1st Edition – November 2012
What reforms needed for an Al Qaeda in Decline
How can individual rights be secured in the Mideast’s new reality US Foreign Policy: Different Approaches Different Administrations Human Security in NATO Strategies
Why a War on Iran Profits Everyone In this article, I will not spend chapters elaborating on the chaos an attack on Iran would engender, but rather I wish to draw a positive picture of what everyone has to gain from a military action against the Islamic Republic.
Post-Revolutionary Egypt: What’s next? I will develop a set of arguments and ideas about the future decisions that ought to be taken in the fields of economics, politics, military and religion in order to insure a peaceful transition towards democracy for a nation that spilled enough blood to buy its dignity and prosperity back from decades of tyranny. 1
Index • Why a War on Iran Profits Everyone (Page 3)
• Post-revolutionary Egypt: What’s next (Page 10)
• US Foreign Policy and US administrations : What to expect (Page 22)
• What reforms needed for an Al Qaeda in decline ? (Page 27)
• Human security in NATO strategies (Page 36)
• How can individual rights be secured in the Mideast’s new reality? (Page 41)
Why a war on Iran profits everyone Whether in the stormy streets of Lebanon or behind the closed doors of the Mossad, words and words again have been spilled on Iran’s nuclear program, and most importantly on an imminent attack on Khomeini’s’ stronghold as a pre-emptive option to avoid the emergence of a nuclear mushroom over Tel Aviv. The controversy is fierce, and the implications are far reaching both regionally and internationally. Taking the decision to fire a couple of Tomahawks over Natanz facility or wiping out the Bushehr nuclear reactor is easy for some officials in the Knesset, but the real nature of such decision is no different than the ‘halted’ decision to fire nukes on Havana at the time of the Kennedy administration in the 60s. Only difference: this time we don’t have brilliant decision makers of Kennedy’s caliber. In this article, I will not spend chapters elaborating on the chaos an attack on Iran would engender, but rather I wish to draw a positive picture of what everyone has to gain from a military action against the Islamic Republic. First focal point I’ll build on is ultimately related to another tragedy ongoing right now, a tragedy which victims amount to more than 10 000 and whose audience overpassed the 6 billion viewers. Lots of troubles yet no one is making bald moves, all what is being actively used are expired excuses copied from the encyclopedia RealPolitika at the detriment of the civilians massacred in AlHoula, Edlib and Dir Ezzour by the Assad mercenaries. What have we to gain from a potential attack on Iran in regards to the Syrian Crisis? An individual with decent understanding of world alliances and regional features of the Middle East can pinpoint to the answer: An inevitable fall of the regime in Syria, and a long awaited victory of the Syrian revolution! Well, what if I’m not that knowledgeable in world politics and international relations; could you enlighten me Mr. Belarbi on how an attack on Iran could speed up the collapse of the Assad regime? Sure. A
key ally to the regime in Syria is, as most of us know, Iran whose unconditional support to the Allaouite center of power made it possible for Assad to survive so far the revolution, along of course with the strategic back up of Moscow and Beijing. Teheran has been indulging in tremendous efforts to secure logistical and military support to the Syrian regime, let alone a fierce supply of advisors and defense strategists summoned by the Ayatollah and either flown or put on the line with Assad security chiefs and police. Giving lessons on ‘how to end dissidence and shut down rebellion’ is nothing new for Teheran, and sharing this invaluable knowledge with a key partner in the region is no more than a duty friends owe to each other. This is far from being the product of speculations and hypothetical scenarios as the UN and several western powers have condemned the shipping of arms and weapons from Iran and Russia to Syria over the past months, weapons which this time are not conventional missiles and rifles, but gear specially used by police forces to storm demonstrations and fight dissidents and rebels. This being said, a potential military action in Iran could divert the Khomeini administration from Syria, and instead give it enough troubles to focus solely on the internal crisis and divert its entire logistical and military arsenal to fight back the Zionist coordinated assault on the nation. The Assad regime deprived from the flow of weapons coming from Persia, it will be impossible to sustain the level of operations against the rebels, giving thus the revolution the opportunity to revitalize across the country. But Mr. Belarbi, if the Syrian regime doesn’t get weapons from Iran, they could just as well turn to someone else; they got a couple of friends ready to send in supplies and ammunitions, don’t they? Well indeed, Syria has several key allies, but the business Syria does with Iran is different in nature from the one it could conduct with Russia and China. Syria was not in need of cash in order to receive weapons from Iran as the incentive of Khomeini and Ahmadi Nejad was both sectarian and political, yet when it is business with Moscow, the primary currency is money, not good will, and that’s something Bashar Al Assad doesn’t have at the moment given the fact that the country doesn’t have fountains of oil
to lean on nor operating industries to finance its purchases with. As Farid Zakaria repeated once and again, Assad is running out of cash! The other good news for Syrian rebels in case an attack is undertook against Iran is that the F-16 and drones used in an attack on Teheran could just as well gather intelligence data on Assad troops and then send the intel to the rebels who could operate more efficiently against the regimes’ squads. The air force deployed against Iran nuclear facilities and the ground troops sent on the ground if the conflict escalates will be of great resource to the revolutionaries, both supplying them with weapons and with intelligence reports. The story then would advance as it did in Libya: as the locations of Assad troops becomes easy, and as the Qatari weapons are supplied to the rebels by the ground troops operating in Iran, the days of the Syrian regime would be numbered, and the victory certain for the Syrian opposition. Voilà! The sufferings of some are valuable enjoyments for others! A discussion on a topic such as Iran cannot flow without ultimately mentioning a key country in the balance of power equation: Turkey! Not only is the nucleus of the Ottoman Empire a nation of strong influence and weight as its NATO memberships testifies for, but the birth country of the fallen Atatürk is enjoying a myriad of financial and economic prosperity and advance as of now though the rest of the world is crumbling under austerity measures and economic recession. The recent events in the Arab world indeed boosted the leadership position of Turkey, placing it in the forefront of the struggle and aspirations of the Arab and Muslim oppressed people who ended up glorifying Erdogan and describing him as a Muslim model leader the decision makers in Arabia should follow. This little introduction to present Turkey is not a mere fill-up of words and sentences to make this article look long enough to be professional, but is a key factor to contemplate in order to understand what Turkey has to win if Iran falls under western strikes. Turkey is nowadays contending with Iran and Qatar for regional supremacy and international influence. Sending a blow to Iranian defiance and pride against the western world, and which is the primary weapon used
by the Ayatollah to draw admiration and support from the Arab and Muslim public opinion, would inevitably shatter the untouchable reputation the nation kept on fueling since the Islamic Revolution. A defeated Persia would ultimately push away any sentiments of admiration and glorification, yet these deceived audiences in the Arab world would necessary search to fill the gap by shifting their support to a country with similar leadership vision to the Khomeini administration. Speculations and projections put Turkey and Qatar as the biggest winners, enabling both nations to increase their radius of influence and mobilization. This is a great asset not only to Turkey who will turn the affinity of the Arab and Muslim street towards the charismatic Erdogan into beneficial political and economic investments, but also to the Arab World who’ll be far more rewarded by a close partnership with Turkey rather than with Iran. A clear example of such scenario is the latest exponential improvements in Turkish-Tunisian relationships where Turkish has been adopted as foreign language taught into schools (a precedent which made Ankara clap hands and feet), and Turkish investments have poured into Tunisia, a country robbed from its financial resources by the crook Ben Ali and his entourage. This educational and economic rapprochement is dwarfed by the potential political and diplomatic collaboration and support Turkey will draw from its new ally in North Africa. Now, how tremendous are the benefits for Turkey if all Iranian allies and sympathetic audiences turn towards a new big bro who is willing to spend money and efforts in developing strong partners regionally. Less competition indeed is more than welcome in Ankara, especially when the stick hits hard an important shareholder in the international arena such as Iran. Same story goes for Qatar, and the biggest winner is the Arab World who’ll enjoy the wonders of Qatari investments and development programs through its many branches such as the Qatar foundation. An attack on Iran will send the stock markets on a joyful ride! Many are those who fear a financial frenzy if an attack has to occur against Iran, and without doubt the physical destruction which Iran would endure is nothing faced by the economic cataclysm a war would engender, mainly
