Научная статья на тему '2018.03.012. VLADIMIR KARYAKIN. DEGRADATION OF SECULAR STATE INSTITUTIONS IN ARAB COUNTRIES ACCOMPANIED BY ACTIVE ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM // “Nations and Nationalism in Muslim East,” Moscow, 2015, P. 219–228.'

2018.03.012. VLADIMIR KARYAKIN. DEGRADATION OF SECULAR STATE INSTITUTIONS IN ARAB COUNTRIES ACCOMPANIED BY ACTIVE ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM // “Nations and Nationalism in Muslim East,” Moscow, 2015, P. 219–228. Текст научной статьи по специальности «Политологические науки»

Ключевые слова
institualization / Arab world countries / Islamic fundamentalism / “Arab Spring / ” confessional identity / North Africa / Middle East.

Похожие темы научных работ по политологическим наукам , автор научной работы — Valentina Schensnovich

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Текст научной работы на тему «2018.03.012. VLADIMIR KARYAKIN. DEGRADATION OF SECULAR STATE INSTITUTIONS IN ARAB COUNTRIES ACCOMPANIED BY ACTIVE ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM // “Nations and Nationalism in Muslim East,” Moscow, 2015, P. 219–228.»


"Nations and Nationalism in Muslim East," Moscow, 2015, P. 219-228.

Keywords: institualization, Arab world countries, Islamic fundamentalism, "Arab Spring," confessional identity, North Africa, Middle East.

Vladimir Karyakin,


Russian Institute of Strategic Studies (RISS)

The "Arab Spring" of 2011 confirmed connections between the institualization of state systems of North Africa and the Middle East and the dynamic of their social entropy. The author writes that the concept of "state institution" requires revision in connection with the growing role and influence of social individuals acting through social networks and the Internet on socio-political processes.

From the point of view of modern neo- institutionalism, the socio-political behavior of individuals is limited by the state institutions functioning in a country, which play a constructive role in stabilization of the social situation. In the Arab-Islamic world, strong traditional informal social institutions rival with formal political institutions. This can be explained by the fact that in most countries of the Middle East the latter are close, in their functions and structure, to Western political institutions, which make them illegitimate in the eyes of the Arab public, because they do not correspond to the Sharia laws. This causes conflicts, contradictions, and non-linear features in the socio-political development of states of the region at the internal state and regional levels.

One of the most crucial geopolitical factors in the Arab world is the institution of confessional identity, which often rivals with, and in some cases fully denies, the national identity of peoples.

If we turn to the monarchies of the Arab world, their population regards itself the single Arab nation living by the laws of Islam. As to the secular states of a republican type in North Africa and the Middle East, their people regard themselves, first and foremost, Egyptians, Libyans, Tunisians, Syrians, etc., and only then Arabs. National identification is still greatly expressed in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their population is not Arab, although in all these countries people believe in Islam. These factors make it possible to formulate the concept of regional national identity which is reflected in a sum total of informal social institutions and cultural-confessional forms, which are more important compared to formal political institutions created on Western pattern. The role of formal political institutions in the Arab world is low if it is compared with the influence of informal social institutions. This circumstance determines the conflict component of regional and internal state policy of countries in this region.

The interaction of the Middle East states can often be characterized by "the game with a zero sum" (the principle of which is "the winner gets everything") due to the decisive role of the military force used for tackling regional problems and the uncompromised protection of their interests by the opposing sides. Examples of this are provided by the events in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria. This is the reason why the international organizations of the Arab world function ineffectively and do not create the foundation for a creative dialogue and cooperation. The external factors of international politics, using the absence of unity between Arab states tackle regional problems in their own interests using interstate contradictions and quite often applying military force to render assistance to one of the sides in the confrontation. An indicative example in this respect is a series of coups d'etat in North Africa and the Middle East, when with the low prestige of regional international organizations and weak secular state institutions of the Arab world, this region has plunged into a chaos of confrontation between the government

forces and the armed opposition which used foreign military assistance for overthrowing the existing regimes.

Vladimir Karyakin notes that Western Europe can serve as a positive example of high institualization of states, for there is an organic combination of informal and formal political institutions which create a foundation for effective interaction and cooperation with "a positive sum," which brings mutual benefits to all participants in the political process. Due to the factor the role of the elements of force of a state for solving intrastate and regional problems is negligent. In these conditions diplomatic methods of resolving outstanding problems come to the fore. This determines the effectiveness of the work of European international organizations. They do not interfere in the government policy of regional states, using exclusively diplomatic and economic levers for solving crisis problems.

A comparative analysis of the role of European political institutions and those of the Arab world shows that in the Middle East the level of institualization is minimal, which is responsible for a considerable degree of ambiguity in the development of the socio-political situation. As a result, social entropy and instability at the state and regional levels are growing and creating a host of challenges and threats to regional and global security. The Middle East states actually do not adhere in their foreign policy to the general standards and principles accepted in the world community. In this region there are no mechanisms of economic and forcible coercion to submit to international law, which creates more conditions for increasing chaos in international relations and turning the region into a large "grey zone" of socio-political bifurcation, which was clearly seen in the events in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011. This is why such rational strategies of big actors in this region are neutralized by the absence of information about the actions of the conflicting sides, which creates conditions for the use of military force in solving regional problems.

