By: Issam Khoury
The Islamic-Arabs scene suffers of peerless social and political emptiness; although the young men, more than any other sect in society in the neighboring countries, interest in political affairs, they suffer a state of social and political marginalization that prevents them from having a real participation in forming their own decisions, or even to participate in a discussion with influential officials in concern with the ratification of the general policies of their countries. Therefore, the youngsters turned to the social movements that understood their situation and tried the enhance the leader characters into some of them, using religion power and some verses of the Quraan which adapt the eliminating- discriminating ideology between religious sectors; religious movements in general, in different kinds of religious sectors, activated to create irreparable social schism. The whole of MENA region became a region full of religious and ethnic disputes among the members of one and same society. The security authorities, thereupon, exaggerated in penetrating society, making use of the idea of establishing the social stability, or else the fate of any country would like that of Iraq’s after the collapse of the tyranny of Saddam.
Obstacles of the development in the national countries in all of MENA region:
A web of approximately close obstacles in the MENA region show clearly how difficult the social situation that surrounded the Arab youth, the most eminent are:
all the countries in MENA region have fought illiteracy, but during recent years they suffered a continuous retreat in this respect; this is because of the increase in escaping from the school’s cases; the parents’ need of their children’s help to overcome poverty. All the educating campaigns were not useful to avoid that, which turned into a hysteric situation in some poor countries, especially in Egypt and Iraq; although there are no accurate statistic numbers to track this phenomena, any observer of the streets in the capitals and the main cities can see the crowds of children sleeping in the streets, a bigger part of them is spread everywhere shoe shining, wiping cars’ glasses or selling newspapers and magazines…
-Backwardness and the tribal thought:
the Arab society did not develop much; it did not abandon some of its tribal thoughts that threat the existence of the civil thought; the proof to this is that there is no real women participation in the Arab political and social life; in some countries their participation is only nominal, aiming mainly at polishing the regime’s image. Even today, woman does not occupy influential and central ministerial office that would give her the chance to participate in forming the political decision of the nation, like Ministry of the Interior, or Defense or Security; in the best cases she would occupy one of the lesser influential ministerial offices ever in the main political life, like Ministry of Social Affairs, or of Culture.
-The religious governments and the missionary cultures:
the religious parties spread all over MENA region, many of which dominate the political decision in the country; the domination of the Turkish Development and Justice Party is the biggest indication to the deep penetration of the religious movements, even into the counties of secular constitution, not to mention the Arab countries with originally religious governments, like the Wahabi government in Saudi Arabia that launches a wide- spread missionary campaign all over MENA region in addition to the Soviet Islamic Republics that gained their independence recently; the same behaviour can be seen from the Islamic Republic of Iran, which seeks, through its cultural centers all over the Islamic capitals, to plant the Islamic-Shiite spirit; we see a great number of religious schools (Hussainiyas) spread in many poor villages; the Hussainiyas present sufficient aid for them to attract a good crowd in different countries. The same can be seen in the missionary evangelical churches that initiated in spreading in MENA region since mid 1980’s; they planted educational services for all sectors, the long-run aim was to create a new Christian missionary culture
These religious schools and parties were able to divide the local societies into religious groups with different opinions and orientations. This is very dangerous; many religious and national minorities began to get together firmly lest their identity would vanish in front of the biggest group. The biggest group, in turn, did not seek to embrace the minorities under the biggest flag called home land. Therefore, the national and religious disputes increased in many countries (between Christians and Muslims in Alexandria and Saeed in Egypt; the Yazidees and Sunni in Yemen; the Kurd and the Arab; the Persians and the Ahwaz Arab…)
-The culture of armament on account of development:
though all MENA countries are in bad need to launch reformation campaigns in constitutions and laws, and to the scientific modernization and basic public utilities, we see that all MENA countries spend most of their budgets on armament. That really makes us wonder, is it the fate of the east to be a battlefield for the weapon dealers’ wars? Even the far- off countries from the Arab-Israeli conflict, like the Gulf Cooperation Councils’ countries and Yemen, we notice that they are among the most buying weapons in the world; this is because of the Gulf countries’ fear of what is called the Persian danger on the Gulf Arab nations. Iran, in turn, enhances its armament capacity as a precaution against any air and missiles Israeli attacks on its atomic reactors. On the other side, Israel demands arsenal of missiles to protect itself from the danger of the Syrian-Iranian that might strike it, in case there was war on its land. The Turks too are heavily armed; they have an enemy located in Qandeel Mountains, north of Kurdistan of Iraq; they want for Turkey to be a regional power equal to Israel and Iran. The Egyptians also are armed in spite of the Camp David agreement. The Sudanese seek to arm themselves whether from the opponent militia or the governmental forces; the Bolissario front is backed by the Algerian government to face the Moroccan weapons. All of the aforementioned examples make us feel that the political decision is far from the developing steps.
