Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Arab Spring exposes Nasrallah’s hypocrisy

 

Report: Hezbollah leader says CIA recruited members as spies

The leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon said Friday that his organization had uncovered three spies within its ranks, two of which had been recruited by the CIA, Lebanon’s state news agency reported.

The US embassy in Beirut has dismissed the report as “empty accusations”.

Hassan Nasrallah declined to give the names of the suspected spies, offering their initials instead, said Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA).

“The first name is A.B. This person was recruited five months ago by a CIA officer. He confessed his relation to the CIA after (Hezbollah’s relevant) body found out about him,” NNA reported Nasrallah said.

The agency reported the second spy, “H.M.,” was recruited by the CIA before “A.B.” Nasrallah referred to the third accused spy as “M.A.,” NNA reported.

“We confirmed that he collaborated with a foreign body, and we are still investigating which one,” Nasrallah said about the third suspected spy, according to the agency.

The Hezbollah leader stressed that none of the individuals involved in spying was a high-ranking official and, as such, were not in a position to harm the organization, NNA reported.

Nasrallah accused the CIA of acting at the insistence of Israel, according to the agency. Hezbollah and Israel fought a brief war in 2006.

The United States considers Hezbollah, which has close ties to Iran and Syria, to be a terrorist organization. The group is a political party and a major provider of social services in Lebanon, in addition to operating a militant wing.

“When Israel failed to infiltrate Hezbollah, it asked the help of the CIA,” Nasrallah said, according to NNA.

A US embassy spokesperson in Beirut rejected Nasrallah’s reported claims.

“These are the same kinds of empty accusations that we have heard repeatedly from Hezbollah. There is no substance to his accusations.

“It appears as if Nasrallah was addressing internal problems within Hezbollah with which we have nothing to do. Our position towards Hezbollah is well known and has not changed.”

Hassan Nasrallah is in trouble. This time the troubles of the Secretary General of Hezbollah, which were hitherto the source of his strength, are not coming from Israel, or from the sectarian politics of Lebanon. Seyyed Hassan’s troubles, which this time around are the harbingers of his undoing as an outdated fighter, are coming from, of all places, the Arab Spring.

The Arab Spring, the transnational uprising of masses of millions of people from Morocco to Oman, from Syria to Yemen, is making the aging warrior redundant – his habitually eloquent tongue now stuttering for words. Two years ago, he thought he got away with rejecting the democratic uprising in Iran (whose brutal ruling regime is his principle patron and financier), as a plot by the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. And he did – aided and abetted by the moral and intellectual sclerosis of a segment of Arab intellectuals who thought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Islamic theocracy were the vanguard of “resistance” to US/Israel imperialism in the region and thus should be spared from criticism. And then Tunisia happened, and Egypt, and Libya, and Bahrain, and Yemen – and then, Hassan Nasrallah and Ali Khamenei’s nightmare, Syria happened. It is a sad scene to see a once mighty warrior being bypassed by the force of history, and all he can do is to fumble clumsily to reveal he has not learned the art of aging gracefully.

Deja vu

When Hasan Nasrallah came to the defence of Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime in Syria, signs of frailty were all over the old fighter’s countenance. He asked Syrians for patience. He admitted mistakes had been made by Syrians in Lebanon. He promised Assad would do reforms. He pleaded for time. Deja vu: For an uncanny moment the Hezbollah fighter sounded and looked like the late Shah of Iran days before his final demise early in 1979: desperate, confused, baffled by the unfolding drama, worriedly out of touch with what was happening around him.

“Hassan Nasrallah,” according to an Al Jazeera report on 25 May 2011,“has called on Syrians to support president Bashar al-Assad and enter into dialogue with the government to end weeks of ongoing protests across Syria.”

This is a far different cry than when the democratic uprising in Iran started in June 2009 and Nasrallah readily dismissed and ridiculed it as an American plot. These were Arabs up against their corrupt and cruel leaders, not “them Persians” whose money was good but their historic struggles for their civil liberties a plot by the Saudis, the Israelis, and the US.

