Saturday, February 26, 2011

Syria Defended for Standing Up to Israel While Egypt is Excoriated for the "Cynical" and "Humiliating" Aligning of Its Foreign Policy on the West

So why are there uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, but not in Syria? Is it because, unlike Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, the Assads are mass murdering psychopaths of the Saddam Hussein variety, or because of their… "wise", "noble", and "proud" foreign policy? It turns out that the new leftist narrative — in the West — bases the popular revolts of, or the lack thereof in, the Arab world on their stance towards the Israelis.

In other words, it turns out once more — sigh — to be all the fault of the Jews: In Le Monde, Bertrand Badie puts the root cause for the uprisings in the Arab countries — or for the lack thereof — on the individual countries' relationship to "the most radical governments" in Israel.

The professor in politics defends Syria's régime for "preserving national unity" by using a "coherent" foreign policy that has given rise to "very little opposition", that is, by the Assads' wisdom in standing up to the Israelis. This he couples with deploring Cairo's Mubarak for "humiliating" his country and for "taking enormous risks in dismantling Egypt's foreign policy and in aligning it in such a cynical fashion on [that of] the United States and even on [that of] the most radical governments in Israel." Bertrand Badie goes on to add that the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo were also about "the will of young Egyptians to escape from a humiliation in which their country's diplomacy had placed them."
If one observes what is currently happening, Syria appears to be one of the countries in the Greater Middle East least affected by the upheavals we have characterized. Several factors must be taken taken into account. First of all, the Syrian regime has managed to preserve a minimum of national unity around a foreign policy that has given rise to very few challenges and which, unlike what has happened in Egypt, ensures the sustainability of a minimum of national cohesion.

One can see to what extent Mubarak and his system have taken enormous risks by dismantling [?!?!] Egypt's foreign policy and aligning it in such a cynical fashion on [that of] the United States, and even on [that of] the most radical governments of Israel. If the movement of Tahrir Square expressed no violence against Israel, the theme of solidarity with Palestine was present everywhere and was an essential marker of the desire of young Egyptians to exit a humiliation in which their country's diplomacy had placed them.

Furthermore, the régime of President Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar present no symptoms of corruption as shocking as those that accompany the sagas of the Mubarak family or of the Ben Ali family. It seems to me that unlike most of its counterparts in the region, the Syrian regime is not in immediate danger.
French original:
Si l'on observe ce qui se produit actuellement, la Syrie apparaît comme l'un des pays les moins affectés au sein du Grand Moyen-Orient par les bouleversements que nous avons caractérisés. Plusieurs facteurs sont à prendre en compte. Tout d'abord, le régime syrien a réussi à préserver un minimum d'unité nationale autour d'une politique étrangère qui est très peu contestée et qui, au contraire de ce qui s'est produit en Egypte, assure la pérennité d'un minimum de cohésion nationale.

On voit à quel point Moubarak et son système ont pris des risques énormes en démantelant la politique étrangère égyptienne et en l'alignant de façon aussi cynique sur les Etats-Unis, et même sur les gouvernements les plus radicaux d'Israël. Si le mouvement de la place Tahrir n'exprimait aucune violence à l'encontre d'Israël, le thème de la solidarité avec la Palestine était présent partout et constituait un marqueur essentiel de la volonté des jeunes Egyptiens de sortir d'une humiliation dans laquelle les avait placés la diplomatie de leur pays.

En outre, le régime du président Hafez El-Assad et de son fils Bachar ne présente pas des symptômes de corruption aussi choquants que ceux qui accompagnent les sagas de la famille Moubarak ou de la famille Ben Ali. Il me semble donc que le régime syrien ne soit pas dans une situation de danger immédiat, comme la plupart de ses homologues de la région.
Le Monde's ideological counterpart Stateside (the New York Times) displayed a similar attitude inside Steven Erlanger's article, Upheaval Jolts Israel and Raises New Worry:
“The widespread indignity felt by Egyptians who see themselves as the jailers of Gaza on behalf of Israel and Washington will give way to a realistic policy by which Egyptians use their ties with Israel to push the latter to adopt a more law-abiding stance towards the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese,” Rami G. Khouri, an analyst at the American University of Beirut, wrote for YaleGlobal online. “Egypt will keep peace with Israel, but raise the temperature on issues of profound national concern to Arabs.”

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