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  Middle East & Africa
Mutations in the Middle East
Special Contribution
By Prof. Abdelkader Zerougui
American University
More than 1 million Egyptians are calling for the removal of Mubarak's regime in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

The bloody history of the Middle East is coming to an end. The era of false saviors, self-appointed prophets, and tyrants has suddenly reached a cul-de-sac. The awakening in the Middle East gained momentum as hundreds of demonstrators took their anger to the streets, and broke years of imposed silence. Their voices called for the departure of old regimes and their symbols.

Even the West was surprised by the tones and the lexicon of the demonstrators. You don't hear the old slogans, such as “down with imperialism, Zionism and America,” but only “freedom.”

Middle East autocrats were ill equipped to deal with this new raz -de- maree, and the ministries of “propaganda and misinformation” realized that Face book generation has overcome its fear, and does not respond to the Pavlovian conditioning.

This new generation is calling for new societies based on Western models, and an end to paternalism and Orwellian encaging.

Caught off guard, few butchers of the Middle East collapsed under the weight of their sterility, such as the fate of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and Zine al-abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia; others went back to their true nature of sadism, repression, psychological warfare and bribery. Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Syria, and Bahrain to name a few have launched different counterattacks to fragment the populace, and postpone the inevitable.

The Middle East propaganda machines were trying to repackage the old fake hopes and promises, and convince the masses that these are again conspiracies by the CIA, Israel and Al-Qaeda to destroy their countries.

Local media have been portraying the events that are shaking the foundations of the old regimes as a new “crusade” against the Umma, and invoked their particularism and immunity from the coming revolutions.

Morocco’s king who bestowed upon himself the title of “Commander of the Believers,” and Saudi Arabia’s king selected the title of the “Custodian of the two Holy Mosques,” are signs of the rotten nature of these medieval regimes, whose rulers have no cap on the amount of cruelty and deception to remain on their thrones.

There is a absolute disconnect between the Middle East rulers and the new generation. The latter look at these self-appointed leaders no more than a clique of buffoons, and tyrants masquerading as patriots.

The Middle East butchers fail to realize that the protestors’ demands are this time different in quality and quantity. The Face book generation is not asking for bread, but they want freedom with all its dimensions, and they want it now.

They want to dismantle the police-states that were responsible for abuse, torture, and execution of hundreds of people. The Middle East regimes are now naked in front of their people, and the world around them.

Decades of plundering and systematic pillage have created the most backward economies, a rampant poverty, illiteracy, cronyism, nepotism, sectarianism, chauvinism, and tribalism, to name a few.

The Middle East is witnessing a mutation, and there is no indication that it will be a transmogrification. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Zine al abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, and the despised Abdulla Saleh of Yemen tried without success to gain Western sympathy by playing the card of the “Islamists’ danger.”

Al-Qaeda had long lost its soul, when it substituted its initial charitable work to help their divine destiny is to redress the wrongs , and put history on its right track.

These spontaneous revolts in the Middle East are a natural effervescence of decades of systematic psychological and physical repression exerted by the sadistic tyrants against their own populace.

Oil wealth from the Gulf states was used to bankroll assassins and dictators, and used as a phalanx to stop the spread of liberal and republican ideas.

The 1970s and 1980s were the golden years of the wahhabi “fatwas” against the infidels, the Jews, Christians, communists, and you name it. Only the Wahhabis were welcomed in the ‘Kingdom of God.” The edicts sanctified by the medieval regimes were used to recruit volunteers for the “Great Battle.”

The jails of these authoritarian states provided the perfect incubators for the “holy warriors” without a purpose, except hate for life. These legions of darkness became a weapon to repress internal dissidence, and swindle the West for military and financial assistance.

The Saudi religious establishment was very generous in expanding its web to the rest of the Middle East, Africa and even Europe and North America. It was the perfect machine because it can breed independently from its planters. Criticism was deflected to the Western world, and that the “Umma,” is in constant battle against the non-believers.

The oil wealth was confiscated by few oligarchies, and became an instrument to subjugate the pauperized masses to all forms of humiliation.

The anointed pharaohs had no accountability except to themselves. Middle East kings, sheikhs and tyrants do not differentiate between private and public properties.

The country is an extension of the private domain, and the Arab “subjects” are only free in appearance, not in substance. Middles Easterners are burdened with duties and obligations to the rulers, but their rights, and their future are opaque.

The police and the “legal system” became the instruments of punishment and the projection of power. Unlike in the West, where the state is a form of a social contract, and an expression of the general will, in the Middle East, the state is a Leviathan that feeds on the people’s souls.

The mutations that are taking place in the Middle East are an indication that the beams of Enlightenment have finally reached the last bastion of darkness. The outcome will be defined in the coming decade, as the remnants of tyranny will have either to transform their establishments or be deposed from their thrones

The writer, Abdelkader Zerougui, is adjunct professor of the -American University in Washington DC. He can be reached at

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Prof. Abdelkader Zerougui is an adjunct professor of sociology at American University in Washington DC, where he received his MA and PhD in sociology. Prof. Zerougui’s writings have appeared on many respected media including the Washington Times and The Seoul Times.






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