Top Ten Myths about the Arab Spring of 2011

1. The upheavals of 2011 were provoked by the Bush administration’s overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq Bzzt! Wrong answer. None of the young people who made this year’s revolutions ever pointed to Iraq as an inspiration. The only time Iraq was even brought up in their tweets was as a negative example (“let’s not let ourselves be divided by sectarianism, since that is what the Americans did in Iraq.”) Americans are so full of self-admiration that they cannot see Iraq as it is, and as it is perceived in the Arab world. Iraq is not a shining city on a hill for them. It is a violent place riddled with sectarian hatred, manipulated by the United States, and suffering from poor governance and dysfunctional politics. I did interviewing with activists last summer in Tunisia and Egypt. The youth do not want to be like Iraq! They want to be like Turkey, or, now, Tunisia.

2. President Obama was wrong to ask Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down. This position has been taken by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. It is a crazy thing to say. Mubarak could not have stayed in power, with nearly a million people in the streets and order breaking down in the country. If anything Obama was far too slow to act, and there was danger of Egypt turning seriously anti-American if he had not stepped in when he did. Trying to keep a dictator in power who has worn out his welcome is always a big mistake on the part of a great power, as was seen in the case of the shah of Iran.

3. Muslim radicalism benefited from the revolutions in the Arab world. So far, at least, the beneficiaries of the upheavals have been both secular, left-leaning dissidents and Muslim religious parties. Neither is violent. In Tunisia, the new president, Moncef Marzouki, is a staunch secularist. The al-Nahda (Ennahda) religious party got about 40 percent of the seats in parliament. But neither sort of movement is radical or violent. Likewise, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is now peaceful and talks moderately, and is attacked for it by the radicals such as Ayman al-Zawahiri. Muslim radicals have not been able to take advantage of these largely peaceful movements in the way they could of George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, which really did fuel the spread of violent extremism. Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman of Yemen argues that if democracy can be achieved in the Arab world, it will finish off violent extremism, which only flourishes under dictatorship.

4. Muslim religious groups spear-headed the revolutions. This allegation is made by Iran from one side and Western conservatives from the other. It is for the most part incorrect. Leftists, secularists, workers and students made the revolutions. The Muslim forces had often been devastated by government persecution and were weak (Tunisia) or had been made a junior partner in governance and were reluctant to risk entirely losing that position (Egypt). In Egypt, the revolutionaries are referred to in Arabic as the thuwar, and they are contrasted to the Muslim Brotherhood and other forces. In Egypt, it is these secularists and leftista who are are still calling for demonstrations in Tahrir Square. The most effective revolutionaries in Libya, the Berbers of the Western Mountain region and the urban street fighters of Misrata, were the least fundamentalist in orientation. While the Muslim religious parties may be good at organizing to win elections and so are perhaps the main beneficiaries of the revolutions politically, they did not make the revolutions themselves.

5. The uprising in Bahrain was merely a manifestation of sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite. The protesters in Bahrain included reformist Sunni Muslims. And the conservative forces pressuring the king to crack down on the crowds included the country’s great merchant families which comprise both Sunnis and Shiites. The struggle in these islands, like that elsewhere in the Arab world, was over authoritarian forms of government versus popular democracy, accountability and transparency. The king’s constitution allows him to over-rule both houses of parliament, allows him to appoint the upper house, and allows it to over-rule the lower house. The Shiite protesters were upset that these arrangements, along with gerrymandering that reduced Shiite representation, preventing the majority from asserting itself (Shiites are about 58% of the population). But the discourse was about constitutional monarchy, not about Shiite rule or an Iran-style Shiite theocracy, with some small exceptions.

6. Iran was behind the uprising in Bahrain. There is no good evidence for this allegation, which is the basis for the Saudi and United Arab Emirates military intervention on behalf of the Sunni Arab monarchy. Bahrain’s Shiites are Arabs and probably a majority of them belong to the conservative Akhbari school of jurisprudence, which rejects ayatollahs in favor of the ability of laypeople to interpret the law for themselves. Bahrain Shiites of the Usuli school, prevalent in Iran and Iraq, are more likely to look for leadership to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Najaf, Iraq, than to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Bahrain’s Shiites claim educational and workplace discrimination, and dispute a constitution and electoral system that disadvantages them. They are not agents of Iran.

