Arab Time Capsule
Rescuing for Future-building
Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.
The tragedy of Arab authoritarianism and economic militarization of the oil producing Arab nations is more complex and full of individualistic horrors, societal complacency and political blunders. Almost at every opportunity offered by time and history, the absolute rulers took wrong turns and slipped into the vices and ruins of self- generated corruption. Post revolutionary planners and organizers and the new emerging educated and intelligent leaders of the Arab Middle East must make a navigational change and set priorities to detach the economy and politics from the oil fed thinking and consequential militarization and interdependency on the Western nations unto social and economic-political reconstruction of the Arab societies for a sustainable future. Time and history shall not wait for their tangible actions but they should be conscientiously energetic and skilled in time management to share moving vision and planned actions for ANEW Arab world dedicated to informed and responsible people’s governance and living in harmony with the rest of the global community.
Ron Suskand – a White House insider (The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of its Enemies Since 9/11, 2007) shares intriguing and fact-digging perspectives how George W. Bush acted like an egomaniac and sadistic president and his immediate colleagues looking for excuses to re-enact the crusade against the Muslim World. George Tenet, the then CIA Chief had direct access and command to land at any Arab capital even without notice and call upon and hug the rulers, kings and presidents to act in unusual situations. He would go straight to see the King of Saudi Arabia, and have some of the nationals detained under suspicion of terrorism. George will go to Khalifah of Bahrain vacationing in Morocco and get him out of the swimming pool to have certain Bahraini nationals arrested and tortured at will on suspicion of anti-American activities. Suskind recalls how Rumsfeld (Defense Secretary) sent a handwritten note to General Musharaf (Pakistan) and King of Saudi Arabia on the role of Madrassa (religious schools) breeding terrorism, and next day, the schools will be under attack by the army for closure or Dawa institution work in Arabia will be shut down. These are some of the recent glimpses of the Arab and Muslim rulers and their behaviors after the 9/11 attacks in the US. Arabs in particular and Muslim people in general were subject to unthinkable horrors and victimization planned and carried out by the US leaders waging the bogus wars for oil and gas. Many Arab and Muslim rulers (King of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Sabha of Kuwait and General Musharaf of Pakistan) were willing partners and complacent in this project to safeguard their powerhouses and to ensure continuity of the neo-colonial governance. America lives in continued insecurity maintained by the corporate world and instigated by the former Bush administration. Paul Craig Roberts (“9/11 After A Decade: Have We Learned Anything?” Global Research: 8/24/2011) shares the prevalent perspective:
“Today Americans are unsafe, not because of terrorists and domestic extremists, but because they have lost their civil liberties and have no protection from unaccountable government power. One would think that how this came about would be worthy of public debate and congressional hearings.”
Professor Michel Chossudovsky (America's Holy Crusade against the Muslim World, Global Research, 8/30/2010) offers rational viewpoint:
“We have reached a decisive transition in the evolution of US military doctrine. The "Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT) directed against Al Qaeda launched in the wake of 9/11 is evolving towards a full-fledged "war of religion", a "holy crusade" directed against the Muslim World.”
In a peak oil age, oil bubble is fast disappearing and its illusion of borrowed happiness and prosperity is already in ruins. Human development was neglected and economic man and women could not generate the Darwinian scenario of change and development. All of the Arab Middle East more so the oil exporting nations consist of the client states managed by puppets rulers, hand picked by the ex-European colonial masters and transferred onward to the US political hegemony. The trade-off was kept under check by the subsequent US administrations to launch economic development programs and make the Arab societies believe that they are progressive and will have new prosperous “imaginative communities” carved out of the dry and non-productive and ruined deserts by time and history. The real game was to ensure continued supplies of cheap oil to the modern Western military-industrialized complexes and in return militarization of the Arab Middle East under the aegis of fraudulent illusion of economic development. One war will destroy the economic infrastructures and another follow-up scheme will rebuild them to be destroyed again by another emerging conflict. For over a decade, the unending and bogus War on Terrorism continues throughout the Arab world onward to Pakistan. It is primarily to support the faltering US economy of war and the ruling elite with vested interests. In a way, the US and naïve Arab rulers view it as a success but rationally speaking, this success is claimed at the cost of unimaginable atrocities, dehumanization of the Arab-Muslim people and their culture, military ruthlessness and degeneration of many to come. There is no accountability for these crimes against the helpless humanity as the wars linger on across the Arab world. The doctrine of militarization was in direct support and enhancement of the Arab authoritarianism causing people’s uprising in Tunis, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Libya and elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. Daily bloodbaths and torture of the people paint a picture of the Arabs as if living in the draconian age without any recourse to civilization, reason and Islamic system of governance. Was the discovery of oil a conspiracy (“Fitna”) to dehumanize the Arabs and Muslim people and to destroy their sense of originality, culture and values? But in some parts of the Middle East, people are getting organized and rising to the political challenges which have been imposed on them by the sadistic rulers. It is obvious that the Arab world of today will not be the same for tomorrow. Out of a terrible sense of helplessness, people have emerged with political imagination, courage and strength to challenge the authoritarian rulers on solid grounds and reasoning and attract global support and appreciation for their cause of peace and freedom from oppression.
