Arab Spring – Permeating Middle East Peace and Political Stability

June 12, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

The political uprising in Tunisia last December inspired pro-democracy movement across the Middle East.

Arab Spring denotes the long overdue political transformation granting freedom of expression – a fundamental right in every civil society, free and fair elections that guarantees participation of all political groups and social equality transcending gender notwithstanding socio-economic as well as educational status.

Political oppression over decades mired by human rights abuse has been prevalent up until now prompting fierce battle between government forces and civilians for democracy in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen.

People in the Middle East and North Africa have valiantly protested against authoritarianism with many innocent lives sacrificed in the violent crackdown by political leaderships unwilling to relent to public call for their resignation.

The Contact Group meeting on Libya held in Abu Dhabi, UAE on June 9, 2011 is a phenomenal step towards expediting the dawn of democracy in the region.

More than 30 countries and many international organizations pledging support to rebuild Libya and offering humanitarian aid to the nations in political turmoil is welcome and signifies the general consensus on Middle East stability being vital for global security.

Thousands of lives saved through international intervention are praiseworthy.

However, the leaderships responsible for massacre are still in power and the ammunitions used in the brutal attacks against peaceful demonstrators were supplied by the powerful nations’ defense industry.

The outreach to political dissidents in the oppressed nations is undermined by arms supply to dictatorial governments thereby strengthening their defense against national movement.

Behind the scenes negotiations with autocratic powers and the heir apparent in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and more prominently Libya has prolonged the crisis and emboldened the embattled leaderships to remain in power against republic will.

The simultaneous approach has created confusion and delayed imminent political transition contributing to further loss of life and economic damages that could be reversed through categorical denouncement and explicit action leading to the illegitimate governments’ termination in office.

Individual assessment of political situation in the Middle East could shed light on the problems and offer viable solutions to end misery paving the path for a new beginning with people governing national resources that would allow sovereignty to prevail over dynasty or totalitarian rule.

Tunisia – The origin of political awakening led by citizens quest to drive the nation towards political independence and sowing the seeds for democracy to blossom in the near future.

Political struggles are not without obstacles and the post conflict poses more challenges often becoming the litmus test for the revolution viability.

Tunisian election scheduled on July 24, 2011 is now postponed to October this year to facilitate better preparation considering the nation’s first experience at the polls.

The Contact group along with International Stabilization Response Team and UN assistance in this regard is poignant in terms of setting up system to produce the election media conduct code or technical aid prior to historic elections in Egypt and Tunisia…to promote smooth electoral process.

It is essential for the citizens in Tunisia and elsewhere to form a united front in rebuilding their nation and work together towards common goals i.e. economic progress and social equality reflected in political representation.

Egypt – The Supreme Council of Egypt Army subsequent to Mubarak regime dismissal is yet to lift emergency rule, probe human rights violation, Tahrir Square political activists persecution such as virginity tests for women and men subjected to electrocution…

Replicating the predecessor undemocratic civil rights suppression confirms emulation rather than elimination of tyranny.

Although Egypt’s national election is due in September 2011, the current developments under the military government are a direct assault on democratic reform and calls for the swift transfer of power to civil society.

Failure to adhere to democratic principles is extending Mubarak rule by proxy.

Egypt Army assumed power on U.S and allies watch to curb the rise of western feared fundamentalism against local sentiments on external influence predominantly responsible for long lasting dictatorships in the region.

The Contact Group efforts translated into results in keeping the army at bay exclusively for national defense not governance in Egypt and alike would prove the real commitment to establish democracy in the Middle East and North Africa.

Libya – The recognition of Transitional National Council as the Libyan population’s legitimate representative is a progressive measure and the Contact Group members’ assurance to maintain relief emphasize the Council’s legitimacy in implementing the desirable change that is inclusive, transparent and in coherence with the twenty first century concept.

None of these aspirations are feasible unless the Gaddafi government is removed from power and the perpetrators of war crimes brought to justice to prevent recurring atrocity against humanity.

