July 07th, 2012 | People's Daily Arabians pay heavy price for Arab Spring
Political transition in Syria is a Pandora’s Box, leading to far more losses than gains. This situation is not unique to Syria. Political transition in Arab states such as Yemen and Libya, where the transfer of power is determined by military force, is usually accompanied by enormous turmoil and tribulations.
After a cost–benefit analysis of the Arab Spring, certain media outlets found that instead of truly improving the lives of the Arab people, the wave of uprisings for “freedom” resulted in immeasurable losses to the Arab world, including heavy casualties, economic losses, and humanitarian crisis.
One of the main causes of such a result is the unique socio-political structure in the Arab world. The Arab people have strong tribal consciousness, and adopt a “concentric-circle model” of political identity. They are most loyal to their families, after that come their tribes, tribal unions, and finally countries.
Such sectarianism and tribalism can easily lead to family politics and crony capitalism. Furthermore, the people in power are mostly hostile to and distrustful of other tribes and religious sects, and show no mercy in suppressing the revolts by other tribes or religious sects.
It is because of this unique socio-political structure that normal political protests and transfer of power in certain Arab countries have quickly turned into deadly violence and repression.
In some sense, Arab states and Third World countries face similar problems concerning political transition. It teaches us to strike a balance between reform and stability.
On the one hand, the disorderly political transition in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and other Arab states and the heavy price they paid for it fully show the interdependence of stability and reform. Without social or political stability, even the best blueprint for reform would be just a piece of scrap paper.
On the other hand, long-term stability can only be achieved through reform and development.