Saturday, February 4

The Art of Obfuscation

Arab world and IranImage via Wikipedia
The Arab world is in the midst of great turmoil because of radical changes. The Arab people, after generations of suffering under megalomanic, cruel dictatorships, have decided to revolt, ushering changes that will create a different Arab world. It remains to be seen the direction that it will go.




The buds of new Arab governments in Tunisia, and Egypt are starting to show after their first democratic elections in generations. There are signs that religious Muslim party coalitions will be taking over post-revolution Tunisia and Egypt in the midst of severe turmoil. The direction of Libya is still unclear. The secularists, who were the initiators of the revolutions, will be forced off the scene. These states are in the midst of confusion and the aims of the "Arab Spring" in the direction of democracy and economic stability seems very confused and unclear. In Syria, the uprising has become violent with President Bashar el Assad's forces massacring hundreds of Syrians daily. The attempt to overthrow the Assad regime is bloody and the opposition is being oppressed ruthlessly.


The newly elected governments have many problems to address. If the Arab electorate in the various countries undergoing radical changes does not succeed in creating economic stability, alleviating severe unemployment and the resulting poverty, very little will be achieved in assuring a successful transition towards democracy, human rights and dignity. The challenges are great and a successful outcome is far from being realized at this stage. There is seething dissatisfaction and the road to orderly change will remain evasive for an indefinite period.


The biggest fear by far for the West is whether the emerging new governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya will be pragmatic in its dealings with the non-Moslem world. Many questions remain unanswered. The hope of the non-Moslem world is that pragmatism will take preference over religious extremism, and its severe restraints on the citizens under their rule, will not be an obstacle to peace or a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.


In Israel, the attitudes towards the sweeping changes in the Arab world remain unclear. The present government seems to be obsessed with Iran's nuclear ability and its danger to Israel. There is much hype in the media about how long it will take Iran to develop its nuclear ability to threaten Israel. There is debate on whether Israel should attack Iran's nuclear facilities with or without US support. This could be a side issue to take the pressure off Israel in negotiating a peace treaty with the Palestinians. While the Iranian nuclear threat is being debated, Israel continues to build illegal settlements in the occupied territories.


Salaam Fayyad, the PM of the Palestinians, has stated that President Ahmadinajad of Iran is damaging the Palestinian cause by his bluster and rhetoric. He knows that the Iranian nuclear threat is no less dangerous for the Palestinians as it is for Israel. Apart from that Ahmadinajad's vision is clear - domination of the Middle East with Shiite Islam ruling over the Sunnis who are the majority. There is no democracy in Iran and Syria (a cruel massacre is going on there against Syrian protesters of the cruel Assad regime), Iran's close ally.


Israel is keeping a low profile in its attitude towards the sweeping changes taking place in the Arab world. It is consolidating its control over Palestinian lands and building illegal settlements to make the two-state solution to the conflict unattainable. PM Netanyahu speaks about supporting a two-state solution while his right wing coalition is doing everything to torpedo it. The art of Netanyahu Government obfuscation has reached new heights. Netanyahu talks about peace and a two-state solution and blames the Palestinian side for the deadlock.


Obfuscation is not only in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict but also in the way problems in the Israeli workplace are handled. Procrastination and ignoring genuine grievances and injustices is an art well-developed in Israel. While obfuscation in the Arab world is a result of uncertainties because of dramatic changes, in Israel it is directed at its citizens where intentional obfuscation is the name of the game. The purpose - industrial quiet accompanied by crude capitalist greed.


When one does not agree with the right wing coalition who is insensitive to citizen's grievances, the dissatisfaction remains simmering under the surface without any solution being found. Organized strikes are less effective today than in the past.


Inefficient people in senior positions in government departments who have a history of abusing employees and slandering them seem to be immune from being dismissed. This is common practice. It is hardly surprising when the "only democracy in the Middle East" is a democracy for cartels in high places. The government departments are filled with inefficient bureaucratic technocrats whose sensitivity for the treatment of employees in various sectors is almost non-existent. In Israel there is no legal address for employees who have suffered verbal abuse, slander and libel unless it is a newspaper scoop. Good manners are not a well known quality amongst many Israelis who have authority whether it is employer – employee relations or behaviour towards Palestinians when it comes to negotiations. The arrogance seems to seep through. Obfuscation is an art well honed.


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