7. The Arab Spring is a Western plot. This allegation was made by the Qaddafis in Libya and is currently asserted by many in Syria’s Baath Party. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is quite clear that the upheavals in the Arab world came as a surprise to the G8 nations, and were mostly at least initially unwelcome. France’s minister of defense offered help with police training to Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s Tunisia once the demonstrations got going last year this time. The US initially signalled support for Hosni Mubarak during the rallies against him of late January. Hillary Clinton said she was sure that the Mubarak regime was “stable.” Vice President Joe Biden was constrained to deny that Mubarak was “a dictator.” Obama only saw the writing on the wall with regard to Egypt at the last minute, and was starting to be a target of protest posters in Tahrir Square. The US was reluctant to lose an ally against al-Qaeda in Yemen such as Ali Abdullah Saleh, and still has never sanctioned him for killing hundreds of innocent protesters. Washington was likewise unhappy with the uprising in Bahrain, and at most urged the king to find a compromise (the US Fifth Fleet is headquartered in the capital, Manama, and so the US did not feel itself in a position to support the protesters strongly). Obama was famously reluctant to get involved in Libya. There is substantial ambivalence over the upheaval in Syria, and so far the main form of intervention is targeted financial sanctions. If there is anything that is already clear as we catch history on the run here, it is that the uprisings were spontaneous, indigenous, centered on dissatisfied youth, and that and presented the status quo Powers with unwelcome challenges.

8. The intervention of NATO in Libya was driven primarily by oil. European sanctions on Libya began being dropped in the late 1990s, and US sanctions were lifted in 2004. Western oil companies had sunk billions into the Libyan petroleum sector by 2011, and it is highly unlikely that they would have wanted to risk instability there or the advent of a new government that might not honor their bids. The oil majors suffered substantial losses because of the loss of Libyan production last spring and summer. The conservative government of David Cameron in the UK and that of Nicola Sarkozy in France allegedly feared that if Qaddafi were allowed to crush the Libyan reformers by main force, he might drive them into the arms of al-Qaeda, as had happened in Algeria in the early 1990s. And, they may have feared that Qaddafi would provoke a big exodus to Europe at a time when European economies are poorly situated to absorb such immigrants in large numbers. Sarkozy may have felt the need for a quick victory to bolster his position in the polls ahead of next year’s presidential elections. Cameron, as a conservative, may have sought to rehabilitate the use of military force to enforce international order, which had been tarnished in UK public opinion by the Iraq disaster. Those who say Europe would not have intervened in the absence of the petroleum factor forget the Balkans, which presented similar challenges of massive violence on Europe’s doorstep. Likewise, oil isn’t everything; Bahrain has very little, and so it cannot explain Washington’s reluctance to lambaste the monarchy there. To argue that Western Europe had interests in Libya that drove its intervention is common sense. To peg everything to oil is vulgar Marxism.

9. The Arab dictatorships now overthrown or tottering were better for women than their likely Islamist successors. The postcolonial Arab states often pursued what my friend Deniz Kandiyoti of the School of Oriental and African Studies has called “state feminist” projects of female uplift. But because these policies were pursued by unpopular dictatorships, they created a male backlash. The Muslim Brotherhood’s patriarchal pushback against the upper class feminism of Suzanne Mubarak was a feature not of 2011 but of 1981-2010. The massive trend to veiling among Egyptian women took place in the past 20 years, not all of a sudden today. That is, “state feminism” often backfired because it was felt as intrusive and heavy-handed. Women’s progress was tainted, moreover, by association with hated dictatorships. Nor was Hosni Mubarak exactly Germaine Greer. Two of my Ph.D. students had their projects initially rejected by the Egyptian authorities because they included a focus on feminist issues, which were increasingly controversial in Mubarak’s dictatorship. If Tunisia and Egypt can now move to democratic systems, women will have new freedoms to organize politically and to make demands on the state. Nor can outsiders pre-define women’s issues. Their actual desires may be for social services, notably lacking under Mubarak and Ben Ali, rather than for the kinds of programs favored by the old elites. In any case, while women’s causes may face challenges from conservative Muslim forces, it is healthier for them to mobilize and debate in public than for faceless male bureaucrats to make high-handed decisions for women.

