Posts tagged ‘Democracy’

2011/02/26

Obama Seeking New Mideast Approach

President Obama is challenging his administration to formulate a new Middle East policy that emphasizes political and economic reforms to bolster US allies now threatened by the protest movements sweeping the region.

Administration officials say Obama is urging beleaguered governments to enact reforms that would satisfy the popular craving for change while preserving valuable partnerships on crucial US interests, from oil security to counter-terrorism and containing Iran.

With those allied governments under pressure from their citizens, the US is confronting the likelihood of having diminished influence over whatever political order emerges. But a greater risk is that Washington could be seen as trying to prop up crumbling regimes and could alienate the rising pro-democracy leaders.

Diplomats say it would be difficult for the president to openly call for sweeping political change in such key countries as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, which are run by royal families allied with the West. Direct criticism of longstanding, friendly monarchs could be seen as an abandonment and encourage even more protests.

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2011/02/18

Battle Lines Harden Across Mideast, Africa


Security forces and government supporters employed a growing panoply of violent force — from tear gas and batons to shotguns and grenades — in pitched street battles with anti-government protesters in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen on Friday.

The clashes followed a week of deepening unrest as protesters, emboldened by the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, have called for swift revolutions in their own countries. The battle lines between protesters and authoritarian rulers across the Arab world appeared to be hardening, with governments turning to an increasingly brutal script in trying to quash the protests that have swept the region.

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2011/02/13

Egypt’s Military Dissolves Parliament

Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced today on state TV that it is dissolving the country’s parliament, suspending the constitution and is calling for called for elections in six months.

“[The military] is looking forward to a peaceful transition for a free democratic system to permit an elected civil authority to be in charge of the country to build a democratic free nation,” said military spokesman General Mohsen el-Fangari on state television.

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2011/02/13

The Roar of the Democratic Wave


[Ed. Note: While not all of the recommendations in the following commentary, The Roar of the Democratic Wave, are agreed with, much of the overall analysis is quite insightful. Bold and audacious, de Vasconcelos lays out a path that could keep “the wave” cresting. In regards to the current fast-moving events in Egypt, his call for US pressure on Egypt’s military is absolutely the right one. Mubarak’s not going to budge but if the generals issue orders to shoot protesters, it is a very open question whether they would be carried out.]

The Roar of the Democratic Wave
By Álvaro de Vasconcelos

Has the uprising in Tunisia sparked a new democratic wave that will conquer Egypt and eventually sweep away the authoritarian “Arab exception”? After southern Europe in the 1970’s, Latin America in the late 1980’s, and Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990’s, it seems that now it is the Mediterranean region’s turn. For Europe, democratization immediately to its south is a vital interest.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster in Tunisia signaled the collapse of the Arab “stability” model, praised by many Western leaders, consisting of authoritarianism and overrated economic performance. The surge of anger and revolt in Egypt, whatever its final outcome, marks the beginning of the end for authoritarian nationalist Arab regimes.

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2011/02/11

World Leaders Comment On Eygpt


 
US President Barack Obama: The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential.

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2011/02/11

Second Statement By Egypt Army

Following the brief television address by the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces, the EAF released the following written statement today:

Due to the consecutive developments in current incidents and which define the destiny of the country, and in context of continuous follow up for internal and external incidents, and the decision to delegate responsibilities to the vice president of the country, and in belief in our national responsibility to preserve the stability and safety of the nation.

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2011/02/10

Lessons In Social Unrest


Representatives of the young anti-government protestors camped out on Cairo’s Tahrir Square could join talks between the Egyptian government and other opposition leaders on Thursday. The disparate factions on Tahrir Square have resolved their differences and have formed a delegation that includes Egyptian-born Google executive Wael Ghonim, who was recently released from custody.

Ghonim, the head of marketing for Google in the Middle East and North Africa, spent almost two weeks in custody for his role in organizing the protests. Upon his release, he gave an emotional speech honoring the protestors who lost their lives that turned him into the face of the protest movement.

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2011/02/10

Getting to Pluralism in the Arab World

Getting to Pluralism:
Political Actors in the Arab World

After a half decade of seemingly hopeful developments, the drive for political reform in the Arab world has ground to a halt. In their new book, Getting to Pluralism: Political Actors in the Arab World, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Marina Ottaway and Amr Hamzawy present the collected findings of years of research and direct engagement with key political actors across the Arab World. They discussed these findings with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, in an event moderated by Carnegie’s President, Jessica T. Mathews.

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2011/02/06

It Spreads Over The Internet

2011/02/05

Al Jazeera: The Future Of Egyptian Politics

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2011/02/05

Chomsky: US Fears 2nd World Freedom

ED. NOTE: I really don’t want to be associated with many of the fringe-types that follow Noam Chomsky as if he were a demi-God, but I do believe he has a viewpoint worthy of dissemination, and that those who work to suppress his voice are wrong to do so.

It’s Not Radical Islam That Worries the US – It’s Independence
By Noam Chomsky

‘The Arab world is on fire,” al-Jazeera reported last week, while throughout the region, western allies “are quickly losing their influence”. The shock wave was set in motion by the dramatic uprising in Tunisia that drove out a western-backed dictator, with reverberations especially in Egypt, where demonstrators overwhelmed a dictator’s brutal police.

Observers compared it to the toppling of Russian domains in 1989, but there are important differences. Crucially, no Mikhail Gorbachev exists among the great powers that support the Arab dictators. Rather, Washington and its allies keep to the well-established principle that democracy is acceptable only insofar as it conforms to strategic and economic objectives: fine in enemy territory (up to a point), but not in our backyard, please, unless properly tamed.

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2011/02/03

Will Democracy Become Islam’s Best Friend?


Millions of people in the Middle East want freedom, just as Eastern Europeans once did. Twenty years ago, the West was a role model, but it betrays its own values. In doing so, it is also strengthening its enemy: militant Islamism.

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe – because, in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.”

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2011/02/02

Pew Poll: What Gov’t Do Egyptians Want?

Egyptians said that they reject radical Islamists but want Islam to play a large role in politics, and think democracy is the best political system, according to a Pew Opinion Research poll of Muslim countries conducted last year.

Complete article via Reuters

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