“Bashar is serious about carrying out reforms,” he was now pleading with his audience, “but he has to do them gradually and in a responsible way; he should be given the chance to implement those reforms.” When Nasrallah made these remarks more than 1000 Syrian civilians had been gunned down by Bashar Assad’s army and security forces, serving the Assad dynasty for about forty years.

Many Syrians have fled the country after a violent crackdown by the government [AFP]

More criminal atrocities were to follow, forcing Syrians to abandon their own homeland and flee to Turkey. The cruel and gruesome torture and murder of Hamza al-Khateeb was still in the offing, where “in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces,” as reported by Al Jazeera, the 13-year-old boy’s “humanity [was] degraded to nothing more than a lump of flesh to beat, burn, torture and defile, until the screaming stopped at last.”

Nasrallah, who could not care less for such revolting behavior by his patrons, now for second time in a row, was siding with brutal, vicious tyrants and their criminally insane security forces against the democratic aspirations of their people – once in Iran and now in Syria. A “freedom fighter”?  Really? What kind of a “freedom fighter” is that? Forget about the Shah, Hassan Nasrallah now sounded more like President Franklin D Roosevelt (FDR) who once famously said about the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza (1896-1956) that he “may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Hassan Nasrallah too did not care if Khamenei and Assad tortured and murdered their own people – so far as they kept him in business.

“Peaceful Syrian citizens,” declared a statement by hundreds of Syrian filmmakers and their colleagues from around the globe, “are being killed today for their demands of basic rights and liberties. It is the same oppression and corruption that kept Syrians prisoners and swallowed their freedom, properties and lives for decades, that is assassinating their bodies and dreams today.” Hassan Nasrallah would have none of this, as he had no patience or sympathy for the kidnapped, tortured, raped, and murdered bodies of scores of young Iranians during the civil rights uprising of 2009. A belligerent segment of Arab and American intellectuals (ignorant or indifferent to the historic struggle of Iranians for their civil liberties) sided with him in dismissing the Green Movement in Iran as a Saudi-CIA plot. Shame, everlasting shame on them!

The only language that Hassan Nasrallah understands is the language that keeps him in power, condemning the US, the EU, Israel, and the Saudis – all hitherto truisms that have, thanks to the Green Movement and the Arab Spring, lost their grip on reality even more than Nasrallah.

Hypocrisy

Nasrallah’s predicament with Syria had been moving towards him apace. He has been dillydallying since the commencement of the Arab Spring as to how to calibrate his positions. When Tunisia happened he said,“we must congratulate the Tunisian people on their historic revolution, their struggle, and their uprising.”

He thought this was happening only to European allies, and he thought this was good. When Egypt happened, he said, “in Tunis and Egypt, tyrants have gone away… we call on the people of Egypt and the people of Tunis to unite, because division could be a prelude to the resurrection of the ruling regimes.” This is when he thought these were happening only to the US allies. Nobody was watching him, but he was already in trouble. How come he never sent any encouraging word to “the people of Iran,” when they did precisely what Tunisians and Egyptians had done – rising up against tyranny?

He (and he had his allies on this matter among the leading Arab and non-Arab “left”) categorically denounced the Iranian uprising. He sided with identical tyrants like Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. He said Iran was in the capable hands of his friend “Grand Ayatollah Khamenei”. He did not even blink on al-Manar when he said that. It was payback time for him.

When Libya happened, Hassan Nasrallah said, “a group of young men and women rose and they were faced with bullets; war was imposed on the popular revolution. What is taking place in Libya is war imposed by the regime on a people that was peacefully demanding change; this people was forced to defend itself and war broke out in the east and the west, with warplanes, rocket launchers, and artillery. It brought back to our memory the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and all of Israel’s wars. Such serious crimes should be condemned and the revolutionary people of Libya should be helped so as to persevere.” How splendid!

But what is the difference between Iranian or Syrian and the Libyan people? In Iran and Syria too: “a group of young men and women rose and they were faced with bullets.” Were arbitrary arrest, torture, and even rape not “imposed by the regime on a people that was peacefully demanding change” in Iran and then Syria too? Is Iranian or Syrian blood any thinner than Libyan blood in the mighty warrior’s estimation? Is there a word for this barefaced hypocrisy in any language? What sort of “resistance” is this – and resistance to what?  Resistance to Israeli expansionism by a band of militant thugs maiming and murdering their own people in Syria and Iran? Is this the choice that our people must make?

