The Price of Arab Optimism! Or, Wagging Israel!

What would you do if you an embattled Arab leader and suffering from major crises at home and wit the international community and you know you simply cannot own up to your mismanagement and your corruption, not to mention the mismanagement and corruption of those around you? You stir up trouble with Israel of course, knowing that your people are either stupid enough and/or cowardly enough to play along. As such,Israel is really the best thing that has ever happened to Arab dictators. Well, that and oil, in some instances.

Confrontation with Israel is actually a win-win development as far as Arab regimes are concerned. For, not only will it serve to divert attention from the country’s internal problems and the illegitimacy of the ruling regimes, their authoritarianism and their corruption, but the inevitable military defeat, which could always be justified as having taken place due to the international support of Israel vis-à-vis its hapless Arab victim, and which always provides an opportunity for the Arab leaders involved to take a swipe at their counterparts for failing to support them, will provide the ruling elite with a golden opportunity to fill up their coffers with the inevitable reconstruction expenditures and contracts.

The confrontation will also afford regime lackeys and ideologues, and some “patriotic” opposition members the chance to rally behind the flag and take consultation fees for their expert advice and for their help in mobilizing the ever so fickle public. Pray, what deal could be sweeter? What dividend can peace deliver? What sort of rewards can reform ever harness for its champions?

As such, the climate of jubilation, and the downright giddiness, that we can currently detect among Syria’s official and unofficial spokesman for the regime is not surprising. This is the time when credentials are built, niches are staked and futures are made. Only idiots like me who would rebuff offers of high office to join such an amorphous, nebulous, meaningless institution as the opposition actually risks losing. In fact, they, we, might just be doomed to lose. What idiots!

No, smart people know how to create win-win solutions for themselves, all at the expense of the people of course, but then smart people really know how to fool even themselves into actually believing that they are defending the interests of their people. So, it’s really a win-win-win solution.

It’s just that those damn people, being so damn ignorant and all that, don’t always appreciate what their leaders, and their lackeys, are really doing for them, all the sacrifices that they are making for them. This is why they cannot be trusted to take a more active part in the decision-making process, this is why they need to be told constantly what to do what not to do and when to do it or not do it. This is the role of the people.

Knowing these “facts” about the people make all democracy activists look stupid. The people are not ready for democracy. The only thing the people are ready for is fighting against Israel and dying in great numbers, which has the added advantage of compensating for the failure of the national birth-control campaign. So war with Israel is really a win-win-win-win solution.

Yes, indeed, armed with such mentality, the Arabs will keep on winning until the very end, and beyond. Do you really think Saddam feels defeated? Sitting in his little cell, Saddam Hussein is the embodiment of Arab victory and optimism. And so will, one day, Bashar and Nasrallah be.

23 thoughts on “The Price of Arab Optimism! Or, Wagging Israel!

  1. “So war with Israel is really a win-win-win-win solution.”Lebanon is losing a lot. Politically and economically.

  2. Hi Vox, you have not read my post carefully enough, neither the homeland nor the people are supposed to be victorious. Victory belongs to God (or the Historical Imperative, if you were one of those), and to His representatives on earth, i.e., the Nasrallah and Assads of the world. And as you know, these people have the illusion of victory on the brain, they will live victorious and die martyrs, even if they died in a car crash.

  3. Ammar, you are absolutely right that continual confrontation with Israel is a method of retaining power.But what can you do in a situation like this, really? If Israel was containing its response to Hizballah and Southern Lebanon, it might be easier to take a moderate position on Israel and a more critical one regarding Hizballah. But Israel sure is doing its part to make the Lebanon game worse, and continue to empower Hizballah.But Ammar, Israel relies on Arab dictators. Do you really think that if Mubarak and Hussain were overthrown tomorrow, Israel would be very happy about it? or even Assad?I for one feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. In dilemmas like these, who can be supported? Certainly not Israel, certainly not America (as we can see by the disappointing betrayal at the UN the other day), and certainly not our leaders. What is to be said or done?

  4. This post is thought-provoking, as is the comment that pinpoints the dilemma of whom to support. Kind regards to those on both sides who are clearly struggling with dilemmas in the current crisis.

  5. Personally, I hold the moderates of the world responsible. Extremists will always be around. When moderates empower extremists, as has happened in Lebanon and happened in Germany, everyone pays. The moderates stopped supporting Hitler after a decisive defeat, and hopefully, moderates will stop supporting Hezbullah after it has been dealt a decisive defeat. That means no more people marching down the streets screeming “Death to the Jews!” or “Death to Israel!” for the moderate Lebanese reading this. That is your responsibility. If you choose not to be responsible for your Muslim extremists, you must live, and sometimes die, with the consequences.

