WITHOUT a doubt, the situation in our Arab world is not impressive at all. It is rather in a state of unprecedented retrogression after governments resigned to fate throughout the last century by abandoning their roles and converting development to backwardness.
This is exactly what the statistics affirmed, stating that the illiteracy rate reached 21 percent and there is a need to generate 60 million job opportunities by next year, while the average poverty rate is 23 percent.
Not only this, the decline in development in the past 10 years has reached an alarming level, threatening the future of 400 million humans living in 21 countries. Five of these countries are neck deep in civil wars, some of which have been going on for decades.
Five others are deeply involved in complex political crises, moving towards civil war. Is this the kind of situation desirable for Arab nations in the 21st century? In 2016, the New York Times dedicated one whole edition to the Arabs.
Columnists wrote about implications of the America invasion of Iraq, including human and capital losses, under the headline: “Disaster that has befallen Arabs since 2003.” The articles were not imaginary analyses as they contained facts and figures about the invasion. Washington did not only overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime, it also broke down the country and handed it over to sectarian militants.
Therefore, the resources of such a great country were looted by ‘Ali Baba’ thieves who were agents of Iran, even though they came on American tanks. The Arab World has lost over $2 trillion since then, while Iraq lost about 1.5 million lives, in addition to hundreds of thousands who died in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
This situation has made it pertinent for us to raise this question: When will the Arab World be under the well guided leadership rather than governments based on sharing the loot, while the development data and speeches of leaders remain mere ink on paper? The people of Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Algeria, Sudan and Tunisia have been protesting against their governments which failed to guarantee the minimum standard of dignified living for citizens.
In a bid to cover up the failure, they attributed it to the US-Israeli conspiracy. Are Israel and United States the ones fighting in Iraq and Syria? Did they push Lebanon into bankruptcy after its leaders plundered almost $100 billion? Did they deplete oil in Algeria? Did they tear apart Libya through civil war? Let us assume Washington and Tel Aviv did all these, were there no leaders in those countries to decipher the laid down plans or were they the sheep moving behind as the bell kept on ringing? Were there no elites to caution against dangers posed by Iran and Turkey which kept entering the country like virus; and instead of resisting it, they contributed to its spread? Arabs and Muslims were not torn apart by conspiracy; as it is rather due to corruption, the struggle to wipe out citizens, and refusal to give them right to freedom. This is more pronounced in countries which have been pioneers of renaissance in the Arab and Islamic worlds over the years.
It is unfortunate that at the end of the day, those countries are ruled by thieves and corrupt elements. They amass wealth while leaving citizens to wallow in abject poverty. In spite of all the catastrophes, we still find some people who are sympathetic to certain leaders and are even ready to die defending the latter, because they believe the lie sold to them that incidents in their countries are due to foreign conspiracy.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times