The Sources of Arabs' Shame: Egypt,
Jordan and Saudi Arabia
by Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar
It is now over two weeks since Israel
started its vicious assault on Gaza resulting, so far, in close
to 600 dead and thousands of injuries mostly civilians. Israel
true to its nature is once again ignoring all international laws
and conventions. With its usual thirst for blood of the civilians,
Israel is continuing its bombing of workshops, administrative
buildings, roads, bridges, fuel depots, prisons, schools and mosques;
killing and injuring large number of civilians in one of the world's
most impoverished and densely populated areas of the world. The
Israelis are following their old method of destroying everything
that makes a society a society, the infrastructure. The collective
punishment of the Palestinians for what Hamas or Islamic Jihad
is supposed to be doing or has done, reminds one of the collective
punishments that Nazis meted out in the occupied areas in Eastern
Europe during the WWII.
International Red Cross just issued a
statement condemning Israel for its brutality against civilians.
There are several things that seem to
have shocked the Red Cross. In one episode after several days
of heavy pressure from the Red Cross, several ambulances were
allowed to enter a neighbourhood to evacuate the injured civilians.
In one house they found 12 bodies all civilians and mostly women
and children. They also found four very young children still alive
next to their dead mothers, too weak to stand. They have been
holed-up in the same house for close to 4 days.
Apparently the whole neighbourhood was
full of dead and injured civilians with Israeli forces only 80
meters away. According to the Red Cross the Israeli forces knew
of the situation and not only didn't do anything to help the civilians,
but also were stopping Red Cross from providing assistance. Representative
of the Norwegian Red Cross' People's Action calls this a war crime.
But this is only the tip of the ice berg.
The Israeli forces have begun to use civilians as human shields.
According to Amnesty International Israeli forces occupy civilian
houses and keep the civilians as hostages on the first floor,
while they position their soldiers on the second floor; ensuring
that any fire on the house (especially with anti-tank or RPG missiles)
kills the civilians as well.
In yet another report, the United Nations
condemned Israel for targeting civilians. The head of the UN agency
in Gaza running the school that was attacked by Israel forces
categorically rejected the claim by Israel that Hamas fighters
were in or even near the school. Israel bombed the UN run school,
killing 43 children and injuring 100.
Israel also targets ambulances and humanitarian
relief convoys in Gaza. According to UN, at least one Palestinian
was killed when UN relief convoy came under fire from Israeli
forces. "The attack took place on Thursday as the lorries
travelled to the Erez crossing to pick up supplies that were to
have been allowed in during a three-hour ceasefire."
The atrocities committed by Israel is
a genocide of a conquered people. Gaza is a concentration camp,
and no amount of PR can reduce the magnitude of this horrible
crime against humanity and decency.
But Israel is Israel. She has shown that
cruelty is in her nature. Here I am talking about the successive
Israeli governments and not Israeli people in general. I am sure
there are many in Israel that if became aware of what really is
happening would not approve of it. This of course excludes the
settlers and the Zionist movement. These groups like the South
African white supremacists consider others to be inferior to them;
or that they have the god given right to do as they please.
But states seldom are representative of
their people. It is the elite and / or the governing class that
makes the decisions. The state of Israel is determined to never
allow the Palestinians to have a viable state. The maximum that
they are willing to allow is some form of Bantustan (South African)
or North American reservation (for Native Americans). With carte
blanche from US and most of the European powers, Israel has been
implementing this policy. Setting-up such a system takes many
years. People's spirit has to be crushed through collective punishment,
economic strangulation and above all excessive and continuing
violence. This has to continue for many years so the people lose
hope of ever achieving anything more than what is on offer.
This of course cannot be done without
the approval of other countries. Israel has the approval of the
world's most powerful nation, the United States. In addition,
because of her US connections, she has managed to get a nod and
a wink from the Europeans as well. So with this carte blanche
in hand she has set forth to change the "reality" on
the ground in her favour. By systematically settling extremists
in the middle of populated Palestinian areas, she has made the
creation of a viable Palestinian state almost impossible. A simple
look at the map of the Palestinian territories resembles a Swiss
cheese, with pockets of densely populated Palestinian areas surrounded
by settlements and their protective military garrisons.
