Sunday, September 11, 2011

What a difference a decade makes

(The sign in Arabic reads: Dogs and Sons of Dogs! In Arabic this is a strong insult.)

Bin Laden succeeded in dragging the US into endless, expensive wars - however he lost the attention of the Arab world.


By Mark LeVine

"Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia: If someone had told me on the morning of September 11, 2001 that ten years later to the day I'd be standing in a city named Sidi Bouzid at the spot where a man launched a revolution that toppled dictators across the Arab world by setting himself on fire, I would have told them to go see a psychiatrist....

Whither the next ten years?

Which brings us back to the United States. To say it's not been a good decade is an understatement of gross proportions. And as in 2001, the fortunes of the US in the eyes of the Arab world remain tied inextricably to the actions of its main ally in the region, Israel.

As the clock strikes midnight here in Sidi Bouzid, Al Jazeera Arabic is continuing to devote its full attention to the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Throughout the day, the network has devoted as many as four split screens linking Tel Aviv, Cairo and Doha. Images of the protests there inevitably show Israeli and American flags placed next to each other, as protesters see no difference between the policies of the two governments....

Osama bin Laden might have succeeded in bleeding the US dry, his ultimate aim when he launched the operation that destroyed the World Trade Center and thousands of irreplaceable lives with it. But it was the brutality and thoughtlessness of America's response that cost it the sympathy of so many in the Arab world, for whom the 10th anniversary of September 11 is ultimately irrelevant for their lives (“the same number of people died in Iraq every month”, declared one young activist. “Look at Gaza”, declared another)....."

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