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August 13 2022 4:01 AM ˚
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Fathoming the future of the Arab Near East

Near East
(Photo: Wikipedia)
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Near East

Khairi Janbek

The writer is a former private adviser to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal.

It is often said that historians are the worst when it comes to predicting the future; in any case, looking at the near future, let alone the distance future, with confidence requires gazing at a crystal ball which we do not have.اضافة اعلان

The challenges for the Arab Near East are further magnified by the nature of the region, known for being highly volatile and for its dramatic shifts and turns of direction.

At the same time, it is doubtful that the future of the Near East is sufficiently deterministic for anyone to be able to predict it. However, one can confidently say that the character of the region will continue to be shaped by the relationship between its regimes and the outside forces, whether they will be working together or independently toward common goals or at cross purposes.

It may be easier to define what is likely to stay the same than speculate on what is likely to change.

What comes to mind immediately is that the concentration of the world’s financial wealth will stay with a handful of Gulf-based sovereign funds, in countries where economic structures will continue to be built and integrated in order to please their citizens and guests, without having to worry about the need for public participation in decision making or even democratization. 
The historical role of the Near East as a transit route will not change; at the same time, one can also say, with much regret, that the festering wound of Palestine and Palestinian people will continue to bleed.
The historical role of the Near East as a transit route will not change; at the same time, one can also say, with much regret, that the festering wound of Palestine and Palestinian people will continue to bleed.

Freedom of expression remains a very sour point for the people of the region. Hardly anyone who upheld this principle and struggled to defend it did not have a brush with the authorities and got away with it. 

The more that people fall foul of the opinion of the various states in the region, the more the number of individuals holding a grudge against the system will grow, but the habitual modus operandi of governments in this region will continue to be in accordance with the old Roman dictum “let them fear so long as they obey”.

Religious observance is very important for the people of the region, just as it is beyond it, and this will always continue to lead to the habitual friction over the implementation of religion-based laws. However, even secularism in this part of the world has a religious dimension, with so-called secular leaders supporting one religious doctrine or another, or even one religious group or another, in an attempt usually to co-opt religion in order to regulate it.

Governments in the region are likely to remain as transient as the politicians who make them up; the organization of governments will not vary from one head to another since there will not be a true agreement on what powers different bureaucrats in the region should have, how the borders among countries should be, and how different groups ought to be represented, if at all.


Khairi Janbek is a former private adviser to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal.


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