Articles > > A SHORT COMMERCIAL BREAK

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-04-01
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

Arab reactions [at this weekend's Arab Summit] in condemning and denouncing U.S. President Donald Trump's decision regarding the occupied Syrian plateau are no more than 'a short commercial break', after which the Arab capitals will resume pursuing their policies, wars, and alignments as usual, as if nothing at all had happened.
 
Something like this occurred before, when Trump made the [November 2017] declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved his country's embassy to the city. The same scene is bound to be repeated in the case of the Syrian Golan, which does not have the same religious, moral, and political standing as the first of the two qiblas [Muslim direction of prayer] and the third of the holy shrines. 
 
What harm could befall Israel and its U.S. backer if the annexation and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan warrant nothing more than two or three weeks of political and media attention, and if the effects of our Arab governments' statements evaporate even before their ink has dried? 
 
What harm could come to them if, at the height of discontent over the Golan decision, our capitals decide to submit a motion to the UN Security Council to add the Houthis and Hezbollah to the list of terrorist organizations, block Syria's return to the Arab League, take a hostile position towards Iran and Turkey characterized by the highest degree of enmity and antagonism, and otherwise demonstrate that they are fully prepared to proceed down the same path and priorities as if no new developments had occurred on the Arab/Israeli conflict arena?
 
What harm could befall Israel from the Arab Summit in Tunis, since it takes no effort to hear news of Arab divisions, and since the stance taken behind closed doors differs from that aired live on TV? What could plague Tel Aviv and Washington when the most influential Arab capitals boast of the need to rush towards Israel rather than resist normalization with it? What could raise their leaders' blood pressure when the leading Arab capitals' eyes are focused on tightening the noose around the neck of Tehran, Damascus, and Beirut's Southern Dahyieh [Hezbollah's stronghold], all the way to Ankara?
 
Nothing changes or is affected by Washington's stance. Weapons purchases have not subsided and crawling in supplication towards the White House has not slowed down, nor has the rush towards normalization with right-wing and far-right governments changed course. Monies have not begun to flow into the coffers of Jerusalem, the intifada, and the PA again, nor has Jordan, whose voice cries out in witness and warning, received the attention it needs from its brethren. It is as if to say: What is there to be worried about? And who should be worried, anyway?
 
There is an old adage about Assad's politics that was popular in Damascus: He gives a signal to the left in order to turn right. This perfectly embodies the official Arab position. They inundate Washington with rebuke and criticism, to say nothing of condemnation and denunciation, yet at the same time, they turn against Iran, Turkey, and whichever of the region's countries or movements may approach or ally with them. This game is transparent and distasteful, and it will no longer fool the ordinary citizen on the street.
 
The region's only remaining hope lies in its never-ceasing surprises: Spontaneous popular movements, with the flood of the masses roaring through the streets and squares. Who would have believed a month and a half ago that the Algerians would rise up collectively to reject the regime and demand its change?
 
The Arab World is changing, and the Arab Spring has not yet exhausted its purpose. Its engines are still running, and anyone who believes otherwise is completely mistaken. 
 
Thanks to the U.S. and the Israeli right, which is rushing to ignite the fuel in the engines of change, the hour of reckoning may not yet be here, but it is not far off.