- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2012 at 2:33 AM
As this phase of Syria's revolution closes, the debate about the future of this part of the world should also enter a new phase. Much of the debate about Syria, in the US at least, characterised the Syrian campaign as “liberal interventionism”. So people argued about that, based on what they already thought about the notion. Though fed by some of the rhetoric, especially from the US government, that framing of the argument was misconceived. As I argued earlier this year, it was – and is – a mistake to see the Syrian case as a generic case for or against liberal interventionism.
The Syrian people rose up for their own reasons. Syria's circumstances and Bashar al-Assad's tyranny have a history and a geography that well justified hard-headed calculations by the US, Britain, France and many other countries that they should seize this opportunity to help the rebels get rid of this particular demented regime.
And much of the conventional wisdom in recent weeks has been that the Arab spring is turning into a dreary summer. Not so dreary. Assad's fall will renew a sense of momentum. The struggle in Syria, slowly escalating, will move even more into the foreground. Much of the drive in Arab spring policymaking is currently coming from the Persian Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. It is their hour. The Saudi government is playing a critical role in the Arab diplomacy now isolating Syria.
The UAE, with the Saudis, came up with the funds that allowed Egypt’s interim rulers to hold off the conditional packages being offered by the international financial institutions. The Qatari government has played a vital role in the Syrian revolution. I would feel better if France, Britain, the US and those three countries were having regular working group discussions at a senior level on a nearly daily basis to co-ordinate strategy. Perhaps they are.
The argument in the papers now seems to be running something like this: there are three major possible outcomes to all these revolutionary situations. One is that a new group of authoritarians take control – the forces of reaction reassert themselves as the victors quarrel. Second is that Islamist extremists, like modern-day Jacobins, take control. Then, as usual, there is the hope for the “third way” – of more open societies along lines familiar in the west. At the moment, it looks as though the betting has been on track one, with the assumption that this is also the option backed by Arab Gulf money, which has been flowing more freely than funds from constrained western coffers.
My argument is only this: do not downplay the chances for some new and distinctive way that emerges, one that doesn’t fit into these preconceived categories. It may be crafted by exhausted cadres of newly successful revolutionaries in tiresome bargaining with wary existing elites, worrying over how to fuse concerns about traditional values, stability, and more open societies. There are intriguing developments going on across North Africa and south-west Asia, not yet quite comprehended or digested by many observers, in places such as Morocco, Turkey and even inside a seemingly conservative emirate like the UAE.
Many leaders in Arab and other Muslim communities know that, somehow, it won’t do just to create a new oligarchy of cronies controlling all the key jobs and lines of credit. The men calling the shots in the Gulf states are not mere reactionaries. They know they must adapt; they are very anxious about how to do it. They know that the Iranian regime, whom they regard as a deadly enemy, is eagerly trying to exploit the unrest for its purposes.
Consider the dilemmas Syria's new leaders will face at the outset. Their economy relies overwhelmingly on the oil complex, which the state will want to control. Their politics will turn on the distribution of power and resources among several contending groups filling the vacuum left by the dictatorship’s demise. The leaders will be weary of fighting and chaos. Rather than re-impose a new dictatorship to force all into a single mould and pay for it with the oil and gas revenue, the natural course will be to make deals granting more autonomy to various communities and shares of the national revenue. This is not unusual. Multi-ethnic communities in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Syria are and will be experimenting with federal or perhaps even confederal solutions. In this part of the world, it is the “total state” model itself that is crumbling, the decrepit son of decolonisation. That unitary, statist model has been the vehicle for all the cronyism and it is giving way to something new.
Outsiders can help all this, by offering information, ideas and incentives. But the outsiders will not be the deciders.
Report this post as:
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 10 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
|Assad is falling down.
||Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2012 at 6:13 PM
|The U.S. public is against an open war on Syria.
||Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2012 at 10:17 PM
|the american regime
||Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2012 at 10:22 PM
|Satan Worshiping Assad & Gaddafi
||The Global Satanic Government
||Thursday, Sep. 06, 2012 at 11:28 PM
|imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
||Friday, Sep. 07, 2012 at 3:54 AM
|are the people fooled?
||Friday, Sep. 07, 2012 at 12:14 PM
|The Coalition of Satan (Assad, Syria, Baath, Qaddafi)
||The Coalition of Satan
||Friday, Sep. 07, 2012 at 3:47 PM
||Saturday, Sep. 08, 2012 at 6:28 AM
|not here - here's my air playlist
||Saturday, Sep. 08, 2012 at 7:42 AM
|back to the real world
||Save Syria from NATO
||Sunday, Sep. 09, 2012 at 3:29 AM
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
More Local News...
Doxa du lobby
Tech workers organize
Architect Stephen Francis Jones
UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for
Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats
What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress??
Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée
The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion
Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service
The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally!
The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder
Paraphysique de la dictature étatique
Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"
The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia
Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine
The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally!
“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize!
The World Dependent on Central Banks
Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine
March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update
Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel
ICE contract with license plate reader company
Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes
Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges
Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes
More Breaking News...