The Clash of Civilisations or The End of History?

An analysis regarding North Africa and Europe

Seminar Paper, 2005

16 Pages, Grade: A / 1.0



1.) Introduction

2.) A brevi manu profile of Northern Africa from the 20th Century to date: History, Culture and political Structures

3.) Facing the Regions: Clash, Co-operation versus Democratisation or a remaining Status quo ?

4.) Conclusion

5.) Bibliography // Webiography

6.) Appendix
6.1 Translated Texts
6.2 Map of North Africa and the Mediterranean Region 15
6.3 Timeline “Le Maghreb”
6.4 Advertisement: “Succeeding in a Changing Libya” (EMCS)

1.) Introduction

Samuel P. Huntington, notable political scientist and professor at Harvard University, raised a great discussion when his article “The Clash of Civilizations?”[1] was published in 1993. As a response to Francis Fukuyama’s “The End of History”[2] – thesis, Huntington provides the post – Cold War world with a scheme of interpretation for the international relations of the multi-polarity which is to be found after 1989 up to date. Further, Huntington’s main hypothesis states “[...] that the fundamental source of conflict [...] will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great division among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.”[3]

In opposition, Fukuyama forehand ibidem una traho describes the global political order after the fall of the Iron Curtain as clearly defined: The end of history is reached since democracy will be the only reliable form of governance and state building, establishing in more and more countries throughout the world[4], regarding a long term spectrum of time. There is “[...] such a thing as a single, coherent modernisation process [...] ]leading[ to liberal democracy and market-oriented economies as the only viable choices.”[5]

In Chapter Two, this text will provide a short analysis of the countries of Northern Africa, namely Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, from the time of the twentieth century until to date. By doing so, particular emphasis will be put on cultural, historical and political aspects of the region, which, even that they might to a large extent be treatised individually, have to be examined as co-relating and inter-acting with each other, nonetheless.

In the context of the a priori introduced contrary theses of Huntington versus Fukuyama, in Chapter Three, the contemporary situation regarding North Africa and Europe will be highlighted in order to face the question whether any one of these assertions might be taken as a valid future prospect or if one has to state that common circumstances will remain maintaining the Status quo.

The final Conclusion will resume the politika that are to be stated as being of a major importance for the argumentation contra the hypothesis of a clash of civilisations between the cultures of North Africa and the ones of Europe. Furthermore, the particularities that are inherent in the politics and societies of Northern Africa, will serve to argue in favour of the impossibility of reaching the ideal of an end of history, since “[...] the actual political and economic relations are much more complex,”[6] and prospects for a transition towards democratisation remain absent. Within this coherence, finally, the impossibility of a stocking inter-relation between the two regions will be made efficiently obvious.

2.) A brevi manu profile of Northern Africa from the 20th Century to date:

History, Culture and political Structures

With the exception of the most Western North African country, namely Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya had experienced the rule of the Ottoman Empire, “[...] a world empire that had existed for some 400 years”[7], shaping history[8], culture and politics of most of the Middle Eastern region immensely. Nonetheless, in the early 1920s, when Mustafa Kemal Pasha proclaimed a new era for Turkey[9], the empire had already lost its influence to a large extent due to the increasing colonialism through the European empires[10], to socio-political developments within various states, forming part of the Ottoman territory of influence, and within the centre of Turkish power[11] itself. A further, major impact on Turkish strength was its defeat against France and the British Empire in the First World War. “[...] By the mid-1920s the British and the French were the Masters of the Middle East”[12], whereby Egypt came under British protectorate (1914), Tunisia and Algeria under the rule of France. Being under the Ottoman’s since 1551, Libya was conquered by Italy in 1911[13], making it a colony which should suffer intensively under the Italian fascism of Mussolini[14]. Morocco in the late nineteenth century partly has been under the protectorate of Spain[15]. The agreement of 1904 between France and the Spaniards to share power on Morocco equally endured for eight years, until 1912, when the Treaty of Fez determined the Moroccan region becoming a French protectorate[16].

Under the rule of the European empires, the impact on the Northern African countries has been of a great intensity. The boundaries of the states often were carved newly or re-defined[17] ; attempts of reforms concerning socio – political, legal and economic structures were absolved; furthermore, the various cultures to be found in the region(s), were influenced to an extent which remained obvious up to date[18]. Main aim of the European powers was not the stabilisation of the Northern African region, however, in opposite, as colonial emphasis throughout the centuries a priori already indicated, the greatest argument in favour of maintaining the colonies was the strengthening of the own position, vis-à-vis other states world-wide, but in particular regarding the other empires of the European continent. The lack of local resources, the damages as a product of the First World War, and the prestige of being a world power, which was needed to be held up[19] and expanded, made colonialism attractive for the European states despite the social, political and logistic problems the upholding of the territories in the Maghreb implied.

