The still unfolding human tragedy that is the Syrian War, represents a major failing of the international community to bring needed relief and comfort to millions of children and adults in the Levant. The Syrian War is the single biggest destabilizing event of the Middle East and its effects will continue well into 2015.
The deathly humanitarian impact of the Syrian War has facilitated the rise, the expansion and the campaign of the extremist group, the Islamic State(IS). Viewed as an alternative to Assad by his victims in lieu of an international solution, and inspired by disunity and non-reconciliation in Iraq, the IS blasted upon the scene in 2014 in a bid to create a Caliphate in the Levant. More extreme acts by the IS will continue in 2015 as the International Coalition seek to reign in the violence perpetuated by the group in a bid to diffuse its terror.
Historically, the Middle East has lived up to the label as a predictable region of conflict, and 2015 will be no different. The nature of the Middle East of having authoritarian to hereditary dictatorship governments with very weak democratic systems, ripens the region to conflict and war as sectarian and religious squabbles of yore and new emerge and re-emerge overtime.
Bashar al Assad still sits in Damascus entering 2015 as the war he has waged enters a fifth year having killed some 200,000 thus far, including thousands of children. The Syrian regime's gassing of at least 421 children still represents a non-conciliatory event in international law as a crime against humanity. To this end, recent talks to which Assad has been engaged to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict, must not accept any future leadership role of Assad in Syria. Justice to the children of Syria must come in 2015.
To opine that Egypt has found stability with the installation of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as president would be a gross travesty of inference. The outlawing, jailing and death sentences meted out to the Muslim Brotherhood sets up a prolonged period of instability for Egypt into 2015 and beyond. As charges against former President Mubarak were dropped, Egypt's hope for a dictatorship of stability could be skirted with to some measure of success, but the heavy handed decisions against the Muslim Brotherhood will plague Egypt in 2015.
Settlement issues and security concerns with the Palestinian territories will continue to fill the Jewish State's agenda in 2015. Israel's vehement opposition to a possible nuclear Iran will be vocal in 2015. With a character change at the head of Israel in 2015, a stronger United States(US) re-commitment to Israel could come in 2015 as the possibility of conflicts with Palestine re-emerge.
I opine that Turkey's hesitance to act decisively against the IS is indicative of a sympathy(bordering on support) that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has of the extremist group. Henceforth, Erdogan's soft action against the IS has impeded Turkey's ascension to a role as leader and sound influencer of affairs in the Middle East. President Erdogan's comments on the non-equality of women to men and his exaltation of Islam as the founder of the West infers Erdogan's staunch religious beliefs matched against the secular world.
Moreover, as the second largest army within NATO, in 2015 Erdogan will seek to leverage Turkey's vital strategic geo-political position to further his own agenda as a ruler-for-life thus challenging the contributions of the "father of the Turks", Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Turks in 2015 will rebuff Erdogan's actions to soften the impact of Ataturk on Turkish society.
Erdogan's failure to commit Turkish forces to fight the IS group in 2015 could further exacerbate relations with the Kurds in 2015.
How well the Iraqi government embraces inclusiveness into its governance will decide the level of stability the country endures in 2015. United States and International assistance to repel the IS from Iraq will have to be tempered with the unity of the Iraqi government in 2015.
Jordan and Lebanon:
Pressured and destabilized by their acceptance of thousands of Syrian refugees, both Jordan and Lebanon will continue in 2015 to be effected by the Syrian War.
Iran's atomic program and its acceptance of limitations imposed by the international community could spread prosperity to that country in 2015. Yet, this 2015 possibility for Iran is hedged on its acceptance of stability conditions agreed with the international community.
Questions as to the direction of Libya will still loom high in 2015. Recent decreases in oil production there could effect world crude supplies.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates:
Oil production and how best to overcome Islamic extremism will dominate the agendas of much of the Arab world in 2015.
Affairs of security and international recognition of the Palestine State will be at the fore in 2015.
Tunisia and Yemen:
Tunisia could strengthen its democratic systems in 2015 but questions will remain as to whether or not it could complete the longevity needed to develop the framework for peace and stability against a background that 88-year-old Beji Essebsi had to be called in from retirement to win the presidential election there.
Yemen remains heavily impacted by extremist groups and 2015 could witness further insurgencies by these groups attempting to railroad the government.
While 2015 paints a not too pretty picture in general of the Middle East, there is hope for remarkable successes to peace and stability in the region. One event toward peace like the end of the Syrian conflict, could go along way in deploying a wave of stability throughout the region.
[Tomorrow, The World in 2015 - Europe]