Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

About Talks on War and Peace in the Arab Mashreq

About Talks on War and Peace in the Arab Mashreq

Wednesday, 4 September, 2019 - 09:30

When the components of a country are unable to build peace among them, they are unable to fight a war together, based on the principle of compatriotism.


This has always been the case for countries, where the oppressed and the oppressors have regarded as equal the defeat of the omnipotent and the enemy of the homeland; or have considered that the war is between two enemies - one from within the borders and another from outside - while they were either passive bystanders or mourners for death and destruction.


This is the case today in the Arab Mashreq. This is the Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi attitude towards the Israeli aggression. They consider that the latter is targeting parties that have never shown any concern for the homeland and its unity. This is not to mention the fact that those parties have brought in foreign powers, such as Russia, to settle scores with their own countrymen, or unabashedly served foreign powers such as Iran to improve their negotiating conditions with the world.


Wars like this are seen by broad popular sectors as wars between Israel and Iran, Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah, the Popular Mobilization Forces and the Quds Brigade. Loyalty and enthusiasm have no place here.

The rules of hypocrisy and the folklore of brotherhood cover up this truth and this reality. It is advisable to re-consider them after all. It is advisable to look at Aleppo and Idlib before giving sermons of national unity and “standing together against the enemy”.


It is true that reaching this deteriorating situation in the Mashreq is a clear proof of the fragmentation of the concerned communities. But it is also, in a fair distribution of responsibility, a testimony to the extent of the harm inflicted by the strong internal party on its weak “citizens”.


The abundance of power and the excess of weakness do not converge nor do they establish homelands. On the contrary, they further divide nations; especially that the first surplus is the main cause of the second.

The strong are, of course, those who have the rockets, the barrels, the lethal devices, as well as the prison cells. As for the weak, they are the ones targeted by the barrels and the explosives. The impossibility of governance in Lebanon and Iraq is proof of this. The destruction of Syria is a flagrant evidence.


But there are those, who stand up to condemn the weak for not sympathizing with the strong in their battles. The weak are often described as the deceitful, the accomplice or the agent.

The most dangerous side of this condemnation, which is often a defamation, is that it goes far in separating the mind from the senses.

The citizen, who is suffering from the “national” pain, should not be feeling his pain, nor should he reflect it in an emotion or a position.


Thus, for example, we have seen those who were crammed into Saddam Hussein's prisons, where they were rotting and dying, being asked to direct their hatred to the heart of “imperialism”.

As for those who resisted the tyranny of al-Assad family had to heal their wounds, line up behind the same family and fight their battles. Why? Based on an analysis, the proponents of which consider that any disagreement becomes a betrayal.

The dead, the mutilated and those uprooted from their homes, who could not bury their loved ones, or those killed by other lethal devices… they are not taken into consideration by the scarp-analysis, which instead points directly to “imperialism and Zionism.”


This analysis does not presume that those people are “superheroes”, who overcome their pain and humiliation and the death of their children, but sees them as robots, which do not think or feel, but automatically adopt what has already been established by the creators of the “correct” analysis. (Let us not forget that, from time to time, they remind us of myths that date back to the Nasserite era, about “militants”, who had their nails uprooted by the “national” regime, but they rose to defend the same regime against the enemy. This is also a myth to consecrate the image of the robot-man.)


In this context, there must be four margins on the line of confrontation:

First, the paths leading to wars were co-created by Israel and our powerful and empowered groups. The broad sectors of the vulnerable in the Mashreq countries have never been solicited.

Second, those who speak in the name of all-embracing patriotism in the face of “wars of destiny” are the ones who ruined patriotism in times of peace (peace was rather a thin crust that prevented societies from seeing the war).

Third, one of the functions of the national clamor in the face of the enemy is to exempt the ruling tyrants from condemnation, but also to elevate them to become national warlords after they were national leaders of “peace”.

Fourth, the sudden realization of a “major contradiction” has put other contradictions in a lower-impact category.

The fact remains that anyone, who wants to wage or engage in a war, must first make peace with his own people. What if those are resorting to war to avoid making peace with their people?

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks