Lecture: 04-01-2017
Mr. Khaled Omer Benguega
Algerian writer and journalist, Media advisor to the Arab Writers Union, executive editor-in-chief of The Arab Writer magazine

Local and international talks about the role of Arab armies have garnered much concern among observers since the end of 2010. With time, these talks developed into a political position by some peaceful opposition parties and many violent actors, particularly terrorist groups. The media helped provide a general climate for waging continuous wars through a media discourse that threatens the pillars of the national state and questions the patriotism of armies and their leaders. This signals a change in the system of laws and values that define the role of armies in Arab states.

Thus, there is a need to discuss the role of Arab armies in the current stage through: 1) deconstructing the relationship between the civil authority and the military; 2) exploring the apparent and covert goals of the repeated local and international calls to distract armies from their national role; and 3) defining the future role of those armies amidst global militarization and the call for a wide scale use of force, as articulated in the discourse of extremist parties.

This lecture also seeks to present a future outlook based on current data to explain the risks armies will face as a result of being involved in protecting the domestic front alongside their traditional role in maintaining the sovereignty and integrity of the state. These risks will make it difficult for these armies to perform their duty, as regional and international powers flock to dominate Arab states.

On the other hand, the lecture will seek to answer some problematic questions: Are Arab armies hostile towards democracy and desire to put an end to it? Or do they seek to protect it and act as facilitators? As Arabs, do we give priority to military or civil organizations? Do Arab armies hold similar positions as the ruling government? Are they closer to the people or to the government? What gives them legitimacy? What are the separating lines between the role of the armies and the role of other institutions?

The lecture will raise these questions, alongside others, within a comprehensive vision. The answers along with the discussions with the audience will help define the role of Arab armies and their importance for the national state at a time when they seem to be the target of wars waged on several fronts by conspicuous and disguised enemies.


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