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On the Arab Spring

Business Times - 10 Jun 2011


This is a struggle for power, not Arab Spring

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

SKIM through old editorials that were published in the Soviet Communist Party's Pravda newspaper during the Cold War and you'll have a lot of fun, laughing out loud when reading about all those loopy notions that the people in Moscow held about the upheaval taking place in the Middle East at the time. Historians of the Middle East explain that the region was then going through major structural, political and economic changes resulting from, among other things, the collapse of the British and French empires, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the impact of secular Arab nationalism and socialism, the rise of military elites, and various religious, ethnic and tribal conflicts.

But according to the old Pravda and the Soviet officials who published it, things were actually very simple. Whether it was the military coup in Egypt (1952), the periodic unrest in Syria and Iraq in the 19…