It is high time to pull together to establish a Regional Reconstruction Strategy for the Middle East that can address all sorts of violence, not just Islamist-related conflict.
The region needs an ever-evolving strategy that maintains a holistic, problem-solving outlook while drawing on various forms of intervention (e.g. community driven development, inter-regional development projects, targeted counterinsurgency operations, stabilization, statebuilding, etc.) without being straightjacketed by any one toolkit or template.
Novel approaches rooted in genuine regional leadership, broad participation, youth engagement, and the utilization of technology will increasingly need to be applied.
The pillars of such a strategy should be a collective regional vision, effective local participation, smart security, reconciliation and justice, equity, reconstruction and development, and capacity.
For all this to happen, fragility must be addressed within a coherent regional vision, not individual national plans. It would be constructive if the international community and donors would try to view the region as a whole—as one canvas in which to facilitate cross-border mobility of population, capital, ideas, and labor—and encourage regional responsibility with different countries leading in their areas of competency.
If we can embrace a truly regional approach, there may be a day when we elevate human dignity and human development above petty politics and sectarianism.
Photo of Palestinian teenager by Storm Cunningham.