Arab rulers’ ever defeatist stands [Archives:2006/972/Opinion]

August 14 2006

By: Mazin A. Al-Saqqaf
When an Arab or Islamic country comes under crisis we find our Arab rulers clinging to their power with fear of departing their seats, thus adopting a defeatist and submissive stance. They are unlike their peoples stances in such situations. Arab rulers do not demonstrate anything honorable by protecting what remains of their dignity and sovereignty. They, as usual, suffice themselves to repeating phrases of denunciation and condemnation, as they have been doing with respect to the current American-Israeli aggression on Lebanon.

With the present developments taking place in the war in Lebanon these rulers have not stopped at being spectators but rather adopted a disgraceful reaction siding with the American-Israeli aggression on the Arab and Islamic region. Their love of power makes them blame the resistance movement defending Lebanon and holds it responsible for the destruction and massacres perpetrated by the Israeli state against the Lebanese children and women and destruction of Lebanon. They began attacking the leader of the Lebanese resistance Hassan Nasrallah instead of Israel. Most of the Arab and Islamic regimes have held Hezbollah responsible for the war because of kidnapping and detaining the two Israeli soldiers, claiming the Israeli war as reaction to the Hezbollah “aggression on the Israeli people.”

Those regimes have gone further in their disgraceful stance and thus refused the call by President Ali Abdullah Saleh for holding an emergency Arab summit to study the current situation in Lebanon and Palestine and come out with decisions and solutions, even if they were on paper, to save the situation. The regimes appear incapable before the whole world, not just the Arab and Islamic world, announcing to all that Israel is the one that governs and not themselves. The Arab and Islamic peoples appear unable and suppressed under regimes whenever they raise their voices in the face of the tyranny. These peoples are no longer capable of anything but hoping for salvation and praying to have leaders who had adopted courageous and decisive positions in such situations.

Such leaders who used to stand by their peoples out of their belief and faith are the essence of governance such as the late Gamal Abdulnasser who had declared the war on the tripartite aggression of 1956. Even after the so-called the June 1967 setback he did not surrender, but rather declared clearly that there would be no negotiation, reconciliation and surrender. In his strong position he was not wagering on his weapons and power rather than on the Arab people of Egypt who supported him to the end.

The excuse of interest has always been the slogan raised by the Arab regimes in the face of their peoples whenever they demanded them for an Arab issue, beginning with Palestine and then Iraq and more recently Lebanon. Some Arab rulers take advantage of these tense situations in the Arab homeland for their interest in an attempt to gain support of their peoples.

When President Ali Abdullah Saleh proposed holding an emergency Arab summit to discuss the ongoing developments in Lebanon he knew well beforehand his initiative would not receive the wanted response. His stand was taken due to the Yemeni domestic developments with the approach of the presidential and local elections scheduled in September. The resentment of the Yemeni street towards the regime comes throughout 28 years of rule because the Yemenis have experienced more poverty, ignorance, bad health conditions and corruption that crept to all institutions. In addition, there is a strong rival in the coming vote from Faisal Bin Shamlan, described as someone difficult to overlook or disregard. He enjoys a decent pedigree he acquired during his assumption of various posts in the former southern government and in the unity state later after 1990 in addition to many characteristics qualifying him to lead the country. Shamlan forms a stumbling stone for the ruling regime as the parties of the JMP have selected him as their candidate.

The Saleh regime has thought it has to restore the people's confidence by gaining people's satisfaction and reducing their anger against the regime. Though the people have reacted coolly to the call for the summit, however that did not weaken the determination of President Saleh. The president resumed the call for holding the Arab summit, taking advantage of the massacres in Lebanon and Palestine, after his withdrawal of the first invitation. In his interview with al-Jazeera satellite channel on July 31, President Saleh appeared very enthusiastic and angry at the Arab and Islamic regimes that refused his first call for the summit. The president shows a contradiction in his stances in the same interview. At the time he reiterated his call for holding the Arab summit to reach a ceasefire, he hoped that the war would extend to include Syria justifying that such development would place Israel in an impasse it could only solve by leaving the region. President Saleh attacked the Shimon Peres describing him as a “lover of authority” and seemingly forgetting he himself has been ruling Yemen for 28 years during which his people have suffered injustice and corruption and experienced wars beginning in the first months of his assumption of power right up until today.

This type of policy followed by the authority along all the period of its government could have succeeded for sometime to deceive the people with its foreign policy and international stances. However those policies have been no more than a statement in a newscast or an interview with a satellite channel. This policy is exposed and no longer can deceive the public. The authority now has to fix its image and leave the peoples to rule and determine their destiny so they may manage to preserve what is remaining of their humanity and destiny.

Mazin A. Al-Saqqaf is a young Yemeni writer.