World

The Tragic “Democracy” in the Arab World

How different are government types of Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East? Which type seems to be most successful in maintaining order and liberty? Can we fully rely on presumable democratic measurements proposed by the leaders? How are external influences penetrating Arabian countries? Which period was a turning point in altering the type of leadership in this region?

‘Liberty or security’ forms of government limiting individuals’ rights as humans.

Various forms of government exist in North Africa and the Middle East that correspond to domestic beliefs and traditional politics. After the Second World War, some of the Arabian countries began to adhere to the internationally tolerated government, democracy, in an effort for civilized development. Such transformations created a balance of choice that individuals always find trouble with, freedom or security. In democracies, where equality prevails, and liberties such as the freedom of speech are allowed giving people the voice that is heard for electing the right leadership, or at least that is how they are portrayed, security is the cost. Citizens of these modified governments paid a tremendous price for liberty in terms of safety. According to a survey on citizens of presumed democracies in the Middle East, they almost unanimously agree that their outlined freedoms took away their security to the extent that living in constant fear, that is correspondingly rising, is not equal to the liberty they have asked for. A significant portion of them is asking for retreating back to the older forms of government in order to meet their security needs that are crucial for their wellbeing and survival. The price of liberty and equality here is safety and security.

On the other hand, governments where security and safety prevail, but liberties do not, are monarchies. As displayed in the gulf region, all of them exercise the government of kingship, where a single-family is in control of all pillars of administration. According to the survey, they are also known as “judges, juries, and executioners.” These countries are known to control both the government and media so to prevent any form of retaliation. There is probably a direct similarity with Orwell’s Big Brother. While doing so, they are manipulating the people to single think into one direction or face totalitarian policing. The price of safety and security here are liberties and equality.

Liberty over security, republics that turned democratic in a series of uncertain transformations.

Arabian states that became a democracy include Iraq, Tunisia, and Libya. In the name of liberty, these countries, who also represent the situation of the majority of other countries of similar methodologies with authoritarian measures, are basing their leadership on a “suppressed” form of freedom of choice. According to a simulation on historical leaderships and their approval ratings, these countries almost never encountered a leader who had a majority approval. This explains that elections in these presumable democratic states are manipulated by certain groups with political agendas. These democratic states witness ongoing political divisions, in addition to religious, where some parties to the other are considered “the ultimate enemy,” according to officials of high standing. These divisions create continuing tensions, in terms of safety, that a few magnified groups within each party are in constant physical conflicts with each other in the name of solidarity and power on behalf of their beliefs. The largest group affected by these conflicts are the ordinary individuals who are merely seeking to live freely and peacefully. According to statistics on the outcome of ongoing internal conflicts, close to 10-13% of people are either displaced internally or migrating to foreign lands, and nearly 20% need a particular form of basics aid simply to survive.

The price for democracy yielded an enormous payback that allowed rogue groups to self-rule in the name of political justice and outright false religious beliefs. They self impose their martial power by promoting fear and oppression with aspirations to either take over country governance, defend radical views, or play an active role in protecting foreign groups’ interests. Even though world countries and international organizations explain their frustration against those rogue groups, these groups seem to continuously grow in strength and numbers with ongoing financial backing from unknown bodies internationally. Surprisingly, their actions directly contradict their “sacred” objectives. Such as ISIS, the rogue extremist group with false ideologies that wrongly portray the practices of the religion of Islam, their penetration is appearing only in Islamic countries, primarily torturing and killing Muslims, stealing and selling oil and antique artifacts that they display as being against religious habits, and causing unrest to the majorly Muslim population. Since their initiation six years ago, Arab countries paid a massive fee for military aid from foreign states in order to diminish this rogue group who, still, is alive and growing between several countries. Such a group that caused international frustration that all nations and organizations declared as terrorists, while continually increasing, only explains that its existence is not based on its bad economic management, false religious ideologies, or poor political decisions, but on foreign reinforcement.

Iraq, the democracy of division and unrest, compromising the wellbeing of the most for the benefit of the few.

