Monday, March 31, 2014

Making Sense of the Arab Spring 6: The End of Islamism?

Predicting political change has not been one of political scientists' strong points.  Few foresaw the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism or the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO that led to the famous handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat on the White House lawn in 1993.  Virtually no one predicted the Arab Spring.  However, once the Arab uprisings began, there was a wide consensus among Western analysts and policy-makers that Islamists would be the beneficiaries (see my "Who's Afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood?," Feb. 13, 2011;  In their view, the ouster of Arab autocrats would realize their worst fears - the spread of Islamic rule throughout the Arab world.

In their political projections, Western analysts were spurred on by the self-serving comments of  dictators such as Yemen's Ali Abdallah Salih who stated that , "The Arab Spring was born dead. It came in the shadow of hard circumstances in the Middle East, and it became a weapon in the hands of the Islamic movements."

Why, contrary to Western predictions, has Islamism not profited from the Arab Spring?  Why has the fear that Islamists would dominate the region not been realized?  Why, after almost 35 years, has there still been only one successful "Islamic revolution" in the Middle East, one that faces considerable opposition from the Iranian people?  Why do Western analysts keep getting it wrong?

One of the most striking developments following the ouster of Egyptian president Husni Mubarak in Egypt was the rise and precipitous fall of the Muslim Brotherhood.   After being elected president in June 2012, Muhammad Mursi, one of the most prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders, was deposed in June 2013 following massive demonstrations demanding his ouster.  At present, the Muslim Brotherhood has been designated a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government and largely forced underground.  Mursi is on trial for treason.  

The loss of power and influence by this venerable 85 year old organization has been breathtaking, especially considering its impact on a wide variety of Islamist movements and parties throughout the Arab world.  This influence extends to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, the Jordanian Islamic Action Front, the Islah Party in Yemen, the al-Nahda Party in Tunisia, the Iraqi Islamic Party and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, just to name a few.

Yet it is not just the Muslim Brotherhood that has fallen on hard times.  In Tunisia, the al-Nahda (Renaissance) Party scored a solid electoral victory in October 2011, winning 40% of parliamentary seats.  Like the Brotherhood, it was also forced from office.  While al-Nahda decided to withdraw from power when they saw how unpopular they had become, their rise and fall points yet again to the simplistic model that many analysts have imposed on the state of Arab politics.  As I argue below, the popularity of Islamist parties has not been based on some abstract notion of religion or a function of increased religiosity of Muslim citizens of Arab states.

In Libya, great fear was expressed that Islamists would pick up the political pieces in the wake of the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in August 2011.  Islamists did not do particularly well in the June 2012 parliamentary elections.  The National Forces Alliance, a liberal-secular bloc headed by Mahmud Jibril, won 47% of the vote to the Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction Party 10% of the vote.

In the broader Libyan political context, power continues to reside with the tribal militias that played a critical role in ousting Muammar al-Qaddafi, with Islamists largely confined to the sidelines.  When the radical Ansar al-Shari'a movement claimed responsibility for the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Smith and 3 American embassy guards in September 2012, residents of Benghazi subsequently burned the organization's headquarters and forced its members to go into hiding.

As security has  deteriorated in Libya with tribal militias refusing to give up their arms and submit to central government authority, intra-Islamist violence has escalated.  Increasingly radical Islamists have been targeting moderate Islamists, i.e., those who advocate elections and constitutional governance.  In the coastal town of Derna, long known for its Islamist orientation, radical elements have been assassinating members of the local Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Construction Party who support a transition to democracy.

In Yemen, where strongman Ali Abdallah Salih was finally ousted in February 2012, rule was transferred to his former vice president, Abdu Rabbu Mansur Hadi. Pursuing a comprehensive strategy of national reconciliation and advocating a federal structure for Yemen to accommodate regional and tribal divisions, Hadi has won a grudging amount of popularity.  While still popular in some quarters, many Yemenis look upon the local Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, al-Islah (Reform) Party, with suspicion given its cooperation with former dictator Ali Abdallah Salih.  This perception has only received greater credibility as Salih has tried to regain some of his former power through working with al-Islah.

In Iraq, the al-Da'wa Islamiya Party is Iraq's oldest Islamist party.  However, one would be hard pressed to find Islamism among its current policies, apart from a sectarianism that targets not only Sunni Arabs and Kurds, but secular and liberal Shi'a as well.  Indeed, aware of Iraqis pragmatic approach to politics, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has subsumed the Da'wa Party under the umbrella of his State of Law Coalition that suggests a focus on law and order rather than a concern with Islamist symbolism.

Why then has Islamism been such a failure?  Can it not be argued that Islamism is actually on the rise if we look to the growth of the al-Qa'ida affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, the subordination of the secular Syrian opposition to Islamist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, the activity of al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghrib (North Africa) in Mali and Algeria, and the continued attacks on the Yemeni military and police by al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula?

The problem with this argument is that the radical groups just mentioned alienate the very populations that they purport to represent once these people fall under their so-called Islamic "amirates" (principalities). Preventing young men from watching soccer games in coffee houses, cutting off the fingers of men caught smoking, forbidding women from leaving their homes without a male relative, and stealing from merchants and others in the name of "Islam," has led to a decline in the popularity of such groups.

Further, radical Islamists see moderate Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates as little better than Western "apostates."  As we have recently seen in Syria, radical Islamists - in this case the ISIS and the Nusra Front - spend more time fighting each other than the Ba'thist regime of Bashar al-Asad.  What Western analysts often fail to realize is the extent to which criminal activity is a core component of the daily activities of radical Islamist groups - to pay their fighters, to buy weapons and to take control of lucrative activities, such as oil smuggling in Syria.

These criminal activities come at a cost because they are achieved at the expense of the local populace.  Syrians, Iraqis and others resent the loss of their possessions. They come to see that the imposition of what radical Islamist groups call "Sharia law" as actually no more than a "make it up as they go" policy under the guise of religion that is in really designed to legitimate theft and brutality.

The Islamism discussed in this post is not the "invented tradition" of radicals who, while technically proficient in bomb making and skilled in weapons procurement and criminal activities, often have only the vaguest understanding of Islam.  Usually déclassé, and not having had the opportunity to attend school, they are often unable to read, much less study Islamic texts.

Islamism in the present context is the supposed alternative to authoritarian rule offered by parties such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Tunisian al-Nahda and the Yemeni al-Islah.   Having languished in opposition for years, many Arabs thought these parties would bring a new approach to politics that included a focus on economic development, fighting corruption and reigning in the hated secret police and regime thugs.

Secularists did not have the advantages of Islamist parties that were given the status of the "loyal opposition" by authoritarian regimes such as that of Egyptian president, Husni Mubarak.  Allowing the Brothers limited power in Egypt served as a foil whereby Mubarak could consistently deflect calls for democratization by posing the question: "Do you really want the Muslim Brotherhood to take power?"  Secular forces that initiated the Arab Spring also did not have the organizational structure of the Islamist organizations that benefited from the important institution of the mosque and the Friday prayers.

Islamists also benefited from preferential treatment in relation to the secular and liberal parties which authoritarian regimes viewed as a greater threat to their rule.  In Egypt, liberal and leftist parties were denied licenses to operate. And when the reformist Center Party (Hizb al-Wasat) split from the Muslim Brotherhood in 1996, the Brotherhood worked with the Mubarak regime to prevent it from obtaining a license to operate.

In this context, we should not forget that it was Anwar al-Sadat who released Muslim Brothers from prison after the death of Gamal Abd al-Nasir in September 1970.  Sadat wanted the Brotherhood to perform the dirty work of smashing the pro-Soviet wing of the Nasirist Arab Socialist Union which opposed his rule.  Thus Islamism was legitimized by the state beginning in the early 1970s.

The political tableau presented here is much more complex than the Muslim Brotherhood's simplistic neologism, "Islam is the solution" (Islam al-hall), or the implicit prognostication of many Western analysts that "Islam is inevitable."   In the wake of the unrest of the past 3 years, the Arab world continues to be characterized by widespread ideological fluidity, even confusion, and political indeterminacy.

When asked why they now oppose Mursi and the Brotherhood, Egyptians bitterly complain that he did not address pressing problems while he was president, such as the improving the economy, attacking corruption, and reforming the brutal security police.  Instead, they argue Mursi sought to Islamize Egyptian society and suppress free speech.  What is most striking is the vitriol of deeply religious Egyptians who assert that no Muslim Brother is to be trusted with political power.

Active for 85 years, the Muslim Brotherhood lost almost all its power and influence in less than 12 months.  In an ironic turn of events, given the Brotherhood's opposition to the Center Party, the Salafi Party of Light (Hizb al-Nur) has cooperated with the military junta that deposed Muhammad Mursi and now receives special treatment from the state for its opposition to the Brotherhood.  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose - the  more things change, the more they stay the same.

The most effective leaders in the Arab Spring have been the Tunisian secular leadership and the Yemeni leadership of President Abdu Rabbu Mansur Hadi.  In the first instance, Tunisia's leaders have avoided the temptation of lording their victory over their Islamist rivals in the al-Nahda Party and have sought to work with moderate Islamists.  For his part, President Hadi has sought to gradually ease Salih supporters out of the officer corps, reorganize Yemen according to a federal system, and publicly promote a  policy of national reconciliation.  In both cases, political pluralism and respect for diversity have at least achieved a foothold

Democratic transitions in the Arab world will need to conform to three criteria if they are to be successful.  First, they will need to insure personal freedoms, especially freedom of expression, human rights and the rule of law.  Second, they will need to address social justice issues, such as jobs, housing, health care ans education.  Finally, they will need to promote political and cultural pluralism, namely respect for the Other.  Can a democratic Islamism conform to these criteria?  That is a critical but as yet unanswered question in the wake of the Arab uprisings.

In  my next post, I examine the upcoming elections in Iraq, followed by a post in which I argue that the most successful effort at  a democratic transition in the wake of the Arab uprisings will  most likely be that of Tunisia.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The University of Kufa conference on "Religious Pluralism and Tolerance in the Dialogue of Civilizations"

Recently I had the privilege to attend a conference, “Religious Pluralism and Tolerance in the Dialogue of Civilizations” (al-Ta’addudiya al-Diniya wa-l-Tasamuh fi Ufuq al-Hadarat), that was sponsored by the University of Kufa and the Institute for Intellectual Studies in al-Najaf Governorate.  What was the purpose of the conference and what did it accomplish?

I have attended many conferences in the Middle East but this one was truly unique.  First, it sought to address in a very direct way the problem of sectarianism that has become a social and political disease in much of the Middle East.  Secondly, it brought together members of a wide variety of religions, confessions and ethnic groups to discuss the threat that sectarianism and the violence that it produces poses not just to the Middle East but the global community as a whole. Third, it asked speakers to present not only analytic but normative papers, namely those that offered solutions to the problems they raised in their presentations.

Dr. Akeel Abd Yasssin
The conference, which is part of an effort of the University of Kufa to bring a UNESCO Chair in Inter-Faith Dialogue to the university, assembled a truly impressive group of participants.  The conference was organized under the leadership of the President of the University of Kufa, Dr. Akeel Abd Yassin.  It was also sponsored by the Institute for Intellectual Studies in al-Najaf, directed by Sayyid Ammar Abu Rgheif. 

The conference invited clerics from a wide variety of confessional backgrounds and countries.  Shiite, Sunni and Christian clerics from Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and academics from Iraq, Northern Ireland, Iran and the United States contributed to the conference’s ecumenical quality.  Prince Hasan of Jordan made a presentation to the Opening Session via videoconferencing of which the conference organizers were very proud. 
The Grand Hall of the University of Kufa modeled after the Grand Mosque of Kufa
Sunni participants, such as Dr. Abd al-Sittar al-Jumaily, president of Samarra University, Shaykh Abdullateef al-Humayyim from al-Anbar, Dr. Farhan al-Tamimi, Professor of Comparative Religions and one of his graduate students from Tikrit University, and a colleague, Dr. Faris Kamal Omar Nadhmi from Salahiddin University in Arbil, also attended the conference, demonstrating its inclusive character.  All too often Western analysts reduce Iraqi society to an amalgam  of Sunnis, Shi’a and Kurds, who supposedly dislike and cannot get along with one another.   This Western bias was belied by the behavior of Shiites and Sunnis interacting in a relaxed and constructive manner that I witnessed at the conference and in al-Najaf - a pattern of behavior  that I have witnessed in many trips to Iraq going back to my first visit in May and June of 1980.

The conference’s Opening Session al-Najaf’s Place of Culture (Qasr al-Thaqafa) was attended by over 1000 guests.  The opening session as followed by a full day of panels in which speakers laid out arguments detailing that sectarianism and sectarian violence contradict the core tenets of all 3 of the world’s Abrahamic religions.  

What was most stunning about the conference was its ecumenical spirit.  Many different viewpoints were expressed on matters relating religion and public life.  Spirited debates not only took place during the conference sessions but at the luncheons and dinners that followed, where vigorous discussion continued.  The success of the conference cannot just be measured by the number and quality of the speakers, but by the fact that, in a country which the West often views through the conceptual prism of sectarianism, Iraqis and foreigners of widely divergent perspectives could come together and engage in an open dialogue without hostility or vituperation.

Before making my (Arabic) presentation in the afternoon session on the first day, I unfolded a large white T-shirt with the words “IRAQ MUSEUM” written on it.  I had hardly opened the shirt when the entire audience burst into applause, aware that this was part of the international effort to save the heritage of the Iraq Museum that was looted during the US invasion in 2003.  Indeed the shirt was distributed at a candlelight vigil, organized by the Rutgers University Department of Art History, at which I had been asked to speak in the spring of 2008 on the 5th anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum.

I then gave my presentation, “Pluralism or Sectarianism?  Building a Tolerant Political Culture through Religion and Historical Memory in the New Iraq  (al-Tacaddudiya aw al-Ta’ifiya?  cAmaliyat Bina’ al-Thaqafa al-Siyasiya al-Mutasamiha cala Usul al-Din wa-l-Dhakira al-Tarikhiya fi-i-cIraq al-Jadid).     

Among other points, I argued for the need to rewrite Iraqi school textbooks to give a true representation of pre-Ba’thist Iraq. Iraqi youth – 70% of the population under the age of 30 – need to better comprehend that the current sectarian violence in Iraq is not the result of a set of “ancient hatreds” that set Iraqi apart, but the result of a state, both in Baghdad and Arbil, that has failed to meet its civic responsibilities and, as a result, allowed sectarian entrepreneurs (tujjar al-siyasa) to fill the economic, social and political  vacuum created the lack of social services and a leadership that emphasizes inclusiveness.

Beyond the conference, there were many developments at which to marvel at the University of Kufa.  The architecture of the main administration building, that houses President Akeel Abd Yassin’s office and many classrooms, is modeled on the Grand Mosque of Kufa.  Everywhere one looks, construction is taking place, either in expanding the university's existing faculties or building new ones.  

Conference participants at the Imam Ali Shrine
Among the faculty with whom I had the pleasure to meet, including Dr. Abbas Alaboudy, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, Dr. Hassan Hadi Ali, Director of the Postgraduate Office and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Chemical Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Dr. Sabah Sahib al-Aread, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science, among others, I sensed a real urgency to promote the University of Kufa. 

