Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nasrallah and Events in Syria

Many people, including myself, have been very disappointed that Iran and Hezbullah have sided completely with the Syrian regime whilst also proclaiming themselves to be against Israeli and American oppression in the Middle East. At the same time, in London, I have heard news that the Bahraini opposition has sided with the Syrian pro-government 'protestors' and the Libyan pro-government protestors. So what do we make of all this?

Two Camps in the Middle East

As I've mentioned on previous posts, the revolutions in the region are not happening in a vacuum. There are two camps in the region, the pro-Western 'moderate' camp and the Iranian led 'resistance' camp. Whilst the Arab awakening has affected both camps, it is clear that each camp is only eager to support revolutions and unrest in the separate camp. So Iran, Syria, Hezbullah and Shia Iraqi's are eagerly supporting the Bahraini revolution and backing the Gaddafi regime, whilst the Gulf States, Jordan and the United States are supportive of the Benghazi government in Libya and the protestors in Syria. All of this means that what started off as a legitimate wave of Arab revolutions is now at serious risk of being subverted and manipulated.

Protestors in Syria are, quite rightly, becoming strongly anti-Iranian and anti-Hezbullah whilst you find intellectuals such as al Jazeera's Ghassan Bin Jeddo and popular leaders like Nasrallah are now siding clearly with oppressive regimes because it is far more important to them that the United States and Israel be resisted and defeated than that their people live dignified and decent lives. Nasrallah's recent speech was like a slap in the face for many Syrians who deeply respected him. But was it really necessary for him to comment about events in Syria? No, that was a bad move, just like his comments regarding what is happening in Bahrain. He should have kept quiet.

Resistance or a Decent life - Mutually Exclusive?

Obama, now emboldened after his soldiers killed Osama Bin Laden, now feels ready to start turning the tide in the Middle East. Ambitious financial packages for Tunisia and Egypt, a strengthened committment to the Israeli state (in spite of his '1967 borders' claim in his recent speech) and a belligerent Netanyahu who has made it very clear how the Israelis will continue to do business. Coupling this with the admission of the Moroccans and the Jordanians into the GCC can give the GCC a projection force of 10,000 additional soldiers and now means that the Gulf Cooperation Council is a club for the Arabian monarchies. We can see this confident Saudi-led foreign policy with their involvement in crushing the revolt in Bahrain.

Naturally this is making the 'resistance' countries of the region extremely nervous. But frankly this can never justify the repression of their own people's legitimate demands and grievances. There can be no reforms whilst people are getting shot in the street, imprisoned and tortured, and harassed by security services and paramilitary thugs. The clumsy reaction of the Syrian regime is tragic, and now there are 1,100 people who have been murdered, with an additional 10,000 Syrians being imprisoned and tortured in the name of resistance and national security. It didn't need to be that way and this will not be forgotten by the people. If the 'resistance' countries think they will make any progress against Israel or American-led designs for the region, they are mistaken if they believe that people will put up with corruption, a lack of dignity and police brutality in the name of resistance. By ignoring this very simple fact, they risk losing everything - and they will.

Universal Opposition to the Arab Awakening

One thing we can be certain of is that both the 'moderate' and the 'resistance' camps, as well as Israel, the United States and Tehran, are all deeply worried about the Arab Awakening, and will do everything possible to stop it. I don't think this is something they will be able to do. We are in for a very long period of unrest, surprises and revolution. The result will be virtually unrecognisable and there will sadly be a lot of suffering and bloodshed. This is only the beginning.


Rabi Tawil (AKA Abu Kareem) said...

I have always maintained that the strongest resistance to Israel comes from strong Arab nations. And by strong Arab nations I mean not only independent but with stable representative governments and strong civic institutions that are able to out compete and out maneuver Israel.

Anyway, the regime's "resistance" was resistance by proxy; resistance without pain. Until a couple of weeks ago, no one has been allowed to practice "resistance" in the Golan heights for decades.

Unknown said...

"leaders like Nasrallah are now siding clearly with oppressive regimes because it is far more important to them that the United States and Israel be resisted and defeated than that their people live dignified and decent lives."

This is what they've always done: bitten off their noses to spite their faces. Or, rather, bitten off the noses of the lebanese people. The entire "resistance" is a complete fraud. Why you suck at its teat is a mystery.