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Tunesia, Egyt and now Yemen: a domino effect in the Middle East?

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2011 09:32 pm
@msolga,
msolga wrote:


I'm certain many Egyptians have wanted to rid themselves of Mubarak for years ...



what has given you that impression over the past decades?
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2011 09:36 pm
@ehBeth,

No one on the planet happily endures such oppression happily.

And 30 years of it is a long, long time.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2011 09:42 pm
@ehBeth,
good tag to follow at nymag

http://nymag.com/tags/revolt%20like%20an%20egyptian
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2011 09:42 pm
@msolga,
60 y
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  3  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2011 11:04 pm
An interesting article from Al-Jeezera.
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/201113191947648929.html


It all reminds me somehow of my poor old headmaster. A tall, unbending, flinty New Englander, he had presided over my boarding prep-school - what the British would call a "public school" - since 1949.

One sunny spring Sunday in 1970, while delivering a routine lecture at chapel services, he must have sensed something amiss. Pausing from his text to peer out over his spectacles, he was nonplussed to see that all the boys had stood up in unison, and were silently filing out.

Not sure what else to do, he meekly fell in behind, following as they marched up Main Street. The student ringleaders, seeing the angular, loping figure of the headmaster tagging along behind, sent word to ask if he would like to join them at the front.

He complied. The next day's headline in the local newspaper read: "Headmaster leads students in anti-Vietnam War protest." To my knowledge, it was the beginning and the end of Mr. Stevens' career as a political agitator.

This mildly humorous episode merely underscored what we had already known. It was not that the headmaster was a bad man, or uncaring, or hostile to student sentiments: Much the contrary.

It was simply that he had become irrelevant. His mental architecture was adjusted to a world which had long since faded.

He could hardly comprehend, much less constructively engage on the questions and challenges of a new time. And so it is with America.


"Watching and responding."

That was the phrase used by PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesman, in his recent interview with Al Jazeera.

In the midst of the startling and compelling events taking place in the Middle East since the advent of Tunisia's ongoing "jasmine revolution", with people taking to the streets in Algeria, in Yemen, in Jordan, and, most importantly, shaking the foundations of the Mubarak regime in Egypt - the US, he said, is passively "watching and responding".

Events in the Middle East have slipped away from us. Having long since opted in favour of political stability over the risks and uncertainties of democracy, having told ourselves that the people of the region are not ready to shoulder the burdens of freedom, having stressed that the necessary underpinnings of self-government go well beyond mere elections, suddenly the US has nothing it can credibly say as people take to the streets to try to seize control of their collective destiny.

All the US can do is "watch and respond", trying to make the best of what it transparently regards as a bad situation.

Our words betray us. US spokesmen stress the protesters' desire for jobs and for economic opportunity, as though that were the full extent of their aspirations. They entreat the wobbling, repressive governments in the region to "respect civil society", and the right of the people to protest peacefully, as though these thoroughly discredited autocrats were actually capable of reform.

They urge calm and restraint. One listens in vain, however, for a ringing endorsement of freedom, or for a statement of encouragement to those willing to risk everything to assert their rights and their human dignity - values which the US nominally regards as universal.

Yes, it must be acknowledged that the US has limited influence, even over regimes with which it is aligned and which benefit from US largess. And yes, a great power has competing practical interests - be those a desire for counter-terrorism assistance, or for promotion of regional peace - which it must balance, at least in the short term, against a more idealistic commitment to democracy and universal values.

But there are two things which must be stressed in this regard.

The first is the extent to which successive US administrations have consistently betrayed a lack of faith in the efficacy of America's democratic creed, the extent to which the US government has denied the essentially moderating influence of democratic accountability to the people, whether in Algeria in 1992 or in Palestine in 2006.

The failure of the US to uphold its stated commitment to democratic values therefore goes beyond a simple surface hypocrisy, beyond the exigencies of great-power interests, to suggest a fundamental lack of belief in democracy as a means of promoting enlightened, long-term US interests in peace and stability.

The second is the extent to which the US has simply become irrelevant in the Middle East. It is not that US policy is intentionally evil: After all, regional peace and an end to violence against innocents are worthy goals.

Instead it is that, like my old unfortunate headmaster, the US's entire frame of reference in the region is hopelessly outdated, and no longer has meaning: As if the street protesters in Tunis and Cairo could possibly care what the US thinks or says; as if the political and economic reform which president Obama stubbornly urges on Mubarak while Cairo burns could possibly satisfy those risking their lives to overcome nearly three decades of his repression; as if the two-state solution in Palestine for which the US has so thoroughly compromised itself, and for whose support the US administration still praises Mubarak, has even the slightest hope of realisation; as if the exercise in brutal and demeaning collective punishment inflicted upon Gaza, and for whose enforcement the US, again, still credits Mubarak could possibly produce a decent or just outcome; as if the US refusal to deal with Hezbollah as anything but a terrorist organisation bore any relation to current political realities in the Levant.

