It’s Dangerous to be so Cosy with the Gulf’s Autocrats
By: Brian Whitaker
A few days ago, the American ambassador in Beirut said he was deeply concerned about the “paralysis of Lebanon’s political institutions”, and called for new elections to be held as soon as possible.
This prompted a wry comment from the blogger known as The Angry Arab: “I would like the US ambassador in Saudi Arabia to call for elections ‘as soon as possible’…”
In more general ways, Gulf states (along with other ancien regimes in the Middle East) are fuelling turmoil in the region rather than alleviating it. “The cultural, educational and religious stagnation evident in so much of the Middle East and North Africa,” a recent report by The Soufan security intelligence group said, “does not encourage any new way of thinking about the future beyond a desire to return to the past and start again.”
And the report warned:
”So long as governance in so many countries fails to meet the expectations of the people, there will be a steady flow of hopeful recruits to the ranks of the Islamic State; and many others who lack the means or opportunity to travel may be tempted to follow its directives within their own countries…”
Read The Soufan Group’s special report on The Islamic State here.
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