Spring will soon be upon us and with it the possibility of a renewed Arab Spring. Last year the Arab Spring resulted mostly in what will prove in time to have been an Islamic Winter with Presidents of numerous Muslim countries being removed from power and replaced with elected governments. Hopefully we have all learned that simply because a relatively fair election was held ushering in a democratic form of governance which, we were told, was a great stride towards freedom and modern human rights governance, that reality proved all that was accomplished was a change in the authoritative rule from a secular absolutist government to a theocratic government which emphasized Sharia Law and a submissive demand on the populace. This was simply another warning which is replete through history indicating that it is vitally necessary when bringing on change that it is imperative that the change is carefully defined and the goals kept in the forefront or you run the dangerous risk of the change you envisioned being destroyed and replaced with an even worse set of conditions that which you formerly suffered. Change for the sake of change is a danger to freedom, liberty, and all one holds dear as such undefined change leaves those who win the right to control the future may not have the same ideas, ideals, and preferences than those who instigated the change. Of course, it might also be that those who offered change did so without defining what they intended to change and what would be the results of said change and simply allowed each to delude themselves that their dreams for change were what was promised. Such change usually results in many people waking to a reality they did not desire or imagine. So, what might a new Arab Spring have in store for the world this year?
There have been some who have defined the Arab Spring of last year as being the Year of the Presidents as those who were removed from their long-standing positions of power referred to themselves as Presidents of their countries and had even held sham elections to give the appearance of democracy. Despite the democratic front put in place, it was well known that these leaders were Presidents for life and the next in line for the position would not be chosen by the people but rather appointed by either the former President or by the Military or other controlling body. There exists the proposition that this year will be the Year of the Kings as the ruling monarchs are to be the targets of change. What became apparent from the results of the last Arab Spring was that the Muslim Brotherhood and others who desired religious rule were the actual beneficiaries of the revolutions throughout the Muslim world. Despite all the happy talk of youth rebellion for Western style democratic states, the real power and support for these rebellions was supplied and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Muslims. There never was even the slightest of a chance that the changes to the governance would produce a secular democracy which operated under the idea of separation between religion and government. Actually, the exact opposite was what was in the plan all along. This coming year there will be no games played. From the outset everyone will know that the powers behind any revolutions will be the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups committed to Sharia and a strict religious government. So, where should we watch to see if this is actually in the cards?
The weakest of the monarchies is the likely first target. This would point most likely to Jordan and the Hashemite King. With a Jordanian population that is predominantly Palestinian Arab and the King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein being a Hashemite who is not native to the area, this will very likely be the first target. The Hashemites were originally from the areas surrounding Mecca and Medina and had ruled the two holy cities for centuries until just after World War I. With the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Hashemites rulers of Mecca and Medina were overthrown by Abdul Aziz who was one of the early rulers of Saudi Arabia from the Saud Family. The British placed the Hashemites to rule in Jordan and Iraq as reward for their loyalty in fighting the Ottoman Turks during World War I. Hashemite rule in Iraq has long since been replaced but they still hold the position as monarchs of Jordan. Jordan has been subjected to weekly protests and even some riots since the beginnings of the Arab Spring. With the civil war next door in Syria, much of the news coverage has ignored the growing problems in Jordan. By early to mid-summer that situation is bound to change. Jordanian King Hussein has been promising change and an end to corruption for many years but the changes have not been forthcoming. This has spawned a slowly roiling set of weekly demonstrations which have usually taken place late on Fridays, right after Friday prayers. The timing of these demonstrations is indicative of who is behind them and what the future holds for Jordan when King Hussein is toppled. Where exactly the Arab Revolutions will travel after Jordan is not evident as of yet. The one of the items we can be most assured of is that Saudi Arabia’s ruling family will be the final and last kingdom to be overturned. Only the Family Saud has the power to resist an uprising as was proven in Bahrain when Saudi troops were dispatched to end the uprising there early last summer. It is also possible that the rulers in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates might be able to resist any change by bribing their population to remain submissive and keep the status-quo in place. Then again, it is also possible that the only changes we will see this year in Arab governance are the solidification of the changes which occurred last year. It is the Middle East where almost everyone gets a guess and nobody is assured of getting it entirely correct.
Beyond the Cusp