Young Arab Spring Blog

Question with an Unpredictable Answer: Future of the Middle East?

Melisa Mendoza Vasquez*

Middle East has been having hard times since the 2011 Revolutions started and quickly shook many of the regimes which are thought to be very strong. People's movements showed that the strong security apparatus of the authoritarian countries in the region in fact is not that stable.

However, this fact did not stand as a guarantor for a new era which is based on rule of law, justice and equality. Majority of the countries which experienced the Arab upheavals faced strong counter- revolutionary resistance mainly supported by political elite, religious or tribal leaders and military force. Although every Arab Spring country demonstrates a unique case; the content, actors, dynamics and the scope of the counter- revolution actions vary greatly, it is reasonable to claim that all countries crushed into strong remnants of old regimes. Countries such as Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen avoided mass losses with early attempts by the governments to calm the tension through some political, social and economic reforms. In Syria, however, the counter- revolution reactions turned into a complex picture of state violence and resistance which reached an extreme level of bloodshed. In Egypt, we watched a long duello between the pro and against actors of change and spring

Although there is still hope for future democracy attempts and achievements in these countries, most likely real political, economic and social change in the region will be possible in the distant future through a long process. The security apparatus which seemed weak in the first place, actually proved to be determined enough to protect the authority of many of the countries against demands of change. Deeply rooted traditional political culture greatly supports the existence of counter- revolutionary forces and survival of the old regimes.

While these ideas are worth thinking on, there remains a crucial question which many people ask; 'What is the future of the Middle East?' In the wake of major uprisings and protests, violent clashes, political and economic turmoil, legitimacy crisis, promises, hopes, democratic desires, backlashes and everything, what is to come to the region? Unfortunately the recent picture is not a shiny one and is not promising a calm weather either. What is the future for Syrians who live in the middle of a war for years now and ruled by re-elected Asad? What is the future of Egyptians who live in a society which there is no trust to the justice system and ruled by a strong actor of military guardianship? What is the future of Iraqis and Kurds who both fight against ISIS and have an internal conflict with each other? What is the future of Palestinians and Israelis who deepen their anger and animosity against each other every single day? These are only few questions among dozens which are not easy to answer but crucial both for the present and the future. All the answers are bits of a puzzle which constitute a whole image of the region, hopefully a flowery one.

*Research Assistant at POMEAS