The violence both official (state sponsored)
and unofficial (settlers) has been incessant. Couple this violence
with economic strangulation and you will see the reasons behind
the Palestinians' anger and frustration. Any resistance is automatically
branded as an act of terrorism and punished with even more violence,
with US and Europeans cheering the Israelis on the side lines.
If you recall, when Georgia invaded the
Russian-protected enclave of Abkhazia, and met Russian counter
attack, the whole Western world, with the US at its head, condemned
Russia. Pushing for UN action and even sending warships with "humanitarian"
supplies. Russians did not commit one thousandth of the Israeli
atrocities and we had the Georgian president and other politicians
talking day and night about the horrible things the Russians were
doing. Yet today, we have US and European governments sitting
silently watching this genocide taking place without doing anything.
US even vetoes resolutions condemning Israeli actions, forgetting
that no peace is ever made possible by killing so many innocent
women and children.
But whenever a power tries to relocate
a group of people by force, the Newton's Third Law of Motion comes
into effect. Newton's Third Law states that for every action there
is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that if you try
to imprison a person that person will try to break out. If you
try to subjugate a people they will resist. This is the underlying
causes of most liberation movements. The same applies to the Palestinians.
They are resisting. We can agree or disagree with their methods,
but theirs is a reaction to actions taken against them; we call
Israel is trying to push Palestinians
into submission and in the process forcing many to leave the occupied
territories. They are trying to show the Palestinians that they
are alone and resistance in the face of an overwhelming force
is suicide. Israel has tried this tactics before and has failed.
The children that had to stay with their dead mothers for four
days will not forget. The starved people of Gaza are not going
to forget this barbarity; and neither shall the people of honour
and conscious, regardless of their nationality, Israelis included.
But as for one of those who have followed
the Israel's actions for the past 30 years, I can say that I didn't
expect anything different from Israel. The lies and deceits are
all too familiar to fall for again. The current Israeli action
in Gaza was not a reaction to the recent event, but planned a
year ago. Just read the New York Times article in which among
others they interview a senior Israeli military officer.4
Israel is now trying to portray herself
as a nation that is defending itself, while the truth is that
Israel is a cruel occupying power trying to force a people out
of their land. And this is being done with the help of some Arab
nations; the very same nations that constantly talk about Arab
and Muslim solidarity. These nations are: Egypt, Saudi Arabia
The Arab Collaborators
The often asked question, when it comes
to the Palestinians, is about the role of Arab countries in the
Palestinian struggle for freedom. The people not familiar with
the political landscape of the area often see the Middle East
as two camps, Arab countries on one side and Israel on the other.
The reality is totally different. Israel has seldom been alone.
Beside its usual American, French, British and other staunch allies,
she has had the hidden backing of several Arab countries.
For close to 30 years now, many Arab countries
have been collaborating with Israel; some like Egypt (gained independence:
1922) and Jordan (gained independence: 1946) openly, while others
like Saudi Arabia (founded: 1932), UAE (founded: 1972) and Kuwait
(founded: 1961) from behind the scenes. The reasons for this collaboration
vary from country to country but they all have one thing in common:
the rulers of these countries are all dictators and need foreign
protection from their own people. Some such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan,
Kuwait and UAE were put in power by the British. The founder of
Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (the kingdom is name after him)
was put in power by the British. The same goes for the others,
except Egypt which experienced a coup by the army officers in
1952, resulting in the ousting of the monarchy and the accompanying
British influence. But the Western influence returned with Anwar
Sadat. All these countries are dictatorships and all are under
pressure from their people. What they cannot accept is any democratically
elected form of government in their mist. They fear that if an
Arab government becomes democratic they may have to become one
themselves, hence losing power. One of the things that they love
about Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, is that he won
the election not by popular vote but by popular method of rigging
the election; something that these Arab leaders understand and
In contrast, Hamas really represented
the aspiration of the people. As soon as Mahmood Abbas' term as
president is over and he had to stand for re-election, he would
surely lose. In contrast, Hamas really won the municipal elections
in 2005 and the Parliamentary election in 2006. The elections
were supervised by international observers, many from Europe,
Palestinians were fed-up with the corrupt
regime of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah. They wanted to clean house.
But as soon as Hamas took over, the US and the Europeans put an
embargo on Hamas, calling it a terrorist organisation and not
a peace partner. Israel closed the borders and refused to let
anything into Gaza. Egypt also did the same.