due to the speculations surrounding oil supply through the Hormuz Strait. Well, a quick glimpse at the 1929 economic crisis can give us a simple lesson in the politics of economy: the best way to go about standing out from a recession is to go for critical conditions and social alert suitable for the justification of austerity measures and fruitful for the emergence of the dirty business of war profiteering. A war on Iran will include the deployment of tremendous amounts of weapons, ammunitions and war vehicles necessary to match the might and endurance of the endless stocks of missiles the Ayatollahs hold. It goes without saying that such intensive usage of military arsenal will lead to an increase in demand and thus revival of war supplies. Who manufactures weapons and manages the networks of supply chains: The same industries who are suffering a downfall in their host country’s economic performance. One should not underestimate the assets such market holds, and multi-billions contracts are a common trend in the military-industrial complex in times of war and post-destruction. The mighty 1.5 trillion $ weapon and arms market, pioneered by some corporations such as Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems, can indeed pull a whole state economy out of recession with a couple of successful contracts. Reconstruction projects follow the same path as privileged reconstruction tycoons always end up sealing multi-billion contracts with countries affected by war, and in a Iranian military conflict, several are those who’ll end up receiving a couple of Shehab missiles in their backyard. Finally, what matters most is not only the dirty business of war, but the state of fear a military conflict engenders. Politicians are usually clever in exploiting these critical conditions, finding as they always do an opportunity in every issue, an opportunity both marketable and prosperous for immoral practice. A war on Iran would lay the foundations for a world state of fear which will give ample excuses for world economies to impose austerity measures and other mechanisms violating civic rights for the sake of pumping life back into state industries and financial establishment. Now imagine how easy it would be to increase gas prices in your neighboring station with the justification of a shortage in oil supplies due to the Iranian
conflict. Would the public opinion protest in difficult times where the citizen ought to be obedient and patriotic? The only piece of the puzzle state officials won’t provide you with is the nature of the benefactors of the war expenditures. While the state could propagate for the official story of justified increase in gasoline and the implementation of austerity measures due to war costs, the identity of those who paid the bill would remain a matter of national security. As in the case of the Iraqi war, a similar story can be unearthed. Those who bear the expenditures of the gulf war are not the valorous navy seals who run for the rescue of an Arab state, nor the US treasury and the Federal reserve, all expenses have been generously covered by the wealthy sheikhs of Arabia who didn’t mind over pumping oil for the sake of stabilizing oil prices and paying adequately the US efforts to push Saddam back. Moreover, the generous hospitality of the sheiks goes as far as providing money for the rescuers beyond what the war has cost. Everyone is happy, the oil reserves are secured, the bills have been paid and the corporations are making the necessary contracts arrangement: a business where everyone finds his joy. Now that the Sunni population of the gulf is endangered by a far more terrible Shia threat than the squads of Baghdad, imagine how much petrodollars the emirs and kings of the Arab peninsula are ready to dig into their pockets in order to end up once and for all with the intimidating ayatollahs stronghold influence in the Arab and Muslim world, and with the remaining territorial disputes which involve Iran and its Emirati neighbor. Moral Not that a war on Iran needs much of a justification as the US media and Co already vilified the nation as the 21st century Nazi Germany , yet looking at a more objective outlook of the benefits of striking Teheran, it becomes certain that the benefit of the world, besides the counterproliferation and international security aspects it would enjoy, is confronted with the inevitable choice of making the move, a move dictated by the financial establishment, as well as by the prerogatives of the geopolitical Realpolitik.
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Post-revolutionary Egypt: What’s next? Almost a month has passed since the crowning of Mursi as President of Egypt after a runoff election that put the whole country of not the world on a standstill. With a nation deeply divided over the nature of the presidential candidates and their respective agenda, the victory of the Muslim brotherhood is far from being celebrated as an achievement, and rather mentioned as an inevitable destiny the presidential elections put forward before the sealed box container could unveil their secret ballots. Now that the results are known and the president has been sworn to office, the future of Egypt remains as uncertain as during the midst of the revolution. With remains of the old regime being, as custom goes, fiercely pointed as conspirators behind any vice the country suffers and every tragedy the public opinion hears of, and a zealous base of supporters of Ahmed Shafiq who see stability as key component of the country’s daily life, a stability threatened by a potential confrontation between the Muslim brotherhood and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces. Regardless of the fuss raised about the secret agendas and the hidden hands, one thing remains certain: Egypt is in downwards financial, social and political slide, and that is far from being an unseen and dubious course of events. The President, in a challenge not only to prove himself a worthy figure, but in a confrontation as well that will shape the future of the Political Islamism across the MENA region, can only thrive for a solid consolidation of his victory through the accomplishment of highly valued successes internationally, and most importantly on the domestic arena. I will develop a set of arguments and ideas about the future decisions that ought to be taken in the fields of economics, politics, military and religion in order to insure a peaceful transition towards democracy for a nation that spilled enough blood to buy its dignity and prosperity back from decades of tyranny. Economy: Being the 27th greatest economy with a GDP flirting with the 530 Billion $ is something to be proud of, yet endangering the nation’s wealth and input
has become the key concern for the Egyptian citizen, blaming the financial collateral damages of the revolution for the downwards spiral the nation has been experiencing on the casual streets as well as on the stock market. The spilled billions of $, along with the damaged industries and slowed production has merged to establish an unsustainable financial situation that puts at risk the political credibility of the new leadership and questions the very necessity of the revolution in the first place. Looking back at the nature of the country, its past focal industries and the professional sector its universities produces, one can lay a working scheme for how the nation ought to operate its economy in order to boost its GDP and consolidate its revolution with a flourishing democracy propelled by promising financial records. 1. The Nile: Aiming at economic development cannot acquire its credibility unless the fuel to power plants, to fire machines and to melt iron can be secured. Providing electricity for the hungry fuel-consuming industries must be a priority for chief economic and financial advisors for the new leadership, and doing so won’t need the implementation of the American or Chinese natural resources exploitation schemes. (Neither American military driven quest for oil nor Chinese diplomatic venture in African dictatorship controlled markets). What nurtured the civilization of the great pharaohs and what witnessed the royal naval processions of ancient monarchs is well endowed to provide the Egyptian economy with the necessary blood to water its veins. The mere figure of 12%1 is the amount of electricity produced by the Dams scattered across the Nile in the Egyptian soil, and given the political turmoil on its southern borders, Egypt could easily increase the figure to new records. The 1959 Nile Waters treaty entitles Egypt to 82% of the water volume, thus restricting the access of Cairo to the full capacity of the river’s potential electrical output. The plans of the former Egyptian regime to increase its number of Dams along the river have been met with furious 1
Egypt Energy Issue http://www.geni.org/globalenergy/library/energy-‐issues/egypt/index.shtml
discontent from the southern neighbors spanning from Sudan to Ethiopia. The political conditions of Sudan and Ethiopia now are a domestic burden prone to be exploited by an awaking power in the North. Sudan, now divided into two countries since the independence of the south, is not in a position to sustain its internal politics and economics due the loss of the major oil reserves and to the cracking of its domestic affairs between political unrest and social revolts. Egypt, through the offering of economic and diplomatic assistance to Khartoum in its struggle with Southern Sudan could manage easily to turn the currency of such business into Sudan’s acquiescence to the ventures of Cairo in the Nile resources. Khartoum is now draining in its stockpiled petro-dollars that are everything but eternal, and the current socio-economic conditions warns of an imminent drought of the nation’s monetary reserves. With nothing to sustain the efforts of war and diplomatic confrontation with Juba, Sudan will see the extended hand of Egypt as a divine intervention that ought to be celebrated and greeted by any necessary compromises and sacrifices. A full access to the Nile, even with Khartoum consent and Juba’s acquiescence due to its abundant oil reserves and thus lack of interest in Hydro-electric power wouldn’t be possible without Ethiopia’s approval. This challenge could be overcome by coupling a strategy of intensifying trade relations and Egyptian expertise exports to Addis Ababa to help develop the inexistent infrastructure and implement industries meant to strengthen the fastest growing non-oil-dependent African economy between 2007 and 20082 (with what it brings of industrialization ties to Cairo and thus relative dependence on it), and through a stronger USEgyptian cooperation to counter Chinese intrusion in Ethiopian market since it would pose a serious threat to the water resources which Chinese economic tentacles in Africa avidly consumes. Such strategy, if put in place could expand Egyptian access to the Nile water over its prescribed shares, granting greater hydro-electric capacity and wider civilian and industrial access to the river’s waters, thus empowering furthermore the Egyptian economy and sustaining its supplies 2
