The year 2020 is almost history, but its incidents and events are not only likely to continue, but also escalate. There are implications regionally and internationally.
There is still no solution for the conflict in Libya, for example. Negotiations have stalled, despite the ceasefire, and coup leader Khalifa Haftar has threatened to wage a war against Turkey in Western Libya. Haftar is backed by France and the UAE, both of which are hostile towards Turkey and are bitter because they were defeated by the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli. They want to remove Turkey from Libya by any means.
It is possible that Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House will support this escalation, as the US President-elect is not on friendly terms with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and wants to limit Russian influence in the oil-rich North African state. He may find that escalating the Libyan crisis is a suitable compromise which will expel Russia from America’s areas of influence. If that happens, it will be with European understanding.
The crisis in Yemen remains ongoing, and is unlikely to change. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is drowning in the Yemeni quagmire, but does not want to withdraw his forces and appear to be defeated. His ambition is to find a solution in which regional and western states make a contribution so that he does not lose face, not least because the sly UAE Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Zayed, abandoned him to face the Houthis alone. Meanwhile, Bin Zayed enjoys Aden, which has come under the control of his loyalists.
This year has seen the world hit with the Covid-19 pandemic but some Arab leaders have afflicted us with the normalisation plague as they race to be best friends with the Zionist state. This plague is deadlier in many ways than the pandemic; the coronavirus affects individuals, while normalisation affects whole nations and threatens the present and future of the Arab people.
The Arab rulers have persisted in their hatred of their own people, and have joined hands with their enemies to conspire against Palestine, the cause that is central to the Muslim Ummah, not just the Arabs. Some have justified Morocco’s normalisation with Israel by pointing out that it is in the Maghreb, the West, and Palestine is located in the Mashreq, the East, of the Arab world, and is only an issue of concern for the countries in the East. Others have even claimed that it is of concern to the Palestinians alone, and that they alone can defend their land. Thus they have tried to reduce the main regional issue to an insignificant localised hiccup even though their reasoning doesn’t fool anyone.
These normalisers have forgotten Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third Holy Mosque and the fulcrum of the Prophet’s miraculous night journey, peace be upon him. In doing so they have made it the sole responsibility of the Palestinians oppressed in their own country, that was usurped by the Zionists, where they face all types of torture, humiliation and deprivation. They stand alone in defence of the Muslim sanctities.Indeed, in resisting the Zionists and defending Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Palestinians have defended Arab dignity and honour. They have sacrificed their lives and paid the price in blood as a tax on the failure of the Ummah.
The Palestinians didn’t ask anyone to join the ranks of the resistance; they simply wanted moral support. Nevertheless, the Almighty will ask us all what we did to help them in the struggle to defend Al-Aqsa. Those who have made Israel their Qiblah and joined with the usurpers of the Noble Sanctuary have some serious questions to answer. They have given a veneer of legitimacy to the Israeli occupation and helped to strengthen Zionist control over Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque. The least they can do is spare the Palestinians from the normalisation evil.
The claims that normalisation will not harm the Palestinian cause overlook the fact that Israel is nothing but a Western colonial project to divide and rule the region through client states. It is beyond comprehension to normalise relations with it, due to the nature of the Zionist project and its expansionist goals, which may include the normalising countries.
How can these normalisers be deluded into thinking that they will benefit from closer links with Israel? Have they not seen the effects on those who normalised decades ago in Egypt, Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organisation? They all signed peace treaties with the Zionists, but what have they gained from the so-called peace agreements?
Even Morocco, which seems to have obtained the lucrative US recognition of sovereignty over Western Sahara in return for normalisation, knows that this is illusory, and that a new US administration could undo this overnight. American recognition is not guaranteed, nor is it permanent or binding internationally. Moreover, it is unacceptable for Morocco’s “right” to sovereignty over Western Sahara to be dependent on any other issue, such as normalisation. Either it has such a right, or it hasn’t; normalising with Israel doesn’t justify it one way or the other.
Sudan, meanwhile, has sold its soul cheaply in exchange for normalisation. The lifting of sanctions and its removal from the US list of countries that support terrorism are both, again, entirely unconnected with ties to Israel. The sanctions and designation were either justified or not, but what does normalising with Israel have to do with it? This illustrates the political nature of such US moves, which have no bearing on reality and are simply bargaining chips. Now, however, the regime in Khartoum has given Israel access to the Nile basin and its water resources. The Zionist dream of “Greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates is one step closer to fulfilment.
Unfortunately, the tyrannical Arab regimes do not understand history, cannot see what’s coming, and have no care for the interests of the region and its people. Their only concern is to protect their dictatorships at any price so that they may continue to rule with an iron fist. They live with the illusion that pleasing the US, which appointed them as its agents in the region, and pleasing the Zionists will be enough to preserve their thrones and support them against their own people.
This normalisation plague also exposes the myth that the West wants to spread democracy across the region. None of the normalisation decisions have been taken by democratic means; they are the result of dictators imposing their will in return for having their collective snout in the trough. They simply do not care about the feelings and anger of their people, but are playing with fire; they know that such a hasty move carries with it the risk of revolution.
Of course, the Arab people will not rise up in defence of the Palestinian cause, even though they should. As oppressed people living under tyrannical regimes themselves, they are prevented from demonstrating for the sake of Palestine, so they don’t. However, if that day comes — as it might — Palestine will definitely be part of the equation, as it was during the Arab Spring revolutions, in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Let the normalised regimes rejoice in their relations with the Zionists, while preparing for the day when their people will rise up and depose them. The day will come when the Arab people will be liberated from the tyrannical regimes occupying their lands, and from the externally-imposed occupation state. Tomorrow is just a day away.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.