I found this reading the most interesting of all of the readings we have done so far in class. The articles from “The Economist” were objective, concise, and easy to read. I learned a lot about the Arab world’s history from the past twenty years. This is not something I had learned in any of the history classed I had taken, which usually stopped before the 1970’s. I found the information in the articles very interesting, as a meaningful prerequisite to understand the complex situation in the Middle East of today.
The first article centered on the Arab world’s political stagnation for the past twenty years. Arab countries are still ruled by authoritarian regimes, practiced in the arts of oppression. Still, the most controversial and continuing conflict is the conflict over Israel. There are also conflicts over oil, and unity is difficult to accomplish with the many different Muslim groups present. There are Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish fragments that make cooperation very difficult. Arabic is a language that would seem to unite, but instead, there are so many differing dialects that it is hard for others in different regions to understand each other. Violent out breaks are constant, and unpreventable. Any attempts at unity have failed utterly.
There have been many attempts by the US to try to facilitate some kind of peaceful solution in the Middle East. IN one article it mentioned that the bush administration planned to stop trying to create stability at any cost, and would instead focus on creating democracies. Barack Obama is also making attempts to repair America’s relations with Islam.
The most interesting part of the reading is the lengths that these governments will take to stay in power. They have massive security and intelligence power at their disposal to control the citizens. They set up sham voting procedures. It is very interesting how the youth has used to power of the internet to organize and let their wants be known. They organize over facebook and twitter, and express themselves over blogs.
The question I have is about the future of the Middle East is what the the future will hold. Will the various nations remain separated, and will the governments remain authoritarian? Will religious extremism continue to be the most effective and dangerous force in the Arab world?