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Arab Spring countries are following the model set by Iraq – and that’s bad news for them all 5 novembre 2013

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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The National (UAE) November 5, 2013, p. 17

Ghassan Charbel

As the “Arab Spring” began to unfold three years ago, some people in the Arab region were suddenly infatuated with the Turkish model, wrote Ghassan Charbel, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

At the time, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was behaving as if he had the magic recipe to solve the region’s issues.

But, soon enough, the campaign to promote the Turkish model came to a halt with the emergence of specificities and facts in the Arab Spring’s various theatres. The first shock was the start of a long and destructive war in Syria. Egypt required a second revolution as the first was derailed due to Muslim Brotherhood practices. For its part Libya didn’t adopt the Turkish model, either. Nor did Yemen. As for Tunisia, nothing is certain yet.

“Events proved that the Turkish model isn’t a cloak that can be borrowed and altered to suit a country’s measurements,” the writer said. “It is based on the long Ataturk experience and the level of economic progress as well as the maturity of the Islamists, which was reached as a result of difficult manoeuvres with the army charged with protecting the Turkey’s secular heritage,” he added.

The armies and institutions in Arab Spring countries are nothing like Ataturk’s army and institutions, he added.

An objective look at the states that lost their symbols of dictatorship or foundations of stability as a result of the Spring shows that these countries are going down the Iraqi road more than any other.

Iraq has a constitution that was approved by the people, but it doesn’t solve institutional issues. In Iraq, elections are held on time, but they don’t rescue the country from its difficult situation. Political process exists but doesn’t prevent the exacerbation of the coexistence crisis. Iraq has an army, but that doesn’t preclude the proliferation of terrorist militias. The Iraqi government draws its legitimacy from the ballot, nonetheless, it practices marginalisation and alienation.

This is the model that seems the closest to reality in various Arab countries today. The powerful central state is a thing of the past as in each of the Spring countries, change brought about a flaccid state that coexists with what resembles a permanent civil war on its territories.

“It is sufficient to take a look at what is happening in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Tunisia to see the similarities. Brittle or non-existent states with disintegrating institutions and partisan or tribal radicalism,” the writer said.

“The proliferation of the Iraqi model means more conflicts and losses await the region. They bring with them more disintegration, poverty, terrorism and immigration and pave the way for the emergence of extremism,” he concluded.

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