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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Jamil Mroueh: The Army Is Middle Class in Camouflage

Alexandria, Egypt: Demonstrators demanding the ouster of President Mubarak gather around the statue of Alexander the Great
(AFP / Getty Images)

From what happens these days there are at least two certitudes: the Arab revolution is spreading and the most important broker of the situation is the army. What will ultimately the army do? Will it fraternize with the protesters?

The army is middle class in camouflage, says Jamil Mroueh, the editor in chief of The Daily Star in Beirut. As I passed through the experience of the 1989 revolution in Romania, I think this is very true and very well said.

What will be the future position of the Arab states towards US? Towards Israel? Nobody can give here a definitive prognosis.

For David Ignatius, that's why Assad today is less vulnerable than Mubarak was: his regime is at least as corrupt and autocratic, but it has remained steadfastly anti-American and anti-Israel; hard as it is for us in the West to accept, this rejectionism adds to Assad's power, whereas Mubarak was diminished by his image as the West's puppet (The Arab Revolution Grows Up in today's W. Post).

Roger Cohen has another perspective: one way to measure the immense distance traveled by Arabs over the past month is to note the one big subject they are not talking about - Israel; for too long, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the great diversion, exploited by feckless Arab autocrats to distract impoverished populations (Exit the Israeli Alibi in NY Times). He can be right, as well as it can be wishful thinking. One thing is for sure: the reality in Mid East will be totally different from now on, and all players there need to understand the new situation and to accommodate with the new reality.

(Zoon Politikon)

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