When Yemen happened, Nasrallah said, “it is not possible to keep silent about killing and oppressing the demonstrators. We praise the steadfastness of the Yemeni people and their commitment to their peaceful movement, although we know that Yemen is full of weapons.” But how come it is possible to “keep silent about killing and oppressing the demonstrators” in Iran? No, sorry, he was not silent at all about Iran. He was positively elated and quite verbose that his dear friend Ayatollah Khamenei had managed to oppress those identical demonstrators. As masses of millions of Iranian were pouring into streets calling the presidential election of 2009 a charade and a fraud, Hassan Nasrallah was quick to congratulate Ahmadinejad, calling the result a “great hope to all the mujahedin and resistance who are fighting against the forces of oppression and occupation”. As even more millions of people took to streets risking arrest, incarceration, torture, and even cold-blooded murder, Nasrallah assured the world that “Iran is under the authority of the Wali Al Faqih and will pass through this crisis.” He never praised “the steadfastness” of the Iranian people “and their commitment to their peaceful movement.” Why? What’s the difference between Iranians and Yemenis?

Nasrallah supported protesters in Bahrain but not in Iran or Syria [GALLO/GETTY]

When Bahrain happened, Nasrallah said, “why is the movement [in Bahrain] condemned and the injured accused? Just because they are Shias?… We’ve always been with the Palestinian people, but the sect of the Palestinian people was never an issue for us. Nobody asked about the confession and sect of the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples; we have an obligation to stand by the downtrodden. Iran stood by the people of Palestine, Tunis, Egypt, and Libya; was this based on secular considerations? I find it very weird to hear some people calling on Egyptians to take to the streets, Libyans to kill Gaddafi, but when Bahrain is involved, their ink dries out, and their voices dampen.”

This was indeed very ecumenical of the Hassan Nasrallah. But was his own ink dried and his own voice dampened when Iranians were being clubbed to death, tortured, and even raped by the security forces of his friend “Ayatollah Khamenei?”  How come he did not feel obligated to stand by millions of human beings for whom spoke two bona fide Shias, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi? Were they not Muslims, Shias, human beings? And yes, Iranians have “stood by the people of Palestine, Tunis, Egypt, and Libya” – but not because they are Muslim, or Sunnis, or Shias, but based on their shared aspiration for a free and democratic future. Will Hassan Nasrallah have a place in that democratic future, with this kind of record, of siding with criminal thugs that deny and seek to prevent it?

And then Syria happened, and Hasan Nasrallah began stuttering. “First, we should be committed to Syria’s stability, security and safety.” Syrians’ security and safety – or Bashar al-Assad’s? Scores of Syrians are being gunned down, tortured, and killed. There is a massive humanitarian crisis on the Syrian-Turkish border, finally forcing Turkey to sever its ties with Syria. Syrians are fleeing their homeland en masse, fearing for their lives from Bashar al-Assad’s murderous army. What about their security and safety?

“Second,” he said, “We call upon the Syrian people to maintain their regime of resistance, as well as to give way to the Syrian leadership to implement the required reforms and to choose the course of dialogue.” Really? Isn’t that what Clinton also says about Bahrain? How come if Clinton says it about Bahrain it is bad and imperialistic, but if Hassan Nasrallah says it about Syria it is good and revolutionary – while both Bahrainis and Syrians are being slaughtered by identically corrupt ruling regimes? The magnificent aspect of the Arab Spring is that it exposes the identical hypocrisy of both the US (on Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) and Hassan Nasrallah (on Iran and Syria).

“Third, we as Lebanese shouldn’t interfere in what is going on in Syria, but let the Syrians themselves to deal with the issue.” Truly? How come “you as Lebanese” interfere anywhere from Morocco to Iran, from Bahrain to Yemen, but not about Syria? Why? Aren’t Syrians humans? If you shoot them do they not bleed? If you torture and mutilate them do they not suffer and die? “Fourth, we should reject any sanctions led by US and the West asking Lebanon to abide by them against Syria, which is the most important goal of [Assistant US Secretary of State Jeffrey] Feltman’s recent visit to Lebanon.” Why? How come UN resolutions against Israel are good, but UN resolutions against Syria are not good? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Right?

