To end conflicts in Yemen and Syria, to abolish slavery in Libya, to diffuse an agitation based upon the Trump administration's unitary declaration on Jerusalem, to complete the two-state solution to peace over Israel and Palestine, to promote region cohesiveness and to counter terrorism and extremism, will be the major themes in the Middle East in 2018.
Unlike previous years when rumors, threats and outbreaks of war figured highly, 2018 could see a defensive Middle East in spite of current Saudi and coalition operations in Yemen, the need-to-end conflict in Syria and the agitation stirred-up by Donald Trump's unitary declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, hereby undermining an established international community process to peace and stability in the region.
All efforts in 2018 in the Middle East should focus on ending Yemen's conflict. Too many children have died and too many have been maimed. Too many children also continue to face starvation and death from hunger. Moreover, support should be given to the delivery of humanitarian aid to both the people of Yemen and of Syria in 2018. Russia's beginning draw-down of its forces in Syria should usher in better humanitarian conditions for the children of Syria.
The enslavement of African refugees in Libya will be quelled in 2018 as better governance and cooperation between factions become more responsive.
The willingness of Iran and of Saudi Arabia to better and for greater influence in the region could also augur well toward region peace, security and stability of the Middle East in 2018. But the two regional powerhouses must first recognize that their own peace and security are intertwined with the wider security of the region.
Better governance from Lebanon to Iraq with the accepted involvement of more factions into the operations of government could result in greater stability in the Middle East in 2018.
The end of the feud Qatar has with its Arab brothers would also bring greater security to the Middle East in 2018.
Morocco and Algeria, like many of the other states in the region will have to continue guard against terrorism and extremism in 2018.
Apart from Yemen and Syria with open conflicts, Egypt stands perhaps more vulnerable of Middle East nations to acts of violence associated with terrorism and extremism in 2018.
The terrorist group, Islamic States(IS), which has reported been routed from both Syria and Iraq, could continue to have a dispersal negative impact upon the Middle East in 2018.
Yet, if not for the present conflicts in Yemen and Syria and the recent agitation stirred up by Trump's declaration on Israel, then the Middle East in 2018 could have been on a path to a rear peace. But open wounds remain which have just been salted via a unitary declaration, thus, unfortunately, the likelihood for new and prolonged conflict remains ripe in the Middle East in 2018.