the corruption level differs from one country in the Mina region to another. The last of the international reports, “the 2009 UN report”, shows the low level of knowledge in those countries, which affects negatively the general education there; therefore, the citizen lose confidence in his nation and this is considered the most dangerous of social diseases in any country; when a citizen lost his citizenship, in the future he can lose his good traditions and values and hold to the superficial ones.
-The culture of the leading party:
many of the ruling parties in Mina region practice a utopian rule over their peoples; they make the nature of their rule essentially similar to the criteria of the monarchy, which eliminate the political participation and increase the criteria and tools the cases of the social oppression; this restricts the political, social and freedom, and lead the ruling party to appropriate a close class to itself; consequently to cancel the possibilities of political versatility and their advantages in developing society.
-Controlling the free media:
the regimes in general in Mina region were able for ages to subdue the official media to support their general policies; however, the occurrence of the private media, “satellites, blogs, electronic magazine”, transformed the conception of media from its old positive laws to become more modern; this led to the appearance of a new idea with the beginning of the year 2000; all the systems gathered together to transform this private media to work according to agendas that agree with the opinions of competing countries: “Al-Arabia TV channel became a support to the Saudi-Egyptian-Jordanian-American alley; Al-Jazeera TV channel became a support to the American project in the region”. As for the websites, many countries compete in blocking them; Tunisia, Libya and Syria became in the lead in this respect internationally.
-Besieging the civil society’s plans:
the concept of the civil society is vague for many governments; many of them connected it with dealing with foreign subjects, though the governments themselves are connected through many agreements and compromising projects with the west. This philosophy led to the disappearance of the role of civil society in helping the local governments to develop their countries. The paradox is that the more the governments were weak, the more strong became the role of civil society, and increased the social services and the citizenship; clear example about this is ” the pioneer role of the Lebanese and Palestinian civil societies in their countries in the absence ofclear administrative authorities”
please, turn to “poverty and terrorism” item.
The occurrence of the radical-jihadi thought and polarizing the youth:
All the aforementioned factors gathered together to give a general picture of the character of the young man who is yet to live his life; which is that he would be unable to achieve his dreams, unless he take one of two roads:
First: to be a thief, a bribe or an agent to achieve part of his dreams.
Second: to surrender to God who may keep him away from sins and go to Paradise that would protect him in the afterlife.
Good part of the second team, however, found in the religious jihadi opinions his desired purpose; according to Islamic tradition, fighting for God’s sake is rewarded in Paradise. Few jihadi opinions were enough to drive any Moslem youngster to the expiatory thought. This increased the jihadi movements that work after Al-Qaeeda organization’s pattern in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi Islamic Army, and Al-Qaeeda organization in Saudi Arabia, Al-Sham Strangers, Al-Sham’s Army, the Iranian Army of God, and the Turkish Hezbollah. Please turn to “the jihadi opinions towards the armament of the jihadi youth” item.
The suggestion of “Islam is the Solution” project:
The legality of this project for the youth: the youth began to see that this project has a real priority drives them to join the religious parties and the Islamic organization; the proof to this is the domination of Hamas movement over most of Gaza strip and most of the poor camps the west bank, like Jinin, Nabols … “, and the domination of the jihadi, expiatory movements, like Fath El-Islaam, Sham’s Army”, over the Palestinian Camps’ region in Lebanon, Ain El-Helway and Nahr El-Baared. The same we can see in the absolute domination of the Lebanese Hezbollah over south of Lebanon; the same can we see in the involvement of the Egyptian youth in the Islamic Brotherhood organization, which dominates the Egyptian crowd; and the increase of the involvement of the Iraqi youth in the religious militia and the expiatory organizations, which resist the American project.
