An op­ti­mistic start that has failed dis­as­trously

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Saadula Aqrawi

What hap­pen­ing in the Arab coun­tries fol­lowed the Arab spring rev­o­lu­tions was re­ally op­ti­mistic. But now it looks as though the Arab Spring rev­o­lu­tions may well join the long list of pop­u­lar up­ris­ings that have failed dis­as­trously to live up to the ide­al­is­tic, demo­cratic as­pi­ra­tions of the ac­tivists that launched them and the op­ti­mistic re­cep­tion their move­ments en­gen­dered around the world.

Po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial change in the Arab world re­quires a re­gional strategy which em­pha­sizes a num­ber of ba­sic prin­ci­ples in­clud­ing hu­man rights, po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, con­sti­tu­tional checks and bal­ances, tol­er­ance, the rule of law and women’s rights.

US sup­port for democ­racy in the Arab world marks a his­toric change and rep­re­sents a unique chal­lenge. If the new pol­icy is im­ple­mented in ways that are su­per­fi­cial, half-hearted, un­der­funded and in­con­sis­tent, it will give rise to new al­le­ga­tions of hypocrisy and fur­ther dam­age re­la­tions be­tween the United States and Arab pop­u­la­tions.

The vi­sion of the Egyp­tian peo­ple who launched their rev­o­lu­tion for democ­racy in Egypt’s squares has been hi­jacked, this time by mil­i­tary lead­ers out to save their rev­o­lu­tion from Is­lamists.

US pol­icy in the Arab world has been pred­i­cated largely on the no­tion that a po­lit­i­cal sta­tus quo in the re­gion best served Wash­ing­ton’s in­ter­ests. With the as­sis­tance of Arab part­ners such as Egypt and the Gulf coun­tries, the United States has achieved a re­mark­ably good record in achiev­ing its ob­jec­tives—no­tably pro­tect­ing the free flow of oil out of the Per­sian Gulf, en­sur­ing Is­rael’s se­cu­rity, con­fronting rogue states, bat­tling ter­ror­ism and—dur­ing the Cold War—con­tain­ing Soviet in­flu­ence in the re­gion. Yet the ter­ror­ist at­tacks on New York and Wash­ing­ton DC on Septem­ber 11, 2001, chal­lenged the un­der­ly­ing as­sump­tion of the US Mid­dle East pol­icy.

Is­lamist move­ments and po­lit­i­cal par­ties are likely to play a prom­i­nent role in a more demo­cratic Mid­dle East. The United States must re­main vig­i­lant in op­pos­ing ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions. That be­ing said, it should not al­low Mid­dle Eastern lead­ers to use Na­tional se­cu­rity as an ex­cuse to sup­press vi­o­lent Is­lamist or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The Arabs have failed to build such a thing as a suc­cess­ful Mus­lim democ­racy. Is there any hope that the peo­ple of the Arab Mid­dle East will one day en­joy true democ­racy, equal­ity, re­spect for hu­man rights, and free­dom?

What started as a peace­ful up­ris­ing against the Syr­ian dic­ta­tor­ship has turned into a civil war. More than a hun­dred thou­sand civil­ians have been killed, and an­other two mil­lion Syr­i­ans have fled the coun­try. The demo­cratic move­ment has been in­vaded by rad­i­cal Is­lamists, in­clud­ing al Qaeda loy­al­ists. The coun­try is fall­ing apart and could well end up as a failed state, run by war­lords and split along sec­tar­ian lines. In Libya, Tunis, Bahrain and the other Arab coun­tries, the sit­u­a­tion is no bet­ter. There are se­ri­ous prob­lems ev­ery­where, and no sign of demo­cratic progress. But I do be­lieve that the Arab Spring is over.

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