The path to instability in Middle Eastern and African nations involves several key players, including those we are hesitant to name, according to Dr. Hind Arroub, a Fulbright Research Scholar from Morocco in a lecture at Fordham Lincoln Center last Tuesday.
Arroub specializes in political science and is a part of the Core Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program. Fordham is hosting her as she continues to conduct her research.
“Both western countries and autocrats benefit from terrorism in a vicious way,” Arroub told an audience at A lecture on the “Instability in the Middle East and North Africa in the Post Arab Spring.”
The lecture broke instability and violence down to key factors that directly create the chaos prevalent in the Arab world.
Detailing a timeline that benchmarked significant policies and events directly correlated to modern instability in the region, Arroub spoke of a path to terror dating back to the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. In it, Asia was broken down into spheres of influence, which eventually influenced the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 global recession.
Arroub regarded unemployment as a key factor among Arab youth in growing terrorist militia forces, citing a 30.9 percent unemployment rate in the Arab region.\
“If education succeeds, so will employment,” said Arroub. “There will be no peace if we have a huge number of people jobless.”
The ability to remedy unemployment lies in bettering Arab education, Arroub contended, and is less complicated than Western involvement physically in the Arab world.
Although Arroub did not identify Western involvement as the primary problem, she listed it as a key factor of instability. In fact, Western involvement should be deterred, as it strengthens autocratic censorship in the Middle East, which consequently impedes freedom of speech, Arroub said
“[Autocrats] claim there is no time for freedom of expression,” she said. “Western countries are defending those autocrats in order to fight terrorists.”
Dr. John P. Entelis, professor of political science and event organizer, addressed the audience after Arroub’s lecture. Entelis agreed with some of the factors contributing to instability in the Arab world.
“You need to construct a social foundation,” Entelis said concerning a faltering education system in the Middle East. “In certain parts of Morocco, 80 percent of the women are illiterate. So the question remains: Where should our efforts be made? Education.”
Despite the high levels of illiteracy in areas of the Middle East, Arroub advocated that countries such as the Untied States should let the Arab nations solve their own problems without intervention from the Western world.
“You [The United States] should pack up your luggage and go back,” said Arroub.
Kyle J. Kilkenny, FCLC ’19, is a student of Dr. Entelis and found Arroub’s response to have some substance. “I don’t necessarily think we should pack up our bags and leave,” said Kilkenny. “But we should leave soon.”
Arroub encouraged the millennials in the audience to find a solution to some of the more pressing issues in the Middle East through intricate examination of factors of instibility.
“A.P.E.: Acknowledge, Prevent, and Educate,” said Kilkenny. “You have to acknowledge what’s going on, you need to change the rhetoric, you have the prevent these actions and you have to educate people. We have to ask, what is perpetuating this cycle?”