Just as expected. That about sums up the attitudes of Middle Eastern countries toward the attempted coup that the US and its allies are trying to pull off in Venezuela, pushing to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with his opponent, Juan Guaidó.
The late Hugo Chavez was an outspoken advocate of Palestinian rights and a critic of the policies of Israel and of the US in the region. Maduro has shown himself to be an equally powerful critical voice. It’s no wonder, then, that Israel, a close ally of the Trump administration, jumped at the chance of adding itself to the list of states that have recognized Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela.
“Israel joins the United States, Canada, most of the countries of Latin America and countries in Europe in recognizing the new leadership in Venezuela,” announced Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday. Venezuela and Israel have often been at loggerheads. Caracas has condemned the military offensives perpetrated by the Jewish state, in particular those in 2006 in Lebanon and in 2014 against Gaza. Furthermore, Venezuela has also sided against Washington and Tel Aviv’s policies against Iran.
Accordingly, there was an immediate condemnation from Tehran of the coup in progress in Venezuela, a position also taken by Erdogan’s Turkey—not indeed because of any ideological affinity with chavismo, but because of the hostility that still prevails in the relations between Ankara and Washington. On Monday, Burhanettin Duran, a columnist for the Turkish pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah, wrote that Erdogan, the first world leader to have condemned Guaidó’s attempt to seize power, has not forgotten the fact that Maduro promptly sided with him in July 2016 against the attempted coup in Turkey, while the United States remained on the fence for a long time.
Maduro also got a full expression of support from the Hezbollah Lebanese Shiite movement, an ally of Iran, which for years has been sympathetic to the government. The Beirut daily newspaper al Akhbar, with close ties to the March 8 Alliance, the coalition of political forces headed by Hezbollah, wrote that “the poor in the Arab world are supporting Maduro and the Venezuelan government against the attempts by the US to overthrow the revolution in that country, because they see many similarities between the situation in Venezuela and what is happening in the Middle East.” The Lebanese newspaper also criticized those of the Western left who, after suffering political defeat in their own countries and being ousted from power, are now accusing Chavez and Maduro of not having been able to build a productive economy for their country.
While the Sunni monarchies who are US allies have been quiet for now, they are predictably supporting Guaidó behind the scenes; unlike in the case of Venezuela, Trump seems to be granting them a right to impunity for their actions, even as they remain far from any notion of democracy. Among the Palestinian occupied territories, the PLO and the political parties, including Fatah and Hamas, have all sided with Maduro, while Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has also “affirmed its solidarity” with Venezuela, condemning the “direct intervention of some states” in its internal affairs.
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