I read in the news about former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s release from 6 years of detention. He will now live the rest of his life comfortably in a mansion with a cushion of $400+ million in a Swiss bank account. It reminded me of the failed Arab Spring and the lessons we should have learned from trying to democratize the Middle East. It was western powers, mainly former U.S. President Barack Obama and then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton who launched the Arab Spring but who are mysteriously exonerated for its failures and fallout that is still haunting us today. There are truths about the Arab Spring that western powers, specifically the U.S., should have learned but will probably repeat with Iran.
The Arab Spring was a dismal failure that destroyed nations’ economies, infrastructure, and sovereignty, caused thousands of deaths and gave false hope of democracy in environments that are best sustained through dictatorships.
The thought that somehow democracy could be established in the Middle East through regime change was a pipe dream just like the sponsor of regime change in the Ukraine was a disaster. Truth is that democracy will never be established in the Middle East because of corruption that is over a thousand years deep within the institutions of those societies. For nations whose history of war and strife predates the discovery of writing, a dictatorship and theocracy is the only source of stability. The west cannot escape the bitter truth that Libya was better off under the dictatorship of Qaddafi as opposed to the terrorist stronghold that rules it today. Syria was a beautiful and tolerant nation before it was reduced to the war ridden rubble it is now.
Today Arab Spring nations, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen are unstable and as far from any semblance of democracy as they were before the Arab Spring. The power vacuum for each nation allowed opportunist to take control creating even more oppressive environments. The crackdown on dissent in these nations has left many disillusioned and wary of risking their lives to speak out. Armed conflicts have taken a toll on the economies. Libya is riddled with violent conflicts which will continue to escalate and Yemen is under attack by Saudi Arabia. These nations would have been better off left alone with their former dictators.
Another truth that we glean from the Arab Spring is that retribution, karma, the law of seed time and harvest, whatever you choose to call it, also works on nations. The Arab Spring is the cause of Europe’s refugee woes as victims seek democracy and safety from the very nations who helped to instigate it in their home countries. It is ironic that western powers who sought to change Middle East nations are now being changed themselves. As millions of refugees flow through Europe they are challenging and changing democracy in these nations with their ancient sectarian and religious beliefs. These are unforeseen consequences from meddling in other nation’s affairs. We will see the same in the U.S.
One of the most hushed-up truths from the failures of the Arab Spring is how it intensified the war between terrorist groups and western powers has become. As refugees flow into western nations terrorist are coming with them and carrying out attacks. Terrorist attacks are increasing since the Arab Spring with the influence of ISIS and radical Islamic groups on western citizens. Just a couple of days ago there was a deadly attack near the U.K. Parliament where a car plowed into victims on the Westminster Bridge. The Arab Spring gave cause for the spread of radical Islam and is a contributing factor to the rise of fascism in western nations.
The west has poured billions if not trillions into efforts such as the Arab Spring to democratize the Middle East destroying nations’ economies in the process. Truth is that the Middle East is a bottomless money pit when it comes to regime change. The fruitless efforts have not produced democratic leaders just more dictators. The billions spent on the Middle East by the U.S. could have been utilized on domestic needs such as improving access to higher education, building our infrastructure or helping job generating industries. Truth is that all of these needed dollars went to rebels. Remember the $500 million that the U.S. gave to Syrian moderate groups that trained 5 fighters? Under the Obama Administration almost $1 billion was spent on the Arab Spring. The Congressional Research Service estimated that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars cost the U.S. $1.6 trillion from 2001 to 2014.
Will the west learn their lessons of the Arab Spring or will they now use Iran as an excuse for the military industrial complex build up? I think western powers know the lessons but are willing to make the sacrifice because it boils down to money. For the love of money greedy powers will do anything including repeating failed actions of history that produced major gains financially but little politically. Most of the current leadership of Arab Spring nations are military men who understand the profitability of the military industrial complex within western powers and their own nations. From this context it would seem the Arab Spring was a success in placing the right leadership in office for the next round of military intervention.
Whether it be weapons of mass destruction or the promotion of democracy rest assured that in the very near future western powers especially the U.S. will find an excuse to pump up the military industrial complex and invade Iran. Like the failed Arab Spring it will be a waste of billions of dollars, cost lives, create a power vacuum and open up opportunities for terrorism to grow and spread. The lesson from the Arab Spring for the citizens of the U.S. and other western nations is that chaos, death, refugees, crashing economies and human rights violations means nothing when it comes to feeding the military industrial complex. All the failures of the Arab Spring have been conveniently swept under the rug in order to continue intervening in the Middle East.
Lessons from the Arab Spring teach us to not underestimate the power, breadth and roots of radical Islam in Middle Eastern nations. When it comes down to western powers against radical Islam, Middle Eastern nations will always aid radical Islam while taking western dollars. Saudi Arabia is the big elephant in the room on this point. Morsi is an example of how a democratically elected leader cannot survive in the Middle East. He could do nothing with the faltering Egyptian economy and continued sectarian violence.
The bitter truth that the Arab Spring teaches us is that Western powers might win the battle but will never win the war in the Middle East. It would be best if we left the Middle East alone. The current refugee dilemma in Europe proves that the more we meddle, the more we open ourselves to the power and influence of radical Islam. Soon, western powers will have to make a choice of continuing with failed efforts like the Arab Spring for the sake of profit or withdraw from the Middle East in order to retain their own sovereignty and safety from radical Islam.
March 25, 2017
Sister Sharon Roach
Lessons from the Arab Spring for the Coming Iran Invasion