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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Arab world still in turmoil

By Ma Xiaolin (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

16:37, January 09, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

January 2012 marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the Arab Spring, a rare wave of political upheavals sweeping across the Arab world, which stretches from North Africa to West Asia.

Four countries underwent irregular regime changes, and one country was plunged into all-out civil war, which led to foreign military intervention. More Arab states witnessed anti-government protests of various scales.

It is already 2012, but the Arab Spring is still spreading and expanding, leading to escalating turmoil in the Arab world.

At present, the world's attention is focused on Syria, which is in a highly dangerous position, given the death of more than 5,000 people, continued bloody clashes, the Syrian opposition's strong determination to seize power, Arab League's aggressive intervention, and Western powers' blunt refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the existing Syrian government.

In the whole picture, this massive "earthquake" that features regime change of Arab republic countries will probable come to an end in Damascus. Then, its whole course will return to the orbit of traditional geopolitical conflicts, the actions carried out by the four traditional forces of the Arabia, Persia, Jews and Turkey will generate new waves, and the Iran nuclear crisis will make the Middle East face a new risk of war.

Looking at Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen which have completed their regime changes as well as countries of Bahrain, Jordan and Morocco which have almost completed their regime changes, you will see that their turbulences still have not disappeared.

The new power holders and potential power holders are all facing common subjects of stabilizing the political situation, dealing with political enemies, rebuilding the fairness and justice and recovering people's livelihood and the economy.

All these subjects are more difficult and complex than leading followers to overthrow a government. If the transformations will not be smooth or even fail, the Arab society which has parted from the strongman politics and entered the "dwarf era" may fall into a "democratic chaos" featuring frequent regime changes and suspended social and economic development.

An unexpected dramatic result of the Arab upheaval is that: various Islamic political forces which have been under oppressions for a long period are being pushed to the summit of the power through open, legal and democratic procedures.

It has changed the main color of the Arab political situation and formed a splendid "green" scene which worries or even scares the West. In fact, that is not a "backward" in Arab's modernization and secularization course, but a turning back from the long-term excessive secularization and secularization of the regimes overthrown or a return to the traditional culture. It is also the common aspiration of the people.

Of course, all the Islamic countries must look for new roads and find new modes that could integrate both modern and traditional elements, both the east and west and accords with their own developments. Of course, the world should have a wider and more comprehensive mind to give best wishes to these countries. After all, it is Arab people's own choice.

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