Panel: The Transformation Process of the Arab World

Zeitplan

Raum: F4, 2.0G, Fürstenberghaus
Tag Zeit    
Fr 09:00-09:30 Naji The Transformation of the Arab World: Roots, Aims and Constraints
Fr 09:30-10:00 Preuschaft Coping with religious and political plurality – A challenge to Islamist actors in Arab states in transformation?
Fr 10:00-10:30 Selim Continuity and change in Egypt’s neo-liberal discourse: Did the January revolution make any difference?
Fr 10:30-11:00 Pause  
Fr 11:00-11:30 Soufan The ‘West’ in the Syrian reformist discourse: From Rashid Rida to the Civil War
Fr 11:30-12:00 Khan Can Democracy Boost Cooperation? The impact of Arab Spring on Regionalization of the Middle East and North Africa
Fr 12:00-12:30 Naji Reflections on the Effects of the Transformation of the Arab World on Israel
Fr 12:30-13:30 Mittagspause  
Fr 13:30-14:00 Dorsey Rooted in history: the politics of Middle Eastern and North African soccer
Fr 14:00-14:30 Brandt Forschungsgruppe „Tunesien im Wandel“
Fr 14:30-15:00 Brandt Der tunesische Transformationsprozess in der arabischen Öffentlichkeit – Der Diskurs um Religion und Politik in Tunesien in den Talkshows von al-Jazeera
Fr 15:00-15:30 Kretzschmar „Identitäten im Konflikt – Identitätskonstrukte und Selbstbild palästinensischer und palästinensisch-israelischer Studierender und Absolventen in Deutschland.“

Leiter des Panels

Fawzy Naji

Beschreibung des Panels

The transformation of the Arab societies started in Tunisia, from the bottom up, at the end of 2010. It expanded rapidly through the Arab World. Its roots, aims and constraints will be the focus of the following discussion.

In this panel the chance will be given to discuss the following topics:

  • The Arab World and Western values.
  • Comparison with the waves of democratization in the world.
  • Demands of the democratization process.
  • Reconciliation of Islam and democracy.
  • Salafism and Muslim Brotherhood.
  • The role of the media.
  • Dictatorship in the Arab World.
  • Globalization and the Arab World.
  • Social and cultural changes in Arab societies.
  • Comparison between the Turkish Justice and Development Party (APK) and the Muslim Brothers.
  • Iran and the Arab World.
  • Transformation and Israeli-Arab conflict.

Abstracts der Vorträge

Brandt, Rasmus: Forschungsgruppe „Tunesien im Wandel”

Kooperationsprojekt mit der Universität Passau und den tunesischen Universitäten Tunis el-Manar, Carthage und La Manouba. Gefördert im Rahmen der deutsch-arabischen Transformationspartnerschaft „al Tawasul“des Deutschen Akademischen Austausch Dienstes (DAAD) durch Mittel des Auswärtigen Amtes

Die interdisziplinäre deutsch-tunesische Forschungsgruppe „Tunesien im Wandel“ mit den beiden Projekteinheiten Medien und Islam (München) und Governance und Internationale Beziehungen (Passau) erforscht den gegenwärtigen tunesischen Transformationsprozess. Inhaltlich liegt der Schwerpunkt in München auf den Themen „Massenmedien in Tunesien“ sowie der „Entwicklung des politischen Islam“.

Die Forschungsgruppe beschäftigt sich insbesondere mit der Frage nach der Rolle der Medien in Revolution und Transformation und inwieweit der „der arabische Frühling“ die Medien und die Medienlandschaft in Tunesien verändert hat. Zudem wird ein Archiv über die Berichterstattung der Parlamentswahl 2013 angelegt. Ein weiterer Schwerpunkt liegt auf der Entwicklung der islamischen Parteien und ihre inhaltliche Ausrichtung während des Wahlkampfs Ende 2013.

Mehrere tunesische Nachwuchswissenschaftler arbeiten unter Begleitung erfahrener Wissenschaftler aus Deutschland und Tunesien an den Forschungsthemen, nehmen an einer Reihe von Förder- und Ausbildungsmaßnahmen (etwa Methodenseminaren) teil und wirken ihrerseits als Multiplikatoren im tunesischen Hochschulwesen.

