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Posts Tagged ‘Syria in March 2011

Any predictions on “Arab Awakening”? Saudi Arabia be next? And Robert Fisk

Can anybody predict which way the ‘Arab Awakening’ (the title of George Antonius’ seminal work of 1938) will turn this yea?.

Apparently, everyone is predicting, and going strong in their convictions.

Is it better never make predictions in the Middle East?  Then where’s the fun otherwise?

Andrew Bossone wrote: yeah, yeah, you don’t like Fisk… I was in Syria in March 2011 (before the upheaval started) and I was talking with some friends and I insisted that Saudi Arabia would be the last country in the region to fall.

The Syrian guys said no way, Syria would be the last country to go.

Well the next week the uprising started. I still hold to my position about Saudi, in contrast with Fisk.

But Robert Fisk has ventured a very tentative punt or two…

Robert Fisk published in The Independence on Dec. 31, 2012 under: “Could Saudi Arabia be next?”

“My crystal ball broke long ago. But predicting the region has an honourable pedigree.

“An Arab movement, newly-risen, is looming in the distance,” a French traveller to the Gulf and Baghdad wrote in 1883 (not 1983), “and a race hitherto downtrodden will presently claim its due place in the destinies of Islam.”

A year earlier, a British diplomat in Jeddah confided that “it is within my knowledge… that the idea of freedom does at present agitate some minds even in Mecca…”

So let’s say this for 2013:

1. The “Arab Awakening” will continue, the demand for dignity and freedom – let us not get tramelled up here with “democracy” – will go on  ravaging the pseudo-stability of the Middle East, causing as much fear in Washington as it does in the palaces of the Arab Gulf.

2. On the epic scale of history, that much is certain.

3. At the incendiary core of this discontent will be the claims of a Palestinian State that does not exist and may never exist and the actions of an Israeli state which – through its constant building of colonies for Jews and Jews only on Arab land – ensures that “Palestine” will remain only an Arab dream.

If 2012 is anything to go by, the Palestinians themselves face the coming year with the knowledge that:

1) neither the Americans nor the Europeans have the guts to help them, because

2) Israel will continue to act with impunity, and

3) neither the Obamas nor the Camerons nor the Hollandes have the slightest interest in taking on the Likudist lobby, which will scream “anti-semitism” the moment the minutest criticism is made against Israel.

4) Add to this the fact that Mahmoud Abbas and his utterly discredited regime in Ramallah will go on making concessions to the Israelis.  If you do not believe me, read Clayton Swisher’s The Palestine Papers – even when there are no more concessions to make.

Hamas and Khaled Meshaal will go on denying Israel’s right to exist, allowing Israel to falsely claim that it has “no one to talk to”. And preparing for the next Gaza war and the subsequent cowardly request from the West which will “urge restraint on both sides”, as if the Palestinians possess Merkava tanks, F-18s and drones.

A third Intifada (mass disobedience movement)? Maybe.

An approach to the International Court to condemn Israel for war crimes in building Jewish colonies on other people’s land? Perhaps. But so what?

The Palestinians won an international court case which condemned the building of Israel’s apartheid/security wall – and absolutely nothing happened.

That’s the fate of the Palestinians.

They’re told by the likes of Tom Friedman to abandon violence and adopt the tactics of Gandhi. And when they do, they still lose, and Friedman remains silent.

It was, after all, Gandhi who said that Western civilisation “would be a good idea”.

So bad news for Palestine in 2013.

How about Iran?

The Iranians understand the West much better than we understand the Iranians – a lot of them, remember, were educated in the United States.

And they’ve an intriguing way of coming out on top whatever they do. George Bush (and Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara) invaded Afghanistan and rid the Shia Iranians of their Sunni enemy, whom they always called the “Black Taliban”.

And Bush-Blair invaded Iraq and got rid of the Islamic Republic’s most loathsome enemy, Saddam Hussein. Thus did Iran win both the Afghan and the Iraqi war – without firing a shot.

There’s no doubt that Iran would fire a shot or two if Israel/America – the two are interchangeable in Iran as in many other Middle East countries – were to attack its nuclear facilities.

However, Israel has no stomach for an all-out war against Iran – it would lose – and the US, having lost two Middle East wars, has no enthusiasm for losing a third.

Sanctions – and here is Iran’s real potential nemesis – are causing far more misery than Israel’s F-18s. And why is America threatening Iran in the first place? It didn’t threaten India when it went nuclear.

And when that most unstable and extremist state called Pakistan was developing nuclear weapons, no US threat was made to bomb its facilities.

True, we’ve heard that more recently – in case the nukes “fell into the wrong hands”, as in gas which might “fall into the wrong hands” in Syria; or in Gaza, for that matter, where democracy “fell into the wrong hands” the moment Hamas won elections there in 2006.

Now that Obama has entered his drone-happy second presidency, we’re going to hear more about those wonderful unpiloted bombers which have been ripping up bad guys and civilians for more than four years.

One day, one of these machines – though they fly in packs of seven or eight – will hit too many civilians or, even worse, will contrive to kill westerners or NGOs.

Then Obama will be apologising – though without the tears he expended over Newtown, Connecticut. (As Israel apologized to the UN for killing Lebanese refugees in a UN compound in Qana)

And here’s a thought for this year.

The gun lobby in the States tells us that “it’s not guns that kill – it’s people”.

But apply that to drone attacks on Pakistan or Israeli bombardments of Gaza and the rubric changes.

It’s the guns/bombs/rockets that kill because the Americans don’t mean to kill civilians and the Israelis don’t wish to kill civilians.

It’s just “collateral damage” again, though that’s not an excuse you can provide for Hamas rockets.

So what’s left for 2013?

Bashar Assad, of course. He’s already trying to win back some rebel forces to his own ruthless side – an intelligent though dangerous tactic – and the West is getting up to its knees in rebel cruelty. Yes, Assad will go. One day. He says as much.

But don’t expect it to happen in the immediate future. Or Gaddafi-style. The old mantra still applies.

Egypt was not Tunisia and Yemen was not Egypt and Libya was not Yemen and Syria is not Libya.

And Iraq?

Its own latent civil war will go on grinding up the bones of civil societ,y while we largely ignore its agony. There are days now when more Iraqis are killed than Syrians, though you wouldn’t know it from the nightly news.

And the Gulf and Saudi Arabia, where the first Arab awakening began?

Where, indeed, the first Arab revolution – the advent of Islam – burst forth upon the world.

There are those who say that the Gulf kingdoms and Emirates will remain secure for years to come. Don’t count on it.

Watch Saudi Arabia. Remember what that British diplomat wrote 130 years ago. “Even in Mecca…”

In summary:

Syria

‘Yes, Assad will go. One day. He says as much. But don’t expect it to happen in the immediate future.  Or Gaddafi-style.’Israel and the  Palestinian territories

Israel and the Palestinian territories

‘Hamas and Khaled Meshaal will go on denying Israel’s right to exist – thus allowing Israel to falsely claim that it has “no one to talk to” – until the next Gaza war.’

Iran

‘Israel has no stomach for an all-out war against Iran – it would lose – and the United States, having lost two Middle East wars, has no enthusiasm for losing a third.’

Saudi Arabia

‘There are those who say that the Gulf  kingdoms will remain secure for years to come. Don’t count on it. Watch Saudi Arabia.’

Iraq

‘Its own civil war will go on grinding up the bones of  civil society while we largely ignore its agony.’

US

‘Now that Obama has entered his drone-happy second  presidency, we’re going to hear more about those wonderful  unpiloted bombers

Andrew Bossone disagrees that Saudi Arabia absolute monarchy will be next to be swept by the Arab Awakening…Why?

The Saudi governments (absolute monarchy) have suppressed previous uprisings (with American support) starting in the 1930’s. It also suppressed the revolts in Yemen and Bahrain most recently, and had a hand elsewhere.

So I just don’t see Saudi going anywhere for a long time.

My position is Saudi Arabia has built-in a tight-proof military uprising system: The “saudi citizens” don’t have to join the army  or encouraged to get military trained for the “defense” of the Kingsdom. The western nations are supposed to do this job, and paid handsomely for cracking down on any serious militaty activities.

Remenber how the French were asked to directly chase out the uprisers in Mecca a decade ago, a liberate the” haramein”.

Saudi Arabia refrain from directly engaging its own “army”, even for defending its borders, such as in Yemen…

The officers are from this extended Saudi clan family, about 5,000 cousins, and most of the soldiers are foreigners.

Iraq is a goner: Iran, the USA, and Saudi Arabia are not interested for the central government to reconstitute a viable army. De facto autonomous partition to four provinces.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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