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'Human values driving Arab uprisings'
Wed Mar 2, 2011|
Interview with Eugene Dabbous, a professor at Notre Dame University
Protesters burn pictures of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
As the Middle East and Northern Africa witnesses massive anti-government protests, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has said that no option is off of the table regarding Libya.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Professor of Notre Dame University, Eugene Dabbous, in Beirut for more analysis of the situation in the Arab countries.
Following is the text of the interview:
Press TV: The protesters are pushing the line of constitutional monarchy, especially in Jordan that has also witnessed demonstrations, but also in Bahrain. Many experts are saying that is a possible option while a lot of people on the ground are saying that they want complete change. What is your take on that?
Dabbous: I think the option of the constitutional monarchy for Jordan and Bahrain and possibly for Saudi Arabia and Oman is the only doable option. These countries have to [make a] transition as gradually and as thoroughly as possible. They do have a reliable partner vis-a-vis the people, which is the royal family. We have seen this in Europe of course in the early 20th century. Countries that are military dictatorships or one-party dictatorships, as in Libya, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt, they had to go the whole way. There was nobody with whom they [protesters] could negotiate. Interestingly, now with the exception of the [United Arab] Emirates, Syria and Lebanon, the entire Arab world is engulfed in this movement and probably a more gradual [transition into] constitutional monarchy is the one option that is probably going to work in Jordan, Bahrain and Oman.
Press TV: We have reports of a new American warships being in the area of the Mediterranean. We of course have reports that two of them are already there and we also know that the British, the American and French Special Forces troops are in place in Libya. How significant are these events and what do you think is the reason that they are involved there? Is it to protect the Libyan people?
Dabbous: Obviously, the US doesn't have the stomach for a third war in the region and I would say that any intervention would not work, be it a no-fly zone or actually direct land troops, without any unified support of the UN Security Council, which would include China and Russia. So I would say that they are there first of all to show flag and second of all to convince Gaddafi and his sons that if they do massacre in the large scale the civilian population that there would be consequences once they are toppled. I sincerely doubt that the US is interested at this moment in landing troops because the situation is improving in an unexpected way for the US. What we see now are largely pro-Western, pro-Western not in the sense of pro-US but pro-Western values. The values shared by the protesters throughout the region are democracy, meritocracy: people should be rewarded for their hard and not because of connections, influence peddling and a fair crack at making a success if you are willing to work hard.
Press TV: How much of those pro-Western values that you mention are also Islamic values?
Dabbous: I would say that they are not western or Islamic specifically, but they are human values. The difference between the West, Middle East and North Africa is that these human values have been able to develop properly because of the democratic environment in which they are in. What the people are basically demanding is that these commonly shared human values are allowed to develop based on the hard work and commitment of the individuals and not because of the party structures, crony capitalism or oppression. These values are shared by Muslims, Christians and secular people throughout the world.