The upheaval in the Arab World these days is the second attempt within half a century to bring down the treacherous Sykes-Picot regime imposed on the region after the First World War. It was a secret Anglo-French treaty to usurp, divide and rule the region. During the same period Britain had promised freedom to the Arabs, through the Sharif of Mecca, if they joined its war effort against the Ottoman State. The same power had promised Arab Palestine to the Jews if they too helped it out during that war.
As a result of that war, not only was the Ottoman Empire dismantled, caliphate finally extinguished, Arabs betrayed and enslaved, and Jews rewarded, but also a cruel dependency regime was imposed on the divided Arab World where ruthless local satraps presided over police states with full support of London and Paris. After the Second World War, the masters changed. Now Washington was the qibla of these local nawabs. Russians too enjoyed a small period in the sun during the 1950s and 1960s. The Arab defeat in 1967 slowly drove away the Russians and Washington became the sole beneficiary and benefactor of these regimes especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
West had in 1948 succeeded in implanting “Israel” at the meeting point of the eastern and western flanks of the Arab World, thereby cutting it into two disjointed parts. A clear Western policy was devised to keep the tiny Israel more powerful than all the Arab countries together. Denial of arms and nuclear power to the Arabs was a basic constituent of this western policy while Israel was allowed to acquire an arsenal of unprecedented proportions complete with nuclear power and nuclear warheads pointed towards all major Arab countries.
When Egypt tried in the mid-1950s to rebel against this arms embargo, it was threatened, humiliated and finally taught a lesson in June 1967. Slowly, Arab satraps accepted Israel too which had all-along dreamt of emerging as the major power of the Middle East and tried this most disastrously in 1982 when it invaded Lebanon. That fiasco may have put paid to the power of Fateh but it also led to the emergence of new powers like Hamas and Hizbullah which emerged and evolved firmly outside the satrap-master equation prevailing in the region.
Arab people had earlier, during the 1950s, tried to change this equation. “Revolutions” erupted in Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Yemen and Sudan etc., but somehow the local armies were able to replace the old satraps.
The current revolution which started in Tunisia and soon spread to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Iraq, Algeria, Bahrain and Mauritania etc., is the second popular attempt to dislodge and break free of the Sykes-Picot shackles. Apart from Washington (and West), the only big loser today is a trembling Israel whose long labour to become the sole imperial power of the Middle East suddenly has come to a naught. The revolution is still unfinished. Washington seems to be maneuvering to replace the old faces with new ones. But a lot of water has flowed down the Nile and Euphrates these past decades. Arabs are no longer an illiterate and innocent lot. Once the current upheaval settles down, the Middle East will not be the same again.
Zafarul Islam Khan in The Milli Gazette. More Here.