Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Political Colors for the Arab Spring

The Arab Spring holds many similar aspects, regardless of the smaller differences of requests and demands in each revolution or Uprising, whether it was in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya or any of the other 17 Arab states that have witnessed uprisings, or smaller protests that were easily, and quickly contaminated. They are all asking for the right to Vote, for someone who truly represents their Political orientation agendas, so i decided to look more about the most commonly known systems and ideologies in the Arab world, and on what ground do they hold.

Half a Century ago, in 1958, the First Arab Union was established, between Syria and Egypt, as a start for a greater union yet to come. but with the 1967 war, and the Naksa, the defeat of the "great" Arab armies, against a much smaller tiny puny state was a harsh hit for such unity, which was led by the Egyptian Nationalist President, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Where is this nationalism today, and how did it's flare fade out, at a time when its banners were the highest among other ideologies during the mid of the last century all the way to the later years of it?

In my opinion, the Arab Nationalistic movements have failed for several reasons. the first being the people who were conducting these massive dreams of re-Unification, and the reason i say its "re"unification, is for the fact that most of the Arab world's History they were United with Each Others, under the Ayyubids, Mamluks, Fatimids, Abbasids, Ummayids, and even pre-Islamic eras, the Pharoa's lands expanded to include the Levant, all the way to Tunisia perhaps. anyway, the other reason of failure is their lack of organized gradual integration, which has led it all to crumble with these people who ruled at that time. the Socialist governments in that era, especially in Egypt and Syria, greatly depended on their Iconic leaders, so with their defeat, Nationalism is defeated, with their Success it grows, and when the time came, and they died, so did their dreams. Nasser's Death, and later on Assad's Death all made a part of nationalism to die out. it wasn't untill Finally Saddam's Invasion of Kuwait, which i believe was the last straw that killed modern Arabism. For the upcoming years  it has made the Arab world a divided entity, that has yet to experience the advantages of having worrying about their core territory, instead of a vast piece of land that has 340 million Arabs living in it, yet today, with the Globalization taking strong effect into people's everyday life, and the grouping of states to form some sort of a bigger block, to be able to compete internationally in the Economy, and Politics, it has left the Arab states no place but to start moving back on track of Nationalism, with the 2010 Kuwait Economic summit, and the signing of the GAFTA (Greater Arab Free Trade Area), which started to take effect in 2007. the Arab Spring has put back the countries into the Nationalism era, with the Arab Nationalistic Songs being played during protests, the Arab states flags and banners being raised as high as their own country. I still remember my Friend and reporter Joseph Hammond and his words, when he said that following the Algeria-Egypt football match, he thought "Arab Nationalism is now Dead", but when he came to visits the country after the revolution, he admitted that he was SO wrong. I personally don't think that Arab Nationalism will exist like it did during the 50's and 60', but a form of theEuropean Union, will be the next step for the Arab States. The Arabs of 2011 are going throught a revolution that will eliminate the Socialist Arabism period, to keep Arabism only. as for the next Arab states ideological path, i believe they are very hard to predict.

The Arab Liberalism experience has been through several steps, in its short history of existence in the region. Liberalism has found its way into the Arab world in the mid of the 19th century, with the entrance of the Protestant missionaries to the Arab Mashreq, the Liberalism ideology has thrived ever since, the modern political entities of most Arab states have been built on Liberal principles, in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. it has then faded out with the 1948 war, and the people requesting to free Palestine from its new Jewish immigrants, liberalism quickly started to fade out, with the population seeking an ideology that calls for liberating the Holy lands, and found sanctuary in Socialism, which sparked flares of waging war and calling for social equality, freedom from the liberal colonialist powers of Britain, France and Italy (in Libya), and finally calling for Arab Unity to stand united against the new enemy, Israel. The decades to come after the existence of Israel witnessed revolutions in almost every single Arab state, that ended up with adopting a socialist  government of some sort. in Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, all turned to Socialism at one point for the upcoming half a century. with the fall of the USSR, Socialism fell as well, a new Liberal system was merged in with socialist leftovers, today, Neo-Liberalism is re-emerging in the Arab States, with real liberal political parties. yet these new political parties, and the ones that emerged with the arab spring are most, if not all, are blamed for taking funds from the Western states, the same states that the population was taught to hate due to their interference in the Middle East, or the Arab Sphere of Influence (Western Muslim world), in the Arab-Israeli wars, or in Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkan wars, sanctions over Sudan, Iran, Syria, etc...

