United Arab Emirates
The UAE wanted loyal citizens above all to preserve its political model; that primary lesson filtered down to the education system, even if it wasn’t written in the curriculum itself, in the ways that some rules were enforced and others were not, why some people were deported and others worked for decades in the same school.
For one militia commander, a battlefield defeat was payback to the aspiring Libyan strongman Gen. Khalifa Haftar. But it also illustrates in stark clarity how the Middle East’s proxy wars and ideological rivalries have spilled across borders, ensnaring both the innocent and not so innocent.
Arabs are of course not of a single mind on any particular issue, nor is it possible to gauge public opinion under tyrannical regimes. But it is indicative of the fact that these authoritarians no longer see the pan-Arab Palestinian cause and supporting it as vital to their survival.
We are witnessing an intense scramble for control of the Middle East among mostly autocratic, disparate regimes, creating new alignments where the fabulous wealth of small states is conjugated with countries boasting larger armies, with proxies and mercenaries as expendable cannon fodder in tow.
The first armed conflict of the Arab Spring is now a playground of intervening foreign powers out for themselves. It won’t be the last.