Middle East in 2018: Unfinished peace processes

(VOVWORLD) - Tensions in the Middle East continued last year due to conflicting interests and fights for influence in the region.
Middle East in 2018: Unfinished peace processes - ảnh 1 US President Donald Trump at Al Asad Air Base, December 26, 2018 (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Despite the decline of the IS in Iraq and Syria, the situation in the Middle East last year remained disheartening.

Increasing tension

The prolonged conflict between Palestine and Israel flared up in 2018 after the US recognized Jerusalem, an area disputed by Israel and Palestine, as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move angered Palestinians and dimmed any prospect of a two-state solution, a goal that has been pursued by the international community for a long time.

US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy has worsened US-Iran relations. The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. The US considers Iran a threat to its long-term strategic interest in the Middle East and its security structure in Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran did not bend to US pressure.

Peace in Syria remains elusive. Though the Syrian government, with support from Russia and Iran, has re-established control of most of the country, combat losses continue to grow. According to the Syrian and Turkish governments, more than 7,000 civilians died in the fighting last year.

Yemen is suffering from a serious humanitarian crisis after a 4-year civil war. Thousands of people have died, millions have been displaced and 22 out of 25 million Yemenis depend on humanitarian aids and are now on the verge of the worst famine in 100 years. A comprehensive solution to the conflict and restore to Yemen has not been found.

Political insecurity, religious extremism, and tribal tensions are ravaging the Middle East.

Breakthroughs in the region are unlikely

The Middle East is witnessing a fierce struggle of interests. Though the US has announced it will withdraw its troops from Syria that does not mean the US will give up its interests in the Middle East. It will merely change its strategy in the region.

In Yemen, the fight for influence in the region between Saudi Arabia and Iran continues with deadly consequences.