Promoting democracy?

There is an old expression in the film industry, “continuity clerk”, which refers to a member of the crew responsible to ensure that there is continuity and consistency – especially in matters of dress, make-up, etc. – in successive shots of a film, particularly when these shots are filmed on different days. The grand Hezbollah leader badly needs a “continuity clerk”. You cannot wear a revolutionary garb one day and then a pathetically apologetic disguise another.

That Hassan Nasrallah is not altogether aware of what is happening around him is also evident in the fact that it seems just to have dawned on him that the US is “seeking to hijack the wave of pro-democracy popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world.” Of course they are – but what is Hassan Nasrallah doing to safeguard and promote it, siding with Bashar al-Assad and Ali Khamenei? Hassan Nasrallah is now outmaneuvered, checkmated, made redundant by history, by, of all things, a magnificent Arab Spring, in which he has no role, no say, and no decision. Nothing. He could and he did dismiss Iranian uprising and he got away with it.  Syria and the rest of the Arab Spring are doing away with him. He has failed the test of history—of knowing when to abandon tyrants benevolent to him for their own reasons but abusive and criminal to their own people.

It is not accidental that Iran’s Ahmadinejad is on the same page with Hassan Nasrallah in defending the Syrian regime – for they are all made of the same cloth. What is happening in Syria, Ahmadinejad believes, is a plot by a number of countries in the region, “because Syria is in the frontline of resistance and the Islamic Republic is standing shoulder to shoulder with the Syrian state and nation”? Not so fast. The Syrian state is now murdering the Syrian nation. You cannot be on both sides. Siding with the regime is endorsing its murderous record of killing its nation, as indeed the Islamic Republic, on Ahmadinejad’s own watch, has done against Iranians, with Nasrallah’s approval.

Ahmadinejad’s protestations in support of the Syrian regime, however, should not muddy the clear conception of why the Islamic Republic supports Hamas or Hezbollah. In defending the allocation of funding for Hamas and Hezbollah, the military strategist of the Islamic Republic make no bones about why is it that they support the Palestinian and Lebanese causes. “The Palestinians are not fighting for Palestine,” one leading Iranian military strategist is seen recently explaining to a captivated audience, “they are fighting for Iran; the Lebanese are not fighting for Lebanon; they are fighting for Iran. To have the courage to say this and the courage to demonstrate this means to provide a strategic conception [of what we do].”  Does Hassan Nasrallah know this, or is he taking advantage of the Islamic Republic the way the Islamic Republic is taking advantage of him. And what do millions of human beings caught in this massive hypocrisy have to do with these political and strategic machinations?

During protests in Iran, when scores of young Iranian men and women were being brutally tortured and killed in the dungeons of the Islamic Republic, Nasrallah was not keeping silent. He was voluminously loquacious in siding with tyranny, exposing his utter and pervasive hypocrisy.

Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

s there something amiss within Hezbollah?

It rose from the ignominy of oblivion, feudal exploitation, sectarian bias, and overall marginalisation to occupy political centre stage. In fewer than thirty years it converted Shia socio-political weightlessness into a counterbalancing political gravity.

It stood up against the Israeli Goliath. It survived the “incendiaries” dropped on it by Arab politicians arrayed against it from Amman to Cairo. It outclassed its enemies within and outside of Lebanon, with imaginative political guile and fine calculation against all odds.

But resisting the Goliath of Tel Aviv while embracing the lion of Damascus risks a decreasing commitment to Arab revolution within “the Party of God” – and to its own revolutionary standing.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: Born in revolution

He was born to lead.

Most leaders are born within existing political organisations. Not Sayyed Hassan. His political birth preceded the founding of Hezbollah by four years.

He was no stranger to revolution, Palestinian and Iranian. But it was within the bosom of the Iranian revolution that his leadership was conceived.

At 21 years of age, Nasrallah was acclaimed as a rising star by the late Ayatollah Khomeini in the Jamaran Husseiniyyah, North of Tehran in 1981. The young Nasrallah was in the company comrades-in-arms from Amal, another Shia political organisation, and the gist of the discussion was about ways of supporting the Palestinian cause and humbling the supremacist powers of the West.

