The contemporary Arab system

publisher: الجزيرة

AUTHOR: ابراهيم غرابية

Publishing date: 2004-10-03

In this book, author Abdul Halim Khaddam, the Syrian Vice President, analyzes the Arab system, which is supposed to be based on Arab unity or joint Arab action at the very least, and presents the components of this system, such as national consciousness, the Arab-Zionist conflict, the Arab economic system, and the Arab national project. In doing so, of course, he presents a nationalist point of view, especially the Arab Socialist Baath Party, to which the author belongs, which was founded in the forties in Syria according to nationalist goals and ambitions, then came to power in Syria and Iraq, and formed organizational extensions throughout the Arab world.

National consciousness
The author considers Arab unity to be the most important issue in Arab life, and without it, security, stability, justice, and progress will not be achieved. This idea began to form among Arab leaders and elites at the end of the nineteenth century, and associations, conferences, and newspapers were formed to achieve this project, and in World War I, the Arab Revolution took place. The Greater Empire, led by Sharif Hussein bin Ali, aimed to achieve independence for the Arabs in cooperation with Britain in its war against Turkey.
Nationalist parties and movements were formed in the early 1940s, the most important of which was the Baath Party, which was formed in Syria under the leadership of Michel Aflaq and Zaki al-Arsuzi, and the Arab Nationalists Movement, which arose among Arab students at the American University in Beirut, led by George Habash, and then turned into groups and factions of the Palestinian resistance, and in Aden it reached The branch of the movement to power under the umbrella of Marxist thought.

The League of Arab States was established in 1945 to be the nucleus of Arab unity, or at least to coordinate joint Arab action. In 1952, the July Revolution took place in Egypt, which adopted nationalist thought and Arab unity. Unity actually occurred between Syria and Egypt in 1958 and continued until 1961.
In the end, the Arabs did not succeed in taking a step towards implementing and achieving economic or political unity, while projects that began working at the same time, such as European unity, achieved important steps in coordination and joint action.
The current Arab system
The League of Arab States began its work in 1945 with seven countries, and today it includes twenty-two countries. Despite the labor and common defense treaties, some Arab countries have proceeded with unilateral policies and positions, such as the peace treaties that were signed with Israel. Arab-Arab conflicts arose that harmed the interests of the nation, and a situation occurred. Iraq and Kuwait in 1990, which threatened the fate of the Arab nation.

Major problems and contradictions have occurred between countries that appear to have the same intellectual and political nature, such as Syria and Iraq, which are ruled by one party with the same goals and orientations, which is the Arab Socialist Baath Party.
The question remained for a century or more: Why do Arabs lose their wars? Why did they not achieve their intensity? Why did they not rise up like the rest of the nations of the earth? Why did they all raise the flag of Arab unity and fall into national isolationism? The author believes that the answer lies in the structure of the national political system, which destroyed the current Arab political system. The national mechanisms for work and governance established the Arab system. The Arab countries ignored their political identity and acted as contractors to provide services to the citizens of Qatar within the limits of available resources, but they did not act as representatives of the people they lead.
The Arab countries did not achieve for their people the freedom that unleashes work and creativity and achieves renaissance. The nation does not rise while it is restricted, its capabilities are disabled, and its freedom is restricted. Free peoples who decide their fate and manage their affairs are the ones who innovate in work, knowledge, and economic and social growth.

Are Arab governments able or willing to establish a new Arab system that regulates Arab relations, opens the way for them, develops their energies, enhances their capabilities, frees their will from external pressures, and provides them with the possibilities of liberating their occupied land?

The Arab regime and the Cold War

Before World War II, interest in the Arab world was concentrated in the four European countries, Britain, France, Italy, and Germany. After the war, the Arab world began to occupy an important position in the strategy of the United States of America in the context of its oil interests and confrontation with the Soviet Union. The influence of European countries began to diminish since the 1950s, and the principle was Eisenhower, known for filling the vacuum in 1957, was based on providing aid to any country exposed to a communist attack to fill the vacuum resulting from the decline of British and French influence, announcing the end of the influence of these two countries in the region and a decision to replace them with the United States.
The 1948 war and the defeat of the Arabs, then the defeat of 1967 and the subsequent regional and global Israeli rise and influence on American elections and policies. After the 1973 war, the United States succeeded in luring Egypt to a political settlement and making peace with Israel. On the other hand, it was the Iranian revolution of 1979 that overthrew The Shah's regime led to the collapse of a very important base for the United States, perhaps the most important in its point strategies and confronting the Soviet Union.
The Iran-Iraq war came in 1980, making the United States recover what it had lost in Iran and making the Soviet Union miss out on opportunities to advance towards the Gulf and the Middle East. Then the Iraq-Kuwaiti crisis broke out, which was the culmination of the end of the Cold War, the end of the Soviet Union, and the achievement of unprecedented American superiority.

The Soviet Union emerged from World War II as a superpower competing with the West, led by the United States, and the scope of the socialist system expanded in the circle surrounding the Soviets, and extended to many other countries around the world.
The Soviet Union worked to support the countries confronting Israel militarily and economically, establishing bases facing the American bases in the Mediterranean, and approaching the Gulf through Iran and South Yemen.

