What future awaits the Middle East? This question remains pivotal since the outbreak of the Arab revolutions four years ago. The question keeps popping up as regional developments arise, especially with the decline of democracy and presence of revolutionary forces in most of the Arab countries. The region’s resort to military tools is increasing due to the rise of terrorism, violence, political polarization, decline of charismatic leaders, and lack of support for institutional structures as well as for democratic transitions. In a Middle East where “there is no winner,” we have to answer two vital questions: Is the Arab revolution the reason behind this chaos and collapses? And what are the future scenarios for this inflamed region?
I would argue that the Arab revolution is not the reason behind the current chaos. Knowing the history of revolutions, one can understand that the development of a revolution is subjected to consecutive waves of ups and downs. Forms of resistance from old patterns against new revolutionary movements seeking a change are to be expected. In other words, what happened in the Arab world is a historic must. Regimes that refused to change and reform and instead have accepted the equation of corruption and de facto status had to fall one day. If it didn’t happen in 2011, it would have happened in another time. Thus, it is useless to simply look back at the past and remember the good old days. Instead, one must look into the future and start preparing for what is next to come. Thus, the real question we need to ask ourselves is: What future awaits us in the Middle East?
What future awaits the Middle East? A region, where Syria has collapsed, Iraq and Yemen are divided, Libya is shattered, and Egypt and the Gulf countries face huge security, economic, and political challenges. What future awaits countries where oil is the main determinant of the principles and rules of the political game? Meanwhile, the region is witnessing explosions in population, a rise in unemployment rates, and a decline in the quality of health and education services, .
Are we about to witness an Islamic Middle East, ruled under a Caliphate Model? Will there be a democratic Middle East, where people will revolute again against dictatorship in hope of creating a change? Or will the Middle East become a sectarian region, filled with disputes, divided small states, and conflicts?
There are many outstanding questions and no one can for certain predict the outcomes. Undoubtedly, the years to come are expected to carry more ambiguity in the political, socioeconomic, and cultural spheres in that region. However, we can continue to support freedom of speech of the people such that the outcomes reflect the choices of the people of this region.