Posted by on May 04, 2012 in Blog

In the early days of the Arab uprisings last year, many commentators were quick to assert that the mass movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and beyond had no foreign policy objectives; they were concerned almost entirely with domestic issues of reform, accountability, and transparency, rather than the Arab-Israeli conflict, or U.S. policy in the region. AAI’s own polling said otherwise, and sure enough, many of the recent developments in Egypt, such as the attacks on the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies, and the destruction of the gas pipeline to Israel, have demonstrated that by-and-large, Arabs do care quite a bit about their countries’ relations with each other, with Palestine, and with the United States.

This great piece by Nicholas Noe of MidEastWire demonstrates the extent to which Egyptians in particular have directed much of their anger toward Israel (both for a lopsided energy deal brokered with the Mubarak government, and its treatment of the Palestinian people), to Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

Noe systemically explores various Arab media outlets for examples of this popular outrage, like this columnist from Egyptian daily Al-Ahram: “Mubarak’s era was characterized by a submission to Israeli dictations, the implementation of Israel’s wishes and a subjugation to American pressures which prevented Egypt from constituting a source of defiance to Israel.”

What about those who claimed that the “Arab Spring” lacked any foreign policy dimensions? Many have since changed their minds, including The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, an early proponent of that theory who just last week claimed that, “anyone who thinks that the Arab Spring proves that Arabs don’t care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict anymore is fooling themselves.”

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