Soviet relations developed with several Arab countries, such as Egypt, Syria, Aden, Libya, Algeria, and Iraq, and these relations were characterized by achieving balanced interests for both parties, but some Arabs wanted Soviet weapons without the Soviets and without recognizing Soviet interests, and at the same time they wanted growing relations with the United States, and some Arabs wanted He did not radically resolve his position on the issue of the conflict with Israel and ways to deter aggression and liberate the land, and hope was lost between building a military force through the Soviets and convincing Israel to withdraw through the United States.
The problem of the Soviets was the Arab communist parties, which formed one of the barriers between the Soviets and the Arab world. Although the Soviet Union bypassed these parties in its dealings with the Arab countries, they were facing a campaign from governments and brought themselves into hostility with the Islamists and nationalists.
The Zionist project
The idea of ​​establishing the State of Israel in Palestine was a joint project between Jewish leaders in Britain and the British Empire, as it would achieve control over the bridge between Egypt and the Arabs of Asia. Perhaps this was the lesson that Britain came out with after Muhammad Ali Pasha’s campaign against the Levant in 1830. Then it was The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 was a practical application of the idea of ​​dividing the Arabs, working to prevent their unity and preventing the establishment of relations between them based on unity of destiny, belonging and interests, and planting a foreign, hostile state in the heart of the Arab countries as an advanced colonial base.
The State of Israel was declared in 1948, and the major powers were quick to recognize it. Britain had facilitated Jewish immigration to Palestine, the construction of settlements, and the formation of military organizations among the Jews.

After the 1967 war, there was a fundamental shift in the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which dealt with the issue in its depth and its national and human dimensions. The Arab position was based on United Nations Resolution No. 242, which talks about Israeli withdrawal, solving the refugee problem, accepting peace with Israel, recognizing it, and reconciling with it after this had been the case. Things are taboo, and relations between the leadership of Syria and Egypt have fractured.
Here, the author believes that confronting the Zionist project does not occur through successive concessions or submission to external pressures, but rather through a comprehensive vision of the nature and reality of the conflict, reviewing the structure of the current Arab system, building a new Arab system on new foundations, focusing on developing political awareness, and realizing the dangers that threaten the Arab nation. Developing an Arab popular movement that combats the Zionist project and foreign hegemonic policies, and providing the requirements for achieving a balance of power in the region in the political, scientific, and economic fields, in addition to providing defense requirements.
Arab economic system
There are three issues that require Arabs at the regional and national levels to focus major efforts on economic issues: the Zionist project and its goals of dominating the Arab world, the increasing growth in population, and the great development in the global economy.
The Arab economic system faces a set of challenges, the most important of which are: dependency, the economic crises that accompanied the end of the Cold War, the large gap between Arab countries and developed countries, high rates of population increase in the Arab world, declining development rates, insufficient agricultural production, unstable export prices, and lack of Internal stability, weak Arab coordination, the inability of Qatari states to provide the requirements for economic advancement, and the migration of Arab minds.
To date, the national state plays an important role in the national economy through its ownership of natural resources, means of production, and a number of industrial and commercial institutions, insurance companies, and banks.

The importance of the private sector has begun to increase in recent years, especially with the inability of the Qatari state to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development.

Reaching a formula of participation and cooperation between the state and the private sector may be an important goal at this stage, and states must modify and develop their economic policies towards creating an environment that encourages investment and economic growth, such as education, training, and qualification of human resources, and the development of legislation, procedures, and administrative and legal facilities, and the development of Infrastructure in the country such as roads, communications, electricity, airports and ports.
Joint Arab economic institutions can be councils, organizations, funds, and agreements that are the mainstay of the Arab economic system. The Arab agreements in this area seem, theoretically, to be moving in the right direction, but the question that arises is: Why were these agreements not implemented? Why did the governments that approved these agreements not develop programs to achieve their goal, despite the clarity of the Arab decision to adopt economic unity?
The Arab national project
Are Arab governments able or willing to establish a new Arab system that regulates Arab relations, opens the way for them, develops their energies, enhances their capabilities, frees their will from external pressures, and provides them with the possibilities of liberating their occupied land?

The Arab capabilities to achieve previous goals were more available in the 1950s than they are today. Today’s circumstances are more complex due to American hegemony, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and increasing Arab disputes.

But building a new nudist regime within the framework of a national project is still possible and has objective chances of success
The Arab countries ignored their political identity and acted as contractors to provide services to the citizens of the country within the limits of available resources, but they did not act as representatives of the people they lead.
One can think first about identifying the obstacles to the national project, the most important of which are: the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iraq issue and its repercussions, the deep-rootedness of the national situation, and international interests. In the data of progress and joint action, it can be noted the Arab human resources represented by three hundred million people, the percentage of education and trained competencies among them, and the location. Arab strategic geography, and the enormous natural resources... Hence, future thinking about the national project can be based on the following principles:
1 - Maintaining the principle of Arab unity, but through gradual and networked means, and working in accordance with the principle of participation, including concessions from all countries.
2 - Defining the concepts of national security and national security and the relationship between them.
3 - Joint work at the three levels of authority: executive, legislative and judicial.
4 - Determine economic and social goals.
5 - Developing political systems towards broad and effective popular participation.
At the level of the country, it is necessary to achieve a set of goals, policies and reforms, such as: considering the national orientation in the process of building the country, understanding the ties between the people of the nation, formulating clear and national policies in education, comprehensive and human development that qualify the state to participate effectively, and paying attention to national security.