Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

I rule you or I kill you | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Now the region is witnessing the bloodshed of its own people, in Yemen, Syria and Libya, at the hands of rulers supposed to be governing republics, whereby the President rules for his term and then leaves, as the definition of a republic dictates, but the reality says otherwise.

The reality of our region shows that the republics which have plagued their people are headed by rulers of the type found in Syria, Yemen and Libya, who govern according to the principle of “I rule you or I kill you”. There are other examples of this rule, which is bad for the fortunes of the country, but good for the leader of course, most notably the Sudanese President, who divided his country and still remained in power! Therefore, what has been described as the “Arab Spring” in our region is merely an exaggeration. Our region is still far from a democratic transition, but this should not be considered wholly negative. It is positive that our region today is witnessing the end of an era of counterfeit and false slogans often traded by regimes over the decades. Thus today in Syria, Yemen and Libya, we are witnessing a genuine crisis of credibility between the people and the regime, as whatever promises those regimes declare, they are subsequently rejected by the people.

The reason is simple, everyone in those countries knows the extent to which their regimes have lied, and maneuvered, for decades in the name of resistance, or in the name of the Palestinian cause. How right was my colleague Suleiman Gouda when he said in one of his articles that whenever he contemplates the Palestinian case, or cause, he is quick to read the Fatiha [an Islamic eulogy] for the spirit of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who regained the Sinai region and did not wager with it. In our region the lies and excuses are endless. In Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to trade on the issues of al-Qaeda and the Huthis, in order to undermine the tribes and strengthen his power bequeathal project. The reason behind using al-Qaeda here is that Saleh must ally with the devil in order to crush the tribal leaders, and bequeath power to his son, and here the devil is al-Qaeda. On one occasion, President Saleh told a prominent guest that there was no value to the tribes in Yemen today, only for the guest to respond immediately, in a manner which stunned the audience: “If it was not for the tribes you would not still be in power”! We are witnessing the truth of that today, and perhaps Saleh has learned the lesson, but only after the destruction of Sana’a.

In Libya, the situation is no better. Gaddafi always talked about imperialism and colonialism, yet here are the colonialists of old coming back to save the Libyan people from Gaddafi himself, and after four decades of slogans of the Libyan revolution against imperialism!

In Syria, the situation provides more cause for grief. The regime which has long championed Arabism yet it has never adopted this ideology with regards to Iran, in any stance or issue. Now the Iranian experts are supporting the Syrian regime in its process of suppressing its own people. The Syrian regime adopted the “resistance” cause, yet it has not resisted anything except the ideas of development, reform and change. It has not provided armed resistance against anything except its own people. The valiant Syrian army did not fight anyone over the last three decades except the Lebanese and Syrian people!

Therefore, I would say that this is not the Arab Spring, but rather the Arab uprising against the regimes of [false] slogans, lies and political blackmail, regimes that govern according to the principle: I rule you or I kill you.