Is the Arab World Going To Suffer the Same Fate as Afghanistan?
By: Guy Bechor Translated from Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel).
The "Afghanistanization" of the Arab world started a decade ago, with the disintegration of Lebanon and Iraq into militias, tribes and denominations; then it spread to the Palestinian Authority, Somalia and Yemen. Today, Lebanon is a militia — Hezbollah — that has a state. But the process got tremendous impetus from what is called “the Arab Spring.” The rest of the Arab countries are breaking up and disappearing, local identities rise in their place usually in the form of violent, armed militias. Not only is the Arab state disappearing but so are its institutions — a process passing over the entire Arab space and transforming it into the local version of Afghanistan. Nationalism is on the wane, and in its stead — rise of the militias.
About This Article
The transformation of governance in the Arab world from authoritarian regimes to Islamic militias, tribes and communities started a decade ago, writes Guy Bechor. The Arab Spring has only sped up this process.Publisher: Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel)
The Afghan effect
Author: Guy Bechor
First Published: June 21, 2012
Posted on: June 23 2012
Translated by: Sandy Bloom
Syria no longer exists as a state. Eventually, after years of infighting, it is expected to split into ethnic cantons with al-Qaeda celebrating amidst them. The Palestinian Authority continues to crumble; in Egypt, the state is falling, as is its institutions. Instead the military rises, as do radical Islamist movements. Egypt no longer has a Parliament or a constitution and even the office of the president is threatened with lack of legitimacy by many elements in the society.
The disintegration process is prominent in Libya, a country that was stable in the past. Today’s Libya is composed of scores of Islamic militias that are fighting one another. Recently one of the militias even took control of Tripoli’s international airport until its demands were met. Libya itself has been dismantled into two “states” that are hostile to one another: Tripolitania in the west and Cyrenaica in the east.
The same thing is also taking place in Algeria, where the Berber regions are splitting apart. Sinai was once a stable Egyptian stronghold that has become an al-Qaeda kingdom. The Red Sea has become the sea of al-Qaeda. Sudan has already broken up into two states and the third, Darfur, is on its way. Then there’s Iraq, whose Kurdistan region is almost completely autonomous, and an [independent] Sunni canton [entity], Salah a-Din, is being constructed in front of our eyes. Numerous armed militias operate freely in Iraq, as is evident in the suicide bombings that have become routine there.
Israel finds itself surrounded by Islamic organizations that are armed to their teeth. Instead of being surrounded by countries, it is surrounded by sovereign [terror] organizations. In the north — Hezbollah; northeast — crumbling Syria; southwest — Hamas and the other Palestinian terror organizations; the east — the Palestinian Authority, heading a long string of armed Islamic or clannish militias; the south — the Sinai desert with its terror, some of which come from as far away as Libya or Saudi. Only Jordan is still stable, though even there the stability is becoming undone.
The import of all this in terms of Israel is that a peace agreement with regimes is no longer possible. What is the point of reaching an understanding with the Palestinian Authority or Assad’s regime if they will be exchanged tomorrow for some Islamic militia and cease to exist? An agreement is not made for a year or two but for 100 years. Only a fool would reach an understanding with makeshift regimes that exist on paper.
History teaches us that every piece of Israeli territory that was evacuated for “peace” was seized by terrorist organizations. That is what took place in Sinai, in South Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and sections of Judea and Samaria. The entire world sees the terror that comes from Sinai and the Gaza Strip, areas that were once under Israeli rule. Even more, it is doubtful if the concept “Arab regime” even exists any longer.
In other words, the formula of “peace for territories” — based on a strong Arab regime and guarantees and long-term commitments for stability and order — no longer exists.
Ironically, the Arab Balkanization process and Afghan-effect relieves the pressure from Israel, and rightfully so. Everyone throughout the world sees the anarchy in the Arab space. Thus, Israel’s official stance against giving additional territorial concessions in vain, is becoming understandable, logical and accepted on wider and wider swathes of world public opinion.
|Back to news list|