“Arab Spring” and Paradox Nature of the Regional Events

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Baku, November 12 –

Historically, existing under the Ottoman patronage, driven by the nationalist aspirations, the Arab states rebelled against the Ottomans in the late XIX century thus independent Arab states had emerged.

During the past years political power changes in the Arab states were mostly achieved by brute military force. One of the distinctive and peculiar branding of the latest developments is the name “Arab Spring”. Indeed, the uprising has initially begun in Tunisia on December the 18th, 2010, followed by Egypt, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.

One of the blatant political actions was the invasion of Iraq by NATO-U.S. forces. Incursion of the coalition forces had entailed the establishment of federative state in Iraq.

Generally, events in the Near and the Middle East, especially developments referred to as the “Arab Spring”, ought to be analyzed both locally and globally. It is impossible to conduct a thorough analysis without precise knowledge of the features pertaining to the region, internal dynamics within the Arab tribes and clans, and their attitude towards foreign powers.

I should note that policy conducted with regards to the Middle East defines political steps on the global scene. The U.S. and allies are undertaking significant actions, aiming to acquire greater leverage in the Persian Gulf region. Iran, Turkey and Israel are also displaying certain efforts in this geography, since the prevalent force in the region would gain the capacity to better address regional and global concerns of the political nature.

Certain states stand to benefit from the changes happening under the theme of the “Arab Spring”. Negative attitude of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki towards the Sunnis upon the withdrawal of the U.S. forces, Hezbollah gaining prominence in Lebanon in 2006 and relations with Israel, uprising of the Shia Muslim in Yemen and Bahrain, and Alawite Arab elite in Syria all bear significance for Iran.

Denomination differences within the ranks of the Iraqi and Libyan military are not be forgotten. In this sense, arrest warrant issued for Tariq al-Hashimi, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, had affected Iraqi federal structure and ethic-denomination identity. While commenting on the issue, Turkish PM Erdogan faced harsh criticism on the part of his Iraqi colleague and was advised to refrain from meddling into Iraq’s domestic affairs. In turn, Erdogan raised a question regarding the timing of the reaction, reminding that nothing as such could have happened during the invasion of Iraq by coalition troops. Such political developments testify to coordinated efforts of the regional Arab states and certain foreign powers.

On the other hand, external powers are struggling for dominance in Syria related events. Precisely, it is the Syrian events that brought the issue of prominence of leading powers into the agenda. Presently, it is not a matter of the regime perseverance, but rather the extent of influence exerted by Russia, the West and Iran. In this context, Russia and Iran see regime change in Syria as a political threat.

In Egypt, realistically, Mohammad Mursi was the most suitable of all the candidates, but it is too premature to assess the latter’s success. Egyptian draft constitution in this regard causes fierce debates. Freedom advocates are concerned with women’s rights and state-religion issues, whereas Salafis oppose extending freedoms and believe that traditional values are neglected.

Arab spring and “Innocence of Muslims”

There are various motives behind agitation and turmoil ignited by the events in Tunisia that later engulfed other the Arab states. Implications differed and with recently released, controversial U.S. produced “Innocence of Muslims” film, the new dimension was added to so-called “Arab Spring” uprising.

Production of such a film and exaggerated radical-begot Muslim response must be reviewed from several perspectives. Commonly perceived, cinematography is an art. Utilizing this form of art for stirring controversy regarding certain religion or a belief is a disgrace and shame, to say the least. Sowing the seeds of hatred and enmity is inadmissible.

Secondly, it is astonishing and yet deplorable that Muslim world can be inflamed in such an effortless manner. Two fanatics, handful of shameless sponsors, and several naive actors suffice to humiliate the religion of millions and force the masses to take to the streets, but this by no means contributes to global peace. On the other hand, it is becoming ever more challenging to claim peaceful nature of Islam while masses respond to insulting propaganda with destruction and death.

Several hours into initial internet release of the film U.S. Ambassador to Libya was assassinated in Benghazi, augmenting the likelihood of a premeditated action. Thus, we witness the implementation of a perfect scenario where impoverished masses of less fortunate countries are easily drawn into sullying their religion.

Psychological reasons are likely to be in the core of such retaliation in the face of defeat and injustice stemming from the West. It is in this context that these events must culminate into more comprehensive political reaction from the Islamic world, and not some cheap and controversial tricks of luring masses into street protests.

Dr. Rashad Ilyasov

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