NATO Now Focused on Arab Spring Effects – ACB President
The current focus of NATO is to the east, especially on the Arab world nations that have undergone the so called Arab Spring revolutions, Solomon Passy, President of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria, declared at an international conference in Sofia.
Passy, a former Bulgarian Foreign Minister in 2001-2005, was among a number of distinguished speakers at the conference "NATO's Challenges in the Next 10 Years", which was organized by the ACB.
In his words, the Arab Spring countries need massive investments in order to be able to complete the social transformations from their former authoritarian regimes that were brought down in the past year.
Andrey Raychev, another speaker at the conference, noted the demographic explosion in the countries in question, which severely burdens their social and welfare systems as more and more youngsters are seeking the same rights that people of the same age have around the world.
Raychev stressed the fragmentation of the societies in the Middle East, claiming that "the only thing uniting Arabs and Persians is the destruction of Israel".
"The new regimes are a chance to organize the region. This can be materialized by helping the new democracies with their economic and political transition," commented Nicola De Santis, Coordinator for the Countries of the Mediterranean Dialogue and of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
In his words, NATO is now looking at its direct links with each country in the Middle East, especially with those in the Persian Gulf, as opposed to viewing them as consolidated groups of nations before.
Petko Doykov, a former Bulgarian Ambassador to Tunisia, and currently the head of the Security Policy Directorate at the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, said in turn that there are several factors that will determine the future of the Middle East regime.
In his words, these are the political instability still present in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, and Libya; the economic hardship that needs investments to be resolved; the shaky transitions to democracy which harbors the potential to bring about radicalization; and the need to cultivate new national elites in the formerly authoritarian Arab spring states.
Doykov believes that NATO can help solve military issues in the region, for example, by helping secure the large weapon stockpiles in these countries in order to prevent Salafist organizations from seizing them.
Other spheres where the Alliance could help the Arab Spring nations, according to the senior Bulgarian diplomat, are helping secure the energy, food, and water supplies, as well as launching public health projects.
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