The challenges facing the Arab political system


Many analysts think that the Arab political system is facing unfamiliar changes, these days, undermining its stability. The most prominent issue among these changes is terrorism and takfiri militants who are spreading throughout Arab countries such as Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Yet, this problem is not restricted only to the Arab region It also became a global issue due to the threats it poses to regional and international peace. On the other hand, the Arab national state which gained independence after ending foreign occupation is facing new threats, especially after “Daesh” – under the name of “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” – took control of major parts of Iraq and Syria. Moreover, other Arab countries like Lebanon and Jordan are facing imminent dangers as well.

These types of crises are not new to the Arab region. The Arab community had witnessed the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s presidential terms. As a result, division was created in the Arab political system which revealed its inability to develop defensive mechanisms to ensure the protection of its member states. This has necessitated foreign interference, backed by Arab countries, to restore Kuwait’s sovereignty.

Moreover, the Arab political system is facing the consequences of its unsuccessful development plans to combat poverty and enhance equality between citizens. In addition, the Arab policies which are applied on the ground failed to solve serious problems such as the emergence of sectarian, ethnic and religious discrimination.

The challenges facing the Arab political system paint different scenarios. For instance, some see them as threatening the very existence of that system and shaking its foundations. Others think that those challenges are not new, and that the Arab political system managed to deal with them before. Yet, another group believes that the system is able to cope with these changes and challenges and limit their negative effects by virtue of its cultural homogeneity, and its national and geographical ties linking its member states. They see that the system has accumulated experiences that are sufficient enough to enable it to face the challenges. Not to mention that the Arab political system is closely related to the international system, despite the big question mark over the international community’s attitude towards the Palestinian issue. Actually, the Arab political system can be easily distinguished from other systems because of the national ties and the Arab identity which may enable it to overcome the current critical situation.

However, in order to surmount the obstacles in the way of the Arab political system, Arabs need new mechanisms. It is imperative to breathe new life into the Arab League and bolster the axis of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE because it is considered the basis of the Arab political system at the present time. Last but not least, Arabs need to rise above the current predicament by enhancing democracy and human rights.