Arab countries should adopt mechanisms to confront bouts of division and fragmentation in the region, political analysts participating in a forum in Doha have recommended.
At the 10th AlJazeera Forum on Tuesday, the group of political experts stressed the need for a genuine Arab project during a session titled, “International Struggle in the Middle East 100 Years After the Sykes-Picot Agreement.”
After the First World War ended, the boundaries of the modern Middle East were drawn up by French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot and British officer Sir Mark Sykes, out of territory lost by the Ottoman Empire.
A hundred years after it started, the consequences of the First World War continue to be felt in the region, as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS) group sets about realizing its vision of removing the borders that were defined in its aftermath.
Groups such as IS were examples of the efforts being taken to spread division, the analysts agreed.
Basheer Nafi, professor of contemporary history and senior researcher at AlJazeera Centre for Studies, said that the Sykes-Picot agreement is a “code-name for division in the Arab world.”
Taha Özhan, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Turkish Parliament, highlighted the gap between the north and the south in the new world order, calling on the north to make peace with the south and create economic balance.
He warned that threats would stem from weak states, as crises or civil wars have unlimited repercussions regionally and internationally.
In a speech via satellite, Andrei Fedorov, former Russian deputy foreign minister, said that current events in the Middle East have global impact.
He added that the future of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is an important issue for Russia because Syria is the only country in the Arab world that is influenced by Moscow.
Meanwhile, Fahad Al-Orabi, chairman of Asbar Center for Studies, Research and Communications in Saudi Arabia, said it was necessary to adopt “a new vision for the region’s future” as he warned of “interference” in the region.
“Fighting ISIL has become the pretext for anyone who seeks interference in our region,” he said.
He also called for all players to build upon Saudi Arabia-led projects such as Operation Decisive Storm – which intervenes in Yemen, the Muslim Anti-Terrorism Coalition, and the Raad Al-Shamal (North Thunder) Alliance – large military exercises.
A genuine Arab project “that restores this nation to its senses” is needed, Al-Orabi said.