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The Arab governments, alliance of the foes

m east map.jpgMIDDLE EAST, August 07, 2011 - Many observers were surprised, why the Arab governments which have always been at odd, are now united? Why silence or support to the existing  regimes has dominated the response of the Arab league, and of the other Arab states to the current events in Syria and Yemen? The reply is pretty complicated:


Egypt: The ruling military council has exhibited its solid patriotic foundations when it refused to participate in the killing of the Egyptian people during the January 2011 revolution.

But the council doesn’t express the will or aspirations of the new revolution, and therefore  has followed the same traditional policies toward the other Arab regimes. The council seems to see the Syrian regime as an inspiring pan Arab regime, while it sees president Saleh of Yemen as an element of regional stability. The response of the council has been silence.


Iraq: The USA has paid 5000 Soldiers and 500 billion USD in Iraq, and the outcome is a fully pro Iranian regime in Iraq which has a reactionary sectarian agenda and has become an undeclared  partner in the crescent alliance (Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon). What is amazing is that the USA continues to wish to stay in Iraq at high human and financial costs, while Iran cultivates free of charge.


The response of Iraq has been overt political and media support to the Syrian regime and new grand economic agreements with Syria in an effort to save the ailing Syrian economy, and thus save the Syrian regime. There are news that Iran is pressuring Iraq to deposit 10 Billion USD in the Syrian central bank (the prestigious London based Al-Hayat newspaper, issue of August 6, 2011).  


Saudi Arabia: Since the assassination of the powerful King Faisal in 1975, the Saudi foreign policy can be described as mercurial. King Faisal believed that his battle with the Baathist regimes of Syria and Iraq was that of existence. He never compromised with them.


After his death, the Saudis continued to feel threatened by the Rhetorical skills of the Syrian regime, its “revolutionary” slogans    and the “revolutionary“ groups  it provided shelter to, but  it changed its policy to that of appeasement in an effort to contain it.  


Although the government of Saudi Arabia has made great accomplishments in the economic field, and is not despotic (since tribalism and despotism are not fully compatible),  but it is still a dictatorship as it  has failed  to make serious needed social and political progress. This makes it feel weak and defensive. 


Henry Kissinger practically delivered democratic Lebanon to The Syrian regime in 1975 (Patrick Seal book “Asad”, pages 279-288), but Saudi Arabia made that practical domination official (The Taief accord, 1990).


This vague lost love between the two foes hasn’t been a one way street though. The Saudis benefited from it as well. When Saddam Hussain (the archrival of president Hafez Assad, although they both are Baathists) invaded Kuwait, Syria sent its troops to help Kuwait in 1991 as part of the international liberation coalition. Syria also approved the interference of the Saudi army in Bahrain in 2011.


The response of Saudi Arabia has been silence. It may issue a vague statement to calm the Saudi people who were angered by the atrocities in Syria.


Lebanon: This distinguished progressive state, which is the only democracy in the Arab world, is on a reverse course with  history. Lebanon now is practically ruled by Hezbollah . Its president is weak, its billionaire PM is surely a main partner in giant  MTN mobile phone company in Syria (many  say that the Syrian president’s famous cousin is the second main partner), the speaker of the Lebanese parliament is loyal to the Syrian regime, and the head of the Lebanese army  is close to the Syrian regime. Lebanon will become a defacto dictatorship soon.


The response of Lebanon was manifested in its position toward the weak UN Security Council statement about Syria issued on August 4. Lebanon was the only country to refrain from voting and has declared that it will support the Syrian regime totally. 


The UN institution UNHCR, declared on August 6 that Hezbollah’s elements have killed defective Syrian soldiers who refused to shoot at the peaceful protestors. 


Written by Basel Adnan

Diplomatic Aspects Associate

NOTE: Article presents the point of view of his writer

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