Das Projekt soll einen Beitrag zur Modernisierung der Hochschulstrukturen in den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften leisten und die Vernetzung tunesischer Hochschulen untereinander befördern. Das Forschungsvorhaben möchte durch eine enge Zusammenarbeit mit dem Projekt der Universität Passau „Governance und Internationale Beziehungen“ eine gemeinsame Plattform schaffen, in deren Rahmen insbesondere tunesische Nachwuchswissenschaftler vernetzt und anwendungsorientiert arbeiten können.

Brandt, Rasmus: Der tunesische Transformationsprozess in der arabischen Öffentlichkeit

Der Diskurs um Religion und Politik in Tunesien in den Talkshows von al-Jazeera

Die Ermordung des linken tunesischen Politikers Shokry Belaid am 6. Februar 2013 markiert den vorläufigen Höhepunkt eines immer intensiveren und brutaler geführten Diskurses zwischen den zwei großen politischen Lagern im postrevolutionären Tunesien: den Anhängern der sogenannten Islamisten, bestehend aus den Anhängern der islamisch ausgerichteten Regierungspartei an-Nahda, sowie den politisch extremeren Salafisten und – auf der anderen Seite – den Anhängern der „säkularen“ und linksgerichteten Parteien.

Nun ist eben dieser Diskurs, der im Grunde um die Frage geht, wie viel „Islam“ verträgt eine moderne Gesellschaft, kein rein tunesisches Phänomen, sondern einer, der in der gesamten arabischen Welt – ob postrevolutionär oder nicht, geführt wird. Das, was die Diskussion in Tunesien wiederum so spannend und besonders macht, ist die Tatsache, dass keine der beiden Gruppen wirklich behaupten kann, sie repräsentiere die Mehrheit der Bevölkerung. Zu eng liegen die rivalisierenden Gruppierungen in Umfragen und Wahlergebnissen beieinander. Aufgrund dieses eher ausgeglichenen Kräfteverhältnisses ist die Debatte um die Rolle des Islam in der Politik in Tunesien im Vergleich zu anderen arabischen Staaten dann doch wieder besonders und ihre Wirkung auf den „gesamtarabischen“ Diskurs von Bedeutung.

Diese Forschungsarbeit beschäftigt sich daher mit der Frage, wie der tunesische Transformationsprozess in der arabischen Öffentlichkeit dargestellt wird. Diese Frage wird anhand einer Analyse der Talkshows des transnationalen Senders „al-Jazeera“ aus Qatar nachgegangen. Neben inhaltsanalytischen Aspekten steht auch die Frage nach der Repräsentanz des tunesischen Transformationsprozesses auf der Agenda al-Jazeeras im Vordergrund.

Naji, Fawzy: Reflections on the Effects of the Transformation of the Arab World on Israel

Dictatorship, oppression, corruption, nepotism and social injustice have caused mass protests in the Arab World. The targets of the protesters varied from reform and fall of dictatorships to establishing new and modern democratic systems, in which all citizens could live in freedom, dignity, equality and social justice.

The entering of the Political Islam into the political arena indicated either their willingness for change or to follow their hidden agenda.  Forming political parties and participation in the parliamentarian and presidential elections could be understood as a change in their strategy. Differences between young and old generations were recognized. 

The constraints in the pathway of transition to democracy include counterrevolutionary forces, regional and international political powers.

The overthrow of Mubarak in 2011 is considered in Israel as a loss of a strategic treasure. The former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Libermann considers the new era in Egypt strategically more dangerous for Israel than the atomic danger from Iran.

The Syrian regime is viewed in Israel as hostile but stable. The advantages and disadvantages of the fall of Assad’s regime for Israel will be discussed.

Answers should be found for the following questions:

  • Can the new political players, the Islamists and Salafists, accept the demands of democratization?
  • Is there a hidden agreement between the USA and the Egyptian Muslim Brothers?
  • Does the Arab Spring crumble the key pillars of Israel’s security?
  • Will the demilitarization of Sinai be eroded?
  • Will the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt be changed or cancelled?
  • Would the Somalisation of Syria bring an advantage to Israel?
  • Why are Jewish thinkers in Israel and the USA criticising Israel’s foreign policy?
  • Can Israel rethink its strategy?
  • Is Palestine an occupied country?
  • Is the two states solution still possible?
Naji, Fawzy: The Transformation of the Arab World: Roots, Aims and Constraints

The societies of the Arabic World have been ruled for decades by dictatorships, which exploited the natural resources and used the countries as their own properties. Through the state of emergency all kinds of freedom have been prohibited.

