The Middle East Tribune

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The Crux of Middle East and Arab Dilemma

War of Oli

Photo source

Whenever you get involved in a political discussion concerning the question of peace and security in this chaotic world, you will find out that Middle East politics, Islamic and Arab organizations, Islamist groups, the Iranian regime, and Israel are the crux of any profound argumentation to puzzle out this dilemma. In many parts of the world, there is a common belief that without ensuring peace and stability in the Arab world and Middle East region, the world would never enter a long-lasting prosperous and tranquil state.

Arab supporters and apologists impute the current miserable state of affairs of Arab and Muslim countries to some wicked conspiracy at which they bring in serious accusations against some nations and countries to posit their self-justifications thereof. However, most nonpartisan and political analysts pin the blame on Arab leadership, Arab League, and Islamic organizations more than blaming the international community, though they hold all accountable for such severe adversities and disarrays.

At large, these two standpoints rest on the same lived through actualities, yet have different case analysis and judgment of Middle East’s knotty issues. Undeniably, the fact is that there are chronic problems, which were not properly addressed neither by Middle Eastern and Islamic countries and their regional organizations, such as the inefficient Arab League and Organization of the Islamic Conference, nor by advanced democratic countries and international organizations, chiefly the UN and its crippled Security Council.

Nonetheless, the underlying causes of the existing deplorable scene in the Middle East and the Arab world hold several compounded and intermixed aspects that have to be reassessed in a fair and profound way to figure out long-lasting resolutions.

Among those unsolved pivotal issues, the Middle East region, without exception, suffers degenerating consequences due to the failure of Israeli governments, Arab-Palestinian fronts and the international community to find and impose a durable answer to the most drawn-out armed conflict over land in modern history, and to the unceasing state of belligerency between Arabs and Israelis.

Alongside the Arab-Israeli dilemma, the Arab authorities are facing vast domestic and regional challenges of which they became more dependent on the support of foreign powers to uphold their threatened national security, most of which to withstand the increasing hostile interference of the Iranian regime and its Arab Shiite affiliates in the  Arab region.

Add on that, Arab governments and their corresponding official religious authorities were infirm to negate or safely ingest Sunni extremist notions and radical movements. Most authoritative Sunni religious establishments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, for instance, could not stand firm against the undercurrent of radicalism and Salafism. In the same manner, these religious authorities who are supposed to be the frame of reference to all Sunni Islamic doctrines and the pumping heart of religious rationality to 1.40 billion Sunni Muslims, could not even contain the spread of tailor-made radical fatwas (rulings)–let alone voiding the rationale of these savage Fatwas.

Middle East countries, who produce one-third of world’s oil supplies and hold the richest crude oil reservoir on earth (around 50% of world’s total proven reserves), have failed to provide real human development to its citizens or reduce its national poverty. While, according to UNHDR-2011, 40% of Arab population (over 140 million) are living below the poverty line (less than $2 a day)–not to mention the camouflaged cases of Iran and Turkey, who have tens of millions of poor and unemployed people (18% poor plus 20% unemployed in Turkey, 17% poor plus 12% unemployed in Iran).

Obviously, the Islamic world and Arab region, in particular, are functioning very poorly at all levels­­—leave off countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Like it or not, the largest part of that failure is owed to their rigid political systems, self-opinionated leadership, unreliable religious clerics, incompetency of most national governments, unrepresentative legislative assemblies (where installed), sectarian political parties (where permissible), under-the-thumb media, folkloric Arab League and fragmentation of Arab civil societies—let alone the off-key discourse of Islamic radicals.

This square say, however, is not to imply that world powers like the U.S., EU, United Nations, Security Council, the so-called international community and international organizations are not culpable for such dangerous havoc, especially when one finds no reason for their unjustified sloth and impotency to sustain security in the Middle East and thus lead the world to peace.

To make a change, the Arab world and the Middle East, al large, need to have liberal forward-thinking leaders that have plans to defuse radicalism, promote moderate political orientations, enforce the rule of law, foster social justice and civil rights, work toward actual economic growth, and render real human development. This major reform approach, however, necessitates some modifications of the collective security fundament of the region.

On that, this developing region needs the actual participation and support of the UN and some advanced countries, especially those of the free world, to orchestrate a customized international security act through which they enforce the same international security criteria and penalizing measures on the entire region without exception.

