Arab interference in the affairs of foreign intervention

Arab interference in the affairs of foreign intervention
Foreign militaries in Arab countries seem more naturally located than many of their state leaders.
4 min read
05 Jul, 2014
Regimes limit citizens' choice to terrorism or depotism [Getty].

The Arab world has moved from a period of home-grown revolutions to an era again marked by foreign interventions and alignments, in the form of the renewed war on terror in our region.


This shift is due to the inability of Arab regimes to achieve confident and gradual reforms towards more just and pluralistic systems, which is what triggered the 2011 uprisings in the first place. However, after any sense of national identity or belonging was hijacked by despots – leading to antagonistic divisions between “us” and “them”, grassroots movements and elites were incapable of agreeing on a new order to replace despotism.


This has been particularly exemplified by the chasm which opened up between secularists and Islamists.


The worst within many of us came to the fore as petty narcissistic tendencies sprang up and the political covenant governing the body politic fell apart. Arab regimes have shamelessly limited citizens’ choice to accepting either terrorism or despotism, or choosing between terrorism and sectarian exclusion. It is like choosing whether to die in a fire or by drowning.


     It is like choosing whether to die in a fire or by drowning.

Citizens’ belittlement and humiliation at the hands of uncaring elites has turned into brutal wars waged by regimes against their peoples, producing patterns of revenge and defiance that bring forth the lowest forms of cruelty residing within the human psyche. These wars conform to no principles, provoking in some a selective nostalgia for the rules that once governed colonial behaviour.


People have witnessed the chaos with their own eyes. Revolution is not merely rebellion. It involves creating a system of governance. Democracy is an order of government in which the word “order” deservedly precedes the word “government”. And it is the only alternative to despotism. Neither terrorism nor chaos are alternatives to despotism, and the principles of a democratic governing order must be agreed by the indispensable means of open and free debate, compromise and consensus.


Who’s in control?


The highly changeable situation has yet to stabilise in the interest of any despotic regime, which appear incapable of clinching a single victory against their peoples without receiving support from regional allies and international powers.


One of the marvels of this phase is that foreign intervention has started to take on a domestic appearance, while the Arab regimes make a show of behaving as though they have great influence over such intrusions, badgering global powers with suggestions, grievances and extra desires.


Recently, the attempts of Arab regimes to exploit the renewed international moves in the Arab region - with each regime trying to further its own agenda – could have won world records for triviality, impotence, hypocrisy, dishonesty and poor performance. Each regime is pressuring the international coalition in the hope that it will fight its internal enemies on its behalf, taking umbrage when its agendas are not accepted, and threatening to sabotage the entire undertaking. Some try to muster clever arguments to extend the definition of “terrorism” so that it includes their adversaries and opposition.


The international coalition against the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS) includes many of those who argue in favour of extending the definition of terrorism to justify crimes against their own people, and to retroactively justify bombing other countries. Outside the coalition, there are those that secretly collaborate with it, while simultaneously condemning it in public. This is the dialectic of “insiders” and “outsiders” in the war on terrorism.


     Recently, Arab regimes… could have won world records for triviality, impotence, hypocrisy, dishonesty

The crucial point is that the international coalition appears as a natural player in despots’ lands, while the regimes act as if they are the ones interfering. In a nutshell, nations and their peoples no longer belong to the regimes who profess to rule them.


It cannot be said here that the absurdity has peaked, or that it has hit rock bottom. Absurdity has no peak and no floor. The Arab regimes stand out like a handful of pirates and bandits preying on the colonial caravans in their own countries, offering their services, and bargaining over the prices of their own citizens.


This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Al Araby Al Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.