On behalf of the Executive Board of Directors, the Academic Advisory Board, and the staff of Arab Center Washington DC (ACW), I am delighted to offer you this compilation of articles titled The Arab World Beyond Conflict. This volume is the fourth in a series of books published by ACW and is based on the proceedings of its third annual conference held on September 20, 2018, in Washington, DC.
Following the conference agenda, the book begins with introductory remarks entitled “The Path to Ending Conflicts: Prospects and Hindrances” by Yemeni human rights activist, cabinet minister, and international diplomat H.E. Amatalalim Alsoswa. The choice was not accidental. The perspectives she shares, as well as other contributions to this volume, reflect the core mission of “Arab Centers” worldwide—in Doha, Beirut, Tunisia, and Paris—to contribute meaningfully to the peaceful end of conflicts that have afflicted Arab politics over the past century and prevented the region from realizing its full economic, political, and social potential. As a nonprofit, independent, and nonpartisan research center focused on the Arab world and US-Arab relations, ACW remains committed in its mission to democracy, civil liberties, human rights, tolerance, and just and peaceful resolutions to conflict. This publication was designed by ACW staff with these precise objectives in mind.
As a long-term observer of Arab politics, I am aware of the ambitious implication of our title, “The Arab World Beyond Conflict,” which could be interpreted by some critics as naïve and idealistic. We are certainly mindful of the overwhelming and continuous presence of conflict throughout modern Arab history. Indeed, Arab political life throughout the 20th century—and until the present—has seen more conflicts and wars than periods of peace and stability. It has been a depressing long list of violent clashes since the early part of the century until the present day, with ongoing strife in such places as Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Palestine. Indeed, wars in the modern period have caused millions of casualties between dead, wounded, and homeless victims, not to mention the devastating effects of wars on Arab countries’ infrastructure, resources, and path toward democratization and equality for all.
As a research center committed to the peaceful resolution of conflict and the pursuit of democracy for the Arab people throughout the region, we feel compelled to examine the root causes of these conflicts, numerous as they might be, and prescribe some solutions for a better Arab future. This book aims to do just that. I hope readers find that the insights presented in these pages will help to create awareness about the Arab world’s detrimental conflicts and ways to resolve them fairly.
Finally, a word of gratitude is due to all the contributors to this volume. The credit for the success of this publication is all theirs. Special thanks also go to the staff of Arab Center Washington DC for their professional assistance, particularly to Imad K. Harb and Zeina Azzam for editing this publication