Indeed, every professor I met possessed a strong sense of mission in viewing the building the University of Kufa as part of the process of creating a new democratic and tolerant Iraq.  Those faculty educated in the West are not afraid to borrow what it has to offer.  Thus I felt that President Akeel Yassin and his faculty represent a model for an increasingly globalized world – educators who are proud of and secure in their past (al-turath al-‘Iraqi), but keen to learn from societies and cultures beyond Iraq’s borders.  

What is particularly striking about the faculty at the University of Kufa is the number of young professors who are already producing impressive scholarly works.  As an example, I could cite a book length study, American Strategy towards Iran following the Events of September 11, 2001 (al-Istratagiyat al-Amirikiya tujaha Iran ba’d Ahdath Aylul ‘Amm 2001), by Dr. Baha’ Adnan al-Sa’bari, that was published by the Hammurabi Center for Research and Strategic Studies in Baghdad (2012).  

When I visited Iraq during the 1980s, many Iraqis spoke excellent English and many had been educated abroad, often in the US or the UK.   With the impact of the UN sanctions of the 1900s that devastated Iraq's educational system, Iraqi intellectuals, especially younger ones, are working to learn English and other foreign languages. Having held talks with President Akeel Yassin and his staff, we hope that Rutgers University will be able to offer English classes via videoconferencing and that Rutgers students may be able to study Arabic at the University of Kufa.

Part of my trip in south-central Iraq was spent in al-Najaf.  Visiting the shrine of Imam Ali was a very
Drs. Gerry McKenna, Faris Nadhni and Roy Mottahedeh inside the Imam Ali Shrine
moving experience.  Marveling at the beautiful glass work on the ceiling of the Imam Ali Shrine, a Sunni friend pointed out that all the delicate inlay had been done by Sunni artisans from al-Anbar Province, some of whom he knew.  He noted that the area around Abu Ghayb in eaastern Anbar Province is known for glasswork and, of course, the guardians of the Shrine wanted the best possible decoration provided for it.  When I asked if artisans coming from al-Anbar to al-Najaf created any issues, my friend looked at me quizzically – why should it, he asked?

Inside the shrine, I was joined by Professor Roy Mottahedeh of Harvard University, one of world’s most prominent historians of Islam, Dr. Gerry McKenna, former Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Ulster, who is known for the educational reforms he introduced in Northern Ireland, Dr. Hassan Nadhem, who is Academic Adviser to Dr. Akeel Yassin, Editor-in- Chief of the Kufa Review and Professor of Islamic Studies at the Islamic College for Advanced Studies, and Dr. Faris Kamal Omar Nadhmi, Professor of Psychology at Salahiddin University and author of a number of important studies on the social psychology of marginalized groups in Iraq and on political Islam. 

A number of other conference participants joined us, including a graduate student in history  from Tikrit University.  He, like Shiite members of the conference group, kissed the latticework on the Imam Ali Shrine and the walls.  When I asked him if he had been to the Shrine before, he said that he had, reinforcing the many stories that I have heard from Shiite colleagues from south-central Iraq that many Sunnis visit Shiite shrines there each year.

While in al-Najaf, we ate at the Holy Shrine Guesthouse (Diyafat al-‘Ataba al-Sharifa) that serves two meals daily and feeds 3000 people in the city each day.  Conference participants were invited to eat there and enjoyed delicious nourishing meals.  This was an impressive example of efforts to address social justice needs in al-Najaf which has a long history throughout the 20th century of Shi’i clerics actively participating in the Iraqi nationalist movement and fighting for this issue.

Shrine of Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khu'i
A group of conference members had the honor to be invited to the home of Sayyid Jawad al-Khu’i, grandson of Grand Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khu’i (1899-1992), the immediate predecessor of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

During our discussion of the conference theme on pluralism
Sayyid Jawad al-Khu'i
(al-ta’addudiya), Sayyid Jawad noted that the headquarters of the al-Najaf branch of the Iraqi Communist Party was located just down the street from his house on al-Muthaaan St. in the Hayy al-Sa’d district.  He indicated that this was another example of how the citizens of al-Najaf live together and respect divergent points of view.  Indeed, after leaving Sayyid Jawad’s house, we saw the bright red lights of the Iraqi Communist Party headquarters.
Ayatollah Muhammad Bahr al-'Ulum
A number of us also visited the new Ma’had al-‘Alamayn that was establish by another distinguished Najafi clerical family, that of Ayatollah Muhammad Bahr al-‘Ulum, and his son Dr. Ibrahim Bahr al-‘Ulum, Iraq’s former Minister of Oil.  This institute specializes in training its students in law and political science and is a new private institution of higher learning.

As Ayatollah Muhammad and Dr. Ibrahim showed us around the Institute, we met a number of students who explained the nature of their research for either a MA or Ph.D degree.  Many of the topics related to us speak to Iraq’s future needs, such as those of adequate water for irrigation and agricultural purposes, and developing a federal political system that meets the needs of all Iraq’s citizens. 