There are more daunting challenges and opportunities ahead for concerned Arab-Muslim scholars and thinkers to grasp the momentum and try to sort out feasible remedies and workable solutions. The role and tasks of the people dealing with change and management of development is painfully formidable and progressive over certain period of time. The societal problems are complex and there is no single pill to diagnose the cancerous sickness. Professor Fouad Ajami (Arab Predicament) said it right: “the problems of the Arab world are the result of self-inflicted wounds.” If the one track rulers were open to listening and learning (vital traits of effective modern leadership), the current catastrophic in-house wars, firing on demonstrators in streets, funeral processions and worshippers in Masjids, killings of innocent citizens and destruction of the social environment and political horrors could have been avoided.
Imagine, if the Arab world had public institutions and Islamic system of people-based governance, there was no scope for the Western oil importing nations and their military forces to intervene, bomb, destroy and subjugate those already living under half of a century of authoritarian oppressions. It is the same story in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Baharian, Yemen and in other parts of the Arab societies – common people are gunned down, their rights and human dignity is purged, the only voices of reason are coming out of the Western thinking people and human organizations, not of the Arab ruling elite. All of the Arab individualistic absolute rulers have institutionalized secretive police apparatus and Rapid Deployment military units to maintain “fear game” and to keep the herd under control by force and torture. This was business as usual for almost sixty years but nobody spoke against it, not even the Western pro-democracy proponents claiming to be optimists and peacemakers. The Arab ruler’s solidarity stems from their own circle of monsters managing the governance – solidarity of the fittest of the few to survive and not to undermine anybody’s harem – palace life. They lived in palaces, not with people to know the true human affairs. None of the despotic rulers had any imagination or vision to build the human strength based valued societies and to see Islam as a changing force of time and progress. They defied logic and listening to advice and expert opinions from Muslim thinkers and scholars. They adopted secularism and discarded Islam and consequently fell in disgrace destroying all they claim to have achieved as part of their illusory economic success. Not knowing that the soul of economic man, economic woman and economic child died with Darwin’s mythology long time ago. The Al-Qura’an offers the following words of wisdom: “intelligent people always readily accept advice.” Were the contemporary authoritarian Arab rulers intelligent people to govern?
It is the future, how to be rebuilt across the oil producing Arab nations. There must a rational concern and immediate thinking on the part of able and competent Muslim thinkers to plan for change and futurbuilding, out of deliberate ruins in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Tunis, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The losses are too great in human, social, economic and political terms and consequential impacts will go on for ages to come as what was destroyed instantly by the blood thirsty draculian forces, cannot be rebuild overnight. These were the results of decade old indifferences, incompetent and corrupt system of governance – the net outgrowth of the Arab authoritarianism. The THINKING people of the Arab hub must search for planned changes and ACTION PLAN – both in short and long terms, and sustainable mechanism of value-based system of governance enlisting politically active and informed educated, intelligent and responsible people from the new and young generation. Given the new vision, approaches and strategic priorities, for sure, there will be anew future different than the imposed dictators and insane rulers, be it Bashar Assad, Ghaddafi, Saleh Abdullah, Mubarak and others in waiting to go across the Arab world.
All beginnings have their ends. Insanity propelled violence and authoritarianism cannot continue for ever, it is terribly ruptured and dying its own death – the darkness is being replaced by shinning light and optimism of the people’s revolutionary movements as many more embittered rulers will depart and escape accountability as did Zainudiin Ali, as did Ghaddafi and soon Bashar Al-Assad too. The Arab world is not homogenized in geography as painted by the European colonial masters but Islam unified them as One Ummah, committed to knowledge, peace, human values and culture transcending all the tribal division and borders. The rulers neglected Islam and fell in disgrace.
The question is how to manage change and emerging new and challenging opportunities to undo the political and economic chaos and return to normalcy? It requires soul searching and foresight and strong commitment more than bringing a revolution to set the proper strategies and initiate planned solid actions for the future. NTC of Libya is currently facing that challenge. Do Arabs have the proactive visionary and competent people and institutions to deal with change and conflict management?
