By Robert Fisk
Saturday, 23 April 2011
".....What strikes me is how the Egyptians mobilised in a quite different way from the Tunisians and – lucky for them – quite differently from the Libyans. Indeed, civil war has now stricken Libya and is in danger of striking Syria, too. The dictators all churn out the same idiotic nonsense: that the revolutions – the demands for freedom, liberty dignity – are all the result of foreign plots. Ben Ali said this; Mubarak said it ("foreign hands"); his vice-president Omar Suleiman talked of "bats in the night". Gaddafi blames al-Qa'ida and America (quite an alliance); Jordan's king has blamed foreign plots, too, and Assad did exactly the same this week. Saleh in Yemen tells his people that the plot is al-Qa'ida, Israeli and American. Ye gods! This is the kind of talk the Middle East had to listen to back in the Sixties. But today?
The Syrian regime is made of tougher stuff than Mubarak's police scum – they are infinitely more brutal – and Baathist backbone probably has something of the Gaddafi about it. There is too much shooting in Syria. And the effects can spill over into Lebanon, reflecting a Shia (Alawi) and Sunni dispute in Syria. Assad has already tried to implicate Lebanon in his crisis, which is preposterous. I prefer not to think about Libya. First we say we won't get involved. Then we bomb Gaddafi. Then we promise military "advisers" (soon, no doubt, to be kidnapped by Gaddafi's sleeper cells) and now we're doing a Waziristan and sending drones over Tripoli. What is this insanity that Cameron and Sarkozy – and Obama – have got themselves involved in?
But there's a non-Arab country with a very big stake in this extraordinary history. It is called Iran.....
And if Iran remains peaceful, what if it loses its Syrian ally? And then what of the Palestinians? What if a million Palestinians in Gaza decided to walk "home" to the original "Palestine". While the Israelis are worrying about the fate of their favourite dictators, it might be a good idea to consider what people power can do in Palestine."