Brace yourselves: Arab Winter is coming (Op-Ed)
Rarely do ‘revolutions’ fade away unnoticed. But what is unfolding across the Arab world is nothing short of a disaster. Hope for real change has been violently replaced with despair and frustration.
Anti-Mursi protesters chant anti-government slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo November 27, 2012. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih)
Honeymoon is over
Egyptians are occupying the streets in droves again, with hundreds of thousands of people flocking to the now-famous Tahrir Square in protest over newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi’s ‘pharaoh’-like power grab and the new, Islamist-leaning constitution.
Tunisians are also once again out on the streets in force – this time to protest their new government’s failure to address rising unemployment and spiraling debt. The latest protests and clashes have been raging for nearly two months with numerous dead and well over 400 people injured.
Libya’s scenario is no better, as the tattered country continues to be divided by disorder, petty fighting and Western influence. The city of Benghazi has become the center of chaos as the violent legacy of the US-led ‘liberation’ continues.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi meet at the presidential palace in Cairo November 21, 2012. (Reuters/Egyptian Presidency)
The con is on
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
The Arab Spring movement, triggered by Tunisian Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation back in December 2010, was supposed to help Arabs across the Middle East push the reset button. It was supposed to help the people rid themselves of supposed despots and tyrants. Ultimately, it was supposed to give people hope of a new and better life.
Instead, chaos reigns and violence and discontent are the order of the day. Western democracy – the ideal that is being forced down every non-believing country’s neck – has not transpired.
It’s also proof that the ‘pure’ intentions of external forces meddling in the affairs these nations were just a façade.
It may well look like a mess that’s spiraling out of control, but it’s actually just stage one of the West’s plan for the Middle East, according to Adrian Salbuchi, founder of the Second Republic Project in Argentina.
“We have to understand that the whole so-called Arab Spring is basically a way that the Western powers have found of engineering civil war and engineering civil strife. So definitely, the whole objective of generating generalized war in the Middle East has been achieved. I would call that stage one. Now they will move on forward to stage two, which will be using the Middle-Eastern war situation as a beachhead towards even more ambitious objectives. In Iran, definitely in Syria and beyond that even against Russia and China, so we shouldn’t see this as a set of short-term objectives, but as the long-term objectives that Western powers have and Egypt is a key factor. But it’s just one of the many pieces that is falling as they progress in the future.”
Since the beginning of this so-called Arab Spring, Western energy companies, as well as defense contractors, have been having a field day, akin to vultures snacking on fresh roadkill, picking off lucrative oil and gas deals, as well as selling death via arms deals to both sides.
Saad al-Katatni and Essam El-Erian, who were vying for the position of chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), celebrate after al-Katatni was chosen as the new head of the party in Cairo October 19, 2012. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Not helping matters are factions like the Muslim Brotherhood, which under the auspices of the people, is actually playing a dangerous game in flirting with the West.
But its re-emergence and desire to impose radical Islamist beliefs during these turbulent times in the Middle East is actually being welcomed in Washington, as Author and publicist William H. Engdahl believes.
“It’s a vehicle, it’s an internationalist Islamic organization, it’s a secret society much like Masonic organizations that don’t operate transparently. The CIA has had dealings with the Brotherhood since they brought them out of Egypt into Saudi Arabia back in the early 1950s and before that, British Intelligence. So they feel that they have a known entity in the Brotherhood and they might be in for a stark surprise.”
But despite these rather sinister movements, essentially, the protest and revolts we are witnessing now are in a way more real than those that kick-started the Arab Spring. It’s almost as if the people have finally found the strength and the voice to overturn what was done to them. It’s as if the veil was pulled from their eyes and they finally saw the farce for what it was.
The only fear here is that when emotions run high, one is susceptible to being taken advantage of.
Riot-police fire rubber coated bullets as anti-government protesters run for cover during clashes in the village of Sanabis west of Manama, November 6, 2012. (Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed)
A nasty side-effect of the Arab Spring is that it’s triggering disturbances in other Middle Eastern countries, but without Western backing of the opposition must for now be considered by the West to be not strategic enough or already in its back pocket.
In Bahrain, over 80 people have been killed since renewed protests began. Violent crackdowns by the government’s police have already alarmed various Human Rights groups.
Even in US-backed Saudi Arabia opposition clashes with the police and civil unrest is being reported.
Supporters of Awami Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan burn a U.S flag during anti-American rally in Quetta July 13, 2012. (Reuters/Naseer Ahmed)
What goes around comes around
It seems now the domino effect we saw throughout the Arab Spring, beginning in Tunisia and ending in Syria, has u-turned.
Syria’s relentless, sustained violence and instability seems to have infected the peoples of the other Arab Spring countries, galvanizing them to pour out into the streets once more.
People are now protesting the very same people they supposedly placed into power, their anger a sign that maybe they won’t put up with the coups d’état that effectively unfolded before their eyes in the last two years.
Maybe with this new momentum – and with the help of countries critical of any external intervention – the Arab world can hit the reset button for real this time, rather than have their naïve hope of change brutally taken advantage of – yet again.
Michael Kravchenko, RT
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.