Sunday, May 22, 2011

What If The Arab Spring Springs A Leak?


On one side are those who’ve spent the season cheering in (perhaps hasty) celebratory optimism the putative democratifying of Arab lands; on another is the Obama administration, dilatory, fickle, and vain as a fifteen-year-old Mean Girl doling out without appreciable pattern or explication the Yes dance cards—“reformer” Bashar Assad still has, in the bizarre, gaacky patois of Obamic diplo-speak, the opportunity to “start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition” (never mind the slaughter of 900 or so of his fellow Syrians)—and the No dance cards—Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Qaddafi—not reformers, way not cool. On yet another side is skeptical, reluctant—cynical, even—Israel, worrying, with good reason: “Is it good for the Jews?” And, more to the point: “Is it good for the Jewish State?”  Somewhere in the middle, the Arab Spring. The “legitimate aspirations” of the Arab peoples are blooming in Tunisia (or so I keep hearing), but Spring in Egypt, Libya, and Bahrain has begun to stretch ominously into rather a Long Hot Summer, and all the hotter in Syria, the Iranian satellite, where the landscape is a killing field saturated with the blood of its own citizens, shades of Assad père, and of the Persian master.

Of course, there are aspirations and aspirations.  Do we watch Copts under attack by armed Muslim thugs in Cairo today with the same disgust and horror we felt watching Neda Agha-Soltan cut down in the streets of Tehran by Basij executioners two years ago? Do we learn that 75 percent of Egyptians view the Muslim Brotherhood favorably and 62 percent would like Egyptian law to follow the strictest interpretation of the Koran with the same alarm and dismay we felt seeing Saudi troops enter Bahrain in March (where they remain to this day) to help put down the uprising there? Do we read (in translation from Asharq al-Awsat) that a victim of Assad, Jr. “rolls up his shirt to show us marks of torture on his body [and] says: ‘I remained one and a half years in a prison under the ground and was tortured as if I were a Jew,’” with the same fear and loathing we feel reading that Syrian forces gunned down mourners at a funeral for protesters who’d been killed the previous day?

Do the Israelis have something to teach us—democracy-boosting idealists and self-idealizing leftists alike—about all of it, particularly the aspirations of an Arab enemy?

Yes, they do: They have something to teach us about Arab-state enmity so fierce it has been susceptible to negotiation only twice in six decades; explosions of violence launched so often against them over the years by states and terrorists after one end—a second Final Solution for the microscopic nation’s Jewish citizenry—that they feel naked and vulnerable when they come to America and aren’t searched at the entrance to every cafe, department store, movie theater, train station, school; “peace” negotiations so endlessly, ludicrously detailed they are down to street names and building numbers, across the table from mendacious “partners” sporting noms de guerre—Abu This and Abu That—that they could laugh (and sometimes do) at all the mordant humor of it.

But more important, the Israelis have something to teach us about what fills a vacuum. When Ariel Sharon, in a desperate bid to separate from “Palestinians” demanding de-"occupation" by the “Zionist entity,” and to gain some breathing room with the U.S. and Europe, stripped Gaza of every last groove of the Jewish double helix, the results were . . . unhappy. Gazans were not pleased to be left to their own devices; they didn’t want responsibility for seeing to themselves—as they might have done, for instance, by taking over the flourishing greenhouses left them by the extracted settlers—and they threw in their lot with the Hamas-al Qaeda axis—the same terrorists whothanks in great part to the vacuum created by Obama’s wicked insistence, from the moment he assumed the presidency, on changing the facts on the ground in Israelwill now join a unity government with the communist Fatah “leaders” of the Arab territories of Judea and Samaria who are equally if less publicly bent on the destruction of their Jewish neighbors.

So cheer on, committed lovers of democracy, and flounder on, worthless Obamic self-lovers, but have a care all of you that this Arab Spring does not spring a leak and end up drowning us all in a great roiling tsunami of terror and bloodshed.

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