There is now no turning back.
US-Arab Disconnect: Revolutions Restate Region's Priorities
(originally posted HERE at The Palestine Chronicle)
by Ramzy Baroud
As the Arab Spring continues to challenge dictators, demolish old structures and ponder roadmaps for a better future, the US remains committed to its failed policies, misconceptions and selfish interests.
Arabs may disagree on many things, but few disagree on the fact that there is now no turning back. The age of the dictator, the Mubaraks and Ben Alis is fading.
A new dawn with a whole new set of challenges is upon us. Debates in the region are now concerned with democracy, civil society and citizenship.
The only Arab intellectuals who still speak of terrorism and nuclear weapons are those commissioned by Washington-based think tanks or a few desperate to appear on Fox News.
Put simply, Arab priorities are no longer US priorities, as they may have been when Hosni Mubarak was still president of Egypt.
Leading a group of "Arab moderates," Mubarak's main responsibility was portraying US foreign policy as if it was at the core of Egypt's national interest as well.
Meanwhile, in Syria, Bashar al-Assad was caught in the realm of contradiction. While desperate to receive high marks on his performance in the so-called war on terror, he still sold himself as a guardian of Arab resistance.
When the US took on Afghanistan in late 2001, the term "war on terror" became a staple in Arab culture.
Ordinary Arabs were forced to take stances on issues that mattered little to them but which served as the backbone of US military and political strategy in the region.
The Arab man and woman - both denied rights, dignity and even a semblance of hope - were mere subjects of opinion polls concerning Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida and other issues that hardly registered on their daily radar of suffering and humiliation.
The Arab dictator exploited the US obsession with its security. Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh had to choose between a hostile takeover by the US - to "defeat al-Qaida" - or carrying out the dirty war himself.
He opted for the latter and was soon to discover the perks of such a role.
When the Yemeni people took to the streets demanding freedom and democracy, Saleh sent a loyal army and republican guards units to kill al-Qaida fighters, whose numbers suddenly exploded, and also to kill unarmed democracy protesters.