The Arab revolution’s curious friends

When a hawkishly pro-Israel Islamophobe like Martin Peretz endorses the Arab uprisings, shouldn’t it raise some serious questions about whose agenda they serve? In “Tel Aviv Journal: Obama’s Scandalous Approach to the Middle East,” he lambastes President Obama’s “palsied response to the historic revolution of the Arabs that for a few weeks seemed unstoppable.” According to Peretz:

Obama is petrified by the unprecedented newness emerging in the desert. In Tunisia and Egypt, the crowd moved quickly against the regime, which meant at least that the old regime would be gone. What will happen next is anyone’s guess, except for American intelligence, which has finally lost its credentials for both analysis and prophecy. It was probably the CIA that put us on the side of Hosni Mubarak in the early days of the Tahrir Square manifestations. The president was quiet and then was just sheer bluster, not decisive and not imaginative either. He was not a man of history. Except to move it backwards.

If any power has allowed Muammar Qaddafi, tyrant and psychotic, to remain in power, it is the clinical allergy to power of our president. He is weak-willed and weak-kneed. Here, after all, was a brave people who’d been brutalized for more than four decades, been run by gangsters and still had the clarity of the lure of liberty. They’d also been unlucky in their northern neighbors across the Mediterranean, Italy and France, who had maintained the vocation of imperials for many decades. Despite this and perhaps because of it Paris and Rome have now dumped their longtime partner in crimes against humanity. Of course, Washington has finally proclaimed Tripoli an illegitimate government. As if a statement without practical action would have any real resonance.

Qaddafi possesses the power of any dictator, men in arms who will follow him and behave brutally. They are waging a war against the rebels but also against the innocent. Bombing from the air without targets, to create chaos and dread. Pace Robert Gates, a no-fly zone would have imperiled nothing except the colonel’s air force.

But the American refusal to recognize the provisional government in Benghazi is the true betrayal of the Arab revolution, of an Arab people and of Arab hope.

Note the similarity between Martin Peretz’s criticism of Obama’s insufficiently enthuasistic defense of the Arab revolution and this one by fellow hardcore Zionist Elliott Abrams. In the equally hawkish pro-Israel Weekly Standard, Abrams writes:

The administration has followed its near silence over Iran in June 2009 and its wavering on Egypt last month with days of silence on Libya. Finally the president has spoken and said next to nothing. For a superpower this is an embarrassment. Belgium and Luxembourg can consult and coordinate and monitor; can we do no more? How about sending Stuart Levey (leaving Treasury soon but still there) off to get freezes on all Qaddafi family assets? Instead of sending Hillary Clinton to the Human Rights Council, how about sending the Marine commandant or the chief of staff of the Air Force to NATO headquarters? Perhaps that message would be a bit more likely to capture Qaddafi’s attention. How about demanding indictments of Qaddafi for war crimes right now?

Again, it’s hard to imagine Elliott Abrams and his ilk being so gung-ho in support of the Arab Spring if they weren’t confident that it would benefit Israel.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

April 13, 2011

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