Co-relating with the colonial developments, anti – European, national oriented movements gained increasing momentum in Northern Africa.[20] Exempli causa, in 1915, the Egyptian Wafd Party, which was of a secular, nationalistic orientation, began its struggle for national independence.[21] Ten years later, the Algerian Etoile Nord – Africaine rose, following the same intentions as the previously described Formation in Egypt.[22] Having put emphasis on a mainly socio – political change, as well, but, more than the former ones, on the basis of Islam, Hassan Al-Bannâ[23] created the Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Ikhwân al-Muslimîn) in Egypt in 1928, which is to be seen as the organisation of that kind which “[...] acquired the most political and social success [...].”[24]

Such developments emerged more and more as successful in the societies of the Maghreb. Partly due to these events, with the end of the Second World War in 1945[25], the European empires diminished their territory of influence drastically[26]. Until the mid – 1960s, all of the Northern African states became independent[27], establishing political systems that mostly were

– and mainly are until today – characterised by monarchy and/or authoritarian governance.[28]

Attempts versus democratisation were either not made or, as in the case of Egypt, even refused by the people. The authoritarianism[29], which developed in the countries of the Maghreb, consequently had a deep impact on the demos: The emergence of alternative, to the regimes oppositional groups was totally suppressed, due to the fear of Islamic fundamentalism[30] or in order to uphold the own power[31] ; art and journalism had to suffer from a critical censorship, including the inability to express any possible issue against the rulers; economic power was kept in the hands of the regimes or the elites supporting the regimes, respectively; human rights were violated either by the authorities themselves, or such a violation did not cause any condemnation. Brevi manu, universal rights and human values, which for instance were fundamentally launched in the Western European democracies after the Second World War, were neither established nor targeted. This situation generally remained constant throughout the decades that followed. However, partial modifications were to be stated. The developments of the 1970s, namely the increasing globalisation, affecting various socio – political and economic sectors[32], the oil crisis of 1972/73, and the transitional processes towards democracy in several countries in the European neighbourhood of the Maghreb[33], left their traces in the Northern African region[34]. Nonetheless, the basic structures in the states regarding political elites, power and economy, remained relatively constant. Today, the North African states form part of various inter-national economic and political agreements.[35] Even Libya, which, under the rule of Qadhafi, remained relatively isolated throughout the 1980s and 1990s, restarted to intensify its relations with the outer world in the twenty-first century.[36] However, until to date, changes in the patterns of the Maghreb states towards the establishment of societal equality, democratic values, liberalisation and the like, were mainly of cosmetic nature, stabilising the existing elites and their powers.


[1] Huntington, Samuel P.: “A Clash of Civilizations?” (1993). This famous article is to be found (e.g.) in: The book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” followed in 1996, basing on the thesis promoted in the 1993 article (Chapter 1 of his book was published by the Washington Post, to be found in

[2] Fukuyama, Francis: “The End of History and the Last Man”; Hamish Hamilton, The Free Press (1992). The introduction (“By way of an Introduction”) to that book, which is extending Fukuyama’s public lecture on this theme held at the University of Chicago in 1989, is to be found (e.g.) in

[3] See: Huntington: “A Clash of Civilizations?” (1993)

[4] Concerning the world-wide expansion of transition to democracy see e.g. Huntington, Samuel P.: “The Third Wave. Democratization in the late Twentieth Century”, University of Oklahoma Press (1991).

[5] See: Fukuyama, Francis: “Has History Restarted Since September 11?” (2002), available in On 8 August 2002, Fukuyama held this speech, the John Bonytho Lecture, in The Grand Hyatt, Melbourne.

[6] Translated from: Bakr, Salva; Basem Ezbidi; Dato´ Mohammed Jawhar Hassan; Fikret Karcic; Hanan Kassab-Hassan; Mashar Zaidi: “Die muslimische Welt und der Westen” in “Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte” (Beilage zur Wochenzeitung Das Parlament); B 37/2003 (08.09.2003); bpb / p. 8 / See Appendix 6.1.1

[7] See: Owen, Roger: “State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East” (3rd Edition), Routledge, London (2004) / p. 5

[8] See App. 6.3: Timeline “Le Maghreb”.