The recent killing of 28 freedom fighters during Gaddafi loyalists’ incursion near Misrata, North Western Libya reinforces the requirement to disarm the regime in possession of disproportionate artillery stockpiles.

Again reiterating the earlier statement on arms supply to undemocratic elements, the economic and political pressure by the Contact Group can be effective only when the chain link on weapons delivery to the government forces are broken and confiscated in order to contain violence used thus far to combat national resistance.

The leading international powers’ military strategy to arm the revolutionaries instead of disarming the belligerent government security personnel has converted the initial non-violent dissent into armed retaliation in Libya and Yemen…

Again the real beneficiaries are the defense industry or the military industrial complex profiteering from arms distribution to all sides at the enormous expense of precious lives.

Therefore it is incumbent upon the governments to cease weapons dispatch and substitute them with economic development.

The decision at G8 meeting in Deauville France in May 2011 with every G8 country prepared to open its market to nations committed to meaningful reform underpinned by clear conditions is noteworthy.

Nonetheless the G8 nations reciprocal investment in the countries heading towards democratic structure is equally imperative to develop the domestic economy.

Trade relationships, social and cultural exchange between nations are mutually rewarding and nurture economic growth alongside improving strategic partnerships.

The western governments hold the key to liberation in the Middle East and North Africa since the heads of the state in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia…were all considered allies and approved for various political and economic reasons regardless of their governance track record.

It is a unique moment for the western powers to disavow relation with unsavory leaderships and unequivocally engage in the power transfer to the people without further bloodshed and destruction.

Syria – President Bashar Al Assad obsession with power came to light in the escalated violence forcing his own people to flee their homeland across the borders as refugees.

The leaderships’ cumulative response throughout Middle East towards public demand for republic rule has been similar i.e. excessive force and killing of their population they have enslaved over several years.

Power is honorable when lives are saved, protected and uplifted not the contrary per the status quo.

Syrian state collapse is a possibility in the treacherous trail by the Assad government eager to stay in power but unwilling to surrender in national interest.

Syrian population resolve and resilience will enable their political dreams to come into fruition.

The dictatorial governments downfall is a matter of time for they can no longer continue with the genocide carried out to expand their term in office indefinitely.

Yemen – Sharing the traits with counterparts in Syria and Libya – The politically and physically wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh is another example of autocracy losing grip on power.

Yemeni President was never acknowledged as the leader and rejected by the people given the President’s self-appointment to power exacerbated with brutality in the latest political upheaval.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh survived the political storm with the U.S and allies backing in the so-called war on terror.

The President has no credibility and would be better poised to step down from office with dignity in the wake of national demonstration urging Saleh administration to leave avoiding the unarmed civilian sacrifice.

Bahrain – The reaction to political evolution is no different from the regional events.

The powerful economic and military ally in Saudi Arabia and United States respectively has been instrumental in sustaining violence against the citizens.

Needlessly the kingdom’s dominant maneuvering is a temporary escapade imitating the neighboring rulers’ tactics eventually resulting in inevitable expulsion from power.

Refusal to accept the new millennium generation determination to replace autocracy, theocracy and plutocracy with functional democracy is delusional at the least and individually detrimental as exemplified in the present and past testimony.

The current trend pursuing confrontation under the guise of patriotism is politically misleading and economically devastating serving only the foreign authorities’ selective agenda.

As for the western powers declaration to democratize Middle East and North Africa the mission is noble and perhaps urgent attention drawn to independent Palestine State with West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem officially designated as Palestinian territories not barring illegal settlements and occupation would reaffirm the genuine motive behind solemn solidarity.

People in the Middle East and North Africa have endured immense suffering and denied normal existence.

The extraordinary courage exhibited in taking their grievances to the streets non-violently is bound for remarkable victory concluding the repressive era.

Freedom is in the air and the permeating Arab Spring promises pleasant fragrance in the environment – political rights and economic prosperity in the society.

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant











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