Former Arab League chief: youth driving Middle East change against bad governments

Middle East

DAVOS: Young people in the Middle East are continuing to drive change in the region against “bad governments,” the former Arab League chief said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Arab News at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Amr Moussa, who was the Arab League’s secretary general from 2001 to 2011, said the Middle East will go through major changes in the next five years.

The changes will take place “thanks to the young people, thanks to their aspirations, thanks to the 21st Century, and thanks to the changes that have taken place as a result of these uprisings,” he said.

Over the past three months, the region has witnessed predominantly youth-driven protests in Iraq and Lebanon. Demonstrators have railed against the political elites, called for improved services and an end to sectarian systems of government. Large demonstrations have also taken place in Iran against the clerical regime, and last year huge protests in Sudan and Algeria brought an end to long-serving authoritarian rulers.

“The uprisings or the revolutions against the bad governments, the bad management of the citizens, of the people, and that’s why this is going on,” Moussa, who was also Egypt’s foreign minister from 1991 until 2001, said. “It is also because of the aspirations to change, this is the 21st century, the young people aspire to so many new things. They want movement, motion, change, these are also very legitimate aspirations.

“We haven’t achieved much yet but the Middle East is going through change.”

Moussa’s tenure at the Arab League ended as the Arab Spring uprisings rocked the region, bringing down governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, and sparking conflicts in Syria and Libya.

Since October, around 460 people have been killed and another 25,000 wounded in Iraq amid a brutal response to the protests by the security forces. In Lebanon, three people have been killed and hundreds injured, with violence peaking at the weekend. 

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