View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Challenges Facing the Arab World in 2009

Rami Khouri, in the International Herald Tribune, takes a year-end look at trends in the Arab world during the past 12 months [and] reveals little to be optimistic about.

Here are some tasters from this article:

“The core weaknesses, distortions and dysfunctionalities of the Arab world all seemed to worsen during the past year. Here are the major trends that I believe define our region these days, and will persist for some years to come…”

On the One Hand
“On the one hand, many in our region continue to look abroad for protection or salvation, in the form of countries, ethnic groups or political movements that rely on foreign patronage for their survival more than they do on their own people."

"We remain deeply mired in a colonial-era mentality in many respects. The massive attention paid to awaiting the new Middle East policies of the Obama administration in the United States is the most dramatic manifestation of trend.”

On the Other Hand
“On the other hand, the single most important change in the Arab World in the past two decades has been the attempt by several hundred million people to break away from this "vassals-of-the-West" mentality, and instead to assert one's own identity and interests. The various Islamist movements in the region have been the main vehicles for such self-assertion, but these movements have not been able to translate their proven credibility into coherent state-building momentum.”

To read the entire article, follow this link:

Rami Khouri, Arabia’s Troubling Trends, IHT, 1 January 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “On the One Hand…. On the Other Hand…”