From the mildewed, corrupted dictatorships is emerging a people reborn. Not without bloodshed and violence. But now at last, the Arabs can hope to march into the bright sunlit uplands
By Robert Fisk
"....What is not in doubt is the extraordinary tempest passing through the region, the spectacular break-up of the Arab world which most of us have known for most of our lives and which most Arabs have known for most of their lives. From the mildewed, corrupted dictatorships – the cancer of the Middle East – is emerging a people reborn. Not without bloodshed, and not without much violence in front of them as well as behind them. But now at last the Arabs can hope to march into the bright sunlit uplands. Every Arab friend of mine has said exactly the same thing to me over the past weeks: "Never did I believe I would ever live to see this."
We have watched these earthquake tremors turn to cracks and the cracks into crevasses. From Tunisia to Egypt to Libya, to Yemen – perhaps only 48 hours from freedom – to Morocco and to Bahrain and, yes, even now to Syria, the young and the brave have told the world that they want freedom. And freedom, over the coming weeks and months, they will undoubtedly obtain. These are happy words to write, but they must be said with the greatest caution.
....I'm not certain, either, that Bahrain is going to be an easily created democracy, especially when Saudi Arabia – the untouchable chalice almost as sacred from criticism as Israel – is sending its military riff-raff across the border bridge.....
....For Israel's government, it now appears, the fall of dictators whom they have many times compared to Hitler is even worse than the dictators' preservation. We can see where the problem lies. A Mubarak would always obey orders – via Washington – from Israel. A new president will be under no such pressure. Voters in Egypt do not like the siege of Gaza. They are outraged by the theft of Arab land for Israeli colonies in the West Bank. No matter how big the bribes from Washington, no elected Egyptian president is going to be able to tolerate this state of affairs for long.
As I said, there is much blood still to flow. And many a meddling hand to turn new democracies into time-serving dictatorships. But for once – just once – the Arabs can see the broad sunlit uplands."