Thursday, 24 February 2011

These are Secular Popular Revolts – Yet Everyone is Blaming Religion

Mubarak claimed that Islamists were behind the Egyptian revolution. Ben Ali said the same in Tunisia. King Abdullah of Jordan sees a dark and sinister hand – al-Qa'ida's hand, the Muslim Brotherhood's hand, an Islamist hand – behind the civil insurrection across the Arab world. Yesterday the Bahraini authorities discovered Hizbollah's bloody hand behind the Shia uprising there. For Hizbollah, read Iran. How on earth do well-educated if singularly undemocratic men get this thing so wrong? Confronted by a series of secular explosions – Bahrain does not quite fit into this bracket – they blame radical Islam. The Shah made an identical mistake in reverse. Confronted by an obviously Islamic uprising, he blamed it on Communists.

Bobbysocks Obama and Clinton have managed an even weirder somersault. Having originally supported the "stable" dictatorships of the Middle East – when they should have stood by the forces of democracy – they decided to support civilian calls for democracy in the Arab world at a time when the Arabs were so utterly disenchanted with the West's hypocrisy that they didn't want America on their side. "The Americans interfered in our country for 30 years under Mubarak, supporting his regime, arming his soldiers," an Egyptian student told me in Tahrir Square last week. "Now we would be grateful if they stopped interfering on our side." At the end of the week, I heard identical voices in Bahrain. "We are getting shot by American weapons fired by American-trained Bahraini soldiers with American-made tanks," a medical orderly told me on Friday. "And now Obama wants to be on our side?"

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-these-are-secular-popular-revolts-ndash-yet-everyone-is-blaming-religion-2220134.html

The people of the Middle East are not so naive to allow the US to manipulate the situation here. Basic demands for a better, more equitable life MUST be met. Moreover, because these people understand the geopolitical situation they find themselves in they are somewhat prepared for the deceptions likely to be foisted upon them. There is no turning back the clock now !

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, February 24th, 2011.]

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