New Reality of Arab Street

By Iqbal Jassat – Pretoria

Has the American dream of permanent supremacy in the oil-rich region of the world been shattered?

It’s a question that not only haunts influential institutions that function as pillars of power in America’s global hegemony; but also torments a wide array of rightwing think tanks masquerading as ‘impartial analysts’.

In addition, Israel, America’s foremost regional ally and partner in policing the Arab world is also in agony! The Zionist entity that for far too long had played roughshod over the lives of its victims is suddenly gripped with misery, distress and wretchedness.

It’s a scenario that a few weeks ago would have been dismissed as unthinkable. Yet, as events unfold in dramatic and drastic ways across the entire Middle East and North Africa, it has become clear that politics governing the Arab street will not be the same ever again.

The ouster from power of Tunisia’s autocratic leader Ben Ali commenced the opening of a new chapter of popular revolts. And against all odds, the inspiring success of Egypt’s ‘intifada’ leading to the toppling of the region’s highly prized trophy Hosni Mubarak reinforced the fact that the face of geo-politics had changed.

As Bahrain and Yemen remain gripped with mounting pressure from street protests demanding fundamental human rights coupled with regime change, the Saudi kingdom’s long-suffering populace has now demonstrated that they too have overcome the threshold of fear and taken to the street to challenge the King’s police state!

While full-blown revolutions intensify against American-backed dictators and monarchs – many of whom are in power for decades without any accountability, Libya and its maverick ‘brother leader’ dominate the current concentration of news, analysis and policy debates.

Muammar Gaddafi has in fact turned out to be more than just a lunatic with an extremely inflated ego. He has unleashed his military arsenal on the Libyan population imitating Israel’s bloody conduct against Palestinians resisting Occupation. His behaviour and utterances suggest that Gaddafi is able to defy American demands for him to cease violent suppression of protesters because the US is complicit in worse thuggery with the military aid and protection it provides Israel to commit acts of genocide!

In a remarkable turn of events Gaddafi who only recently was repackaged by Western states as a ‘rehabilitated terrorist’ with whom it was fine to do business while expedient to ignore his 42year old dictatorship, has become a major source of embarrassment for his new buddies! This is likely to compound as he finds himself isolated and would reason that despite the enormity of Israel’s on-going crimes and violations of human rights it remains immune from prosecution!

In his madness, Gaddafi has turned into a monster not only by his violent reaction to an overwhelming majority of Libyans who demand his exit; but also to his Western allies by invoking the same bogey of al-Qaeda to justify crushing the rebellion with brute force. Gaddafi’s message to America and NATO is that his actions are in full conformity with their illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under the rubric of “war on terror”!

Hence, one is not surprised that the Obama administration is settling on a Middle East strategy known as “Regime Alteration” whereby it will help keep longtime allies who are willing to reform in power, even if it means the full democratic demands of their newly emboldened citizens might have to wait. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that this approach has emerged amid furious lobbying of the administration by Arab regimes who were alarmed that President Barack Obama had abandoned Egypt’s Mubarak and worried that, if the US did the same to the beleaguered king of Bahrain, a chain of revolts could sweep them from power, too, and further upend the region’s stability.

As protests intensify in the Arab street and begin to propel in spectacular revolts across the region it has become increasingly clear that dramatic changes will not be prevented by architects of an American empire – the dream of all US administrations!

– Iqbal Jassat is chairperson of the Media Review Network (MRN), an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa. He contributed this article to Visit:

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out