In my opinion, The Arab Liberal Parties have a strong challenge ahead of them, tho the people are pro freedom, equality and all other principles of Liberalism, yet they still do not trust the Liberalist Arabs to take over power of their country, fearing to either turn their countries into puppets of the west, or simply removing their cultural identities and principles.

With the emergence of the 1990's, the USSR (Soviet Union) collapsed, with such events, the Arab Leftists have started to look for another sanctuary to enable them to proceed with working within their ideologies, they started to adopt new methods and means, and even principles from that of the Soviet Union, to avoid such collapse. tho the Arab world has never seen a Communist Government, yet most of its Governments in the modern times were socialist ones. in Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and even Libya's loon government of Qaddafi was considered a Socialist one.
following the collapse of the USSR, Leftist movements became divided, between a pro-USA side and anti-Globalization, colonialism, imperialism, and most importantly, capitalism. A lot of the Arab communists that have adopted a new umbrella to protect their new ideologies have started to put some effort into mixing both ideologies, the ideas they believed in, and the victorious system following the cold war, capitalism. to settle in a hypocritical place, where they are neither labeled as communists, nor capitalists. yet this has not been the case in Sudan, the second largest Arab state (1st before independence of South Sudan), communism in Sudan is thriving, as if the USSR still Exists. the first Communist party of Sudan was established in 1946, and they started to reach out to the international communist community in the 1950's, today, the communist party in Sudan is one of the traditional political parties of Sudan, and is one of the strongest political parties.
yet this is not the case in the rest of the Arab world, following the Arab Spring, new Communist and Leftist Political parties emerged back to the stage, convinced with the old ideologies of Equality, and Centrism, learning from the Latin American Leftist experience, of taking power, the Leftist Arabs in my opinion will be rebuilding their inner houses, and mending it to come back again, after people are fed up with the Socialist democratic systems they have been living in.

A French writer wrote in the early 90's a book named "Failure of Political Islam", this was certainly true back in the early 90's, where Islamism has stopped to function with politics in the Arab world, ever since the collapse of the Arab Caliphate, and the Ottoman Islamism taking over. Tho a lot of my friends would argue that Islamism have never ruled to fail in the Arab world, and that it has been interfering with Politics ever since new ideologies were adopted, but i still remain to disagree that it has been directly involved in political decision making, (excluding Saudi Arabia and perhaps Sudan). The Formation of an Islamic State, in my opinion, will never be achieved, the Arabs have failed to create one unified state, it will take Muslims around the world, centuries more to come, to achieve a unified state, which will not happen, because simply people are too nationalistic to allow a foreigner to rule them, just because he follows the same religion as they do. Obviously, today, with the Islamists taking power in Tunisia, forming the largest block in Egypt, and leading the way in Libya, Syria and Yemen, it is no question that they will be in power, perhaps they all differ in smaller things, such as constitutional, or government bases, take the recently elected majority party in the Parliament of Tunisia, Al-Nahda Party, with their announce of building a secular state, that treats everyone similarly, and another example are the Radical Islamists of Egypt, calling for the re-creation of the caliphate state, with the Quran being its constitution. in addition their are several Islamist political entities that are all different in ideology and how they view Islam, yet are all united under the labeling themselves as Islamists. such as the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood), whom are the strongest political entity in Egypt, the Salafists (radical Islamists), yet they themselves are divided over several political parties, and finally the Sufis, who have no political experience, and were never targeted by the government.

In my opinion, Islamists in Egypt will NOT take a majority of the 2011 parliament, for several reasons.
1- Egypt is not a solely Muslim state, like Tunisia, with a Large non-Muslims minority, being the Copts.
2- Egypt has had a very long history with Islamists, most notably the Ikhwan, whom have been stereotyped for their assassinations to government figures during the Monarchy of Egypt.
3- Egyptians relationship with the Jihadi movements during the 80's and 90's have caused less acceptance to the Salafism movements.
4- Egypt has 1 president assassinated by the Islamists of the country, former president Anwar Sadat, whom is highly respected among most Egyptians for bringing the country into a stable economic era, as well as liberating Sinai following the 1973 war.
5- Former Egyptian Governments have always been demeaning Islamists.
6- apart from the Ikhwan, Islamists have never participated in Politics in Egypt, and lack the organization, and audience. 

So what do you think... where do you think the Arabs are going with their spring?

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