Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Where Is Our Plan?

The region has been living in chaos since October 7, 2023. Political irresponsibility has prevailed, as military escalation continues, undermining security and stability in the air, at sea, and even in the border areas of every Arab country.

Everything has been used in our region: militias, drones, missiles, and propaganda. The only thing that is missing is a clear view of what is happening. The region’s current trajectory could easily ignite conflicts, but predicting their outcomes is difficult.

Israel has no vision. It continues to kill and torment the people of Gaza without a clear objective or final plan, overlooking the fact that killing only generates more extremism and terrorism. War is not an alternative to resolving the conflict and eventually establishing a Palestinian state.

Hamas remains stubborn and determined to stick to adventurism. It has no clear plan beyond keeping its leaders alive, which will not guarantee the survival of Gaza or its control over the Stip. Their survival will not lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state either, nor will it stop the Israeli killing machine. Indeed, Hamas is now weaker than it had been before.

Iran tries to use propaganda to impose its expansionist agenda, exploiting the Palestinian cause. However, it is in a quagmire with Israel, which continues to eliminate leaders of the IRGC and Hezbollah. Israel has managed to trap Iran internationally.

The United States continues to take contradictory positions. Most recently, it vetoed the recognition of the Palestinian state at the United Nations Security Council, without laying a clear vision for how to resolve this conflict. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that his country has a vision, but we have not heard anything about it!

The Arabs, like the Americans, have made a series of statements without laying out a clear vision of what they want and how to achieve it. It is said that the Committee of Six has presented an action plan to Washington, but it was not approved by the latter; we do not know what the plan is, nor have any leaks emerged!

European countries’ statements seem similar to those of the United States in that they are also contradictory, but Europe has had no significant impact so far. And so, the formlessness we have seen since October 7 is dangerous, and it could lead to destructive conflicts that have no light at the end of the tunnel.

This situation demands that an effective vision be put forward, or a document of several points laying out what can be achieved, both now and in the future. Currently, the warring parties are unable to see further than their noses. Therefore, moderate Arab states must work on a clear and workable plan for what can be done, now and in the future, about the peace process and the Iranian militias operating in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.

This vision must be viable. It must present feasible provisions for the peace process, which is key, as well as Iran’s expansion and its nuclear program. The plan must sketch out a pathway and solutions with specific deadlines, and it should be publicly presented to the world, as had been the case for the Saudi initiative that turned into an Arab initiative.

It should be explicit in addressing difficult questions. For example, it must determine whether it would have been better for the Palestinian Authority to seek recognition of the Palestinian state through the United Nations or, in order to avoid the predictable US veto, through bilateral talks outside the framework of the UN.

Accordingly, we must present our plan. Either it is implemented, or it leaves everyone embarrassed and exposes their impotence.