In Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood was the most organized political group running in the post-dictator era The presidential elections in the second round were between Mr. Morsi and a representative of the discredited regime so many people (including secularists and even communists) voted for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mr. Morsi.
The young people who were the engine behind the revolution were not happy when the Morsi/Muslim Brotherhood regime started to push to Islamize the country instead of allowing inclusive democracy (e.g. the constitution they pushed through).
It was also clear that the Muslim Brotherhood pre-election rhetoric especially on relations with Israel and the West was now replaced by looseness to the Western world and taking the line of Qatar and Saudi Arabia (money driven, pro-Israel).
President Morsi declared his support for these countries’ efforts to create another Libyan scenario in Syria.
Morsi cut diplomatic relations with Syria and became friendly to the US-Israeli-Qatari axis in its opposition to the Iran-Syria-Lebanon axis.
Perhaps this was to appease the military which is an institution with great power in Egyptian economy and society.
But the military responded to the outpouring of popular unrest in Egypt by staging a coup which further polarized Egyptian society.
The US said it will continue to give aid to the Egyptian military which had been directly coordinating with Israel including on tightening the siege on the people of Gaza creating a humanitarian catastrophe. Israel seems to benefit from the unrest but seems to have hedged its bets on any potential resolution by having “working relations” with different sides in Egypt.
In Syria: It has been over 2.5 years since the Qatari-Saudi financed initiative to topple Bashar Asad. Russia and China stopped a potential repeat of the US and NATO scenario of Libya.
Russian and US foreign ministers agreed to a political solution but forces in the West and in Qatar undermined this by massive infusions of arms and money. Hezbollah decided to get involved directly and helped win a decisive victory in Qusayr.
The Syrian government is now on the offensive aided by the public opinions in Syria which saw the atrocities committed by the rebels (public cutting of throats, torture, pillages etc.).
Calls for a Ramadan ceasefire seem to fall on deaf ears. The position of most rational people outside of governments is that we do not support the regime but that what would replace this regime is likely to be far far worse and lead to further blood-shed. This unrest in Syria is beneficial for Zionism in the Middle East which consolidates its grip on the illegally occupied and annexed Golan and looks for further expansion.
In Lebanon: An extremist Sunni cleric tried to take on the government and Lebanese military intervened to restore order. There was terror bombing of Shia areas in Beirut.
An attempt is being made to ignite a Sunni-Shia’ conflict and not just in Lebanon. Many Muslims rejected this call to fight sectarian wars even though a few deluded individuals obeyed. Different Lebanese patriotic leaders pointed fingers at external forces (e.g. Israel and Qatar).
In Jordan and Turkey: Protests continued against unpopular policies. Both countries are also reeling from the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria (some are Palestinian refugees).
These refugees are living miserable conditions and are not accorded the minimal needed for a dignified living by either their host countries or by International aid agencies like the UNHCR.
Both countries host a significant US presence and have close working relationships with US intelligence agencies aiding Syrian terror groups. Israeli politicians gloat over this and became free to intensify their colonization practices. We no longer hear about the strained Israel-Turkey relations.
In Palestine: Hamas has now clearly chosen the path of Fatah which for 20 years convinced itself of the path of “bilateral” negotiations and compromise without leverage.
Hamas main leaders, like their parent organization the Muslim brotherhood, moved into the USA-Qatari-Saudi axis. With notable exceptions like Mahmoud Zahar, individuals like Khalid Mashal started to speak forcefully in favor of those fighting the Syrian regime and to condemn Hezbollah-Iran-Syria.
Israel continues its racist policies against Palestinians throughout historic Palestine and not just in the West Bank and Gaza. Violence continues as colonial settlers and soldiers attack native Palestinians, take over our land, and build colonial settlements in the illegally occupied lands.
The Israeli media and politicians are happy with the success of “managing” the Palestinians and most think there cannot be any long term peace with the native Palestinians but only PACIFICATION.
The Palestinian Authority and the US cooperate to make it easier by building and expanding roads away from Jerusalem and the other Israeli coveted areas in the WB (e.g. they are working now to widen the Wadi Nar road system that connects Ramallah with Bethlehem bypassing Jerusalem).
The 19th Knesset has considered and some cases passed or is about to pass nearly 30 new discriminatory and racist laws (see below from Adalah*) to add to dozens of already existing apartheid laws. The occupiers arrogance reached ridiculous levels by even preventing Palestinian puppet show for Children in Jerusalem.** So Palestine still remains the issue***
Conclusion: In the Middle (Dark) Ages, there was instability/mayhem in Europe. In those decades, the Arab and Muslim world lived its golden age of secularism, discovery, and science.
Europe was divided between secularists and religious zealots trying to maintain Church domination. But the Arab world, unlike Europe is not left to its own devices to evolve. We are not independent to guide our future whether in Egypt or Syria.
The implanting of Israel here as a spoiled child of Western imperialism and the subsequent continuing interference prevented either secular or Islamic forces to gain real independent power.
It also prevents natural evolution. Imperial forces toppled secular nationalists represented by Gamal Abdulnasser and through the Egyptian military prevented political Islam from taking a foot hold. There is a game of occasionally supporting one faction over another as long as that faction leaves Israel and Western Corporate interests alone. This is the strategy of divide and conquer.
Citizens of Western Countries must demand that their governments stop supporting this sick game of divide and conquer that also fosters Christian, Islamic and Jewish fanaticism. Long-term, there will be separation of religion from state politics whether in Palestine (Israel as a “Jewish state”) or in Egypt or elsewhere.
We will have our own renaissance. But for now, perhaps it is important that all forces (left, Islamic etc.) to join hands against the real enemy and gain true sovereignty of our countries. It has been nearly a hundred years since the Sykes-Picot agreement (1916) and the Balfour Declaration (1917).
Is it not time to end the mayhem that they generated? This will give us space for then arguing and pushing for whatever form of government people choose. In that case, diversity of ideas will be an asset not a hindrance. This will give us space and substance for natural evolution.
*Index of Currently Pending Discriminatory Bills in the 19th Israeli Knesset
**Israel’s puppet war
***Palestine is still the Issue
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Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He serves as chairman of the board of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour.
He is author of ‘Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle’ and “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment”