Thursday, October 25, 2012

The performance of Islamic parties rising to power will define the region's geographic future

Yesterday, I had an interesting argument with an energy expert: are the winds of change blowing over the Arab region threatening modern geography? Will sovereign countries-as we know them today- such as Syria, Jordan, Iraq and maybe Turkey cease to exist in their current form in a decade or two? I believed not, but slowly the idea is sinking in, that the battle in Syria is tantamount to a black hole. One where pulling forces are so strong, they are drawing in neighboring countries- Iraq, Jordan and Turkey at a later stage- in an inexorable spiral. The outcome of the war in Syria will open doorways onto Iraq, a country currently split between Sunnis and Shiites. A Sunni and maybe Islamic dominated Syria will embolden Iraqi Sunnis. After all, the stakes are high in a country blessed with many riches. Jordan would be next in falling into the new Islamic wormhole. If Syria’s power structure was to radically change, it would be very difficult for the King Abdullah to contain possible repercussions. Trans-Jordanians already fear a possible Palestinian West Bank unification with Jordan, which would disrupt the demographic balance in favor of the Palestinian population, already a majority in the Kingdom.  Turkey may be the last to feel the winds of change, nonetheless it cannot remain unscathed, as the emergence of a Kurdish country is becoming day by day an ineluctable reality.  However, one main game changer remains in the performance of Islamic states that have already risen from the rubbles of the revolution. The credibility of Islamic parties is tested every day: can both the Brotherhood and the Salafis meet the promises they have made to disillusioned populations? Are they capable of ruling successfully in a region plagued by corruption, unemployment, slowing growth and poverty? Can they rise-up to the economic challenges? The answer to this particular question will certainly define what road the region will take. Arab countries will nonetheless have to go through a much needed self-cleansing process, one that will be tainted with radicalism, injustice and bloody battles...   

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