Impressed with the young Nasrallah, Khomeini sealed Sayyid Hassan’s leadership by consecrating and empowering him for the collection and distribution of religious taxes – known as hisbiyyah – including the khums (one-fifth of gain or profit) and the obligatory Islamic alms-giving tax, zakat.

Khomeini was very selective as well as frugal in assignment of hisbiyyah roles, roles not assigned to the party’s first Secretary-General, Subhi al-Tufaily until 1987 and to his successor, Sayyid Abbas Musawi, the young Nasrallah’s mentor, in 1986.

Moreover, the anointment was additionally sealed by Khomeini’s address to the young Nasrallah as a “Hojjat al-Islam”, a ranking denoting high scholarly accomplishment.

Musawi, Nasrallah’s teacher in the Holy Najaf seminary, and later his mentor as Secretary-General of Hezbollah until his assassination in 1992, also saw leadership potential in the young Nasrallah. This explains the camaraderie that bound the two men. They joined and split from Amal, then fought it, moving on with others to mould a small band of zealous combatants into a formidable political and military organisation: Hezbollah.

‘Lebanon’s Che Guevara’

“Praise to God … who chose a martyr from my family, bestowing upon us the gift of martyrdom, and including us in the community of the Holy Martyrs’ families.” Thus Sayyed Hassan celebrated the killing by Israel of his eldest son Hadi in combat in September 1997.

In that same speech, Nasrallah expressed relief at Hadi’s martyrdom for putting him and his family on equal with all other parents who lost their sons in the fight against Israel.

This is a story worth recounting, for two reasons. Firstly, Sayyed Nasrallah strikes a chord with his Arab constituency for having always acted, thought, and spoken as one of them. He knew poverty; he saw action in the battlefield; and he consistently commits himself to the ideals he has preached.

The other reason, and specifically in relation to the cast of leadership Arab revolution is sweeping away, Nasrallah stands out: the privileges accrued by Arab leaders, their families, sons and daughters – from Libya to Syria – are never tolerated by Hezbollah.

Hadi Nasrallah was neither a Saif Gaddafi nor a Gamal Mubarak; and Nasrallah’s cousin, Hashim Safi Al-Din, assigned to the command of the Southern Lebanon region since November 2010, is no Rami Makhlouf, Syria’s corrupt billionaire.

‘Oracle of the oppressed’

For me two leitmotifs explain Hezbollah: “deprivation” and “resistance”. They go hand in hand. They set people like Ragheb Harb, and before him Musa Al-Sadr, who engineered Shia empowerment, on a fascinating course of political history: resistance within against “deprivation” or hirman, and against occupation.

Hezbollah’s 1985 first political manifesto, The Open Letter, [“al-Risalah al-Maftuhah“], resonates with Che-Khomeini rhetoric: the language of “world imperialism” mixed with meaning about “the oppressed”, “down-trodden”, “justice”, “self-determination” and “liberty”.

The sea of people I saw in August 2006 that came to greet and listen to Nasrallah after the 34-day war with Israel related to these messages. They still do. Many more do the same from Rabat to Sana’a.

Nasrallah’s oratory in the “Divine Pledge” [al-Wa’d al-Sadiq] before hundreds of thousands, was electrifying – as ever, the oracle of the down-trodden, crushed by injustice and occupation. In Nasrallah’s mantra of change via resistance, or muqawamah, they find solace, a kind of redemption, and hope for reconstitution as equals to all free human beings.

This is why in 2006, as in 2000 when Israel was forced to end its occupation of Lebanon’s south, Nasrallah rode high on a wave of pan-Arab and pan-Islamic popularity not known in the Arab world since the death of Nasser in September 1970. A leader from the minority sect of Islam replaced Sunni Nasser as the emblem of resistance and freedom.

Inspired by Imam Khomeini, Nasrallah modernised Hezbollah and articulated a political project, which embodied empowerment, transforming Ashura and the entirety of the Karabala imaginary into a potent inventory for re-inventing not only the political, but also Shia identity in Lebanon.

