Home / Culture and Society / What Does The Arab Re-Awakening Mean For Middle East Interests?

What Does The Arab Re-Awakening Mean For Middle East Interests?

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With Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Libya and The Ivory Coast experiencing social upheaval and revolution, what does that mean for our interests? Al Jazeera has labeled it “The Arab Awakening.” A recent article in The Independent claims the current reforms go back to the Lebanese revolution of 2005. However we must look back further at the first Arab Awakening.

The first Arab Awakening occurred after World War 1. It was led by Palestinian Christians, Protestant Missionaries and a desire to taste freedom. As a result they saw a revival of the Arabic language and eventually it led to the establishment of the pro-American Universities. There has been a desire for freedom that has been pro-Western culture in the Middle East.

This current uprising at its heart was fueled by unrest, frustration and anger stemming from domestic terrorism against a Coptic Church, to an outspoken Tunisian taking to Social Media. At heart they share strongly democratic values. In Egypt’s Freedom Square, Christians protected Muslims as they prayed. The desire for freedom can be overwhelming and indiscriminate.

A genuine desire to experience real democracy, set up local control and a desire to disconnect from the global wars, has caused the masses to rise up and seek a more engaged socially active governing institution. Many of the people who have been educated by the West, then exploited and impoverished under the dictators’ hands that the west supported are now seeking a peaceful redress of their grievances.

This uprising appears very similar to that of the American and French Revolutions. For many it’s about time. A greedy consumption and fight for resources (namely oil) has left the people worn out and weary. They’ve had enough.

Frustration with the élite financiers, oil Sheiks, dictators and war mongers have left the populace exhausted from inequality and exploitation. It is time to end the subjugation and oppression by all means necessary. There has been a strong desire to get freedom peaceable however in a few cases war has broken out.

A revolution in free press courtesy of Al Jazeera with the assistance of Facebook and Twitter has empowered the populace, engaging them in their own destiny. The availability and access to information, the use of technology and social media has transformed the arm-chair activist into a social reformer. It has been beautiful to watch.

In the midst of this Libya has been drawn into a deep and prolonged battle by the Gaddafi regime. The UN has authorized a no fly zone. Obama has authorized armed Drones to defend the reformers. The CIA has assets on the ground involved in clandestine operations doing who knows what. France and England are more directly involved in training Rebel Forces. The world is responding.

In America it seems that the “Birthers” (who are among the ranks of the Tea Party movement) are the lone stand outs, withholding support for the Libyan people’s freedom. Citing our lack of involvement in earlier atrocities in such places as Sudan and elsewhere while echoing Gaddafi’s use of our fear of Al Qaeda as propaganda, they claim we have no right to be involved in Libya.

Conservatives seem overly concerned with Reality TV Star “the Toupee’s” (aka The Donald’s) bid for presidency, with all the support from the Fox in the hen-house entertainment channel that they can muster.

General Wesley Clark stated that the Bush Administration had plans to overthrow Libya as well as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran by the year 2012. Those were extreme goals before the world monetary collapse at the hands of the International Bankers. Things have changed in Libya and the world since those plans were laid.

The age old division of Shia versus Sunni is tearing the Middle East apart. Factions are fighting for control of the future of the Arab world. In light of the war for oil, the war on terror and the geo-politics of the middle-east there is a need to be cautious about which side we support.

Instead of seeking to ramp up the divisions between Shia and Sunni, Israel and Palestine we need to focus on settling the local democratic changes the people are seeking to change. The Arab Awakening started from people seeking to improve their way of life in the context of a divisive and destructive environment.

The Arab Re-Awakening has included many democratic ideals, as well as frustration with the bombing of Churches, the desire to be free, and even Christians protecting Muslims. There are many things that we can find to support.

Do we need to try to influence their politics? Should we inject the ills of our society into theirs? Or should we just let this Awakening run its course? Is empire building and world governance really the way of the future?

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  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hm – I didn’t know about Gen. Clark’s revelation about Bush’s aims. And there’s one thing I’d add to the democratic ideals, that being how the Muslims in Egypt chose to bodily protect the Coptic Christians. That was something I had not expected to see.

  • When you live in Egypt, you see that there’s no true animosity between Christians and Muslims. Most crazed fanatics have spent quite a bit of time in the Gulf

  • Quite a few comments:

    1. I don’t understand what revival of the Arabic language you are talking about – Arabic has been spoken throughout the Middle East since before Islam. Are you talking about modern standard Arabic (Fushaa)? Also, I’m not sure which revival of Palestinian Christians you are referring to unless it is of Palestinian response to the colonization of its land?

    2. I disagree strongly with your statement that these uprisings are similar to the American or French revolution. These uprisings are about two things – widespread, oppressive corruption and unemployment/lack of opportunity. Corruption is at the heart of almost every problem facing young people today in the Middle East. It’s hard to start a business or keep a business because you have to pay bribes. You can’t get into the best universities unless you’re wealthy – which you often can’t become unless you’re corrupt.

    3. Oil is certainly relevant to the geo-poltical situation, including the support/lack of support by Western powers for these revolutions, but in the case of Egypt and Tunisia was mostly irrelevant.

    4. The church bombing in Alexandria also had little to do with the beginning of the Egyptian revolution – in fact, the revolution had been planned out long before that ever happened. There are also allegations that the old Minister of Interior planned the attack to insite sectarian violence in order to make a stronger argument for the old regime’s legitimacy.

    What many of these revolutions mean for U.S. interests is that we can no longer deal with Arab countries on the basis of a singular personality at the top, but rather with regards to the needs and wants of the populations. In many ways, these uprisings will force the U.S. to deal with these countries democratically rather then unilaterally.