The problem is, however, that the Western leaders refuse to recognize their own mistakes, continuing to present the developments in the region as “momentous change” for the better and using Russia “to find its place on the right side of history,” i.e., on the side of Arab “revolutionaries.”
By Dmitry Babich
The events in the Middle East are gradually forming a pattern that less and less suits the vision of the “Arab spring” propagated by American media and the media of the EU countries. Attacks against police, the headquarters of trade unions and political parties in Tunisia; the parliamentary crisis in Egypt, where the Islamist-dominated national assembly has been declared dissolved by the Constitutional Court; continuing ugly violence in Libya and now Syria – all of these events don’t fit the “democratization” pattern suggested by the mainstream Western media since the start of the Arab spring in early 2011.
The problem is, however, that the Western leaders refuse to recognize their own mistakes, continuing to present the developments in the region as “momentous change” for the better and urging Russia “to find its place on the right side of history,” i.e. on the side of Arab “revolutionaries.” There was a supreme irony in the fact that the arts’ exhibition that provoked the recent Islamist riots in Tunisia was named by its pro-Western organizers “The Spring of Arts” in a clear evocation of the “Arab spring.” There was also supreme irony in the fact that, having destroyed the exhibition, Tunisian Islamists are now planning to further constrain artistic freedom by a special law on protection of sanctity, thus putting ABSENCE of freedom in a legal framework, so much cherished in the West. Again ironically, the police trying to quell the anti-artistic riots used the law adopted in the times of the former “dictator” Ben Ali, now denounced in the West in the same way as Egypt’s Mubarak and Libya’s Ghaddafi. Meanwhile, the primary enemies of tolerant attitude to arts were “the people on the right side of history,” i.e. the “revolutionary” minister of culture and Ennahda, the Islamist party that dominates Tunisian parliament since the first post-Ben Ali elections, applauded by the West. Both the minister and the parliament denounced the artists, putting the main responsibility for violence on them.
“We often hear from our Western partners that we should put ourselves on the right side of history, but when hearing that one often gets an impression that this kind of advice comes from the people who have fallen out of history, who simply forget what they were saying a few months ago,” Russian deputy minister of foreign affairs Mikhail Bogdanov said in an interview to RIA Novosti news agency. “Today these Western partners of ours are on one side of history, tomorrow – on another one. They change affiliations on a daily basis. I think that our Arab friends and partners are getting more and more conscious of the fact that we simply don’t betray our old partners with whom we had been building relations for years.”
It is enough to remember the U-turn in the American policy of supporting Egypt’s Mubarak to illustrate the Russian deputy minister’s point. After decades of open support for Egypt’s strongman, the American state department suddenly became its staunchest critic, currently showing absolutely no compassion for the ailing Mubarak, sentenced to life in prison and currently slowly dying in custody. All of this – against the background of troubling political developments in Egypt, which prove that real democratization is a much more complicated process than the simplified American vision of it, usually reduced to a Hollywood style conflict of “everything bad” (a dictator) against “everything good” (freethinking people).
Again ironically, the latest spat between the U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov over the presumed Russian military supplies to the Syrian regime fits the same pattern. As it transpired, Mrs. Clinton preferred simplification (some would say a blatant lie) when talking about supplies of Russian helicopter gunships to the Syrian regime. In fact, the United States had to correct its diplomat number one, acknowledging that these were not supplies, but repairs and adding a lot more interesting details to Mrs. Clinton’s imprudent statement.
“She put a little spin on it to put the Russians in a difficult position,” the New York Times quotes “a senior Defense Department official” as saying. A “spin” in plain language is a half-truth, which in modern media has a tendency to become a lie, since, once put in context, it distorts the bigger picture. In the case of the current US policy on the Middle East, the “little spin” about helicopters was just a little detail of a bigger lie – that of “democratic US supporting the democratic Arab spring.”
It’s as simple as that.
Russia is committed to the preservation of Orthodox Christian communities. Like any other Muslim government, the Assad regime is far from ideal; nonetheless, Christians can survive under it. On the other hand, the Syrian rebels are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and will do all they can to extinguish Christianity in Syria.
- Jihad Watch: Syria: At least 9,000 Christians flee their homes after persecution from Islamic supremacist rebels