"Ethiopia sees Africa's fastest growth". Afrol.com. http://www.afrol.com/articles/28991
of fuel through a consolidated electrical generation through the Nile waters. 2. Never too late: industrialization, services and technology Egypt, since the major period of industrialization under the Nasser administration, fell back on the international arena to a mere import oriented economy relying for its most on foreign production to fulfill its market’s needs. Nowadays, after a toppled regime and a genuine declared war against corruption and centralization, the Egyptian economy is ready to engage once more in the competitive sector of major industries spanning from the petrochemical sector to the production and assembly of automobiles and military weapons. The educational system in Egypt is one that is acknowledged for its quality and excellence, a success mostly witnessed through top class intellectuals and engineers whom Egypt exports throughout the world. One would doubt the necessity and indeed the potential attributes of an imminent industrialization in Egypt, especially in a world that industrial wheel has been rotating since the 19th century, but the current situation in the Middle East and especially the Gulf attests of a different reality. Acetex, Corporation has entered a newly formed joint venture to build a US 1 Billion $ plant in Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia3, and this comes after Qatar built the biggest gas-to-liquid plant at the grand pleasure of the Qatari Emir. The region is witnessing a fervent ascension to major industrialization, and it is a favorable time for Egypt to enroll in such efforts. Whether through implementing gas and petroleum refinery plants in joint ventures with the gulf countries as did Tunisia along Qatar in a 2 Billion 2$ Investment4 (Especially that the oil and gas fields in Egypt are poorly exploited through an old and inefficient exploitation and delivery infrastructure), or be it through the privatization of the state owned plants
in order to reform and improve the soviet dated firms and production lines to the requirements of the 21st century. Another aspect of the Egyptian economy is its large agricultural activities which account for 13.5% of the GDP. Looking back at the wealthy fields across the Nile strikes the viewer immediately: the scene never exceeds the view of poor installations, few human resources and archaic tools of production. Nations with far smaller landmass whose workforce in the agricultural sector is dwarfed by that of Egypt still manages to have a colossal input in the world market. What is needed is indeed a reform and improvement of the mean of productions in Egypt, a qualification of the workforce and the introduction of technology, genetic selection and mass production in the agricultural fields. This will boost not only the productivity, but will as well expand the usable landmass in the vast desert fields as what is being done in Saudi Arabia and co. Egypt is rich in resources, and the abundant oil, gas, iron, manganese, limestone or phosphates are here to further confirm it. The human resources to exploit these natural riches are as well in excess, so what is needed is a true political willingness to advance the economic competitively of Egypt instead of using induces poverty and illiteracy as political tools to enslave the people as has been done during the Mubarak Era. Furthermore, the prospects of monetary rehabilitation are appealing, and the necessity for Egypt to uphold thus far a diplomatic and strategic foreign policy supportive of the US is more than encouraged in order to secure the American Billions of dollars’ worth of aid. This, coupled with an up to market prices trade with Israel over the oil exports would enrich the state monetary reserves of another dozen of billions $. Finally, the alignment of Egypt with the West and the gulf countries in their effort to ignite a war against Iran will inevitably poor on the Egyptian reserves juicy banknotes issued by the petro-dollar rich and grateful gulf nations for the Egyptian efforts to sustain “peace and stability” to the region. An enhanced industrialization, a fierce war on corruption and a rehabilitation of the monetary system and relief of the aggregating debts is
to engage Egypt in the path of economic competitiveness and major industrial production, a deeply needed pathway where the economic survival of the nation ultimately rests. Military: One thing worth noting, the Egyptian military is everything but a defense body preoccupied with the nations’ security and protection. The Supreme council of the armed forces is operating not only as a nation’s arms bearer, but indulges in day to day operations related to real estate, tourism, business transactions and political follies. "It's a business conglomerate, like General Electric," said Robert Springborg, professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, referring to the Egyptian military. "It's represented in virtually every sector of the economy."5 In a country where a transition from military to civilian rule has just taken place, the nostalgia for power remains a driving force for decrees, actions and conspiracies led by the SCAF generals. What one ought to understand is that non-confrontational diplomacy is not enough in the case of Egypt, alienating the SCAF the way the Turkish Islamists alienated the Ataturk military officials is the only way to regain control over state affairs and domestic legislations. It is important and crucial for president Mursi to realize the necessity to station the military back into their right position, and failing to do so will have deep impacts on the national security of the nation and on its economic performances. On one hand, the military in Egypt, as asserted by the Global Research Center for Research on Globalization, have been a staunch adversary of free market and liberal transactions. With a tight grip on different industrial sectors, the Scaf advocate and advance state ownership over the private sector in order to secure the privileges and interests they cultivate through state owned corporations. It goes without mentioning that without liberal policies and a more market oriented 5
Global Research, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23211
economic strategy, the Egyptian economy will suffocate under the pressure of foreign competitiveness and services. On the other hand, the current conditions of the military are worrying. The weaponry and logistical acquisitions are in a poor condition, and the readiness of the Egyptian troops is far from meeting the necessary requirements in case of conflict escalation. The recent incidents spanning along the Egyptian border have pinpointed to a lack of management of the territorial security, and recurrent breaches by smugglers, fighters or immigrants could jeopardize the safety of Egypt, especially in instances of attacks against Zionist troops or rocket firings which would ultimately lead to a retaliation Egypt is far from being able to support and legitimize. Looking back at a neighboring country, Turkey, one can draw lessons on how to assert civilian state leadership and overturn military arrogance and inference in domestic legislations: Sledgehammer! Sledgehammer conspiracy was the widely mediatized set of trials that involved top Turkish military, with the majority of the chief secular generals convicted for attempts to lead a military coup and seize power from the AK civilian government. Whether real or simply an Islamist masterminded scheme to get rid of the trouble makers who opposed the non-secular civilian leadership, the AK party managed to drag top officials to the courts and induced many to resign promptly from their functions. A similar Sledgehammer scenario could easily be implemented in the current conditions, and a quick look at the charges held against the Turkish military allows us to draw clear similarities: “It reportedly involved plans to bomb mosques and provoke tensions with Greece, in order to spark political chaos and justify a military takeover“6 In a country where the shadowy decades of military rule still resonates in people’s minds, and where the Supreme Council of Armed Forces is widely pointed as culpable and accomplice in the mass unrest unraveling in Egypt, holding formal accusations against the military will not only prove 6
Turkey: Military chiefs resign en masse, BBC website, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-‐europe-‐14346325
to be legally founded, but will as well secure the approval of the public opinion. The military establishment in Egypt is corrupt on different levels, and a massive rehabilitation of the institutions is a prerogative the new Egyptian government ought to prioritize. A top down cleansing of the military should set the priorities of the presidential agenda since the political motives in the military are comprised to the leading elite. It is time to ensure the safety of the nation both domestically and abroad through a strong military institution, independent and non-aligned with national political currents, a military transparent and sophisticated with high levels of alertness and readiness at all times. Partnerships ought to be explored with regional allies, and Turkey is a well-developed nation with highly skilled and well-equipped army contingents. An important notion in the military institution is armament. Armament sets forth two important aspects: technology advance and price competitiveness. These two attributes are well covered by the Turkish state. As a leading arm exporter (leading armament manufacturers corporations ASELSAN, Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation MKEK, Turkish Aerospace Industries TAI), a world top military spender (15th),a NATO member and a roaming economy with budget surpluses, Turkey is the perfect ally to seek in Egyptâ€™s military restructuration. It goes without saying that the political and ideological likeliness of the two governments will furthermore facilitate any potential alliance and military collaboration between the two states. Politics & Religion: One would hardly conceive consulting a chapter on state reforms without having separate rooms for religious and political analysis and recommendations, yet with an elected president formed and nurtured under the auspice of the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, it is becoming harder to distinguish between political agendas and religious commandments even though glorious empires and successful state management has once been led by fervent prophets and religious apostles.
