The Arab left’s ideology has been distinguished for its miserable proposals. The Arab left has taught us certain political terms such as “imperialism,” “petrodollar” and “backwardness.” These terms were used to describe Arab Gulf countries in particular as Arab leftists have been skilled at insulting the Gulf region and its people. There was a time when some people in the Gulf or the Arabian Peninsula were deceived by these leftist slogans.
They repeated them and even bragged about them thinking this would intercede for them. We can see these terms in some of the works of great Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani. Qabbani used these terms to implicitly hint at Arabs in Gulf countries or Bedouins as he called them. He mastered this following the Arabs’ defeat in the 1967 War and this was sort of a disadvantage in the works of Qabbani who is undisputedly considered as one of the best modern poets.
Gulf countries supported all Arab countries and were extremely supportive of the Palestinian cause, but this did not make Arab leftists forgiving towards them. They provided financial aid and took strong political stances to help other Arab countries - stances that sometimes led to crises with their western allies and led them to lose a lot. At the time when the Saudi kingdom and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries supported Arab causes through actions and not just through making statements, the Arab leftists simply ignored all this aid and boasted about some Arab countries’ and leaders’ fake glories and heroic achievements.
These leaders did not provide Arabs and their cause with one tenth of what Gulf countries provided. All they did was deliver demagoguery speeches and engage in conflicts that aimed to distract people from what really mattersAhmad al-Farraj
These leaders did not provide Arabs and their cause with one tenth of what Gulf countries provided. All they did was deliver demagoguery speeches and engage in conflicts that aimed to distract people from what really matters. One can go back and review the speeches of late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and late Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi to clearly understand what I’m talking about. What’s strange is that the Saudi kingdom and Gulf Cooperation Council countries were accused of being an oil well! They talk as if Iraq and Libya are not oil-rich countries! Oh well, that’s the mood of the leftist wing in crisis!
Historically speaking, the kingdom, aided by its Gulf neighbors, has been the bosom which everyone resorted to. Following the defeat in 1967, the kingdom was there healing Egypt’s wounds. When disputes erupted between Gaddafi and the rest of the world due to the Lockerbie bombing, it was Saudi Arabia which saved him from that serious trouble. We must recall that when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, more than 2 million of our Palestinian brothers were living in Kuwait and despite that, the Arab leftists stood against the decision to liberate Kuwait and cheered for Saddam.
Who doesn’t remember the leftists’ chant “use chemical weapons, Saddam, from Kuwait to Dammam,” which brought all Arabist leftists’ allegations to an end? The Arab left has recently lost the spark of its miserable slogans. Some people in the Gulf continue to support these empty slogans despite the terrible failure of this ideology which no longer suits our times. The Arab left is miserable and the West left is not doing any better as the American left has shown its true colors after Donald Trump won the presidency. I will address this in my next article.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Dr Ahmad al-Farraj is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah daily. He holds a Masters degree in literature from the University of Indiana and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. He was the Dean of the Arabic Language Institute in King Saud University and a member of the university’s council. He tweets under @amhfarraj