Commonalities of the Arabian Peninsula Countries

A purely, ethnically and anthropologically Arab region!
Qadri Ahmed Haidar
September 21, 2023

Commonalities of the Arabian Peninsula Countries

A purely, ethnically and anthropologically Arab region!
Qadri Ahmed Haidar
September 21, 2023

  1. Disintegration and unity

When we read the charter and system of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), its regulating goals, and the interconnections between its countries, we find Yemen is actually located in its heart, and outside it at the same time, due to the objection of the political condition. Therefore, it shall be said that: it is not in Saudi Arabia’s interest, specifically, to continue the war in Yemen in such absurd manner.

In fact, the region of the Arabian Peninsula is almost a single geographical area, overlapping and interconnected (adjacent) to the point of having no borders, other than what is governed by state borders in the constitutional and legal sense. Other than that, it is a unified geopolitical state, which gives geography its distinctive role, and also gives it its own name, meaning, and identity.

I do not agree at all with what some people say that societal entities, specifically the state, in the Arabian Peninsula region (and all Arab countries), were established and declared according to colonial decrees. Rather, it was, and still is, an extension of a historical presence that was and still exists, unique and distinctive, such as historical traditional structures and institutions (social and cultural history, political experience, accumulation of community awareness, state legacy, quasi-state, authority, political and commercial relations, labor, and migration) were and still common issues among Arab states. Although they differ from one country to another in terms of governing systems; emirate, sultanate and kingdom, however, the commonalities between them are many and varied, as peculiarities within the framework of unity. They are between Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, and may be the broadest and deepest, and they are the same with and between its various countries.

It is important here to differentiate between harmonies created by the common history of the region, and commonalities that are related to the present and the future of the region. We must make it today with the unity of our positions on the present and the future, and the joint movement towards achieving it.

There is an economic/capitalist law that became evident and occurred with the transformation of capitalism from the stage of free competition to the imperialist stage, and it governs and controls the relations of the (Western) center, with our region, and the Third World. Today, under the conditions of economic globalization, in its military depth, it reproduces itself in a deeper and greater way (the law of uneven development). It is a law, which in its new amendments and additions, consolidates and strengthens the unity of the colonial center state: (economically, politically, and militarily), as much as it fragments and dismantles the peripheral states, (the margins) marginalizing them, and subordinating them more and more. It is a law and logic that is still developing. The old “Sykes-Picot” was one of its tools and names, and today it is trying to renew itself strategically through what is happening in our region and the world at large.

The division and unity in our region are deeply linked to this economic/imperial law (advanced center, backward periphery). It was “Eurocentric,” and today it is “imperial globalization,” economic/military, old/new. We cannot understand fragmentation and unity outside this legal framework, without exempting ourselves (a political ruling class, political components, and society) from responsibility and negligence. This also does not mean that the phenomenon of unity and fragmentation was created and generated by colonization, but rather it is an objective, historical condition, and a natural matter in the path of development of societies (the transition from traditionalism to modernity) in the path of the formation of states. What we mean is the organized and systematic role in colonialism’s work to reproduce the phenomenon of fragmentation and institutionalize it on the basis of “divide and rule.”

The old Sykes was based on the division of geography (borders), while the new edition of it focuses on the economic division, the sectarian division, and the religious partition (wherever possible; Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Libya, if possible), even if the economic and political goal is the basis. Hence, we witnessed the generation of numerous (geographic) maps and atlases of the region. Therefore, the focus is on the role of media (cyberspace) and ideology together, starting from the discourse of the end of history, the end of ideology, and the end of nationalism, until the “clash of civilizations.” What is meant here, and for us, is the history and unity of our region, especially the countries and societies of the Arabian Peninsula, the weakest link in the Arab chain as they conceive.

In the climate of the Cold War (political conflict, Arab/Arab), the political condition played a negative role in perpetuating the logic of division, at the expense of unity, in which we neglected the factors of our internal strength in favor of the external. So, today we must move from “free” conflict to the necessary, historical reconciliation within the structure of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, and most importantly, learning how to manage diversity and differences among them.

Yemen and Saudi Arabia are the demographic depth of the Arabian Peninsula region, its living artery, the breadth of its land, and its human navel. Unfortunately, this is what the leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia couldn’t understand well, through their insistence on imposing their aggressive policy towards Yemen.