Political Islamism nowadays has bridged the divide between state management and religious theology, and the Muslim brotherhood fashion has embodied such philosophy following the recommendations of its founder AlBanna. A legacy which, though inspired revolutions and ignited incidents, is still at the center of interrogation by both the public opinion and the centers of powers worldwide. Far from being compared to the Turkish Gullen movement who advances an Islamic agenda through education and business, the Muslim brotherhood embraces a full political approach directed towards the control of key positions inside the government, thus implementing its vision through state organs. This being said, the mischievous game of politics can easily put the current government under stress and recurrent test, especially that the social, religious and geographical features of Egypt allow malicious schemes to take effect without much planning. Whether a plot to blow up a church, or a furtive attack on border patrols near the Rafah crossing point, the blames of state mismanagement or blind and reckless compassion with Hamas are common currency in Pharaohâ€™s land, a currency too easily manipulated by the political lack of regulation. The Egyptian government needs to act quickly and efficiently to reverse the power flow and to assert the will of the public opinion as main source of legislation instead of induced and forced actions prompted by the Military council and allies of the former regime. This can be achieved through greater representation, active engagement of the civil society and formation of key political alliances. The greater representation has already been upheld by president Mursi when nominating Coptic Christians in key positions in the government, yet the increase of the female representatives in the government has not been as much secured. Nominating females for senior posts in the state will not only draw support and appreciation from the public opinion, but will also clear the doubts about the approach of the Muslim brotherhood indoctrinated president about women rights and representation. Moreover, representation ought not only to give justice to women, but also to the generation Y without which a revolution could not proceed. The
inclusion of the young individuals in the ministerial cabinet and state offices is a priority and an ethical imperative to pay tribute to the effort of the grassroots youth movements who came to the streets and scarified lives and wealth for the nation’s welfare. With a 71% literacy rate and a an almost 63% of population aged 15-647, the young generation is not only abundant, but is also educated and well-endowed to uphold responsibilities in the political spheres of the country. Relevant fields of state legislations cannot be competitive, visionary and innovative unless under the guidance of a young official. Such fields comprise the ministries of new technologies and higher education and scientific research. On another note, political alliances are crucial for healthy political performances both due to its effectiveness in channeling efforts towards consensual goals and preventing political confrontation that undermines state efforts in most cases. The political offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood, the freedom and justice party, ought not to indulge in ideological quarrels with the secular and liberal movement in order not to alienate itself amid a growing critical base in the Egyptian street. The alliances can be policies-specific and thus would neither endanger the ideological integrity nor identity of the Muslim Brotherhood representatives. The policies pertinent to the nations’ economy, for example, can be drafted in coordination with the liberal movement which abides by the market oriented principle of economy. Their inclusion in the process of establishing a liberal, market oriented vision for Egypt will indeed strengthen the image of the current government as an inclusive institution meant to represent the entire ideological and political spectrum in an effort to incrust a political democratic offset to the leading Freedom and Justice party. Finally, sound state management in a democratic society ought to empower the civil society and uphold it as a crucial partner in elaborating the domestic policies. The civil society in Egypt has proven to be an illuminated establishment with unequal human resources, yet the attention required to recognize the work of the numerous associations and equip 7
The CIA World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-‐world-‐factbook/geos/eg.html
them with the necessary financial and logistical needs has been overlooked. Joining the different NGOs in state building is not only a matter of democratic exertion but is a point pertinent to national security concerns. Several NGOs in Egyptian and foreign territory acquire funding and expertise from foreign government to promote an agenda which sometimes threatens Egyptian interests. Given the political circumstances which put Egypt on a sensitive position in the world chess board, and the disturbances which populate the relationship between Egypt and several governments amongst is Israel, allowing the civil society to be infiltrated by foreign agendas because of certain political alignments or plain negligence is a fatal error which endangers the homeland security at the highest levels. This being said, these set of recommendations and opinions are to be observed and implemented, and timing in state management is a crucial feature that alone can determine whether a government can indeed succeed or fail dramatically regardless of the nature of its policies. Egypt is in a historical turnout, and recalling the losses in human and financial resources makes it clear that enough has been suffered and scarified, and time has come to do the right things at the right moment.
