Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Harbingers to Middle East/Arab democracy:

Oct 16
  • Sectarianism or the natural sectarianism from Islam's two main branches Sunni and Shi'a Islam. The reason is not only political but also ideological/theological. If reconciliation keeps on being missing, there won't never be any stability, only turbulences.
  • The Palestinian problem/Zionism.
  • Oil in the Middle East. Why Iraq? It might sound like conspiracy theory, but it was an invasion, why not ousting Zimbabwe's dictator?
  • Is Islam compatible with democracy? Can Islam allow separation of religion and state ?
  • Instability halts research and technological advancements, therefore less jobs and more brain drainage, and far more dependency on foreign imported technology.

  • Disintegration, separatism, vengeance, hatred, unemployment makes a weaker region, therefore alliances with the devil at times is a must.
  • Right wing conservative American policies, and of course fundamental Christians.
  • Stupid people/voters on both the regional and the international realms.

I think the main two is Islam's polemics on its two theological differences of Sunnism and Shi'asm, and the Palestinian problem.
With the former, we definitely need far more historical review to reach reconciliation, however the later is rather more powerful than our meager, degenerating weakness.
So what can we do ?
The Gulf is concentrating more than ever on investment, and money making, with UAE in the lead, it is now the glamourous trade hub in the region.
Iran with all the restriction has a potential of being a producer of technology, with its resilient nuclear enrichment, however its values not only undemocratic but holds a great threat to other M.E. countries, infamously over Iraq.
Egypt the exporter of culture, movies, and music, sits on a heated belt of social problems and is only a minute away ,ready to vote for the Brotherhood!
It seems our only chance in democracy is money and investments, we are allowed of free entrepreneurship as the big powers are capitalist, however our civic and political rights won't be earned with money, but with our brains, history review and reconciliation, and mitigating or even deleting fundamental Islam.


nadia said...

I'm glad this post is back up:)

As for the first two, I think ideology can remain prevalent only so long as it can somehow be made relevant to some social realities, whether that ideology is actually total bs or not. I don't think you can ever be separated.
I guess I am always wary of prescribing theological understanding as solutions, much like the Palestinian problem often gets framed as an issue being about a greater Jewish/Muslim conflict, when it is about a specific political problem. Sometimes I feel like engaging the problem on those terms, further legitimizes them as religious issues which seem more essentialist and intractable than a problem of a specific political moment.

...But that's easy for me to say. At the same time, I'm well aware of how big the rhetoric on this is right now, but something about this approach really doesn't sit right with me.

The oil thing is totally valid but I think as a factor it's more about removing regimes hostile to the US in the MENA region that have some form of wealth, than it is about straight up controlling their resources and turning a profit, though that may have been an end result. Considering countries like Jordan and Egypt are the 2nd and 3rd biggest recipients of US foreign aid, I think the influence of wealthy neighbours is the biggest threat that Iraq represented(outside their own borders anyways.) At least so long as US oil companies are contracted with the KSA, that is my take.

On that note, this is interesting.

Shams said...

"I guess I am always wary of prescribing theological understanding as solutions, much like the Palestinian problem often gets framed as an issue being about a greater Jewish/Muslim conflict, when it is about a specific political problem."

I totally agree with you, and same thing as having political parties Not based on sects.

I am fully aware that the zionism movement for example was rather secular more than anything else.

But I wrote what I wrote was due to my experience when talking of Iraqi politics with other Iraqis,it always bottoms down to religion, and how symbols of each sect are used as "political" anecdote of one triumph's over another or the oppression of another identity/sect.

I would say - religious history- is a problem and faith has a big role in our region, and it is not even funny, that the most educated hold such - religious history - up par of their political discussion, so my idea was to dissect each argument and try to reach a consensus. Religious history holds mythical or one-sided views, if the Iraqi people have Ali Al-Wardi to study they maybe will be much less likely to be influenced by other powers, and would have acted as a solid, unified nations against aggressors.

but there are developments out there maybe without the aid of books, Iraqis now are sick and tired of religion being used and abused, and there are reports that even Najafis might want to opt out for more secular politics/policies.

but you know, even in the US one can draw an estimate to whom an extreme right wing christian will vote for? They might even want to be tied to the jewish zionists...There will always be a religious sentiment out there, maybe to forward the Massiah coming, maybe that is why religion unfortunately is important if we want to tackle political issues...

What you said regarding the oil point is something I would totally agree with, I guess whatever makes M.E. worthy of attention makes us an attractive transit to be "pacified" and "democratized", after all we are not allowed to free Palestine, and exert muscles just like how the first world power did when it "liberated" Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack.

And when there is oppression, there will always be instability and democracy is halted. For eg Egypt can it be that truly democratic state, no , the brotherhood will win, so it keeps in oppression, and taking its US aid for further 3amala to be continued.....

My views I find are kind of jaded, after all everyone wants to get their crumb pieces to survive, matters of dignity are old matters, moreso terrorist matters...and if they resist , religion will always cloud their minds.

And many thanx for the link, it is more than awesome. :)

nadia said...

There's a school of thought out there that "we" (Western powers) should just "let" Islamic parties take power wherever they do, and let that be the deterrent for the next generation of secular parties to form. The flaws in that idea are pretty numerous and obvious and I wouldn't compare Egypt and Iraq for obvious differences in the circumstances, but I'm not really educated enough on the Egyptian MB to compare them to Iraqi parties or not. There's a book that came out recently "Islam and the secular state" that I haven't read yet, and I know a lot of people are wary of all the self-proclaimed Islamic "reformers" around these days, but it's been getting a lot of positive reviews.

I think we're basically on the same page, again. Believe me I'm well aware of the theological rhetoric and how prevalent it is(and with this subject I always have Lebanon in mind as much as Iraq) I don't mean to dismiss or minimize that at all. The thing is with historical revisionism won't any "objective" synthesis just get dismissed as secularist or something else? In principle I think it's really important to have, but I think as well there has to be a willingness in the population to look at it. You probably can tell much better than me if that's the case or not. I've read the articles talking about the growing sympathies for secular politics, but still I'm always cynical about a)how hyped up they are or not and b)how popular sentiment doesn't necessarily translate into a change in political power(just like it doesn't in most countries that have elections.)
Maybe the response needs to be a more grassroots, basic form of education, like a Muslim ANTIFA. Maybe that already exists and I'm totally ignorant. I'm rambling again..

The most immediate problem IMO is still the geopolitical aspect and the Saudi influence(not just in Iraq and Leb but in Jordan, Egypt, etc) but I have no idea how you could go about doing anything about that, because again, they have money and most in the neighbourhood don't. Maybe throw some more razorwire on top of that stupid fence they're building.

The other thing is getting a government that will provide basic services so the militias don't have to do it, but I'm not holding my breath.

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