Unclear democracy, where every party pulls for itself and personal interest over the public’s advantage with several foreign penetrations on its politics, is the reason why rogue groups are being formed initially. Iraq, the country that switched from a monarchy to democracy to dictatorship, and back to democracy, through very unconventional means and the constant toppling of presidents, witnessed outcomes that directly contradict democratic methods. The American invasion that ended Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003 was the prime driver of modern governance in Iraq that contributed to a very divided republic. Since then, the leadership was revolving around the three central doctrines: Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds. The Sunnis’ highest power is by heading the House of Representatives, the Kurds’ highest power is by heading the state, and the Shias’ highest power is by heading the government. The most influential force in controlling the country with this regard is given to the Shias, who are also in direct manipulation from neighboring influence. Iran, with political and economic goals, is a significant reason for Iraq’s ongoing physical unrest and division of bodies. According to analysts, Iraqi’s Shiite rogue groups that are preventing the development of real democracy and strengthening of security, through devising corruption for personal gains, also known as the militias, are under the direct influence and origin of Iran. Thus, the prime ministry and militia groups are under the same umbrella, leading to total manipulation and abusive totalitarianism in a government that presumes democracy.

The recent demonstrations by citizens against the Iraqi government merely for better standards of living are being strongly quelled by those militia groups, not event the government, given that these protests may hinder the hidden agendas of foreign states. Sometimes even police teams join the rallies in order to protect the protestors. Very recently, a very well known political analyst and researcher, Hisham Al Hashemi, who published a very detailed paper on the total corruption in Iraq under all kinds of officials in every province and district, have been murdered by a specific Iranian militia. His work openly displayed the penetrations in Iraq that are causing substandards of living that people are demanding to improve and the main reasons why the government is inefficient. The outcome of this paper drove the current prime minister, Mustafa Al Kadhemi, to study and execute plans to eradicate all kinds of corruption, which upset the related groups and stakeholders of Iraq’s unrest.

After the killing of Suleimani by American forces in Iraq on January of 2020, American-Iranian tensions continued to rise, limiting the liberties of individuals and causing stricter military control that is well known for its suppression to Iraqi citizens. With constant struggles between American and Iranian governments, both of which are actively penetrating the Iraqi administration, the country will indefinitely face repression, hinder growth, and not be able to thrive to the sought living standards that many demonstrators gave their lives for.

Revolutions supported by foreign powers causing tragedy and turmoil.

The continuous struggles found in Libya since the uprising against the dictator Muammar Al Gaddafi and declaring democracy can only be explained by the constant foreign intrusions that seek benefits out of unrest. After being free from the dictatorship, and battling ISIS, Libya finally realized democracy, which, very soon after, encountered a form of a coup from a military general known as Haftar, also known as the Arab’s modern “Hitler.” This coup that is ongoing where foreign countries are heavily interfering, as explained in “The Sleight of Hands Renovating Political Orders and Managing Socio-Economic Amendments,” is causing significant disruptions in the country with reference to governance, protection of civilians, maintenance of the economy, and safeguarding state resources. Given there are two parties to the struggle, allied countries are backing the internationally acknowledged government, while penetrating countries are supporting the General, leading to heated battles where ordinary individuals are profoundly affected. Such a scenario was successfully performed in Egypt in 2013, where similar countries were seeking expansion. The administration was under a dictatorship, then turned democracy under Morsi, and then back to dictatorship under El Sisi.

The struggle found in Yemen since 2011, due to the Houthi-Iranian penetration, put Gulf countries under a continuous battle in the name of liberalizing Yemen, where ordinary individuals are the most damaged. As a result, and according to World Bank statistics, 25 million people, nearly 80% of the population, are under the line of poverty with almost no source of income. A significant percentage of them are in acute conditions with no access to clean water, food, or medicine, in dire need of international involvement and assistance. Yemeni individuals seeking a better life and aspire to relocate may find it difficult because of the complicated methods of immigration due to closed or overtaken airports, militia-controlled lands, and the basic geography of the country.

Security over liberty, monarchies that act as Big Brother in maintaining control under one centralized entity.

Ongoing monarchies today in North Africa and the Middle East include the Gulf countries, Jordan, and Morocco. In these governments, retaliation is a first-level offense. The single government controls all pillars of the country, such as media, military, policing, justice, and education. Suppression is continuously exercised to prevent any form of government toppling or loss of power. Such as activists or journalists that publicize pieces against them in the name of liberty, including the late writer and author Jamal Khashoggi that was gruesomely executed in the consulate of his country on foreign land by orders from the highest level. Liberty seekers are the biggest damaged group given that such ideologies cannot be exercised. Freedom and equality do not prevail, where discrimination lives at its best, only to deliver artificial justice by manipulating mindsets and ways of thinking. These countries are a perfect example of capitalism submerged into politics and governance, where the single entity monopolized an entire nation. As explained in “Single Thinking is a Theory More than Reality in an Ongoing Big Brother World,” these countries depict modern totalitarianism where ordinary citizens are living for the betterness of the single entity or family. According to survivors of Bahrain’s uprising of 2011, many of them explain unspeakable human rights violations as methods utilized to quell the protests.