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US Foreign Policy and US administrations : What to expect The presidential elections in the US always set a paradigm shift in the perception and execution of the nations’ foreign policy, and the entrenched differences between the democrat and the republican visions of politics leave an apparent print in the elaboration of legislations and decisions pertinent to the US foreign policies. The last election, which outcome elevated the first African-American democrat to the presidential office, is one of the instances where the changes pursued between two different administrations in state foreign policy are widely acknowledged. The Bush administration, with a strong neo-conservative approach to politics, advocated a staunch and aggressive foreign policy that prioritized national interests over the communal and comprehensive welfare of the international community. The unilateral decisions, sanctions and military interventions operated outside of the UN mandate and which bore consequences with global reach draw world reluctance and disagreement with US actions, skyrocketing thus the levels of animosity towards the US in the European and Muslim world especially to unprecedented levels between 2001 and 20088. This key feature of the Bush vision for world politics driven by confrontation and aggressive defense of interests abroad was widely overturned by the Obama administration. The transition from a period of declared warfare which engaged the US in multiple combats notably the Iraqi and Afghani interventions, to a period of active diplomacy and termination of conflicts has made the switch of administrations have a blatant impact on the foreign policy of the US. The major characteristics which shaped US and World politics between 2001 and 2008 are the wars led by the Bush administration, making the sole focal point of decision makers of a political and military nature. The clumsy approach to the economic aspect of foreign policy though has been 8
The Christian science Monitor, Polls show anti-‐American feelings at all time high in Muslim countries, http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0222/p99s01-‐duts.html
given less importance in the precedent administration, and this neglect has been catastrophic in turn, leading to a global crisis which untreated underpinnings still have a major bearing on the current financial downturns in world markets9. The efforts channeled towards pursuing foreign interests shifted attention from domestic financial affairs, and the logical outcome was an economy drained by both military ventures and lack of innovative legislations to sustain American economic competitiveness and strength. A shaking US economy and a war-driven increase in oil prices made it inevitable for world economy to sink in an already started crisis in the corridors of Wall Street. During a presidential period, accumulating successes and achievements is the driving force of policy making, and the intent of the former republican administration to aggregate attainments was primary focused on short term investments meant at domestic consumption. The arrogant foreign policy of the Bush administration was overturning the interests of the US allies, putting some at risk and others at deep embarrassments with their populace with the sole motivation of asserting US force and integrity which has been shattered by the 9/11 attacks. The most powerful nation, with its most negative attributes, was ultimately depicted by the United States of America. The year of 2008 was a cornerstone in world politics, with deep impact on US domestic and foreign policy. The global crisis shifted the attention of lawmakers towards the financial welfare of the state instead of its political and diplomatic assets abroad. The financial downturn, coupled with the continuous rise of the Asian nations, turned US economic competitiveness into a major issue for the presidential cabinet. This shift in diplomacy from securing political and military alliances towards engaging in economic partnerships is clearly depicted in Obama’s National Security Strategy:
Trento University, Economics Research center, The Economic Consequences of Mr. G.W. Bush's Foreign Policy: Can the US afford it?, Unitn-‐eprints.Research, http://eprints.biblio.unitn.it/560/
“Our strategy starts by recognizing that our strength and influence abroad begins with the steps we take at home. We must grow our economy and reduce our deficit”10 This is a logical policy enterprise as the economic performances of a nation are the sole leverage for securing and pursuing interests abroad, funding military ventures and implementing institutions and establishments meant to advance the political, financial, cultural and religious affiliates of the nation ideological stances. This economy-oriented strategy is likely to determine the future of the American politics post 2012. The European debt crisis and the expansion of Chinese and Indian economies is challenging the financial capabilities of the US, and regaining economic partnership, or slowing American financial fall in front of “the rise of the rest”, will set the pace for US foreign policy in the next decades. The quality of the presidential republican contender hints to the nature of policies he will prioritize: Mitt Romney is a renowned businessman with deep insights in the corporate world. With such a presidential nominee, the republicans want to assert to the public that economy rehabilitation and revitalization will make it to the top priorities in the presidents’ agenda. What is worth noting is that, in a world where the rise of rest becomes more apparent than ever, the threats towards American monopoly are evident and effective. As Fareed Zakaria advances in his “Post-American world” masterpiece: “At the politico-military level, we remain in a single superpower world. But in every other dimension – industrial, financial, educational, social, cultural – the distribution of power is shifting, moving away from American dominance.”11 What confirms the emergence of an economy oriented US foreign policy is the actual state of world politics. The entrenched ideological differences between communism and capitalism, and which have been fueling world 10
Obama’s National Security Strategy May 2010, White House, print Fareed Zakaria, The Post American World, W. W. Norton & Company New York London, p :4, ebook
politics and foreign policies for much of the 2nd half of the 20th century, are now fading in favor of a strong partnership between ideologically opposed nations. The US is now engaging Beijing in all levels, implementing treaties and pacts in the fields of diplomacy, culture and finance. With the recurrent high profile visits to China, US chief foreign policy makers send string signals that the China of Human Rights abuses and political totalitarianism is becoming less important than the China of investments, unprecedented economic growth and large exports scores. Whether it is President Obama or Mitt Romney, the challenges which highlighted the 2001- 2012 are now steadily overturned: The World is emerging stronger than ever from the Global crisis, with a broader union and conglomeration into global financial establishments and legislations, and with an Al Qaeda leadership shattered to pieces after high profile assassinations, the world security and peace are less prone to disturbances and large scale terrorist operations. The post 2012 challenges are different and require a new approach and strategy: How to stay competitive in world markets in front of Chinese manufactured goods and Indian cheap services? This is what pushes the foreign policy agenda of the next president to be consumed mainly by Asia-Pacific top priorities, and continuous focus on engaging in trade partnerships, opening new markets and facilitating the emergence of new liberal governments in the Asian continents will ultimately become recurrent news in the next 4 years presidential mandate. In a world where top players are not necessarily its biggest military forces, the diplomatic ties are likely to be strengthened with economic pioneers, and the US-BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South-Africa) relations will indeed shape the world diplomacy and politics, following the prophetic theory of Karl Marx who asserted in his “economic determinism” that human history and global political structures are determined by the course of its economic status.
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What reforms needed for an AL Qaeda in decline The survival of Al Qaeda is now as critical as ever, and the prospects of an eventual fortification of the network are fading each day with every single drone attack targeting its militants. The assassination of key leaders such as Ben Laden and Al Libi poses an existential threat to the fighters net due to the lack of guiding visionaries and strategists such as the aforementioned names. The terror group, which key militants drove the USSR out of Afghanistan and perpetrated the 9/11 attacks is now considered as an ephemeral threat to the United States and to the world as a whole, not only because of the low frequency attacks it masterminds, but also due to the decrease in Al Qaeda’s target profiles and attacks’ reach. In such a matter of necessity to survive and re-emerge as a focal convergence for international security concerns, Al Qaeda has no choice but to redefine its strategies, armaments, targets and ideological input. Coming back to the source: the Arab Jihadists It is necessary to look up the origins of any movement or group in order to understand its driving power, and ultimately its key weaknesses. The Al Qaeda network started as a paramilitary assembly driven by a strong religious imperative: Jihad. The Arab mujahedeen, who gathered from places scattered throughout the Arab world to respond to the call of the Jihad and fly to the rescue of a fellow Islamic country have been the nucleus of what later came to be al Qaeda. With no intention to institutionalize the holy struggle or to prolong the fight outside the Afghani arena, the mujahedeen soon rose to an unprecedented success, glorified as national heroes and world militants against the communist tyranny. Falling prey to glory, the vision of a timely fight upheld due to religious necessity became a philosophy of worldwide activism and international jihad, centralizing thus a religious precept into an ideological pool under the sole command of the soon to be Al Qaeda. It is essential to remember that institutionalizing and idea, as I argued in my previous articles on the case of Kony 2012, leads ultimately to its demise, and in the case of Jihad, trying to contain all perpetrated acts
