Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Bet You Were Waiting for This: Whose Fault Is the Egyptian Revolt?

By Barry Rubin

Robert Malley, son of Simon Malley, ace Israel-hater, scion of the Egyptian Communist Party, former White House aide, and a key person in the lobby of Middle East "experts" trying to get the United States to commit suicide in the region, has told us why there is unrest in Egypt.

On NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday," Malley explained that the Arabs have been "humiliated" by not being able to control their own history because of the invasion of Iraq and "the fact that the Palestinians can’t get Israel to give them anything."

Hmm, said the NPR host thoughtfully.

So now we know: Israel and America are responsible for all the problems of the Middle East. But since many of these same people claim that Israel was behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq (though Israeli policymakers and decisionmakers opposed the operation) it comes down to Israel again.

Iran, of course, said the same thing. And in his country, said a Lebanese expert (a real one, not the type quoted in the New York Times), "You should see the pro-Syrian and Hizballah people, salivating with excitement at the fantasy that this is the end of Mubarak." Speaking of pro-Syrian and pro-Hizballah people, Helena Cobban doesn't just blame Israel but AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby.

Cartoon by Stephen E. Hughes, exclusively for Rubin Reports

Indeed, one of the main Syrian servants with a pen, Rime Allaf, "international consultant and an associate fellow at Chatham House in London." wrote the same thing in the--you guessed it--New York Times (which Lebanese are starting to call the New York Akhbar after the Syrian front newspaper (al-Akhbar) that the Times so admires.
She explains:

"The Mubarak regime’s closeness to Israel and participation in the siege on Gaza were never popular, and if Egyptians manage to go the Tunisian way, there may be a softening of this embrace. It’s too early to tell which way Egypt’s army will go, and whether President Mubarak can survive this wave, but Arabs are rooting for Egyptians to have their peaceful revolution, and for Egypt to become once more a leader in the Arab world."

Lead the Arab world into war with Israel, of course.

By the way, none of these people have any concern whatsoever for U.S. interests. They merely use this as a figleaf for bashing Israel. In fact, they are all on the other side. They want Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah to triumph and drive the West out of the region.

What this kind of thinking requires is to erase the fact that Arab countries actually have domestic issues! Yes, incredible as it might seem there are things like unemployment, poverty, repression, personal ambition, ethnic and regional quarrels, dissatisfaction with the functioning of government institutions, religious conflicts, and all the other kinds of things that make people everywhere dislike their governments, especially if they live under a dictatorship.

And there are people who have ideas of what they would prefer to replace the existing system: democracy, Islamism, or themselves and their friends as the new dictators.

Equally, governments blame Israel and America to deflect attention from their own shortcomings. This approach often works. It isn't working in Egypt right now.

Yet all these factors are often deleted in Western discussions (especially in universities), leaving people unable to conceive that anything might happen without it being caused by Israel. Every time something happens that proves local problems are involved--say, Sunnis and Shias killing each other in Iraq--it must somehow be linked to Israel's existence or actions.

On one occasion a couple of years ago, the head of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) think tank explained to a startled Swiss reporter how Israel was responsible for the poor educational system in the UAE. Many similar tales can be recounted.

"Actually," says a veteran Cairo resident and Egypt-watcher, "Israel seems to have hardly been mentioned by the demonstrators in Egypt. Only the `experts' think this is primarily about foreign affairs, U.S. policy or Israel. It is mainly about Mubarak's domestic failures and his party's outright theft of the last parliamentary elections."

News bulletin: There are a lot of other things going on in this region, from Morocco in the west to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east, that pertain to other matters.

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