Belfast Telegraph

Outcome in Middle East has implications for us all

Editor's Viewpoint

There was a time when international violence and unrest seemed relatively far away, but the penetration and power of the modern media brings details of the major conflicts into our homes as we watch current events unfolding on television screens.

Sometimes the confrontation is almost unbearable to watch, but on occasions there is better news such as yesterday's announcement of a ceasefire in the Ukraine between the pro-Russian rebels and the Kiev government.

This is a positive development but there are worries about how long the ceasefire will last.

This depends largely on the motives of the wily and ruthless President Putin.

Is this yet another ploy in the Russian endgame of creating a land-bridge from Moscow to the Crimea, or has Putin decided to step back in the face of potentially crippling economic sanctions by the West and the counter-force of a stronger Nato alliance?

Only time will tell, but the prospect of a renewed Cold War in Europe is the last thing that the Western allies – or Russia – desire in face of the huge dangers in the Middle East.

The recent video footage from Iraq has brought home to us all the sheer barbarity of what is taking place in a region where many thousands of people have also been killed, in the most dreadful of circumstances.

The situation is so desperate there that countries which have been on opposite sides might urgently need to join forces in a common fight against pure evil.

The Western powers cannot lightly work with Syria, but even Iran is becoming a possible ally in facing up to this huge threat from the Islamic State.

The solution to the present dangerous confrontation and the barbarism of medieval religious dogma lies in the region itself, and all the local players must look at who they have been sponsoring, and the part they are playing in fanning the flames.

The outcome is not just a matter for the Middle East, because in today's global village the consequences could have serious implications for all of us.

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