[9] Mustafa Kemal Pasha (12 March 1881 – 10 November 1938) is better known as Kemal Atatürk. Having been a pragmatic statesman with reformistic attitudes, Pasha became the first president of the Republic of Turkey which was formed in 1923. Under his leadership, the young Turkish state transformed to a modernised, secularised and Western oriented country.

[10] See e.g. Pollacco, Christopher: “European Integration. The Maltese Experience”, Agenda; Luqa, Malta (2004) / p. 5, table 1: “The Partition of Africa in 1914 and 1939”. Pollacco names the following empires as having had a major influence on continental Africa: French Empire, British Commonwealth and Empire, German Empire (which, after its defeat in the First World War, had to hand over its colonies due to Art. 231, Treaty of Peace, Versailles.), Belgian Empire, Italian Empire, Portuguese Empire, Spanish Overseas Territories and Empire (et al.).

[11] For this development, the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 might serve as an example.

[12] See: Owen: “State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East” / p. 7

[13] The Italian conquer of the Libyan provinces, namely Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan, created a huge front of resistant groups, fighting against the occupation. [See: Ighneiwa, Ibrahim: “Libya: The Italian Occupation and the Libyan Resistance”, available in: :] “One of the major battles was Al-Gherthabiya near Sirt (April 1915) where the Italians lost Thousands of their soldiers.”

[14] Mussolini was elected Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 after his March on Rome. Under his dictatorship, at the end of the 1920s, thousands of Libyans were deported in concentration camps (besides many small locations, there were four main bases: Al-Agaila, Al-Brega, Al-Magroon and Sloog), suffering heavily from inhuman conditions. In 1943, with the Italian defeat in the Second World War, the Duce was deposed, and, with him, the end of the fascist rule, for Italy as well as for Libya, was determined.

[15] The Spanish enclave of Ceuta, being on Moroccan territory, has been greater subject of the 1860s war between Spain and Morocco. After the Spanish victory, its sphere of influence enlarged. By 1884, the Moroccan coastal areas were adapted by Spain as a protectorate.

[16] Nonetheless, until December 1975, the Western part of the great desert Sahara remained under Spanish rule. When Spain agreed on withdrawing from the Western Sahara, already for two years, it was a region of conflict between the POLISARIO movement, supported by Algeria, and the Moroccan state. Furthermore, until today, the provinces of Ceuta and Melilla, located on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, form politically part of the Republic of Spain.

[17] Libya, for example, is a conclusion of mainly three provinces (see FN 14), recently united by the Italians in 1934, which were nominating it with the ancient Greek word for the whole Maghreb (excluding Egypt).

For a contemporary picture about the countries geographical position, see App. 6.2: Map of North Africa and the Mediterranean Region.

[18] The term Culture etymologically can be led back ab origine to the Latin word Cultura, which, in its metaphoric meaning, might be translated as `ornament´, but as well as `education´. Robert Keesing describes the term Culture as the following: “Culture [...] refers [...] to learned, accumulated experience, [...] ]and[ a culture refers to those socially transmitted patterns for behaviour characteristic of a particular social group.” [See: Keesing, Roger M.: „Cultural Anthropology: A Contemporary Perspective“ (2nd Edition); Hold, Rinehardt & Winston (1981) / p. 15] And further he states that language is to be seen as “[...] one sub-system of cultural knowledge [...]” [ibid. / p. 18]. In usum ad ipsum, the use of the French language as an official one in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria until now may serve as an example. Furthermore, the habit with this language is resonated in art, music and poetry, the like. The Spanish influence in Morocco is not only immensely represented in the Spanish enclaves, but as well in (e.g.) Casablanca, Rabat or Sale. On the other hand, [See. :] “France’s harsh occupation in Algeria is a reflection of its conception of the country as an extension of itself; the French language is now replaced by Arabic in all public schools and indigenous history and culture are excluded from the curricula.” Nonetheless, in particular during the time of the Algerian war for independence, [ibid.:] “French is the language many Algerian writers use]d[ to explore issues of identity and independence, among them Kateb Yacine (1929 – 1989).”

[19] This may be stated in particular for the Great British Empire.

[20] This evolution is mirrored in various intellectual oeuvres having been created in that period of time in the Maghreb.

[21] When Egypt reached its target of formal independence from the British Empire in 1922, the Wafd Party then dominated the parliament.

[22] Only a few years later, the radical Parti du Peuple Algérien emerged from the rows of the Etoile movement.

