Libya has deteriorated into civil war; European and American forces have intervened and remarkable events are shaping the Middle East. And while many hoped that the situations in Tunisia and Egypt would be a model throughout the region, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Libya and others have a different foundation for the way events are taking shape.
Joining us for Part Two of Why Should We Care About the Middle East are our guests from Part One:
- Jim Falk: President/CEO of the World Affairs Council/ Dallas Ft Worth;
- Dr. Radwan Masmoudi: President/ CEO of The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy and
- Tod Robberson: Editorial columnist and Pulitzer prize winning journalist with the Dallas Morning News.
Mr. Robberson, who has extensive background in the region, comments on the historical parallels to the Spanish Civil War; a dominant entity in power, ruthless forces, and opposition from many different groups trying to find a uniformity of command make it very difficult for a smooth transition to take place in Libya.
The situation is of course, chaotic, difficult and unpredictable as a result. Jim Falk, who has lived in Tunisia, comments on the homogeneous populations of countries like Tunisia and Egypt, which made the transition flow more effectively than Libya’s; that a very tribal society.
Dr. Masmoudi predicted the future when he stated that the International community has a moral obligation to interfere in Libya for many reasons. First that the country is run by a madman, intent on killing his people, that Gadhafi is a dictator who has built the government around him as the central figure so there is no real government, no real army, institutions are weak and “if the international community does not interfere we may have a humanitarian tragedy.”
As Jim Falk comments, in Tunisia and Egypt it was the army that told the leaders to step down, such is not a possibility in Libya and other countries in the region.Tod Robberson is also concerned regarding America, European and UN intervention, which could cheapen the effect of the citizen revolutions. He cautions that we proceed slowly and not dampen the euphoria of the people who have worked hard for democratic outcomes, “have sacrificed their lives and who are not going to trade one restrictive power for another.”
Jim Falk counsels: “We can’t engineer these elections. We’ve done that in the past and it never works.”
The concern throughout the world is the possibility of more violent extremism as a result of the abusive, oppressive regimes in question. Will the countries in the region be able to transition to democracy, which is wanted by so many of its citizens? Or will slogans and violence prevail?
Join us as we keep talking about things that matter with people who care…
Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Executive Producer/ Producer