In his book ‘The Gulf Moment in Contemporary Arab History’, the Emirati academic Abdul Khaliq Abdullah says: “No observer will search for anything in the current Arab reality in terms of playing the fundamental role to determine the fate and pathways of the countries of the region after the epicenter of basic weight reached the crossroads of Arabs in terms of money and economics as in politics, security and defense.
Although this transformation has been successful, studies are being given the final touches so that the Gulf scenario is portrayed as the most accurate and safest way to go through the modern Gulf experience.
Abdul Khaliq, in his comment as a researcher, rediscovered this expression which prevailed in the recent past and rephrased it in his recently published book, the reality imposed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on the region and the world.
He also illustrated how the Gulf region, after a long absence, regains its global presence after being engaged in an adventure for the first time to find itself responsible for the fate of the Arab nation, which for long has been the role of other Arab countries.
He also illustrated how the economic, diplomatic and Arab media weight has shifted in its favor from its base in Egypt, Syria and Iraq. The writer claims the shift has come because of the stability of the governments in the GCC countries, and their systems of government, and huge financial capabilities.
I do not know if this topic deserves a 250-page book, but in all cases it is full of illusion and reliance on unstable foundations and standards that cannot be relied upon to build civilized countries that are well established and solid, capable of absorbing changes in the world and somehow self sufficient, and self-defensive against any of the bigger regional powers.
The civilization, leadership and progress are not measured by stable policies and huge financial balances, but with interrelated and complex set of things.
With popular effort, financial support and political stability, the countries that the writer claims have lost their leadership role can be regained, but I don’t see the Gulf states having the potential or the capacity to play the role of a heavyweight other than becoming oil reservoirs and money banks, which are subject to depletion and we returning back to our tents. This cannot happen with countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Syria, which have temporarily ‘surrendered’ their leadership roles.
We are not, and have never been, part of Huntington’s conflict of civilizations. Fukuyama did not take us into consideration when he predicted ‘the end of history’, and what I say is not self-blame but is an undercurrent of reality we live in.
We have become a temporary ‘might’ in regional politics due to the obvious decline in the role of the greater and more important Arab states historically.
This does not mean we have become the center of decision-making, the cradle of civilization and the hope of the nation. A majority of the Gulf countries are seriously disrupted in their demographic structure, their modest quality of educational outputs, and reluctance of their citizens to do any manual work, their poor researches, and the salaries of their employees that gnaw at their wealth.
They are, therefore, not qualified to play any role on the world stage because I look at them as just oil reservoirs and banks where money is deposited.
One visit to our hospitals, desalination plants, factories, oil refineries, nationalities of their naval, land and air fleets, and the human armies that maintain them, and hundreds of other activities will clearly show us the ‘Achilles tendon’ or the points of weakness due to the cultural poverty of these countries which is next to zero and needs to be treated without any delay.
The treatment cannot be done without a complete overhaul of our educational systems and moral revolution that destroys all old heritages with new cultural concepts. Otherwise we will be only oil and dollars in the eyes of others.”
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf