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Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

The Future Of War Is Bright

November 27, 2012 3 comments

Does war and mass destruction have a future? 500 years of war, genocide by the West will continue – unless the West is disarmed.

The scramble for Africa in the closing years of 19th century was a disaster for Africa  |  Cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne (1844–1910) on The Rhodes Colossus: Caricature of Cecil John Rhodes, after he announced plans for a telegraph line and railroad from Cape Town to Cairo. on 10 December 1892 in Punch

The scramble for Africa in the closing years of 19th century was a disaster for Africa | Cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne (1844–1910) on The Rhodes Colossus: Caricature of Cecil John Rhodes, after he announced plans for a telegraph line and railroad from Cape Town to Cairo. on 10 December 1892 in Punch

Propaganda

False ideas.

Academia floats. Media promotes.

Take this study by Norwegian University (@UniOslo) on the future of war.

It is now 25 years since Africa’s population surpassed that of China and India: it now stands at 2.8 billion.

This mix of futurology and fiction is one of the possible answers to what the world will look like in 2050. Part of the reason that future wars in now relatively peaceful countries such as Mozambique – whose civil war is now 30 years in the past – and Tanzania is the contention that war itself is going to become far less common.

Havard Hegre, a professor in the department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, is the latest academic to devise a statistical model capable of reaching into the future and telling us what is likely to happen next. His study, in collaboration with the Peace Research Institute Oslo, claims that in five years’ time India, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Uganda and Burma will be at the greatest risk of conflict, while in 40 years, it will be China, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

For the purpose of the model, war is defined as being between governments and political organisations that use violence and in which at least 25 people die.

“The number of conflicts is falling,” the professor observes. “We expect this fall to continue. We predict a steady fall in the number of conflicts in the next 40 years. Conflicts that involve a high degree of violence, such as Syria, are becoming increasingly rare.”

In other words, the number of wars will halve. In 2009, some 15 per cent of the world’s countries were suffering from armed conflicts. That proportion will fall to 7 per cent midway through this century, according to the Norwegian researchers’ predictions. At its core, the study has taken a history of global conflicts over the last 40 years and added United Nations predictions for key indicators such as infant mortality rates and population structures up to 2050 to data on probable education rates.

His conflict model shows the combination of higher education, lower infant mortality, smaller youth cohorts, and lower population growth are a few of the reasons why the world can expect a more peaceful future. The population is expected to grow, but at a slower pace than today, and the proportion of young people will decrease in most countries, with the exception of African ones.

Unfortunately, the model has already had to be tweaked to take account of the Arab Spring and renewed Israeli-Palestinian tensions. The authors admitted that since the first findings of the model were published in 2009, conflicts in the Middle East had weakened the clear correlation between socio-economic development and the absence of civil war, while the fighting in Syria and Libya had shown that “we also have to include democratisation processes in the model”.

via The future of war is looking bleak – World Politics – World – The Independent.

Wrong

2050 projections based on blinkered studies. Factually wrong.

Africa’s population after the end of WWII, in 1950 was estimated at 22 crores (220 million) – and is now at about 110 crores (1100 million). Can it be 2.8 billion ?(280 cr.; 2800 million). Even by 2050? Unless external meddling is stopped?

For the 200 years of the British Raj in India, population in India grew at its slowest pace, as per historical estimates.

Africa suffered more.

On January 25, 1957, Kashmir was merged with India, ignoring a UN ruling. Harold Macmillan, Selwyn Lloyd, Richard Austen Butler hectoring Nehru on Kashmir. Dag is Dag Hammersjold, the UN Secretary General. | Cartoonist: Michael Cummings in Daily Express, 28 Jan 1957; source & courtesy – cartoons.ac.uk

On January 25, 1957, Kashmir was merged with India, ignoring a UN ruling. Harold Macmillan, Selwyn Lloyd, Richard Austen Butler hectoring Nehru on Kashmir. Dag is Dag Hammersjold, the UN Secretary General. | Cartoonist: Michael Cummings in Daily Express, 28 Jan 1957; source & courtesy – cartoons.ac.uk

Wronger

Population decline of Africa was a direct result of slavery and colonialism.