Some twenty years earlier, this author took initiatives to share new ideas and foresights which were encompassed in “Towards Muslim Unity” – “Why Muslims are a Divided People?” and “Approaches to Comparative Strategic Policy Planning: Muslims World and the West” published original in English and Arabic translation in the Muslim World League Journal, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, AlMujtama, Kuwait and other papers/magazines in Egypt and elsewhere. The proactive thoughts essentially dealt with some of the issues and tragedies encountering the Arab world today as I could see them coming while teaching in the Arab world. Strangely, nobody paid attention, not even the people who were supposed to be tracking the global developments affecting the interests of the Muslim Ummah. In a nutshell, a reformative system of governance based on legislative body – Ummah Council (Parliament), comprised of the elected/chosen scholars-thinkers and professionals from the Islamic world to devise economic and political priorities for change and reformation of the neo-colonial governance by keeping intact the existing infrastructures and figureheads, encouraging and enlisting participation of new and educated generation to assume the leadership role in policy making, decision making, development of public institutions, banking, common currency, enhanced trades between the Muslim world and the Western nations, interactive relationships with the Western institutions and reassuring the Arab rulers of recognition and respect without revolution, and a gradual phase-out and phase-in process of new governance for the future building – sustainable economic and political life of the Muslim Ummah as One People, One Nation existing in peace and harmony with the rest of the world and of course, without the authoritarian and despotic rulers. Is this not what is desperately needed in the contemporary Arab world to avoid further bloodsheds, innocent killings of people and devastation of the social and economic infrastructures built with oil revenues? Take care of yourself before intruders find space to bomb and destroy you.
Arab authoritarianism and its consequential militarization and insanity continued with the complicity of the oil importing Western nations, now, it is time for the Muslim thinkers and planners to take the initiatives and respond to the call of time and human conscience and lead the change process and make positive things happen out of planned ideas and ideals. It is time in history-making to THINK right and act; otherwise there are more wars and destruction on the horizon for the Arab-Muslim world to come. The US needs more hoax of wars to revamp failing of its financial collapse, defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan, unpayable $14 trillion borrowed from the future and failed political agenda of wars against the living humanity. Professor Michel Chossudovsky (America's Holy Crusade against the Muslim World, Global Research, 8/30/2010), spells out the scenarios of war mongering:
“a transition from "the war on terrorism" to the outright demonization of Muslims. While underscoring the freedom of religion, the Obama administration is "beating the drums" of a broader war against Islam….. the objective is to instill fear, rouse and harness citizens' unbending support for the next stage of America's "long war….. A "war of religion" is unfolding, with a view to justifying a global military crusade.”
Imagine what would the history say about the Arab rulers complacent in America’s led bogus War on Terrorism – a crusade against Islam and about their leadership role model for the future generations to come? Take a moment and have a cool breathe and THINK if you can, of the on-going planned massacres and killings of innocent people, political horrors and physical injuries, intellectual and moral insult to Muslim conscience, and deaths and devastation these monsters have caused to the traditional and valued culture of the Arab people – how should the world view the Arab people, societies, Islam and their sense of moral values? Were there no conscientious and intelligent folks, scholars and thinkers to THINK of the navigational change and challenge the absurdity of anti-Islamic authoritarianism? Was there nothing else than handful of sadistic rulers, oil pumping and militarization as culture and economy of the Arab people? The questions you MUST answer to the demands of history and future generations.
Devoid of knowledge and basic leadership traits, the rulers appear defiant and paranoid to encounter the voices of reason – organized and effective people’s revolutionary movements for freedom and new leadership. The author’s article “Arab Authoritarian World is Changing – but how to make sense-out of nonsense” Aljazeera-CCUN: 8/29/2011), makes the following observation:
“If you scan and analyze over half of the century affairs to discover that Arab rulers had no accomplishments to their record. They failed on all the major front battles: failure in leadership, perception of change and development of the future, shameful failure in dealing with the freedom of Palestine and establishment of an independent State of Palestine, no strategy to cope with the growing influence of Israel in the Middle East, and creating viable societal economic and political infrastructures for a sustainable future. Under the guise of modernity, they propelled Western enhanced militarization and secretive police–based institutionalized system using “fear” as a strategy for their governance. Modern Arab armies are not the armies of Islam but to safeguard the rulers and their palaces. The armed forces supposed to be defending the Arab citizens are killing them. The egomaniac rulers, who loved the sensation of power and extravagant life in palaces built on moving sand and with stolen wealth, use iron fist rule to torture and kill the political opponents alleging Islamic extremism. The paranoid and ruthless kings, princes and presidents do not frighten anybody, anymore except the self …… The Arab people have a success story to convey to the future generations for change and development but the absolute rulers stand no chance for any story of success and have no message to the future generations and the reason what went wrong to them, what made them commit heinous crimes and institutionalize a rule of insanity against their own self and the people they claim to rule.”