For more than 40 years, two opposing trends have been dominating the Middle East. The first trend is adopted by regional non-Arab countries that aim at exporting revolutions in an effort to spread the experience of the failed state to other countries, while the second trend is adopted by GCC countries that aim at sharing their successful development experience with the rest of the countries in the Middle East to help them execute their development projects, increase growth rates, raise their standards of living, and create job opportunities, especially in the field of infrastructure, modern technologies, and renewable energy.
This struggle will determine the future of this region and its trends. There are only two options; the rule of militias and mobs in failed states plagued by poverty and destruction, or developed, prosperous states that enjoy high standards of living. Fortunately, the people who suffered from the revolutions have begun to realize the risks associated with this trend that is based on spreading chaos through murdering and plundering militias that seek to replace official state apparatuses. This is juxtaposed with the project adopted by the GCC countries that aims at strengthening the foundations of the state and order, attracting investments, and accelerating growth rates. The GCC countries are the main investors and supporters to executing large-scale economic and social projects that will lay strong foundations for growth while ensuring order and security instead of chaos and fear.
The signs of this change are clear in Iraq, which has been afflicted with the export of revolutions. Some Iraqi leaders, bolstered by popular support, are trying to eradicate militias and build a modern and advanced state despite the barriers imposed by the “revolution exporting state.” In Lebanon, people are protesting against the hegemony of an armed militia to save the country from poverty and chaos. They are comparing the period when Lebanon had good ties with Gulf countries, a period of prosperity characterized by order and development, and their current situation beset with an economic downturn, unemployment, collapse of the Lebanese currency, and catastrophes caused by poorly stored explosives. The same also applies to Syria when we compare the enormous Gulf investments in the past that contributed to Syria’s growth and emergence as a prosperous country and its current situation where the militias are trying to play a major role.
As for Yemen, the country is plagued with another tragedy. After enjoying stability and economic progress thanks to Gulf investments and joining some GCC institutions, Yemen was hit by the trend of exporting revolutions, which turned it into a state drowning in chaos and poverty and ruled by militias. Fortunately, Egypt stayed off this dark path. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi was about to form “revolutionary” militias, but the Egyptians quickly avoided that disaster and joined the Gulf development project. Now, Egypt enjoys one of the fastest growth rates in the world.
For its promoters, exporting revolution means the export of weapons and destruction tools, creating militias, and stealing wealth by exploiting religious slogans. In contrast, exporting development means exporting capitals and development expertise, building projects, and developing education, health services, public utilities, and infrastructure, as well as creating jobs, raising standards of living, and strengthening state apparatuses to support stability, social security, and development.
The first path is a clear dead end. It is already collapsing since the deceit of its fake chauvinistic slogans under the disguise of religion was uncovered. Thus, the four devastated countries are seeking to catch up with the Arab Gulf development project that paves the way for development, jobs creation, stability, security, and high living standards, especially since they are wealthy countries with large natural and human resources that lay strong foundations for promising future development programs, but only after shaking off the rust of exporting revolutions and its militias. The difference between the Arab developmental tolerant approach and the non-Arab one that is destroying people, economy, social, and moral values has become crystal clear.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, Emirati publication al-Ittihad.