2021, Will it be a Year of Solutions and Salvation?
2021, Will it be a Year of Solutions and Salvation?
Ushering into the new year (2021), the Arab world is relatively better off than it had been a year before, or we are perhaps close to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. The news about vaccines, the political developments, talk about a reconciliation and a Gulf Summit, breakthroughs in Libya, the formation of a new Yemeni government, improved oil prices, economic recoveries, and all other news give us a sense of cautious optimism.
The past year primarily shaped by the coronavirus was grim, dark and unprecedented worldwide, and our Arab world is part of that world. With that, chaos, wars, crises, conflicts and disputes tied to regional and international players were not absent from the scene. The Middle East and the world’s problems are intertwined, whereby it is no longer possible to separate them or deal with them distinctly.
Some predict that things will worsen, while contrasting analyses see that solutions are on the horizon, though they may take some time or are being cooked up on a light fire. Those who hold the latter view believe that there is a desire to resolve contentious issues in the Gulf, the region and throughout the world. Some predict changes on the regional and international political scenes, which are indeed not unlikely. However, the danger of the emergence of political and economic confrontations between major powers has not subsided, and they could push these powers towards military conflicts, to say nothing about the ramifications of global warming.
Political, economic and environmental threats have recently exacerbated due to the decline in support for multilateralism and its rules and safeguards, especially with strong men sitting in Washington, Moscow and Beijing. But it seems that things may differ with Trump’s departure and the arrival of Biden, who has a different philosophy, one that is founded on international cooperation rather than isolationism.
2020 was a stormy and novel year that came to be defined by an open-ended struggle between the emphasis of cooperation and collective action and populism, which entered the political and social lexicon with strong force. Despite its leading figure’s departure, populism will continue to hold sway so long as it has devotees.
With the start of 2021, the world’s economic concerns are as they had been, if not worse. The gap between the rich and poor is widening, while attempts to contain governments’ roles through privatization and expanding free trade remain marginal, and resolving the ramifications of information technologies has become a dream.
The regional situation is marked by political fluidity and accelerated change. Observers of the contemporary political map in the Arab world sense that there are attempts to perpetuate the successive splits, divisions and fragmentations that have struck Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya.
This affirms the fact that the crisis these countries are facing are due to Iranian interference and Turkish incursion amid an atypical international and global silence. While in Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, one notices that they have some commonalities in one way or another. In addition to getting wrapped up in the politics of axes, through the activities of Iranian militias in those countries, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and the Popular Mobilization Forces’ terrorist factions are trying to impose their status quo. Fortifying Arab identity and Arab nationalism in devastated Arab countries has become a requisite for countering Iranian influence. For, actually, in these states, there is no genuine loyalty to the Vilayat al-Faqih in Iran or the dream of an Ottoman Caliphate. Instead, these ties are reinforced exclusively by material and economic factors and interests.
It should be noted that Saudi diplomatic efforts to confront these regional projects are pivotal to the battle against them. Iran and Turkey have violated and invaded the Arab land, and there is nothing left under to make gains, exploiting, destroying, recruiting, looting and killing in every Arab territory they reach.
Over the past year, Tehran and Ankara have played roles in entrenching the ideological movements to stir sectarian conflicts, murder in the name of identity, and hatred of the other in Arab countries. This is a manifestation of backwardness that demonstrates a pattern that contradicts the discourse of the civilized world.
But, I wonder, will things get worse? The truth is that we cannot lay the foundations of the unity of the kind of productive state we want to see in our Arab so long symptoms are not resolved until the development project is not weak any longer and a state composed of citizens is established. This is on the one hand. On the other, confronting extremism and radical groups is an absolute necessity for protecting our states and the world. We must also face challenges, the Iranian expansionist project, Turkish intervention, fluctuating oil prices, US disputes with China, Russia’s clashes with the West and horrifying cyber attacks.
The rules of the political game have also changed or are on the way to that, which means there is a new positioning of international politics in the region. The reality of the current situation in the world calls for the necessity of resolving differences in order to reach common denominators and a bright future for humanity.
With the United States’ strong return to the region, and with the presence of Russia and Chinese interest, many questions arise concerning the evolution of relations and resolution of issues. Thus, real change will emerge, whether it is escalation or its reverse. We do not know for sure, interpretations and speculations will continue until the right time comes, and we get the answer.
What is important is that the world unites in such a way that confronts the dangers and challenges of the new state of affairs endangering its security and stability.