State of suspense in the Middle East (2-2) [Archives:2006/936/Opinion]

April 10 2006

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb
Third, The double standard policy the United States pursues at the present world seems to be clearer than anytime before. It has adopted a slogan of democratic reform in the Middle East and simultaneously refused the Iranian elections and results of the latest Palestinian legislative elections, taking an obstinate stand against the movement of Hamas.

That has led to have the file in the occupied territories open and inflammable at the same time. The Palestinians have witnessed the formation of their government and the have seen the results of the elections and the kind of alliances emerging from them. Security and peace are the actual victims of that dangerous situation that is liable to explosion at any time. Israel does not understand anything but the language of threatening and does not care about instruments of political influence and effect on the course of events but at the same time possesses all means of impediment, procrastination and time-winning.

That has almost become the chronic problem in the essence of conflict in the Middle East and the tensest and most disturbed spot in the region. Therefore the state of suspense in the Palestinian arena is not something new but at the present time it appears to be more heated, especially under the situation of the religious emergence throughout the map of the region.

Fourth, The strained situation in the relations between various political forces in Lebanon and the ruling regime in Syria represents another new dimension calling for concern and capturing attention. The two countries have certain peculiarity of relationship that has begun to change negatively against both of them. The assassination of the Lebanese former prime minister had become a bad omen affecting the situation in the Greater Sham. Investigations are still continuous and there are sporadic explosions, security is lost and fear prevalent and the only losers are both the Lebanese and Syrian peoples, as he relationship between them appears in a state of suspense and watching. All that is associated with a beginning of security wantonness and prospects of political chaos. That is happening as part of the endeavor to oust the Lebanese president Amin Lahoud and effect changes in the essence of the relationship between the two Arab countries: Lebanon and Syria.

Fifth, The Egyptians would feel concerned and worried if harm befalls and affects one of the Arab countries, but their concern would be greater if that Arab country is the Sudan. For that there are historical reasons and coexistence in the Nile valley for thousands of years. The astonishing thing is that the problem of Darfur has broken out during a conflict tribes working in agriculture and others working in grazing, all of them are armed. Nevertheless, internationalization of the problem was a matter, as it seems, wanted and intended for creation of spots of conflicts in one of the important crossings of Arabism and Islam in the west of Sudan. It is a choice intended for exploding a conflict to continue for long time before it subsides and to exhaust energies of the state and deal a blow to unity of this African country. This country is passing through a stage of test of its regional unity and integrity of its north and south. When the United Nations Organization expressed its stand concerning the replacement of the African Union troops by other foreign forces, the Sudanese have sensed there was a certain agenda for exploding the situations in Sudan in a manner similar to Iraq, believing it was something on the agenda. That represents a factor causing concern regarding the Sudanese and Egyptian national security. It is especially so at a time we raise a slogan saying African problems are to be solved by the Africans and we also realize that foreign interference carries with it tragedies, disasters and long-term suffering.

Sixth, the situation in Yemen, while it is preparing to hold the presidential and local councils elections, require more awakening by the ruling party and the opposition parties, away from altercations that will not serve the country. They have to resort to work and dialogue, consultations and to choose the elements that respect the public. The public is on alert, particularly due to suffering from absence of security, equality as well as rise in prices and inflation. The strikes of teachers in protest to wages strategy can be n inlet for the people to have their say in the peaceful transfer of power and implementation of justice, equality and the state of law and order.

That has been a review of open and heated files around us, giving a sense of a prevalent state of suspense I the region. I may not be exaggerating if I assume that they would affect the entire world. Current international relations are tense and fraught with some aspects of religious conflict instead of political dialogue. Also, there is a great amount of exchanged suspicion and lost trust dominating the world nowadays. Some Arab countries are trying to tone down heat of the stands but the affairs are increasingly deteriorating with the course of time. The stability and comprehensive peace in the region will not be attained but by activating the logic of international legitimacy, discarding of double standard policy, adoption of peaceful coexistence, international cooperation, removing chains restraining peoples freedoms, respecting nations dignity and making democracy as stabilized dimension of contemporary international relations. It is to be observed that the principles on which the international community was built after the first and second world wars have begun to recede. The principle of one vote for each nation, embodied by the UN general assembly as an international parliament, now has become questionable. Big powers swallow the smaller and the super power swallows all. We are against an unprecedented situation in the international community where the policy of hegemony is superior and principles that governed international relations during most decades of the last century are disappearing.

I think as Arabs, we are in front of a big opportunity for advancing towards the age and keeping in pace with big variables of today world through a joint vision moving positively, taking the initiative courageously and establishing a regional order that achieves balance between our legitimate interests and historical rights on the one hand and harmony with the spirit prevalent in international relations. Isolation is a stance nonexistent in this world that full of succeeding trends and ideas, becoming almost a genuine example of chaos of violence, absence of values and disappearance of vision.

Is it possible that we believe in peaceful transfer of power and the ruling parties change into opposition so that they could benefit from returning to power via balloting boxes and is it possible that we will not see a number of rulers in the next summit?

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb is an economist and a professor in Political Science. He is the head of a number of professional associations, such as the Arab Group for Investment and Development.