Just How Revolutionary Are Arab Revolts If the US Is Involved?

Article Summary
For a region once famed for its revolutionary fervor, revolts in the Arab world now look toward Washington for help, money and weapons, Akram Atallah writes. The US has acted like the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, who calmly watched the cloud, knowing that he controlled its rain. What would a poet like Nazim Hikmet say?

More than half a century ago, the great Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet said in one of his poems "the age I am living in does not scare me." What would any Arab poet write about our age, where everything has become mixed up? It is the age of the reversal of ideas, the collapse of principles and the slaughter of values. It is the age where ethics are crushed, and is followed by searching for terms and justifications for condemning it, amid fierce wars for power, wealth and money. It is the era of partisanship at the expense of nations that are disintegrating like sacrifices on the altars of power.

It is the era of decadence, the reversal of concepts, and legitimization of conspiring against nations, destroying them, and selling them as corpses to organ traders. It is an age where religion has mixed with oil, where fatwas call for inviting foreigners, their warplanes and intelligence apparatuses to violate the Arab territories and history, which is crucified with oil money, oil fatwas, and oil media.

We live in an age where the end simply justifies the means, and standards have been lost. [Past] revolutionaries possessed their own taste, color and odor, as [Che] Guevara, the symbol of revolutionaries in the world, once said. However, in the time of the Arab Spring, revolutionaries smell of oil. At the time of real revolutions, [revolutionaries] used to be evaluated based on how distant they are from the United States. Today’s revolutionaries are evaluated based on how close they are to the US, their alliance with it, and whether they receive their information from the CIA and their weapons from the Pentagon. Washington has become the Qibla [direction for prayer/compass] for the revolutionaries!

It is the age of struggle for power amid the [political] bankruptcy of Arabs and their failure to keep up with the [progress of] nations. It is the era of poverty, power cuts, armies of unemployed, and – as [prominent Egyptian journalist] Mohammad Hassanein Heikal said – the armies of conscience who surrendered to money, such as [former Knesset member] Azmi Bishara and [Qatar-based Egyptian Sunni scholar] Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who issued a fatwa [edict] requesting help from NATO. Today, they queue up at the gates of the rulers of [Arab] emirates, some armed with intellect, and others with religion and fatwas at the expense of the Egyptian, Libyan, Syrian and Palestinian blood. And the list goes on.

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There is no need to cry for the domino regimes that have fallen, and will fall. They are the regimes of corruption, impotence, imprisonment and repression. There is no consolation over [political] systems that are advancing at the West’s gunpoint, as if the Arab people are doomed to choose a fate between failure and failure, collusion and conspiracy. What the revolutions have so far produced is a cause for reflection. In Tunisia, once Ennahda Party won, Rashid Ghannouchi traveled to the US and said the unspeakable. In Egypt, President Mohammed Morsi declined a congratulatory message from [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, but accepted congratulations from [Israeli President] Shimon Peres, promising him to "work toward achieving security and stability for all the peoples of the region, including the Israeli people."

In Syria, the [Free] Syrian Army is not free. It is backed by US Special Forces, Turkish intelligence, Qatari money and oil media. Syria will fall. It will inevitably fall because the fascist behavior of the authority in Syria has provided good reason for the incitement against it and convinced the people of the need for its departure. When the fleets of money, media and weapons arrive, Bashar will inevitably leave.

If only two years ago someone had predicted that Qatar would lead the revolutions of democracy and freedom in the Arab world, and that the Muslim Brotherhood would take up the reins of power and that one of their leaders would send a message to Israel, pledging to achieve security of the region’s people including “security of the Israeli people,” their words would be deemed utter nonsense. And if we ever had such a dream, we would have kept to ourselves, as it would have sounded like a bad joke or a folly. Yet, this has become the grim reality. It is the revolutionary ascent toward the abyss.

The Arab revolutions have stirred up sectarian strife, as they have failed to embrace revolutionary values. Before, the region had long overcome its sectarian tendencies. However, with the rise of the Arab revolutions, the sectarian conflict has once again gained ground, and the talk about Sunni, Shiite, Muslim, Christian, Kurd and Turkmen has begun to grow increasingly.

Once sectarianism is ignited in the region, it will drown it and tear it apart. The Arab countries will no longer remain united. The latest events of Dahshur and the demands to protect Christians in Egypt are strong evidence that the region is doomed. No one has ever been interested in speaking of differences between Muslim and Coptic in Egypt. The region was well under way in civilization. Whoever spoke on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood was well aware that they will be faced by those standing by the Christian Brotherhood, the Shiites, the Alawites and many others. Thus, the structure of civil society would become fragmented only to pave the way for the establishment of religious enclaves, and the rise of a “Jewish State.” Who would then be able to undo the damage of such turmoil?

At first, we thought that the Arab revolutions would liberate the region from the subordination to the West, only to discover that the West will always have the Arab world in the palm of its hand. The US has acted like the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, who calmly watched the cloud, knowing that he controlled its rain. Those following the events unfolding in the region are concerned about the US behavior in the Arab region.

The message of the Egyptian president to his Israeli counterpart is only normal between two states which are signatories of a common convention, and therefore it should not be blown out of proportion. However, what made matters worse is that the president’s advisers tried to discredit the news as if it was a mistake and disgrace. The presidential advisers were then met by a hail of criticism. This was not because of the message itself but because they tried to hide it. They were also unaware of the Israeli media that was anything but reticent about the matter. The Israeli journalist Boaz Basmot from Israel Today newspaper wrote that “we have disclosed the message so we get Morsi out of the closet.” People judge rulers based on their principles, and this is why the message caused a crisis.

However, this does not mean that we must undermine the Egyptian president by taking advantage of Egypt’s crisis. Our main mission today is to restore Egypt’s battered image via the Arab leadership so that it will no longer fall hostage to money and politics. Egypt’s strength is what guarantees it will escape [Western] subordination. Thus, the support of Morsi is essential. Undermining the president equates to offering Egypt to the West on a plate, which is totally against the goals of the revolution.

President Obama’s words reflect the true situation of the Arab world, as he noted, “the revolutions of the '50s and '60s liberated the Arab countries but not the Arab citizens.” Indeed, Arab citizens remain miserable, subjected to the tyranny of military rule, which control the nations’ wealth for the benefit of the ruling families. However, it seems that with the Arab Spring revolutions, Arab citizens have thrown everything off, even their values and principles. They did not even see any embarrassment in cooperating with the West. It is the time of toppling long-held notions?

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Found in: revolutionary media, qatari foreign policy, pan-arabism, arab spring, arab, al-jazeera
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