The Arab Spring is the West’s rebound to emerging ecomomies threatening the Western monopoly relations with Arab countries, Tariq Ramadan, professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, shared with RT.
Islamists are attempting to capture the initiative of the Arab Awakening, as Ramadan labels it, but it is doubtful they can actually steal the show since they do not have support of the majority of the population in Arab countries.
RT: The situation in North Africa and the Middle East is very complex. There is one undisputed trend – the rise of the Islamist movement throughout the region. Could anyone predict this kind of outcome?
Tariq Ramadan: The people who were on the streets in Tunisia and Egypt, their only objective was to get rid of the dictator and the regime. They want dignity and justice and less corruption. It was beyond any ideological trend.
What happened as a second step is the presence of people who were in opposition and had historical credibility. No one can deny that in Tunisia or Egypt the Islamists were present, they had popularity.
The first reaction was coming back to Islamic reference and supporting people who had that historical credibility. What we see in Tunisia now and witness in Egypt is very complex. It is not yet done.
I’m not sure the Muslim Brotherhood are going to win the election, I’m almost sure that it’s going to be the opposite, with all this process is the coming back of the old regime with a very strong army in Egypt.
RT: You use term Arab Awakening instead of the Arab Spring. Could you have predicted this outcome?
TR: Yes. Anyone who is studying the region and look at what is happening knew and knows that in fact Islamists have a very important role in all the Arab countries.
If you have to deal wit true transparent democracy processes, it is clear that they will have a role. But being the leading force in the country – this was not expected. They represent about 30 per cent everywhere.
It doesn’t mean that in the coming future things are going to be seen that we do not expect either, like controlled democracies and army playing very important role behind the scenes.
RT: Could those Arab world events take place without Western sponsors.
TR: My position is mixed. I think something very specific happened over the last two years.
To speak about people starting to be on the streets and changing everything with no influence and nothing done beforehand – this is simplistic and dangerously naive. We have bloggers and cyber dissidents who trained, even in the West, to push towards this. There is a clear will coming from Western countries to change dictator regimes. That is clear.
To see that everything was under control and coming from the West – this is going too far.
We’ve got to take not the political but economical side of the story. For the Americans, as well as Europeans – they needed change in the regimes in order to keep the markets.
We have now many new actors on the markets that are threatening monopoly of relationship between the Middle East and Northern Africa – and the West. They are China, India, Russia, South Africa and Latin American countries, add to this one Turkey.
I’m not saying it’s a big conspiracy. I say now we’re going to see if people on the streets are able to go towards true democracy processes.
There is an intellectual revolution in the Arab world, which is “yes, it is possible, we can remove a dictator!”