A formal report titled “the National Security Strategy” was published in the UK in 2016 by “The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy” of “the House of Lords and the House of Commons” stated that major unforeseen events such as the Arab Spring precipitated instability across the Middle East and North Africa.
I think it’s correct to say that, if you describe the situation in the region, but when you look a little deeper into the reasons for the instability, you would reach a different view.
Authoritarian regimes use this argument to terrify people and prevent street demonstrations, such as the ones that happened eight years ago in 2010/2011 during the so called “Arab Spring”. Social media networks, television and other forms of media could reveal an accurate picture of what happened.
I think young people don’t want to read the news nowadays. Like me, eight years ago they asked for liberty, justice and dignity but received the opposite.
In her paper “Convergence through learning? Patterns of exclusion during the Arab uprisings” Maria Josua from the German Institute of Global and Area Studies discussed what authoritarian regimes were doing on the ground to kill the hopes of millions of people in the region. She comments: “From the multitude of mechanisms, I focus on three examples: negative and/or ethnical: framing of protesters; banning dual nationals from public office; and physical exclusion”.
You may read these words in the UK yet struggle to imagine their real-life implications. The ship has sunk following the Arab Spring. There are a lot of angry young men and no solution on the horizon.
Furthermore, prognostic reports and studies of the Middle East and North Africa region are pessimistic and the cost of change, as we have seen, can be very high.
Tunisia underwent a peaceful transition of power in 2011, advancing progressive laws during the same period.
The Commission on Individual Liberties and Equality (COLIBE) formed by the Tunisian president recommended an equal-equal inheritance and this became law. Tunisia has followed a respectable path of transitional and shown how society can blend different political viewpoints together in a positive way, including those of the Islamic “al-Nahda” party. However, the question of how the Tunisian government can bring prosperity to its people remains unanswered.
Structural problems and stability following independence are the main threats to Arab states. Ex-Jordanian foreign minister Marwan Muasher predicted in an article for American magazine Foreign Affairs that following the collapse of authoritarianism in the region, the path ahead will be long and risky.
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This post was written by Ahmed Bahgat Saber