against oppressing powers under the “patronage” of a single entity will expose the pristine concept to the fallacies of man-made establishment. The first recommendation thus I issue to the network is the introduction of a paradigm shift in the working of the ideological preachers of Al Qaeda. Stressing the importance on Jihad rather than Al Qaeda the institution itself is necessary, and the creation of an illusion that Al Qaeda is not an employer in need of militants but rather a facilitator for volunteers to reach their goal of embarking in the holy voyage of Jihad. A clear distinction between Al Qaeda and Jihad ought to be implemented thoroughly in the wordings of messages, TV appearances and written material, this way, the mujahedeen eager on fighting against specific troops can easily approach the network with no regards to the establishment itself (with what that brings along of ideological and political disagreements), but with the sole interest of benefitting from the means and resources of the militant group. The Arab mujahedeen who fled to the rescue of Afghanistan did so on the basis of a moral and religious compelling imperative, and as this fight was in the name of god, they believed in the righteousness of their struggle due to its non-attachment to any physical entity. Bridging an institution in the divine link between the mujahedeen and God is tantamount to the mistake committed by the Church that aspired to becoming the representative of God on Earth. Al Qaeda is no more than a conglomeration of people, drawing its force not from its divine status but from the achievements of its members. Failing to remain so is a clear exposition of the intention of the network to rush to its demise. Unified target: Israel A major weakness in the Al Qaeda network is the choice of targets. It is indeed the most controversial aspect of the network as it lacks not only clarity for the intentions behind the act, but also it fails to pass the religious justification it claims it is based upon. Whether it is populated markets in Kandahar, metros in London or hotels in Baghdad, the average Muslim can easily put forward numerous criticism and condemnations to act he sees perpetrated against civilians and officials who do not fall in the case of the religion common enemy. Al Qaeda is reliant in its attacks as primary mean
of advertisement and sole leverage for its credibility, yet the Al Qaeda leadership clearly lacks a decent understanding of marketing strategies. If you want the consumer to jump on your product, and you aspire to expand your consumer market while tapping into foreign marketplaces, you have to brand your product into a universal, widely compatible and internationally appealing merchandise. This is what Al Qaeda has not yet placed into action due to its focus on attacking targets that are too specifically linked to a narrow issue, drawing thus reluctance from a wide spectrum of the audience which expresses everything but admiration and respect. Determining this universal target which will force Muslims worldwide to align with Al Qaeda’s vision is as clear as a full moon in an immaculate night sky: Israel. Shifting and channeling all Al Qaeda’s attacks on Israel will first allow the network to have a greater firepower since all logistics and armaments will be directed to creating the greatest destruction of Israel’s key infrastructure and military compounds, and second will encourage those reluctant of Al Qaeda’s intentions and legitimacy side once and for all with those who fought the Zionist state for the sake of Islam’s sacred Al Quds. This comes as no surprise as most of the negative imagery of the militant network comes from its unpopular choice to indulge in political fight over power in Afghanistan rather than declaring a true jihad in the places most deserving it. It is worth remembering an instance that affirms what has been speculated above. The civil war in Afghanistan has made it decisive for the Arab fighters under the command of Ben Laden that their group ought not to be involved in political issues where getting involved in does more harm. Willing to avoid “Fitna”, Ben Laden fled away and preoccupied himself with conflicts clearly relevant to the Muslim community, yet what then was a righteous leap of faith to avoid political polarization has now turned into a fading myth, with an Al Qaeda still involved in attacks against Muslim officials in Kabul, and through its proxy networks all over the MENA region and other parts of Africa. The ideology of power, authority
and strict religious rule fueled by the Taliban philosophy had annihilated the pristine religious commandments the Arab Mujahedeen of the soviet era acted upon, leaving behind a military arm preaching religious and political entanglement. Engaging in a symbolic act of withdrawing from all conflicts which include fighting against Islamic parties, leading political crusades or fighting dubious battle will indeed blow into Al Qaeda a fresh flow of air, reviving certitude that the fight of Al Qaeda is a true jihad, not a misguided military involvement in all but religious struggles. The moment Al Qaeda announces its intention to shift all military acts to Israel, the rebirth of the network could celebrated, especially in a world today where the political changes post Arab spring will afford several logistical, military and intelligence resources for the militants in Egypt, Syria and Gaza. The choice of Israel comes as no surprise, especially that the state personifies an all measures enemy, both politically and religiously. Suicide bombings, IEDs, rocket launches and ambushes will inflict heavy damages to Israel both on a physical level and on a psychological one given the fragile structure of Israel civilian front. Armaments provision and nature We cannot talk about a militant group while omitting the primary action course of it: armed confrontations. The paramilitary nature of the network imposes on it a constricted weaponry range and military tactics. Besides the early stages of Al Qaeda where thanks to the American advanced weapons the network could almost rival conventional armies, nowadays the modus operandi has been stagnating in favor of a militia warfare style that is not only outdated but also undermined by the armaments of the network opponents. Making use of the AK 47 and mortars as standard artillery has proven to be redundant in fighting US troops in Afghanistan, with few casualties ever scored on bases storming and military compounds shelling. The suicide bombings, on the other hand have gained the bad reputation of overlooking military personnel and instead, inflicting heavy civilian losses with no value for the military equation of power in the region. A quick insight on Al Qaedaâ€™s major weapons with actual impact Â
on foreign troops tops IEDs as the deadliest of all. The Improvised explosive devices are inflicting major losses to coalition forces in Afghanistan, with hundreds of victims in the last years flying back to the US either in coffins or missing body parts. What makes these bombs efficient and reliable are aspects that are worth considering: nonconfrontational and remote. Applying these features to the broad armament capabilities of Al Qaeda while getting rid of the other weapon sets will allow a concentration of expertise, logistics and finance into a weapon sector counting numerous achievements in its archives. What else besides IEDs could Al Qaeda opt for? The popular choice is, as further confirmed by eminent militant groups around the world such as Hezbollah and Hamas, the usage of short-range missiles and katyusha rockets. The shift of target allows a full usage of such technology that, besides being cheap and affordable in the black market, is of a destructive effect. Boosting the rocket launch capabilities of Hamas and collaborating with the group to carry out strikes inside Israel will spare Al Qaeda more human resources while increasing its recruitment process due to the achievements it ought to publicize and take advantage of. The possession and acquiring of these types of weapons is not demanding, especially in the recent circumstances of the chaos post Arab spring. After a flow of weapons from Pakistan and Asian neighbors, the chart of displacement of weapon stocks is now displaying a whole different picture. Libya has become the primary source of non-state regulated weapon transfer to the Middle East in the latest months, and the recent instance of seizure of weapons in Egypt declared by the prime minister as the biggest of its kind in Egypt history, is no more than a confirmation of the new reality enclosing the fruitful business of arms trade. With Syria on the edge of collapse, Al Qaeda ought to secure already strongholds in Opposition tows in order to establish the necessary contacts for future smuggling of weapons out of Syria which, it is worth remembering, is one of the major importers of Russian missiles in the region. Besides the arms with physical reach onto the enemy, it is now becoming a fashionable trend to turn for the new warfare measures in the cyberspace, as it is an effective mean of selective destruction with no costs involved.