Machiavelli once wrote that princes should see to it that they are either respected or feared; what they must avoid at all cost is to be despised. To have made itself despised as irrelevant: That is the legacy of US faithlessness and wilful blindness in the Middle East.

Robert Grenier is a retired, 27-year veteran of the CIA’s Clandestine Service. He was Director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center from 2004 to 2006.

Ionus
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 12:38 am
Sadat made peace with Israel and the hard liners killed him for it. His number two man, Mubarak was thought to be a risk for holding the country together. 30 years later, people have had enough. But he did achieve 30 yrs of stability for a country that had and has serious problems. If the next government doesnt achieve popular support, it is possible we might be back to square one....war with Israel. Governments have a habit of starting wars to distract from domestic issues.

At the bottom of it all, Egypt's main source of economic stability depends on tourism which in turn depends on political stability which in turn depends on economic stability. This could be a vicious circle into some very bad times for Egypt.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 01:01 am
@Ceili,
Robert Grenier obviously hates America.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:08 am
@cicerone imposter,
I agree, and all this payoff money could be used to address our own economic ills. But, there are still people squawking about why we didn't do something about Egypt...
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:09 am
@realjohnboy,
Odd that you mention Republicans and Rush Limbaugh.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:13 am
@JTT,
JTT - You know you're easily one of the people I'm talking about. America is damned if they do, and damned if they don't as far as you're concerned. I might be a tad naive....but I AM even-handed and not blinded by preconceived notions or emotions. You should try that sometime.
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:16 am
@msolga,
I think many nations have struggled harder. Wars have been fought. Many have died. This revolution is a picnic compared to other "struggles."
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:23 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:


No one on the planet happily endures such oppression happily.

And 30 years of it is a long, long time.



150 years would be far more accurate. However in many respects the recent situation it is a good deal better than what they had prior to their independence from the Brirish.

Additionaly I believe we may be seeing some signs of an awakening of Islamic countries from centuries of their own self-imposed backwardness.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 03:54 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:
just my opinion but I don't think El Baradei would be acceptable to either the military or the populace other than an in interim functionary. He's just not all that popular.


Yeah . . . he's the sort of faut de mieux candidate . . .
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 03:57 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
He's getting a lot of attention because he's familiar to Western reporters.


Yup.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 05:59 am
From Al Jazeera .... video & audio links included:

Quote:
Giant protest kicks off in Egypt
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2011 11:44 GMT

More than hundred thousand assemble in Cairo for the "million-man-march" aimed at forcing president Mubarak to resign.

Meanwhile, one of Egypt's oldest parties, Wafd, announced on Tuesday that a number of opposition groups have agreed to form "a national front" to deal with the volatile situation there. In a statement, Wafd said that president Mubarak "has lost legitimacy."

Also on Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood, an officially banned but tolerated movement, said it will not negotiate with president Mubarak or his government.

Earlier, some opposition parties have called for Mubarak to delegate responsibilities to newly appointed vice-president Omar Suleiman, who they are prepared to negotiate with.


http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/2011215827193882.html
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 06:18 am
Quote:
At the scene
Jim Muir BBC News, Cairo

People are pouring in from every direction - it's a far bigger crowd than we've seen in recent days. Whether it will reach a million or not is contentious, but it's very important for the people to think they have public support.

Walking through the crowd you get an idea of the diversity of the people flooding in - young professionals, middle class people, but also poor people and those from an Islamist background. This protest has really united a broad spectrum of Egyptian public opinion.

They have confidence in the army; there have been tanks in the square for the past three days with the soldiers interacting in a very positive way with protesters. Many of the tanks are daubed with anti-Mubarak slogans, and there's no sense that the soldiers are in any mood to jump in their tanks and start crushing people.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12331520
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 06:43 am
@realjohnboy,
Suleiman is the Mubarak-appointed Vice President. I was wondering about the head of "the army."
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 07:30 am
now, i realize that Shariff won't like it

but

i think its time to rock the casbah


(let's face it, they're already walking like egyptians)
hingehead
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 07:43 am
@djjd62,
There are pyramids in my head!
There's one underneath my bed!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 07:50 am
@hingehead,
Rock the Casbah
Rock the Casbah ...

Very Happy
0 Replies
 
 

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