Category Archives: Arab Cold War

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The New Arab Cold War: Monarchies Versus the Arab Awakening

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 27, 2011, No Comments

The old Arab Cold War was fought in the 1960s between the republican states who wanted to transform the Arab world through the use of pan-Arabism and the monarchies, which were opposed to that phenomenon. The latter envisioned the former as the "enemies," since the pan-Arabists were focused on overthrowing the monarchies. The leader of the republican camp was Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser. The leader of the monarchical camp was Saudi Arabia. The two camps fought a civil war in Yemen in the early 1960s. The bloody political change of Iraq in 1958, which permanently transformed Iraq from a monarchy into a republic, proved that the fear of the Arab monarchies regarding the republican states was not unfounded. Now, a new Arab Cold War is being fought once again under the Saudi leadership for the preservation of the monarchies. The "enemy" this time is the Arab Awakening, which threatens to sweep aside all autocratic regimes. Two Arab dictators – Zein el-Abideen Bin Ali and Hosni
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The Escalating Irrelevance of Obama in the Arab World

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 22, 2011, 1 Comment

President Barack Obama's election to the White House created euphoria in the world of Islam regarding the prospects for change associated with his presidency, when he gave his highly anticipated speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in June 2009. Today, however, his presidency has become the epitome of attempting to lead from behind and trying to take credit where credit is not due. In other words, in the middle of the first term of his presidency (assuming that there is a second term for him), he has become an almost irrelevant entity for the Arab and Muslim world. The classic example of his leading from behind is his administration's belated support for the Arab Awakening. His May 19, 2011 speech on the Middle East is an example of his desperation to take credit about what is most likely to happen in Israel – the possibility of a new momentum for peace stemming from the newly-emerged unity among the Palestinians. (more…)
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Al-Qaida versus the Arab Awakening: The Muslim World’s Past and Future

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 7, 2011, No Comments

Long before Usama Bin Laden's death in Pakistan, al-Qaida had become irrelevant as an organization that could bring about political change in the Arab or Muslim world.  The Arab awakening, on the contrary, was very much in the driving seat of bringing about political change toward the end of the first decade of the 21st Century.  Al-Qaida and its followers could cause enormous amounts of violence in West Asia, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Arabian Peninsula, but it could never topple any regime.  One reason might be because, unlike the Arab awakening, it never was a social movement.  As an organization that was galvanized on the basis of a highly exclusivist ideology (Islamic puritanism and an excessive use of violence), al-Qaida always had limited appeal in terms of creating massive numbers of "foot soldiers." (more…)
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The Arab Awakening as the End of Arab “Exceptionalism”

by Ehsan Ahrari on February 27, 2011, No Comments

The best promise of the Arab awakening is that, if the ouster of dictators were to lead to democratic governance, the Arab world will be truly freed from all manifestations of the remnant of neo-imperialism.  Arab Exceptionalism, the concept that democratic rule was not meant for Arab regions, is proving itself to be wrong.  In reality, it was as wrong as it was racist.  The Arab autocrats promoted it, but the realpolitik of the West in its uncritical acceptance of it was also responsible for its sustenance throughout the post-World War II era. (more…)