[23] Hassan Al-Bannâ, 1906 – 1949.

[24] Translated from: Heine, Peter: “Die Rolle von Imam und Organisation im Islam. Strukturen islamischer Organisationen im Vergleich zu kirchlichen Strukturen in Westeuropa” in “Islam in Deutschland”; 4/2001; Der Bürger im Staat / See App. 6.1.2. About such organisations in general, Heine states the following: “The Brotherhoods as the only effective organisations in the Islamic societies of the 19th century brought the main resistance against the expansion of the European colonial powers into the Islamic world. [...] Therefore, after the end of the Western colonial rule, they often lost their societal influence [...].” [Ibid.; see App. 6.1.3]. Further, as the main aim of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the author describes “[...] the resistance against secularisation and W esternisation of the Islamic societies” [Ibid.; see App. 6.1.4] until to date.

[25] In 1945, the Second World War ended for the European countries and their colonies on other continents. The war between the USA and Japan last one more year, until 1946.

[26] Such developments were caused by several factors: First, the demands for independence from the colonial countries increased immensely. Furthermore, the Truman Doctrine, named by the US President Harry S. Truman (1945 – 1953), enforced pressure on the from the Second World War heavily destroyed European countries to give up greater parts of their colonies. Therefore, the Europeans received the Marshall Aid; [see: Pollacco: “European Integration. The Maltese Experience” / p. 14, FN 38:] “The first ERP ](European Recovery Program)[ funds were approved by Congress in June 1948, and that year the US administration appropriated $ 6.8 billion to cover the combined budged deficits of the countries of Western Europe.” Moreover, besides the previously mentioned damages, the re-structuring of the countries from a military to a civilian based economic structure was a crucial point. Thus need included economic, societal, and political re-thinking, which cogently led the Europeans to put emphasis mainly on domestic affairs rather than on the wish to keep the empires and their colonies. Last, quasi the entire European continent had to be re-ordered and newly defined.

[27] Egypt was the first state in the Northern African region which gained its self-determination in 1922. [See: :] “On 21 November 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent [...]. When Libya declared its independence on December 24, 1951, it was the first country to receive independence through the United Nations.” In Morocco, social unrest and strong nationalistic movements led the French to withdraw their position in 1956, making Morocco a sovereign state. The Spaniards remained, keeping their influence in the Western Sahara region until late 1975 (see FN 15, 16), their coastal possessions up to date. In the same year, and, more precisely, the same month as Morocco, in March 1956, Tunisia became independent. Its neighbour Algeria was forced to wait another six years until its freedom from the French finally was reached. [See: :] “After a century of rule by France, and in the wake of 1948 elections rigged by French colonists to reverse the sweeping victory of a Muslim political party in 1947, Algerians fought through the 1950s to achieve independence [...].”

[28] From the very beginning of its sovereignty until now, the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), which already became the major party in the armed struggle against the French authorities during the Algerian – French War, remained the leading power in Algeria, suppressing alternative oppositional forces.

In Morocco, Sultan Muhammad became King in 1957, succeeded by his sun King Hassan II after his death in 1961.

Tunisia’s first President Habib Bourguiba established a strict political one – party structure of the state, dominating the country for the following 31 years.

The strong nationalistic and communistic movements, that had emerged in Egypt since the 1920s, were defeated by a coup d`Etat, led by the military on behalf of all Egypt in 1952. From the rows of the Free Officers, Gamal Abdel Nasser set up its regime. After a popular vote in favour of dictatorship and contra democratisation (, since this type of governance was, in the people’s opinion, too related to the former colonial powers), in 1953, the army announced the solving of all parties and the abolishment of the monarchy. Furthermore, the civilian rule, installed mainly through the development of a national constitution in the early 1930s, became to a large extent dismantled.

Libya suffered extremely from poverty and its resulting consequences. In 1959, oil was found, which made the country improving rapidly concerning an increasing wealth and standards of living for the people. The Libyan King Idris ruled until 1969, when his era was ended by a military coup, led by Qadhafi (à see FN 30, 36).

[29] See: Linz, Juan J.: “Autoritäre Regime” in Nohlen, Dieter; Rainer – Olaf Schultze: “Lexikon der Politikwissenschaft: Theorien, Methoden, Begriffe”(Vol. 1); Verlag C.H. Beck, München (2002) / p. 55 / See App. 6.1.5: “Authoritarian regimes, a political type of system sui generis, ]are[ not simply a blend of totalitarian regimes and democratic systems.” And further, an authoritarian regime [Owen: “State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East” / p. 27:] “[...] is one in which power is highly centralised, pluralism is suspect and where the regime seeks to exercise a monopoly over all legitimate political activity. [...] ]They are[ different from totalitarian ones, however, as they lack the powerful institutions that would be needed to control or to transform society by means of bureaucratic methods alone.”

