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Looking Back At Arab Spring

Is the Arab world going to get a better deal? Was it empty rage – or is there a road-map?

Who was toppling these puppets? | Cartoonist - Saieb Khalil; source & courtesy - doroob.com | Click for larger source image.

Who was toppling these puppets? | Cartoonist - Saieb Khalil; source & courtesy - doroob.com | Click for larger source image.

Gushing coverage

Nine months ago, the gushing coverage of Arab Spring  in the mainstream media bordered on hyperbole. Mainstream media boosted these ‘protests (which) may have now acquired a life of their own’ and ‘sweeping changes … coming to the Arab lands, where authoritarian regimes are the norm’ and how ‘present protests, could be a game-changer’.

Throwing cold water on an overjoyed world of Twitterati, Chatterati, Bloggerati, Paparazzi was in danger of being called cynical – even as they claimed credit for this ‘change.’

Egypt’s influential Al Ahram ran this column 3 months ago, pretty much confirming that the Arab Spring was another round of games between Arab puppets and their Western masters. Will Russia’s support to the Syrian regime mean anything?

It is clear now the whole Arab Spring is not as spontaneous as appeared at first glance. While the regimes across the region were indeed corrupt and dictatorial, they were all supported by the West. But so was the opposition.

The moment came when they were perceived as passed their due date, and with the neocons in office by 2000 and PNAC’s “new Pearl Harbour” on the horizon, it was possible to proceed with Yinon’s plan to create dynamic chaos in the Middle East. The Arab Spring is, in an eerie way, a natural conclusion to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A sort of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, American style.

It has taken various forms so far, with a breezy boot to Zein Al-Abidine bin Ali in Tunisia, a pair of handcuffs to Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a burnt face to Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, impending assassination to Gaddafi, and who-knows-what to Al-Assad. The only ones to escape unharmed are the Gulf sheikhs and the kings of Morocco and Jordan, who are so compliant that they need only a tap on the shoulder to do Washington’s bidding. Oh yes, Algeria’s President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika is still hanging on, but not even the neocons dare to overthrow him and reopen civil war wounds from the 1990s.

That is not to denigrate the revolutionaries across the region, nor to dismiss their heroic struggles to achieve independence in the face of the Western intriguers. Among the prominent new leaders are Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Tunisia’s Rachid Ghannouchi and Egypt’s Essam El-Erian. Their popular Renaissance and Freedom and Justice parties are projected to win the plurality of seats in upcoming elections, and they have no use for the imperialists. Then there is rebel military leader in Tunisia Abdullah Hakim Belhaj who plans to take the US to court for torturing him and then rendering him to Libya. There are few secular heroes in the region that can vie with the long-suffering Islamists. (via Al-Ahram Weekly | Region | Russia’s Middle East dilemma).

If only the Arab spring was better equipped – with ideas that mattered.

Instead of empty rage.

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