  1. The theory of geography and history
  1. The Arabian Peninsula is a purely Arab region, ethnically and anthropologically. This is the general and prevailing assumption.
  2. The common denominator between Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman is long geographical borders - to varying degrees - whose political maps were drawn in the first quarter of the twentieth century (British and Ottoman covenants), which are united by language and religion as a result. 
  3. The common factor between Yemen and Saudi Arabia is the convergence in population density.
  4. The six countries of the Arabian Peninsula, excluding Yemen, had unstable borders, until an agreement was made in 1913 AD between Britain and the Ottomans, according to which the political border line between them was determined.
  5. Geography/location: Despite the significance of the distinct strategic geographical location of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, this feature was often turned from a blessing into a curse. Thus, it is important today to be fully aware of the value of the geography (its deception and its revenge), as much as our awareness and consciousness of the value of the living history of the people living in it (Geography) in the industry of the future. The most important thing is how do we understand the factors of the power of geography/location, within us, and for us (to our advantage) in deepening the meaning and value of our presence in the present-day, and in creating the future? How do we make them (geography and history) a driver for hard work, production, and development, for solidarity, and for economic, political, and scientific integration? How do we turn them into a driving and motivating element for the launch of our strength, nationally, internally, externally, regionally, and internationally? We shall at least employ them to serve the purpose of strengthening Arab national security in its comprehensive sense, and not the narrow, ineffective country-based one.
  6. We must recognize that Israel’s infiltration into Africa, specifically into the Horn of Africa, means placing its attention on the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab, and the Gulf of Aden, the gateways to our power in the present and future.
What is required today is to focus on economic integration between the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, and to accelerate the creation of economic leagues in today’s world, and not in devoting quarreling and war against each other, as in the case of the continued occupation and war in Yemen!
  1. Between political economy and demographics
  1. What unites and bonds the citizens (people) of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula are many, and in brief and with specific definitions, they include: the archaeological and anthropological dimensions, in the broad cultural sense, and to a certain degree, in the “social” sense. It also includes the meanings inherent in the geography of place, time, and its connected, integrated and unified demographics. All of these issues and elements represent major and important levers of economic integration, which are widely deliberated. What is surprising is that all the sources of this power lie in the liaison with Yemen, which a fact that was completely ignored by the Saudi leadership, that will result in diminishing of all countries in the region. 
  2. What is required today is to focus on economic integration between the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, and to accelerate the creation of economic leagues in today’s world, and not in devoting quarreling and war against each other, as in the case of the continued occupation and war in Yemen! In our view, the most critical issue is to focus on the solidarity and integration in the defense and security aspects, in light of the growing risks to the future of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, and the entire Arab region. Especially in the reality of the expansion and extension of the policies and interests of regional powers striving to dominate the entire region and impose themselves as its leader - and we mean Iran - alongside Israel, of course, the strategic enemy. These thirst powers have no objection to playing a role for Ottoman/new Turkey, especially since the Iranian/nationalist ambitions are declared and clear in the form of its penetrations into the region, especially after they embarked on the path of completing and resolving the nuclear dossier, with the West, and what is happening in Yemen is the best evidence of that.
It is no longer understood that the countries of the Arabian Peninsula region remain, economically and scientifically, lagging behind in building their own nuclear reactors for peaceful energy purposes, which is an economic, scientific and productive issue that is related to the unity, future and progress of the countries of the region.
  1. Oil and its role in the transition from disintegration to unity. With the discovery of oil, a qualitative stage began to be formed in the history of politics and society, and because of oil, the features of a new economic era began: development flourished, the reconstruction of large areas, and the emergence of milestones of the contemporary urbanization of state. Oil had a prominent role in establishing stability in the heart of regions that lived within the natural economy (sufficiency, pastoralism, nomadism, and limited agricultural oases). Thanks to oil, wealth was available to the authorities, new leadership, and financial resources invested in urbanization, the primary extractive industry, the “petrochemical” industry, and the transportation network. It is important today to enter the knowledge economy/cyberspace as an added production force, all of which have led to changes in the social structure, living, administration, education, and developments in the institutional structures of the countries of the region, in relationship with the global capitalist market. It led to the transition from traditional social and political forms and organizations (nomadism, tribalism) and traditional “patriarchal” systems of government, to a semi-modern, mixed transitional society, and to a semi-bureaucratic state. Moreover, it also necessarily produced a new leadership gradually - especially what is happening during these recent years - as if it were a reaction to historical isolation, stagnation and historical economic sluggishness. Oil also accelerated external interventions, which is why it is important today to transform oil from a factor of disintegration into a force of unification and progress, and most importantly, diversify the region’s economies by moving from a rentier economy to developing strategic productive industries that are parallel and alternative to the rentier economy.
