By Claude Salhani -Trend:
If you want a good reason why conflicts should not be allowed to linger and that all efforts must be applied by the international community to resolve them, including massive military response when all efforts in diplomacy fail, just take a quick look at the top hotspots in the world today.
There are, as we speak, more than 40 conflicts going on, a handful of which carry serious and potentially dangerous implications. Any of the brewing conflict zones could at any moment trigger a major international conflict with the gravest of consequences for all. Looking at the crisis in Ukraine, Syria, and Palestine and others in no particular order, the disputes vary in scope and reason. Each one is also very different from the other, yet they all share one common thread: conflicts tend to grow in complexity with time. The longer a conflict lasts the harder it becomes to resolve, and the more complex the situation becomes.
Over time each party tends to demonize its enemy; a natural reaction. Though if peace is ever to be achieved, undoing all the negative PR will prove to be a tough job. And, of course the longer the conflict runs, the greater the chances of turning a conflict into a major conflagration. Then of course, there is always the risk of having the conflict ooze into neighboring countries, as has been the case with Syria.
The shooting down of the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Airlines flight 17 late last week, killing all 298 passengers and crew is a result of what began as very localized protests in Kiev, and has turned in to a major point of contention that could very seriously strain East-West relations for decades to come.
Already, two former-Soviet nations, Armenia and Azerbaijan, are in decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, where another "minor incident" risks propelling new negative energy into the dispute. Armenia has accused and kidnapped three Azerbaijani civilians and claims they are military acting on orders from Baku. In Baku, officials at the Ministry of Defense deny the allegations. One of the kidnapped man was reported killed by the Armenians last week.
With every passing week, this relatively new conflict that began in the late 1980s, seems to be gathering steam and building momentum as ceasefire are broken on a daily bases. It is imperative that the international community succeeds in helping Azerbaijan and Armenia find a just and equitable solution in which Azerbaijan can reclaim its territory, of which 20 percent remains under Armenian occupation.
There is still time for a peaceful solution to this conflict before events take a turn for the worst.
Remember almost four years ago when a group of Syrian students wrote some graffiti on a wall and were arrested by the Mokhabarat, the country's intelligence service? They were tortured and the fathers were told that next time the authorities would not be so 'lenient.' That they would go after their wives. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. The people of Dera'a, the town on the Jordanian border where this incident took place and where the riots began never imagined where their initial protests would lead: to an all out civil war an the creation of an 'Islamist Emirate.'
The emergence of the 'Islamic Caliphate' is due to the fact that the crisis in Syria was allowed to run its course.
And in the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict Western nations have only jumped in to support Israel without applying enough pressure - on both the Palestinians and the Israelis to refrain from resorting to violence, which only serves to accentuate the issue.
Look at what is happening in Gaza today. Gaza, a God-forsaken narrow strip of over-populated land wedged between a large extent of sand on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other, is economically depressed, politically repressed and socially oppressed. It is the perfect breeding ground for extremists.
Perhaps more so than the other conflicted areas mentioned here, Gaza is the living example of why allowing conflicts to continue unhindered is asking for trouble.
As a result of the terrible Arab defeat and humiliation suffered in the Arab-Israeli War in June 1967, the Palestinian resistance reorganized itself under the leadership of Yasser Arafat and began launching raids into Israel.
The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June of that year, and the subsequent occupation of Lebanese territory by Israel intended to distance the Palestine Liberation Organization from Israel's northern border in essence backfired. Within a short time Arafat and his entourage relocated in Ramallah, a mere 15 minutes from Jerusalem. Additionally, the occupation of south Lebanon gave rise to the creation of Hezbollah, with the help of Iran.
The yearly report conducted by the U.S. State Department clearly shows that after every war in the Middle East the number of terrorist attacks increased and that war, in general, contributes towards creating more of a schism. Peace can only be achieved through negotiations and not imposed by military force alone.
Claude Salhani is a political analyst and senior editor with Trend Agency.