New Delhi, Mar.22: In a session titled ‘Transformations in West Asia: The Next Steps’, leading experts from around the world, specializing on the subject of West Asia, examined the socio-economic trends and political transitions in the region.
The session was moderated by former Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs Sanjay Singh.
Singh pointed out that Islam is one of the most important features of the West Asia and argued that it is a young religion. He also said that the people of the region have high hopes from their governments, and the latter not fullfilling those expectations, was one of the reasons for the Arab Spring of 2011-12.
Singh said West Asia is not a monolithic region and added that it contains all kinds of states and nationalities there.
Some are monarchies and some are republicans. There are rich as well as poor states in the region, he said.
Talking about the transition in Libya, Member of Parliament and chairman of the National Security Committee of Libya Abdelmonem Al Yaser said prior to the Arab Spring, the country had fared poorly on several governance measures.
He contended that the revolution was bound to happen in the region. He said people who were a part of the revolution, were not a part of any ideology. They wanted stability and peace. They wanted to lead a good life, get an education and wanted to be treated fairly. It was as basic as that.
He also noted that a number armed militia who participated in the conflict, stood at 30000 after the revolution was over. He said successful transitions need successful governments and administrations.
The atmosphere of conflict and stability in the country had resulted in the oil production being stopped. Al Yaser said the usual following the conflict did not take in the country. The country failed to move from militancy to a state of stability. The result was that the number of militia increased enormously to 270,000.
He further articulated that Libya is in a pro-transitional state, and it affects other countries also. He argued that stability in Libya will open opportunities for India also.
Khaled Hroub, a Professor at North Western University in Doha, said the Arab Spring controls the dynamics of transition in the region. He argued that engaging public in the decision making process can lead to vigilantism.
Hroub batted in favour of one person taking decision for the country, and said it saves time, and there is no need to take permission from Parliament. He claimed that stability can be achieved under dictatorship also woth notables examples of North Korea and Russia.
In the obsession to get democratize the countries, there were several compromises being made and in the end the countries were left alone. He expressed the need to be vigilant against Islamist parties, who are trying to merge the religion with the politics.
However, Professor Zikrur Rahman of Jamia Milia Islamia contended that the genesis of the Arab Spring can be found in Fata policies, which were implemented in Arab countries.
He noted that authorities did not bother to go in aid of the governments, which were facing the conflicts. He noted that some countries tried to adjust themselves according to the mood of the people during the revolution and were quite successful in this.
In Libya, especially, Rahman highlighted that Gaddafi had introduced education and several industrial projects for the people. He tried to deliver what he could. But today the country is divided, and the security situation there is quite bad.
He contended that there is sectarian divide in the Gulf countries but ruled out that there might be impact of Arab Spring in the Gulf.
Pramit Pal Choudhary of the Hindustan Times threw light on various economies of the region. He maintained that both the Gulf and the Europe have witnessed large migrations. There is low cash reserve in the Gulf countries with Saudi Arabia being the only exception.
Choudhary highlighted there is water problem in the Middle East. The mountains in the region are not producing water as they used to.
Syria had witnessed a drought during 2006-2009 period in which more two million farming families suffered. Turkey achieved a lot but right now it is the worst emerging market in the region.
He further articulated that Iran is hopelessly inefficient despite the lifting of sanction imposed on it.
However he pointed out that the most powerful player that is the U.S. did not get involved in the revolution and the Arab countries were left on their own. By ravi Bansal (ANI)