The Islamic Awakening in West Asia and North Africa and the Reactions of the ‎United States

‎1. The ideology of the United States
As an imperialist country, the United States, which has always sought hegemony and the ‎execution of control over the world since 1945 by relying on Western liberal democracy, has ‎managed to dominate the world until now. Of course, it considers this matter to be ‎legitimate and takes pride in that. (Fukuyama, 1993:8)‎

Nevertheless, by paying heed to the economic crisis and the global transitions and ‎specifically in West Asia and North Africa, it is gradually losing its previous position. The ‎speed of the political transitions in the world and the passivity of the American statesmen in ‎finding solutions and dealing with them has limited the political control of the United States. ‎This has gone to an extent that in some of the political scenes, the United States’ move is ‎not only not considered a retreat, but a failure. In regards to this, we can point at the defeat ‎of the United States in its survival in Iraq, and its failure to establish its previous foothold in ‎this country despite resorting to every trick.‎

The amazing transitions in the world promise that new forces will emerge in politics in the ‎future and that the polarity of the United States and its hegemony over the contemporary ‎world will become a forgotten issue. The quick growth of transitions promises that there is a ‎very higher probability of a bipolar or multipolar system in the world in the near future than ‎any other time. Based on this probability, as usual, the United States will remain as one of ‎the most powerful countries in the global arena, albeit with reduced power. According to the ‎political pundits, the geostrategy of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan and warfare ‎has weakened their power and this matter will be instrumental in their collapse. Concerning ‎this matter, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, said: ‎‎“Today, the arrogance the United States, the self-proclaimed commander of the region and ‎the real supporter of the Zionist regime, is caught in the crossroads it has created in ‎Afghanistan. It is in the process of being isolated due to all the crimes it has committed ‎against the people of Iraq and they are more hated now in troubled Pakistan.”‎

The United States, whose golden era of authority over the world began in 1945 (after the ‎end of the World War II) managed to maintain its superiority until 1990. However, from that ‎time onward, it has suffered several political, economic and military defeats. The job that the ‎United States tried to accomplish is to focus its global governance on consolidating and ‎redefining its relations with the new national forces within the West Asian and North African ‎countries that emerged from these uprisings and revolutions. Presently, this matter is in the ‎process of being accomplished in Egypt and indeed the Americans have plans regarding the ‎coming governments in Libya, Bahrain, Syria and even Saudi Arabia. The United States is ‎planning to establish its authority in West Asia and North Africa with a focus on Western ‎liberalism. (Barzagar, 1392)‎

‎2. The American ideology and the Islamic awakening
Concerning the topics of the American political ideology in regards to the Islamic awakening, ‎it must be said that the West and with the leadership of the United States are afraid of the ‎Islamic tendencies and what they call fundamentalism. There is undeniable evidence of open ‎hostility from the United States and other hegemonies towards Islam, the Islamic awakening ‎and the re-emergence of the Islamic identity among the Muslims of the world. In the course ‎of the last decade, whether during the period of colonialism or the apparent independence of ‎the countries in the region, not only did the West and the United States fail to help the ‎popular movements. Rather, they also did not hesitate to suppress them and fully supported ‎the authoritarian regimes in the region that supported the interests of the West. Today, the ‎West has been compelled to support and verify the people’s demands for the sake of ‎restraining the latest transitions in the Arab countries and the popular uprisings, otherwise, ‎many similar cases had occurred in the history of those countries, but they were not ‎approved by the West.‎

Another example was the intifada of the Iraqis against the Ba’athist regime of Iraq in 1991. ‎Even though the West and the United States were at war with Saddam’s regime, however, ‎the popular intifada was suppressed in a barbaric manner by the West. This was due to the ‎fear that there was a probability for Saddam’s regime to be overthrown, and the Islamists to ‎come into power. And this is a matter that was considered to be against the interests of the ‎United States.‎

During the last decades, the United States considered the current situation in West Asia and ‎North Africa to be in Washington’s interests and was fully pleased with its policies in the ‎region. By cooperating and assisting their Arab allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, ‎Bahrain, Kuwait and Morocco, the United States attained most of its interest from the region. ‎These interests were specifically; securing the oil supply, ensuring the security of the ‎occupying Israeli regime, confrontation with the opposing states, war against “terrorism” ‎‎[1] and restraining the influence of the Soviet Union during the period of the cold war. ‎Nonetheless, after the occurrence of the September 11th incident in 2001, the hypothesis on ‎which the American policy was based on in the Middle East region until that time was ‎challenged.‎

