Lord Hain looks at need to 'act carefully' in Middle East



Lord Peter Hain looked at the need to ‘act carefully and not bombastically’ when seeking to bring peace to the Middle East and for countries to come together to defeat ISIS, during a lecture at the University of South Wales this week.

In front of an audience of students, staff and guests, Lord Hain said that ‘making a common cause with both Saudi Arabia and Iran to confront a common ISIL enemy, and by seeking to dissuade Turkey from its sectarian role, Britain could possibly even help realign Middle East politics to overcome its bitter and violently corrosive fault lines.’

He went on to look at what had been done to date and concluded that while Britain had made the right choice to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting ISIL with support such as air strikes, drones and military equipment, ‘British troops on the ground would be entirely counterproductive.’

Lord Hain drew comparisons of the support for ISIS within some regions in the Middle East, with previous support for the IRA in Northern Ireland. He said, ‘otherwise peaceful Irish Catholics tacitly supported the IRA; even though they might have abhorred IRA violence, they had faced generations of persecution and discrimination.’

The wide-ranging lecture examined the rise of the so-called Islamic State, why support is strong in some regions, as well as how countries have tried to combat ISIS to date.  

When looking to the future of the region, he said ‘as long as these fault lines, divide and poison the politics of the Middle East, the region will never be stable.’

Lord Hain argued that ‘unless the US and Europe are prepared to embrace Arab ownership of the region’s conflicts and to put the onus on Arab states to find a solution, there is no prospect of establishing peace and stability in the Middle East.’ 

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