8 Gulf Daily News Monday, 22nd December 2014 Arab Spring unravelling... F By DR JAMES J ZOGBY President, Arab American Institute our years ago, Tunisia and Egypt erupted in broad popular revolts. At first, analysts, Arab and Westerners alike, were confounded. When Libya, Yemen, and Syria followed, in short order, the upheavals came to be described as the Arab Spring. The model envisioned by the term the Arab Spring was relatively straightforward. A spark had been ignited in Tunisia that would catch fire across the region bringing fundamental social and political transformation in its wake. However, when Zogby Research Services (ZRS) polled in Arab countries in late 2011 we found that public opinion was less certain. For example, when we asked citizens in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, whether they believed the Middle East was better off or worse off as a result of the Arab Spring, the responses were largely divided between those who said they felt the Arab world was “better off” and those who thought that it might be “too early to tell”. This mix of being both hopeful and yet tentative reflected the uncertainty that many felt at the collapse of the old order. ZRS polled in most of these same countries again this autumn and found the mood had soured with the number of those saying that the region is “worse off” more than tripling or at least doubling what it had been in 2011. We also found that what was once projected as a simple narrative with a single trajectory had now devolved into a far more complex portrait of individual stories each with their own unique characteristics. Egypt is not Tunisia and Yemen is not Syria or Libya. When we asked Arabs to assess developments in the countries that had experienced upheavals, and how hopeful they were that each would produce a brighter future, only Tunisia fared well. Egypt was seen as moving in a positive direction only by Emiratis and Saudis (whose countries have invested heavily in Egypt). And the overwhelming majority of respondents in all countries had little hope that the situation in Syria or Libya would be resolved in the next five years. One by-product of the Arab Spring was the empowering of the Muslim Brotherhood in many of the affected countries. The Brotherhood received mixed reviews for its role in Egypt. A most revealing result was the near even positive/negative assessment (43pc/44pc) that Egyptians gave to the Brotherhood’s impact on developments in their country. It doesn’t necessarily translate to a measure of the group’s popularity as it does to a growing uneasiness with the current trajectory of developments in Egypt. Our survey also explored regional views of the bloody conflict in Syria, the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) and the growth of radicalisation and sectarianism. What we found were universal concern with the continuing war in Syria, concern with the impact that it was having in the broader region (the refugee crisis that is overwhelming Lebanon and Jordan and the growth of sectarian division and radicalism) and fear that Syria might fragment into destabilising sect-based entities. There was no confidence that this conflict would end soon or that way might be found to achieve a negotiated solution to resolve it. In every country but Lebanon, there was rejection of the Bashar Al Assad regime. There is near universal rejection of IS and deep concern about the impact that this movement was having on the region. At the same time, the lack of confidence in the US that we found in our June 2014 poll, and the low favourable ratings Arabs give to US involvement in the region, combine to create less than enthusiastic support for a Western-led effort to confront IS. After reviewing the results of this study, what emerges is a region deeply conflicted about the developments of the past four years. What had been presented as a simple story-line of progress at the beginning of the Arab Spring has become a troubling tale of more steps backward than forward. Our hearts bleed was hardly any person who could TrismHERE hold their tears at the worst type of barbaperpetrated on innocent students of an army school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, on December 16. It has shaken humanity and people are in shock and disbelief; how can someone stoop so low as to target schoolchildren and teachers? The scale of the tragedy can be gauged from the fact that almost 25 per cent of the school population are now either dead or seriously injured and languishing in hospitals. There are parents who have lost all their three children. In one class, all the students were killed except one who did not go to school on that fateful day. No words of condemnation are enough for this horrific tragedy. International communities today stand together in condemning this dastardly act. In a gesture of solidarity, schoolchildren in India paid their tribute to the Peshawar victims by observing two minutes of silence. Now the world should understand that these terrorists are ruthless beasts, who are enemies of Islam and the entire humanity. The media in the West should stop blaming Islam for such acts of violence. The various bands of terrorists – whether they call themselves Pakistani Taliban or Daesh (Islamic State) or any Islamic names – have a common philosophy of following the footprints of Khawarij (excommunicated from Islam). They need to be wiped out from the face of earth. Islam is a religion of peace as manifested in the injunctions of the Quran and the utterances of our beloved Prophet, who said “whoever kills one innocent life it is as if he has killed all humanity”. Islam means peace. All resources available to the world nations should be mobilised to combat terrorism. It is high time India and Pakistan stop blaming each other for any act of terrorism perpetrated in their countries. This is certainly counterproductive. Such acts are done by non-state actors and they are to be dealt with by joining hands and keeping the international community on board. The cancer of terrorism affecting the entire humanity needs to be eradicated. Prof Dr Shamsul Haque Alvi Professor, Department of Civil Engineering University of Bahrain TODAY is Monday, December 22, the 356th day of 2014. There are nine days left in the year. Highlights in history on this date: 69 – Roman Emperor Vitellius is assassinated. 1636 – Archduke Ferdinand, son of the Emperor, is elected King of the Romans. 1790 – Russian troops capture Ismail, Russia, from the Turks. 1793 – Napoleon Bonaparte, aged 24, is promoted to brigadier general in recognition of his decisive part in the capture of Toulon from British forces. 1894 – Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason by French court martial and is ordered imprisoned on Devil’s Island in French Guiana. 1905 – Insurrection of Moscow workers; Revolution in Persia begins. 1929 – Round table conference opens between British Viceroy and Indian party leaders on Dominion status for India. 