10. The Arab upheavals are an unmitigated disaster for Israel. This position has been argued by Netanyahu and others. While it is true that the Muslim religious parties coming to power in Tunisia and Egypt are more sympathetic to the Palestinians than were Ben Ali and Mubarak, the issue is more complex than that. The Syrian National Council that is opposing the Baath Party in Syria has said that it will cease supporting Hizbullah and Hamas if it comes to power. The National Transitional Council in Libya is not anti-Israel. Moreover, you cannot gauge whether the changes are good or bad for Israel only by whether they might affect Israeli policy toward Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Dictatorships such as that of Mubarak were politically pathological, pursuing policies advantageous to the Israeli Right wing that were deeply unpopular with the Egyptian people. A democratic Egypt that actually represented public opinion would not necessarily be militant (no Egyptians want a return to a war footing), but it would be honest in its dealings with Tel Aviv. Israel has not been benefited by its denial of statehood to the Palestinians, by Mubarak’s corrupt collaboration in right wing policies, nor by the Syrian Baath Party’s cynical deployment of Palestine as a domestic issue. In a politically healthy Middle East, when Israel steals Palestinian land and water, it would get regional push back of a political and economic nature (as has finally started happening with regard to Turkey). That isn’t apocalyptic, it is politics. What has been wrong with Israel’s relationship with its Middle Eastern neighbors has been a lack of politics in favor of bribed sycophancy or ginned-up militancy, which has bred terrorism on the one side and arrogant hawkishness on the other. The changes in the Arab world, if they lead to more democracy, could well normalize Israel and Palestine in the region. It wouldn’t be the end of disputes, but it might be the beginning of the end of pathological politics.

31 Responses

  1. On point 1, while I agree that the Arab Spring revolutionaries did not seek to replicate the manner in which regime change was brought about in Iraq, is it not possible that the images of Saddam’s statue being torn down, his trial and execution – which were beamed into homes across the Arab world – did not serve to demonstrate that the deposition of seemingly entrenched dictatorial regimes was actually possible. This sort of encouragement doesn’t have to happen on a conscious level.

    • They’re not that shy. At least some of them would say so. They don’t. You are just making this up.

    • The image of saddam falling down by american troops, gave the arabs the impression that only a super power would be able to end such regeme. If the fall of saddam had any effect on the arab spring it would be negative.

  2. Good points, but there may be too much sanitizing of Islamist politics. Not that it will be a radical disaster, but only that it is too soon to tell. As far as ‘radical’ Islamists not being the beneficiaries, that depends on definition. Are the radicals only al-Qaeda lovers? Then, no, they did not benefit (news on Libya excluding). But if they are supporters of Middle Ages type sharia law application, then, well, we’ll see. That rhetoric is present, even though official spokesmen tone it down.

    Even if such come to power it is not a disaster, but if the question is simply to state who the beneficiaries are, early indications point clearly toward Islamists, rather than leftists or liberals. No, they did not lead, but they are patiently waiting their turn.

  3. Great article!

    On point 7, “the Arab Spring is a Western plot” I would add that this conspiracy theory has had surprising traction in Tunisia. Numerous posts on the preeminent Tunisian blogging site point to the U.S. role in felling Ben Ali. There are many who want to rewrite the history of the Arab Spring already.

    Some of this is motivated by the lack of progress on issues important to protesters, some is motivated by the fear of Islamists. In both cases it dismisses the power of the uprising and the empowerment of citizens to affect change.

    Critical to the long-term success of the Arab revolutions is a proper public understanding of their history (from dictatorship to democracy). The movement to remove remnants of Ben Ali’s regime in Tunisia risks erasing the memory of his most draconian measures and ridiculous cult of personality.

  4. With all of the turmoil and radical change taking place in the middle east along comes “Bigfoot”, aka The United States of America, threatening to bomb Iran.

    Once the bombings take place and the strait is closed, oil will jump to several hundred dollars a barrel. and the world will blame us for creating a worldwide depression. What effect will that have on all of the countries listed by Prof. Cole?

    And where will Israel be when this occurs? Will they have our back for bombing Iran? No, they will shrug their shoulders and say…”We never asked the US to bomb Iran.
    Our top military official even said it was a bad idea.”