The danger of this project’s dimensions:
The Islamic, jihadi ideology, in its broad concept, is an eliminating one, because it accepts, legally, the opinion of Ossama Bin Laaden, which is called “the theory of loyalty and exemption”. It says that it is necessary to establish a united and free Islamic nation, like the one Caliph Omar Bin Khattab the Just established; it is known about Caliph Omar that he was the first to perform a human transformation operation in the world, when he evacuated the Arab peninsula from the Jew and the Christians to become a purely Islamic land. We see the symptoms of this operation through the evacuation of north Iraq of Christians and the assault on their churches; we also see same symptoms in Saeed-Egypt, and in the last attack at the Islamic centers in Lahore district in Pakistan. On the other side, we see Israeli evoke Moslems to increase their fanaticism, like when they assaulted the foundations of the Holy Sanctuary (Al-Aqsa)
The increase of religious fanaticism in the Middle East district made the extreme right in all religions the prime mover in the center of the public and political decision in all the governments. For example, the increase of mosques and churches built in countries of secular constitutions,, like Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Kurdistan of Iraq and Egypt. We can also discern it in the weakness in the Israeli Labor Party, in comparison with the Likud and Sash parties.
The jihadien and the hindrance of peace projects:
The juristic criticism of the peace projects:
The extreme right ideology in all religions refuses, as a rule, the legality of peace, because it is based on the culture of elimination and the total favoritism to its followers in ideology; so, how is it possible for the Lekud party, led by Netanyahu, to accept the project of two nations live together when the ideology of his party is based on the belief that the priority is for the extending spread of the Jewish people across the land between the river Nile and the river Euphrates? And how is it possible for powerful Islamic movements like Islamic Brotherhood “Hamas” to be satisfied with a peace agreement with a state like Israel, when the conviction of its party is not to acknowledge the existence of Israel.
The same can be seen more clearly when we read the juristic criticism of the ancestral jihadien, like the Palestinian Abu Qatada, when he stated in his essay “the Islamic movements and the modern alliances” that “the most dangerous development on the modern Islamic movements lays in their alliance with un-Moslem powers; this is a disaster”. From this we realize that many of the jihadi thinkers completely believe that they will succeed in their purpose without any alliances with un-Moslem parties, because God is on their side and support their deeds and fight the un-Moslem blasphemous. From this simple example we realize that the danger of the Islamic movements and their mentality are the natural extension of the increase of the ancestral right wing ideology, within all religions; therefore, all peace initiatives would be only nominal and unrealistic or unpractical, because they are based on the mentality of leaders whose opinions are far from the demands of peoples that became more religious, day after day.
The state role in reading the equation of its loss of the young power:
All the peoples of Middle East are emotional in nature, and led ideologically towards a main idea, which is the eternal salvation, except for the Mosawi sect. Therefore, the leaders in the east are generally cannot manipulate their peoples’ emotions; for example, the increase of the Turkish Prime Minister Ardogan who withdrew from a debate with the Israeli President in Davos Conference, and retreat of chairman of the League of Arab States, Amr Mosa, who kept on with the debate using hard words to describe the Zionist practices against the Palestinian. People in the east like personalities who take publically strong and firm attitudes, even if they were in good terms with the opponent; Turkey periodically performs with Israel military trainings and hosts an Israeli embassy, and plays a pioneer regional role in the Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations.
This simple example indicates a main idea that the governments in Mina region are really capable of absorbing their peoples’ anger, because their peoples are emotional. So, it is enough for a president to add a money raise to the salaries to increase his popularity in front of his people; this feeling, however, is momentary and can only last for few months, meanwhile, the feeling of belonging to a sector and being fanatic about is everlasting and acquired legally; it has the momentum and ideological and human pillars to support, so that it became the prevailed feeling all over the country. Therefore, many governments worked to convert religious men to become real support for them, as a prelude to convert the whole religious trend to support their policies, but every rule has its exceptions: religious rebel movements began to appear publically, even in countries of iron hold in security systems, like Syria, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Small ancestral groups were formed and performed sabotage operations and caused confusion locally; part of the military expenditure was turned to be spent on security systems. As a result, the ancestral jihadi movements were changing their ways and became a real concern for their governments. The security systems always seems, and often claim, that they are holding things in control and know perfectly the orientations and movement of the ancestral groups;in fact they are completely prevents the religious youth to meet religiously fanatic personality, especially that those groups began to have versatile ways in their religious calls by adapting all kinds of media, like blogs, letters, compact discs, websites, booklets and some religious satellite TV programs, in addition to the religious schools licensed by the governments, the mosques and the small teaching sessions for children inside them…
Our peoples being emotional, excitable and spontaneous in nature, like Mr. Ardogan for example, the ancestral, jihadi, religious callers are the most capable to recruit them into groups that may threaten the safety of the whole region.
