The Arab streets today [Archives:2008/1133/Community]

February 28 2008

By: Saleh Sharhan
New York
[email protected]

Before the second Iraq war in 2003, I read an article by a pro-war writer. Writing it in the form of a dialogue between two people, he began with the first person pointing out to his friend that while Iraq has the fourth largest army, it is battle-hardened from the Iraq-Iran war. Therefore, he said, “Don't worry, everyone knows Arab armies are only good for military parades.”

However, his friend cautioned, “But what about the Arab streets, where we don't want to stir or enrage their feelings?”

The first friend responded, “Don't worry, I've been in the Middle East. The Arab streets are only good for slogans.”

“But, they'll sacrifice their blood and souls for their leaders,” his friend protested, to which he again pointed out, “No, the Arab streets are busy with smoking shisha and playing dominos.”

Five years later, the Arab streets have managed to put the world's last great superpower in a fix and divided the United States politically to the point where it has come closer to a constitutional breakdown. Those Arab streets that like to smoke shisha and play dominos are on the verge of handing the world's greatest army a humiliating defeat.

What was supposed to be America's century instead has become its nightmare as the Bush doctrine of a preemptive war has turned into a scramble for a good exit strategy. The Iraq war built on a foundation of lies now is losing itself under the blanket of truth.

George W. Bush will receive his well-deserved place as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. The Bush family's political franchise has been bankrupted by George W. and his brother, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose political future is in peril.

Let's just say that at the end of the day, Saudi Arabia remains one entity – not four – Syria will live another day and Iran has become a regional power thanks to Bush's policy of destroying its enemies.

The Arab streets have given those who invaded or are planning an invasion a rude awakening that smoking shisha and playing dominos is no reason to undermine a people's will to defend their land and their homes.

I wish I could see that writer's face at the way his predictions have turned out. I bet he's got his head stuck in the sand!