Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt newspaper
TT

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : The Terrifying Collapse

For seven months, debates in the Arab media have been focused on the Gaza war. It has been the story, and of course the events there warrant this attention, on the human, political, security, economic, and professional level. But the Arab media has kept quiet about another dangerous story, what I call the terrifying collapse.
This terrifying collapse refers to what is happening in conflict zones across the Arab world, especially in areas where Iran wields influence and, at the very least, there is no state, poverty rates are rising, and education is poor. More dangerously, we also see stories of displaced people, refugees, violence, rape crimes, and persecution.
I can only ask questions here. Have we imagined the potential repercussions of the ongoing war in Sudan against the Sudanese, specifically its youth? How will this war shape the next generation of Sudanese? What ethical standards will this killing, destruction, poverty, and lack of education create?
How do we expect the next generation of Syrians to turn out after it had been torn apart by conflict for thirteen years, with its demography changed, the lack of state authority due to the failures of the political system, and a refugee crisis manipulated by political parties in Lebanon amid tragic news stories about drugs, crime, and injustice inflicted upon them and attributed to them?
The situation is the same in Yemen. The Houthis are wreaking havoc, poverty is skyrocketing, and chaos has left the country without the basic pillar for an economy. We can see the suffering on all levels, including education and security, in a country almost divided by Houthi intransigence and Iranian meddling.
Then we have Lebanon and its endless calamities. Its story is like a black comedy: this is a country with education, as well as opportunities for investment and tourism, that has no president, a prime minister with restricted authorities, and parties fighting over a country ridden with poverty, crime, and chaos.
Crime has swept Lebanon: the rape of minors, kidnappings, murders. Its borders are controlled by drug traffickers or Hezbollah. Both are equally damaging and deadly, destroying a country. It was supposed to be a potential partner for every investor, and now it is a potential partner for every mafia and criminal.
The situation is the same in oil-rich Libya, where Turkish and Russian, among others, are stationed. We hear stories of child trafficking and the recruitment of children into armed groups that have devastated the country. There is also the migrant crisis; that is another story.
Iraq's tragedies have not waned, sectarianism has tightened. Social crimes have become shockingly widespread: assassinations and kidnappings, the proliferation of armed factions, debates and conflicts over stories that are over a thousand years old. Iranian influence there worries everyone who cares for the people of Iraq.
All of the above is what I call a frightening collapse. What future awaits the region amid this chaos, lack of educational opportunities, insecurity, the spread of armed militias, and the weakening of the state and its institutions?
What future awaits the region and these six countries that have no economy, security, and education? They are suffering from poverty, the absence of social peace. They have become battlefields for all countries searching for imaginary influence. I say imaginary because these countries have become failed states, dysfunctional places incapable of producing anything.
Yes, this is a terrifying collapse, because what is happening in these six countries, and those who are following in their footsteps, tells us that extremism will inevitably rise in the future, as will organized crime. More violence, destruction, displacement, and emigration await us.
It is a bleak picture, but realistic, and written with reservation, but the truth is that this collapse is terrifying.