A new Arab world is in the making
Digamber Eslampure | Guest Columnist
The revolutionary wave of change in the Arab nations is spreading. The revolt against the regimes is not only just out of political and economic grievances, but also out of a deeply rooted sense of humiliation, contempt and injustice.
The emerging situations from this region raise several hard questions: What are the factors causing these revolts? Who is behind these movements? How will it impact the outside world? What are the possible reactions from the outside world?
Because of the huge diversity in history, politics and culture of these nations it’s difficult to answer these questions. Before we try, though, let’s take a quick glance at what was going on in the Arab world.
These revolts reflect the longstanding desire for freedom and democracy. The youth of this region are protesting against the regimes for their rights. Social networking sites are playing a key role. The world is closely watching major political, economic and social developments.
As of now there have been three governments overthrown. The Tunisian president, Ben Ali, was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia in January 2011. The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, resigned in February 2011 because of mass protests, putting an end to his 30-year presidency. The Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s government was removed from power in August 2011 and he was killed in October 2011, ending his 41 years of autocratic rule.
The Arab uprising started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt. From there, it spread to all Arab nations.
The situation in Syria is moving from bad to worse. The country is facing full-scale civil war. The Syrian regime seems unable to stop the opposition. Yemen and Qatar are in the same boat.
At this point, Syria became the battleground for the open cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi king already openly told the Russian president that they want to bring down the current Syrian regime.
On the other hand, Iran is warning the outside world against intervening in Syria. Iran is simply backing the current Syrian regime. These developments are a great concern for Israel.
Moreover, Iran’s nuclear threat is the biggest concern to the outside world. The United States, the European Union and the Arab league are enforcing sanctions against Iran and Syria. But the rest of the world seems to be silent. The remaining countries are not in a position to take a clear stand against Iran and Syria.
The reasons are their top leaders are changing their goal posts. For example, the Russian leaders initially supported Syria, now they are not supporting it. The Iraqis are in the same line of thinking. The Chinese leaders are not taking any clear stand.
These countries have a common set of concerns: the supply of oil from the region, the safety of their nationals and larger interests in the region.
However, there was an online call for a “Jasmine revolution in China” in February 2011. China’s leaders are worried that if they support these movements, there’s a good chance that same kind of revolt may erupt in China.
It seems to be highly unlikely that the Iranian president will continue in office two years from now because of the huge protests against him. In addition, the rest of the world is tightening sanctions against Iran.
The political landscape is swiftly changing across the countries. The Russians are running for elections in March.The American presidential elections are in November. Results of these elections may lead to changes in polices and strategic interests in the Arab region.
The Arab people are demanding a wide range of political and economic reforms. When they are struggling for freedom and democracy, supporting their interests is not going to be easy, but if any of the nations wants to be on the right side of history, they have to support.