Hezbollah and Syria’s Revolution

Heralded by millions of Muslim fans as “the mastermind of the resistance” – or “the Muslim Che Guevara” – while demonised by the US Congress and Israel as a “terrorist”, Nasrallah’s rhetoric vis-à-vis the Syrian regime makes him an oddity in two ways.

Firstly, resistance is not divisible. Resistance is resistance, whether deployed against a colonial oppressor or against the indigenous oppressor, occupying, in this instance, the Arab state.

The same goes for freedom; it is not divisible. Resistance in the quest for freedom applies to the occupied Lebanese and Palestinian as much as to the oppressed Syrian or Yemeni.

Nasrallah was among the first to lend support to Arab revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, and later to the down-trodden protesting against marginalisation in Bahrain. Withholding support for the uprising in Syria – because the regime supports muqawamah and opposes imperialism – is speaking with two tongues vis-à-vis Arab revolution.

It is the Syrian masses who stand behind Hezbollah’s resistance. The credit does not belong to the Assad dynasty. Some credit is due to the state even if the Assads, for whatever reasons or interests, prefer resistance by proxy, in Gaza and Southern Lebanon – but not in the Golan Heights.

The Assads will depart some day. The Syrians are here to stay.

Syria: Maher or Bashar?

Secondly, Nasrallah did not need state endorsement of the Syrian regime – even though his speech back in May expressed equal appreciation to the Syrian people and concern for stability.

Back in 2006, a pearl of wisdom from Sayyed Hassan suggested the Jordanian and Egyptian leaders held their tongues instead of criticising Hezbollah at a critical time – when bombs were raining on the South and al-Dahiya. Silence may have been more eloquent on this occasion too, rather than speaking in favour of a regime that was at the time guilty of massive brutality against many Syrian towns and their communities.

Protests from average citizens eloquently state that they desire a Syria of the people, from and to the people. Not a dynasty. This casts doubt as to whether the current regime is still favoured by a majority of the people – Nasrallah’s information suggests otherwise.

Arab revolutions have been indicative referenda in countries where no such things take place – and when they do they are pre-ordained.

Equally important is whether Bashar al-Assad is even in charge – and if he is a lame-duck president completely bamboozled by younger brother Maher and the likes of brother-in-law Asef Shawkat, then Bashar is no longer of use either to the muqawamah in Lebanon or to his own people.

It may be that Bashar represents the gentler side of politics in Syria – as his rhetoric about planned reforms months ago seemed to intimate. But how are Syrians to ascertain that ,when no reforms have taken place? Moreover, today it is Maher’s tanks that are doing the talking and leading in Syria.

The only difference between the martyrs whose pictures ornate the streets of al-Dahiya and Harat Hrayek, including Sayyed Hadi Nasrallah Boulevard and the hundreds killed in Syria is the latter are victims fallen at the hands of compatriot rulers.

Is Bashar still in control? If he is he must stop Maher’s killing fields.

Hirman – marginalisation and misery

The displaced and dispossessed of Lebanon, including the Shia population, know the full meaning of hirman or deprivation and misery. Thus, they are the first to relate to the Arab revolution. It is the fodder of the protesting masses and the very trigger that led Mohamed Bou’azizi back in December 2010 to set himself alight.

The language of deprivation is an inseparable bond between the deprived of the streets of al-Dahiya al-Janubiyyah and Sidi Bouzid, Dar’aa, Taiz or Imbaba. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has always had his ear close to the ground, bonding with the dispossessed. This is the real and secret moral arsenal Hezbollah is in possession of, not its rockets and military prowess.

Perhaps his eloquence will rediscover that language in order to re-edit, on this occasion, a clumsy transcript. Particularly, to edit out his endorsement of those responsible for oppression in Syria, to counsel radical reform, a government through popular choice, as stated in The Open Letter, Hezbollah’s 1985 manifesto, and to reconnect with the ethos of peaceful resistance as a natural right for the downtrodden.

In politics, it is never late to do so.

Dr Larbi Sadiki is a Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, and author of Arab Democratization: Elections without Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009) and The Search for Arab Democracy: Discourses and Counter-Discourses (Columbia University Press, 2004).

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

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