Adding Pakistan and Afghanistan to the list of traditional Middle East countries, the term Greater Middle East was coined by the second Bush administration in the first decade of this century. The so-called Greater Middle East Initiative (GMEI) was the part of President Bush’s ‘forward strategy of freedom’ to eliminate terrorism and extremism by spreading democracy, education and economic opportunities throughout this region. But strangely, as soon as did the US formulate this initiative, this region instantly became the most volatile, chaotic and turbulent part of the world.

This is the region where the US has proactively fought its so-called War on Terror following the 9/11 incident. This is the region which has experienced many instant political revolutions in the name of ‘Arab Spring’. This is the region which has also become an active theatre of many complex Fourth Generation wars, participated by a large number of violent non-state actors belonging to organisations like TTP, Al-Qaida, ISIS, PKK etc. Now, after the recent deadly Paris attacks, once again the international power players are flexing their military muscles to attack Iraq and Syria on the pretext of dismantling the sanctuaries of the Islamic state militants. Earlier, French warplanes have also pounded the city of Raqqa, the capital of so-called Caliphate.

For a long time, the primary objectives of the US in Middle East have been two-fold; ensuring the smooth flow of energy from this region, and the security and safety of Israel. President Obama has also formally endorsed these objectives in his 2013 General Assembly speech. There have also been certain conspiracy theories relating to the intended agenda of the US to redraw the geographical boundaries of many countries in accordance with its desired goals in this region. Sometimes, these conspiracy theories appear close to reality. Presently, in line with these theories, we can observe a clear division of Iraq into three ethnic/sectarian parts; the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurd.

The very concept of Jihad has undergone a significant transformation in the Greater Middle East region following the 9/11 incident.

Previously, the operations of Jihad were confined only to disputed areas like Palestine and Kashmir. Now, in the name of Jihad, militants are destroying schools, attacking innocent civilians and brutally killing school children. They are attacking Pakistan; the only nuclear and military power in the Muslim World. They are trying to marginalise Iran and pro-Iran elements which are the only active anti-Semitic force in the region. Ironically, we haven’t witnessed anything like jihad against the unabated brutal military incursions by the Israel on the innocent Muslims in Gaza. Now in the New Middle East, Iran’s alleged nuclear program has become the only major issue that is a “grave threat to the peace and stability of this region”.

The so-called Greater Middle East hosts the largest conglomeration of Muslim population in the world. Presently, it is the most devastated and volatile area in the world. Political instability, internal turmoil and sectarian strife have griped many countries. At present, owing to mutual conflicts and differences among its permanent members, the UN can hardly play its mandated institutional role to stabilise this region. It has been mere a silent spectator in the current Yemen crisis. Similarly, the OIC is a nonfunctional and toothless body which cannot play any positive role in setting things right there. Saudi-Arabia, the self-proclaimed leader of the Muslim World, has been instrumental in transforming the very concept of ‘Pan Islamism’ into the ‘Pan-Gulfism’ by replacing the OIC with GCC.

Therefore, instead of unnecessarily keep sticking to the idealism, and resorting to the rhetoric like Muslim Ummah, there ought to be pragmatic solution to the current maladies of this region. At present, a regional, heterogeneous, non-religious military alliance of the regional stakeholders in this part of Asia is quite advisable. The Greater Middle East region is bordered by two world major military and economic powers; Russia and China. Both countries have certain vital strategic and economic interest in this region. Therefore, they can hardly afford a volatile and destabilised region in their neighbourhood. Their anxiety over the state of affair in this region is quite understandable and rather justified. Both BRIC countries have already fostered close relations under the arrangements like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Now, a strong strategic partnership between two states is widely being speculated.

Now, the likeminded Muslim countries in the Greater Middle East region like Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, should seriously and actively evaluate the option of forming a military axis in this part of Asia in collaboration with Russia and China. This regional military alliance will go a long way in stabilising this region by significantly marginalising the role of US and its regional associates. We have observed that the proactive stance taken by the Russia had deterred US and its allies from toppling the Assad regime in Syria through military force in 2013.

Had Russia not played such role in this conflict, there would have been a greater chaos and turmoil in this region.

In the post-cold war unipolar world, the US has been acting a bit aggressively and arbitrarily. It has been behaving like the sole arbiter of the interests of international community. The 9/11 incident has further augmented its international capacity to take any unilateral action in the world. Now, it can attack any country and topple any regime in the world in the name of War on Terror. These unilateral policies of US are the primarily responsible for the current chaotic state of affair in the Middle East. Now, these developments in this region are also posing a serious threat to the international peace and stability. Therefore, a multipolar world order must be sought to maintain sustainable peace in the world by significantly checking certain unilateral tendencies prevailing the contemporary world.

In order to bring peace and stability in the Greater Middle East, there should be some genuine initiatives to seek pacific resolution of all long-standing unresolved issue in this region. Instead of focusing on the Iran’s nuclear program only, the world community must address the genuine grievances of the Palestinian people. The so-called two-state solution is rather a pragmatic and reasonable approach to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it must be adhered to by all the stakeholders including Israel and Iran. Similarly, the longstanding Kashmir issue must also be resolved in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiri people in the larger interest of this region.

Recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin has claimed that forty counties, including some G20 member states, had financed the terrorists of ISIS in some way. In fact, some of the countries, which are now shedding crocodile tears over unfortunate Paris attacks, have been supporting and aiding the ISIS, covertly or overtly, in the past. Therefore, this is the time international power players should stop their proxy war to articulate and achieve their strategic goals in this region. Pacific and diplomatic means should be sought to resolve the underlying political problems in this region. Certainly, the unilateral and arbitrary use of military force will further aggravate things in this troubled part of the world.