As the United States withdraws its forces from Iraq, there will be competition for regional influence by states in the eastern Middle East, including Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Gulf countries. A formal framework for communication and cooperation—similar to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe—could reduce the risks of conflict and encourage stability and economic development in this tense but critical location, according to a paper by Paul Salem.
“There are escalating tensions in the eastern Middle East today, but this is precisely why the region’s leaders should increase their communication and interaction,” writes Salem. “Even in the context of unresolved threats, working toward such a framework is possible and necessary. The Helsinki Process and the OSCE were launched during the Cold War to build trust and cooperation in the context of mistrust and mutually perceived threats.”
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