The increasing reliance of infrastructure networks, electricity and water grids as well as military, energetic and nuclear industries on the electronic communication lines of execution makes them a perfect target for wide scale attacks with potential effects on whole regions if not the whole country. Be it through the misuse of water grids, the deflection of drones and GPS navigated rockets or through the disturbance of nuclear power facilities, Al Qaeda has all to win from investing heavily in developing operational teams specifically trained to carry cyber-attacks on governments and groups. The affordability of electronic resources for cyber training, and the rise of skilled and qualified human resources in the domain of communications and electronics will enable Al Qaeda to exploit the fragile cyberspace defense system of major nations who came to invest in the domain of countering cyber-attacks recently with the emergence of the virus cases of Stuxnet and flame. Human Resources What makes up an organization is neither the brand nor the product, it is foremost the quality of its working force despite its size and proportions. Many would argue that the Al Qaeda network should concentrate its resources on upgrading its recruitment process, yet I argue, along line Bruce Hoffman, that quantity is a negligible factor in the working mechanisms of militant groups. Focusing instead on qualifying the members of the network and recruiting selectively skilled individuals will enhance beyond proportions the reach and impact of Al Qaeda. "Terrorism is not a numbers game," says Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies. "That is the point of terrorism: A small number of dedicated, well-trained, and highly motivated individuals can have a disproportionate impact on any society's sense of security and profoundly affect government policies."12 It is indeed clear to the public opinion, as it is for policy makers, that skilled militants who can hack into GPS navigation systems, perform high profile assassinations, assemble explosive devices and sabotage nuclear 12
stations are far more dangerous than individuals with lite weaponry in the middle of the Afghan chain mountains. It is indeed precarious for the network survival to uphold the philosophy it instated at its beginnings, a philosophy which imposes on the group a volatile chain of commands with no specification of long-term targets. As al-Hammadi, Khalid points out in his series of articles in Al Quds Al Arabi: Al-Qaeda's management philosophy has been described as "centralization of decision and decentralization of execution. The decentralization of execution puts forwards numerous risks and imposes a specific modus operandi. As restraints are loose on the command execution of the group’s operational units, the necessity to achieve successful attacks in the shortest delays overturns the need to secure an elaborate and impactful strategy with low costs and high gains. The comparison drawn between the attacks of Madrid, the 9/11 and other major accomplishments of Al Qaeda, and the seeming less assaults and suicide bombings executed in Afghanistan and Iraq points the importance of carrying on elaborate missions with skilled executives instead of rushed strikes. Investing in human resources should become the driving motives of Al Qaeda, and securing recruits with college and university degrees in Engineering, Computer sciences and military specializations will allow the network to move from decentralized anarchic execution to focal and high precision missions of the scale of the 9/11. An example of such investments Al Qaeda should start engaging on is of the caliber of high tech research on communication and networks breaching. The latest news in BBC of the researchers who used spoofing to hack into a flying drone shows the possibility to use knowledgeable university students to deviate flying targets using GPS navigation systems and use them as projectiles or intelligence sources13.
These are the 21st century new challenges of Al Qaeda, and in a world of rapid change an exponential advance, catching up with the drastic improvements in the different vital sectors in the military field or civilian sectors is a necessity for survival. The working mechanisms of the past have succeeded in securing a temporary expansion of the network, but since the post-soviet era, Al Qaeda has only receded from the field of action and from the minds and hearts of its supporters. A visionary leadership, under the command of a young generation of executives with appropriate knowledge and qualifications to meet the ever-improving counter-terrorism techniques and policies worldwide is more pressing than ever.
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Human security in NATO strategies The North Atlantic alliance has a rich portfolio of military interventions and operations throughout the world, a portfolio which not only gathers successful military involvements, but also wide criticism for failures to protect and secure civilians in areas struck by the curse of war and conflict. The Kosovo intervention and the operations in Afghanistan are striking examples of how objective-driven military strategies overcome the necessity to ponder the implications of intervention and operations on civilians and non-military personnel. A working plan mainly based on strategic bombings (as in Kosovo), or on short term efficient destruction of enemy operational forces and arms is all but considerate to the importance to protect civilians both in the short and long term of ongoing conflicts. It is important and indeed crucial to assess the success of any intervention by its potential to protect the civilians on the ground rather than by the potential losses the intervention can incur on hostile forces. In the 21st century, aerial supremacy is fading as main course of action to defeat ground forces, especially that today’s targeted forces are not conventional armies but militias with street warfare techniques. Resolving to aerial bombings and drone strikes is condemning the conflict to bear heavy casualties on civilians since the hostile militias (ex: al Qaeda, Al Shabab…) take from civilian residential blocks footholds and grounds to launch rocket attacks and furtive assaults. This not only leads to embarrassment with local administrations and authorities, but puts at risk the success of any military intervention since it alienates the foreign troops on the ground and catalyzes rogue operations as it has been happening in Afghanistan with the NATO led coalition. e
The solution then?: A rising field of military intelligence which studies and analyzes the subtleties of the cultural mix of targeted areas, and adapts the missions to the sensitivities of the society in order to build strong collaboration with local civilians instead of keeping them on the sidelines. Cultural intelligence, as I came to understand through a lecture I attended in Abu Dhabi and through a conversation I had with a US intelligence personnel in Morocco, is rising to prominence in international affairs,
defense and security agendas, a rise which started with the gulf war and kept on gaining interest through the following military conflicts which spanned in the Middle East and elsewhere. A military intervention can never be won by planes or troops only, it is far and foremost won by the establishment of trust between the locals and the intervening troops, and also though the creation of tensions if not repugnance towards the operating militias in the region. NATO operating officers and troops ought to understand the complexities of the boundaries they operate within, and to do so require a clear grasp of the language, religion, traditions and customs as well as the ethnical tensions existing in order to exploit them in achieving key goals with minimal losses of troops and civilians. A NATO leadership which overlooks the tensions between Shias and Sunnis, tribal affiliations and secessionist movements will induce civil war confrontations after any military intervention (Kurds/Shias/Sunnis tensions in Iraq, Sunni/Shia divide in Syria, Tribal conception of power in Libya and Yemen), and these are the byproducts of war which inflict the greatest losses in civilian ranks. NATO strategies in future military interventions should attend to key points amongst which is a thorough understanding of the tribal, religious and ethnical discrepancies, and based on such assessment, any military intervention should aim at inflicting defeat upon the hostile force and establishing a distribution of power in which the ruling majority before the intervention is likely to secure control over state management. Such distribution of power should not empower authoritarian majorities against the interest of existing minorities, but should secure arrangements and political pacts that will render any future majority-led repression impossible. To do so, NATO should attend to the destruction of most of the hostile groupsâ€™ military arsenal; with the systematic elimination of its key figures I order to transform its leadership into a void and obsolete center of command. Furthermore, NATO officials should empower dissidents among a targeted regime or militias through financing and intelligence support in order to break down the efficiency of the target and deviate its focus from external confrontations towards internal struggles. Â
An example is the Iraqi case: with former ruling Sunni elite, today’s Iraq empowered Kurds and Shias is in total chaos due to sectarian conflicts raging throughout the nation. If the coalition intervening in Iraq weakened the Baath party and encouraged dissidence amongst its rank, facilitating the restructuration of the regime without necessary inducing its collapse, a Baath regime with moderate approach to the US and with a fierce grasp on the Iraqi sectarian mix could have prevented the civil war which tears the country apart today. In other cases such as a potential intervention in Syria, NATO’s strategy should dismiss air strike due to the urban density of the country (unlike Libya where air strikes were successful due to low urbanization), instead prioritizing proxy intervention and regional interference. With direct confrontation, NATO strategy is ultimately deeming the coalition to severe human losses both in the military and civilian ranks because of the blending of fighters, both rebels and regime troops, in the urban setting. A NATO airstrike would be as disastrous as its previous intervention in Kosovo, thus utilizing ground forces acquainted with the geography, demographics, culture and religious environment instead of NATO personnel would be far more successful. The rebel networks, evolving and getting more complicated, are losing the structural basis they were first based on. The disruption in the chain of command is what leads to unpredictable situations post-regime fall such as that in Libya were militias outside the authority of the state proliferate. The NATO, by channeling efforts, resources, intel and personnel in a directed flow can indeed establish a rebel structure which is organized in the same fashion as conventional military and prone on being converted into an armed authority wing under a single command. This will greatly reduce collateral damages emerging from uncontrolled military units and will enhance the efficiency of rebel operations against rogue states. Besides the military nature of its operations, NATO should conduct nation building efforts through programs aimed at the socio-economic conditions of the country targeted, as it is the best way to win the hearts and minds of local populace who are the best actors to exploit and direct towards leading insurgency against authoritarian states and terrorist groups. An inside
rejection of a regime or repressive militia is far more powerful in determining the course of action domestically, and way more inexpensive in terms of humanitarian losses. As civilian resources are and will always be the key decisive currency of any conflict or resolution, it is necessary and critical for NATO to adopt civilian-friendly strategies that not only will boost its reputation cross-seas, but will also make from risky operations with alarming consequences a scarce commodity in the 21st century.