What is not mentioned much in the media
is that this was done with the complete approval of the Saudi
Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. After all, Egypt could have opened its
border for transfer of food and fuel. The reasons behind this
hostility were and are that Hamas is a truly elected government
and worst of all, Hamas is a branch or an off-shoot of Muslim
Brotherhood of Egypt.
Muslim Brotherhood has a branch or related
organisation in Jordan as well. Egypt and Jordan are worried that
should Hamas survive and show its resistance, their people may
get the idea that they can also resist the tyrannical rule of
these despots. One must not forget that Muslim Brotherhood represents
the only serious challenge to the Mubarak's rule in Egypt.
The 81 year old Hosni Mubarak of Egypt
has been "president" since 1981 (28 years). He has won
every election with a comfortable majority. He is much loved by
his secret services. Prior to every election he arrests and imprisons
all the opposition, ensuring a "clean" election. Torture
is so widely used and accepted in Egypt that US outsources torturing
of some its prisoners to Egypt. This alone should tell you volumes
about the nature of Mubarak's rule. He is now trying hard to crown
his playboy son as his successor. But the Americans are not so
sure if the son is capable of keeping the 80 million Egyptians
in line and are therefore looking for alternative candidates.
The head of the feared main secret service is one of the prime
candidates along with some of the top generals. Challenging him
is the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, enjoying grass root support
from all sections of the Egyptian society including Lawyers, doctors,
judges and student associations. Not surprisingly, US and Israel
call Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.
By all accounts, the Muslim Brotherhood
be it in Jordan, Egypt or the occupied territories such as Gaza
runs a clean operation, running many charity organisations and
providing services to the poor and the needy. As such wherever
they are, they pose a threat to the corrupt regimes, since they
provide an alternative to the people of that area.
King Abdullah II of Jordan, born of a
British mother, educated in the West, including the Jesuit Center
of Georgetown University, was brought to power by the CIA. His
Uncle was a long time crown price, yet after his father died in
a US hospital, Madeline Albright, Clinton's Secretary of Estate
flew to Jordan to inform the Jordanians that the King on his death
bed had changed his will and named his son Abdullah as his successor.
The new king Abdullah II is married to the Queen Rania, a Palestinian.
The majority of this Kingdom of 5 million
people are Palestinians who are not very friendly to this King.
In 1967 there was a Palestinian uprising (led by the PLO) against
King Hussein (ruled: 1952-1999, the father of the current king),
which resulted in heavy casualties among Palestinians. In addition,
the Kingdom is currently full of Iraqi refugees who resent the
King's help to the Americans in invasion of their country. On
top of all this, we have the Muslim Brotherhood which tries hard
to abolish the monarchy. King Abdullah relies heavily on the US
support and backing for staying in power. King Abdullah also sees
a natural ally in Israel, a country that can come to its aid in
case of another uprising.
Saudi Arabia (House of Saud)
I don't have to tell you much about Saudi
Arabia. The Kingdom is run by the 84 year old, ailing Abdullah
bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. His personal wealth is estimated at $21
billion USD. He rules a clan of 8000 princes who in turn rule
the country. Saudi Arabia is the centre of corruption in the Arab
world. The Saudi rulers corrupt everything with their money. Lacking
the necessary mental power or physical courage, they try to stay
in power by subterfuge, lies, and deception. They fund the real
extremists on the one hand while portraying themselves as the
protectors of the Western interest on the other. They preach intolerance
and xenophobia to their people decrying the Western decadence,
while spending a lot of time enjoying the life in the West. They
pay the West for protection against their own people and they
pay the extremists to do their fighting elsewhere. Saudi rulers
are indeed the worst of them all.
House of Saud is also the financier of
the so called Arab Moderates and the extremism that they cause.
House of Saud financed the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan to fight
the Soviets. They later financed the Taliban. They also paid Saddam
Hussein to fight Iran. Then they paid the Americans and Egyptians
to fight Saddam Hussein. They are the financiers of death and
misery. They finance anything, anywhere, as long as this reduces
the threat to their illegitimate rule. They are currently financing
the civil war in Somalia, bandits in Baluchistan (Pakistan and
Iran) and god knows what else. They are detested by their own
people and neighbours yet loved by Bush, Cheney and the oil companies.
