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Israel as a Precious Gift to Shabby Regimes and Conditions

Israel as a Precious Gift to Shabby Regimes and Conditions

Wednesday, 27 July, 2022 - 06:15

On July 17, 1968, Iraqi officers, some of whom were Baathist and others who were not, launched a successful coup against the ruler at the time, Abdel Rahman Aref. However, the Baathists, who were trying to get rid of their fellow putschists and confront the popular isolation they had been faced with, announced that they had exposed a “meal of spies.”

This happened on January 5, 1969, as 14 alleged spies, 9 of them Iraqi Jews, were hanged from the gallows and left hanging there for days.

Thousands were brought from distant regions to witness this “glorious celebration” in Baghdad, where they heard fiery speeches about the conspiracy and the watchful eye of the revolution looking after the people’s safety and spat at the spies, who were “Jews” and “Free Masons,” and threw stones at them. Salah Omar Al-Ali, who had been a minister and a member of the Revolutionary Command Council, gave a speech that would later gain fame: “Oh great people of Iraq. Today’s Iraq will not be forgiving with any traitor, spy or fifth column agents. Israel, you despicable, you American imperialists, and you Zionists, listen to me. We will uncover all your dirty tricks. We will punish those who collude with you. We will execute all your spies, even if there are thousands of them.”

The minister then went on to make more threats: “Oh great people of Iraq. This is just the beginning. The great and immortal squares of Iraq will become full of the corpses of spies and traitors. Just wait.”

Of course, there are always spies, but there are more made-up spies. The Iraqi victims were among the latter: they were labeled spies and executed as spies because the weak regime wanted to give itself the legitimacy it had lacked and rally the people around it. Who better could serve this purpose better than “Jews” and “Free Masons,” especially only a short while after the Arab defeat of June 1967?

“Conspiration,” an accusation that Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler played a major role in inventing and founding, took an almost exclusive form in our region: Israel and its conspiracies against us. This, of course, does not mean that Israel does not spy or conspire, but it does mean that Israel and its spying are needed; when we await them and they don’t arrive, they are conjured up to strengthen regimes with weak popularity and achievements, closing the door to any form of opposition to it or questioning of it.

This behavior has become an organic part of a modus operandi founded on blackmail and stoking fear, as well as diverting attention from the pressing issues. It could even be said that “conspiracies” are the soul of this approach. The people of Syria, perhaps better than any other Arabs, know-how Israel and the threats posed by its conspiracies were used as pretexts for perpetuating a “republican” regime that has endured almost 60 years (1963- 2022), 53 of which were shared by a father and his son.

The Lebanese, for their part, witnessed intermittent incidents that did turn into a modus operandi, perhaps the most prominent of which was the fabrication of the espionage charge against the actor Ziad Itani. Nevertheless, a method was developed while the country was under Syrian tutelage and is used whenever needed: blackmailing Christians, especially with accusations of colluding with Israel when any strong Christian party opposes this tutelage. And the more the Maronite Patriarchate seemed to oppose it, the more the Christians were blackmailed. As for the purpose it was, of course, to find justifications for maintaining this tutelage and its regime, especially after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, removing the last justification for them to remain in place.

Something of this sort is happening today, as the contrast between the military strength of Hezbollah and the degree of support it enjoys outside its direct environment peaks. This military force and its extensions in the state apparatus are in dire need of inventing spies and traitors who serve Israel.

The fact is that terms like traitor, spy, and collaborator have long been outdated. They now indicate nothing but the existence of a project for crude domination and that this project is in crisis and has no choice but to say things it should not in the hope that this extends its lifespan.

However, what Freud called sublimation is at play here. This concept, which was originally formulated by Fredrich Nietzsche, denotes a process through which socially unacceptable desires and instincts are redirected to ends that are not only socially acceptable, but also noble ends glorified by society. Creative works, for example, replace taboo cravings, and impeccable moral behavior that invokes veneration replace belligerent desires.

In our case, the crude instinct to hold on to power turns into a conflict with Israel or striving to liberate Palestine. The instinct is condemned, no one defends it, and not even those acting on it dare to speak about it openly; as for the conflict, a broad segment of society sees it as a glorious endeavor.

However, the major difference is that with the authoritarians, the desire merely hides, while the noble end is a pure lie that brings neither innovation nor moral excellence.

“Israel’s conspiracies” alone can justify “filling our squares with the corpses of traitors and spies,” as Salah Omar Al-Ali once put it.

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