Opinion

OPINION: Is the Arab Spring Challenging Western Hegemony?

The much-touted development in West Asia, dubbed as the Arab Spring, was assiduously watched and noticed by policymakers, scholars and thinkers worldwide. The United States of America and its key allies like France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and most importantly Israel were the ones who most closely and anxiously monitored the situation on the ground. And among several reasons for this, the primary reason being their dependency on energy imports and consequent heavy monetary and military investment in the region.

These self-proclaimed saviors and promoters of democracy and democratic thought did not only watch the demonstrations calling for the establishment of democracy across the region, but also fueled them in some cases and helped crush them in others as per their humbug interests. For example, in the case of Libya, France air-dropped arms to the rebels to fight against the regime. Also, foreign mercenaries — who freely operated inside the war-torn country — were widely believed to be paid to fight against the Gaddafi regime by these Western warmongers. Similar reports have been coming out from Syria where the country is going through what seems like a full-fledged civil war.

However, in the case of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where citizens, just like Libya, also demanded the overthrow of the autocratic regime and the establishment of democracy, their rebellion was severely crushed by force and intimidation but it drew a tepid opposition from the West. On top of it, the United States moved forward on a $1 million arms sale to the Bahraini regime, providing them with more technically advanced weapons to suppress the voice of dissidents. Human rights groups fiercely condemned the timing of the deal.

There is no doubt that these arrogant Western powers tried their best to manipulate and maneuver events in the region according to their vested interests. But did they succeed? Has the Arab Spring paid off for the West? Or has it shaken their dominance in the region?

As far as the process of reforms is concerned, after more than a year of revolution, the situation in many countries has turned against the sordid interests of the West — fortunately. In Tunisia, the pro-West President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced out of power and the Ennahda Movement, an Islamist party, claimed a landslide victory. Needless to say, the West, in their wickedness, have always tried their best to restrict and restrain Islamic organizations from coming to power in any part of the world.

Further, on 13 November 2011, the Ennahda Movement’s general secretary Hamadi Jebali held a joint rally in Sousse , Tunisia with a parliamentary deputy of the Palestinian Hamas party. Mr. Jebali referred to the occasion as “a divine moment in a new state, and in, hopefully, the sixth caliphate,” and that “the liberation of Tunisia will, God willing, bring about the liberation of Jerusalem.” Such a stance from a member of the ruling authority in the Middle East is definitely a matter of grave concern to the bigoted Zionists.

In a similar fashion, another Western puppet, the former president of Egypt Mr. Hosni Mubarak, was also forced to step down and cede power in Egypt after 18 days of violent protests. He was widely known to be inclined towards the policies drafted by the United States and its allies. The 2005 Egypt-Israel gas deal has come under strident criticism from leaders of the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year. The deal hugely benefited the state of Israel as Egyptian gas was sold to them at a highly subsidized rate, while Egypt incurred an estimated loss of $714 million.

However, during the uprising, the pipelines supplying gas to Israel faced numerous attacks and as a result the gas supply was substantially reduced. Consequently, Israel had to purchase gas from countries as far as Mexico. The price of electricity as well as the cost of living went up in Israel as a result. There is a significant demand by the people of Egypt either to scrap the deal permanently or to charge a higher price for the gas supplied to the Jewish state. Israel insists that the prices paid are fair and claims that any termination of contract will lead to a violation of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. Moreover, in the parliamentary elections following the uprising, the Muslim Brotherhood, another Islamist party, secured more than 50 percent of the votes and emerged as the biggest political party in Egypt.

Further, in the presidential elections too, the Muslim Brotherhood managed a considerable share of the votes, which is definitely not a positive sign for the diabolical policies of the West. The West has already expressed concerns over an Islamic organization coming to power after almost three decades of the so-called secular-rule in the country under President Hosni Mubarak.

The third country that has become a source of tension for the West is Syria under the rule of President Bashar Al-Assad. After more than a year of demonstrations and call from the West, along with its Arabian marionettes, for President Assad to step down, he continues to be the ruler of the state. The United States and its partners have announced several punitive measures and have imposed economic and military sanctions on Syria. Besides these diplomatic measures, the West has resorted to illegal means to force the regime to collapse. There are continuous reports that give evidence of foreign funding, and arming of the rebels and dissidents, being fueled on sectarian grounds.

However, not all the applied tools have so far yielded desired results. Bashar Al-Assad continues to garner Iranian support, which is the number one foe of the West in the region. Despite continuous protests, elections took place in the country and a considerable number of voters turned out to the polling stations; though the activists dubbed the elections as a farce. Mr. Assad still boasts a good number of supporters in the country. And foreign powers like Russia and China have been reluctant in rebuking the regime as the West has demanded of them.

Libya tops the list of nations that are worrying the West. It was the only state during the uprising on which the West exerted its full force by choosing to militarily intervene and enforce the establishment of their dictated and pretentious democracy; a democracy where they themselves can act as an autocrat, re-station their military forces, which were previously rushed out by Col. Gaddafi and consequently exploit the rich natural resources of the country.

A government favoring their policies is highly coveted by them because of the 42 years of non-aligning regime of Col. Gaddafi, which did not comply with their policies unquestioningly. Such a government is more crucial to them because the country has vast oil and gas reserves and it has become a cliché to mention that energy needs always underpin the United States foreign policy.

Therefore, a proper functioning and fully empowered organization of Western government’s followers, called the National Transition Council, was formed and expected to acquire power in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. However, even several months after the fall of Col. Gaddafi’s regime, the National Transition Council could not take full control of the state. On the contrary to what was expected by the West, the eastern oil rich part of the country, also known as Cyrenaica, was declared a semi-autonomous region by its tribal leaders, which will have its own parliament, police force, courts and capital in Benghazi.

Although the Arab Spring failed to deliver on its promise of democracy due to the many challenges it faces in the region, it is an aberration that the United States of America and its key allies are facing a serious threat to its dominant hierarchical position in the Middle East. And this became possible only by the audacity of thousands of awakening youths who strive to eliminate the hegemony of the West in the region.

About Mohammad Behzad Fatmi

Mohammad Behzad Fatmi (Class of 2012) is a former staff writer for Jamia Journal, and a 2012 Bachelor of Commerce graduate. He can be reached via email at: behzad.fatmi[at]gmail.com

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