The role of the outside world in interpreting the ancestral, jihadi danger:
1-The European role:
The geographical closeness of Europe from MENA region represents a real danger for the European communities, which are not used to waste their financial expenditure on projects to fight terrorism, and increase expenditure and security cooperation.Reality, however, has made it necessary for them to do so; the whole of the Euro-Mediterranean region became in a state of fear and anxiety for several reasons, like:
a-The growth of the Islamic movement in Europe:
private and oriented media was able to connect the Islamic phenomena and its growth with the phenomena of terrorism. This led the Europeans to defend the secularity of their states; many draft laws were presented to the European Parliament, the most important of which was to ban wearing veil in the public offices. The European Moslem got together with the Islamic organizations in the Islamic countries; the Moslems in Europe became more fanatic, though they committed to the new laws.
b-Emigration and the restriction against it:
almost in every European conference there is a discussion of the illegal emigration to their countries, in spite of the prevailing of old people in their communities and their need to more workers; the European communities, however, in this stage, are in need of qualified workers, especially those who are not connected with terrorist organizations, like that which performed the Madrid explosion.
c-The project of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership: the Europeans realize the danger coming from the south, therefore, they seek, through their partnership with the Mediterranean countries, to open markets for them in addition to create profitable structures that would make the south a source of employment and manufacturing according to the European demands. By this the Europeans would shot two birds with one stone:
The first: to reduce the numbers of emigrants to their lands.
The second: to create investments and new markets for their benefit outside their borders’ lines.
The project of unification with the Mediterranean region is considered integral to the aforementioned original project. The consequences of these two projects are that they may look over the partnership items that are related to developing the criteria of human rights and the public freedom for the benefit of the economical and security interests. This in turn may have negative effect on the Europeans in the future.
d-NATO participation in the Afghanistan’s war:
e-the Europeans’ partnership with the Americans in NATO is imposed by moral and security commitment to the international agreements. Nevertheless, with the Europeans’ commitment to the project of fighting terrorism, they had to act militarily more than developing the under-construction – which is almost non-exist – in Afghanistan. That made the Europeans clear enemies to the jihadi Moslems; many of the jihadi theorists threatened the Europeans that there would be many explosions on their lands, if they do not leave the land of Islaam and the Moslems.
f-Participating in the peace process in the Middle East: the Europeans pay money for the sake of peace than any other side; in spite of this they seem to be the weakest internationally in pushing forward the peace process, because the Americans have the higher hand in forging this decision.
The cold war between the Americans and the Russians over the region:
The interests’ distribution between the two super powers imposed on them strange choices humanly and culturally; both seek to sell their weapons to the main regions of conflicts in the world. The most eminent of them is the Middle East region; therefore, it was imposed on its rich countries to buy weapons unlimitedly. We see this in all the military and geo-strategic reports, so much so that both countries sold weapons to all the countries of the region; the Russians, currently, build their military and maritime base in the Mediterranean, and they help the Iranians in building their reactor in mid Asia; recently, they increased their influence in Kirghizia. As for the Americans, they dominate the region overlooks the sources of power in the Arab Gulf and Azerbaijan. The expenditure of both countries on building their military bases in different parts of the world mounts to billions of Dollars. Meanwhile, they do not spend even quarter of this sum on projects that are really concerned in fighting terrorism and developing the societies, which means that both countries do not seriously think of fighting the radical, ancestral, religious organizations; they aim through fighting them at creating a situation of fear in the world of the terrorists, in order that they both interfere in the internal affairs of the weak countries; the latter would finance from their own money the military groups that both countries sponsor to fight the active terrorist organizations on their lands.
The danger of the jihadi, ancestral movements, with the eliminating ideology, in all religions and nationalities, is big and will affects negatively the international human safety, because MENA region is the heart of the old world, and the main center of power in the world; moreover, it will become the number one source of substitute power in the world. Therefore, all countries of the world have to include in their strategies to protect their national security a main idea, which is to fight fanaticism in all its forms. Here, the writers and thinkers have to work hard to look for mechanisms for the peoples to get together through enhancing the human thought that include all world cultures; the new generation must be fed by teaching it the human values and human rights, to become capable of overweigh the measures of good and human interest more than the material interest, which only the few benefits from, like weapon dealers and those who support them and cover their activities.