Therefore, the policymakers decided to reconsider the existing hypotheses. Meanwhile, the ‎question arose as to whether the authoritarian regimes of the West Asian and North African ‎countries are a source of stability or a source of hatred and extremism? After the incident of ‎September 11th, to prepare the area and carry out ideological and economic developments, ‎a ten-year strategic plan under the title “war against terrorism” was prepared. Around forty ‎Muslim countries and sixty Islamist groups and movements were covered by this plan. At the ‎top of the list and the beginning of this transition was the occupation of Iraq and ‎Afghanistan.‎

‎3. The strategic aims of the United States in dealing with the Islamic awakening in ‎the region
In conjunction with the strategic aims of the United States in West Asia and North Africa, ‎irrespective of the past periods or the period of the Islamic awakening and the recent ‎transitions in the Middle East region that has been implemented by all the successive United ‎States governments as its strategic policy until now, we must emphasize that this policy is ‎based on three principles:‎

‎1.‎ Wherever the oil resources are and how far they are from the American continent, ‎they belong to the United States whereby according to the view of Henry Kissinger, ‎they are the backbones of the country’s national security.‎
‎2.‎ Preserving the American hegemony and its superiority over the other world countries ‎based on the Western liberalism ideology and by utilizing its enormous military power ‎and employing its seven hundred military bases in the other strategic areas all over ‎the world. (Ghotbi, 1392)‎
‎3.‎ Preserving the security of the Zionist regime and its superiority over the other ‎countries in West Asia and North Africa whereby this is the main and strategic goal of ‎the United States in the region.‎

Apart from the above-mentioned strategic aims, by appearing and playing a role in the ‎region and endorsing the apparent support of the people’s uprisings and the recent ‎transitions in the Arab world, the United States also pursued these goals:‎
‎1.‎ Supporting the uprisings and directing the transitions as a precautionary measure to ‎prevent the occurrence of real revolutions led by the fundamentalists.‎
‎2.‎ Creating despair and hopelessness in the public about the possibility of taking any ‎action to change the current situation in their country.‎
‎3.‎ Attempts to conspire and use various factors to make new regimes dependent on ‎them. This was aimed at depriving the Muslims of true independence and progress, ‎and to bring them back to indifferences and the deep sleep of negligence.‎
‎4.‎ Internal wars and conflicts have led to the destruction of the infrastructure in the ‎countries of the region and their reconstruction will require years of work and huge ‎costs, which is a golden opportunity for the American and European companies.‎

4. The origin of the Islamic awakening and the role of the United States ‎
It is pretty obvious that what has pushed the Arab countries in West Asia and North Africa ‎towards transitions and unrest is a set of factors that have created the background for these ‎unrests in the region. This set of factors includes different economic, political, social and ‎cultural factors. According to some analysts, the bell of transitions in the region rang a long ‎time ago; the increase in the level of unemployment and inflation, the spread of ‎marginalization and widespread economic corruption were prominent features of these ‎countries that provided the background for the recent events.‎

In regards to this, the root cause of the latest crises in the region must be sought in the ‎economic factor and the spread of poverty and injustice. However, it must be taken into ‎consideration that its scope has gone beyond purely economic demands, people’s hatred of ‎political tyranny and corruption of the Western-backed figures and the need for social ‎freedoms have exacerbated and deepened the protests. In reality, on one side, the overlap ‎of traditional tyranny with the interests of colonialism in the Middle East region is one of the ‎main reasons for the current crises in the region. The lack of political cooperation or limiting ‎the political cooperation by these tyrannical governments as an influential factor in the recent ‎transitions led to a change in the people’s opposition to reform by the existing governments ‎and thus demanding the fall of the political regimes. (Hajizadeh, 1392)‎

It seems that the wave of transitions that happened in the region did not just happen ‎suddenly and without a foundation. There is a possibility that these transitions could have ‎taken place at the same time as the transitions in Eastern Europe and the collapse of the ‎totalitarian [2] regimes of the Eastern Europe that took place after the collapse of the ‎Eastern Bloc in the late 1980s, and its waves reached the Arab world. Among the factors that ‎delayed the occurrence of the transitions in the Arab world during that time and made the ‎United States take more time to conduct a comprehensive study and provide better ‎conditions for transitions in the region, are as follows:‎

