The events continuing in the Middle East, the revolutions in many countries is inevitably leading to a New World Order in the Middle East. What is even more amazing is the short time it took for the revolution to spread to each of these countries.
Consider this: 12.17.2010 Tunisia…the spark that sets off unrest and rallies that spread nationwide.
Consider this: 01.14.11 Jordanians angered over prices and joblessness
Consider this: 01.25.2011 Egypt Erupts
Consider this: Algerians take to the streets
Consider this: Yemen braces for protests, and call for protests, “day of rage” on 02.03.2011
Consider this: 02.06.2011 Morocco protests
Consider this: 02.09.2011 Jordan replaces government to pre-empt protests
Consider this: 02.11.2011 Mubarak Resigns
Consider this: 0212.2011 Algerian police attack protesters
Consider this: 0214.2011 Bahrain protests, crackdown, shoot live bullets and injure 60
Consider this: 02.14.2011 Iranian protest, “Green Revolution” rallies tens of thousands to protest. Riot police beat and fire tear gas. One person killed.
Consider this: 02.16.2011 Libyians join protest, 60 people killed
Consider this: 0-2.19.2011 Bahrainian protesters reclaim central square, Army and Military withdraw
This is remarkable, in sixty days the face of the Middle East has changed and continues to change.
Make no mistake, American Foreign Policy in the Arab world will continue to as complicated as it was prior the “revolutions.”
The obvious aspect of the all these anti-regime protests that has shaken the Arab world is what they are not about: They are not about the Palestinians under Israeli occupation; nor are they anti-Western or even anti-American. The protesters have directed their anger against unemployment, tyranny, lack of freedom, dignity and justice in their lives. This a huge change in the Middle East.
Many of us remember the demonstrations against the Shah of Iran in 1979, before that revolution was stolen by Islamists. Iran had a person leader that aroused popular loyalty. It is ironic that the Shah was exiled on February 11, 1979, and that Mubarak resigned 32 years later on February 11, 2011.
Yet the dangers to U.S. Interests of what is to come next in the Arab world are to overstate. If protests were to spread to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, a great disaster or utter failure would be waiting. The Saudi royal family, is probably the worst form of government for that country but for the any other which might replace it. We’ve sold all manner of weapons to the Saudis over decades falling into the hands of Wahhabi radicals. Imagine Yemen were it divided once again into northern and southern parts. The United States would be on its own fighting al Qaeda there.
Though the U.S. government ignored the ‘Green Revolution’ in the recent past, they are back. Anti-government protests are back. The Iranian government has called on its supporters to take to the streets to demonstrate their “hatred” for the opposition Green Movement. We were silent during the violent anti-government protests following the disputed presidential election in June 2009. But now it seems that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard pledges to hold fire. They have written a letter to their commanding officer demanding assurances that they will not be required to open fire on anti-government protesters. The letter has been passed on to Mr. Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, no official response has been forthcoming.
Our foreign policy must heed the uniqueness of each country’s political and historical situation in forming U.SA. policy. President Obama and his administration must stand up for principles of civil society, nonviolence, and human rights everywhere. When an autocrat appears on the way out, as in Egypt and Tunisia the United States must play a constructive role in easing his ouster. Our government should not be in the position of putting our ‘interests’ above our principles. There is Bahrain, where the relationship between Bahrain and the U.S. is very strong, our fleet is based there, but that should not interfere with the principles that we expound to the entire world, freedom, free elections, democracy, free press. The Arab world should be treated no differently than Europe or other areas of the world. Our principles should not change because countries have oil or other interests we might want control of. We must stand up for what is right, make a stand and never sway. Our country’s fear of the unknown and their need for their special interests should not stand in the way of freedom and democracy.