by Tahir Mustafa (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 11, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1437)
It is imperative for Islamic movement activists to study carefully how the imperialists and Zionists subverted their genuine aspirations for change. The old guard are back in power even after tens of thousands of people protested for months.
The Islamic Awakening movement (aka the “Arab Spring”) that started in January 2011 was a legitimate uprising of the oppressed people against NATO-backed regimes in the Muslim East (aka the Middle East). Today it has become a NATO-managed project that has several geostrategic and political dimensions.
Prior to analyzing these, let us first briefly look at where the countries affected by the Islamic Awakening movements stand. In Tunisia and Egypt the old regimes are back in power. Strictly speaking, they had never left; only the faces at the top were changed. Tunisia is led by Beji Caid Essebsi, former parliament speaker under General Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali and Egypt is headed by an autocratic Washington sponsored army general, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Libya is a failed state. Even if the Western regimes and their media mouthpieces no longer mention Libya after destroying it, the North African country lies in ruins. The Libyans have realized, albeit rather late, that it was better to be ruled by a dictator like Muammar Qaddafi than to be liberated by such do-gooders as the US and its NATO allies. People should think before they wish who comes to liberate them.
Evaluating the conditions in Muslim countries where the Islamic Awakening movements started in 2011 shows that wherever the NATO regimes were deeply involved, the situation is far worse than those where their role was limited. Thus, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, which have virtually been destroyed, show the deep involvement of the Western regimes.
Places where the NATO project is experiencing difficulties can be identified as Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. In all three places, resistance to NATO schemes is led by forces associated, in one way or another, with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Due to the Saudi-NATO instigated campaign of sectarianism, some Muslims are still consumed by myths and cannot distinguish between foe and friend.
There are two central questions that Muslims must seriously consider. First, what are NATO’s goals in the post-Arab Spring period; and second, what are the most likely steps those hijacking the Islamic Awakening movement will take in the near future?
The reality is that the US Empire is in decline. It is also a fact that in decline, empires become very vicious, like wounded beasts, because they want to maintain their preeminent position at all costs. Even a cursory look at US policies in the region reveals this clearly but there is a twist. The US regime realizes that it can no longer control the Muslim East and North Africa (MENA) region on its own in the manner it used to do prior to January 2011. Therefore, its policy is to ensure no one else gets to manage the region either, whether it is regional or global actor(s).
Washington clearly seeks to instigate chaos so that the region is in constant need of its “liberating” strikes, drones, and “stable” autocratic regimes. Of course US policy makers are fully aware that the roots of ISIS ideology can be traced all the way to the palaces of the Saudi monarchy. The US also knows that in order to ease tensions it must end backing autocratic and corrupt rulers and stop arming and financing warring sides in the region.
The US is not going to do any of this as the Washington warlords continue to suffer from the deeply ingrained white man’s burden mentality that thrives on conflict. Such regional conflicts are instigated and maintained through the Zionist and Saudi regimes. Thus, to address the root causes of the conflict, Muslims must confront Zionism and Wahhabism using smart power techniques. Avoiding sectarian rhetoric and goals is the key to pursuing this strategy.
What are the most likely steps those hijacking the Islamic Awakening movement will take in the near future? The overall strategy is to spread chaos, but it is backfiring as the immigration crisis in Europe and the terror attacks in Paris have shown. The NATO regimes will, therefore, try to contain the blowback by appeasing the people’s movements in certain theatres of action and repress them in others where they can. At present, the NATO regimes do not have a coherent strategy and are not likely to develop one in the near future.
They will address issues on an ad-hoc basis, but it will create a split between the US and the EU powers, especially since Washington and Brussels differ on how to carry on with the proxy-war against Russia.
The NATO regimes may negotiate a face saving solution for the Saudis in Yemen that will automatically empower the Ansarullah movement and in return ask for a similar exit out of the Syrian quagmire. In Egypt, the NATO regimes have indicated that they are determined to back the current regime to the bitter end. In case they fail, their next option is to turn Egypt into another Libya or Syria. The Bahraini theatre is closely linked to how things go for the Saudis in Yemen.
Riyadh is facing a certain defeat in Yemen both militarily but more critically, politically. How bad it will turn out will depend on how determined the Ansarullah movement is and how closely it coordinates its political resistance with Islamic Iran. In any case, the Saudi fiasco in Yemen is going to embolden the people of Bahrain and experience shows that faced with this bitter reality, the Saudis will overreact. This will spill things into Saudi territory itself. Should that happen, direct US military intervention in the Arabian Peninsula cannot be ruled out.