Policy Paper 01: Building Towards Middle East Peace: Working Group Reports from "Cooperative Security in the Middle East"
Complex historical, ideological, political, and military factors have created a vicious circle of mutual threat perception in the Middle East, so that every action, whether political or military, by the protagonists contributes to a process that generates increased fear and suspicion among them. Is there a way to break this vicious circle? Guardedly, the short answer is yes. There are now historic opportunities, created both by the Gulf War in 1991, and by the end of the Cold War which have minimized, if not actually eliminated, the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Middle East. The new detente heralds an era of superpower cooperation that seeks to reduce and resolve regional conflicts. The prospects for controlling the Arab-Israeli conflict are now much better than at any time in its history. It would be a tragic error on the part of any country, regional or not, to miss this opportunity to move away from conflict and toward cooperation.