The MMAJ Academy of International Studies and the Centre for West Asian Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia organized a talk on the topic “Negotiating a New World Order in the Middle East and North Africa” by renowned economist and social scientist, Dr. Huricihan İslamoğlu, Professor of Economic History, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul at the Ho Chi Minh Conference Hall, Academy of International Studies, on Monday, 2 September 2013.
Dr. Islamoglu, who is also a Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, spoke in length on the ongoing crises in Egypt and shed light on some past events that has led to the current situations in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Against the backdrop of events and analysis of actors in the Middle East and North Africa, she raised questions whether the US, which is leading the new world order that has been underway since 1990s, is ready to take on the challenge of the growing dynamic, extent of the aspirations, expectations of the global economy. She said that the vision of the area called the Middle East was actually a patchwork of the Western powers in terms of its religious, ethnic and sectarian divide. The events which have happened both in the Middle East and North Africa since 2011 show that the West was not ready for it.
She said that the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was motivated by this vision. The invasion not only failed to introduce democracy in the region but also led it into chaos. She further said that the West through its regional proxies had attempted to use the scenario in its favour.
Post 2008 the focus of Obama and administration was on democratization. She said that the Arab Spring was an incidence motivated by economic factors. And she called the Arab Spring both as a post cold war and post Camp David (1978) phenomenon. The extent of the chaos and social unrest can no longer look for solutions beyond its local requirements, she said.
Prof. Islamoglu whose publications among others include ‘Shared Histories of Modernity in China, India and the Ottoman Empire’ (2009); ‘Constituting Modernity: Private Property in the East and West’ (2004); ‘The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy’ (1987); ‘State and Peasant in the Ottoman Empire’ (1994), also talked about the July 2013 military coup in Egypt. She said that the coup is mired in the discussion whether it was a coup or not. The other aspect of the discussion is whether the coup was legitimate or not. But without getting into the details of the debate she spoke about how the violence came about and who were the actors involved in it.
She said that during the upsurge during Hosni Mubarak’s regime there were two instigators. First set of actors involved in those incidents were the Mubarak beneficiaries whereas the second set was the pro-democracy group including the young, Western oriented, secular group and as well as the Coptic Christian community.
The Mubarak beneficiaries saw it to simply introducing an updated version of the former regime in which the pro-democracy people seem to be at loss. She said that both groups seem to have a “perceived threat” and the Muslim Brotherhood moved to fill in the vacuum created in the Egyptian society by social challenges that were left by removal of government services. The other new generation was moved addressing the injustices of global capitalism. Morsi [Mohamed] being part of the younger generation saw it in terms of opportunities that the democracy provides, she added.
Faculty members of both the Academy and the Centre for West Asian Studies, students along with some guests attended the lecture.