  6. Additionally, Ammar, I think the threat of Islamism can be severely undermined by finding a resolution to the Palestinian problem. Hizballah and Hamas are products of Israeli aggression, and the more violence there is, the more support they amass. Let’s not forget, also, that Israel supported Hamas’ ascension when it helped to undermine Arafat and Fatah…The problem with the Islamist movements is that they cannot be relied upon or tamed. Hizballah’s maneuvering over the past year proves this, even as it tried to make a showing of political integration–yet this latest “operation” was planned months ago, without anybody else’s knowledge. Hizballah never recognized the legitimacy of the central government, but it gave off that impression when it was politically useful. But they have succeeded in bringing a war to Lebanon that would reverse all of its democratic progress and bring the Lebanese back solidly behind the idea of resistance. Idiocy, or selfish genius?

  7. Has anyone ever thought of sending the Israeli government a formal bill for the damage they have caused/ are causing?Just imagine all the shops etc. Usually if a company keeps them from doing businesse efficiently, the write them a bill and say that otherwise they will sue…Just a “fun thought that might make the news and cause a nice publicity stunt.

  8. Anonymous @ 2:48AM: There is no mechanism for moderates in most Middle Eastern countries to seek effective change or control at this time. Extreme circumstances, also, like those currently faced in Lebanon and Gaza, do not promote an environment that is conducive for moderates to take advantage of. When your cities, homes, roads, ports, airports, and country are being destroyed by an outside aggressor and you are living in constant fear, the pleading call for “peace,” “nonviolence,” “pragmatism,” and “democracy” is eclipsed by the much more attractive and romantic one of “martyrdom,” “resistance,” “victory,” and “self-defense.” Programs such as those that Israel has undertaken in Lebanon severely hurt the work of moderates, and, like you said, unless taken to the extreme of total annihilation, further empower the extremists. But I don’t think anybody here wants to see the Middle East destroyed like Europe was in WW2, even if it would mean catalyzing social ideological change (there is no assurance that this would happen anyway).I do think (and Ammar may not agree with this) that Lebanon is being taken advantage of to further other goals of Israel and America–namely regime change in Syria and Iran. Then again, this has been Lebanon’s historical function–a venue for other people’s wars.

  9. I’m not really so familiar with all of the politics in the middle east, so for days I’ve been surfing obsessively through blogs, trying to get a feeling.By now, my impression is that the new Israeli government is overreacting. It’s too worried about fears of future military weakness (what happens with Hezbollah when Iran has the bomb and Hezbolla, missiles). The military intelligence experts at are saying that Israel thinks it can push Hezbollah back and deprive it of its current cache of missiles and heavy weaponry. But the cost of doing that is bombing the hell out of Lebanon and playing into Arabs tendency to see themselves as innocent victims and Israelis as devils who’s only purpose is evil will.I read Lebanese blogs where hysterical people say that Israel only does this to punish the public and to destroy Lebanon’s tourist economy. As if it’s Lebanon’s tourist economy that keeps Israelis awake at night.On the other hand, Israel may accomplish more than you give her credit for. If she can deprive Hezbollah of it’s heavy weaponry and missiles, that may buy Israel a few years of peace. And maybe even Lebanese Shiites will find that they like not living in fear. Of course I’m probably dreaming.

  10. On more point. I don’t think Hezbollah, and especially the Arab public have really understood the fact that having better weapons makes war with Israel inevitable. Israel has been weak enough that she found it safer to more or less ignore attacks like the occasional missile launch.But if those missiles are going to be a real threat (say they reach further, are actually aimed, or someday soon have real payloads) then she has to respond, she has to make war.I really don’t think Arabs understand war, the way westerners see it. I don’t think this war is about kidnapping at all. I think it is entirely because Hezbollah’s weaponry and use of it is getting better and more threatening. They’re actually starting to hit military targets in Israel, though Israel keeps the news quiet. And as I said, Iran on the verge of nuclear weaponry makes Hezbollah unbearable.

  11. “You stir up trouble with Israel of course, knowing that your people are either stupid enough and/or cowardly enough to play along.”So Mr. Ammar, you think we are all either stupid or cowardly.Whatever I have as a reply, would be too impolite to write. I would not do you the honor of insulting you. Your own words are an indication of how degraded you are. You are enjoying being in the spotlight with the “smart and courageous” agreeing with you.Keep at it, Allah La Ya3tik Al3afieh

  12. Ammar, you have done it again.No use to rack my brains to add something to what you have so clearly and eloquently stated. That is one reason why I am usually not bery optimistic about the chances od democracy in the Arab world. Yes the pols lead us down the “wrong” path but we are very happy to follow. We are participants in our own destruction.

  13. Ammar, I am a young Israeli who finished a long service of 5 years in the IDF. This is the first time I am reading Arab blogs and I am discovering so many interesting opinions from Arab authors. This post is an excellent analysis of the situation and I could not have put it better myself. We are so much alike Arab and Israelis, why can’t we live in peace?!? Most Israelis are willing to give all the west bank and Gaza (which we already gave), and even East Jerusalem if we would have known that TRUE peace could ensue. Unfortunately, most of us believe that once we withdraw groups like Hezbollah will take place and launch attacks into Israel proper. What do you think should be done?Shalom/Salam,Barak.

