Egypt has a new draft of a constitution. It may be modified if the military rulers choose, although their wishes were faithfully carried out by the assembled 50 appointed members. Egyptian Nasserist director, Khalid Yusuf, said that the constitution promises more freedoms than most democracies. (He may have not read Saddam’s constitution, and he made that assertion as little girls were being hauled before a magistrate and sentenced for years in jail for daring to protest against a military coup.)
Lebanon is not a usual country: a deformed version of a nation, if even that. It is a place where people don’t agree on the definition of statehood and nationhood, and a place where sectarian divisions have constituted a bonanza for foreign intervention. But Lebanon is also a place crying out for an identity. While some do see marks of history, geography, and culture and recognize Lebanon as it is – an Arab country, no less Arab than other countries – others think that they have been misplaced in the Middle East, that they belong to Europe.
It would be fair to say that Khaled Meshaal is one of the biggest casualties of the Arab uprisings. Early on, Meshaal appeared more arrogant and more self-confident than usual. He had his reasons: the sponsoring Qatari regime was on the offensive and it seemed to be leading the entire Arab League and the Arab counter-revolution. Saudi Arabia was absent from the scene for much of 2011 and 2012, or so it appeared. Secondly, the Muslim Brotherhood reached power in Egypt and Tunisia and he received a hero’s welcome in both countries.
Saudi Arabia’s status among Western governments and media has risen since Sept. 11. At first, Saudi Arabia was put on the defensive, given its decades-long policies of sponsoring (with total US blessings and support) jihadi groups and fanatical ideologies. Swiftly, the Saudi government moved to ingratiate itself with the Zionists in Congress: It moved closer to Israel and its interests in the region, and it unleashed an unprecedented campaign of anti-Shia rhetoric in order to undermine all manners of resistance to Israel and its terrorist occupation.
The release of the Lebanese pilgrims who were kidnapped in Syria more than a year and a half ago was not big enough news for Western media, or even for Arab oil and gas media. The story is embarrassing for those in Western media who have been promoting and romanticizing the armed groups of the Syrian “revolution.” Worse, the captors were in fact very moderate and “secular” (any Islamist group in Syria that is not tied directly to al-Qaeda earns the moniker of “secular” by Western governments and media).
It has been a few months since I switched from reading paper editions of The New York Times and The Economist to the digital versions. It was not an easy decision: I grew up in a home where we received a large number of daily newspapers and weekly magazines (and free subscriptions by virtue of my father’s job in the Lebanese parliament). I have been accustomed to holding a newspaper (or newspapers) in my hand since a very early age, and we were taught reading from newspapers. Holding a morning newspaper becomes an essential part of one’s daily routine.
There is no question that the Syrian and Egyptian regimes have been extracting propaganda benefits from the October War. With Gulf money, the October War has been a decades-long propaganda bonanza running in various media outlets in the Arab world since 1973. That October was a victory for the Arabs (or for the regimes, according to regimes’ claims) is not even questioned. It is customary in Arab political usage, including in the political literature of Arab political parties and media, to refer to the victory of October. But the October war was a very complicated affair.