Speaker: Iyad El-Baghdadi, human rights activist

Moderator: Barbara Serra, Al Jazeera English

The model of the modern Arab world suggested by Iyad El-Baghdadi shows three key factors, which influence each other in a form of a triangle or a loop: tyrants, terrorists and foreign intervention. Standing up against one of them is pointless, whether standing up against the whole scheme is the only way to stabilize the situation in the Arab world.

Iyad El-Baghdadi opened up his talk saying, that a lot of the discussions regarding the topic seem to him “very alarming and very depressing”. According to the human rights activist now we are in a middle of a crisis, while everyone is talking about the refugees, Middle East, failure of Arab spring. What is most alarming, as he stated, is not the human cost, which is enormous, but the question “how much worse can it get?”

As El-Baghdadi pointed out, “what we are seeing here is the breakage”of Syria, maybe also of Iraq, instability in Libya, which is nearly a failed state, but where situation is not as bad as in Syria. El-Baghdadi also said, that one of the scary questions is “What if we have failure elsewhere?”.

Being expelled from an Arab world himself during the aftermath of the Arab spring sometimes it is useful to step back and try to understand in a historical overview, how the situation started escalating.

The way to visualize the situation in the view of El-Baghdadi is through a triangle, a “vicious triangle”: tyrants – terrorists – foreign intervention, in which people of the Arab world are trapped in the middle, because three of the key factors – “engines” of the triangle keep reinforcing each other. For instance, foreign intervention is justifying the aggression which has been growing in the Arab region, even despite of the fact, that the intervention has an idea of fighting tyranny.

So if you want to stand against one side of the triangle, you have to stand against the others.

When did this triangle arise? El-Baghdadi believes, that it arose in the late 90s and it “cemented after 9/11”. In 2011 the Arab spring “signaled the rejection” of this triangle. “It was easy for arabs to direct anger of their own people to the west”, but according to El-Baghdadi, in 2011 it was the first time, when the arabs directed their anger on their own government. And in 2013 it became clear that the crisis is running in another cycle, the triangle is not broken.

El-Baghdadi also presented the results of the poll of his subscribers on Twitter. The question was: “Are the arab world’s key regimes sustainable over the next 10-15 years”. 77% out of more than 1200 respondents replied “no”.

Another poll with a question “Is ISIS state sustainable?” resulted into 80% of people saying “no”.

Regarding the role of the social media in the Arab world, El-Baghdadi said, that “Twitter is the parliament of Arabs” and added some examples of the users’s reaction to the political events in the region, which shows the common rejection of the political regime.

In general, according to the speaker, the situation can be described like that: the terrorists are not leading and even if they win, they don’t have a plan.

The triangle is no longer stable, as El-Baghdadi thinks. There is a lot of pressure from within the triangle.

El-Baghdadi concluded his speech with an idea, a “message”, that in order to reach some stability in the Arab region the importance of this area should be recognized by the world. Arab societies are most dynamic and most promising societies and one should believe in them.

Victoria Kolesnichenko