September 07, 2016
– “We arrived at the stage where many countries in our region are subject to the rule of militias and armed gangs.”
Al – Bakhit calls for adherence to the option of a civil state, to protect religion itself from political games.
Al – Bakhit believes that the Arab Spring proved the illusion of cloning the experience of Turkish political Islam in the Arab world.
The former Prime Minister believes that the liberal currents are powerless and do not have a popular balance
The former prime minister believes that Jordan has passed two high-level dangers, the Arab Spring and the Syrian crisis
Analyze Dr. Marouf al-Bakhit, former Prime Minister, discussed the developments of the regional scene and the new changes in it, and discussed their repercussions on Jordan, its interests and national security, and the external and internal challenges it faces, in a lecture he gave at the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, on Tuesday, in the presence of a group of Jordanian politicians and academics.
In his lecture, entitled “The Consequences of the Arab Spring and the Entitlements of the Current Phase,” Bakhit begins by asking a fundamental question: Was the Arab Spring inevitable? If a Tunisian had not set himself on fire in protest of injustice and socio-economic conditions; Would we have witnessed such revolutions, which overthrew the most powerful dictatorships, the old regimes, and re-mixed the cards of the region and the world?
He answers that by saying, “In my opinion, even if the Bouazizi incident did not occur in Tunisia, the region was on a date with this earthquake. There would have been another Bouazizi in another location, who would trigger the crisis, and perhaps for another reason. That is, we were before the merit of fullness, after which all vessels must overflow.”
Then the former prime minister raises another question, whether the Arab Spring was a fleeting moment that the Arab regimes overtook, after the catastrophic fates in more than one country, or whether it was a moment of historical transformation, where it is not possible to return to what was before it?
After acknowledging that the answer requires more scrutiny, he warns that there is a new reality imposed by the technological revolution in the Arab world that is difficult to skip and ignore. It is drained and broken, and exhausted, especially, with the demise of the intermediate links, the decline in the role of social systems and political and cultural bodies, and with the diminishing ability to control and control the flow of information to the minimum levels, in addition to the growing challenges and economic and developmental imbalances.”
In the same context, Al-Bakhit raises the issue of the formation of what he called a hypothetical middle class after the middle class (and it is the class that always leads change) withdrew, and its influence declined, in more than one Arab country. Fall new virtual layer , “it unleashed and provided the potential to protest and accountability, and introduced patterns of consumer new requirements, exceed the size of income and potential, so that she lived categories of social strata, the level of middle – class culture or a consumer, in terms of communication and interaction and mastery of the means of technology, without the level of Economical fit for these requirements. Which was not available before and is not recognized by traditional formulas.”
After reaching a basic conclusion that we – in the post-Arab Spring period – are facing a new stage, and not a passing moment, which calls for thinking and planning for what is to come, Al-Bakhit puts forward a number of results that can be drawn from the Arab Spring, such as the decline of traditional political forces ( nationalists, leftists, and Islamists), and the fading of that stage and the beginning of a new one, with which the old political thought is of no use, the state of instinctive apostasy, the emergence of internal contradictions, the emergence of sectarian extremism and counter-extremism, so that we have reached “a stage in which many countries in our region are subject to the rule of militias and armed gangs.” .
Among the conclusions drawn by the former prime minister: the illusion of reproducing the Turkish model in political Islam, due to the different local, regional and societal contexts, while acknowledging the differentiation of the Tunisian model from the Levantine in this field, but this is also due to the specificity of the Tunisian experience, as the lecturer sees.
The condition of the liberal currents and forces is not different from the above, according to al-Bakhit. The bet on them is an illusion, because they “do not have a mass and popular balance, and at certain moments became identified with the movements of political Islam, and they are isolated from society, despite the Western investment in them during the past decades!
Al-Bakhit goes on with his conclusions, including the illusion of reliance on a major global power, the shifting of international and regional alliances in the region, and the fragility of the concept of Arab national security, which has been weakened and emptied, and has become more distant from actual application after the Arab Spring stage, while the former Prime Minister recorded the decline in the importance of the issue Palestinians in the region, on the agenda of the international community.
After analyzing the previous variables, Al-Bakhit concludes that despite all of the above, it is not too late for “the necessity of endorsing an Arab project that is comprehensive and aware of the challenges and benefits from the language of the times.”
