By Hassan Tahsin
I’ve been trying to find out who dubbed the Arab uprisings that gripped Egypt and Tunisia the “Arab Spring.” Why did Western countries call the killing of thousands of innocent souls a “spring”? Was it because of the so-called and long-awaited transition to democracy or, as I prefer to call it, delusional democracy?
It is true that Egyptians and Tunisians rejected American influence, which paved the way for these uprisings. It is also true that Egyptians and Tunisians forced their presidents to step down — two achievements that shook American policy and plans, which of course did not have these goals in mind. But it is also true that when conditions calmed down in both countries and began to stabilize, the imperialist powers had to do something about it. Things were not going as planned.
Fear and chaos should be spread in Egypt to escalate the political situation. That is exactly what the imperialist powers did when they used the random assassination method.
Nevertheless, Egyptians did not budge nor were they negatively affected. They have maintained their strength despite the constant efforts of Western countries to regain control over the region.
It was obvious that these foreign powers were losing their grip on the region. This fact was affirmed by Professor John Chalcraft of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Professor Chalcraft admitted that the Western powers had failed to predict or think of the possibility of uprisings; therefore, the “Arab Spring” term was invented.
When the political situation looked murky and highly unexpected, the foreign powers declared their support for the Arab Spring. How? Let me explain.
At the end of the two-day G8 meeting at Camp David in the US, the convening members announced a new initiative and ignored the decisions G8 countries took at the Deauville Summit in France. In that summit, they decided to help Middle Eastern and African countries which were going through transit phases to develop and prosper economically and politically.
They even reiterated their commitment to supporting political transitions in four areas: stability, creation of job opportunities, power sharing and integration. As usual, Washington distributed an action plan to G8 member countries and did not specify a clear-cut policy regarding the above areas or any commitment to providing financial aid. The G8 countries promised to offer the Arab Spring countries and other states in the region $40 billion in aid.
However, this was easier said than done. No such promises have been fulfilled because the Deauville Summit did not have any action plans to honor these promises. Besides, G8 countries did not specifically talk about direct support; they only discussed some technicalities and facilities related to offering loans given by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Egypt is a shareholder country in this bank but it has not received any loans.
he Deauville plan consisted of three tracks: financial, good governance and trade. The first includes finding a mechanism to acquaint the countries in the region with procedures they should take to obtain a long-term loan from international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The second track, good governance, deals with adopting the standards of the Organization for Economic Security and Cooperation, which focuses on transparency, human rights and freedom of information exchange.
The third track sheds light on trade and ways to reactivate customs regulations and get rid of trade obstacles. This can be done by formulating simple customs procedures.
A source in Washington said the best that G8 countries could offer was a credit fund to finance projects related to capabilities improvement.
In light of the above, it is obvious that no changes have been made. All these pompous declarations mentioned in the closing report of the G8 Summit have not been translated into reality. It is also obvious that the main goal of the G8 countries is to have the countries which witnessed uprisings sink into the quagmire of debt by taking international loans and becoming slaves to their creditors.
If the G8 countries had been truthful in their attempts to help the countries which experienced political uprisings, such as Egypt, overcome economic conditions, they would have exerted real efforts to return the $3 trillion which was smuggled outside of Egypt. They would have also translated their silly recommendations into reality not just mere words. The $3 trillion, which is an enormous amount, could be used to improve the economic condition of Egypt and help it leap to the forefront of industrial countries.
Hassan Tahsin is an Egyptian writer and political analyst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.