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‘Because we’re not a democracy we’re in tune with our people’ — UAE ambassador rationalizes tyranny to pro-Israel group

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The normalization deals that Israel has cut with Gulf monarchies actually clarify the political work for western progressives: they need to build a coalition with Palestinians based on democracy and equality, authors Rashid Khalidi and Peter Beinart agreed today.

“The most absolute monarchies on earth are the ones that just made an agreement with Israel,” Khalidi said during an Arab Center conference. “There is a huge thirst for democracy in the Arab world…in Algeria, in Sudan, in Iraq, in Lebanon… and you have to align yourself with those forces.”

Beinart agreed that democracy was a “nice argument to have” in the U.S. because Gulf monarchies are “the last people on earth” who could inspire young Americans. “Congratulations, you have a kind of Jewish-Arab coalition for authoritarianism and for tyranny.”

Their comments are right on cue, because three days ago a prominent Emirati poet, Dhabiya Khamis Al-Muhairi, 62, reported that she feared for her life after being “prohibited by authorities from leaving Dubai International Airport to go to Cairo” because of her opposition to the normalization deal.

Emirati poet Dhabiya Khamis Al-Muhairi, from RT

The remarks are also on cue because the Israel lobby has thrown itself into promoting the Gulf monarchies. Just yesterday Jewish Insider, a pro-Israel publication, had a conference call of its own in which it celebrated the United Arab Emirates as a beacon of progress.

During that call, Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, made the risible claim that an authoritarian monarchy is more sensitive to public opinion, because it’s so… paternalistic.

Any country when they have to make a decision like this, they have to balance a variety of internal issues. One is economic. What are the benefits. Is trade and investment and job creation and flight– Is it enough?… Public opinion. Different countries have different public opinion inside about the relationship with Israel. People always think we don’t pay attention to public opinion inside the Emirates because we are not a democracy, and it’s actually quite the opposite. Because we’re not a democracy we have to be very in tune with what our people want and what the Street feel, and people really wanted this. This is not something that we are forcing against the popular will of the Emiratis who live in the country. There is a genuine energy that people are excited about this.

In that same panel, Democratic fundraiser and Israel supporter Haim Saban lauded Al Otaiba and the investment opportunities in the Gulf.

So this is what Israel is getting: rich friends who don’t care about democracy. No doubt the normalization deals are huge wins for Israel from the standpoint of power politics. But as Khalidi and Beinart note, they may actually make the grassroots struggle for Palestinian civil and human rights that much stronger.

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Because we’re not a democracy we have to be very in tune with what our people want and what the Street feel, and people really wanted this. This is not something that we are forcing against the popular will of the Emiratis who live in the country.” Do you suppose he actually believe this? Quite possibly. It’s amazing what people will persuade themselves is true.

As an Arab I hate this guy and every “politician” in UAE so hard… They basically sold all of us out(I mean all Arabs). And it’s not about them only, it also goes to Saudi family, Oman, Sisi’s Egypt and so on. Uniting in one state for security, social and economical reasons is the biggest and deepest aspirations of absolute majority of Arabs for more than a century. Instead we got “leaders” who participate in… Read more »

https://www.juancole.com/2020/09/montesquieu-challenged-political.html

Article: “…Saudi Arabia, World’s Last Absolute Monarchy, Challenged by New Democratic Political Party”Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=AID7Yj68cSw&feature=emb_logo

“Saudi dissidents launch new party to challenge MBS” Sept. 24/20
“We believe that power stems from the people.”

Also: https://www.businessinsider.com/saudis-exiled-defy-mbs-rule-new-political-party-demand-democracy-2020-9

“Exiled Saudi Arabian dissidents have launched a political party they hope will dethrone MBS and open the door to democracy” Sept. 25/20, Business Insider, by Bill Bostock.

Dictators need to pay attention to the street so they can stomp on dissent before it becomes popular.

I understand the article but there is not much democracy to be promoted so how can thecause get stronger from that approach. “thirst for democracy” is not the same as democracy itself. People have to be enfranchised first and I don’t see most Arab countries lining up to give power to the people. The two democracies I see in the ME are Tunisia and Israel with Lebanon close behind. Yes there are challenges to democracy… Read more »