis of security and statehood in the Middle East. It is clear that without reforming this system in one form or another, we can hardly hope to overcome the various consequences of the current crisis.
The “three baskets” (security, economics and humanitarian cooperation) that was the basis for the Helsinki Process in Europe 40 years ago could, with obvious reservations to regional specifics, become the foundation of a new collective security system in the Middle East.