  2. In our estimation, it is no longer understood that the countries of the Arabian Peninsula region remain, economically and scientifically, lagging behind in building their own nuclear reactors for peaceful energy purposes, which is an economic, scientific and productive issue that is related to the unity, future and progress of the countries of the region. Especially since the material/financial and scientific capacity is accessible, and today it is a domestic and national issue, urgent and current, that contributes and helps to the multiple sources of productive economic, scientific, and technological power of our countries.
  3. If oil has played an influential and pivotal role in the social and political interactions, and in the formation of the state, then the revolution in communications, information technology, and cyberspace will push the societies and peoples of the region to a more welcoming state in changing visions, ideas, and social and cultural structures. This is also the case in Yemen, which today falls under “guardianship,” “mandate,” and even occupation!
  4. The danger of continued leniency, or failure to appreciate the gravity of the continued accumulation of imbalance in the demographic equation (foreign/non-Arab labor in particular) in its relationship with society and the economy, on the future of the national social composition (population), in most countries of the Arabian Peninsula - to varying degrees - which may lead to unexpected political and social explosions, hardships and economic challenges in the heart of national geography and history. It is necessary to start now by presenting serious domestic/national solutions to address this issue at the medium and long-terms.
  5. One of the common factors shared by all the countries of the Arabian Peninsula is that the average of young people constitutes a high percentage, and this is an advantage as they represent the future of their nations, in light of the declining oil price signs, as well as the effects of economic globalization on their lifestyle, and on the meaning of cultural identity for the majority of the rising generation among them in addition to the negative effects of sectarian mobilizations. Therefore, the young group at the heart of our societies remains a double-edged sword in light of the lack of attention to their issues, their needs, and the failure to listen to them, which may make them vulnerable to sharp polarization in every direction. So, the authorities must work hard to accommodate them positively and to protect them of countless negative influences.
  1. Risks and challenges facing the state and society
  1. The importance and necessity of achievement of the modern institutional building of the countries of the region, in the form of administrative and legal systems, institutional legislation, as well as the democratic political dimension, on the way to completing the building of a modern civil state.
  2. Social justice: it is very critical to paying attention and focusing on this pillar, and its negative repercussions on the future of the state and society.
  3. Political participation: The same thing is said in the social justice dimension. We shall repeat it due to the significance of partnership and participation in political decision-making through institutions, even gradually, which has not happened so far.
  4. The endangerment and challenges of the transformation of the racist Zionist entity into a Jewish religious state under a national cover, on the basis of transforming the settlement process into a basis for existence and expansion, at the expense of the Palestinian Arab presence. This is a serious strategic threat, and what is riskier is that some countries go for free normalization with the Zionist entity under the name "Deal of the Century"!
  5. The expansionist political and military threats of the “state of the Guardian Jurist” and the Supreme Religious Leader, especially in our region, and it is not in vain that we talk about “Sana’a” as the fourth capital of the State of the Guardian Jurist, and the danger of what has been happening in Yemen for more than eight years, to the entire region. 
  1. Combating extremism and terrorism: it shall be stressed that terrorism is a global phenomenon and has no religious, ethnic, national, or geographic specificity.
  2. The state is the only guarantor of unifying the spectrum of society in the fight against terrorism, and in this direction, it is essential to carry out sound political and institutional reforms, starting with education, school curricula, and its erroneous ideological foundations, reforming education (staff, curriculum, methods, and teachers, and rethinking the logic of education). The catastrophic picture remains: the reality of education and its future in light of everything that is happening in the country today, of the organized and systematic destruction of education, especially under the authority of the Houthi group, which refuses to hand over the salaries of state employees, including the salaries of teachers.
  3. Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of the Caliphate (ISIS) represent a common threat, stemming from the fact that they have a deep presence in the structure of our intellectual, cultural, and educational organizations. They directly threaten our national and regional existence, according to what ISIS announced, and it presents itself as a contradiction and a religious alternative to the meaning of our existence, specifically in the Arabian Peninsula. The lethality of this group lies in the fact that, unfortunately, it is a product of existing and latent intellectual, political, social, and religious contexts among us.

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