Monday, July 10, 2017

Rami Khouri: Syria's Proxy War is Culmination of Last Century of Failed Arab State-Building

It is vital that we pay attention to the bigger pictures and deeper truths:
"The problem with ISIS and how the West is fighting it and how Arab countries are fighting it is that I think people are mistaking the symptom, which is ISIS, for the problem. The problem is massive dysfunction in our societies, economic and social and political, environmental and other kinds of dysfunction, that have created hundreds of millions of distressed people, some of whom go and join ISIS, to create groups like ISIS." - Rami Khouri

Excerpted from this interview on Democracy Now! with Rami Khouri: 
RAMI KHOURI: What’s happening in Syria right now is the most complex, violent proxy war probably in the modern history of the world. You’ve got every possible fighting force and political identity group working against each other inside Syria, including very local groups, national groups in Syria, the government, opposition groups, Islamist fighters, groups like al-Qaeda, regional powers—Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others; Israel gets involved—and international powers—the U.S. and the Russian. And they’re all in there fighting, directly, with their armies, with their jet planes. It’s quite extraordinary, the free-for-all going on. And then you’ve got Kurdish groups, and you’ve got Turkish groups. Now, there’s about 10 different battles going on simultaneously. And this is why it’s so difficult to resolve this.
This is the culmination of the last century of chaos in terms of national self-determination and state-building in the Arab world, from world—the fall of the Ottoman Empire around World War I until now. We’ve had a hundred years of state-building, nationhood and citizenship that have largely not worked very well in most Arab countries. The exception are those few that have a lot of money, like in the Gulf, and therefore could provide for all their citizens’ needs. But even there, we don’t have any kind of genuine participatory self-determination and political accountability. So, we have states that don’t work very well. And Syria and Iraq and Libya and Yemen today—four countries—and Somalia, before them—five Arab countries—are the epitome of states that don’t work very well. Regional powers get involved. Foreign powers get involved. There’s a free-for-all. And we have war. We have cholera. We have refugees. We have terrorism. Every possible bad thing is happening. And Syria is the absolute high watermark of this kind of problem, and it’s not going to be easy to solve. 
Please go here for the complete interview:

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