How can individual rights be secured in the Mideast’s new reality? The Arab World has gone through a tempestuous period where regimes have been toppled and new social orders were established. What some observers advanced is the idea of the emergence of a new Arab World Order built upon ideals and values of democracy, liberalism and social solidarity. This new Arab World order, which rightly has been pinpointed as the catalyst of several world uprisings taking place in settings as different as the US, Spain, Kuwait and Greece, has shown to be a philosophy expanding beyond physical borders and cultural boundaries. It is indeed a mindset for people to adopt In order to make their voices heard, and bring about a change they see as necessary not only for social prosperity and political survival, but most importantly for justice and equity in rights and duties attribution. This essay attempts to draw and define the typical political, social, economic and religious features of this new Arab World Order, features that are critical for the development of an entrenched and efficient understanding and protection for individual rights of the citizen in the Arab World. 1. Political Politics is undeniably one of the main factors without which an Arab Spring couldn’t have seen light. Political dictatorship and totalitarianism has made it possible for a small elite of privileged politicians and businessmen to form an oligarchy of hidden actors who enjoyed pulling the strings of the political scene in the Arab world. Making it a personal fantasy or an enjoyable chess game, these oligarchs not only drowned in their pleasure for power and control, but also forgot to dress an efficient strategy to sustain their grip on power when dark clouds pop from above. Decades of rule can be seen as a triumph for the political elite, but the servile subjects of yesterday are no more among the masses, instead giving place for a new social power to emerge with unconventional thoughts and defying opinions. The Youth has indeed been the unexpected factor in the equation of the Arab spring, a youth who managed to turn political consciousness and intellectual assiduity into an organized movement. The precedent generations, crumbling under illiteracy and poverty, have been unable to discern the blessings of an alternative system of power with just and fair attitude towards its people, yet the fully knowledgeable generation Y of today, geared up with liberalistic, democratic and socialist thoughts,
made the unprecedented step of thinking outside what is available. “If it ain’t break, don’t fix it” was not good enough for High school and college graduates who wanted to construct a society striving for the best and asking nothing but social justice and advance. Now that it is clear for the Arab citizen and the world that the new rising power is the generation Y, it is big time to invest in it as the prominent agent of change. Youth have the potential to get involved in the political management of their respective nations now that the barriers of the deceased regimes are gone. Youth involvement or influence in politics can be a paradigm shift in our understanding of the role of the young generation in the socio-political spectrum. This can be achieve through various means ranging from political affiliation and activism among pre-constructed organisms such as parties, or through a more efficient engagement in the civil society which is a key player in sculpting the public opinion and the political arena of the country. Think tanks, though still not flourishing in the Arab World, can be the conciliatory bridge the youth have been looking forward to during the time of repression and autocracy. Being in the heart of decision making doesn’t necessarily require being part of the political game; it can instead be feasible through influence and through the power of suggestions and recommendations. Think tanks not only offer a platform for the young generation from where to have an impact on how the country is run, but also a template to stand on as the forefront of a social defense mechanism preventing the citizens’ rights to be coerced or alienated. Youth have been side lined in favor of a closed and elitist branch of the Arab society, thus having no say in how the country operates or what the government priorities should be in the different social, economic and political domains. It is time for youth, however young and inexperienced they are, to expose their ideas and ideals on an open forum, and make from these opinion and recommendations a raw material able to be processed by the authorities in such a way that it becomes politically, socially and financially applicable. This way, the political individual rights of the youth are duly considered, and the civil liberties of the citizen in the field of cooperative management of the nations’ affairs, is taken care of. 2. Socio-Economic No one can disregard the power of the socio-economic conditions of a certain nation in influencing the observance of individual rights of the citizen. Not to fall in the trap of the economic determinism of the thinker Karl Marx, the socio-economic state of the Arab world have had a partial
role in reversing the course of history in this part of the world. How can individual liberties be respected when people cannot provide for their keen and for themselves the resources to survive and live with dignity. A life without dignity is a life whose owner has nothing to lose, thus being prone in acting immorally toward society as a whole. Governments can turn the people servile through degrading socio-political conditions, yet it has always proven to be a short-term policy as demonstrated by world regimes throughout history. Turning tough socio-economic conditions into a governance tool for decades is foolish strategy for regimes that aspire to eternal existence. A win-win situation imposes itself under the realm of the famous kingdom of Realpolitik: Let the government enrich itself, yet making sure that the people gain enough to not question the authority of the state. As bad as it may seem, it is unthinkable under the premises of the system of politics to imagine a government ideal enough to sacrifice its privileges for the sake of its people, especially that in the Arab political scene, as it is for the world political scene, most government officials are graduates of the economic university of life rather than matured products of strong political currents. As Henry A. Wallace wisely stated: “Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.” This is in conventional politics, yet, what we are seeing in the Arab world may turn out to be a redefinition of the principle of governance, and a way to sustain a vision of a government concerned with social welfare must be a process which involves the social spectrum side by side with the state. Here comes the economic and social vision for the Arab world: Social Entrepreneurship. Social Entrepreneurship is the fuel for social advance and individual as well as social flourishing of the citizen. Allowing your subjects to locate and identify the problem, cure it and monetize it while benefiting the society alleviates the hardship the state has to face in order to solve the nations’ issues. Startups and businesses owned and operated by creative and brilliant youth in the Arab world can not only provide employment for society, but as well secures the individual rights of the citizen in owning properties, making money and generating revenue well spent and well invested for the sake of the individual and its social circle. This strategy prevents the catastrophic emergence and creation of monopolies managed
by the state or state empowered agents, thus preventing the economic welfare of the citizen from being targeted and sold for parties concerned by profit more than by the citizen satisfaction and well-being. 3. Religion What the Arab spring has shown to the entire world audience is that religion can indeed be the cement to consolidate society’s ranks rather than the fire that burns the social order down. Religion can be a tool for individual rights advance if approached strategically as it ought to. Structuring a political and social system that secures the religious rights of all its components can add credibility and trust to the usually strained relations between the state and its citizen. Youth come in the frame again as the torchbearers for religious understanding and interfaith respect. The Arab world, though mostly Muslim in essence, has been through the Arab uprising due to the engagement of all its religious constituents in one single vision: A future Arab world where rights protection prevail. There is nothing that can install cohesion and mutual respect in a society better than common difficulties that align everyone for a shared goal and conviction. The safety of the society, of the nation and of the individual far outweighs the religious differences that might arise, and thanks to the enlightened youth engagement in constructive cooperation regardless of religion affiliation, a new mindset has been conceived, a mindset that the new Arab reality ought to consolidate through the prioritization of individual rights protection mechanisms set and operated by progressive youth who believe in the appreciation of differences and the celebration of variances without which a dynamic society is doomed to collapse.
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Published on Oct 19, 2012
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