Dr. Ibrahim informed us that 55% of the students are drawn
from al-Najaf Governorate, but that there are many students from Sunni provinces and from Iraq's Kurdish majority provinces (in the KRG).  During examinations for MA and Ph.D examinations, we learned that all examination committees must be comprised of Sunni as well as Shiite faculty members.

Dr. Ibrahim Bahr al-'Ulum
While in al-Najaf, Dr. Hassan Nadhem took a number of us, including conference speaker, Dr., Abdul Aziz Sachedina, one of the most prominent scholars of Shiism and currently a professor at George Mason University, to the home of Dr. Muhammad Sa’id al-Turayhi, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal al-Mawsam, and sometime professor at Leiden University.

Dr. al-Turayhi showed us the manner in which he has renovated his beautiful home along the Euphrates River that has been in his family’s possession for over 130 years.  We also were joined by his daughter Zeinab who is an accomplished human rights lawyer.  We were all pleased to receive copies of Dr. al-Turayhi’s latest writings, including Massihiyun wa Shi'a: Jadal al-Lawhut wa Muqarabat al-Tarikh wa-l-Mithilugiya (Christians and Shi’a: The Dialectics of Theology and Approaches History and Mythology), and vol. 102 of al-Mawsam, on the rule of General ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim (1958-1963), entitled Jumhuriyat al-Za’im (The Leader’s Republic). 

No academic can resist a trip to the book market and, for me, al-Najaf was no exception.  Dr Sabah Aread, the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science, was kind enough to take me to the al-Huwayyish district where we walked through narrow alleyways that remined me of an earlier sojourn in book shopping in Cairo many years ago.  

When we arrived at Mustafa Bookstore (Makatabat Mustafa), Dr. Sabah introduced me to Abu Layth, the owner.  The bookstore was filled with so many books, that we would have spent most of the afternoon if our schedule had not prohibited it.  When I asked Ustadh Abu Layth for any new books on Iraqi politics and society, he pulled out a copy of the Arabic translation of my Memories of State: Politics, History and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq, not knowing that I was the author.  It was a pleasant surprise to learn that the Arabic translation, published by Maher Kayyali's Arab Institure for Research and Publishing, was selling briskly in Iraq.  I purchased so many books that I had all I could do to transport them back to the United States.
Dr. Hassan Nadhem introducing my talk at the Iraqi Writers Union
My lecture focused on the theme of, “Iraq after 2003: What is the Vision of the Future State and Can it be Implemented?” (Iraq ba’d ma 2003: Hall min Ruw’iya ‘Amm li-l-Dawla wa Kayfa al-Sabil li Bulughiha?).  I argued that Iraq needs to develop a strong foundation for democracy built on a historical memory of tolerance and cultural diversity.  I argued for an education system that emphasizes respect for the past but an openness to critical thinking and borrowing from other cultures to enrich the struggle to develop an indigenous democratic political culture.

My trip to al-Najaf al-Ashraf was a wonderful experience. Ayatollah Muhammad Bahr al-‘Ulum recently sent word through my friend and colleague, Dr. Hassan Nadhem, that he still can see the white T-shirt that I displayed before my lecture in the afternoon session of the first day of the conference.  That was a particularly warm reminder that the spirit of pluralism and tolerance still flourishes in al-Najaf al-Ashraf.  

It will be a fitting end to the conference on Religious Pluralism and Tolerance in the Dialogue of Civilizations if the University of Kufa does in fact receive a UNESCO Chair in Inter-Faith Studies.  Let's hope that receiving that chair becomes a reality.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Perspectives on Political Legitimacy: Towards a New Approach إشكالية الشرعية السياسية نحو مقاربة جديدة

Guest contributor, Dr. Abdel Sittar al-Jumailee, is Professor of International Law, and President of Samarra University, Samarra, Iraq, and General Secretary of the Nasserist Socialist Vanguard
Party in Iraq

