Fighting on Amid Reactionary Retrenchment
by Kevin Anderson, Logos
Despite the resurgence of military authoritarianism and fundamentalism in Egypt and Syria, several more positive outcomes of the Arab revolutions are seen in the Tunisian constitution, the rise of the Syrian Kurds, and continuing ferment in Turkey. This analysis by Kevin Anderson of The International Marxist-Humanist appeared in the Summer issue of Logos.
The Present Moment
Over the past year, the outlook for revolutionary change, for democracy and social justice in much of the Middle East and North Africa has become bleak. Egypt has experienced authoritarian military rule at a level that exceeds the repression of Mubarak, thus rolling back the 2011 revolution, even as the US has restored military aid. Libya has descended into chaotic war between rival factions, both of them marked by warlordism. Bahrain continues under lockdown, with the US maintaining both its imperialist naval base and its support for the sectarian Sunni monarchy. Yemen’s democratic opening has given way to a sectarian civil war with massive bombing of civilians by the US-backed Saudis. And most tragic of all, Syria has seen its grassroots democratic opposition shrink as jihadists gain more and more power, sometimes with the collusion of the murderous Assad regime, which itself projects a Shia-oriented sectarianism amid massive backing from Iran. To cap it all, the ultra-fundamentalist ISIS (so-called Islamic State) has maintained most of the territory it seized last year in Iraq and Syria, visiting horrors upon women, religious minorities, and any who dare to express any reservations about its retrograde worldview.
However, this is not the whole story.