Posts tagged ‘Despotism’

2011/03/01

Proof: Why Gaddafi Is Blaming Al-Qaeda

2011/02/23

Revolution and the Muslim World


Revolution and the Muslim World by George Friedman

The Muslim world, from North Africa to Iran, has experienced a wave of instability in the last few weeks. No regimes have been overthrown yet, although as of this writing, Libya was teetering on the brink.

There have been moments in history where revolution spread in a region or around the world as if it were a wildfire. These moments do not come often. Those that come to mind include 1848, where a rising in France engulfed Europe. There was also 1968, where the demonstrations of what we might call the New Left swept the world: Mexico City, Paris, New York and hundreds of other towns saw anti-war revolutions staged by Marxists and other radicals. Prague saw the Soviets smash a New Leftist government. Even China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution could, by a stretch, be included. In 1989, a wave of unrest, triggered by East Germans wanting to get to the West, generated an uprising in Eastern Europe that overthrew Soviet rule.

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2011/02/22

The Tweety Bird

2011/02/21

Is Gaddafi’s Rule Facing Collapse?


The demonstrations in Libya that began in the city of Benghazi seem, to general amazement, to have given the protesters effective control of the east of the country.

Until Sunday, the only demonstrations in Tripoli had been in support of the regime and its leader, no doubt as an official riposte to those in the east who have been calling for its demise.

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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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2011/02/17

Lebanon’s Rivals See What They Want

by Michael Young, author of The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle

Although Hizbollah and Iran hailed the ouster of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak as a political defeat for their enemies, it is not at all certain that Sunnis in some parts of the Arab world, particularly in Lebanon, were distressed by the transformations in Cairo.

Iran’s satisfaction, and that of its Arab followers, derived from a short-term appraisal that Mr Mubarak’s departure was a setback for the United States. However, nothing yet indicates that Washington has “lost” Egypt. In fact, America’s regional role may be strengthened if its Arab friends become more democratic, or just more pluralistic. After all, the protests in Tunisia and Egypt confirmed the deep detestation for – and therefore the fragility of – an American-led network of regional alliances resting on a foundation of despotism.

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2011/02/15

Leaders Are Gone, But Regimes Are Not


The Presidents Left, the Regimes are Still Here
by Marina Ottaway, Carnegie Middle East Center

The removal from power of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were historic moments for the entire Arab world. But the old regimes—the submerged icebergs of personal connections, institutions, and common interests of which the presidents and their immediate entourage were the visible tips—are still there and they are fighting back to retain as much power and control as they can. These are still only the early days of a long process of transition, but it is clear that the battle to disband the regimes will be difficult. In this battle, street protest remains essential.

Early moves by the members of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces suggest that it intends to preserve as much of the regime as it possibly can. It has announced that the present government, composed entirely of Mubarak appointees, will remain in power until the end of a transition period lasting a maximum of six months. It has dissolved the parliament and abrogated the constitution, measures demanded by the opposition because last year’s parliamentary elections were rigged to the point of absurdity and the constitution was designed to protect the regime from real competition and perpetuate its power.

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2011/02/14

Algeria To Lift Emergency Law “In Days”

The 19-year-old state of emergency in Algeria will end within days, Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said on Monday following a weekend in which thousands of Algerians defied government warnings and dodged barricades to rally in their capital Saturday, demanding democratic reforms.

Protesters chanting “No to the police state!” and brandishing signs that read “Give us back our Algeria” clashed with baton-wielding police in helmets and visors. Organizers said more than 400 people were briefly detained, but aside from some jostling between police and protesters no violence was reported.

A state of emergency has been in force in Algeria since 1992 and the government has come under pressure to ditch emergency laws following uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

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2011/02/10

The West Must Work With Dictators

The uprisings in the Arab world have prompted much hand-wringing among Europeans, who worry that the West has been too lenient with the region’s autocrats. Sometimes, however, tolerating dictators is very much in the West’s best interest.

The popular movements in the Arab world have generated surprisingly little political resonance in the streets of European capitals. There have been no significant expressions of sympathy for the demonstrators, and no angry protests in front of the embassies of those Arab countries where police and security services have shot regime opponents or beaten them to death.

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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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2011/02/02

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

2011/02/02

The WikiLeaks Revolt

Ed. Note: Not sure if I’m particularly open to assigning blame to the GW Bush administration for the situation in Egypt – five consecutive administrations have been strongly supportive of Mubarak – but I did appreciate this commentator’s attempt to put some perspective on events.

The current popular unrest in the Arab world has a lot of lessons for Washington. Undoubtedly one of the most jarring is this: The leak of a simple series of cables from a U.S. ambassador in an obscure country — officially condemned by Washington — may have done more to inspire democracy in the Arab world than did a bloody, decade-long, trillion-dollar war effort orchestrated by the United States.

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2011/02/01

Understanding Egypt’s Historic Moment


Understanding Egypt’s Historic Moment by Steven Cook, Council of Foreign Relations’s Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies.

The uprising in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak and the military-dominated political system he inherited is shaping up to be a seminal event in the region’s history, ranking with the establishment of Israel, Egypt’s Free Officers’ coup of 1952, and the June 1967 Six Days War. Like these events, the revolution-in-the making has the potential to remake Egyptian and regional politics. Although Mubarak seems to be on the ropes, the outcome of the crisis remains unclear. Mubarak continues to control the coercive apparatus of the state–the military, intelligence services, and what is left of the Ministry of Interior and its forces. It is entirely possible that a stalemate between the large cross section of Egyptian society that has come out into the streets and the state will ensue.

To understand the unfolding events, it is important to take note of the following actors:

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2011/02/01

Egypt’s Widening Discontent

A compilation of current articles (and links) on the situation in Egypt…

Battles between Egyptian police and protesters against the thirty-year regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak continued into a third day in Cairo and Suez, despite a ban on demonstrations and a nationwide security crackdown. More than 860 people have reportedly been arrested in the protests and six have reportedly died in demonstrations that create diplomatic challenges for the Obama administration and could have repercussions across the Middle East…

Complete article via Council on Foreign Relations

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