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Temporary modification of priorities to stop the bleeding

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets citizens during the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's Women Branch congress at the Ankara Sports Hall in Ankara, Turkey on 4 August, 2018 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]

Only those who are too proud deny the fact that our region's axes are suffering from bleeding. By these axes, I mean the Arabs, Iran and Turkey. Meanwhile, the fourth party in the region, Israel, is profiting from this.

In the Arab group, there is a significant group of Arab regimes that suffer from making the war on so-called "political Islam" its top priority, of course not because of their ideological identity, but because it headed the Arab Spring. If another ideological force were to have headed the revolutions, the war on them would have been a priority too.

You can imagine the extent of the bleeding that has taken place in this nation, prompting it to clash with Turkey, which is the third element of power in the region. At the same time, the second priority (Iran) pushes them to pay large amounts to the US, let alone the tension experienced on an internal level in a manner making it intolerable for the medium and long term.

The second party, which suffers from flawed priorities, is Iran. Since the establishment of its sectarian expansion project, it has pushed it to support sectarian choices that have drained its Iraqi neighbour and led to its interference in Syria. This has put it on the majority of the nations' enemy list.

Read: Global criticism of the US for its hate campaign against Turkey

It continued with this project in Yemen and the new US sanctions have strengthened this bleeding horrifically. We still do not know how it will deal with the sanctions given its difficult economic situation.

Turkey is also suffering from this turbulent situation between the two sides, as it is neither with Iran and its options that it deals with positively because of the economic aspect in particular and the existence of a war from another side.

Nor is it with the other party targeting it as part of the political Islam project, although it has the capacity to deal with it positively. US sanctions have made the situation more difficult.

If we were to go over the facts that would push these parties towards reconsidering their priorities, they include the following:

In terms of those whose priority is war on the forces known as "political Islam", we must say that these forces are an objective fact that cannot be eliminated from the equation of Arab societies. If this happens, we must remember that nature hates vacuums.

This will result in new forces emerging from the womb of these communities that will propose the same demands because they are the demands of the communities, not just the demands of the political forces. Therefore, the continuation of the war against it is futile and will further increase the turbulence and crises in the communities.

Read: The war on Turkey continues

As for those fighting for Iran, it is useless to rely on the story of changing its political system, not only because of how difficult it would be but also because of its high cost. That is actually the most important issue with it because changing its regime does not mean removing it from the equation of the region.

Any other party that comes to power will not be better. They will be more in tune with the Americans and the Israelis, and may repeat the game of the Shah in the past of seeking expansion and influence.

The practical solution is to change the priorities. The Arabs who give priority to the war on "political Islam" cannot continue down this path nor can Iran tolerate the continuous bleeding and hostility with its surroundings. Furthermore, Turkey cannot go on with the current state of tension.

What should follow the aforementioned change of priorities is a tripartite dialogue on the basis of coexistence and the stopping of this bleeding. They must move away from the projects of domination and expansion, and away from the absurd fear of the existence of ideological forces, such as the "political Islam" forces.

These forces have always existed and they have coexisted with them. Coexistence with them will be much better when the choice of reform is adopted.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the News Khaleej on 23 August 2018

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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