Read the Geopolitics of the Arab World (1)

Since the Ottoman Empire collapsed on March 3, 1924, the Islamic world divided into small areas. The holder of world power at that time was the winner of the first world war that occurred from 1914 to 1918, they were Britain, France and Russia (Allies Block). They won the war against the Central Block which consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, plus the Ottoman Empire. Germany lost much of its territory, while Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire scattered. Italy turned around and was on the side of the allies.

Britain got the ‘legacy’ of most areas in the Middle East, including Bahrain, Palestine, Qatar, Kuwait and the Emirates. France got some parts of the North African region, including Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. The colonized small areas then gained its independence (except Palestine) between 1953-1971. While Palestine, the colonization continued by Israel until now.

After independence, the region established a nation state. Some formed Parliamentary Republic (Tunisia), Presidential Republic (Yemen), Semi-presidential Republic (Algeria, Palestine, Egypt, Syria), the Semi-Constitutional Monarchy (Morocco, Kuwait, Bahrain, Emirates), and Absolute Monarchy (Qatar, Saudi Arabia). Although different background form of state, but the leader of its country never replaced except by resigning, coup or death.

Since the change of leadership process has not gone well, since 2011 until now there has been turbulence in various countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Here are some facts that the author could convey in this editorial:

Friday, January 14, 2011 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was demoted from his throne as President of Tunisia by a wave of popular demonstrations, after several weeks earlier there was a self-immolation by Bouazizi, in protest at the police abuse. Ben Ali ruled Tunisia since 7 November 1987 (24 years).

Friday, February 11, 2011 Hosni Mubarak has officially resigned as the president due to the Egyptian people’s insistence on 18-day demonstration. Mubarak ruled Egypt since October 14, 1981 (30 years). Egypt was then ruled by the military led by Muhammad Hussein Tantawi until the elections in May-June 2012.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 Moammar Qaddafi was reportedly killed in a raid in Sirte, Libya. Since February 2011, Libyan peoples inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, held a massive demonstration demanding Qaddafi retreat. The demonstration faced by sending of armed forces, resulting armed clashes between Qaddafi loyalists and their enemies. Qaddafi was the leader of a military coup and ruled Libya since September 1, 1969 (42 years).

Since March 2011 there has been a large protest of the Syrian people against President Bashar Assad, which resulted in a war between the people’s resistance militia and the government armies. This war has not ended until now and has made Syria one of the world’s most insecure countries. Bashar Assad became president since July 17, 2000, succeeding his father Hafez Assad who died on June 10, 2000.

Saturday, February 25, 2012 Ali Abdullah Saleh handed over Yemen’s presidency to his deputy Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, after being urged by popular demonstrations since 11 February 2011. This positioning followed by the issuance of a law related to impunity against Ali Abdullah Saleh for what he had done when he became president for 33 years (since 18 July 1978).

Saturday, June 30, 2012 Muhammad Morsi ascended the throne of the presidency in Egypt, after won the second round of elections between Morsi and Syafiq. Although one year later, Morsi ousted by his Defense Minister Abdul Fattah as-Sisi on July 3, 2013 and was arrested on espionage charges. After that, Egypt temporary led by Adli Mansur, Chairman of Egypt’s Constitutional Court at that time until elections held back in May 2014. (to be continued)


Salman Alfarisy

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