In addition, Middle Eastern countries need the unfeigned help of the international community in the implementation of an all-embracing process meant to promote moderation, deliver true reform, facilitate international aid plan to trigger economic development, openly patronize liberalistic and democratic movements, and firmly back up human rights and civil liberties advocacy groups in this region. Otherwise, security and stability of our world will remain in jeopardy until the first world and Middle East countries work shoulder-to-shoulder to bring about real peace to all.

To all intents, the question of whether this degenerative case is a result of an intrinsic failure of Middle Eastern nations or an international conspiracy of silence, or just a dereliction of the self-declared obligations of the international community, is likely to remain in dispute for some time.

Syrian children

Syrian Children Photo source: http://www.stopmakingsense-org

Meanwhile, the emerging test of intents, which will define future alliances thus and so reshape the general security and political discourse of this region, is whether and how the First World will respond to the slaughter of more than hundred thousand innocent Syrian lives who were, as now, butchered hour-by-hour just because they are calling for democracy, justice, and liberty. They died for the same values and rights that the free world is supposed to stand up for—alas, none really did so far.

Before and after the demoralizing seven endpoints of the recent G-8 summit in Northern Ireland, the unavoidable question is whether the leaders of the free world dare to take a firm stand to save and free the Syrian people and thus stabilize the raging Middle East before it is too late.

Or else, no one should be astonished, if the next blame game is about the use of weapons of mass destruction and the responsibilities for the death of millions thereof.


Author’s Note: This article is also published at Arabian Gazette



20 comments on “The Crux of Middle East and Arab Dilemma

  1. Pingback: The Fall of Arab Nationalism and its Folkloric League | The Middle East Tribune

  2. Anonymous
    August 28, 2013



  3. Gaby Murphy
    July 6, 2013

    After looking at the picture, I realized that not only women in Egypt are brave and courageous, the rest of the women fighting in the Arab world are as important as the first ones; all of them are defending their inherent right to be treated as first class citizens, with all the rights and prerogatives, not only scraps left behind.

    Women’s role in public affairs is significant to expand communities economically and socially, women can contribute far more to nationalism, civil society, development and stability when they are allowed to speak freely and act in an open tribune.
    Maybe that is the key to stop the carnage.


  4. Anonymous
    July 1, 2013

    The Arab people are so full of hate for the own people they can never have peace, when I saw a video where a man killed another man and cut him opened and was eating his liver in Syria I realized how much hate they have for one another and they call themselves muslins they divided themselves,using religion as excuse. If they only put the excuse aside and join together then they will be come a power to recon with. But the west put them against one the other, so they can’t see the bigger picture.I am sorry to say this but they are to ignorant and they will stay just as they are. The west does want them to join and come one, because Israel will have to bat in their corner.


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      July 1, 2013

      I respect and understand the pain that makes your opinion so dim. Nevertheless I don’t agree that we should fully blame other nations (maybe in part) for the Arab world chronic problems, while we deny Arab’s self-wrongdoings. It’s been long since Arabs frame of mind were set to blame the west and Israel. Yet The question is: Why should any nation expect from other nation-states, hostile or not, to make things easy for them? If The Arab people are not going to start blaming their leaderships and–thus themselves–for being dormant and weak, then nothing will change. Arabs have no option but to change their mindsets to overcome their misfortunes.
      Thank you


    • Anonymous
      July 5, 2013

      The west hasn’t put them against each other…they do that on their own, over their dispute between who are the “real” Muslims and who are the “fake” Muslims, in their constant debate between Sunni and Shi’a. Each side believes the other are “false Muslims” and deserving of death. That’s often the motivation behind the oppressive treatment of middle eastern people by their rulers, conflicts between middle eastern nations, and middle eastern terrrorism within the region.


  5. Kevin
    June 24, 2013

    The Mid-East, and Arab world is an interesting conundrum. When you think about it, massive changes have occurred over the past 80 years or so.
    All the heads of state have gone from a simple tribal leader, to running a country, with no impetus really to change their style of rule. A family ruled a region, with the head of the family essentially with the last word how things were done. Even with a family counsel input, the head of the family ruled.
    There was no reason to change this approach over the decades since.

    Now consider the area was essentially controlled by those who won WWII, with these same family heads as puppets, even though initially they did not recognize this.
    These European masters, essentially carved up the region, and handed it over to the heads of families. Except for a portion set aside for the Jewish survivors of the war, which was done without consultation, simply carved out, and handed over.

    So here we sit, some 80+ years later, all the heads of state having the mindset of their parents, and really not that far removed from the antiquated world of their ancestors.
    Sure, no longer nomadic, or living in tents, but not much else has changed.

