Again: What’s Really Really Really Wrong with the Middle East?

Too many people in the Middle East refuse to look in the mirror. They’d rather come up with excuses and justifications as to why others, particularly forces outside their neighborhood, are responsible for their misfortunes. I know all about colonialism, Zionism, imperialism, communism, secularism, Islamism, and every other -ism that’s been marshaled to show why outsiders and not locals deserve the blame for what goes on in the Arab world.

But let’s get real. At some point, as every person knows, there’s an expiration date for blaming your parents for the way you turned out. And in the case of the Arab world, the warranty on coverage for blaming the Mossad, the CIA, America, the Jews, or Bozo the Clown for the absence of democracy, the lack of respect for human rights, and gender inequality has long expired.

To be sure, outsiders still influence the Middle East in very negative ways. But that’s no excuse for believing its people can’t shape their own destiny. After all, that is what the Arab Awakening was supposed to be about. And wouldn’t you know it: the Arab Awakening got hijacked not by Western bogeymen, but by forces within Arab society itself, including Muslim fundamentalists, secular and liberal elements that couldn’t organize effectively, and remnants of the old regimes who hung on to power after the dictators were gone.

via What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East?

 By Aaron David Miller | Foreign Policy


(Art: Bernard Boudon –

To be honest, this article didn’t apport anything new to my personal knowledge, but… I’m sure that many of the opinions enlisted can still be a surprise for MANY middle easterns. Specially most of my beloved saudis.

Female saudis. 

I love to talk and learn from saudi women, honestly…. trying to set the same kind of link with guys tends to be a complete waste of time and fingerprints. Basically because they attach radically to ALL those negative stereotypes that appear on the list… it had to be someone. 

– “I dont get it. so it is either dictatorship or chaos? “ – “According to the strategy of letting wolves lead the cattle….. yes.”

I was talking tonight with my friend May about the announcement by those beardie boys of Jabhat al-Nusra that they are enlisted under Al-Qaeda and now follow direct orders from them. It was a short but interesting conversation.

I have always rejected the Syrian revolt since violence started. Violence somehow justified by Assad’s army response on peaceful demonstrations, that opened the door for the special guest starring of the beardie boys, who soon appeared as the most active, organised and successful freedom guerrilleros.

But it was a violence that made impossible to gather people in a new Tahrir Square.

Soon after that start of fight, views of bloodshed under the allahu-akhbars (from victims or killers) on the rebel side started to fill our screens. Nothing seemed surprising. They didn’t shout “down with Assad”…. they just said “God is Great”, which is not as much as a political slogan but, you know…. arabs and their thingies. No Panic.

Also, west-backed revolt became tryumphant in Libya, and Gaddafi himself, executed . I disliked the fact that the spearheads of that success were somehow uncontrolled islamist militias chanting “allahu akhbars”. The fallacy of a turkish-inspired moderate islamism kept working on the way. But no Panic. We won.

By then I had expressed quite often my concerns about the syrian particularities and the religious load of the syrian revolt vs the merely political intention of Tunisian, Egyptian and even Bahraini revolutionary sparks.

I was told that it was not so important, and that the intervention of islamists was necessary in order to express the voice of part of the syrian population who were religious and conservative and still had in mind the massacre in Hama under Hafez Al-Assad, and wanted a fair retribution.

Ok… they were in touch with the rebel supporting groups, had better knowledge and data than I had,…so, I SMFMO and kept hoping they were right.

Until the night when some jihadi group from Benghazi, killed the US Ambassador in Libya.

That day I told May that that death was going to cost the lives of many thousands of syrians. It was the defunction of western peoples and government’s backing to any arab revolts where islamists performed whatever the role. No one was going to risk again.

And I was true on that.

Master movement for the islamists. Now every revolution was condemned to require their support and warfare knowledge. Qatari cash did the rest. Hardline Islam’s Bulldogs were about to close their jaws on a precious fruit: Syria.

But…. it could not be…. Assad was about to fall. He’ll not resist.… No Panic.

I started to notice that islamists were waving a black flag with verses of Qur’an… usually dressed in black… salafi beardies everywhere in a movement that went beyond fashion… and it all looked somehow familiar to this Mossàrab. I remembered the old times of the Al-Murabitun and the Al-Muwahhid and specially the latter ones, and how they behaved in Al-Andalus.

I saw organisation and an almost exclusive monopoly of combat and successful action videos by the hands of these guys….. (setting down fighters, helicopters, conquering air bases, taking mortars, cannons, tanks… and as usual…. allahu akhbars). I saw videos of little children beheading Syrian Army officers with a sabre, … but … no one payed attention. It was too gross for Youtube and soon deleted.

C’mon Tono,… the bad ones are on the Assad’s side and these are just the few normal excesses of every civil war… because yes… it was not a revolution anymore. Syrians were siding, and some by force. Many alawis, shiites, ismailis, christians, were forced to get closer to Assad bcos they were targetted by the rebels, headed by the beardie boys.