This project, as Al-Bakhit sees, can be derived from the Great Arab Renaissance Project, in its centenary, “We still need to read the project and adhere to its principles, and rebuild the self to ensure that the contradictions that have emerged in recent years, since the fall of Baghdad, are transformed into diversities that interact and integrate, It expresses itself within a comprehensive framework, and in the context of a development process at all levels, and I mean here, by fully siding with the project of the civil and democratic state.
Regarding the pillars of the project, the lecturer believes that “the interest of the Arab and Islamic nation and the future of its generations requires, first, stopping the use of religion in favor of politics. In the dialectic of the relationship between religion and politics; Historically, all the evidence confirms that the relationship is in favor of politics and at the expense of religion.. The best thing is to stick to the option of a civil state, to protect religion itself from political games.
Then the lecturer delves into more depth in analyzing the consequences of recent regional developments,
At the level of the Syrian crisis; He believes that the failed military coup attempt in Turkey constituted an important turning point in terms of rebuilding alliances and positioning in the region, and more clearly with regard to the Syrian crisis. moving away from the American ally and the European Union, and thus; Abandoning its positions regarding the Syrian crisis, and approaching Damascus and Cairo, which we have seen on the ground, in the media, and even at the level of the Turkish political and diplomatic movement during the last period.”
As for the fight against terrorism; The past weeks have witnessed military field victories in confronting terrorist organizations, especially in Syria, Iraq and Libya. However, these developments – according to Al-Bakhit – lead to an important question, which is “What is after ISIS?” That is: “How do we deal with the entitlement to defeat ISIS on the ground and militarily, while remaining the idea and the call that produced this criminal thought?” I think we are facing an important entitlement that deserves to be read, planned and consciously confronted.” Here, I note the following;
Al-Bakhit provides an important general framework when approaching the answer to the previous question.
First – “In our previous experiences, the military defeats of fundamentalist organizations led to the re-emergence of these organizations in more extremist and criminal forms, from the Afghan Arabs, to Al-Qaeda, to Al-Zarqawi’s organization in Iraq to ISIS.. Which means that contentment with field victory and not confronting the intellectual and cultural confrontation Comprehensive development, it will allow the return of organizations in more violent forms and attract more extremists.”
Second – “There are large numbers of terrorist fighters who took their families with them to the areas of influence of ISIS and Al-Nusra, which means tens of thousands of children and women. And there are terrorist fighters who married and had children while joining criminal organizations.. And now we have thousands of children who have grown up in sick conditions, in terms of killing, extremism, blood and criminal awareness, which means that we urgently need to deal with this generation of children who have been deprived of education, health and a healthy environment, and who They will return to their countries of origin, including Jordan.. These people need psychological treatment, health and scientific rehabilitation, and their integration into society. This requires restructuring the institutions of social defense and family protection and civil bodies that are able to carry out these tasks.”
On the Palestinian issue; Al-Bakhit believes that its importance and the priority of the Arab-Israeli conflict declined from the political and objective angles, not due to the Arabs’ preoccupation with the Arab Spring, as some reduce it, but rather due to the qualitative change that occurred in the equation of this conflict and the entry of new elements and the decline of others, most important of which are:
The fundamental change that occurred in the Israeli national security theory, as the threat posed by the regular armies such as the Syrian and Iraqi army turned into a threat of another kind, represented by the new fundamentalist organizations, and Hezbollah’s missile capabilities.
There is Hezbollah on the Israeli-Lebanese border, Salafi-jihadi organizations on the border with Syria, ISIS in Sinai, and the Gaza Strip, which has turned into a crossing or arena for conflict between regional parties seeking to play the equation of Egyptian security and directly as well as Israeli security.
Russia’s entry into the conflict equation in the region, in which Israel found an opportunity to compensate for the imbalance and decline in its relationship with the United States. The Israeli security now has two gates, and this will change the equation for settling the Arab-Israeli conflict later.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is no longer the core of the conflict in the region from the Israeli, American and Russian angle, but there are files that have become more than a priority, such as the file of fighting terrorism, the political settlement in Syria and Iraq, and the reformulation of the political situation in the region in general.
– انفصل قطاع غزة عن الضفة الغربية، واخذ سياقاً إقليميا أدخله وبشكل مباشر بالصراعات القائمة بين الاطراف الاقليمية، وهناك بعض الفرضيات (بغض النظر عن وجاهتها) تتحدث عن توسيع الرقعة الجغرافية لقطاع غزه باتجاه مصر، في سياق يجعله قادراً على تلبية متطلبات اقامة الدولة الفلسطينية، وبما يحل معضلة اراضي المستوطنات بالضفه الغربيه، وقسم كبير من لاجئي ال 48 . وسواءً نجح سيناريو توسيع مساحة قطاع غزة أم لم ينجح؛ الا انه لا ينفي أن ملف تسويه الصراع الفلسطيني – الاسرائيلي اصبحت مصر تحتل فيه موقع الريادة وبدعم عربي ودولي.
