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Friday, February 11, 2011

"An Israeli conspiracy that never existed" (Arab News)

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, retired commodore of the Royal Saudi Navy, writes a surprising op-ed in Arab News, whose op-eds usually argue the exact opposite:

I have, since childhood, been hearing about an invisible thing called the Israeli conspiracy.

It is always said that Israel did this and Israel did that. What is worse is when I hear that Israel is planning to do that. So, if we already know what Israel is planning to do, then why not either stop it or avoid it. The biggest conspiracy I heard regarding the Arabs and the Israelis is the humiliating defeat of June 1967. The Egyptians blamed everybody but themselves for the defeat. They insisted on speaking about why some planes came from the north and not from the east. They insisted that they were American Navy planes attacking Egypt. Did not the military analysts hear about evasive maneuvers, or did they expect the air force to fly like commercial airlines by taking the shortest and direct routes.

It turned out that the Egyptian forces were commanded by Gamal Abdel Nasser who only held the rank of major. Hours before the Israeli attack, all air defense sites were told to be on hold because Field Marshal Abdulhakim Amer’s plane was in the air. So, it was not an Israeli conspiracy that defeated the Egyptians, it was the poor planning and having a tired army coming back from Yemen tasked to go to a war that even Nasser did not know how to manage.

That was Egypt in 1967, but what about the Egyptian uprising of 2011? Was it the Egyptians or outside forces? The Egyptian leadership used to call Al Jazeera the match box. The channel’s media center in Qatar is so small that people used to wonder why regional leaders were worried about such a small media building, one that is small as a match box. It turned out that the Egyptian authorities had Al Jazeera on the top list of places to close. There was also no Israeli media center and Israel has no interest in seeing an unstable Egypt. Thomas Friedman once said that Al Jazeera should have been established in Egypt, not Qatar.

Egypt is a country whose media should have been at the front of providing information. However, Egyptians living inside the country and abroad are glued to foreign news outlets. Let us not doubt the Egyptians in their sincere request for change. We cannot accuse 80 million Egyptians of being toys in foreign hands.

To this day, I see Arabs blaming Israelis for young Arab drug addicts, their poor education, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, bad roads, corruption, lack of democracy, unemployment, 9/11, the division of Sudan, the upheaval in Tunisia and the unrest in Egypt. If Israel can do all these things, then the Israelis are either super humans or we simply enjoy blaming others for our failings.
Read the whole thing.