As long as they provide the money and oil the US is willing to
tolerate them. And guess what? The Muslim Brotherhood hates the
House of Saud too. This makes them a threat and hence they have
to be dealt with.
As can be seen, each country has a selfish
reason to eliminate Hamas, but each is restrained by its population.
Israel has no such a restraint imposed on it. She not only can
wage a terrible war, but she also gets assistance from Arab countries.
Indeed it is the second time (the first was the invasion of Lebanon
in 2006) that Israel is getting open and solid support from these
Arab countries. The invasion of Gaza was discussed in Egypt before
its implementation. Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are Israel's
Egypt is actively involved in stopping
all aids from getting to Palestinians in Gaza save a token few
trucks. These few trucks are allowed to go through so they can
be filmed and shown to Egyptian people. All demonstrations are
banned, and all Egyptian volunteers for Gaza are either arrested
or sent back.
There are hundreds of thousands of volunteers
across the Muslim world that are willing to go to the aid of the
Palestinians, but the Egyptian authorities don't allow them passage.
Egyptians even stop medical aid from passing through their territory.
This is part of a report from Associated Press:
RAFAH, Egypt: Frustration is mounting
at Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, where many local and foreign
doctors are stuck after Egyptian authorities denied them entry
into the coastal area now under an Israeli ground invasion.
Anesthesiologist Dimitrios Mognie from
Greece idles his time at a cafe near the border, drinking tea
and chatting with other doctors, aid workers and curious Egyptians.
"This is a shame," said Mognie,
who decided to use his vacation time to try help Gazans. He thought
entering through Egypt, which has a narrow border with the Hamas-ruled
strip, was his best bet.
"That in 2009 they have people in
need of help from a doctor and we can go to help and they won't
let us. This is crazy," he added.
In addition there are many Iranian cargo
planes full of food and medicine which have been sitting on the
tarmacs in Egypt for days waiting for permission to deliver their
cargo. Egyptians even denied the medical aid sent by the son of
the Libyan President Qaddafi to land in Egypt.
One thing is clear: these three countries
do not want the Israelis to fail in their mission of totally destroying
Gaza. Hosni Mubarak said so himself. The daily Haaretz reported
that Hosni Mubarak had told European ministers on a peace mission
that Hamas must not be allowed to win the ongoing war in Gaza.
As Egypt physically aids the Israeli military
by denying food, fuel and medicine to the civilians, the House
of Saud helps Israel by giving her time and diplomatic cover.
When Israel started its invasion there was an immediate call for
an Arab summit. Saudi Arabia and Jordan (along with Egypt of course)
delayed the summit. The Saudis along with the UAE said that they
had another meeting to attend to and therefore Palestinian issue
had to wait. After a few days when the summit was eventually held,
they issued the same old statements. Yet this time same as the
Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006, they blamed the victims.
In a statement, Saudi Arabia blamed Hamas for Israel's continuing
offensive in the Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia, after blaming Hamas,
declared that it will not even consider an oil embargo on Israel's
supporters. She then again blamed Hamas.
By this time, the three Arab countries
along with Kuwait and UAE began singing the old song: international
community is not doing anything about the catastrophe that is
taking place in Gaza. It seems that these Arab tyrants have no
shame at all. This reminds me of a quote from Marquis De Sade
(1740-1814): "One is never so dangerous when one has no shame,
than when one has grown too old to blush."
These Arab leaders (many are indeed too
old to blush) are complicit in the murder of so many civilians,
especially young children. According to Agence France-Presse,
quoting the medics on the ground, fully one third of all people
killed have been children. How can these Arab leaders justify
this to their people?
The answer is that they cannot. Israel
knows this and for the second time can show the Arab street that
their leaders are nothing but a bunch of old hypocrites. These
Arab leaders are now exposed and can do nothing but to cooperate
fully with Israel and US. What stand between them and their people's
rage is their army and secret services; which in turn are supported
Israel has cleverly exposed these leaders
for what they are: collaborators of the worst kind. These Arab
leaders have brought an unimaginable shame to their people. To
quote Lucien Bouchard: I have never known a more vulgar expression
of betrayal and deceit. Our hope is now with the people of these
countries to clean this stain from their honour.
Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar lives in Norway. He
is a management consultant and a contributing writer for many
online journals. He's a former associate professor of Nordland
Middle East watch