The Palestinian cause is strongly embedded within the political context of the Middle East, as a solid set of relationships that play a key role in the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The post-colonial power structures of the region have played a distinctive role throughout the 20th century in consolidating Israel's presence in the region. Through the agreements signed by Israel and the international powers in this region, these powers have preserved their interests while subjecting the Palestinian cause and its future to constant drawbacks. This includes the Oslo agreements which were supported by Egypt under the reign of Hosni Mubarak and only served to paralyze the Palestinian Authority up until the present day.
The fate of the Palestinian cause, being at the heart of the Middle Eastern diplomacy, strongly depends on the nature of its neighbouring states and the extent of their independence from the pressures and interference of the international superpowers and their interests.
Had the Arab revolutions occurred in countries outside the Middle East, they might have succeeded and reached their goals with the conditions stabilising at a faster pace than at present. Afflicted by the strategic geo-political location, the presence of Israel, and of course, the presence of oil resources, acting as a lever for global dominance, the situation is quite different.
These three factors render any attempt to change the status quo in the region fraught with dramatic unrest and tides of worsening conditions. The corporate and financial interests of the major powers in the Middle East region being at stake, these powers will do their best to hinder any democratic movement and oppose the rights of the people to decide their own destiny, democratically elect governments and policies.
It would not be exaggerating to suggest that any Arab people wanting to revolt from now on, will need to bring together the support of the major regional and neighbouring countries before starting its revolution; otherwise the uprising would be turned against the people, for revolutions are no longer internal affairs as was once the case. In the past, there was no political, medial, economic or cultural globalisation which meant that revolutions could pass more or less unnoticed by the rest of the world. This would be the case if they happened to occur in a place with no major strategic and economic significance as has been the case of countries in the Middle East. A revolution nowadays cannot possibly occur without the blessings of both the distal and the proximal powers. If not the powerful would use the means lent to them by the process of globalisation to suppress the revolution.
This should not be taken as a conspiracy theory but based on what we can see of unconcealed international attempts to interfere with the Arab revolutions, distorting their trajectory and aligning them to the interests of the great powers. Would the Syrian revolution have stumbled, causing the destruction of a major part of the country, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of lives had Russia not intervened to save its strategic and economic interests in Syria? Of course not. The Russian support to the Syrian regime has been political, military and economic, with the intent to deter the path of the revolution so the Russian interests in Syria would not be affected in case another regime would make it to seat of power. Russia has learned its lesson from Egypt; it lost its influence there after the regime of President Anwar Sadat achieved authority.
Even in Egypt, the Western schemes can never be separated from the uprising taking place there. There is no doubt that the Egyptian people have the right to hold dozens of revolutions to rectify the path of its first revolution, but are things in Egypt moving away from external interference and pressures? The British newspaper, the Guardian, writes that “the escalating Arab revolutions do pose an actual threat to the global strategic regime, and that the West is ever tireless in its attempt to control the Middle East, whatever the obstacles, bringing back to memory years of the Western colonialism of Arab countries after dividing them.”
The Guardian states that ever since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, an opposing movement has appeared, led by the Western powers and their allies “to bribe, destroy or take control over the Arab revolutions”. The newspaper links the Arab Spring revolutions to the revolutions that have taken place in the Arab World back in the beginning and middle of the 20th century. It is remarkable how certain Western sources anticipated, more than a year ago, the fate of Islamists, their rise to power and the similarity to the Arab nationalists that came into authority in some Arab countries during the last century. The nationalist Arab regimes threatened Western interests and thus the colonial powers have attempted to remove such regimes in every way possible, just as was the case with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. As the Guardian puts it, the West has proceeded to label the Arabs who “insist on managing their own affairs without any external interference as a group of fanatical terrorists, regardless of their ideological or party affiliations”. The newspaper also notes that even if the West would allow the Islamists to rise to power, “America and its allies would try taming them to a Western economic policy instead of an interpretation of the Shari’a.” Those who undergo this process would be considered as “moderates, while the rest as called fanatics, extremists”.
In light of the stumbling Arab Spring movement in more than one country in the Middle East, many would consider that the West “is actually occupied in aborting the purposes of the Arab revolutions of liberating from the control of the West over the Arab countries, assuring that the West would not allow an Arab country to get out of its control, if it sits on a lake of oil, indispensable to the West”. Not to mention the problematic presence of Israel in the region. There are of course several accounts of historical evidence of the interference of the West in
...aborting all the Arab revolutions and uprisings against its control through supporting allied regimes. Starting with the 14th July Revolution in Iraq, led by national troop of Abdul-Salam Aref, affected by President Gamal Abdel Nasser over the pro-Western royalty. Take for example the first time the Arabs attempted to alienate themselves from the Western orbit, during the 50’s of the past century, under the influence of the Nasser’s Arab nationalism. What happened then? The West supported the Baath coup; that same coup enabled Saddam Hussein to achieve authority in 1963. Since then, the American and British efforts have not ceased to try and retrieve the oil-rich Iraq, until they did achieve their goal in 2003 where they were able to reoccupy Iraq, totally, with absolute control over its oil resources.
Will the Arab Spring survive the claws of the international powers this time around? Or will we see, at best, a mere “improvement to the terms of dependence”? No one has the answer but the revolting Arab people have significantly outgrown the colonial ploys of the Western super powers. The answer to this question will determine the outlook of the upcoming period as well as the future of the Middle East and the Palestinian cause.