    • Once the bombings take place and the strait is closed…

      That’s quite an assumption there. People have been assuring me that a bombing campaign against Iran was imminent for the past seven years. Remember when Bush was going to make sure and do it before he left office? When Obama was going to make sure and do so before leaving Iraq, so he could give the Israelis over-flight authorization?

      Not so much, as it turned out. But like fundamentalist preachers predicting the end of the world, or Austrian economists predicting runaway inflation, the failure of the predicted event to manifest itself never seems to dampen the certainty of the next fellow.

      • It’s precisely because the world has been put on high alert about the plans to bomb Iran — and particularly Netanyahu’s and Lieberman’s (Avigdor, not Joe, though they do seem interchangeable) trying to get the US to do their dirty work for them by playing the “we’ll do it if you don’t” card — that Iran hasn’t been bombed. Yet.

        Of course, bombing Shia-dominated Iran by either Israel or the US would mean that the life of any US citizen in Shia-dominated Iraq would be forfeit. The main reason that Iraq didn’t become Corregidor on steroids for the US was because of the truce upheld by Moqtada al-Sadr, for which he was thanked by being demonized by the neocons and their media shills.

  5. You do an excellent job, professor, of charting a middle course in your analysis of America’s reaction to/involvement in the Arab Spring uprisings. The USA was neither the instigator of these movements, nor hostile to them. We were taken by surprise, took a while to get our bearings, and eventually ended up on the right side of history, of ousting the dictators – even our longtime allies.

    I have one complaints, though: I think you vastly overestimate the popularity of Myth #1. You write, “Americans are so full of self-admiration that they cannot see Iraq as it is, and as it is perceived in the Arab world.” I think most Americans understand quite well that Iraq was a fiasco and that Bush’s “Model Democracy” strategy crashed and burned quite some time ago.

    • On your last paragraph, read Andrew Bacevich’s “The New American Militarism” for a chronicle of how ridiculously easy it was for corrupt pressure groups to train Americans to forget the “lessons of Vietnam.” Young adults today know nothing, zero, nada, about our excuses and crimes in Vietnam. Mission Accomplished. We’re already feeding Iraq to the memory hole this New Year’s Eve.

  6. Shia in Bahrain are not 58 % but over 75%, as they have been always the majority, the second part is that they follow both Ayatollag Sistani and Seyyed Ali Khamenei, it depends on who they feel more comfortable with. I personally live in Iran, I have accepted and appreciate Ayatollah Kahmenei as my leader but in religious matters if it’s needed I go to Ayatollah Sistani’s ideas, it does not mean I don’t agree with Ayat. Akhmenei. the same is true about Shia people of Bahrain.

    • I’m a Bahraini and appreciate that both Sunnis and Shias claim that they are a majority – neither with numbers to substantiate these claims. It honestly does not make any difference to me which is more, as we are looking for IDEAS which are supported by the majority to set the country’s policy, not color, sect, gender, religion, etc…

      It amuses me to see someone from Iran claiming to have a clearer picture of the percentages of the population breakdown than anyone from here.

      • There is household survey research by Justin Gengler in Bahrain which has found 58% Shiites (this result only after tens of thousands of Sunnis from elsewhere were given citizenship). The research and projections are tight.

      • There is no clue that majority in Bahrain is shia ….. the history the books alll information and the numbers
        The only problem is that the regime made a division between the 2 sectors. as Bahraini shia always lived with sunni even they were minority peacefully.

        the regime has to end and Bahrain will be safe other wise the civil war is coming soon.

  7. About 2:

    Trying to keep a dictator in power who has worn out his welcome is always a big mistake on the part of a great power, as was seen in the case of the shah of Iran.

    This statement raises the question of how the United States should deal with dictators who have not obviously, with hundreds of thousands of people protesting in the capital rendering their country ungovernable, outworn their welcome.

    Was the mistake supporting Mubarak, or was supporting Mubarak a good policy for the United States until the Tahrir Square demonstrations became overwhelming?

    If it is the second, then it follows that the aim of US policy should be to at least try to replicate the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt minus the demonstrations.

    It also follows that the US should continue to support pro-US dictatorships in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and others.

    It also follows that if possible, the US should get a pro-US dictator to rule Iraq.

