In looking for a single word that would best describe the Arab World of today, many words come to mind. Some of those words are simple or simplistic. Some non-Arabs oversimplify that world by distinguishing its outstanding characteristics based on daily newspaper reports that describe what is happening in that world. Israel is now embedded in that world as a scapegoat for the minority wealthy Arab upper classes and its religious leaders. It has been the target of hostility and utilized as the cause of all the ills suffered by the masses.
It is a primitive world that lives on its own fantasies of truth and reality. It is an uneducated world wherein its educated members are unappreciated for their contributions to the upper classes and religious leaders for good and evil. It is a world of warfare against the “other,” be it based on geography, money, wealth, religion, tribe, or just plain ignorance. It is a sexist world living in the mistaken belief that women are inferior to men while the opposite is generally true, simply because women need their smarts to survive the often cruel, ignorant, boorish, lazy, behaviors, of their men. And it is a cruel world that has grown out of all these backward and boorish characteristics.
It is the same world that has existed for centuries, simply because the educated wealthier upper classes have retained their guarded positions in that world through the ages. The “Middle Class” is fully a part of the upper class. The families of tribal elders and of oligarchs have retained their positions of wealth and power, thanks to the ignorance of the primitives in their societies, with the lone exceptions of military and religious hierarchies that support and are supported by the elders and oligarchies.
Imams, commonly educated solely by Koran reading, are aware of the benefits of belonging to the religious hierarchy. They have escaped from, and often control, the masses from whom they escaped, for self-benefit and for the benefit of the oligarchs who provide financial material support for them in their positions of religious authority. As a result of religious teaching, what we also see today in the Arab world is maximization of the economic separation and political separation of the masses into two societies; the secular and the religious, who now fight each other for political and material control of their societies.
Modern weaponry has provided the means for the advancement of the peons of the Arab world into partnerships with oligarchs, or the “common” people and their militant supporters, and or with the religionists who control the minds and belief systems of the lower tier economic level of the masses. The one side speaks of democracy and the other speaks of Allah, whether with truth or falsehood.
The Western world appears to be betting on the oligarchs and the military to lead the Arabs to democracy, and on the Imams to instill faith just as Christianity does in the Western world. This ignorance by the West of the place of religious affiliation has led to disastrous bloody results in the Arab world and constant danger for Israel and its People.