Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The 'Arab Spring' and other American seasons

The uprisings have raised great economic expectations on the part of the majority of Tunisians and Egyptians.

By Joseph Massad

Sponsoring counter-revolutions

Hence, unlike the rest of the Arab world where the US and its West European allies quickly moved from sponsoring the dictators to sponsoring the counter-revolutions to restore them or a similar regime in their stead (Yemen) and then later moved to establish a new alliance with the victorious Islamists (in Egypt and Tunisia), they opted to support the uprisings in Libya and Syria and take them over rapidly to ensure an outcome that serves their interests (France, Italy and the United Kingdom secure the oil while the US hopes to move its AFRICOM military command headquarters from Stuttgart to Libya once the dust settles).

While in Libya, the takeover was quick and successfully executed, in Syria, it ran into trouble on account of the differing nature of the regime and the opposition and the class coalitions that support them.

What the US and the new regimes in Tunisia and Egypt are debating at the moment is how much representativity and accountability the new system should have and whether granting certain measures of representativity and accountability could lead to future unpredictable demands for economic rights by the majority of the people in both countries, which could further threaten the interests of the US and its local regime and class allies.

The recent visit by the head of the International Monetary Fund to Cairo to discuss Egypt's request for $4.8bn could result, as in the South African precedent, in introducing further contractual and legal bans on improving the lives of the poor in the country. The next few months will clarify the final arrangement of governance in both countries, especially in light of the increasing and mobilised popular opposition to any anti-democratic measures in both of them.

The uprisings have raised great economic expectations on the part of the majority of Tunisians and Egyptians (not to mention other Arabs across the region) who languish in utter poverty thanks to neoliberal economics, and who are no longer shy in pressing their economic agenda to centrestage.

The battle of the seasons is on; while the Americans are pressing on for an American Spring in the Arab world that will only be experienced as another American-sponsored Summer drought for the majority of the people of the region, the Arab peoples are working to transform the recent uprisings into nothing short of a cold American Winter."

1 comment:

Zarathustra said...

Joseph Massad is a cynical defeatist. I don't think Edward Said is proud of him anymore.