    It also follows that if possible, the US should restore a pro-US dictator to Iran.

    To say that it is a mistake to support dictators after their rule cannot be sustained is an accurate description of US policy. It is also inherently hostile to democracy.

    About 10:

    A democratic Egypt that actually represented public opinion would not necessarily be militant (no Egyptians want a return to a war footing), but it would be honest in its dealings with Tel Aviv. Israel has not been benefited by its denial of statehood to the Palestinians, by Mubarak’s corrupt collaboration in right wing policies, …

    Woah, Mubarak was not only collaborating with right wing Israeli policies. Egypt’s foreign policy is outside of the control of Egypt’s voters. Olmert’s siege on Gaza, continued by Netanyahu is not a right wing policy that Mubarak collaborated with. Egypt also under Mubarak, at US direction on behalf of Israel, has not moved to acquire any legal nuclear weapons capability such as what NPT signatories such as Japan, Brazil and maybe dozens of others have acquired. That is not a right wing Israeli concern.

    We can say the same, of course, for the other pro-US colonial dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and others.

    … nor by the Syrian Baath Party’s cynical deployment of Palestine as a domestic issue.

    [The Syrian National Council that is opposing the Baath Party in Syria has said that it will cease supporting Hizbullah and Hamas if it comes to power.]

    Interesting that this Syrian National Council can say this before anyone in Syria has voted. Maybe, like Egypt’s military dictatorship, they have been holding secret negotiations with the US about ensuring that Syrian voters cannot influence policies with respect to Israel in any future civilian government.

    Palestine is far more of a domestic issue in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab world than Israel is in the United States.

    Every poll of every Arab population that I’ve ever come across has expressed support for the types of foreign policies pursued by Assad while the foreign policies of the pro-US dictatorships do not have popular support (which is why the US, for Israel’s sake, must support removing control of foreign policy from voter control in its controlled dictatorships).

    It is almost outrageous to call Assad’s participation in the Zionist/Palestinian dispute cynical without saying the same thing about Barack Obama’s far more intense participation in the dispute on the opposite side.

    • The sane thing to do, as was realized by the early democracies, is to — as far as possible — take a “hands-off” or neutral approach to dictatorships which have not worn out their welcome. While supporting actual democracies, and opposing unpopular dictatorships.

      For some reason governments have kept finding short-term advantages in other policies. :-( It hasn’t been healthy for democracy to do so.

      • The interesting question is how far is it possible, given the US’ commitment to Israel, to take a hands-off policy with regards to Israel’s neighbors?

        Could the US allow Saudi Arabia to come under the control of a populist government? If Iran is a threat to Israel, how much more of a threat would a Republic of Arabia be, with a much bigger military budget than Israel and Iran put together, a more strategic geographical position regarding Israel and more revenue to spread among a smaller population?

        Even without breaking the treaty with Israel, how much more could a populist Egypt do, and if Egypt is going to be bribed to not critically degrade Israel’s viability, how much more would it cost the US to bribe Egypt’s government in a public system than it pays in its behind-the-scenes leverage over Mubarak and Tantawi?

        What you call the sane thing to do looks like it is not within the US’ realm of possibilities given the US’ commitment to over-riding the views of more than 400 million people in Israel’s region on the question of should there be an enforced Jewish political majority state.

        Polls consistently show that the non-Jewish populations of Israel’s region see Zionist Israel as no more legitimate than Black Africans saw Apartheid South Africa.

        Given that, is the United States going to let the people of Israel’s region control their own foreign policies or not?

        Barack Obama has clearly decided not. He likely does not believe he has a choice.

  8. Nice post Professor. As far as my 2 cents worth here, The U.S. should pull all of its Military out of the M.E., the rest of the known world. Let the natives settle their own differences, rebuild the U.S.A., then rethink the world. I do wonder though, during all this past year, just how much treasure from these countries have been siphoned off by the Financial Criminals? Food for thought.

  9. Americans are so clueless about Iraq and the whole affair. Much less the rest of the MIddle East. Americans, i bet don’t even know much about Canada, their great “white” neighbor to the north.

    nothing would surprise me about what Politicians can do or say about the Middle East. Americans are only upset that Bush’s failure in Iraq has cost America “face.” i don’t see much lamenting the lives lost in Iraq, both American and/or Iraqi. too much PR/propaganda telling us how successful, like Obama saying the “war is over,” with no comment about how many private defense contractors we have still in Iraq or the size of the American Embassy. and how many bases were there to begin with.

    Americans are and have been quite content to be ignorant and have been for a long time. only the price of OIL matters to Americans. to think otherwise, is to buy the “message” the media sells.

    American Exceptionalism is The American Way. so to expect Americans to “care” about the rest of the world is hogwash.

    i sincerely hope we don’t go to all out war with Iran. all the ultimatums given Iran about their Nuclear program must mean something, i would presume. otherwise, why are the Americans and Israelis/Europeans/western World giving them to the Iranis?
    the stuxnet virus and the killing of Iranian scientists, and suspicious bombings throughout Iran seem to indicate a undercover war, though.

    Israel is painted as having given Iran an ultimatum not to go nuclear.
    Iran doesn’t seem, on the surface, to pay heed to the Israelis, and nobody but nobody disses Israel. America does whatever Israel wants. that is a given.

    so i hope you are right about the whole Iran war thing. this push for war with Iran has been going on for so long now. i would have hoped the fiasco that is Iraq would temper the reality of the lunatics involved. but what is reality to “lunatics’ anyway. we shall see. shan’t we.

  10. This is quite the same comment I post it with the link of the article on my FB page :

    Wow! How shocked you find someone not from Arab world and understands a lot of facts very well than some Arabs themselves … Poor us .. we still going around conspiracy theory & sectarian issues …etc :S

  11. If Israel comes to be surrounded by democracies then the apartheid in Israel will be brought into very sharp focus. I don’t see the apartheid surviving for more than a couple years following such events. I think Israel fears this and I will not be surprised to see Israel attempt to undermine Arab democracies.

  12. Points 7 and 8 are totally false, especially that laughable last line of point 7.

    I’d give evidence but seriously I’m not a think-tank, a media organization or a college professor, but we all know exactly what’s going on in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and the rest (Morocco, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Oman and the US of A). We hate our leaders. We tired of living in poverty, and we hate our leaders. The US of A has played both sides, all sides and favorites.

    If you ask me the proof is that nothing has changed in Tunisia, Egypt or Yemen. The same old, same old is still in play. The US has never for a heartbeat dropped its support of SCAF. The key is Frank, the Wiz, Wizner and on whose orders was he visiting Egypt in January/February. The question is how to stop the US military (as well as every other so-called military of the international community) and their frickin’ intelligence agencies and the oligarchical powers. The answer is Occupy, which is what the People of the Earth have done this year, Wikileaks and Anon. See above, we’re tired of living in slavery.

  13. Prof Cole, I was the one who quoted Fuad Ajami who stated that the ousting of Saddam Hussein was a major factor in initiating the overthrow of the other regimes. He did NOT say that these countries and their people wanted to end up like Iraq as you indicated or that they were “grateful to the US” or any such thing. He simply said that that they saw that all these leaders who had been in power for DECADES were not “supermen” and could be ousted. It was the Americans who did it. Before Saddam no such leader had been ousted. These are historical facts and whether or not the so-called “Arab Spring” demonstrators were conciously aware of the American precedent, I am convinced that there definitely was a connection.

    • there is no evidence for this. Everyone knew a superpower could switch out third world leaders. What inspired Arabs was the success of Tunisian people power. Neocons often make things up because they believe power creates politics rather than reality creating politics.

      • the evidence is in the fact that the middle east has changed quite dramatically in the ten years since 2001. its hard to imagine this happening without american support for democratic change in the region.

        • Joel, we never supported democratic change in the region, we supported our whores in the region, like Mubarak. You’ve forgotten that the Occupation in Iraq intended to install appointed puppet Iraqi prime ministers indefinitely until Sistani and the Shia uprising forced us to schedule elections. You’ve forgotten our war against the elected Hamas government. We proved our whores could overthrow other whores. If the good people of the Arab world saw that meant whores could be overthrown, you can hardly claim that the result was America’s aim. We are at war with the Arab people for their refusal to accept the elimination of the Palestinians. Anything that increases their ability to refuse is an American defeat, until we admit we were wrong in the first place.

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