 إشكالية الشرعية السياسية
نحو مقاربة جديدة
                                   د.عبد الستار الجميلي*
 في الساحة السياسية والفكرية العربية هناك الكثير من المفاهيم والمصطلحات والمعايير الملتبسة وغير المحددة لأسباب كثيرة ، تاريخية واجتماعية وثقافية ومعرفية، وفي مقدمة هذه المفاهيم : الشرعية السياسية كمفهوم ومصطلح ومعيار، التي تحولت مع كثرة ترديدها والاحتجاج بها والتلاعب بها الى إشكالية وسيف مسلط على إرادة الشعوب ،وغطاء يتستر به الاستبداد "الديمقراطي " للأفراد والجماعات والتيارات والدول ..ويأتي الحديث عن هذه الاشكالية،في مواجهة ظاهرة مستفزة طغت على المشهد السياسي العربي ألا وهي التوظيف السياسي لمفهوم الشرعية السياسية من قبل بعض الأطراف الدولية والاقليمية والمحلية بعد ثورة 30 يونيو(حزيران) 2013،التي أسقط خلالها الشعب العربي المصري بارادته الشعبية التي تجاوزت أكثر من ثلاثين مليون مواطن نزلوا الى الميادين والشوارع كافة في العاصمة وفي جميع المدن والقرى المصرية حتى النائية منها،أسقط حكم الإخوان وعزل د.محمد مرسي الرئيس الإخواني، حيث سارعت هذه الأطراف الى إبداء ردود فعل معادية مباشرة لارادة الشعب العربي المصري الثورية، وفي مقدمة هذه الأطراف: أمريكا والكيان الصهيوني والاتحاد الأوربي وبعض الدول والجماعات الاقليمية (تركيا وايران، والاتحاد الأفريقي) والعربية (قطر وتونس وحماس في المقدمة) والاخوان وإمتداداتهم، وبتناغم وتماهي كامل ،ملفت للنظر ومثير للتسائل والشك المشروعين .. وكان العنوان الرئيس لخطاب رد الفعل ،التركيز على الشرعية السياسية للرئيس المعزول الذي جاء عن طريق صندوق الانتخابات،والحديث عن ضرب الإسلام والمسلمين ؟؟!! وبالتالي توصيف ما حدث على أنه "انقلاب " من قبل الجيش والشعب العربي المصري على الديمقراطية والرئيس المنتخب ،وتهديد مصر بالتدخل الخارجي وقطع المعونة ،وتفعيل الارهاب في سيناء ومصر عموما، وتكفير الجيش والشعب في مصر، والقيام بسلسلة من الاعتصامات والتظاهرات العنيفة المسلحة وعمليات الخطف والقتل ضد المواطنين والمؤسسات العامة والخاصة، وحرق وسرقة مراكز الشرطة وأسلحتها والجوامع والكنائس والمساكن والمحلات والشركات والتراث الفكرى للمفكرين والشخصيات العامة المصرية، ومحاولات قطع الطرق والمترو والسكك الحديدية وتعطيل الدوام في الجامعات والمدارس ،وكلّ هذه الممارسات المحلية والدولية والإقليمية وغيرها الكثير من الجرائم هي فيما يبدو تمثل الشرعية والآليات والسلوك الديمقراطي وحقوق الانسان عند هذه الأطراف؟؟؟!!! ..لذلك وأزاء هذه الاشكالية والالتباس والخلط المتعمد للمفاهيم والممارسات والغطاءات،لابد من تقديم مقاربة جديدة لمفهوم ومصطلح ومعيار الشرعية التقليدية التي جرى التلاعب بها وتوظيفها سياسيا لتمرير شتى المشاريع والانتهاكات والتجاوزات على حساب إرادة الشعوب الحقيقية ومصائرها والمصالح العليا للدول.
     ودون الخوض في تفاصيل الخلفية التاريخية للشرعية السياسية كمفهوم ومصطلح ومعيار، والتعريفات التي قدمت لها من النواحي السياسية والقانونية، فإنّ الشرعية السياسية جرى توصيفها وإختصارها معرفيا وسياسيا وقانونيا برضا الأغلبية التي تعبر عنه صناديق الانتخابات وهي المعيار الديمقراطي الوحيد للشرعية ،أما ما سيحدث بعد القبض على السلطة فأمر مسكوت عنه ديمقراطيا لدى هذه الأطراف بغض النظر عن الأخطاء والخطايا والجرائم التي ترتكب من قبل أفراد وجماعات ودول الاستبداد "الديمقراطي"..لذلك فإن المفهوم الديمقراطي الحقيقي للشرعية السياسية كما نعتقد، الذي سنقدمه في هذه المقاربة الجديدة، نؤسسه على مرحلتين:
     المرحلة الأولى - الشرعية السياسية السابقة : يحدد هذه الشرعية رضا الأغلبية عبر صناديق الانتخابات في إطار آلية إنتخابات نزيهة ومحايدة وإقتراع سري مباشر، وعملية ديمقراطية شاملة للمواطنين جميعا بكل تياراتهم السياسية والاجتماعية بدون إقصاء أو عزل أو إجتثاث أو أية مفاهيم أخرى تحول دون ممارسة المواطنين حقوقهم المدنية والسياسية وفي مقدمتها حق الانتخاب والترشح للمناصب السيادية والتشريعية والتنفيذية..وفي إطار هذه المرحلة من يحوز على رضا الشعب عبر حصوله على الأغلبية السياسية من خلال صناديق الانتخابات وفي إطار هذه المعايير يحوز في نفس الوقت على الشرعية السياسية السابقة ، وهذه مرحلة تمنحه حقوقا أكثر مما ترتب عليه واجبات والتزامات وفي مقدمة هذه الحقوق وصف مركزه القانوني والسياسي بالشرعي، ولكن في إطار هذه المرحلة وحدها فقط،  وحتى يحوز على الشرعية السياسية الكاملة فلابد له أن يحوز على الشرعية في المرحلة الثانية.
