Sleeping Giant Wakes Up

By Yvonne Ridley

January 27, 2010 "
Information Clearing House" -- The Arab world’s sleeping giant has finally woken from its slumber after years of being drugged and mugged by the West.

Having witnessed -- and experienced –- first-hand the brutality of the Egyptian and Tunisian police and their undercover stooges, I can tell you that the uprisings of the masses took real courage.

Over the years, dictator Hosni Mubarak has traded on their fear, using some of the foulest methods of intimidation imaginable.

But like their counterparts in Tunisia, the Egyptian people are losing their fear and tearing away the chains of oppression.

The pharaoh’s police state is now teetering after a second day of protests.

Whatever the outcome over the next few weeks, I think it is clear that America and Britain can no longer manipulate and control the politics -- or lack of it -- in the Middle East.

Washington’s silence over the weeks of civil unrest on the streets of Tunisia was almost deafening, so when Barack Obama chose to congratulate the uprising only after Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s plane was in the air, his message of support rang hollow. On Tuesday, he urged the Egyptian authorities to show restraint.

The world’s most powerful man’s weasel words tripped from his lips as blood was shed on the streets of Cairo, Asyut, Alexandria, Mansura, Tanta, and Aswan as the people faced down hundreds of thousands of uniformed and plain-clothes thugs using water cannon and teargas.

The truth is the scenes of civil unrest from Tunis to Cairo speak volumes about U.S. and Western interference as much as the actions of the tyrants they have bankrolled and supported.

All of them have seriously underestimated ordinary Arabs. The brutality of tyrants has been allowed to go on for countless decades and the silence of the Western powers today exposes their own deep-seated racism and double standards toward the people.

Is the blood of an Arab worth less than that of an American? It’s a rhetorical question and we all know the shameful answer.

With the exception of Iraq (and let’s not go down the road of who created and supported Saddam), all of the governments in the Middle East are identified by their Western-installed family dynasties, sham democracies, and rigged elections, punctuated by extreme reaction to any signs of dissenting voices.

While these leaders have lived a life of luxury bordering on obscene, they’ve carried out their orders from Washington, London, Paris, and beyond without question -- and this goes for the corrupt Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and his Palestinian Authority. If ever there was a dictator-in-the-making, it’s this odious man.

As Robert Fisk pointed out a few days back, the emergence of The Palestine Papers is as damning as the Balfour Declaration. The right of return for millions of Palestinians, for instance, was traded and eroded beyond measure.

From the West Bank to Gaza and the refugee camps beyond, Abu Mazen sold his people down the river. And the fact that Hillary Clinton’s predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, saw no problem in moving the Palestinians halfway across the world to settle in South America exposes the real contempt U.S. administrations have for the Arab people, not to mention those living in Latin America.

And why? For Israel, a festering pustule not the size of a South African game park, squatting in the Middle East. The creation of this nuclear-powered Frankenstein and the determination to force it on Arabs will turn out to be America and Britain’s biggest mistake ever.

But it’s not just the U.S. to blame. Britain under Tony Blair was a prime mover in overseeing the brutalization of the Arab world.

The UK’s intelligence service, MI6, drew up plans to help the Palestinian Authority crush the Islamic political movement Hamas and resistance groups in the West Bank.

Documents -- part of nearly 1700 transcripts and emails leaked to the Al Jazeera network documenting more than a decade of Israeli-Palestinian talks -- shed light on a little-known role played by British security services in shoring up the corrupt PA’s security apparatus. It was all done on Blair’s watch.

The West has bribed, bullied, and cajoled Arab leaders into accepting the vile Zionist regime, to the detriment of their own people, and this is now coming back to haunt them.

The movement of the masses isn’t just about oppression under tyrants, it is also about the creation and maintenance of Israel and the unconditional support it is given by the West and the West’s puppet leaders in the region.

Well, the sleeping giant has finally woken up, and when the people start to lead, their leaders will and are becoming irrelevant.

Israel’s biggest ally Mubarak must now be planning an exit strategy, wondering where he can flee to -- or even if he can rely any more on his Western puppet masters. They all turned their back on Ben Ali, didn’t they?

In Lebanon, America’s friends are folding as a prime minister is appointed who will support Israel’s archenemy Hezbollah, and from the West Bank to Gaza, Hamas is seen as the peoples’ choice. The Muslim Brotherhood is being re-energized in Egypt, where it has been robbed of election victories over the years. They would be the ruling party if free and fair elections had ever been allowed.

And in the coalition unity government of Tunisia, alliances may well be made with returning and previously banned Islamic political parties.

It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the tyrants come tumbling down like a pack of cards.

The game is up. It is over.

The Arab world is going to start to choose its own leaders. We in the West might not like the choices of the people, but we should respect their wishes.

Western leaders have a great deal to think about in the coming weeks as the Arab people decide how to shape their future in the Arab world.

But the first thing to do is send Air Force One around the region to collect all the dictators, tyrants, and despots on the U.S. payroll and take them back to Washington.

Like pet poo in New York’s Central Park, you have to take responsibility for the mess your dogs make.

British journalist Yvonne Ridley is also the European President of the International Muslim Women's Union