Domino theory - middle East style?

Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 08:37 pm
With the uprising in Tunisia, and now the Egyptian government shutting down internet and mobile telecoms, and Algerians showing similar unrest are we seeing something like the 'velvet revolutions' of a few years ago in former soviet states? Will it peter out or will regimes tacitly backed by the west (for stability's sake) be overturned, and what will replace them?

Let us know your thoughts and any news you see.

I posted this on the wikileaks thread:
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/25/whispering_at_autocrats?page=0,2 which expresses the view that the candor expressed by US diplomats in the wikileaks documents actually gave restless citizens the belief that the US wasn't going to support autocratic regimes regardless, and that just possibly an internal democratic revolution might not be crushed so that the west could maintain it's strategic interestests (ala Yemen).

From this story

Is the quote "For the U.S., this is a test: Who do you really care about most?" she said. "The leaders in the Arab world, who are your allies, or the people who are calling for the same values you are supposed to represent?"

Where do you stand? Support another country's struggle for democracy, or preserve the strategic interests of your own democracy?
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Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 09:12 pm
Just tracking on Google News:

Egypt Returns To Dark Ages, SMS & Internet Halted

The situation in Egypt is going from bad to worse as earlier reports of social media services such as Facebook, BlackBerry and Twitter going down appear to have only been the first stage.

Egypt Internet and SMS shut down

There are now reports from Reuters that citizens of Cairo are now experiencing complete Internet and phone shutdown.

The details of the Internet and phone network shutdown appeared moments after a video of protesters in Egypt getting shot were shown by the Associated Press.

"One source with relatives in Cairo says he is communicating with them via landline and they are confirming reports that riot police are setting cars on fire. You can not text message in Egypt at the moment." - via TechCrunch

No details yet on the reason behind the shutdown as none of the local carriers (Internet and mobile) care to state the reasons behind this blackout.
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Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 09:36 pm
Just in from the Washington Post

As protests swell from Yemen to Egypt, Middle East faces uncertainty
A wave of political unrest threatening Middle Eastern governments grew ominously larger Thursday as new protests shook impoverished Yemen and Egyptian authorities braced for massive anti-government demonstrations set to begin Friday.
The fresh turbulence deepened fears of a prolonged period of chaos and uncertainty in the region while raising new questions about the viability of autocratic governments that have been stalwart allies of the United States for more than a generation.

In Egypt, there were signs that the government was moving to shut down access to the Internet and disable text-messaging services in a bid to stifle further protests. Meanwhile, pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei returned to the country to join the protests and rally the opposition.

The tumult in Yemen, where more than 10,000 people took to the streets of the capital, Sanaa, on Thursday, added a troubling new dimension to the regional unrest that began nearly two months ago in Tunisia. Yemen, one of the poorest and most heavily armed countries in the Middle East, is home to multiple separatist movements and has its own, particularly virulent branch of al-Qaeda.

"Yemen is a different game," said Khairi Abaza, a Middle East expert and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "If things go out of hand in Yemen, you have many players who will be waiting to try to affect the outcome, from al-Qaeda to Iran."

While the Obama administration continued to show symbolic support for the protesters' pro-democracy aspirations, administration officials and security experts acknowledged a deepening uncertainty about how the protest movement will play out as it reshapes and possibly upends governments and entire societies from Lebanon to North Africa.

With few exceptions, the countries have been under autocratic rule for decades, and are virtually devoid of the traditions, experience and political infrastructure on which to build stable new governments.

The only certainty, experts said, is uncertainty - an extended and potentially dangerous period of instability that is likely just beginning.

"What happened in Tunisia is completely unprecedented in the Arab world," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who served as special assistant on the Middle East and South Asia to three presidents. "We've never had a dictator toppled by the street. As a consequence, there is no safety net, no organized opposition ready to move in. No one has a clue what is going to emerge in some of these places."

Riedel said the uncertainty, combined with speed of the change underway, presents the Obama administration with an array of difficult choices as it seeks to show support for democratic expression while working to preserve stability and prevent violence. Historically, U.S. governments "have never gotten these things right," he said.

For full story click on article title...
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Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 10:00 pm
I searched freaking forums for Egypt before starting this thread and there was nothing - now I see a thread had been started an hour before mine. Sheesh.

Go there now if you want to keep track:

Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 11:41 pm
And I just found this thread, hinge.

Ah well, it just shows considerable interest in the same subject, yes? Smile
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