EDITORIAL – English version


The war is over in Syria, and the last gestures of Washington and Paris will do nothing: the status quo that prevailed before the revolution and its Islamist involution will soon be restored. Bashar al-Assad remains in power, no offense to the false prophets of the mainstream press who had (all in chorus), announced his forced departure on March of 2011.

It remains to be seen how Riyadh, more and more in dire straits, will behave in front of the repeated victories of Tehran who emerged as winner in Syria, as well as in Lebanon and Iraq.

The first major military implications of Iranian militias outside their borders, mainly in Iraq and Syria (while Hezbollah – state in the state and better equipped than the national army – ensures a strong military presence in Lebanon), have consistently been successful and have, in effect, allowed Iran to entrench itself in these countries of the Arabian Peninsula and surround (to the north) Saudi Arabia, while earning points in Yemen (at the southern Saudi border), where Iran seems to have also gained a firm foothold through its support for the Shiite (Zaydist) movement of Hussein Badreddine al-Houthi.

Yemen, actually … Do you know?

We don’t talk too much about it in the West, butin case you’re interested … The Saudis are still bombarding, the famine is spreading, and the epidemic of cholera and diphtheria is progressing and affects nearly one million people.

Western capitals show no compassion for the 30 million Yemenis plunged into this hell; no more, besides, than Moscow or Peking. And these same chancelleries “seem” to have no intention of getting involved in the conflict. But appearances can be misleading: in Yemen, logistical support from Washington, Paris and London to Ryadh is colossal. Three states that have agitated their veto at the Security Council of the United Nations to prevent sending to Yemen a UN commission of inquiry, before accepting, at the end, an agreement wobbly and inefficient. Of course, the fact that Saudi Arabia massively purchases weapons from the industry of these countries is not likely to be at the origin of their policy …

In Iraq, the eviction of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the political rise of the Shiite community that followed (while the Sunnis, on whom the dictator relied, were relegated to the rank of second-class citizens) had opened the door to the influence of Tehran; an influence at a time threatened by the spectacular expansion of the Islamic State (initially supported by several of the Gulf monarchies), but now consolidated by the triumph over the jihadists and successive reconquest of Fallujah, Samara, Tikrit … then Mosul, that strengthened the Iraqi Shiites’ hold on the country and further reduced the political potential of the Sunni community considered to be defeated in the same way as “Daesh” whose Sunnis had favourably welcomed the victories over Baghdad’s army (the capital for a long time “shiitized” by force).

In addition, Iran overcame the stormy episode of popular protests in January 2018: the socio-economic anger has fallen; the principles of the Islamic revolution were not shaken (they were not the target of a majority- of protesters, that demanded jobs and better living conditions); and the “Iranian Spring” did not happen.

So, it is now from the reaction of the new master of Arabia, the surprising prince Mohamed Ben Salman, that could depend on the “re-stabilization” of the region … or the outbreak of a new crisis of great magnitude. In this regard, unfortunately, the strange “flop” by which “Operation Hariri” ended seems to herald new troubles …

In Lebanon, people are worried about Saudi maneuvers that increasingly divide the population and tense the sociopolitical ambience already exacerbated by the Syrian conflict …

Meanwhile, in Egypt … One dictator has chased another; the first, much more ferocious than his predecessor.

And some wonder now if the brief revolutionary moment that had animated Tahrir Square and carried away the hearts of a whole people was not at one time recycled into a skilful staging, like a sleight of hand that aimed at changing everything so thaton arrival, nothing changes; this will obviously be confirmed the presidential “elections” of March 26, 2018. Everything is under control: the “voters”, the “press”, the “justice” …

What former Deputy Director of Le Monde Diplomatique had shouted to me in early 2013 (when I had highlighted the signs that announced the military coup), that in “Egypt, democracy was on the rails, and that a step back was impossible”?

More seriously (and in a more credible way) … As recently stated by Marshal-President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi: “What happened seven years ago in Egypt will not happen again!


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Pierre Piccinin da Prata

Historian and Political Scientist - MOC's Founder - Editorial Team Advisor / Fondateur du CMO - Conseiller du Comité de Rédaction

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