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Ominous signs

Jul 22,2019 - Last updated at Jul 22,2019

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has accused Iran of seizing two vessels on Friday, one bearing the British flag and the other a Liberian ship that has since been released from Iranian custody.

This is an ominous sign that the escalation of tension in the Gulf region is edging higher by the day with both Washington and London openly at loggerheads with Tehran. This deterioration in relations between the US and Iran makes the Gulf area a major flashpoint requiring the cooling off of tensions before it escalates into open warfare. 

Yet the schism that separates the two sides is too profound for any successful mediation or arbitration. If anything, the two sides are hardening their positions with Iran opposing negotiations on the future of its missile programme and to disengage from its involvement in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. 

The stage is set therefore for open hostility, especially in the wake of US deployment of ground forces in Saudi Arabia. 

With the Russians having already deployed sizeable naval and air forces in Syria, the Middle East is fast becoming a hotspot where  major confrontation could occur between the two superpowers in the future. 

The rapid militarisation of the region by some major powers renders the region a hotbed for major confrontations. This does not bode well for the efforts to pacify the Middle East and groom it for major development. 

The Middle East is already beset by the chronic Palestinian conflict, the eight-year Syrian civil war and the now four-year war in Yemen. 

To add fuel to the raging fire is the last thing the people of the region need. Statesmanship should replace violent overtures between all stakeholders. The sooner the better.

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