The aims of the transformation are the fall of dictatorships and the establishment of new democratic systems with freedom, dignity and equality for all citizens.

The Islamists, who were banned under the old dictatorships, came to power by fair elections. Either they can intensify their position in society, or their period in ruling will be short, and the people will overthrow them from the political arena. It depends on their behaviour. The experience of Annahda in Tunisia and of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt did not lead to the outcomes desired by the Tunisian and Egyptian people.

The internal constraints include counterrevolutionary forces, the splitting of the revolutionary players, lack of democratic experience and instrumentation of religion for political purposes. Regional and international powers are trying to stop the democratisation of the Arab World because it contradicts their interests. 

This paper raises the following questions which need to be answered:

  • What are the outcomes of the transformation of the Arab World?
  • Are the Islamists riding the wave of transformation to implement their hidden agenda?
  • Can Islam and democracy be conciliated?
  • Why did NATO intervene in Libya?
  • Why can the world community not stop the bloodshed in Syria?
  • Have western politicians learned from their faults in Algiers and Palestine?
  • How long does the period of transition last?
  • Would the democratisation of the Arab World bring East and West together?
Soufan, Anas: The ‘West’ in the Syrian reformist discourse From Rashid Rida to the Civil War

Between the end of 19th century and the mid 20th century, the approaches of most Arab thinkers accentuated on ‘four topics of debate’:

  1. The identification of the good modern society and State.
  2. The position of Islamic law or al-šarī’ah in the society.
  3. The evaluation of Europe’s role in the Arab awaking.
  4. The resolution of contradictions with European thought and practices.

As a result, two distinct philosophical stands began to emerge: liberal, pro-European, believes in the civil State; conservator, pro-Islamic, believes in the caliphate. The evaluation of transformations of Arab societies cannot be operated without the comprehension of specificities and contradictions of the two precedent debates.

Hypothesis

This proposal throws light on the 20th – 21th centuries’ Syrian political thought. It focuses on the place of the West in theories of modernization, projected by certain Syrian thinkers. Its main ambition is to demonstrate the originality of analyses of several Syrian thinkers, who lived in the beginning of 20th century, and who approached the future relationship with the West. Therefore, the proposal tents to reveal not only the finesse of Arab political thought in the beginning of 20th century, but also, the failure of Arab societies to resolve one century-rooted problems.

Development

The proposal deals with two periods: the first three decades of 20th century, and the first decade of 21th century. Natural Syria or the pre-1860 Ottoman province constitutes its geographic framework.

Its development depends on the comparison between the discourses of Syrian thinkers related to the two precedent periods. It consists of four parts belonging to the ‘four topics of debate’ (mentioned in the preface). Each part reveals the convergence and the divergence of thinkers (one of each period) about one topic.

Thus, the development of proposal illustrates the writings of Rašīd Riḍa, Muhammad Kurd Ali and Zaki al-Arsouzi from the first period; Mustafa al-Ḥallᾱj, Muhammad Saīd Ramaḍᾱn al-Bouṭi and Burhᾱn Ġalioun from the second. Diagrams which link thinkers and treated topics will be exposed. The variety of political and religious tendencies was considered in the choice of these thinkers.

Conclusion

To conclude, the proposal tents to link the ‘four topics of debate’ with the actual Syrian conflict. It indicates as a result, to the division of Syrian into religious and secular classes, the same two categories of the end of 19th century.

Selim, Gamal M.: Continuity and change in Egypt’s neo-liberal discourse: Did the January revolution make any difference?

This paper purports to examine the impact of Egypt’s neo-liberal economic discourse on the march towards the Egyptian January 25 revolution and the direction of its subsequent paths. This will be approached with a view to delineating patterns of continuity and change in Egypt’s economic orientation in the post-revolution era. The Egyptian revolution was mainly a home-grown revolution that began to gather momentum by the early 21st century in the form of labour protests, leftist and Islamist movements, youth movements and bloggers. These were truncated and limited protest grass-roots movements, which the ruling elite quickly and viciously quashed through the force of the police. These movements were an outcome of various forms of economic and social injustice that accumulated due to the Mubarak regime’s commitment to a neoliberal economic discourse under the banner of economic liberalization and structural adjustment. Although the World Bank frequently referred to Egypt’s economic reform and structural adjustment policies as a regional case of globalization’s success, these policies were detrimental to the socioeconomic well-being of the majority of Egyptians, which, in turn, paved the ground for the outbreak of the mass uprising in 2011.

