Arab regimes have deliberately fought off the other possibility, namely that of a liberal-civil order. Arab despots have never worried that much Islamists, knowing that in case of any doubt, the West would opt for them as the "lesser evil".
Reform standstill following the Arabellion
The authoritarian reinstatement of prior conditions that has taken place in many flux-nations since 2013 does not provide any kind of answer to the huge challenges of the present and the future in Arab nations.
This development is worrying inasmuch as the socioeconomic conditions that ultimately led to the Arab revolutions have dramatically worsened: today one in every three Arabs is under 23 and in the next 20 years the Arab world is going to need 50 million jobs – and no one knows where these are going to come from. In the context of this, it can be assumed that without far-reaching political and economic reforms, nations such as Egypt will soon be ungovernable.
This is precisely where western efforts should be focussed: Germany and its partners need to attach conditions to their offers of aid. These should include progress (however small) in stamping out widespread corruption, in the implementation of economic reforms for the middle classes and in the bolstering of civil society and the rule of law.
In the western capitals of the world, we should be distancing ourselves from the illusion of stability in apparently robust repressive states. After all, in reality, tyranny is never stable.
© Qantara.de 2018
Translated from the German by Nina Coon