Colonialism in Africa was dismantled over thirty years (1947-1977) after India – a process in which India’s foreign policy played no small role. Seeing colonialism anywhere as a threat to India, India’s foreign policy in the first 25 years concentrated more on global issues than on India’s own interests. Without economic or military might, India spoke on world stages – and colonial powers listened.

With great resentment.

Under Nehru's Foreign Policy, India's voice was heard by super-powers, on the global stage. Even though India was militarily and economically weak. This cartoon from a British magazine shows Nehru's position on Suez rankled in Britain. Kashmir was a part of India - and Suez was NOT a part of Britain, but a part of Egypt. (Nehru - on Kashmir - On Suez; artist: Ronald Searle. Published in Punch Magazine 23 January 1957. Cartoon source and courtesy - punchcartoons.com).

Under Nehru’s Foreign Policy, India’s voice was heard by super-powers, on the global stage. Even though India was militarily and economically weak. This cartoon from a British magazine shows Nehru’s position on Suez rankled in Britain. Kashmir was a part of India – and Suez was NOT a part of Britain, but a part of Egypt. (Nehru – on Kashmir – On Suez; artist: Ronald Searle. Published in Punch Magazine 23 January 1957. Cartoon source and courtesy – punchcartoons.com).

Wrongest

War is probably decreasing because war mongers in the West no longer have the capacity, due ageing population and economic decline at home.

No less significant is the fact that resistant societies have found new ways to wage war. Libya is the most recent example.

In Africa.

The extract above interestingly does not mention colonialism, missionary objectives or Pax Americana as a cause but blames people for being born – through concepts like population control.

Dubious studies by people with doubtful intentions.


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Inheritance Laws: A Theory Why India’s Muslims Lag

October 3, 2012 1 comment

How ancient marriage and inheritance customs shape modern society.

Hate The Muslim Woman cartoon by Khalil Bendib.

Hate The Muslim Woman cartoon by Khalil Bendib.

Anomalies

Why are the populations of Saudi Arabia (2.81 crores – 2011), Jordan (0.62 crores – 2011), Syria (o.23 crores – 2011), Iraq (3.3 crores – 2011), Iran (7.48 crores – 2011) so low?

Say, compared to other Islamic countries like Pakistan (17.7 crores – 2011), Bangladesh (15.1 crores – 2011), Indonesia (24.2 crores – 2011) – even Malaysia (28.9 crores – 2011).

To get a perspective, population of Maharashtra is 11.24 crores (2011).

Part of The Answer

The answer is late marriages in the Arab world-Middle East due to meher.

Since meher system is not strictly followed outside the Arab world-Middle East, early marriages are common. Marriage itself as an element is more common outside the Arab world-Middle East. Marriage in the Arab world-Middle East is a sign of rank and status.

Meher also drives the system of multiple wives – ‘If she is worth US$100,000, then I am good for at least US$75,000’ kind of thinking operates among women.

Dowry on the other hand helps to push-start the young to start a family – which improves population growth.

Could it be that the poor performance on economic and social indicators by India’s Muslims today doesn’t just reflect current disadvantage and deprivation, but also has far deeper historical, cultural, and religious roots?

Timur Kuran, an economics professor at Duke University, together with Anantdeep Singh, a researcher at the University of Southern California, in a new study have argued that the roots of Muslims’ lagging performance may be attributed to institutional differences that go back to the British colonial period. In doing so, they discount conventional explanations including the supposed “conservatism and insularity” of Islam, the supposed “demoralization” of the Muslim community after the fall of the Mughal empire, and the supposed animosity of the attitude of British colonizers against the Muslims and in favor of the Hindus.

Instead, Mr. Kuran and Mr. Singh argue that the real culprit is the Islamic inheritance system, which the British codified and enforced after coming to power in India. They suggest that the typical Muslim form of saving across generations, family trusts known as Waqfs, were not well suited for the pooling of capital across families, nor were they well suited to pursuing profit-making enterprises. What they were good at, though, was providing a safe way for an individual family to save its wealth over time.

