Monday, February 14, 2011

The natives are restless and the empire is fidgety

As protests against autocratic regimes gain strength in Bahrain and Algeria today, the March 14 movement in Lebanon prepares itself for its annual self-celebration. This year it comes in the form of a seated dinner for 5,000 people in the BIEL complex, appropriately located in the Solidere area, the center of Beirut that was privatized by Rafic Hariri. The March 14 leaders are expected to give talks of eulogy to former prime minister Rafic Hariri who was assassinated on this day in 2005. They will also probably congratulate the Egyptian's people on their uprising from one corner of their mouth, while praising Mubarak and his regime from the other. Don't think it is impossible, just wait and see.

The March 14 discourse has been tainted with double talk since the beginning of the Egyptian uprising. On the one hand, some morons wanted us to believe that what was going on in Egypt was an extension of the US and Saudi planned, funded and promoted Lebanese "Cedar Revolution" of 2005. They conveniently forget that the Egyptian uprising had the backing of the majority of the people of Egypt and that its goal was to remove a regime installed and supported by the US and Israel, while the cedar thingie held a racist opportunist sectarian agenda that overlapped almost perfectly with the US-Israeli agenda in the region. They also forget that more than half the people of Lebanon were against them. On the other hand, former prime minister and March 14 pole Fuad Sanioura could not stop himself from offering some words of confort to Mubarak, praising him for his role and assistance over the years.

The duplicity of the March 14 camp and especially of the Future Movement leadership is understandable: many among the grass-root supporters of the Future Movement still identify with Arab nationalist culture, and they see the Egyptian uprising as a return to Nasser's values. However, these are critical times, and the last thing Hariri want is to upset the already very upset Saudi ruling family. There is also an element of recognition for services rendered in there: During the period 2005-2008, Egyptian (and Jordanian) mukhabarat were allegedly running the show in the March 14 security apparatus, and provided invaluable services to the anti Resistance camp during Israel's war on Lebanon in 2006. There are rumors that Omar Sulayman was personally in charge of overseeing all this.

But Lebanon is uninteresting at the moment with its petty sectarian dogfights over crumbs of a rotting regime. The Egyptian uprising and its outcomes and the further developments is what interests me at the moment, especially as I have only mistrust in the armed forces council. While it is too early to foresee clearly the post-Mubarak era, I found this limpid post by As`ad Angry Arab to be a very useful Guide to Reading the Egyptian Uprising in its First Week. I am concerned that the counter-revolutionary movement led by the army will diffuse the hard-won victory by the people. In essence, while Mubarak is gone, Omar Sulayman is just laying low; and the armed forces council is sending reassuring signals to the Empire. Contact has been established between the head of the armed forces council and zionist-in-chief Netanyahu, and it has been expressed that Egypt will continue to respect its "international agreements". I may have been foolish to expect a rapid cancellation of the Camp David accord, but I am certain it will come in due course. News are also filtering out from Egypt that embezzlers and crooks who made billions by staying close to the Mubarak regime wil be quickly forgiven, and that the economic system will continue on its neoliberal course. At least for the near future. I was nauseated by the appointment of Mubarak propagandist and vocal opponent of the Tahreer protests `Imad el Deen Adeeb as Minister of Information in the new government.

I am also concerned that the middle class feels it has achieved what it wanted, which is a sense of empowerment. It could end up playing the game of the armed forces council and accepting what is akin to a military government and trusting it to prepare for truly democratic elections. It has been argued that the middle class has led the Egyptian and the Tunisian protests, and that it did not come out in the street with a primarily social justice agenda, but with a freedom and democracy agenda, and that changing the economic regime is not one of its priorities (see previous post by Karim on this blog, but see also this article in Al Akhbar today). But great hope lies in the workers. They have been on continuous strike for a pretracted period, way before the uprising started, as Hossam El-Hamalawy reminds us in this brilliant article. Follow Hossam on twitter for updates on the Egyptian workers strikes and other Egyptian matters.

Meanwhile, it is not only the natives that are restless, the Empire is fidgety too, and for god reasons: look at the agenda. It has to try and hijack the Arab Revolutions, by propping up the middle class and arming it with vapid demands. It has to strengthen the protests in the rejectionist camps: Syria and Iran. It as to reassure the Arab dictators who have given years of servile and faithful services to the Empire that that they wont be abandoned like Mubarak. It has to mend to relationship with the Saudis who are, I understand, really upset at Barack and his crowd. That would explain the high level US delegation that has arrived to Amman today, seeking to strengthen its foothold in the kingdom.

In Palestine, the government of Salam Fayyad has resigned, leaving the space for another government headed by... Salam Fayyad. Truly, Palestine will only be liberated after all the Arab nation is free. But that, comrades, has already been said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what a shameful post,
Instead of writing a post that draws Lessons from Egypt and inspires us Lebanese to force our leadership to represent our aspirations, or to tell us for example that we could only change our lives by changing our politicians, not accepting 500usd for our vote, you entrench yourself in the dirty Lebanese politics game, pick a side then this is what you come up with, an attack on the speech of the son of the slain PM of Lebanon in the commemoration of his father's death..

and you call it all sort of things like the March 14 movement's annual self-celebration etc..

and criticize the hypocrisy of M14 when it comes to egypt when hizbula is exactly in the same position and hypocrisy as them..
and you do not even mention the dozens of Lebanese leaders who were assasinated, but you insult them even more on the day of their commemoration,

I am not trying to insult you or be rude, but I must take back my words where I say I wish I could have taken a class with you, because having professors like you at AUB keeps our country in its current state