dimanche 30 janvier 2011

Arab states: a quagmire of tyranny

Soumaya Ghannoushi

Arabs are rebelling not just against decrepit autocrats but the foreign backers who kept them in power
We are witnessing the breakdown of the Arab state after decades of failure and mounting crises. THE ARAB POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT HAS NEVER LOOKED WEAKER THAN IT DOES TODAY. It is either dying a protracted silent death, corroded from within, or collapsing in thunderous explosions. Tunisia , which toppled its dictator through popular revolution two weeks ago, is by no means an exception. The symptoms are evident throughout the region, from the accelerating movement of protest in Egypt, Algeria and Jordan , or the increasing polarisation of Lebanon 's sectarian politics, to the near-collapse of the state in Yemen and Sudan , and its complete disintegration in Somalia .
The postcolonial Arab state has always carried deficiency as part of its genetic make-up. It had emerged as a substitute for the complex network of local elites, tribal chieftains and religious groupings through which the imperial authorities had maintained their grip; and its mission was the regulation of the indigenous population. This system of indirect control over the region, which assumed its present shape in the aftermath of the first world war, specifically required a "state" that is capable of keeping the local populations under check and maintaining "stability" at home, but too weak to disrupt foreign influence or disturb the regional balance of powers.
The first generation of post-colonial Arab leaders, the likes of Egypt 's Nasser and Tunisia 's Bourguiba, had been able to soften the repressive nature of the Arab state by virtue of their personal charisma, and promises of progress. With their exit from the stage, and the entry of a new class of colourless autocrats and crude generals, the Arab state lost any cover of legitimacy, and became synonymous with violence and oppression.
Much of the turmoil plaguing the region today is traceable to its diseased political order. Its degeneration has wrought havoc on the social sphere too. It has led to weaker national identities, and to individuals reverting to their narrower sectarian affiliations, sparking conflicts between Sunnis and Shias, Arabs and Kurds, Copts and Muslims. The result has been a growth in extremism, self-insulation, and what the French Lebanese novelist Amin Maalouf calls "killer identities".
Beyond the Arab state's aura of physical might – embodied in its terrifying coercion apparatus – lurks a moral vulnerability and an abysmal dearth of popular allegiance. This paradox has been laid bare by protesters in Tunisia and is in the process of being exposed in Egypt today. These demonstrators are discovering the extreme frailty of the instruments of repression that have long crushed and suffocated them simultaneously, with the staggering power of their collective action on the street. The ousting of Tunisia 's tyrant after no more than a month of perpetual protests has handed millions of Arabs the magical key out of the prison of fear behind whose walls they have been incarcerated for decades.
Events in Tunisia , Egypt and – to a lesser extent – Algeria are harbingers of a change long impeded and postponed. Were it not for the international will to maintain the worn out status quo, what happened in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the late 1980s could have occurred in the Arab region too. Its decrepit autocrats were allowed to stagger on, shedding their old skins and riding on the wave of rampant economic liberalism, which benefited the narrow interests of ruling families and their associates alone, and thrust the rest into a bottomless pit of poverty and marginalisation.
Arab rulers – aided by their foreign allies – have been able to steal over two decades of their societies' political life. Today they face the hour of truth: either radically transform the structure of authoritarian Arab rule, or depart for ever. The trouble is that an entity that has made coercion its raison d'être and violence its sole means of survival has left itself no option but to sink deeper in the quagmire of tyranny. And the trouble for its sponsors, who have made its preservation the cornerstone of their "stability" strategy in the region, is that they have now tied their own hands, with no choice but to blindly stick with their "friends" to the last breath.
That is why THOSE DEMONSTRATING ON ARAB STREETS TODAY FEEL THAT THEY ARE NOT ONLY REBELLING AGAINST A BAND OF CORRUPT LOCAL DESPOTS, BUT AGAINST THEIR FOREIGN BACKERS TOO. And though we cannot predict the future, the likelihood is that just as Latin Americans had seen the fall of many Pinochets in the 1980s, Arabs will witness more Ben Alis before the close of this decade.

Sale temps pour les dictateurs maintenus en place avec la complicité de l’armée et le soutien de l’occident pour contenir l’islamisme. La génération des leaders flamboyants de la trempe des Nasser et des Bourguiba a depuis longtemps passé le témoin à des tyrans sans charisme s’appuyant sur une clique de parvenus qui leur sont redevables de tout. The result has been a growth in extremism, self-insulation, and what the French Lebanese novelist Amin Maalouf calls "killer identities". “Just as Latin Americans had seen the fall of many Pinochets in the 1980s, Arabs will witness more Ben Alis before the close of this decade.”
On sait que la politique, comme la nature, a horreur du vide. Va-t-on dans ces pays assister à l’instauration de régimes démocratiques ou faut-il craindre, au contraire, comme après le renversement du Shah d’Iran ( cette créature installée et maintenue en place par les Etats-Unis), de nouvelles révolutions islamiques, voir islamistes. Faut-il redouter une guerre de tous contre tous ? Bellum omnium contra omnes, est la dynamique infernales qui, dans l’esprit de Hobbes conduit au Léviathan (1651).
« Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that Condition which is called Warre; and such warre, as is of every man, against every man. [...]and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of Man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short[1]. »
Pour certains l’attentat du 11 septembre 2001 a donné le coup d’envoi de la première guerre civile mondiale : la guerre de tous contre tous.
A l’évidence les Twin Towers sont le symbole du capitalisme, de la consommation sans frein et de son corollaire, la démocratie à l’occidentale. Pour les islamistes, c’est l’ennemi absolu. Le Grand Satan est le surnom qui désigne les États-Unis d'Amérique dans le langage politique de la république islamique d'Iran. L'Ayatollah Khomeini a utilisé les termes Iblis et Shaitanqui.
Le terme Mère de Satan désigne Israël (pays allié des États-Unis (Grand Satan)) ; le Royaume-Uni, la France (pour sa coopération économique avec l'état hébreu, et à une époque pour ses liens avec l'Irak []), l'Australie et le Canada, en étant les alliés des États-Unis (ainsi que d'autres pays s'y relatant), sont surnommés Petit Satan[6].
Pour l’Amérique, la révolution islamique iranienne et le terrorisme islamiste sont l’axe du mal. Dans son discours sur l’état de l’Union du 29 janvier 2002, le président des Etats-Unis, M. George W. Bush, a évoqué un « axe du Mal » constitué, selon lui, par l’Irak, l’Iran et la Corée du Nord.
En s’immolant par le feu, un universitaire tunisien désespéré parce que sans emploi, a déclenche un incendie qui embrase l’Orient et dont on ignore où il s’arrêtera. En août quatorze, un nationaliste serbe a vidé son chargeur sur l’héritier de l’empire austro hongrois et son épouse. On connaît la suite.

Aucun commentaire: