The Middle East, like any other region in the world faces various issues in its everyday activities. The countries under the Arab world also experience challenges and hardships in their respective territories just like any other nations. However, they are doing the necessary measures in order to address these problems and enhance the situation of their region. Furthermore, the Arab world is also an interesting subject matter to study especially when it comes to their rich and fascinating culture.
Weekly Summary of the Arab World
Based on this week’s recent updates, the news about the Arab world is greatly about the situation of peace and order in the region. This is most observable in countries that have disputed territories and those that are undergoing the aftermath of war. Nevertheless, there are also good things that are happening in the region especially when it comes to establishing diplomatic relationships with countries in other regions in the world.
The United States forces that is still present in Iraq still remains as a very controversial issue. Recently, Iran accused the U.S. of “pillaging” Iraq. According to Iran, the purpose of the proposed U.S.-Iraq security is to keep Iraq weak, which will help the United States “pillage” the country. Iran’s Interior Minister Ali Kordan emphasized Tehran’s stand point regarding the pact in a meeting conducted in Jordan together with other interior ministers coming from Iraq, Turkey and Gulf Arab states. The country opposes any documents that would threaten the interests of Iraq. This draft deal is supposed to replace the United Nations mandate that will expire this year. Furthermore, the Iraqi cabinet decided to ask for certain revisions in the draft that was met by warnings coming from senior U.S. military as well as political figures that they were unlikely to agree on a deal due to such proposal (Aljazeera, 2008).
Despite the accusations of Iran that the United States wants to weaken Iraq, the U.S. forces gave control of the province of Babil to Iraqis. Babil is the 12th out of 18th provinces of Iraq that would be handed back to the Iraqis. This decision took place two days after the conflict between the militants and Sunni tribesmen, which happened mainly in Shia Babil, the south of Baghdad. The clashed of these two parties caused the death of at least 15 people. This incident was not the first violent encounter in Babil as this place has seen much sectarian violence. Just in March last year, a suicide attack in Hilia caused the death of more than 100 Shia pilgrims. Furthermore, during the handover ceremony at Hilla, Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwaffaq al-Rubaie stated that more provinces would be handed over to the Iraqis (BBC, 2008).
The violent incidents in Iraq still continue. Just this week a suicide car bomber hits the convoy of Iraq’s minister of labor and social affairs. This incident killed 11 people and wounded 22 others. A spokesperson from the ministry confirmed that the minister, Mahmoud al-Sheikh Radhi was not hurt and he is in a good condition. Nevertheless, three of his bodyguards were among the casualties. A cameraman from the Reuters television was able to film the blast but an Iraqi soldier confiscated the tape. The cameraman was about 150m away from the explosion; he said that he saw a car drive into the convoy and the explosion happened near Tahrir square, which is at the center of Baghdad. Violence in Iraq has substantially decreased over the past years. However, fighters are still able to carry out attacks like the usual car and suicide bombing (Aljazeera, 2008).
On the other hand, good things also happen in some countries in the Middle Eastern region. Recently, the states of Jordan and Brazil signed 11 deals that will aide in enhancing the economic, cultural and political cooperation between them. The agreements were finalized during the visit of King Abdullah in Brasilia. King Adbullah met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wherein they discussed ways that will activate cooperation, most importantly in the economic realm. This agreement between Jordan and Brazil is said to have a strong potential in creating stronger ties between these two states (The Jordan Times, 2008).
The weekly news discussion only proves that peace and order still remains to be the main challenge that most countries in the Arab world have to deal with. Nevertheless, despite such kind of problem some countries in the region are doing all they can to enhance the situation of their respective country. They have engage in establishing greater cooperation with other states. Believing that collaboration and partnership will yield more advantageous results for all parties involve.
The issue of terrorism has been one of the most controversial and challenging problems that the Arab world has to face. The perceptions and accusations of some people that the Middle East region is the source of terrorism and the haven for terrorists still persist. In line with this, many articles, books and journals have tackled this subject matter. Some of them even suggested ways in order to address this problem. The article written by Khalid Mustafa Medani entitled Want to Fight terrorism could exemplify this? Think Globally, Act Locally.
The article emphasized the idea that in order to deal with terrorism the solution would come from the community level. Militant Islam has been under global scrutiny as people are looking for clues that would pertain to its rise and to look for strategies in order to control its growth. However, the means to obtain this necessary information is not seen in Islamic doctrine, the United States foreign policy or formal relationships with other nations as many analysts suggested but rather it lies in the community level. In order to understand the rise of militant Islam, the best sources of information are clans and local leaders (Medani, 2008).
Contrary to public misconceptions, Jihadists still remain as a minority in most Muslim states. Despite the fact that there are only a small number of militants they can still wreak havoc worldwide through suicide bombings and other violent attacks. This could be greatly attributed from the fact that most recruitment of these militants happened in ungoverned areas or repressive states wherein there is a lack of public goods and social needs are not sustain.
Local clan and community leaders have been the dominant authority in the Arab culture for many centuries. Nevertheless, this authority is now acquired by central governments. These local leaders are a source of threat for the government because they pose rivalry in power that is why government officials are eliminating them. In neighborhoods that are lack the necessary authority that will govern them, citizens are attracted to be jihadists. They are dependent upon international funding that aid them in their combat training as well as their everyday needs.
Being the case, Medani suggested that in order to control jihadists recruitments policy makers should give due importance to the role and participation of the local community. The central government should establish collaborative relationships with local leaders. They should work hand in hand in order to ensure the security as well as the peace and order in their respective area of responsibility. In relation to this, they should also make sure that the social needs of the people are provided. They should focus on giving the everyday necessities of their citizens in terms of food, shelter, clothing, and health care as well as proper employment. Their main objective should be to provide humane and decent living to the people. By doing so, people would be discouraged to join jihadists’ organizations because there are no reasons for them to revolt against the government (Medani, 2008).
In all of these, the main idea is to address the root of the problem. Terrorism exists because of the discontentment and disappoint coming from the people. The government should do all the necessary measures in order to solve the problems and sentiments of those they governed. It is only in giving due attention to their people and the issues that greatly bothers that terrorism could be controlled.
Aljazeera. (2008). Bomber hits Iraqi minister’s convoy. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from
Aljazeera. (2008). Iran accuses US of ‘pillaging’ Iraq. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from
BBC News. (2008). US forces hand province to Iraqis. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from
Medani, K.M. (2008). Want to Fight Terrorism? Think Globally, Act Locally. Retrieved
October 23, 2008, from http://www.merip.org/newspaper_opeds/oped080408.html.
The Jordan Times. (2008). Jordan signs 11 deals with Brazil. Retrieved October 23,
2008, from http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=11578.