The leading Western powers positioning themselves as political institutions of a world level, assume the function of

ensuring regional stability and international security on the basis of the Western model of the world order with the use of the following principles: priority of the rights of the individual over public interests, that is, the extremely primitive principle of priority of "human rights"; presence of a political system with free elections and division of powers as the only legitimate form of political order - the principle of "democracy"; free distribution of resources on globalized market of commodities and services as the only effective form of economic management - principle of "market economy"; priority of international law over national legislation of states - principle of "limitation of national sovereignty." The last principle presupposes a trend of withering away of such political institution as the national state under the impact of the expanding global market and communication system.

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The author of the article emphasizes that the above-mentioned principles proclaimed by the West as universal are not free from inner contradictions. This is also recognized by public representatives in the Arab Muslim world. For instance, democracy meaning domination of the majority over the minority contradicts Western human rights. The proclaimed equality of people contradicts the foundations of the market economy. The priority of the principle of international law over national legislation is implemented through various peacekeeping operations and "humanitarian interventions" using double standards in accordance with the political interests of the United States as the world hegemon.

The reasons for failure of Western attempts to change the Arab-Islamic world according to its civilized standards lie in the selfishness of the social individual of Western society, which contradicts the principles of clan-group loyalty to the principles of Islam. The free-market economy cannot enter into systems based on the clan-group relations and standards of the Sharia law. The priority of international law over national law engenders nationalism, anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism. The political elites of the Middle East states are well aware of the fact that the

globalization of the world leads to its division into the managerial center which is in the United States - the leading country of the Western world, and the periphery exploited by it. This gives rise to resistance to globalization processes in the Third World countries in the form of the rebirth of confessional and civilization identity of peoples. One of the consequences of this is return to traditional social systems as well-tested forms of the state order. The Arab-Islamic world's answer to globalization is a renaissance of the linguistic and cultural-confessional self-assertion, which takes the forms of an armed struggle and terrorist acts in some countries against the expansion of the ideology and "values" of the Western world.

In many Islamic countries, as well as in non-Islamic ones, a big part of whose population is Muslim, a crisis tendency of national statehood is observed. The social entropy of Arab-Islamic societies is growing. Central governments prove unable to ensure internal stability and public security. The efficiency of their actions goes down, and in some cases complete degradation of state institutions, chaos, anarchy and wars of everybody against everybody take place. In such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Western Sahara, Palestine and Libya the authorities are unable to control the situation on their territories.

Looking into the history of the emergence of the national states of the Arab world, Vladimr Karyakin notes that after the termination of World War II the collapse of the colonial system occurred and many countries got into the zones of Western or Soviet influence. After receiving independence some states were headed by persons with Western or Soviet education, which determined their political orientation. Among the 48 countries of the Islamic world, 31 received independence in the course of the disintegration of the colonial system in the late 1940s to the late 1970s. That was an epoch of national romanticism when the ideas of renaissance and construction of national statehood stirred the people of the Arab world countries. However, by the end of the

20th century a crisis of the ideology of national-state construction began, which was explained by the widespread distribution of the ideas alien to Islam brought to these countries by foreign education and secular thinking of the national elites. The main reason for this was non-recognition of the legitimacy of the principles of a secular national state on the part of Islamic ideologists. As a result, a process of delegitimation and hidden destruction of state institutions of the Arab world began. This was expressed in the emergence of marginal public groups and anti-social behavior of their members, growing criminal activity, and social wars of the population against their own states.

Thus, the Islamic world gave an asymmetrical answer to challenges of Western globalization. But it was not a search for something new, but return to archaic mores and morals, to the sources of Islam, traditional values of the time of Prophet Mohammed and the rule of the four righteous califs. It can be stated that the rebirth of Islamic fundamentalism has also been manifested in the reaction of the Islamic ummah to globalization, that is, in its destructive attitude to secular statehood in Middle Eastern states. The opposition to the processes of globalization and westernization in these states can also be explained by the fact that Islam lends special socialization of personality in the social structure, which differs from the personal qualities of the Western social individual and demands to him in the Western state structures, which undermines the legitimacy of the principle of the secular construction of the state in the eyes of Arabs. For Muslims the Islamic concept of the state is based on religion. This is why the sentiments of the ummah correspond to the demand to destroy national state built on non-Islamic values.

In conclusion, Vladimir Karyakin notes that a characteristic feature of the socio-political processes in the Islamic world is the growing influence of radical political Islam against the background of the exacerbation of the struggle for power, resources and property between clans, tribes and armed groupings which manage to seize power for a short period of time and soon giving it

to radical movements, as the case has been in Somalia or Sudan. Political leaders who try to submit political Islam to the aims of building a national state and legitimation of their policy of the country's modernization commit a grave error. Islam is an ideological system, which cannot be adapted to solving particular political tasks.

It looks likely, Vladimir Karyakin says, that the failure of the idea of an Arab national state is of an irreversible character. The events in North Africa sand the Middle East show that the West has received no dividends so far from the abolition of the regimes disliked by it. Instead of them come social chaos and on the wave of it - movements of radical political Islam.

Author of the abstract - Valentina Schensnovich


Keywords: Middle East, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Israel, nationalism, Islam, federalization, modernization.

Vasily Kuznetsov,


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The Head of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies,

Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS

Irina Zvyagelskaya,

Dr.Sc.(Hist.), Professor,

The Center for Arab and Islamic Studies

Chief Scientific Officer, Member of the Academic Council,

Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS

As a result of social, ethnic, tribal, confessional and ideological contradictions and differences many Arab states of the Middle East and North Africa have found themselves in a very