Dr. Moataz Abdel Fattah
CAIRO - 15 June 2017: If there is a phrase that expresses what we are living now, it is a "new Arab disorder" or chaos.
The region witnessed two consecutive cases of chaos and emptiness: "Chaos" after the intense US intervention in Iraq during the era of George W Bush, then witnessed a state of "emptiness" due to the United States’ withdrawal from Iraq under the reign of Barack Obama.
With "chaos" then with "emptiness" there was a chance that distinctions would occur between three types of powers.
Forces of change; the forces of maintaining the status quo; and forces so weakened that they became the battlefield between forces of change and those of maintaining the status quo.
This was the overall picture, and here are the details:
First, the forces of change have three characteristics: They are the forces of a "project" for the reformulation of the political, economic and demographic maps of the region, and the second characteristic is that they have extensions beyond their national borders or seek to expand by buying loyalty or conditional support for forces that can be loyal to them.
Third, they are states that try to link their interests and regional projects to major powers in order to mobilize their resources under the umbrella of one or more of the forces of the world order.
The most important examples here are five projects: An Iranian project, a Turkish project, an Israeli project, an Ethiopian project and a Kurdish project. Let us begin with Iran after 1979 with its Shiite-Safawi project, which claims to have the historical right to lead the Islamic nation after being tried to be led by Arabs, Mongols, Kurds and Turks at different stages.
Iran has created a strategic space that starts on the map from Tehran, extending north to Baghdad, then Damascus and then Beirut, and extends south to the eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula and down to Sanaa.
Turkey Post-2000 with its "Islamism" (i.e. political Islam) project aimed at supporting all the forces that claim to adopt an "Islamic" project that can heal its elements in the form of Istanbul-based links.
The Israeli project which aims at: security, land and acceptance. Israel is safe, Israel is above all the land it can occupy, and is accepted under its conditions that it dictates upon weaker Arab forces. Israel has historically succeeded in its project being at the centre of the Western Project in its entirety, ensuring that there is no major force in the region to hinder pushing of oil to the world.
The Ethiopian project, which aims to transform traditional primitive society into an industrial society based on transformational industries, including water conversion as Ethiopia's most important resource for electric power and a bargaining tool to build a more diversified economy, even at the expense of historic partners in water, agriculture and pasture.
The Kurdish project, based on the establishment of a Kurdish state for 35 million Kurds, divided between northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and north-eastern Syria.
The Qatari project, which is based on the "repudiation of the Arab identity" and the follow-up to other projects, as a bet that the Arabs, if they gather, do not benefit a friend and do not harm an enemy. Qatar has been better placed at the heart of the Iranian project by ensuring Iran's security and even supporting Shiites in every Arab country to be a dagger in the back of Arab national security.
It is placing itself at the Centre of the Turkish project with the support of religious groups (brotherhood and jihadist groups) as if they were milking all cows at the same time. Qatar embraces the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and opens consular representation offices for Israel in Doha and vice versa.
Qatar, is a positive party in all anti-Arab projects and a negative party in every joint Arab action.
These are the most important forces of radical change in the Arab region, its frontiers and its borders.
Secondly, there are conservative forces of resistance which, above all, are working to maintain the political, economic and demographic map with the least possible changes that are in line with the micro-projects and do not correspond to the interests of the traditional forces in the region. At the top of these countries are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Morocco.
These countries have no integrated projects in stopping the radical change taking place in the region except in the most often reactive logic. This is consistent with the idea of "conservative forces" that consider time to be the best advisor and that the mistake of not making a decision is better than making a wrong one.
However, a major change took place in the foreign policy directions of the conservative forces in two stages:
First, when the Shiite threat spread to the north of the Arabian Peninsula (Syria) and the southern Arabian Peninsula (Yemen). Secondly, when the Egyptian people rose against the Brotherhood rule, and Saudi Arabia began to lead an Arab alliance to deal with Shiite projects coming from Tehran and the "brotherhood" coming from Turkey.
These two changes did not make these states the owner of an integrated project, but there were attempts to search for a common area despite the disparity in the perception of threat sources. There is no doubt that Egypt and Saudi Arabia agree on the unity of Syria, but they differ on the future of the Baathist regime there, especially with its alliance with Hezbollah and Iran.
The recent diplomatic stand against the Qatari project is a prelude to a serious and stable alliance against the five radical change projects, taking into account alliances and intersections with the interests of the international powers.
Third are the forces and states of conflict, that is, the arena of conflict between the previous legislators, namely eight Arab states that entered into a state of civil war, civil strife or state fragility, as was the case in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan.
The region is torn apart and will continue to be torn apart for a long time to come because all parties are mobilizing their resources to achieve their objectives according to their project, whether the radical project or the conservative project and the pattern of their alliances with the major world powers.
Any Egyptian-Saudi disputes must be reversed quickly and vigorously and the pattern of alliance between these two countries should be higher than any side conflicts.
The danger is too great to ignore.
The challenge cannot be met by individual States. Let us recall that the Sykes-Picot projects and the Balfour Declaration triumphed on the project of the continuation of the Turkish Caliphate, the Arab Unity project and the National Independence Project
Their projects triumph and our projects are defeated by what we have earned.