The Arab States Drift into Irrelevance

[Daily Star-Lebanon] Rami G. Khouri - The most striking transformation taking place throughout the Middle East is that the new regional security architecture gradually emerging in the Arab world seems to be managed almost totally by non-Arab parties: Iran, Turkey, Israel, the U.S., and now Ethiopia. It is possible that the Arabs could write themselves out of their own history, ending up as mere consumers of foreign goods, proxies for foreign powers, and spectators in the game of defining their own identity, security, and destiny. This would be a demeaning cap after a century of repeated incompetence in the field of Arab security and statehood. Two other major trends define the region. Traditional major Arab powers like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as lesser ones like Syria, Jordan, Libya, Algeria and Morocco, are less influential and interventionist regionally than they used to be. In many cases they also suffer greater dissent and even some stressed legitimacy at home. At the same time, powerful new non-state actors in the Arab world now challenge, work alongside, or even replace long-serving regimes; the most noteworthy examples are Hizbullah, Hamas, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the Badr and Mehdi militias in Iraq, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and, most recently, the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia.

2007-01-09 01:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive