Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Egyptian Uprising and the (US) Counter-Revolution: Some Notes

Arwa kindly translated my article from yesterday's Al-Akhbar:

"The Egyptian Uprising and the (US) Counter-Revolution: Some Notes

As`ad AbuKhalil

Once again, Operation Ajax is exploding before our eyes in Cairo and Egyptian provinces. America’s policies towards our region have not progressed over the years and decades, and American has not learned from its mistakes and sins. On the contrary; America’s policies have become more audacious, humiliating and insulting to our intelligence. Things have become worse since the fifties: the US has subcontracted the decision making of its policies and wars for Israel. What Walid Jumblat calls (with deliberate vagueness and ambiguity lest he angers his friend “Jeff”) the “game of nations” is merely an American-Israeli-Saudi plot.

Warn them of chains and flames
Of bombs exploding and difficult day
 A day when they do not order or lead 
And they do not get freed and they flee
Woe then to the oppressors."

 Amin Al-Rihani ("Revolution")

The Arab sees for himself/herself the events of Tunisia, Egypt and everyplace where angry Arab voices and fists spring forward. The anger is not surprising; the silence is. The trouble isn’t with protesting, but with staying at home. These uproarious political movements convey the aspirations of various and consecutive generations among the oppressed Arab people. The generation that witnessed the defeat of 1967, is fed up with defeats, empty promises and victory statements.

The generation that lived through the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which Arab regimes either supported or stood by idly, has renounced all regimes without exception. As for the new Arab generation that is leading the process of change without intervention from the older reluctant generation, it yearns to breathe freedom (both fresh air and online freedom), to live with dignity and to learn from the previous, depressed generations’ mistakes.

The Arab people had almost realized a phase of despair. It almost mourned itself, or so it was said. Who could blame them? A complication of defeats, disappointments, wars, invasions, weakness, repression, massacres, calamities would force you into a slumber. There is not one Arab regime that hasn’t murdered innocents in order to secure power for itself and its ruling dynasty. Those in my generation, who were seven years old in 1967, Abdul Nasser’s defeat speech carved gaps and wounds that will never heal. One remembers the adults who were drowning in a sea of tears, and also the bitter derision of deceitful official Arab media. Successive defeats and disappointments, until the United States was able to consolidate the regional Arab system by forming a solid alliance wit Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian regime after Gamal Abdul Nasser’s death. At this point, the Egyptian regime became American policy’s stronghold in our area. Preservation of the Egyptian regime became the American empire’s second most important priority this explains the verbal trickery of the Obama administration). This equation isn’t necessarily an idea of Henry Kissinger’s: it is a Zionist idea that preceded him but was cemented diplomatically after the defeat of 1973 (Husni Mubarak never lead a war that didn’t end with the defeat of the Egyptian army – let’s stop parroting the lie). Then Jimmy Carter (it is stupid for an Arab to promote this man after his crimes towards us) revisited the evil equation: removal of the Egyptian threat to Israel in return for 2.2 billion dollars annually (the sum decreased over the years because the regime of Husbni and Gamal Mubarak accepts relatively cheap bribes). Israel learned how to relax and how to single out [and target] the Palestinian people: King Fahd (whom I will revisit shortly) was the other part of the equation: official Arab neutrality towards Israel’s crimes, invasions and occupations. We know today that King Fahd and King Hussein were the two silent (cowardly) partners of Anwar Sadat. Actually, they encouraged him. Israel fled all restraints and poured its wrath on Lebanon and Palestine, especially since Hafedh Al-Asad was too busy trying to decide “the battle’s time and place,” which he died before determining (his successor Bashar awaits the “return” of occupied lands).

The Egyptian scene is fantastic on every level. The enemies of leftism and nationalism in the Arab world - meaning the mouthpieces of the Sabbahs, the house of Saud and the Nahayans – lambaste leftist and nationalist discourse for blaming Israel and accusing it of murderous plots: it is true that Arab regimes used to and continue to search for a “scapegoat” but Israel should be blamed as well. It is a destructive and criminal element in all aspects of Arab life without exception. It has intervened in absolutely every Arab disagreement, from the Yemen war to the Dhafar war, to protecting King Hussein II from his people, to the mobilization of southern Sudan, to tribal Kurdish leadership, to the Lebanese right’s militias, to protecting King Hussein in Black September, to the alliance with weak Gulf states that no longer remains a secret, to the war on Iraq etc. Conventional wisdom that we cannot rise while the usurping entity is among us, is true and no longer in need of verification. Israel wants Mubarak to retain his throne until the last Egyptian. Make no mistake: Israel is Husni Mubarak’s lobby in Washington: it is more concerned with his regime than Washington.

It is too early to analyze the Egyptian uprising’s background and its repercussions (let’s stop applying silly labels to “revolutions” that aren’t revolutions – yet): You see history unfolding live on Aljazeera (“Al-Arabiyya,” King Fahd’s brother in-law’s channel, was busy chasing “goons” whom Randa Abu Al-Azm has made as the theme of the Egyptian people’s uprising as if they weren’t sent by the Mubarak regime. But Mubarak, Al-Hariri and Al-Sauds’ media were exposed after the “goons” invaded Tahrir square). In analyzing the Egyptian uprising there are factors that Arab growth reports missed, involving Arab dignity and pride in addition to oppression, hunger and unemployment. Orientalist trends have seeped into those reports. They also adopted a theory of Arabs being “fatalistic” and resorting to explain everything simplistically (though the Montgomery-Watt study rebutted traditional orientalist ideas). Husni Mubarak’s regime was lucky: not only did it enjoy absolute western approval, but because it, especially in its last years, followed a simple policy – it was leaked in a Wikileaks document that the road to the heart of the American Congress goes through Tel Aviv. Husni Mubarak presented Israel with the Palestinian people of Gaza on a plate of poverty and siege to ensure the Gamal Mubarak’s succession to the presidency, and the plan worked. Gamal won American approval and did secret tasks in Washington. Netanyahu recommended him in Washington. Like his father before him, an unelected ruler, he would vacation in Sharm Al-Sheikh concerned only with Israel’s interests, which was above all else. One cannot follow events in the Arba world and globally by relying only on mainstream media. Arab and western media both neglected the story of Khalid Said, which has preoccupied Arab youth, particularly Egyptian youth, on Twitter and Facebook for months. The Arab world no longer tolerates deception and repression. Those who analyze the “Arab mind” in racist, orientalist language tend to forget that the reason Arab regimes didn’t fall in the late eighties after the collapse of communist regimes, is due to the solid protection the United States afforded obedient Arab regimes. It is true that Arabs didn’t resist repression: they had become daunted and disappointed in the late seventies or eighties. They could no longer believe in the ability to bring about change. Repression and torture had also increased, which precluded collective activism on the grassroots level. Satellite channels (most of which were funded by the house of Saud) distracted Arab youth with sports, “art” decided by Al-Walid bin Talal’s taste, and secondary issues that Arab channels obtained from western “tabloid” publications. But Arab youth’s pulse was distant except from those who follow public opinion polls. Polls from Morocco to Saudi Arabia reflected that the regimes and their peoples were on two completely different pages. The ceilings of Arab popular expectations may have been lowered, and oppression may have exceeded people’s tolerance threshold. But the ongoing rage indicates cumulative frustration.

It is clear that all Arab regimes are aghast. They all enjoy support from the US and Israel. Even the Syrian regime; Israel and the US prefer than it stay than go, because that front is quiet and because Israel can bomb and assassinate inside Syria with no deterrent whatsoever. But Arab anger is stronger: ideas in the hands of millions turn into material force as Karl Marx said. Arab regimes desperately try to save themselves: sudden announcements about handouts; firing of ministers; speeches mentioning the poor for the first time.

Husni Mubarak talked about workers and peasants even though he built his republic (and Gamal’s succession mechanism) with an elite group of billionaires. Ali Abdullah Saleh suddenly told us he would not run for presidency again. The horror that has struck Arab regimes has surfaced in Israel too. Israel made the mistake of failing to conceal its reaction this week, which will be useful to rally anti-Israeli sentiment in Egypt and beyond.

One week of trembling in the Egyptian regime gave important lessons to the Arab people on the Israeli intervention in Arabs’ lives. Israel’s protection of Arab dictators is no longer an accusation listed on statements handed out in back alleys. Rather, Israel has exposed more than any other time the truth of its alliance not only with the regimes but with the entire Arab repressive power configuration. We understand today more than ever the reason behind Arab weakness towards the Palestinian cause: it is a question of demand and supply. American protection of Arab repression stems not only from the Israeli lobby but also from the political, military and economic interests of the empire, which are served by Arab kings and presidents who bow before any and every American politician.

The United States has unfolded Operation Ajax (which overthrew Muhammad Mosadeq’s government and installed the Shah of Iran – see All the Shah’s Men, which cites American governmental documents) in order to keep the dictator in his position. For those who forgot, in Operation Ajax the CIA mobilized Iran’s goons and scoundrels exactly as Husni Mubarak has done. Mubarak’s decisions and speeches have not been written by him. The US has not learned from the lessons of colonialism. But since when do empires learn? They are only removed by force by occupied people.