1942 – US heavy bombers raid Japanese-occupied Rangoon, Burma, in the Second World War. 1956 – Last Anglo-French forces leave Port Said, Egypt, following Suez War. 1963 – Greek liner Laconia catches fire and sinks in North Atlantic with loss of 150 lives. 1968 – Eighty-two crewmen of US intelligence ship Pueblo are released by North Korea at Panmunjom, 11 months after their capture off North Korea. 1975 – Pro-Palestinian terrorists end 20hour siege of Vienna, Austria, headquarters of Opec, take hostages and airliner provided by Austria, and begin flight to several Middle East capitals. 1985 – Winnie Mandela, defying expulsion order, is arrested by police who drag her from her Soweto, South Africa, home. 1988 – South Africa signs accord at United Nations granting independence to Africa’s last colony, which will become black-ruled n Activists rally for victims of the school massacre in Lahore Terrorist hallmarks… of its kind against innocent schoolchildren. The more than 141 children killed were not HE modus operandi of most terrorist orvictims of collateral damage; they were not ganisations seems to be similar – attacking caught between warring factions; they were schoolchildren as an act of revenge against victims of brutal, psychopathic and trigincumbent governments. Targeting school ger-happy thugs. children who are expected to We can find similar massacres or shape the future is a high-profile kidnappings of innocent schoolchilPublished letters are not crime and can only be committed dren at the hand of terrorist groups in necessarily the views of the recent history. by terrorists who have suffered Editor. Readers wishing to huge military and political setIn September 2004, Chechen make a complaint through backs. It is a sign of weakness and separatist groups attacked a school the GDN should provide full in Beslan, North Ossetia, Southern shows that the terrorists are on details of the complaint the verge of collapse. Russia and held 1,200 people hostage together with their contact including children and adults. The The heinous crime committed by the Pakistani Taliban last three-day siege ended with about telephone numbers. week was one of the brutalities 339 people dead, out of which 186 T nation of Namibia. 1988 – Rubber tapper and renowned rain forest defender Chico Mendes is murdered by cattle ranchers in the western Amazon of Brazil. 1989 – Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena flee Bucharest, Romania. 1990 – Lech Walesa is sworn in as Poland’s first popularly elected president. 1991 – Twenty one US sailors drowned when an Israeli ferry taking them from shore leave, capsizes. 1992 – A Libyan Boeing 727 on a domestic flight crashes, killing all 157 people aboard. 1993 – Alina Fernandez Revuelta, daughter of Cuban president Fidel Castro, leaves Cuba and is granted political asylum in the US. 1994 – Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi resigns over a bribery scandal after seven months at head of conservative coalition. 1995 – As thousands cheer, Yasser Arafat’s wife lights the Christmas tree in Manger Square, ushering in Bethlehem’s first Christmas under Palestinian rule. 1996 – In a “Christmas gesture,” Tupac Amaru rebels free 225 hostages from the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima, Peru, but keep 140. 1997 – Hong Kong authorities decide to slaughter all chickens brought from mainland China, after three people die of what is thought to be a strain of influenza transferred from the fowl. 1998 – Israel’s parliament votes overwhelmingly for early elections, signalling the demise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ailing hard-line government and effectively freezing the already-troubled peace process with the Palestinians. 1999 - A Korean Air 747 cargo plane crashes shortly after takeoff from Stansted Airport north of London, setting off a fire and killing all four people aboard. It is the second fatal accident for Korean Air of the year. 2000 - Three armed robbers storm into Stockholm’s waterfront National Museum and make off with a Rembrandt self-portrait and two masterpieces by Renoir and flee by boat. 2001 - Hamid Karzai, an ethnic Pashtun who leads one of the largest tribes in southern Afghanistan, is sworn in as chairman of a six-month interim government; passengers and crew aboard an American Airlines jet en route to Miami, Florida subdue Briton Richard Reid as he tries to detonate explosives hidden in his shoes. 2002 - North Korea confirm it removed and disabled monitoring devices that had been placed at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor to ensure compliance with a 1994 international agreement. 2003 - The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts pays the 542 plaintiffs who agreed to a sexual abuse settlement with the archdiocese. The archdiocese will sell church property to fund the part of the $85 million settlement not covered by insurers. 2004 - Saudi Arabia announces it is withdrawing its ambassador to Libya in what the kingdom called a measured response to reports Tripoli had plotted to assassinate its crown prince. 2005 - An Istanbul court separately fines an author and a journalist for insulting the state, the latest convictions in Turkey under a law that European Union officials say limits freedom of expression and must be changed. 2006 - The Roman Catholic Church denies a religious funeral for paralysed Italian author Piergiorgio Welby, who died after a doctor disconnected his respirator saying it would treat his public wish to “end his life.” The Vatican calls the controversial case an apparent suicide. 2007 - Guatemalan congressman-elect Marco Antonio Xicay of the conservative Patriotic Party is shot to death by unidentified attackers outside a popular resort in the country. 2008 - Thailand’s revered monarch urges the new government to make peace its priority, breaking months of silence about the political turmoil that shut down Bangkok’s airports and sparked violence in the streets. 2009 - Assailants gun down the mother, aunt and siblings of a marine killed in a raid that took out one of Mexico’s most powerful cartel leaders – sending a chilling message to troops battling the drug war: You go after us, we wipe out your families. 2010 - Iraq’s Christian leaders call off Christmas celebrations amid new Al Qaeda threats on the tiny community still terrified from a bloody siege on a Baghdad church. 2011 - A terrifying wave of bombs tears through mostly Shi’ite neighbourhoods of Baghdad, killing at least 69 people and evoking fears that Iraq could dissolve into a new round of sectarian violence now that American troops have left. 2012 - Egypt’s Islamist-backed constitution heads toward approval in a final round of voting, but the deep divisions it has opened up threaten to fuel continued turmoil. 2013 - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch who crossed President Vladimir Putin and ended up in jail for a decade, says he plans to devote his life to securing the freedom of the country’s political prisoners. ANGER makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor – attributed to Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603).
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