The downfall of the Mubarak regime created hopes that the Egypt would give priority to social justice and income redistribution as the basis of a new, post-Mubarak economic discourse. However, such speculations have appeared to be more a product of wishful thinking than of objective analysis. Despite popular resentment with the neo-liberal policies, it is revealing that the current Brotherhood’s based regime of President Mohammad Morsi has not shown any sign of departure from the neo-liberal legacy of Mubarak. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood has envisioned an economic order that does not challenge the premises of Mubarak’s socio-economic structure, in terms of free market, trade liberalization, reducing subsidies, and giving priority to the private sector and foreign investment. In our view, the continuity with the neo-liberal policies will be detrimental to social justice, which was one of the three main slogans of the uprisings. Such policies would not solve the main socioeconomic problems which produced the revolutionary discontent in Egypt. Rather, it is bound to generate more social resentment and lead to more future upheavals in the country.

Preuschaft, Menno: Coping with religious and political plurality – A challenge to Islamist actors in Arab states in transformation?

The political transformation processes in the Arab World have not just caused a need to rebuild political institutions, but has also given room for a more plural shape of the political landscape and a number of – newly or formally less recognizable – poli8cal narra8ons and programs. These concepts and narrations and with them their proponents find themselves in a status of competition, which – if democratic rules shell be met with – must take and keep a peaceful form.

Therefore, a need to strengthen or develop concepts of coping with poltical as well as religious and ideological plurality seems an urgent necessity for many poli8cal actors in the transformation states and beyond.

This can especially be said to be true for Islamist actors, who most commonly claim universal validity and supremacy for their world–‐view and political concepts, accordingly in congruence with and represen8ng „true Islam“. With different actors within the Islamist spectrum holding that very same claim a situation of strong conceptual competition is easily on the rise, e.g. when Salafis try to de-legitimize views of Islamo-Liberals as „un-Islamic“ or vice-versa.

The paper aims at outlining this major challenge within the newly shaping political realm of countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. It will examine some recent approaches by Islamist actors of coping with religious and political plurality, and ask for continuities and breaks in the pre- and post-revolution thinking of some of these actors.

Khan, Muhammad Atif: Can Democracy Boost Cooperation? The impact of Arab Spring on Regionalization of the Middle East and North Africa

This paper is intended to apply new characteristics in foreign policies of newly-democratized states, on the possibility of efficient regional cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  The globalization of production as well as the liberalization of markets facilitated by (neoliberal) privatization of state enterprises and deregulation of public control over the economy poses an entire new set of challenges. This is clear that no nation-state, regardless of its power and wealth, can meet these challenges individually. Therefore one approach, which gained much success in many parts of the World, is regionalization where some states merged their resources in a confined region in order to overcome these above-mentioned challenges.

Nevertheless, in this regard MENA implies such a bleak picture that scholars appears to declare regionalism here as a ‘Utopian project’ (Schulz & Schulz, 2005), or as an ‘Eternal exceptional case’ (Aarts, 1999). It is an enigma that a region which contains so rife homogeneity, and faces with prevalent common security, political and economic challenges, is lagging behind the world in area of regional cooperation. In this regard one hypothesis is worth mentioning that regional schemes in the Middle East, Arab League for example, are not failed to achieve integration, rather than they are designed to be failed by member-states (Barnett and Solingen 2007).  The major reason was that these autocracies did not want to allow the dominant Arab nationalism to threaten their individual sovereignties.

As the ongoing Arab spring is active in liberalizing the political milieu with elected,  public-responsible regimes in different countries of the region, it aroused an interesting question. Whether this introduction of democracy can make substantial change in foreign and regional policies of these newly democratized states, like Egypt and Libya, to boost cooperation among them? This paper is proposed to find out the answer. 

