The 19th century violence on the European Street signaled the arrival of the Spring of Nations: national cohesion, liberty and rebellion against tyranny.
In contrast, the 2011 Middle East upheaval exposes the Arab Street: No “spring” and no “nations,” but the exacerbation of tribal-ethnic-religious-geographic loyalties, splits and power struggles, the intensification of domestic and intra-Arab fragmentation, the escalation of intolerance, violence and hate-culture, the absence of stability, the deepening of uncertainty, exposing the tenuous nature of Arab regimes, the ruthless submission of democracy-seeking elements and the perpetuation of ruthless tyrannies.
The 19th century Spring of Nations was energized by waves of enthusiastic optimism. On the other hand, the 2011 delusion of the Spring of Nations is exposed by the impotence, despair and frustration of pro-democracy Arab activists, who are forced to emigrate rather than be persecuted.
The expectation for a near-term Arab Spring of Nations is detached from Middle East reality, could produce another victory of wishful-thinking over experience, already leads to a delusion-based policy and risks a lethal boomerang caused by delusional yearning.
In February, 2010, President Obama appointed a new ambassador to Damascus – following four years of diplomatic absence – “because Assad could play a constructive role in the Middle East.” In July 2000, Western policy-makers and public opinion molders cheered the prospect of Spring in Damascus upon the succession of Hafiz Assad by his son, Bashar Assad. They were not alarmed by Bashar’s 97% victory in two elections. They assumed that as an eye doctor, who interned in London, who is fluent in English and French, who was the chairman of the Syria Internet Association, and married to a London-educated wife who advocates women rights, he must be a moderate. They sacrificed documented facts – about the Assad family, the ruling Alawite minority, the Damascus vision and the centrality of the strategic cooperation between Syria and Iran – on the altar of the yearning of peace with Syria. The current turmoil in Syria exposes Western oversimplification and the authentic merciless nature of this Syrian despot.
In February 2011, President Obama and Secretary Clinton hastily proclaimed the ushering of democracy into Arab lands and the reincarnation of the spirit of MLK and Ghandi in the streets of Tunisia and Egypt. However, their expectations are thwarted by the thousands of moderate Tunisians who are escaping to the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa and by the horrific campaign of killings, murder, torture, hate and corruption, which has accompanied recent volcanic eruptions in Arab countries.
In 1993, upon signing the Oslo Accord, the New Middle East visionaries announced Spring in Ramallah, the supremacy of standard-of-living over ideological and military considerations, the age of no-wars and the irrelevance of borders and military forces. But, the conduct of the Palestinian Authority (epitomized by hate-education), the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the intensification of Islamic terrorism, the Iranian threat, the proliferation of advanced missiles, the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, the wars in Lebanon and Gaza and the current Middle East upheaval, crashed the superficial New Middle East and Spring in Ramallah visions. However, in order to sustain the “peace process,” Israeli and Western “elites” have ignored the unprecedented Arafat and Abu Mazen-initiated hate-education and terrorism.
In January 2005, they were further encouraged by Abu Mazen’s rise to the chairmanship of the Palestinian Authority. They would not be diverted from the pursuit of their visions by Abu Mazen’s track record: Introducing hate-education into Palestinian schools, mosques and media, subversion against Arab regimes, holocaust denial, enrollment in KGB and Muslim Brotherhood schooling, the embracing of ruthless Soviet Bloc Communist regimes, centrality in the 1972 Munich Massacre and the recent accord with Hamas.
The 1989 dismantling of the USSR and the fall of the Berlin Wall triggered a Spring of Nations hope and a New World Order concept, which was swiftly transformed into a New World Disorder. While the Spring of Nations introduced democracy into Eastern Europe, it could not advance the cause of liberty in Arab lands. 1,400 years of Muslim-Arab tyranny, guided by an imperialistic, intolerant and violent religion, which embraces terrorism and tolerates “female circumcision” (genital mutilation), constitutes too high a hurdle for the Spring of Nations. The British Empire attempted to democratize Arab countries – but failed, due to the lack of essential infrastructure of democratic values and education in Arab lands.
The turmoil in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman and Syria (and you ain’t seen nothing yet…), coupled with the expected US evacuation from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iranian threat and the inherent non-reliability of international or Western guarantees and forces do not usher in Spring; they do usher in lethal geo-political twisters and floods, which require the retaining – and not the giveaway – of critical Israeli security assets.