     المرحلة الثانية - الشرعية السياسية اللاحقة : وهذه المرحلة هي الأهم لأنها ترتب ديمقراطيا على من حاز على الشرعية السابقة واجبات والتزامات أكثر مما تمنحه حقوقا،ومن يف بهذه الواجبات والالتزامات بحدود معقولة ومقبولة يحوز على الشرعية السياسية اللاحقة، وفي مقدمة هذه الواجبات والالتزامات:
     اولا-الواجبات والالتزامات المحددة في الدستور أو الاعلان الدستوري والقوانين الأخرى ذات الصلة : جميع الدساتير والاعلانات والقوانين ذات الصلة بمضامينها، ترتب على عاتق جميع من يصل الى المناصب السيادية والتشريعية والتنفيذية عن طريق آلية الانتخاب الديمقراطية مجموعة من الواجبات والالتزامات التي يجب الوفاء بها من قبل المخاطب بها.. وبغض النظر عن مضامين وحدود هذه الواجبات والالتزامات فان مناط الشرعية اللاحقة في هذه الجزيئة متوقف على الوفاء بهذه الواجبات والالتزامات، وأي انحراف عنها أو انتهاكها أو إستخفاف بها أو التهوين من شأنها وعدم إحترامها، تنزع الشرعية اللاحقة عمّن يخلّ بها وتضعه تحت طائلة المسؤولية والحساب والعقاب في إطار سيادة القانون الشاملة للحكام والمحكومين،وتدخلة مباشرة في دائرة الاستبداد وتجلياتها المتعددة، وفي مقدمة هذه الواجبات والالتزامات: الحفاظ على سلامة الدولة وأراضيها وسيادتها واستقلالها وأمنها الوطني،واحترام العملية الديمقراطية وقواعد التداول السلمي للسلطة، والحقوق والحريات العامة والخاصة ،والرموز الوطنية والاعتبارية كالعلم والسلام الوطني ومؤسسات الدولة، والحفاظ على الدستور نفسه،...والخ من الواجبات والالتزامات..
    ثانيا-البرنامج الانتخابي: يعتقد البعض أنّ البرامج الانتخابية التي يقدمها المرشحون مجرد مسألة نظرية روتينية ،جلّها مكر وخديعة وتكتيك وعلاقات عامة للوصول الى الهدف الحقيقي الذي يكمن خلف كلّ البرامج وهو الوصول الى السلطة وتوظيفها لتحقيق الأهداف المضمرة غير المعلنة لأصحابها،وبالتالي يمكن لأي كان أن يملأ هذه البرامج بما يشاء من المفردات والجمل البلاغية والتعبيرات الانشائية الجمالية والوعود الوردية،وهذا إعتقاد خاطئ وخطير لأنه يبسط الموضوع ويستهين به ويخرجه من دائرة الشرعية والمسؤولية،فالبرنامج الانتخابي هو اخطر من أن يكون مجرد مسالة نظرية روتينية فهو بالأصل محاكاة وترجمة لأهداف وتطلعات ومطالب إرادة الشعوب وحقوقهم ومصالحهم العليا ومصائرهم، وبالتالي فان مناط الشرعية في هذه الجزئية هو مدى إحترام صاحب البرنامج لوعوده التي قطعها فيه والتي فاز في الانتخابات بموجبها كأحد العوامل الرئيسة، فاذا ما أخلّ بهذه الوعود وأظهر ما يخالفها روحا ونصا، فانه يفقد معيارا أساسيا من معايير الشرعية السياسية اللاحقة،ويدخله الى جانب دائرة الاستبداد ،الى دائرة خيانة الأمانة وعدم الثقة وخداع الشعب وغيرها من الاتهامات القيمية التي لا تطال الشرعية السياسية وحدها ولكنها تطال الذمة الشخصية  لمدعي الشرعية نفسه.
     ثالثا- الادراك الوطني والسياسي الشامل : طرح الادراك في هذه الجزئية يخرجه من المفهوم المنطقي والفلسفي المجرد، الى السلوك العملي لصاحب الادراك والتقييم على أساسه من زاوية الشرعية السياسية اللاحقة ، وفي هذا الاطار فان الادراك هنا يتوزع على ثلاث محاور أساسية:
1-     المحددات الداخلية والخارجية : لكل دولة محددات داخلية وخارجية تضع إطارا عاما لإدراك وحركة الحكام والمحكومين معا ،وفي مقدمة هذه المحددات : الهوية الوطنية والقومية والروحية والحضارية والثقافية ،والأوضاع  الديمغرافية والجغرافية والنظام العام والآداب والمصالح العليا التي تنبع من السياق التاريخي والمجتمعي ،والموارد المتاحة والمحتملة وطرق استثمارها وتوزيعها ،والطبيعة العامة النظام السياسي والاجتماعي والاقتصادي والثقافي وغيرها من المحددات..ومن المحددات الرئيسة على الصعيد الخارجي الوضع الاقليمي للدولة وموازين القوى فيه من حيث العلاقات التعاونية والصراعية ،وطبيعة النظام الدولي وهيكل موازينه ومعاييره وموقع الدولة في هذا النظام..وبالتالي فان الشرعية اللاحقة تتمثل بادراك مسئول لهذه المحددات الداخلية والخارجية ، ورسم الحركة السياسية من قبل الشخصية المنتخبة في ضوء هذه المحددات ، وأي إخلال أو تجاوز مؤثر لهذه المحددات او محاولة تجاوزها أو العمل على إضعافها يخرج هذا الشخص من دائرة الشرعية اللاحقة
