15 OCTOBER 2011
|CHRISTIAN ARABS SUSPECT BIG POWER DEALS AT THEIR EXPENSE.
While in the forefront of the struggle for human dignity and freedom of expression against oppressive regions, an increasing number of Arab
Christians are sensing an abandonment to their fate by their former friends in the West, particularly current French and U.S. Administrations. In
their scramble to influence the outcome of the "Arab Spring," the two big powers -- among others -- appear to be making brokered unspoken deals with
their former sworn adversaries within dogmatic Islamist movements at their expense. Indications of such possible deals are picked up more sensitively
in the Arab region than from a distance. Detailed accounts abound. So are whispered reports on brokered back channel arrangements by Turkey's Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, particularly in Syria's Moslem brotherhood groups; Saudi money for Salafists in Egypt and in North and East
Qatar's "mediation" on varied lines, particularly the role of its long-time resident, influential Egyptian Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi; tolerated violence
against Christian faithful in Iraq despite U.S. occupation presence; emergence of known Islamist fighters in Libya; millions by the United Arab
Emirates in Egypt to compensate for their loss of their favourite ally, outgoing President Hosni Mubarak.
Such suspicions may explain, for example, the reluctance of the Christian community to go all the way against Syrian President Bashar Assad when
they fear that the alternative could be clearly worse for them. They have an effective presence in the two key cities of Damascus and Aleppo, which
thus far have generally refrained from joining the mass protests, although clearly expressing an urgent need for reform.
We are initially flagging this issue which will have to be faced as development in the region grows more complex, and to avoid getting into