We have some seriously bad habits in the Arabian Gulf, which somehow can be traceable back to the current war in Yemen. Some would argue that these habits are in fact good, not bad, but what I would say is that they have become one of the most significant factors that brought us the war we now are dealing with, unfortunately, in Yemen and may perhaps be dealing with in the near future elsewhere in the periphery.
Procrastination, it may be called, or do nothing for a problem at hand, until time creates a system that allows a solution to come through evolution. We see this a lot, in Arabia, in our daily lives. In our culture, we don’t like to punish, we simply and slowly attempt to push problems aside. That’s what we like, we like to have our problems on the side, and not stand on our way. Thus, in many occasions, we swerve around head-on problems in order to sideline them, temporarily at least.
Even when we have problems with actual individuals, we also slowly and surely push them aside as well, or perhaps a promotion so they would become out of operational-ability, towards a consultant-inactivity role. A minister, for example, dearly messes up; he gets a promotion, a respected way out of office. I can give countless other examples, but if you’re from Arabia, or have lived in this part of the world for long enough, you may be able to find an example faster than an accelerating Formula One car.
We love to look away when a problem is there, and wish always that it simply went away. I would say this is a fantastic strategy, for many issues that require patience and a decision to simply ‘do nothing’. After all, doing nothing is actually a decision and an option that works in various examples, unfortunately, not for this one.
The world refused at one time to believe that the 2003 Iraq war was a golden opportunity presented to the Islamic Republic of Iran. But who cares, Arabia knew and did nothing about it. It was a war that would clearly bring about threat to our existence and place it right there on the border. We all knew about it, because we went through the Iraq-Iran war together, and the 80s wasn’t also fond to Bahrain, and the various attempted attacks we faced from Iran since their revolution in ’79. Apparently America forgot, and they forgot why the fifth fleet came to be stationed in Bahrain.
Whenever there is an opportunity to do more, Iran would take over and try to push its agenda even further. In 2011, for example, Iran struck hard in Bahrain, working around the clock establish an entry to Arabia, but then again it failed. Much of the new media, those with surfaced history knowledge, were quick to think that the Arab Spring will bring about a new ‘Western’ Middle East, not knowing that the most mobilized non-state actors ready to exploit, are those they wish to see disappear from earth.
Procrastination and always reacting to Iran’s proactive foreign attempts is the main reason why we find ourselves here today. We waited until we got sick, so we can buy the most expensive medicine, war. Yes, it is the only medicine for our cure at this current moment, but we have contributed to our disease with our lame foreign policy.
Moving forward we cannot afford to do this anymore. Arabia needs to deal with Iran’s attitude head-on without a blink in order to make way for certainty and better development plans in the future. Let’s hope this is an expensive lesson to learn.