Inside the Middle East
Antonio Gramsci, the great Italian Marxist said, “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” That certainly seems to describe the Middle East today. Lots of morbid symptoms. After a series of uprisings, the so-called Arab Spring, the region has spun into a deadly spiral. Just sample these headlines, all from the same day: Libya: Islamist Militia Fighters Clash with Troops; Egypt: Bomb Kills 2 in Army Vehicle; Turkey: Boy Accused of Insulting President is Arrested; West Bank: Firebomb Seriously Wounds an Israeli Girl; Jordan: Threatens ISIS with Grave Consequences. And the horror that is Syria and the decade-long catastrophe that is Iraq continue unabated. The scope and scale of instability and violence has no recent precedent. Why is it happening?
Abdullah Al-Arian is Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver. He is the author of Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat’s Egypt and co-editor of Jadaliyya’s Critical Currents in Islam page. He is a contributor to Al-Jazeera English.