Friday, June 29, 2007

Western Conspiracy

Every week, my mom annoys me by watching Mohammed Hassanein Haykal on Al-Jazeera. After the show is done, she goes on about the American/ Zionist/ Western conspiracies to keep Arabs in the slums of history, about the documents he provided, the secret meetings he sited, etc.

Now, what gets me annoyed is not the fact that it's not true, it probably is. But I really do not see how this really changes anything. In my view this whole conspiracy thing is similar to hygiene factor in the management theory of motivation.

Let me explain briefly what a hygiene factor is. In motivation theory, there are motivators, and there are hygiene factors. Motivators are things that give positive satisfaction to the individual (for example recognition increases motivation.) Hygiene factors are things "which do not motivate if present, but if absent will result in de-motivation" For example, a lack of good salary usually results in a lack of motivation, but having a good salary will not guarantee motivation.

Now back to the conspiracy, it does not help Arabs to unit if they have a conspiracy against them. But would they really unit if it were not present?

My answer is no, they would not. I know that people who say yes would argue for a common religion, language and culture as good reasons why Arabs can unit.

Let me refute each one of these reasons and other grounds for the call for unity.


In my previous post, I tackled this subject and so will skip it all together.


Yes, most Arabs are Muslims, but they have totally different interpretations of religion. Arabs from Lebanon and Syria would not look kindly at the Saudi model of Islam and vice versa.

Should the "Arab state" be secular or not?

Should it have freedom of religion? If so how can this be applied in Saudi?

Would the Shea Iraqis be happy in an "Arab state" where they go back again to being a minority?

What would happen to religious minorities?

While they do get equal rights in some Arab countries, their rights are almost none existents in others.

  • The economy. Here I we have three problems:
    1. The unequal distribution of income between oil states and none oil states.

Would there be a federal system like in the US where poor states piggyback rich states.

    1. The totally different economic systems. We have a wide range of economic systems spanning socialism to capitalisms and anything in between.

Would the Saudi government allow opening of banks with interest from other Arab countries on Saudi soil?

Would Syria really have any decent thing resembling a real private bank?

Would something like the common "Arabo" currency ever see the day of light?

How can one reconcile the economy of Saudi with that of Syria?

    1. The problem of protectionism and cheap labor. As it is, and without the need for a conspiracy, most Arab countries exercise various forms of economic and labor protectionism.

Would Jordan allow an influx of cheap Egyptian labor?

Would there be a minimum wage at the "Arab state" level?

  • Political System.

How can one reconcile the different government systems?

Would Syria accept democracy?

Would Egypt accept Islamic law?

Would Saudi accept a proper constitution and a secular democracy?

Would Lebanon want to be part of the same state as Syria?

Who would rule. And how?

Would there be a federal government?

Would Egypt have 25% of "federal" government positions, since it has 25% of the population of the Arab world?

Does the president of the Arab world have to be Egyptian?

What would happen to the various Arab kings and presidents?

What would happen to large ethnic minorities in Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Sudan? Will they have self rule?

The idea of "Arab Unity" sounds great when examined at face value. But the "devil" is in the details. And upon a somewhat detailed examination, it looks like Arab Unity has many things going against it and is very hard to achieve, even in the absence of a western conspiracy.

Even things like a unity of two Arabs countries seems almost impossible to work out. Using the criteria from above(economic, political, culture, religion) Let us take a quick look:

  • Jordan and Syria. No it would not work out
  • Syria and Iraq. No it would not work out
  • Lebanon and Saudi. No
  • Syria and Lebanon. No
  • Egypt and Lybia. No
  • Egypt and Ghaza. No
  • Jordan and Iraq. No

The other point that I would like to make is that Al-Jazzera did "Arabs" no good by airing such a program. It only helps foster a sense of victimhood. It creates the mentality that goes something like this: "We are victims of the west, no wonder our lives are going nowhere, they did this to us and there is evidence now."

Needless to say, we do not need any talk of present or past conspiracies, we need to focus on what we are doing and that is trying to "progress" and move forward. This can only happen by using progressive thinking, not regressive thinking.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, there's no conspiracy. If Arabs spent less time whipping up ridiculous conspiracy theories and more time acknowledging and working on their own shortcomings, then they would pull ahead in no time at all.

Second, if the European Union can pull it off, with so many vastly different languages and the differences between the individual country's economical standings, then the Middle East could pull it off... except that Arabs don't compromise, and that's what it's all about.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Mohammed Raei said...

The EU is only a partial success. Just remember how the EU constitution failed to pass in two major countries. Also, still many countries including Britain are not using the Euro. Additionally, when dealing with foreign policy, the EU policy is not very united and is somewhat more like everyman(woman) for him self.

What I meant by unity was more along the lines of the USA or Germany after the unification of east with west.

8:09 AM  

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