Among those brave and noisy islamists, started to gain relevance Jabhat Al-Nusra… a group of veteran corageous foreigners…organised, effective, disciplined, well equipped, and managing to keep order and help population in the spaces they controlled. That is…. sunni population. Those International Brigades of fanatic supporters of the revolution making the way easier for the adveniment of democracy. And gaining supports and new ranks for their lines. A winner horse. The Alfa Male.

Syrian levantine muslims don’t support them, calm down… c’mon Tono!.. no, really… be confident. No panic…

I kept watching news aboutt suicide bombings celebrated as successes for the hardline revolution, together with kidnaps of foreign journalists, summary executions of whole families and too many children indefectibly killed by a monstruous army that was hard to believe that could be human. After all, we all know that soldiers are people too. But rebels fell by the thousands. common people, that it.

It was too much chaos together. The almost complete lack of coordination and unitary leadership among the moderate rebels made me increase my doubts but this time I kept silent.

I saw a messy river where clever ambitious leaders would try to fish, but I was tired of feeling like a modern day Cassandra.

Don’t say that Tono,… we are helping the refugees. Everything is allright and under control. Syria is not Libya. No panic.

When US included the Al-Nusra front with the terrorist groups, I remember many peaceful syrian revolutionaries protested. The west was tagging their revolt to justify their inactivity, it was all the usual hypocresy and biaised western and specially US style. What could u expect from those who invaded Iraq?….. it was just another excuse to avoid intervention. Just because they are Syrians.

There is no bigger blind than that who decides not to see.

They kept making plans, boiling in good intentions and the best mindwork, organising debates, gathering all those moderates OUT OF SYRIA who had a said…. (being syrians or not,) about what was going to happen…. on a ground that is far far far beyond their control….at all.

We heard about kurds enlisting their own unveiled women battallions , and apparently aiming to gain a certain authonomy from Damascus with support from iraqi kurdistan, and maybe, the PKK if they consider to advance on syria letting Turkey calm…..

We heard about westerns and west-bred immigrants who went to make the jihad, (americans, english, french…) and many other foreigners, most of them combat veterans. And some crazy maniacs too, as expectable, who will become a trouble for us when they finish their service in Syria and decide t get back “home” full of pride and plans…

Also we could see examples of the ideal revolutionary behaviour on women and even how new revolutionary families grow full of love and intimate confidence while they account killings…

Out from the frontline, we could see the first examples of the new social model to come under the black flags , where verses of the Qur’an have displaced the tri-coloured banner.

Finally people starts to notice of the evident trap that has been set for mid east. The magic gamble of hardline sunnis. They may evenually set their own control over a good portion of Syria and also from Iraq. And they don’t seem on the mood of respecting borders imposed by westerns after WWI…. the Ummah is above that.

A Black Banner to gather all believers. Black uniforms for all. It’s no time for celebration, it’s time for fight for the muhajideen… allahu akhbar…

Tonight in the discussion, May asked “I dont get it. so it is either dictatorship or chaos? “

My answer was: “According to the strategy of letting wolves lead the cattle….. yes. They will kill down the lion and will want to get the prize for them…either way cattle dies. … how stupid, uh?”

Her answer to that and many words: they are getting inside syria bcuz the west did not help the rebelions early”….. well… c’mon… seriously: maybe (and just maybe!) it’s about time to start panicking.


Delacroix showed it right: It’s not hunger or ideologies what guides revolt. IT’S NEED OF FREEDOM WHAT KEEPS LEADING PEOPLE.


Marianne in Tunisia – By Robert Zaretsky | Foreign Policy.

“Marianne embodies not just the form of ancient Greek models — Winged Victory of Samothrace is perhaps the most powerful inspiration — but also channels the many instances of (fully clothed) women in the streets who helped the wounded and hauled paving stones to the barricades. In fact, Delacroix was in part inspired by the contemporary account of Marie Deschamps, who took her fallen brother’s place on a Parisian barricade. Tunisian women have acted with similar courage. There is the example of Khaoula Rachidi, a university student in Tunis beaten by Salafists when she tried to prevent them from replacing the Tunisian flag with the black Salafi banner on her campus, and that of Besma Khalfaoui, the wife of Belaid, who declared that her husband’s assassination “gives us reason to hope” — hope, of course, that those who believed the revolution did not need to be defended will now wake up.” … inspirational.

Tunis is not Egypt but…

Class Issues ‘At The Heart’ of Tunisian Conflict |

“As usual, a lot of pundits are looking to use the instability in Tunisia to indict the Arab Spring. But the divisions and the structural problems in the country were largely produced by the old dictatorship, which could no longer deal with them by state coercion. Tunisia is wracked by that new phenomenon, of open political struggle. The country needs to rework it into peaceful civil politics if it is to go ahead, but the struggle itself is salutary. The old Tunisia of 80,000 secret police spying on citizens’ every word and the criminalization of political speech is gone, and good riddance. People who want that back for the sake of ‘stability’ are being unrealistic; it is what produced the instability, because it was untenable in the long run.”