Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Quarterly Report | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

Three months have passed since the outbreak of the popular uprisings across the Arab World, or what has come to be known as the “Arab Spring”. However, there have been sharp variations from country to country in terms of the results achieved so far, which suggests that although there are common demands and similar problems all across the Arab World, details pertaining to each country produce different results.

It seems that Tunisia is on the right track with a considerable degree of stability. The military establishment quickly left the political scene and power was handed over to a civil authority, from day one. This authority has since been replaced, the ruling party has been disbanded, and the media liberated, whilst the constitution and civil rights have been improved. There are still a lot of complaints and enormous demands, but it is worth noting that Tunisia has chosen to look forward and concentrate on the future, instead of retaliating against the symbols of the past and settling scores.

In Egypt, the scene is completely different. The amount of issues, and disputes over their solutions, has created a gap between the government and the people, and disrupted the reformative process. There is a giant wave of suspicion about the intentions of the Islamists and the old National Democratic Party, especially with regards to the results of the latest referendum on constitutional amendments. Unfortunately, time and effort has been dedicated to settling scores with figures of the bygone regime. This means that the Egyptian revolution has been unable to take off, as rifts have spread throughout society.

The revolution is now being dragged in different directions, which have nothing to do with its original spirit and orientation. However, hopes are high that this is merely an anticipated transitional period, which is likely to change with the advent of a greater impetus expected to take place during the coming presidential elections, followed by parliamentary elections and then a redraft of the constitution.

In Yemen, the country with the largest number of self-armed citizens in the Arab World, opposition supporters held peaceful demonstrations. It is truly amazing how the people accepted the call for peaceful demonstrations, and avoided all kinds of violent protests. Yet the Yemeni riot police went against that call, firing upon the protesters and inflicting heavy casualties. Meanwhile, the Yemeni president continues to politically maneuver with the opposition, as those around him continue to abandon the ship one after the other with tribal support swiftly disintegrating.

As for Colonel Gaddafi, the man has succumbed to political suicide, and the prospect of salvation for the people of Libya is drawing nearer. Gaddafi is now left without a government, without cities under his control, and without any people to back him. The sole support to his rule now comes from a handful of his tribe, and a group of mercenaries. Colonel Gaddafi’s onslaught on his people is primal savagery, and it has become incumbent upon the international community to get rid of his regime by any means.

In Bahrain, the situation is still “stagnant “. The legitimate demands of the national opposition have fallen into the mire of sectarianism, as an opportunity for reform was passed up with crass stupidity. The opposition played the sectarian card above national interests, thereby losing all credibility, and returning the issue to square one. It is no longer possible to solve the crisis by seeking external mediation, and getting Iran out of the picture, after the discovery of Hezbollah’s involvement in training and instructing elements, to carry out acts of sabotage in Bahrain.

In Oman the situation is less tense but rather unstable. Though cases of protests have dropped, some are still being held as demands haven’t been met entirely. It seems that all rests on the composure and wisdom of the new government in presenting other pivotal solutions that would lead to tangible successes and achievements.

In Syria, the predicament raises genuine concerns. People were expecting much more from the President than what he said in his speech. The greatest fear now is that he will continue to associate with the oppressive and tarnished elements of the regime, and miss a golden opportunity to carry out reform.

In Jordan there is civil unrest, and loathsome ethnic discourse has surfaced again. The “native” Jordanian now has to identify himself and his tribal affiliations, which highlights a flagrant lapse for the state, and the formerly active civil society in the country.

The first three months have witnessed much confusion, and produced varying results. Feelings of fear, hope, sorrow, concern, enthusiasm and frustration have all mingled together, and the scene is not over yet. In fact, it is only in the details that we see the true picture.