By contrast, more flexible Hindu inheritance practices were much better suited to capital accumulation within a given family, the pooling of resources within extended family and clan networks, and the preservation and growth of wealth across generations. What is more, Hindus tended to do business within family run enterprises that were able to transition to modern corporate setups in the 20th century, whereas Muslims tended to rely on transitory and short-lived business partnerships with other Muslims that were difficult to translate into the structure of a modern corporation.

While it’s obviously true that Islamic inheritance practices predate British rule, the study documents that these laws were only loosely enforced during the late Mughal period and many Muslims, especially converts, continued to live by non-Islamic customs including inheritance practices. However, the British, who set up common law courts, more rigorously applied the distinct inheritance laws of different communities. Crucially, as Mr. Kuran and Mr. Singh argue, the British, being unfamiliar with Indian traditions, institutionalized a more “classical” or Arabic form of Islamic law than the more flexible practices derived from Persian and other sources that had existed under the Mughals.

The end result was that in practice many more Muslims became subject to a stricter enforcement of Islamic laws. Tellingly, the Muslims who’ve fared best economically come from small ”nonconforming” communities that converted from Hinduism – the Khojas, Bohras, Memons and Girasias – who as it happens were allowed by the British to retain their original inheritance practices. Azim Premji, India’s richest Muslim and the only Indian Muslim on the Forbes list of billionaires, is a Khoja.

via Economics Journal: A Theory Why India’s Muslims Lag – India Real Time – WSJ.


Indian ‘vanishing ink’ plot in Egypt’s Election

Did Islamic Brotherhood import pens from India with ‘vanishing’ ink to subvert elections in Egypt?

Rumor had it a devious conspiracy was afoot: Egyptians voting for a new president Saturday were being tricked into using pens with disappearing ink so their choice on the ballot would vanish before it was counted.

The claim seems to have emerged two days before the vote. A right-wing, Rush Limbaugh-style TV host, Tawfiq Okasha, known for his backing of the ruling military, accused the Muslim Brotherhood of importing 180,000 disappearing-ink pens from India. He proclaimed that they intended to distribute the pens outside polling stations to voters they believed would vote for Ahmed Shafiq, the former Mubarak prime minister running against the Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi.

“I warn everyone. I warn the Shafiq campaign. I warn all voters,” Okasha shouted on his show on the satellite channel he owns. “The voter will make his mark on the ballot with it and four hours later the mark disappears. The vote counters will open the ballot and find it blank.”

A Brotherhood spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlan, denied the claims.

There was no concrete evidence for the rumors, but some voters in polling stations around the city were clearly concerned as they marked their paper ballots. Talk of a plot just deepened Egyptians’ worries that the dirty tricks rife in elections under authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak were still in play and that powers greater than them still manipulate the system, even after a revolution last year aimed at bringing transparency.

“Is this the right pen?” an old man in a traditional galabeya robe shouted, holding one up to the judge supervising at a polling station in Giza, the sister city of Egypt’s capital, Cairo.

The rumor gained further ground when officials suggested the plot was a reality, though they did not accuse the Brotherhood or any other group.

Speaking to journalists Saturday, the interior minister in charge of security forces warned that the pens had indeed been brought in from abroad.

Farouq Sultan, the head of the presidential election commission, said that “once the rumor” spread, the commission asked the Interior Ministry to provide 50,000 pens for the polling centers to use. He and the interior minister said that election workers had been instructed not to let voters use anything but the official pens. Sultan said that “as far as he knew,” some vanishing-ink pens had been discovered in circulation. (via The ‘vanishing ink’ plot in Egypt vote – Yahoo! News).

One ‘Birather’ to Another?

June 1, 2012 2 comments

Back in 70s, the new-found power by the Islāmic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity? What now …

The State of Public Policy  in Pakistan  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today  |  Click for image.

The State of Public Policy in Pakistan | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today | Click for image.

Oil wealth

The oil riches, glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, after the 1973 Oil Embargo, had a profound effect in Indian Muslims. The new-found power by the Islamic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity.

For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, with an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

Jannat lost?

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai.

To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy – time.com). Click for larger image.

