In response to Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack: Deafening silence over Trump’s Syria breakthrough, Takeshi L. Kovacs wrote:
‘The Arab Spring was, in the eyes of the Western elites, going to bring peace, prosperity and liberal values to an area controlled by despots.’ Anyone who believed that is not a member of an ‘elite’ but of the ‘eloi’ of H G Wells’s book The Time Machine.
This false use of the term ‘elite’ for fairy-tale idealists and their political dancing-masters is an abuse of English.
The ‘Arab Spring’ was about riots concerning local issues, in particular the price of bread and other essentials. It was the effect of the conjuncture of ‘donor fatigue’ with drought in the USA, which doubled the world-traded price of wheat. Middle Easterners’ staple food is bread and other wheat products. The abandoning of expensive and no-longer affordable fuel subsidies also played a role.
In my opinion, ‘donor fatigue’, which was very real, marked the realisation that just giving these nations money simply amplified the compounding of the problem with exponentiating unproductive urban populations. Egypt was one, not long ago, a net exporter of food and fuel – population growth (currently two millions a year) put paid to that.
The Palestinians (those not in Israel) illustrate this dilemma well. In 1948 they were 700,000 – now they are 10 millions. If they continue to be supported at European and Saudi expense in the lavish way so far, and their fertility continues, in 2088 they would be 130 millions.
In Syria the al Assads moved rural peasants into towns in order to make way for efficient agriculture to feed an exponentiating population. Result: suburbs of discontented Sunnis who launched rockets at non-Sunni suburbs.
I have heard that across the Middle East, two-thirds of the water supply is used for growing drugs, particularly Khat.