Carnegie’s “Arab Fractures” and Our Way Out!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Thu 26 January / Jan 2017. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Thu 26 January / Jan 2017. 08:48 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The latest Carnegie Middle East report, “Arab Fractures”, is perhaps one of the most important publications ever issued by the Endowment on the region.

Even though their reports and publications are generally highly objective, solid, and scientific, with a number of distinct researchers featuring, this one is on point.

The value of this report lies in that it focuses on Arab problems and crises with specificity, underscoring their fundamental factors. It’s vitality lies also in that it outlines effective roadmaps and general strategies for us to make our way out of this dangerous phase.

Dr Marwan Muasher, the Endowment for International Peace’s vice president, summarises the basic concepts of the report; political stagnation, as well as the trending authoritarian tendency and the corruption that comes with it, are all tied to the core of the struggle in the region and to the dangerously rising tide of terrorism across the Middle East, as the region efforts failingly to address a number of fundamental and undoubtedly complex problems.

The basis for Muasher’s conclusive statements, prefaced by a bundle of hypotheses, are primarily based on previously addressed inquiries, in prefacing reports, chief of which is the question of the Arab Region’s “Social Contracts”, which have shaped the State-Citizen relationship over the decades throughout the era of the Cold War, since WWII.

These contracts, according to previous studies by the Endowment, are no longer sustainable, because they are all based on two principle pillars: first, is the authoritarian concession; the state provides jobs, services, reinterring relations and welfare, in return for security and stability. Second, where these concession might have worked still, oil returns have radically declined to the point that they can no longer finance their economies to sustain the standing dynamic.

As a result, I would say, these issues have given rise to a multitude of structural and fundamental political, economic, and social problems that swept through the Arab World, rendering the traditional institution helpless in addressing rapid and sharp changes in the political and socio-economic situation, and incapable of sustaining the authoritarian concession.

That said, the “Arab Spring” comprised a golden opportunity for Arab regimes to advance and overcome their structural crises by constituting fundamental reforms. But these regimes, after Zein al Abideen and Husni Mubarak were overthrown, began following a different guideline for repressing protest and mobilising counter-revolutions, instead of saving their peoples, societies, and states from imminent fractures and collapses brought by their resistance to change, and their persistence to restore a pre-2011 situation.

The catastrophic official Arab reaction to the “Arab Spring” is what led us here and has driven the collapse of the regional Arab System and the disintegration of societies.

It also drove intense polarisation between secularism and Islamism, sectarianism and religious extremism, which has landed society at the brink of utter and complete collapse.

The peoples of the Arab World have ahead of them only terrorism, civil conflict, danger, and instability. Either that or they would have to accept the reign of totalitarian Regimes that are even more authoritarian and oppressive than the ones which ruled before the “Spring”.

Meanwhile, the third option, there all along, has been systematically avoided and deliberately put to shades; deemed impossible by our regimes.

The alternative, to move forwards in reforms, towards salvation, rectification, the exploration of alternatives, and initiation of democratic transformation, by establishing citizenship, the rule of law, pluralism, peaceful deliberation of power, and respect for human right and public liberties, was never given a chance.

Concisely, those are the core concepts of the Carnegie report, which addresses many issues, prime of which are humanitarian crises in the Arab World in terms of refuge, education, and human safety.

Notably, no one in the Arab World will make use of the insights in this report! Our regimes do not care for the implications of the “Arab Spring”; to them, it is a passing phase.

In truth, however, the report by the Carnegie Endowment for Int’l Peace lends a lifeline for our states to overcome the pending calamities to come. Arabs either make it out of the storm ahead, or sink into the stormy sea’s bed.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.