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Who is to blame for the current chaos in the Middle East? | Eurozine

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Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. In his disturbing and timely book Jean-Pierre Filiu lays bare the strategies and tactics employed by the Middle Eastern autocracies, above all those of Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Algeria, that set out to crush the democratic uprisings of the 'Arab Revolution. Alongside physical intimidation, imprisonment and murder, Arab counter-revolutionaries discredited and split their opponents by boosting Salafi-Jihadi groups such as Islamic State.

They also released from prison hardline Islamists and secretly armed and funded them. The full potential of the Arab counter-revolution surprised most observers, who thought they had seen it all from the Arab despots: their perversity, their brutality, their voracity.

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But the wider world underestimated their ferocious readiness literally to burn down their countries in order to cling to absolute power. Bashar al-Assad clambered to the top of this murderous class of tyrants, driving nearly half of the Syrian population in to exile and executing tens of thousands of his opponents. He has set a grisly precedent, one that other Arab autocrats are sure to follow in their pursuit of absolute power. Customer Reviews.

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In The Spotlight. I thought I had seen it all from the Arab despots. Their perversity, their brutality, their voracity. But I was still underestimating their ferocity and their readiness to literally burn down their country in order to cling to absolute power. Following the departure of Hosni Mubarak, counter-revolution triumphed in Egypt with the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood.

From Deep State to Islamic State

The guardians of the status quo were ready and waiting across the region. Opaque, oil-fuelled budgets helped line the pockets of their masters and their crony capitalist friends. In Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh tightened his grip on an ever-expanding security apparatus in the battle against al-Qaida while secretly colluding with the terrorists to keep their menace usefully alive.

Egypt proved its enduring worth to the US as the guardian of the peace treaty with Israel. The master, though was Bashar al-Assad.

After the US invasion of Iraq, he backed the Sunni insurgency next door and used the post-Saddam chaos to justify repression at home. It is unclear how it could have turned out differently given that Arab leaders were determined to hold on to power at any price.