    When you look to the younger generation in the families, you will see many have attended foreign universities, normally one of high prestige.
    Not like they earned the privilege to attend, like the rest of the world, more or less, they simply bought their way in. One can only hope they maybe learned something during the time.
    The world expects a lot of these people, considering the changes we have experienced over the last decades.
    Never the less, expecting a lot or not, change is required, and as illustrated by the recent events, heads of state hold on with a death grip, refusing change.

    The poverty of some of the people is really nothing exceptional, sad as that is. Look at the two major players today in the region; the US and Russians. Both still playing cold war games, at the expense of the local population, while at home, massive poverty and strife exists.

    There are simply too many players making massive profits on unrest, because over the same expanse of time, they have known nothing else. They have no idea, or refuse to recognize, that far more profit can be generated during peaceful times.

    Hiding in plan sight, we have the Chinese approach to the region. They simply stayed out of local politics, let the US and Russians spend trillions supporting one side or the other in the Gulf Wars, and now as the dust settles, and since the other major powers are hated, they move in and offer development, with a hands off policy.
    Look to South Africa and what they have managed to accomplish, both the local people changing for the better, and the Chinese with respect to trade.

    Why is it that two of the world powers do not learn from history?


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      June 24, 2013

      It’s an amazing analysis built on reasonable thoughts. especially when it comes from someone who didn’t live the Middle East hardships and madness. It’s hard to argue your rationality, Kevin. Very smart
      Thank you indeed


      • Robert C. Olcott
        July 4, 2013

        I concur with you Mohammad. Two of my current neighbors are Coptic Christians who emigrated from Egypt. During high school, one of my classmates (and her parents) had previously resided in Lebanon. In my early teens-a neighbor who enlisted in the U.S.Navy was stationed in Morocco.


        • Mohammad S. Moussalli
          July 4, 2013

          Thanks for you time and comment, Robert.


          • Anonymous
            July 6, 2013

            I neglected to mention having seen a film which reportedly got a film award, about a young woman who returns to her Algerian or Morroccan waterless hometown (village) to have a well dug…


  6. Romy Kerwin
    June 23, 2013

    Mohamad, this is a very well written article that exposes in a rational manner all the problems in the Middle East, the hopelessness, the failure of the West to help bring real peace to a violent and bleeding region. I am wondering why the Arab nations should need help from the West to come to terms with their conflicts. I do not believe that Western countries do not care, I believe that they do not know how to resolve conflicts which they cannot understand.
    It is difficult to grasp the ideological warfare caused by Islam among Sunni, Shiites and Shi’a fractions of Islam. The West is basically non religious or at least religions are not powerful enough to dominate politics or the life of a country , except for Israel.
    Your article so well researched answers all these questions but also creates
    more questions, which leave all of us feeling helpless. We should not have to interfere with a country’s self regulation but with all the chaos and anarchy that these Arab countries generate, it is not easy to know how to interfere without causing even more harm. I just left a comment on Diplomatic forum basically saying that the Middle East seems poised to kill every man, woman and child until the conflicts can disappear and may give democracy a chance. War will stop for lack of people to kill. Syria has lost one hundred thousand citizens at least. How is this possible ? Why the butchery, the hatred, the mismanagement of such a country ? It is clear that oil has been a mixed blessing, making some Arab leaders billionaires while more than half the populations live in abject poverty. A population with a strong middle class usually does not go to war because life is comfortable . Concerns are more mundane, such as work, vacations, health care and putting children to colleges.
    Mohammad, you are asking very important questions and I am at a loss to explain why Syria happened. It is incomprehensible for a Canadian. We mourn with the Syrian families who have lost their relatives. We cannot understand their enormous losses and tragedies but we are afflicted by sorrow as we live in a global village.
    Buddhism has taught me that we are all one and that losing a single person destroys the oneness we should feel for the world. It is impossible not to grieve
    for a nation gone out of its mind and heart. Where is Syria’s soul ? Assad must leave, it is obvious but after him, Syria will be consumed by religious intolerance.
    In a way, religion is a plague, a powerful weapon in the hands of a few fanatics.

    I enjoyed reading such a well written article.
    Romy Kerwin,
    Political analyst for the Government of South Korea


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      June 23, 2013

      Dear Romy,
      First of all, I thank you for your time, commendation and for the compassionate comment you have posted. Your logic and sense are what Middle East people need to embrace so that to move forward.
      In brief, yes, there are questions need to be answered once and for all. The world’s security and peace are degenerating to a worrying level while leadership of most advanced nations are unaware of the possible long-term devastating consequences we (all ) might face.
      Best regards


  7. T.E.Manning
    June 23, 2013

    The clue to solving the problems of the MIddle East lies with the stategic interests of the United States and to a lesser extent their western allies. These interests were declaredly the basis for the Bretton Woods discussions for “A New World Order” which led to the creation United Nations System and the Project for the New American Century which prepared the way for the Bush Jnr and Obama administrations.