[30] See: Pollacco: “European Integration. The Maltese Experience” / p. 148: “[...] Outbursts of Islamic fundamentalism that opposed any attempts by democratic forces to introduce Western – style democratic systems were ]a[ destabilising factor in [...] countries like Algeria and Egypt. The most outstanding example was the Islamic Salvation Front (Front Islamique du Salut, FIS) of Algeria, which pledged to destroy the Algerian multi-party system that had been introduced in 1989. When in 1992 the FIS seemed posed to win a general election, the Algerian government banned the FIS on 9 February 1992. Subsequently, FIS supporters continued to wage a campaign of violence and terrorism [...].” In opposition, [ibid. / p. 149:] “during the late 1970s and 1980s the Libyan government ]under Mu`ammar Al-Qadhafi[ supported Islamic fundamentalists and terrorist organisations that were fighting against pro – Western Arab regimes [...].”

[31] Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, for example, who succeeded his father Hassan II in 1999, is famous for his liberal attitude and open-mindedness (in particular compared to his father). Nonetheless, international organisations state the violation of human rights under his rule. Furthermore, there is to be found no attempt towards reformation processes regarding the division of power in the state. Moreover, Mohammed VI remained establishing mechanisms of rule allowing him the total control and, subsequently, the uphold of his sovereign power.

[32] Co-relating with the globalisational progresses, the media and the technologies of communication improved immensely. Radio, Television and cinema gained popularity in the Maghreb, transforming the cultural scene and the societal life, alike. Regional writers gained world-wide acknowledgement (e.g., the Egyptian author Najib Mahfuz, who won the Nobel Price for his literary accomplishment). Access to the internet remained (and still remains) the privilege of the minority of the people. Tourism increased rapidly, opening the to a large extent on agriculture based economies towards this sector. Furthermore, economic networks were developed, across the boarders of nation states and continents.

[33] In 1974, Konstantinos Karamanlis gained power in Greece, rejecting the military regime. The Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar was succeeded by Marcello Caetano in 1968. His attempts to end the processes which led more and more to the dismantling of the regime, to say by mainly liberalising large parts of the economic sector, failed, and in 1974, a military coup (the junta) ended the Estado Novo and initialised a new era for Portugal. About one year later, the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died, and with him, his fascist regime.

[34] Suitable examples might be the following: The number of literate persons, of schools and students increased drastically; women entered the educational system and started to work in sectors, which previously had been men’s domains; emigration expanded intensively (e.g., from 1945 to the 1970s, about one million Moroccans, Tunisians and Algerians moved to France, mainly for the reason of labour); the news about the transitional developments occurring in Southern Europe and world-wide were transmitted faster than ever around the globe, inspiring movements of comparable interests. Furthermore, the democratisation of Spain led the country to remove from the Western Sahara region. As a consequence, the fights between Morocco and POLISARIO enflamed, which last until today (see FN 15).

[35] Morocco even attempted to join the European Community with its application in 1987. However, [see: Pollacco: “European Integration. The Maltese Experience” / p. 105 / FN 24:] “[...] it was made clear that the application was not acceptable since Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome established that the EEC required members to be European.”

[36] Mu`ammar Abu Minyar Al-Qadhafi came into power in 1969 and remained the Leader of Al-Jumahiriyah al-Arabiyah al-Libiyah ash-Shabiyah al-Ishtirakiyah al-Uzma until now. With his Third Universal Theory, Qadhafi proclaimed a form of state, which was meant to be alternative from both, communism and capitalism. Libya was accused for having been the initiator of the bombing of a PanAm air-plane over Lockerbie (Scotland) in 1988, when 270 people died. Resulting political and economic isolation in form of sanctions from the USA and the UN weakened the country heavily. In September 2003, Libya took the entire and only responsibility for the attack, which led to a rehabilitation of the state in the international system.

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The Clash of Civilisations or The End of History?
An analysis regarding North Africa and Europe
University of Malta  (Faculty of International Relations )
North Africa & International Order in the 21st Century
A / 1.0
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Clash, Civilisations, History, North, Africa, International, Order, Century
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Dominik Kalweit (Author), 2005, The Clash of Civilisations or The End of History?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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