Perhaps They Learned an Important Lesson

For example, that duplicity doesn’t really pay, or that the Amerikans are imperialist aggressors and not bringers of democracy, roses, and happiness.

War’s Arab Supporters Bitter Over Its Results
By Anthony Shadid
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, January 22, 2007; Page A01

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — With a certain satisfaction, Lebanese journalist Michael Young watched a local station broadcast images seen across the world on April 9, 2003: the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Firdaus Square, its reverberations rumbling across a stunned Middle East. Out of curiosity, he switched to a satellite station from Syria. It was showing a documentary on a venerable Damascene mosque. He flipped to another channel, where a former Egyptian general was dismissing the idea that day that the Iraqi capital had even fallen.

“If they were scared of what was happening in Baghdad, there was more power in this moment than might have been expected. The regimes were truly scared of this moment, truly scared,” recalled Young, the opinion editor of the Daily Star in Beirut.

“The problem is,” he added, “the Americans failed.”

The coterie of Arabs who supported the U.S.-led invasion were never the target of expensive American propaganda efforts. Their unpopular stands in the Arab world earned them inboxes full of angry e-mails; a few claimed they got death threats. And nearly four years after the invasion they backed, their sense of frustration, resentment and even betrayal speaks volumes about how withered American standing is in the Middle East today and how far the region itself has deteriorated, riven as it is by escalating conflicts, worsening sectarian tension and a simmering struggle with an ascendant Iran.

“It’s a success story for al-Qaeda, a success story for autocratic Arab regimes that made democracy look ugly in their people’s eyes. They can say to their people: ‘Look at the democracy that the Americans want to bring to you. Democracy is trouble. You may as well forget about what the Americans promise you. They promise you death,’ ” said Salameh Nematt, a Jordanian analyst and the former Washington bureau chief for the Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Hayat.

Added Magdi Khalil, an Egyptian writer and proponent of the invasion, “Everything, everything is very gloomy.”

Read the rest here.

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