Strategic Foresight Initiative director Mathew Burrows writes for US News & World Report on the return of authoritarianism to governments across the Middle East:
As internal conflicts in Syria and Iraq spell the end of the century-old Sykes-Picot settlement, a counterrevolutionary authoritarianism is growing in key countries ringing the chaos in Syria and Iraq. But authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Turkey and the Gulf can’t contain the violence, let alone speed needed structural reforms. As shown by the Obama administration’s last minute decision to help the Iraqi Christian and Yazidi communities, the off-loading by Western governments of all responsibility to local authoritarian powers won’t improve the situation.
It was all too predictable that the Arab Spring would have its nemesis in a counter-revolutionary backlash, but the reaction came sooner than anticipated. Coupled with former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s inept failure in governing is now an unending spate of conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sinai, Gaza and elsewhere. Just as Robespierre and Napoleon were helped to power by the external threats bearing down on revolutionary France, conflict has always been the enemy of liberal democracies, and this is no different for the Middle East.