Unfortunate victims in this labour-import by the Middle East, many are in the Saudi Arabia. With a rich Welfare State, high disposable incomes

THE presence of a housemaid in a Saudi house has become inevitable. If this inevitability is not because of her services, then it is because of the need to imitate others. This is a fact that everybody knows. The need for housemaids is connected to the ways Saudis live — women go to work, responsibilities for the social and educational welfare of children, men failing to help with house duties, few day-care facilities for children, large and spacious homes, extended families and increasing numbers of children. The net result is that the majority of families need to have housemaids. The truth of the matter is that some of us need more than one housemaid. (via Saudis and domestic help — ‘maid’ for each other).

This above extract on Middle East does not utter the word India even once – or the abuse of these maids – as another story, from the same publication shows.

But now the 40-year-old woman says her sponsor stopped paying her four months ago and then sold her to a labor placement agency in Riyadh for SR13,000 (about $3,460).

After promising to pay her the back salary, the agency sent her to work for another Saudi family without paying her the promised sum. And she claims her new employer, a Saudi woman, is treating her poorly, such as not paying her a salary, keeping her locked up so she won’t flee and denying her medical attention.

“I’m sick and this woman won’t give me even a Panadol, and she has not given me salary,” Beevi told Arab News.

“There are three other maids here, too: an Indonesian, a Sri Lankan, and one from Morocco. They have not been paid their salaries either.”

If the allegations are true then a number of Saudi labor laws have been violated by Beevi’s first sponsor, the labor placement agent and the new employer.

Besides the obvious illegal practice of not paying a salary, a sponsor cannot sell off an employee to a third party agent. That third party agent is likewise prohibited by law from then hiring out a worker under somebody else’s sponsorship.

The new employer has also broken the law by taking in a worker who is not under her sponsorship. Beevi says she is still under the sponsorship of her first sponsor.

Beevi has complained to the Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA), which has filed a petition on her behalf to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. (via Housemaids bought, sold like chattels | ArabNews).

Welcome to the party

But for Pakistanis the story has been different.

Brought up on a history that glorified Mohammed Bin Qasim, Pakistan’s official history hitched itself to Muslim ‘invaders’ and ‘conquerors’ of ‘idol-worshiping’ India. Even invoked on cricket fields, the Mohammed Bin Qasim narrative gained further strength in Pakistan with the Oil Boom in the Middle East.

From 1975-2005, as India slowly and inexorably pulled away and ahead of Pakistan, this narrative started sounding rather tinny. Further, the plateau and decline of the Oil Boom in the Middle East, diluted the power of this narrative.

What of Pakistani perception of treatment of Pakistanis by the Saudis?

Not very complimentary if this report is anything to go by.

RAWALPINDI: Airport Security Force personnel at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport allegedly entered into an altercation with the military attaché of the Saudi embassy on Thursday, after he refused to cooperate during security checks and abused Pakistan and called Pakistani officials his “servants”.

According to officials from the ASF, Colonel Sukhari, who was meant to fly out to Riyadh, refused to get a routine body check and started quarrelling with the security personnel at the airport.

The Saudi embassy official became abusive and attacked the ASF officials, say eye witnesses. He also abused Pakistanis in general and called them “servant class,” said eyewitnesses.

An official from the Airport Police said the Saudi official started the fight by slapping an ASF official, identified as Idrees. (via Refusing to cooperate: ‘ASF men rough up Saudi embassy official’ – The Express Tribune).

Not surprising this ‘official’ history attracts sarcasm and derision in Pakistan.

For instance this tweet.

https://twitter.com/majorlyprofound/status/208440711551524864


Gold – Will the West buy or kill?

April 5, 2012 4 comments

Even before an old war ends, the Middle East sees the start of a new war. The West needs a few thousand tons of gold. Will they buy – or kill for that gold?

The Middle East has been a war-zone from WWII to now  |  Source & courtesy - McClatchy; cartoonist - Jim Morin in Miami Herald on March 19, 2012  |  Click for image.

The Middle East has been a war-zone from WWII to now | Source & courtesy - McClatchy; cartoonist - Jim Morin in Miami Herald on March 19, 2012 | Click for image.

See Ma … no hands

Under the Bretton Woods agreement, the US dollar became the reserve currency of the world. For getting European support, essential for the implementation of Bretton Woods system, the US flooded Europe with dollars.

