GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Modification of the OSCE Model to be applied to the Middle East: Including Measures Effective for Confidence Building to Overcome Sectarianism
Paper Proposal Text :
A security framework, including the GCC states, Iraq, and Iran, has been needed and desired, but never realized in the Gulf for decades. After a nuclear agreement was reached between Iran, P5 plus one, and the EU, additional initiatives were expected to be launched to bring a ceasefire to the armed conflicts in the Middle East. However, what security model is practical and feasible in the Gulf? New security should be based on concepts that promote conflict transformation in the region.
This paper aims to reduce Western biases against Middle Eastern politics to construct a security model suitable for the security environment in the Gulf. Revolutionary bias, democratization bias, freedom bias, and Orientalism bias are carefully avoided in this plan. This paper modifies the concept of preventive diplomacy, or the OSCE (The Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe) model, to make it suitable for mitigating and preventing armed conflicts in the Middle East.
Most serious armed conflicts will be mitigated or ceased if Saudi Arabia and Iran can reach a truce for their proxy wars. The vision of an expanded security framework in the Gulf will be strongly driven by agreement and firm support from Saudi Arabia and Iran. A historical study of the relation between Saudi Arabia and Iran reveals that Saudi Arabia made significant efforts toward appeasing Iran from 1993 to 2002 by restoring diplomatic relation in 1991 albeit the Hajj incident in 1987, overlooking bomb plots in the oil facilities in the 1980s, and the Khubar bombing in 1996. It then bet on reconciliation with the Khatami regime after 1997, and their negotiation created a security agreement with Iran in April 2001. Saudi Arabia and Iran shared a common view after the September 11, 2001 incident that Islam is against terrorism. Both of them took a common stand after the summer of 2002 to oppose the US and British plan to invade Iraq. However, Saudi Arabia gradually gave up the appeasement policy with Iran due to intensification of sectarian violence in Iraq after 2004, the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Iranian critique of Egyptian and Saudi Palestine policy in 2010 in the Gaza War, etc. Thus, a vision to mitigate the security dilemma between both states is the key to ending proxy wars in the Middle East. Devices to mitigate sectarianism in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria are a must for such a new security structure.
The original OSCE established in the 1990s was composed mainly of a permanent council composed of ambassadors from all fifty-six member states and six partners, Conflict Prevention Center, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Representative on Freedom of Media, etc. Their decisions were made unanimously, and their methods for preventive diplomacy were based on the theory of democratic peace. Minor attempts to introduce the OSCE model in the Middle East failed before they became well known.
This paper proposes that the new “OSCME (Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East)” should not be framed on any nationalism of Arabism, Turkism, Persianism, or Islamism and should be inclusive of all nations, religions, and sects. The idea of preventive diplomacy appeals as a security goal for the public. Mitigation of armed conflicts requires security cooperation by Arabs, Turks, Iranians, and all religions and sects.
The organization of the “OSCME” will be composed of the following institutions:
(i) The Center for Prevention of Armed Conflicts and Terrorism
(ii) As an alternative to the High Commissioner on National Minorities, “High Commissioner on National Minorities, Sectarianism, and Religion” is proposed. Prohibition of sectarianism is a must to mitigate regional conflicts including the Arab-Iranian conflict. Separatism is very risky as a source of conflict, but the guarantee of security, freedom of beliefs, freedom of trade and economic activities, and use of their mother language for minorities would erase sources of conflict for all nations, religions, and sects. These are part of a tradition of tolerance in the region.
(iii) As an alternative to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, “Office for Good Governance” is recommended. The promotion of democracy as performed by the original OSCE is too risky in the Middle East. The disastrous results of the “Arab Spring” demonstrated that the Arab states do not meet to provide requisites for sound democratization at concomitant downgrades in performance of government and society (economic recession, intensifying domestic and regional tension, worsening security, etc.). A diversity of governmental structure and representation is suitable and practical in the Middle East to mitigate sources of conflict in the region.
(iv) A suggested alternative to the Representative on Freedom of Media, “Monitoring Center and Mission against Hate Speech in Media,” would be practical and useful for mitigating conflicts in the Middle East. A research group on the prejudices in the region would define which terms should be prohibited in the media to eliminate hostilities and prejudices among nations, religions, and sects in the region.
(v) The “OSCME” will have two practical options for selecting member states: (a) eight states of the GCC, Iran, and Iraq, and (b) those in (a) plus Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Yemen, for a maximum thirteen states. Observers can be from India, China, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and the UN Secretary General. They may escape the trap of “democracy bias” etc. Japan has assisted in building peace in Cambodia, East Timor, etc. and maintains mutual respect with Middle Eastern states.
A powerful NGO needs to be established to create security experts who share in the goals of the “OSCME.” It will provide various trainings for students in graduate school, young researchers, policemen and army officers, preachers, and those in public diplomacy.
A new role model for major powers in the region should be pursued and advocated to make them cooperate on the goals of the “OSCME.” Japan has only engaged in a constructive role, waging no war in the Middle East.