April 14, 2012

What caused the Syrian and Yemini uprisings to falter?

    Saturday, April 14, 2012   No comments

Syria: From peaceful uprising to armed rebellion
By all accounts, the success of the uprisings against the old guard in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya was not matched in Yemen and Syria. The failure of the Yemeni and Syrian uprisings to achieve their goals can be explained by the post-revolutions’ events in the Arab Awakening countries and the Gulf States’ meddling therein.

After nearly a year of hard struggle against the authoritarian regimes in the first three Arab Awakening countries, the youth of the revolution were overlooked in the elections due to the efficiency of the political machine of religious parties. In all three countries, Islamists, moderate and otherwise, reaped the fruits of uprisings initiated and realized by apolitical youth who were less interested in ideology and more driven by their yearning for dignity and respect.

But when the dust settled, religious and nationalist groups were able to mobilize their followers and gain control of elected bodies. This trend sent a shock of despair among the youth in Syria and Yemen. They became uninterested in sweating and bleeding for a cause that will be hijacked by Muslim brothers, salafis, and tahriris.

The second factor that contributed to the starving of the uprisings in Syria is the uncharacteristic “support” from the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Syrian youth were not interested in having their fight for dignity sponsored and bankrolled by regimes that have no culture of social justice, shared governance, and respect for human dignity. For many Syrians, it is bizarre that the Saudi family could offer the former dictator of Tunisia protection while calling for Assad’s removal from office. It is inexplicable that the same regime that hospitalized and supported the dictator of Yemen and called for a peaceful, political solution to the crisis there was willing to arm and finance the rebels in Syria. It is disturbing that the same regime that sent military tanks and troops to crush a peaceful uprising in Bahrain wants the UNSC and the Arab League to send troops into Syria. 

Simply put, the Syrian youth who struggled for political rights were not persuaded by the crocodile tears of the ruling families in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Perhaps, when those rulers recognize the human rights of immigrants, respect the dignity of women, and end sectarian and ethnic discrimination in their countries, then, and only then, can they side with the Syrian people and speak on their behalf.

Considering the Saudi involvement in the Syrian crisis, it would seem as if the Saudis gambled on a win-win situation: the removal of Assad whom they despised for many reasons or the derailing of the Arab Awakening. They may have gotten the latter; while depriving the Arab peoples of a chance to transform their world for the better.



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