    Those strategic interests mean “what’s good for us is OK, the rest is bad, or at best collateral.”

    “What is good for us” means the benefit of U.S. and Western bankers and their multinational corporate allies.

    In the Middle East, those interests have involved monopolies over energy supplies and maintaining non-representative local elites whose interests are “designed” to co-incide with those of the U.S. and Western bankers and their multinational corporate allies.

    “Co-operative” local elites who get heady are dealt with as ferociously as members of certain sects who decide to abandon the faith. What the social costs of this is totally irrelevant. Countries and generations destroyed, millions of refugees, hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed… its all just collateral damage covered by massive world-wide propaganda of lies and mis-information campaigns through mass media, most of which is dominated by the same interests. In the U.S., for instance, it is suicidal for TV stations and newspapers not to cooperate. If they refuse to toe the official line they get no advertising revenues, which are controlled, again, by the same groups.

    The importance of new sources of fossile fuels such as tar-sands, scale-gas and the like are leading to a change in western strategic interests. Those reserves are many times greater than the oil reserves mentioned in the article. Furthemore, they’re available on national territories, to the point where the U.S. for example will become self-sufficient in fuel supplies within a few years. Again, it’s all about the interests of the elite. The vast social and environmental costs of doing that, which directly endanger life on earth, are irrelevant and collateral.

    So now the United States have enough energy of their own, their new strategic interests and those of their allies now lie in controlling, disturbing, if possible knocking out, the operations of their competitors.


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      June 24, 2013

      You have just fingered to the kernel of Middle East politics in one sentence:
      “In the Middle East, those interests have involved monopolies over energy supplies and maintaining non-representative local elites whose interests are “designed” to co-incide with those of the U.S. and Western bankers and their multinational corporate allies.
      Thanks Terry


  8. Anonymous
    June 23, 2013

    Dear Mohammad,

    Another interesting article. I was wondering about the religious aspect and there impact on peace in the region and whether this split will ever be fully healed. I agree that the Arab League is very weak, however if it could get its act together it could be a voice and mechanism through which the international community could work. What do you think are the main issues that hamstring the Arab League.

    While you touch on Israel it strikes me that this is one very large hurdle in the peace agenda. Israel does meddle in the politics of all Arab countries whether directly or indirectly and as such further destabilises the countries and the region as a whole.

    The Syrian conflict is spilling over into other regional countries and to the international world with Western nations now declaring support for the rebels while Russia and Iran continue to arm the government and Hezbollah provides practical boots on the ground support. This has the potential to provide a further flash point not only for Arab countries but also for the whole international community.

    Just some thoughts and looking forward to your next article



    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      June 24, 2013

      All true Teena.
      I think that the main issues that crippling the Arab League is that they weren’t honest with in what they do, and are very financially dependent on Arab rich countries for their existence, of which they became foot soldiers to the higher bidder.
      Thank you for your kind and righteous comment


    June 23, 2013

    Dear Mohammad, Another superlative piece, as usual. Your rationality and genuine concern for the fate of the Arab people shines through each paragraph. We need more voices like yours in the Arab world.

    The plight of the Arab people has been created both by themselves and by the western powers. The Arab world is a world of gross inequalities – the oil rich sheikhs at one end of the spectrum and the mass of poor people on the other. The prosperity that came from a national resource like oil should have been apportioned to the entire population. If the Arab leaders had thought about a more humane society earlier, today we would not have insane programmes like jihad since terrorism and militancy are born and brought up in poverty and social injustice. The leaders merely enjoyed their prosperity under the protection of the westerners. And did not care for their own people. Look at Saudi Arabia. And they kept those mullas in their payroll to brainwash the masses that westerners are miserable for their misery.

    And of course there’s Israel. And the Arab oil. And the impotence and hypocrisy of the UN and the other developed nations. Once the oil wells run dry, the First World would not even cast a second glance on the middle east. Even Israel would be thrown away like a toilet paper. A real difficult situation here.


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      June 24, 2013

      Dear Narendra,
      It’s to my satisfaction to receive this thoughtful comment of yours. I simply agree with most of your views. For that, I thank you for your kind words and comment


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