Due to its importance and novelty, many quality works have already been published on Arab Spring (Amin et al 2012; Brynen et al 2012; Haas and Lesch 2013; Noueihed and Warren 2012, etc). Hence when these works discussed in detail the impact of democratization and liberalization on politics, society and economy of the ‘New Middle East’, none of them explained that how likely these states will behave with one another. This research is important to fill this vacuum through a study to find out the impact of the Arab spring on future regionalization of the Middle East.

Dorsey, James M.: Rooted in history: the politics of Middle Eastern and North African soccer

A confrontation between autocratic Arab leaders and politicized, street battle-hardened soccer fans that contributed to the toppling of the Egyptian and Tunisian leaders builds on a political tradition inherent in the game since its introduction by the British. It is rooted in the fact that politics drove the founding of a majority of soccer clubs in the region and underlies its foremost derbies, some of which rank among the world’s most violent.

Perceptions of political differences going back to support of and opposition to the colonial administrators and long toppled monarchs in the early 20th century live on until today even if they are no longer grounded in political reality or reflect a club’s fan demography. Perception and reality coincide, however, in those clubs in which Berber, Kurdish, and Palestinian and in Israel Jewish-turned-Israeli identity politics were built into their founding.

Then like now soccer serves autocratic rulers as a tool to ensure political support. Increasingly, however the pitch is a battlefield for control of the foremost contested public space and a training ground for the day mass protests erupt. In various post-revolt Arab nations, the pitch constitutes a rallying point for assertion of dignity by thousands of often undereducated, unemployed, fans against the primary unreformed symbol of the former repressive regime, the police and security forces.

Fan groups constitute a major social force. Their activism reflects and foreshadowed what may be the most fundamental change underlying the popular revolts against autocratic rule in a swath of land stretching from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the Gulf: a mental shift from subservience and acceptance of the autocratic father to an unprecedented mentality of deciding for oneself and questioning and challenging of authority. It is a shift across the political and social spectrum: liberals resisting religious precepts, children questioning their parents and young Islamists challenging their ideological elders.

Kretzschmar, Katharina: Identitäten im Konflikt – Identitätskonstrukte und Selbstbild palästinensischer und palästinensisch-israelischer Studierender und Absolventen in Deutschland

Die Dissertation untersucht die Identitätsprozesse und Selbstverortungen von palästinensischen Studierenden und Absolventen aus Israel, dem Gazastreifen und der Westbank, die zum Studium nach Deutschland gekommen sind. Die Interviewpartner und -partnerinnen sind zwischen 20 und 45 Jahre alt. Sie gehören allesamt der sogenannten 3. Generation an, die die Nakba 1948 nicht selbst erlebt hat. Für die Untersuchung wurden lebensgeschichtliche, problemzentrierte Interviews durchgeführt, die eine freie, offene Erzählung ermöglichen.

Im Fokus der Arbeit stehen die Identitätskonstrukte der Interviewpartner und die Veränderungen der Selbstwahrnehmung, die aufgrund des langen Auslandsaufenthalts stattfinden.

Bestimmend für das Identitätskonstrukt ist das intergenerationelle Erzählen, dem in der palästinensischen Gesellschaft eine große Bedeutung zukommt, stellt doch für viele Palästinenser gerade die mündliche Überlieferung das Gedächtnis ihre Volkes dar und dient der Bewahrung der als bedroht empfundenen Vergangenheit. Dieses Erbe ist für die nachkommenden Generationen oft auch mit der Verpflichtung verknüpft, die Vergangenheit zu bewahren, sie weiterzugeben und sich nicht von ihr loszusagen.

Ein weiterer wichtiger Punkt der Untersuchung ist das Motiv des „palästinensischen Leids“ und die Bedeutung des Opferdiskurses für das palästinensische Identitätskonstrukt. Der von den Interviewpartnern unternommene Versuch, das palästinensische Leid am Holocaust zu messen, ist in vielen Interviews zu bemerken, wodurch die Anerkennung des eigenen Leids vom vermeintlichen jüdisch-israelischen Gegenstück abhängig gemacht wird. Auch die Konkurrenz um das größte aktuelle Leid zwischen Palästinensern aus dem Gazastreifen, der Westbank, aus Israel und den Flüchtlingslagern der umliegenden Länder wird oft beschrieben.

All diese Themen sind bislang in der Forschung nicht eingehend behandelt worden und auch die sogenannte 3. Generation ist bisher nicht in ausreichendem Maße Gegenstand wissenschaftlicher Auseinandersetzung gewesen.