The conclusion that the lecturer ends with after diving into the important regional files and their developments is “that the comprehensive solution to the region’s crises, and on the “one-shot” method, will necessarily take the interests of the stronger parties and on the basis of international and regional accounts much broader than the accounts of the conflict files itself, including, for example, the fight against terrorism. Which will be the main element in the security file, arranging a permanent and final status for the Palestinians and the security of Israel at the expense of the other parties.”
Then, in light of the previous developments and changes, Al-Bakhit poses the essential question: What is the impact of this on Jordan? What is its position in relation to all these changes and transformations?
In answering the question, Al-Bakhit believes that the Jordanian state has already passed two high-level entitlements, “the first, which is the so-called Arab Spring. I confirm here, as an eyewitness, that Jordan was one of the direct targets of the events of the Arab Spring. Jordan and the Jordanians have won well, and we have overcome the danger to safety, thanks to a number of factors, foremost of which is the Jordanian leadership’s ownership of the initiative, the moral and political courage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, and his investment in that historical moment to accelerate his reform project, which he started with since assuming his constitutional powers. , as well as the unique level of awareness that Jordanians showed as they held fast to their national state, as well as the position of the national political forces in the opposition, who are aware and adhere to the option of reform and reject chaos. In addition, of course, to the specificity of Jordan and its socio-cultural structure, and the absence of a bloody history in the relationship between the people and the regime.
As for the second entitlement, according to al-Bakhit, “the Syrian crisis, and Jordan has also succeeded in steadfastness and refusing to get involved in the Syrian crisis, preserving its security and capabilities, and dealing with the consequences of the crisis with the international and Arab community abandoning its role. We have overcome the greater danger of being a party to a bloody conflict. The credit for this was due to the Jordanian leadership’s ability to accurately read and correct the reality of the conflict and the duration of the crisis, at a time when many believed that it was a matter of a few months, and then rearranging the region’s papers.”
The former prime minister concludes that these two achievements express the strength of the Jordanian state and the independence of its decision. And “while some believe that we have abandoned “playing the regional role”, it has been proven that the story is not just playing a role, but rather setting priorities.”
Bakhit confirms that the Jordanian compass has been pointing constantly over the past six years towards the Palestinian cause, and has cut off the attempts of the right-wing Israeli government to fool the international community in light of its preoccupation with explosive regional files, in favor of imposing facts on the ground, at the expense of Palestinian rights and Jordanian interests.. Jordan has achieved Diplomatic and political successes led to curbing Israeli delinquency.
As for the Jordanian role, and its position in regional interactions, the former prime minister affirmed that “our first criterion must always be the standard of the higher Jordanian national interest.”
After the president finishes demarcating and dismantling the external challenges and the Jordanian balance in dealing with them, he turns to the internal challenges facing us today, as he sees that Jordan “has been subjected to great and exceptional damage due to the period of the past six years, and the Jordanian economy has paid a heavy price.” As for the second danger, it is the beginning of the spread of the ideology of extremism and dark calls in our society, “and we are hearing of calls and divisions that we did not hear before, because they are foreign and alien to our society and culture.. and this is also due to the developments of events around us, and sectarian and sectarian mobilization, especially with regard to Iraq And Syria.. and we are hearing the extension of these sick calls in our society and on social media.”
In light of this, Bakhit believes that the priority today is to confront extremism, not only by dealing with the subject of curricula, despite its great importance. It takes into account the concept of developmental justice and the need to create job opportunities and pay attention to the governorates and the poorest spots.
At the end of the lecture, the former Prime Minister presents the features of his vision for the economic reform required in the next stage, which is based on the priority of developing the governorates, achieving the triple “financial independence, economic growth, and social justice” and reducing expenditures by canceling all forms of support for goods and services in exchange for wage restructuring. Freezing infrastructure projects for a specified period, abolishing independent institutions, structuring electricity prices according to geography and volume of consumption, reducing fuel consumption and launching an efficient public transport system.
As for increasing revenues, he sees the need to restructure taxes, adopt progression, combat tax evasion, cancel tax exemptions, and raise fees and returns from strategic projects.