Envisioning The Middle East After 10 Years of Peace

A Final Project for the YaLa Peace Institute: “What is your vision of the MENA region in the year 2025 (if peace were to be established today) building on what you have learned from the YaLa Peace Institute?”

by Leora Eisenberg (USA)

Not a day goes by when I don’t hear about the Iran Deal.

On one side, diplomats and politicians are convincing each other about the merits of the deal – how it will prevent

Iran from getting a nuclear weapon for now and, thus, protect the region for at least ten years. On the other side,

these same luminaries’ counterparts bemoan the creation of a deal and its potential to wreak havoc in the Middle

East.

In ten years, Iran will have the capabilities to create a nuclear weapon, regardless of the hotly debated deal. But let’s

hypothetically say that peace is established. The deal is signed, Iran’s nuclear capabilities are squelched, and the

Islamic Republic becomes a better neighbor in the Middle East.

My vision is seeing all countries in the Middle East sign similar deals that will limit nuclear programs. Innocent

people in the region will no longer have to be afraid of something that the world has already seen create massive

destruction more than once, unfortunately.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran – all are powerful countries that have more power than we often give them credit

for. Israel we see in action regularly; Egypt and Saudi have the two largest militaries in the Arab world; Iran has a

sizeable army, and, unfortunately, regularly threatens to use it to wipe Israel off the map. But just imagine if these

countries did not have nuclear weapons. Imagine how much less Israel would worry about Iran. Imagine how much

less some countries would worry about Israel. Eliminating nuclear weapons would create a more stable region where

countries would not have to regularly worry about the potential threat of nuclear warfare.

Let’s say these deals are signed today. They would be good deals, which are built on compromise – pleasing, but not

appeasing, both sides. These deals in the Middle East would be built on what is good for the whole MENA region,

in exchange for strict adherence to the rules set forth by the deal: stopping funding of terrorism and lifting sanctions

on struggling countries, just to name a few.

YaLa has taught me that truly good deals benefit both sides. In order to create a deal, like the Iran Deal, one must

know what both countries want and try to accommodate both sides through a compromise. I didn’t just learn this

lesson through watching and responding to lectures, but also through interacting with my peers of different political

perspectives. We may have believed different things, but at the end of the day, we all wanted the same thing: peace.

In ten years, I would see the Middle East stable thriving thanks to a few excellent deals. The prohibition of nuclear

warfare (and, thus, weaponry) has eliminated unnecessary fears in the region. The guidelines of the deals have

completely stopped funding for terrorism and lifted sanctions. Every country certainly had to make a few sacrifices,

but all in exchange for what they wanted – a peaceful, stable region.

 

To learn more about the YaLa Peace Institute in Honor of Nelson Mandela, click here.

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