Ahmed Tharwat: Now you know what Arabs know
|Thursday, December 30,2010 16:09|
|By AHMED THARWAT|
WikiLeaks' unprecedented release of classified material "is embarrassing U.S. leaders and their foreign counterparts alike," according to the Huffington Post.
Explained the New York Times: "The documents seemed to show several Arab nations, notably Saudi Arabia, Iran's rival for influence in the Persian Gulf, displaying such hostility that King Abdullah repeatedly implored Washington to 'cut off the head of the snake' while there was still time."
The leaked documents themselves reveal that the Saudi king shared his wisdom with an American official about how to track detainees once the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is closed: "'I've just thought of something,' the King added, and proposed implanting detainees with an electronic chip containing information about them and allowing their movements to be tracked with Bluetooth. This was done with horses and falcons, the King said."
What is revealing about this is not so much that the king elevated the Gitmo detainees' status to that of horses, but the fact that the Saudi king knows about Bluetooth!
One of the leaked diplomatic cables concerned another Arab leader, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. "Mubarek hates Hamas," the assessment said, "and considers them the same as Egypt's own Muslim Brotherhood, which he sees as his own most dangerous political threat." When "asked about whether the U.S. should set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, Mubarak said 'you cannot leave' because 'you would leave Iran in control.'"
Here is another entry reflecting Mubarak's enduring genius: "Iran's sponsorship of terrorism is 'well-known but I cannot say it publicly. It would create a dangerous situation.'"
Too late for that now. And about Iraq's situation, here again is Mubarak, explaining the political philosophy that has kept him in power for almost three decades: "We will have a dictator, but a fair one, forget democracy, the Iraqis are by their nature too tough."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- the crazy Muslim poster boy for the Western media and officials -- was the only Muslim leader who reacted intelligently to the WikiLeaks flood. According to the Times, Ahmadinejad said at a news conference on Monday that Iran's relations with its neighbors would not be damaged by the reports. "Regional countries are all friends with each other. Such mischief will have no impact on the relations of countries," he explained, according to Reuters.
I believe there is no such thing as an undesired political leak, let alone a flood of hundreds of thousands of documents. I believe that democratic systems at times have intentional leaks to distract the media and change the headlines. In undemocratic Arab systems, leaders don't have to do that; their system is leak-proof.
What I haven't seen in the documents or reports about them, and what I suspect we won't see, are American officials complaining about the atrocities committed against the Arab street by America's Arab/Muslim cronies. As Noam Chomsky said in an interview with Democracy Now, the WikiLeaks cables reveal "profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership." Chomsky noted that the "latest polls show Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that's 80 percent; the second threat is the United States, that's 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent."
The Arabs in the street don't rely on leaks to make up their minds. For them, WikiLeaks' latest revelations have revealed nothing new. Ask any cab driver in the streets of Cairo, Riyadh or Damascus. They would have said publicly what WikiLeaks told us about Arab/Muslim leaders.
Here are a few of those voices, responding on Facebook and Twitter to the WikiLeaks revelations about Mubarak:
"Mubarak is a real friend of Israel"... "he forgets that he is the most dangerous threat to the majority of Egyptians."
Egypt "is a police state, we live in an occupied territory here in our own land."
"Israel is Mubarak's best friend, we all know that, the question is, are we his enemies?"
This one summarizes it all: "The best thing about the WikiLeaks revelation is that it represents Mubarak exactly as I thought of him."
Thank you, brother. I hear you. And if America would just listen more to Arab people's voices, and less to Arab leaders, we wouldn't have to wait for Wacky-leaks to get the message.
Ahmed Tharwat is a public speaker and hosts the Arab-American show "Belahdan" at 10:30 p.m. Saturdays on Twin Cities Public Television. He blogs at www.ahmediatv.com.