Arab People: From Powerless To Proud

It started in Tunisia with the Jasmine Revolution, then spread quickly to Egypt like a Tsunami wave. The Arab Revolution is on its way with what could be a rapid and organic propagation to Algeria, Yemen, Morocco, Syria, Jordan and even the Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Arabs, in the Middle-East and across the world, feel proud and have the unshakable conviction that it is their moment to re-make their own history by freeing themselves from the chains imposed  by dictatorial rulers.

Egypt: ElBaradei Likely To Assume Leadership Until Free Elections

Egyptian opposition forces have agreed to support Mohamed ElBaradei as a potential leader for a transition government until free elections can take place. ElBaradei, the former head of the IAEA, came back to Egypt from Vienna on Thursday, and was subjected to house arrest for a couple of day. On the streets of Cairo, Suez and Alexandria, according to all international news reports and direct communications from eye witnesses, Egyptians were facing increasing lawlessness on Sunday. While the police is nowhere to be seen, ordinary Egyptians are assuming their own security patrolling their neighbourhoods  armed with clubs, knifes, machetes, and a few guns.

The death toll stands now at more than 125. Thousands of criminals have broke out of prisons across Egypt, and many Egyptians are accusing the police of having released prisoners purposely to spread chaos and justify the brutal crackdown on protesters. On Sunday, thousands gathered in Tahrir Square keeping the pressure up on the Mubarak regime. The crowd chanted; “Mubarak degage”, “the people want the fall of Mubarak”, and “Mubarak, Suleiman, both of you are agents of the Americans”. Omar Suleiman is the intelligence chief appointed by Hosni Mubarak as vice president. Mubarak held the very same position of chief spy before he became president 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, in Israel, prime minister Netanyahu finally broke his silence over the situation unfolding in Egypt. Netanyahu said that it was critical to preserve Israel’s 30-years-old peace agreement with Egypt. Mubarak is Israel, and the US, most important ally in the Arab world, and his imminent fall is creating major anxiety in the Jewish state. “Israel’s government is anxiously following developments in Egypt and the region. Israel and Egypt have been at peace for more than three decades, and our objective is to ensure that these ties be preserved,” said Netanyahu today.

Tunisia And Egypt Revolutions: Exposing Decades Of US Foreign Policy Failures

On Sunday, the United States and Europe were busy back peddling and re-working their failed Middle-East policies. The US, Israel and Europe have supported Mubarak for 30 years, on the ground of “stability”, in complete disregard of the regime’s  police brutality, political repression, rampant corruption and violation of basic human rights such as freedom of speech. In the mind of US policy makers, Mubarak was a “moderate ruler” eager to fight communism at first then militant Islam.

What is truly puzzling is the fact that nobody either in the United States, Europe, and Israel was able to forecast such events which were decades in the making. During the cold war America’s foreign policy makers, either Democrats or Republicans, were obsessed with containing communist propagation in the so called Domino Effect. It was the deeply flawed rational behind the Korean war, the Vietnam war and so on. At the time “preventing communism’s domino effect” at any cost was the main and almost only motto in Washington from one administration to the next. The American empire painted itself as the “good empire” versus the “evil empire” of the USSR.

Following this cold war logic, the United States supported any autocratic governments, especially in the Middle-East, providing that they were anti-communist and would not challenge the power of America or threaten Israel. This seriously problematic, and short sighted policy made the US support Islam fundamentalists both in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood and in Afghanistan with the Mujaheddin, as they would be a natural allies against the “spread of communism”.

The CIA financed both the Muslim Brotherhood and later Afghanistan’s  Mujaheddin in the context of a proxy war against the USSR. However, for the last 10 years the new scarecrow used by the US to justify its imperialist policies has been to contain  “the spread of radical Islam”. The historical events unfolding in the Middle-East prove once again that the policy makers in Washington were, and still are, a couple of trains behind historical trends. There is a domino effect in the making in the Middle-East, and it has nothing to do with radical Islam but everything to do with oppressed people taking their destiny into their own hands.

Editor’s Note: All photographs by Mona Sosh.

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2 Responses to Arab People: From Powerless To Proud

  1. Mo Maghari January 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Mr. Gilbert

    I have to admit that you are correct. As a 51 yr old Arab American who lived the first 30 years in the Arabic world, I was ashamed of being an Arab. I felt that the Arabic nation is dead. I felt that all the talk about Arab nationalism and pride was nothing more than a fantasy. Today I do feel different. It started with the Jasmine revolution in Tunisia and now in Egypt. I feel that the sleeping giant is awakening.

    I am so amazed to look at the first picture in the article. I see a military tank with these statements written in Arabic ( the thug has to go. Mubarak has to leave. Mubarak will go down). The reason that makes me happy, the army had to allow the men and women in the streets to write that on a military tank owned by the Egyptian Army.

    One final point, in the article I see a word that the media and the US government has been using a lot lately. The word stability “The US, Israel and Europe have supported Mubarak for 30 years, on the ground of “stability”. I truly object to the word stability. The truth, we in the US were always consistent. Every time we had a choice between principles and interests, we chose our interests over principles. at least for the sake of honesty, the word that should be used is interests not stability.

  2. Atlanta Roofing HQ January 31, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    A democratic Egypt is what Washington and Israel’s rulers fear the most. An Egypt that defends Palestinians and Lebanese will not be tolerated without severe economic and materiel consequences from the US and Israel, so it is difficult to believe, without a Soviet enabler, that Egypt will attempt to wage war with Israel. Nevertheless, Egypt may be able to foil increased Israeli territorial expansion and deliberate targeting of civilians with a belligerent voice. Egypt has been quiet for a long time, and Israel needs another nemesis.

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