Upheaval in Middle east

For the past few weeks middle east has been news. First it was Tunisia where western backed dictator Ben Ali was overthrown by popular revolt and was forced to flee the country. Popular revolt in Yemen, Jordan and then Egypt. Mubarak was overthrown after mass uprising. In Lebanon pro western Hariri government lost it's majority and replaced by Hezbollah backed government. Al Jazeera TV has leaked secret documentation which shows that PLO leadership was prepared to sell out East Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.By the 15th of February popular revolt has spread to Libya, Bahrain an Iraq.

Over the last four decades progressive regimes and movements in Middle east have been replaced by reactionary pro western dictators. Arab nationalism has been trampled and replaced with infatuation with western values and free market economics. In egypt Arab nationalism of Gamal  Abdel Nasser has been replaced by crony capitalism of Hosni Mubarak
Egypt signed peace treaty with Israel in spite of nearly winning the 1973 war. With Egypt neutralized as Arab leader Israel and U.S started to destroy any Arab opposition to new colonalism of middle east. Basically national bourgeoisie which came to power with the advent of Arab nationalism in 50s and 60s has become comprador and started spawning corrupt and brutal  dictatorship. Nasserite leadership in Egypt was replaced by brutal Mubarak leadership. In Syria and Iraq , Baathist leadership has been emasculated by Assad and Saddam family dictatorship. Libya under Gaddfai became a Gaddifi family dictatorship.

Arab world either has monarchies or republican dynasties. Arab monarchies are absolute. Arab republics are family dictatorships were corrupt and brutal. In addition by opening to global economy (i.e multinationals) only led to the growth of crony capitalism. Contracts with multinationals were corrupt and handled by few who had family or personal connections to ruling family. Few became extremely rich and development efforts of 60s were abandoned in favor of grandeur efforts. The gap between the rich and the poor grow and unemployment is rampant. Unemployment grew even higher among university graduates. Despair and impotence within unemployed, poor , workers and large sections of middle class were creating ripe conditions for revolution. It needed a  spark and the spark was the self immolation of the an unemployed University graduate in Tunisia.

 Within months Tunisian and Egyptian dictators were overthrown and replaced by military supported transitional governments. Gaddafi lost power. Assad and Saleh are hanging by thread. Arab monarchies either bought the population by using the oil wealth or carried out cosmopolitan changes. West was initially shaken by the changes but then developed a strategy of managing the change. Where possible they eased out the dictators as in Tunisia and Egypt. Similar strategy is being followed in Yemen. In Syria and Libya they are trying to preserve the ruling class without the dictators. This strategy was successfully carried out in Indonesia after Suharto and in Chile after Pinochet. In both countries long standing brutal western propped dictators were replaces by pseudo democratic government. When one looks at Mubarak being wheeled into court room one remembers Suharto and Pinochet were brought in wheel chairs. This is the soft approach. Wherever dictators were out of control such as Assad or Gaddafi hard approach was used .i.e force or intervention to remove them while preserving the ruling class. Transition Council in Libya consist of all ex Gaddafi loyalists except Gaddafi family.

Arab world similar to Latin American and Asian countries which came out of brutal military or military backed dictatorships will follow the same western prescribed route. Only uncertainty is the role of Islamist organizations such as Muslim brotherhood and Palestinian issue. These two factors could still throw spanner into western strategy in Arab world. Once bourgeois democracy is introduced in the Arab world , Islamic organizations may win power in genuine elections as Hamas did in Palestine. Islamic organizations are petty bourgeois in character and have interests contradictory to western strategy. Palestinian issue is very emotive issue among the Arab middle classes and could play a major role in bourgeoisie democratic elections leading to nationalists islamic or Arab coming into power.

Coming elections in Egypt will be an indicator.

30th September 2011