Leiden Safety and Security Blog

The Arab uprisings

Posted on in Events
The Arab uprisings

What becomes clear during the conference on the Arab uprisings, organized by the Institute for Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland  on 18 and 19 November 2013 is that the initial demand, or hope, for democracy in the Middle East by now seems replaced by a fierce struggle for power – sectarian in character – between the different actors in the region. Regional powers like Iran and Turkey try to seize opportunities to strengthen their positions by cautiously maneuvering among the warring factions, supporting those factions that suits them best at a given moment. At the same time fragmentation of nation-states like Iraq and Syria into smaller units and spillover of the conflicts into neighboring countries threaten the Arab world and affects global economy due to decreases in oil production and refugee problems. Within such failed nation-states sectarian groups are likely to fill up the power vacuum, as these groups typically enjoy support from many people due to the combination of politics and charity, which makes people dependent upon these groups. This further weakens the position of the nation-state and once more shows the tragic mistakes the Western powers made while drawing the borders after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, neglecting complex ethnic diversity in the Arab world.

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