Thursday, 13 September 2018 20:45

Ideological Struggle in the Middle East Featured

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Article by Shehab and Maria Al Makahleh

The thick smoke and chaos in the Middle East is a camouflage for the real ideological conflicts, which are not religious but rather political and economic interests.

Using pious and holy frameworks in political rivalries, deployment of armies and abusing media have become outstanding since 1970s, amplifying a convoluted deliberation on conceptualisation and enactment of the said loci in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The core issue lies in finding a common ground between politics and dogmatic religion. Emphasised by imprecise and erroneous media coverage and primeval analytical tools, ideological conflicts started to be ignited by ideologies due to media coverage and to politicising such differences for the sake of rulers who promote themselves as saviours against the unreal enemy or the Yeti that does not exist except in the rulers’ imagination to keep everything under their control. This does not only apply to the Middle East but rather it can be a trajectory to the whole world regardless of Sunni-Shiite dispute, there are other conflicts worldwide such as capitalist versus socialist, secular versus conservative, orthodox Christian versus Catholic/ Protestant and other Christian dogmas.

The thick smoke and chaos in the Middle East is a camouflage for the real ideological conflicts, which are not religious but rather political and economic interests. The rise of political axes and alliances are not attributed to ideological conflicts but rather to political and economic in reality, the scapegoat is of course ideologies, which turn into vehicle to meet the needs of rulers and leaders in the world and in the Middle East.

The true follower or believer does not know whether such ideological conflicts fundamentally are the real reason behind ongoing wars or not, whether such conflicts are real necessities whose results are the yield of objective circumstances of a well-rehearsed plot, driving people to resort to their strongest heritage and ideological reserves to defend themselves in the war of shifting maps and bloodshed supervised and monitored by world masters, who delegated other regional powers. The so-called “Arab Spring” and the outbreak of creative chaos in Arab and Muslim countries, has been part of this game.

Nationalism dream failure 

The ideological vacuum experienced by the (MENA) region, the state of the “political quagmire” and the evasion of national cultural and ideological projects, with brilliant slogans, have appeared in the past because of the Soviet Union support. However, this has shortly disappeared after the disintegration of the USSR in the early nineties of the 20th century, causing a blow to all nationalist parties in the region.

The historical failure of the nationalist parties in the absence of a unity between Syria and Iraq in the early 1980s, after having the appropriate and ideal conditions in two neighbouring countries under the Baath Party, has marred the region, as Arabs cannot be unified again by all means. This is of course true due to external interventions in Arab affairs and due to the interests of some Arab leaders who prefer disunity. The idea of Arab nationalism failed and it has gone with the wind. The Arabs did not seize Arab unity opportunities that time; at present, they cannot have a one say in the age of open spaces where the world has become one village.

The apparent rule of political opportunism and Machiavellian favouritism, which was launched by Islamist populist parties whether Sunni or Shiite has been intended to internally destroy people’s trust in both sects about the true Islam. This has succeeded somehow to widen the gap between both sects which would lead to future wars for many years to come. The wedge between Muslims was pre-planned by intelligence agencies and they allotted huge budgets for the project. As the collapse of communism in Russia tacitly means a vacuum has been created and this vacuum should be filled by an illusionary enemy: Islamists. This enemy serves two goals. First countering the remnants of communism and second destroying the true image of Islam by demonising acts of Muslims which include jihad.

Most of the Islamic movements turned against their traditional supporters and financiers, seeking power. The conflicts now taking place in the region are chaotic, and not systematic. Such Nationalistic Parties and Islamist Sects are struggling to pave the way for political and dogmatic instrumentalisation of their identity: Nationalist Arab or Islamist. Such matters are more prospective to create new network-like realisations on the periphery and interstitial to endorsed power systems depending on religion’s superiority and perfection and socio-spatial all-encompassing society.

Power seizure or distribution of power would prompt the formulae of relations and linkages. Any of the two: Nationalist or Islamist seek power to rule and this is a taboo for leaders of Middle Eastern countries. When the Muslim Brotherhood win seats in any country in the MENA, that is deemed a source of threat to the regime and when nationalist parties win seats in the parliament. This is another danger that the regimes take into consideration. The absence of identity of Arab communities is used by some rulers and leaders for their interest to gain more power and allegiance.

It is no longer the poor condition of the Arab world today is the subject of the need, the ordinary citizen and the educated and the political elite – who belong to the authority or the opposition – with all their political and ideological tendencies. Everyone recognises the tragic situation we live as an Arab nation which was once a civilisation and had intellectual, educational, cultural, scientific and human achievements.

The deterioration of the Arab nations is a by-product of colonialism; yet, most of what Arabs are undergoing is due to policy failures resulting from external conditions and influences such as domination, colonisation and conspiracies.

Since cognition is a reflection of reality; thus, a dialectical relationship between thoughts and realities do exist. Arab thought is imbued with reality of plots and conspiracies. Therefore, it is impossible to understand the problems of the Arab world without taking into consideration their strong beliefs about Arabs being victims or targets of other nations’ wars.

Article published in Valdai Club: http://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/ideological-struggle-in-the-middle-east/

Photo credit: Khalil Hamra/AP

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