‎1.‎ The presence of major oil resources in the region has led the United States – which ‎has interests and interactions with the regional regimes – to be cautious and sensitive ‎to any changes in the region, taking into account the interests and security of the ‎Zionist regime.‎
‎2.‎ The presence of the Israeli regime in the region is in itself and will continue to be a ‎stumbling block for any transitions in the region. Any changes must be accurately ‎done by taking into consideration the interest and security of Israel.‎
‎3.‎ Until before 1991, the collapse of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ‎‎(USSR) and the Eastern Bloc did not happen and this matter led to the longevity of ‎some of the regimes in the region which were expected to collapse earlier than this.‎

There are three views in regards to the transitions and incidents in the region which are as ‎follows:‎
‎1.‎ The West had a direct role in carrying out these transitions and political reforms and ‎had made a plan for that.‎
‎2.‎ The West did not have a direct role in these transitions and political incidents. ‎Nevertheless, with the inception of these incidents, they took action and tried to ‎direct the transitions in their favour by influencing the wave of uprisings.‎
‎3.‎ These transitions were completely internal and neither the West nor the United States ‎had any role to play in their inceptions.‎

The Islamic awakening outlines the following facts for us:‎
‎1.‎ Even though the Muslims in the Arab countries of the region remained silent during ‎the last decades under the oppression of the tyrannical regimes, they are still alive ‎and ready to sacrifice and are capable of changing their own situations to protect ‎their national and religious values and restoring their dignity and establishing human ‎justice.‎
‎2.‎ Peaceful demonstrations and popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and even in Yemen ‎where most of the people in that country are armed and they have around sixty ‎million weapons in their hands, reveals the determination of the people for political ‎reforms and changes through peaceful and democratic means.‎
‎3.‎ The train of democracy started its journey and despite the internal and external ‎problems, stumbling blocks, conspiracies, it will reach its destination and the date ‎hand will not go back.‎
‎4.‎ High capability of young people to use technology and media in political activities and ‎organizing popular uprisings.‎

5. The reactions of the United States in relations to the Islamic awakening
The reactions of the United States in relations to the Islamic awakening in the Arab countries ‎appeared in three categories or indicators which are as follows:‎

‎1. Applying dual policy
An example of the United States’ dual policy is their indifference to the crimes and statistics ‎of the martyrs who were killed by the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen or the internal ‎policies of Saudi Arabia.‎

‎2. Riding the wave of transition
In supporting the popular uprisings, Barack Obama, the former President of the United ‎States, states that the term of office of Zayn al-Abidin ibn Ali, Hosni Mubarak and ‎Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi has come to an end and they resigned either voluntarily or under the ‎pressure from the people. (Hamqeh, 2012: 153)‎

‎3. The divide and destroy policy
In regards to the policy of creating division and indifferences amongst the people, Michael ‎Brandt, the former CIA deputy – while talking about dealing with the Islamic awakening – ‎says:‎
‎“Instead of using the British policy of ‘divide and rule,’ we are using the policy of ‘divide and ‎destroy.’ Appertaining to this, we have prepared extensive plans for our long-term policies. ‎Supporting people who disagree with the Shi’ah sect. Promoting the infidelity of the Shi’ahs in ‎such a way that jihad is declared against them by other sects at the appropriate time. ‎Likewise, we have to spread an extensive propagation against the Shi’ah jurisprudents and ‎leaders. This is for these jurisprudents and leaders to lose their prominence and prestige ‎amongst the people.”‎


‎[1] The word terrorism is a vague term that has not been precisely defined. Basically, from ‎the Western point of view, and especially after the incident of September 11th, this word has ‎been mostly addressed to the Islamists and the religion of Islam as a source of hatred, ‎extremism and violence. As a result of this, resistant groups opposing the Western and ‎Zionist policies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are defined as ‎terrorist groups.‎

‎[2] The totalitarian regimes have these characteristics:‎

‎1- A general ideology.‎
‎2- A party system with a single leader who is committed to that ideology.‎
‎3- Extensive secret police service.‎
‎4- Monopoly of weapons.‎
‎5- Monopoly of mass media.‎
‎6- Monopoly of the economy.‎