  14. “Hi Vox, you have not read my post carefully enough, neither the homeland nor the people are supposed to be victorious.”No I understood your point. I distorted the meaning of your words willingly.

  15. “I distorted the meaning of your words willingly.”I want to make it clear I was not targetting you or this (excellent_ post. I just wanted to express my feelings on the situation and this sentence gave me an opportunity to do so.

  16. all israel wants is peace and not to be murderered in her sleep..when and if a moslem ghandi arises, israel will be there as a friend.

  17. Vox, indeed I understand now. Yaman, Of course, Israel and the US, but so does Hezbollah and the Assads regime and the Iranian Mullahs. This is a classical clash of agendas, and, regardless of the various pragmatic and moral justifications provided by each side, we, the people, are the ultimate fodder. But, of course, we, the people, are a divided and pitiful lot, hence my occasional denunciation of “us” as stupid and/or cowardly, something that have, legitimately, hit a raw nerve as far as anonymous (4:37 AM). Actually, and in this regard, my latest post at my Arabic blogs, Zanadaqa, might be of interest, it does elaborate more on this entire love/hate relationship that one can have vis-à-vis his own people. But so, how can we as a people get our act together? Well, a few years ago, we saw how the Serbs finally turned against Milosevic when they finally saw that his policies of confrontation with the international community spelled disaster for their country. It took years and a number of confrontation for them to reach this conclusion, and reaching this conclusion was not a sign of any diminishing nationalistic sentiments on their part, they just realized that they simply needed to save Serbia from Milosoevic, and despite the fact that most Serbs today still, rightly or wrongly, blame the international community for so many things, by giving up on Milosevic, they did indeed save Serbia and themselves. Can the Arab peoples in general, and the people of Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and perhaps even Iran, in particular be able to reach the same conclusion any time soon? I believe that our only hope lies here. For this reason, we need to sound a consistent message in this regard. Our denunciation of Israeli violence and overreaction should not sway us from denouncing Hezbollah’s tactics and clientalistic behavior, as well as Nasrallah’s own ambitions to become Lebanon’s de facto leader. We cannot counter agendas imposed by external actors, unless we begin countering those agendas that are being perpetrated by internal actors and in our own name. But we also need to denounce the willingness of other Lebanese policy-makers to fall inline uncritically with Hezbollah’s tactics at this stage, and of Syria’s leaders for their role in instigating this crisis in order to avid accountability for their dabbling and corruption and authoritarianism. For the hopes of the Assads that this state of affairs will only serve to empower them and make them more needed, will soon backfire when the country itself will get entangled in these disastrous developments. We need to begin manufacturing dissent among the young people in our region right now. The possibility of success in this regard is so minimal I don’t even want to think about it, but the overall need for something along these liens is so necessary that I don’t want to think of the consequences of not doing it. This is a dangerous industry indeed, and had I been able to get out of my skin to avoid it, and forget who the hell I am and where I was born, I would have done it. But I have not been able to even think along these lines. So I have no choice but to push in this direction, the increasing amount of denunciations notwithstanding.

  18. Olmert made a speech today that, if folks paid attention, tells the overall truth about home most Israelis see the situation. Barak…in comments, also summed it up well.We have No issue with Lebanonese people…we would grandly prefer peace. But Hizbollah cannot use your home as a terror base. This cannot be allowed.I also agree 100% with Ammar. Israel is the best thing that ever happened to repressive Moslem governments. Come on…if they cared SO much about there downtrodden Moslem brothers, then why are they not rasing hell in Darfur where Arabs have killed 400,000 Moslems. Why…because a bunch of “niggers” don’t concern them nor serve there purposes.

  19. Ammar, again you view things in the right angle and you explain them very clearly…do you think what is happening is good or bad for the future of Syria? and what will happen next?I think the Syrian regime is thrilled about what is happening, judging by the attention its getting not to mention all rising in the nationalistic feeling and distraction from internal problems.Adding insult to injury is the attitude of double standards and superiority of Israel and the US. It is so hard now for all the moderates who are being crushed…Could not help but notice the big smile of Imad Mustafa arranging an interview for Assad when asked by wolf Blitzer for that.I mean Assad, Saddam, Nasralla live for moments like that…it is like winning a trophee or an award, specially when they were in the trash for a long time…and again today CNN showing private conversation between Bush and Blair in the G8 summit, how Bush talks about Assad like he is his friend or his ice cream man…How ironic and how perfect Assad is for the Israelis and Americans…

  20. To Anonymous 4:37I’m suffering enough reading all views from all different direction, I mean I don not enjoy it I’m trying to see what is out there because I fell I have an obligation since I still have a family there to follow up with action taken place and read the pool of ideas why it happen and what should be done about it. The different views what ever they are where ever comes from is great ways to get to know and to know how and to find best ideas for future. But you sir, the anonymous at 4:37 posting, who have your brain stopped since 40 years ago find it difficult to lesson to others. I might disagree with Ammar but I always will pay my life to listen to him and even to listening to my enemy. At least we are not in the army of your dictator to tell us what to listen to, and jailing anyone who has different point of view.

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