Trumps Final Act: Snuffing Out the Promise of Democracy in the Middle East

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Trump’s Final Act: Snuffing Out the Promise of Democracy in the Middle East

Vijay Prashad

Ten years ago, a hawker in Tunisia set himself on fire, which spurred on people along the entire Mediterranean Sea – from Morocco to Spain – to rise up in revolt. They took to their squares indignant at the terrible conditions in which they had to make their lives.

Little of their agenda has been advanced in the past decade. Governments of the southern European states have one by one betrayed the aspirations of the people; the most dramatic such failure was of the Syriza government in Greece, which won a mandate against austerity and... then surrendered before the troika (the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund) in 2015.

Uprisings in northern Africa ended with the return of the generals (as in Egypt), the destruction of states (as in Libya), and the assertion of the Arab monarchies (from Morocco to Saudi Arabia).

A decade later, US President Donald Trump carved the obituary on the tombstone of that “Arab Spring” rebellion when he used the immensity of US power to strengthen US allies – such as the Arab monarchies and Israel – to the detriment of the people of the region.

What remains of the Arab Spring is a distant memory of the crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square; a better image of the present is that of the monarchs of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) kissing up to Israel to please the United States.

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