Security and safety, however, prevail, given the intense surveillance and control involved. According to a simulation on such countries and their leadership approval ratings, citizens internally almost unanimously approve of their country’s leadership. Given fear persuasion is itself a substantial motivation, they still enjoy tranquility in many aspects. Their economies are safe in comparison to neighboring countries due to increased oversee. They mostly connect their economic traits to developed nations in order to maintain positioning and international presence. Merely a few years ago, they started carrying value-added taxes on goods and services so to cope with the world’s economic policies. However, due to a not very inexpensive lifestyle, especially in bad economic conditions, it contributed to the migration of many expatriates. Mostly business owners and low-middle level employees, these individuals are seeking better qualities of living finding opportunities elsewhere without compromising their standards. The countries as well faced economic damage when continually losing the foreign population and workforce, which led to stricter guidance on maintaining better wellbeing and easing livelihoods for individuals. Those countries’ returns are mostly circulating around land resources and tourism. When COVID-19 hit and oil prices began to fluctuate, as well as airports suspended the reception of tourists, with hospitality and leisure sectors substantially damaged, countries continued to ease living features and administrative procedures so to maintain their attraction. Given that one entity controls everything, including the economy, this kind of total centralization illustrates either united growth when led correctly or consolidated downturn if led poorly.

Neither security nor liberty, republics that supply demands to foreign benefactors for the sake of leadership maintenance.

Countries such as Egypt and Syria have been presumably exercising democracies with dictatorship pursuits where a single party is in control of all the pillars of administration. Any forms of freedom of speech in retaliation, which ideally should be allowed, is quelled immediately. According to a simulation on citizens seeking a change in leadership, whenever a “sort” of presidential elections come up, even if a considerable percentage is aiming for a complete adjustment, the same party and leader remain on top. Bashar Al Assad and his father Hafez Al Assad ruled the “democratic” Republic of Syria for nearly 50 years now by winning all sorts of elections. When inquiring from citizens, they always sought to change the presidency but were not able due to “tyrannical” measurements used directly and indirectly—a similar situation for Egypt that endured long-reigning dictators with ongoing government reformations until today. According to statistics on approvals in Egypt, When El Sisi proceeded to demand a change in the constitution that allows him to reign until 2036, it was publicized that more than 90% of the voters endorsed the amendment. However, when directly questioning a significant percentage of them, they voted against that change. These regimes contributed to the massive displacement of Arabs around the world, including the waves of migrants that are physically walking to Europe in search of freedom and actual democracy. These massive relocations also created fascistic groups that provide migration and transportation services at expensive and immoral costs. According to Syrian migrants in Europe, they paid almost their entire ownerships just to get a seat at the vehicle of transportation. It is well known that such states have broad backing from foreign powers with political agendas, helping in maintaining the government at the price of sovereign shareholding. According to their people, they feel enslaved by these foreign states who are moving the pieces, besides the already existing corrupt government. Now that 2 phases of Caesar’s law of sanctions have been imposed on the Syrian regime, individuals started to believe in a spark of hope of government modification, but to what extent?

A few months ago, a large number of Egyptians went to the streets as an uprising in an effort to topple El Sisi’s regime. It was, however, repressed right away by tyrannical policing, including arresting them all and securing enforced approval by the general population of the authoritarian government. Again, many foreign states have a keen personal interest with this regime being alive and well, pushing their agendas and demands further. Whenever a coup happens in a country, it is always backed by foreign powers with political and economic agendas. If it was successful, the overturner must supply the demands of those who helped. Hence, notions such as sovereignty and solidarity may be considered dead in these countries.

Recommendation: Cutting the middle man.

Almost all countries in the Middle East, whether democracy or monarchy, are following an authoritarian course of administration that suppresses liberties and equality, where the only significant difference is the level of security and safety involved through shareholding sovereignty with constant penetrations and foreign intrusions. The largest affected group in these problematic tangencies of governance are the ordinary individuals who are only seeking for a peaceful life. All Arab countries, without exception, have intensive interferences to their autonomy from foreign powers that either back or overthrow regimes. If a country ever faced the need to seek a change in leadership, manifesting may be useless and dangerous, as explained in “Demanding Radical Change Requires Psycho-Graphically Understanding Ourselves and Target Bodies,” mainly due to different ways of thinking. Cutting the middle man and going directly to the top, as in the major benefactor that is supporting the regime, may be the most efficient way of administering actual change in government.

Hassan Al-Shama