The Arab spring: New elections offer no real choice at all
Imposing the removal of Islam from the new politics of the Middle East takes us back to the era of dictatorships
The Arab spring is a breath of fresh air within the Muslim countries. However the removal of the despotic dictators of Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia do not seem to be enough. With the upcoming elections in Libya a requirement has been imposed stating that the parties who can come into power must not be religious, tribal or have any foreign funding. While very few would argue for continued foreign influence or tribalism eliminating the possibility of Islam to play a leading role in politics is surprising: the Libyan mujahideen, when fighting for the liberation of Libya, were chanting Islamic slogans suggesting a complete change to an Islamic system to bring back justice. However this system’s return to Libya has been removed by the limitations imposed for the elections. The question is who imposed these limitations and why is it that the same western secular model, via slightly more democratic elections, is being followed when it is this method that has failed the Muslim ummah time and time again.
Egypt is also going through a ruler facelift. With Mubarak gone and elections imminent multiple parties are in the running including the Muslim Brotherhood which has recently decided to put in a presidential candidate. They have recently mentioned that they will be dropping their slogan of “Islam is the Solution”. This suggests that they have to appeal to certain people to get into power. Again in this situation one must not miss the fact that there are still external influences dictating how things should fold out within Egypt. Until these external western influences are removed true change will not happen.
The western nations have many vested interests within both Libya and Egypt. Libya has a plethora of good quality oil, the largest quantity in Africa (RT News). This oil is required for the productivity within the western nations. With the economic slump, cheap energy is what is required to try and boost growth and Libya has plenty of it. As soon as the war in Libya was over ENI, a multinational oil and gas company, resumed oil production and all contracts with external oil companies, BP, shell, ENI and total existing oil contracts were honored. $300 billion worth of rebuild contracts were up for grabs the majority of which offered to the UK. Total the French oil company has 35% of oil contracts within Libya and the UK $30 billion worth of contracts up for grabs in the next ten years. With all these opportunities it is in the interests of the west to keep the government in its favour. Under Islam all fossil based fuels belong to the ummah and so all the wealth from this. So the introduction of political Islam in this region would have seen the loss of billions from UK, France and Italy.
Egypt is in such a strategic location: it controls the Suez Canal and is next door to Israel. America uses the Suez Canal to transport many goods specifically oil through the Suez so it is within its interest to keep the Suez within its domain of influence. Also the main ally of America, Israel, is next door to Egypt. So America will want to make sure that anything that may jeopardise its interests does not return to this area. Losing control of Suez or compromising the protection of Israel is non-negotiable for America no matter the public utterances of American officials supporting the will of the people of the region.
Both these examples highlight why within the current status quo real positive change for the ummah cannot be realized as it will always be within the shackles of the west. Unless we as an ummah break free of the current status quo and implement our own comprehensive Islamic system, we will never be independent and therefore will fail to progress.
A truly independent Egypt is possible under Islam only. Islam offers Egypt a unique way of life in all spheres – political, economic and societal – which is in accordance with the beliefs, values and customs of the people. The power and authority this will bring is exemplified in the way it could manage the control of the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal is a shortcut for shipping between the east and west – the Suez cuts traveling distance by 6000 miles. It currently carries 8% of all global trade and so is important to the world economy. It also carries around 2.2 million barrels of oil a day to the west. An independent Egypt ruled by Islam and implementing Islam’s economic policies would utilize revenues from this canal for infrastructure and agricultural growth. Agriculture would give people the means to provide food, clothing and shelter for themselves and infrastructure would lay the foundations for industrialization and provide jobs, livelihoods and security for a young and growing population.
A truly independent Libya established upon Allah’s Shariah would use its oil interests – among them the fifth largest oil field in the world at 74.6 billion barrels of oil – to diversify and strengthen its economic base. With the application of Islamic land reformation and distribution of wealth (Zakat) both countries combined would be able to minimize poverty if not remove it all together.
In spite of the planned elections deliberate moves to exclude Islam from the agenda for change means the status quo will remain largely unchanged. Islam has a lot to offer but needs to be implemented comprehensively to bring radical change which is so necessary in the Muslim world. This is something that western nations know and will not accommodate as long as they are in control.