The hypothesis of Arab stupidity is the same, as it was during British and French colonialism. Hillary Clinton speaks about the importance of “reform” as if we don’t know the implications of this hideous word. Didn’t the Bush and Obama administrations praise the Saudi government for its “reform”? Code words are used in American discourse towards Arabs: Democracy scares the American and Israeli colonizers. Obama spoke in the first days about the importance of change, but has yet to utter “free elections.” The talk about a plan for change so that Mubarak takes his time and so that the US installs an alternative regime who will guarantee the all-important peace treaty between Egypt and Israel; and for the protection of which the US is willing to permit the extermination of the entire Egyptian people. Congress International Committee chairperson (who is one of the most prejudiced politicians against Arabs and sponsors every alliance between the US and its allies in Lebanon, a Likudnik who adopted March 14 and General Awn) Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, was more frank. She said:  The US should learn from past mistakes and support a process which only includes candidates who meet basic standards for leaders of responsible nations: candidates who have publicly renounced terrorism, uphold the rule of law, recognize Egypt's international commitments including its nonproliferation obligations and its peace agreement with the Jewish State of Israel, and who ensure security and peace with its neighbors.”  The Arab people despise these orders because the US chooses the leader that suits its own interests and decides on our behalf leaving us with no choice but to lower our heads as Arab rulers do. Israel and the US want to sacrifice millions of Arabs for Israel. The Zionists in Congress have no qualms with shoving Arabs into ovens if the Israeli occupation were to require that.

The Arab people in Egypt have risen, so Israel became terrified. Even Eliott Abrams, who continues to receive cases of fine wine from his friend Walid Jumblat as he stated a few months ago, admitted to the terror Israel is sensing and has called for calmness. After some reflection, it didn’t take Obama long to make a decision. He called a number of ardent Zionists to join other Zionists who handle middle eastern affairs in the National Security Council and Department of State (i.e. Feltman and Shapiro) and decided that the US, with the support of Israel, would launch a counter-revolution. For the first time, Israel has allowed Egypt to mobilize soldiers in the Sinai (probably to protect husni Mubarak in his hideout in Shark Al-Sheikh).

However, the American regime has arranged for Omar Suleiman to assume power hastily. An entire people revolt against the dictator, and the dictator promises change and appoints his intelligence director as his successor. The US has insisted that change in eastern Europe begin and end with free elections. But when it comes to its ally Mubarak, the keyword is “reform” mean he’s free to do as he wishes. American politicians forget that the Arab people remember that the US profusely praised mubarak during the Obama and Bush administrations and that he was a necessary operative in all secret missions during Americans wars. We didn’t realize that the preservation of the corrupt Egyptian regime was a lifeline for Israel. This is good news because it helps us understand how to undermine the usurping entity’s foundations.

Something must be said about hypocritical liberal and Wahabi intellectuals. I’m not talking only about the house of Saud’s mouthpieces, who distinguish fakely between Arab dictators and Gulf countries, as if they were virtuous kingdoms. We must discuss the intellectuals of the house of Saud, the Hariri family and Nahayan family. They’re Husni Mubarak’s orphans. They have no right to write a word about Husbni Mubarak’s regime after having excessively praised him. An article on “Now Hariri” started with Egypt then went on to call for democracy in Syria and Iran (the orders to resume criticism of the Syrian regime came from Hani Hammoud [Hariri media chief]). A group of writers for the Saud and Hariri families issued a hypocritical statement of support for the Egyptian people as if the Egyptians forgot their praise for Mubarak. They were audacious enough to claim that the hideous sectarian festival of March 14 inspired the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings.  Fat chance.  The people of Egypt and Tunisia do not await an order from a sheikh or an oil prince to protest and they do not cheer for billionaires. Gizelle Khouri, who had devoted her program to promote the dictator Mubarak and his policies, preached to the Egyptian people and called on them to follow the “cedar” revolution’s nonviolent example. She stopped short of calling on the Egyptian people to pursue Syrian workers in Egypt and stab them and to torture and kill Asian maids. Fouad Al-Siniora’s version of Arabism is in the alliance with Mubarak regime. Those are the orphans of Husni Mubarak. “Al-Mustaqbal” characterized goons’ attacks on protesters as “confrontations.” Let’s not forget that the Hariri family resorted to goons’ tactics through private security firms. But those who confront Israel do not fear the Hariri family’s goons, which lead to the notorious humiliation on April 7.

There are worrisome indicators for Israel. It deterred all Arab regimes and even stopped hostile discourse (the regimes’ only weapon after 1948). But the noose is getting tight on the usurping entity’s neck despite its possession of weapons of mass destruction. The official Arab regimes are crumbling even though parts of it may remain. Popular Arab anger has thundered throughout the world. The Arab people have not forgotten their causes. The house of Saud’s liberals try to emphasize (to comfort themselves) that there are the Egyptian uprising carries no political repercussions although anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans have reached western media. Israel’s ex-ambassador in Egypt has conceded that there is nobody to support peace with Israel in Egypt except the elite surrounding Mubarak. Those are the orphans of Mubarak and the peace treaty with Israel. When liberalism, which had associated itself with Mubarak for years, grow worried whenever the word democracy is mentioned in Hariri and Saud media, you would think they would at least remain silent until further notice. Jihad Al-Khazen awaits the dictator’s death to tell readers how much he hates him after having written much praise about him. The obituary of the Arab people, in addition to Fouad Ajami’s assessments over the years that the Arab identity has died, contradicts live scenes on Aljazeera. The truth is that the Arab people’s aspirations scare Israel, the US and the Arab dictators’ orphans. We’ll realize that the relationship between Israel’s existence and Arab dictatorship is a dialectical relation."