this is a copy of an email that my housemate received from a jordanian friend.
” I am extremely pissed off at whats going on in the middle east… and I am more pissed off at all of this propaganda that is coming with it.
Yes this might come as a shock to you, I am pro- Assad. Not because I endorse a violent single party regime, but because I think it is important that we understand the conflict for what it really is as opposed to what western media wants us to think it is.
A second Lebanon anyone? This is not about a bunch of protesters who want a better way of life (as the case was in Tunisia) This is a bit bigger than that… this is a war between Saudi arabia and iran. Syria is just the battle field… and what a better time to destroy the regime than now…when the destruction can hide behind a mask of “The Arab Spring”
Do you know what would happen the moment he falls? Muslim fucking brotherhood supported by the wahabis, yet another minority…. if the fall would change this into a true democracy then fine so be it… but it wont, the forces are not from within, and what will be produced next in yet another single party regime, a wahabi regime that would too put women like “Razan the blogger” and the likes behind bars for driving! Wake up people…
yes i know, hizib allah…. i know iran.. but you know what, sometimes we have to make do with the lessor of both evils.
Simple, this blogger discusses sectarianism and arab identity and clearly knows nothing about it. Arab identity does not exist, and we will not wake up one day and all feel it because we thought about it… it will take years, an economic revolution, and the fall of the wahabis and erosion of the muslim brotherhood for anyone to even start growing in that direction…
So for what this rant is worth, I hope they do let her out of prison, just because I dont endorse torture… but she is just another stupid woman who takes middle eastern politics at face value… as though it was ever just that…
shame on us for being so forgetful… hasnt the war in lebanon taught us anything? And Iraq??’
Fascinating survey…..see my earlier post on the Arab Storm. Most Egyptians want economic recovery, not more protests, according to national Gallup surveys conducted over the past eight months.
I used to think i was firmly in the culturalist camp, that materialist power/interest explanations fell short in explaining international politics without an emphasis on the identity of actors, the impact of normative structures, questions of legitimacy and all that other constructivist ‘fluff’.
then i started following the Syrian crisis closely.
the US, France, and Britain have asked for Assad to end the violence and step down. same goes for turkey and saudi arabia and the arab league. the discussion of possible consequences for failing to do so range from sanctions to intervention. ( the arab league approved sanctions as of yesterday). this concern and these sanctions are framed in terms of the rights of people, democracy and liberty. turkey and france argue that to oppose assad is necessary for them as democratic countries, i.e it necessarily follows from their identities.
a culturalists dream? the strengthening of a solidarist international society? Even the Arab League is coming around to support liberal norms, warming up to even R2P.
but, only the really naive would buy this narrative. the Syria game is being driven by strategic interests, an an ongoing competition for influence in the middle east. the US would like to curb Iranian influence, especially in light of its withdrawal in Iraq. Iran would like to increase its influence, and with the US withdrawal from Iraq, Iran could now have a sphere of influence extending from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean. Israel is apprehensive either way – it would like to see the end of the Syria-Iranian friendship, but is worried about an Islamist government coming to power – Assad is the enemy they know. The Great Game is on, and is accelerating to dangerous levels in Syria.
And its not about human rights, democracy or other solidarist norms. Its about strategic interests, competition, and the balance of power played out against the shadow of the future.This would fit a realist analysis well; ideas are epiphenomenal and mostly just serve as justifications for achieving strategic interests. States might use the language of human rights and democracy, but these are justifications masking other interests. Andrew Hurrel points out how pluralist concerns are advanced and strengthened through solidarist arguments.
So, goodbye arm-chair culturalism? Hello realism?