2-     عدم الخلط بين الدولة والنظام : الدولة في المفهوم السياسي والدستوري والقانوني ، هي نتاج تفاعل وتكامل ثلاثة عناصر رئيسة :الشعب ،الاقليم ،والحكومة أو السلطة اللصيقة بالسيادة ،.وفي المفهوم الوظيفي ،الدولة عبارة عن إدارة وخدمات . وكلا المفهومان يشتركان في توصيف الدولة ككيان ومجتمع ،ويتجسدان في نوعين من المؤسسات ،إحداهما تنتمي الى الدولة ككيان ومجتمع ،والكيان والمجتمع بطبيعتهما ودورهما وأهدافهما وتوصيفهما القانوني والسياسي والاجتماعي يتميزان بديمومة وبقاء نسبيين ،وثانيتهما تنتمي الى الأنظمة السياسية بكل أشكالها وأنواعها ،والأنظمة بطبيعتها وتجاربها متغيرة . ما يعني أنّ الدولة ككيان ومجتمع بمؤسساتهما باقيان وإن تغيرت الأنظمة شكلا أو مضمونا ،وبالتالي ينبغي دائما عدم الخلط المتعسف بين الدولة والنظام وإن كان هناك نوع من الاقتراب في الدورات الانتخابية تحتمها نتائج الانتخابات في تشكيل الحكومة وطبيعة النظام الذي تمثله ،لكن هذا الاقتراب لا يبيح لمن يصلون الى السلطة عن طريق الانتخابات بالاستيلاء على الدولة ومؤسساتها وطبعها بالتوجهات الخاصة لهم،ولكن يجب أن يكون هناك ادراك دقيق بضرورة عدم الخلط بين الدولة وبين النظام المرتبط وجوده ووظيفته واستمراره بتحقيق مصالح وأهداف الدولة ككيان ومجتمع ومؤسسات،وهذا أمر يعدّ من العناصر الأساسية للشرعية اللاحقة وأي محاولة مباشرة أو غير مباشرة " لأنظمة " ** الدولة وطبعها بطابع النظام يصيب الشرعية اللاحقة لمن يصل للسلطة عن طريق الانتخاب في الصميم ويجرده الى حدّ كبير من إدعاء هذه الشرعية.
3-     احترام العملية السياسية وقواعدها : في أي نظام سياسي ديمقراطي يقوم على التداول السلمي للسلطة ،هناك قواعد للعمل السياسي تقوم على القبول المتبادل والاحتكام الى رضا الشعب عبر الصناديق وفق نظام انتخابي محدد ودورات انتخابية مقننة بفترات زمنية محددة ،والفصل بين السلطات ،واحترام الحقوق السياسية والمدنية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية ، وغيرها الكثير من القواعد المعروفة في أيّ عملية سياسية ديمقراطية سليمة ،ويجب على من يدعي الشرعية احترام هذه القواعد التي أوصلته الى السلطة عبر الانتخابات وهي واجب والتزام يقعان على عاتقه ومن موجبات مناط الشرعية اللاحقة ،وعليه أن يطبقها على نفسه أولا قبل أن يطلبها من الآخرين ،وأي إخلال بها تحت أيّ مبرر يجرد من يصل الى السلطة عن طريق الانتخاب من الشرعية السياسية بمرحلتيها السابقة واللاحقة بشكل كامل.
     وتأسيسا على ذلك كله ،فان الاخلال بالشرعية بمرحلتيها السابقة واللاحقة يفتح الباب واسعا أمام شرعية أخرى ذات أهمية قصوى في إحداث التحولات الكبرى في التاريخ ،وهي "الشرعية الثورية "،وهو ما حققه الشعب العربي المصري العظيم في ثورة 30 يونيو (حزيران) بكل المعايير السياسية والقانونية والتاريخية للشرعية الثورية ،التي يؤكدها أيّ تطبيق لمعايير الشرعية السياسية بمرحلتيها السابقة واللاحقة على فترة حكم الرئيس الاخواني المعزول التي تثبت بما لا يدع أي مجال للشك حجم ونوع الانتهاكات والانحرافات الجسيمة والمتكررة لكل مفردات الشرعية السياسية السابقة واللاحقة معا والاستخفاف بها وعدم احترامها ،ما أكد ويؤكد حقيقة "ديمقراطية الدورة الواحدة "  اللصيقة بتيار سياسي ادعى ويدعي احتكار الحقيقة الدينية والدنيوية والحق الإلهي المزعوم بهدف فرض حالة استبداد جديدة من الإرهاب الفكري والمادي والثأري المغلّف بفقه وحاكمية التكفير والإقصاء والاستقواء بالخارج واستدعاء الاحتلال الأجنبي ،في ظل غياب البرامج السياسية والاجتماعية الوطنية والديمقراطية الواضحة لهذا التيار .. ومن جهة أخرى آمل من خلال هذه المقاربة الجديدة للشرعية السياسية السابقة واللاحقة إثارة النقاش حول مفهوم الشرعية الذي بات سيفا مسلطا على ارادة الشعوب لصالح الاستبداد " الديمقراطي " للأفراد والجماعات والتيارات على مستوى الأوطان ، والهيمنة والاحتكار والاحتلال على مستوى الدول والعلاقات الدولية.

* الأمين العام للحزب الطليعي الاشتراكي الناصري في العراق، استاذ قانون دولي. رئيس جامعة سامراء
** من النظام.