Various mechanisms like the Marshall Plan, the IBRD, were used. This flood of US dollars, anchored European currencies – and by proxy, became equally useful. For the last 60 years now, European nations there was no need to maintain any foreign exchange reserves.

Unlike the rest of the world.

Even major economies like Japan, China, India, Brazil, Russia.

Are  things changing now?

In common with most developed countries the U.K. has no reserves worth speaking of. In truth, what is interesting is how low the reserves held by all the developed nations now are. Switzerland is the only European country with significant reserves, with $340 billion squirreled away, whilst Germany has $257 billion, and France has $172 billion. The U.S. only has $148.5 billion, although when you can print the world’s reserve currency maybe that doesn’t matter so much. Overall, however, it is only the emerging nations that have built up significant cash piles.

Central banks in the emerging markets increasing their holdings of gold has been a big part of the bull market in the metal. At the end of last year, official net purchases of gold started to rise dramatically. In the third quarter of 2011, central banks added 148.8 tonnes to their gold stocks, more than double the entire amount of government buying in 2010, according to the World Gold Council. Interestingly, the Greek central bank has been slowly adding to its holdings of gold, which would be sort of handy, should they happen to decide to re-introduce the drachmas one day.

But the next phase will be developed world central banks moving back into precious metal; the U.K., Germany, France, Switzerland and potentially the U.S. as well.

The U.K. has given the first hints that policy makers are at least thinking about it. Actual buying maybe some way off. And if they start, it will be done discreetly, otherwise the price will shoot up.

But when it starts to happen seriously, it will provide the bull market in gold with a whole new impetus. (via Why Gold’s Bull Run Could Continue – SmartMoney.com).

Iraq & Afghanistan out of the way; is it the turn of Iran and Pakistan  |  Source & courtesy - McClatchy; cartoonist - Jim Morin / Miami Herald (March 21, 2012)  |  Click for image.

Iraq & Afghanistan out of the way; is it the turn of Iran and Pakistan | Source & courtesy - McClatchy; cartoonist - Jim Morin / Miami Herald (March 21, 2012) | Click for image.

Permanent war-zone

In the last 60 years, most of these economic strategies have been implemented covertly.

For a 100 years now, the West has waged war against Islāmic economies. These anti-Islāmic wars started with WWI (1914-18), against the Ottoman Empire and Germany. Most recently, the West waged wars against Islāmic economies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya – and probably Iran in the near future.

Will Pakistan escape this fate?

If Pakistan falls, will India be far behind?


Brown Man’s Burden

April 5, 2012 1 comment

On what basis is a Brown Man’s burden being imposed on India?

The West has stopped killing in the name of Christ - and now kills for progress, democracy, freedom. Islam kills in the name of Islam and Allah. Little difference. |  Cartoonist Andy Davey; source & courtesy -  thesun.co.uk  |  Click for image.

The West has stopped killing in the name of Christ - and now kills for progress, democracy, freedom. Islam kills in the name of Islam and Allah. Little difference. | Cartoonist Andy Davey; source & courtesy - thesun.co.uk | Click for image.

Indian burden …?

Irfan Ahmad, an Indian-Bihari, earlier at JNU, now with an Australian University, has now come out with a new version of White Man’s Burden.

Specially for India. Call it The Brown Man’s Burden.

Promoting the cause and interests of the Islāmic ‘world’, Irfan Ahmad writes how

West’s claim of spreading democracy in the Middle East is bogus. Against the West’s claims, it continually de-democratised one country after another. Like India, the world’s largest democracy which is largely disinterested in – and indirectly hostile to – democratic movements in Bhutan and Burma, the West has been largely hostile to genuine democracy in the Middle East so as to nurture its interests – geopolitical and strategic – by keeping the Mubaraks and the Shahs “stable”. (via How the West de-democratised the Middle East – Opinion – Al Jazeera English).

While Najib Mubarki works on inducing White Man’s Burden (and guilt), Irfan Ahmed has taken on himself to impose a Brown Man’s Burden.

For instance, Irfan Ahmad pushes the idea that it is Indian ‘Hindu’ responsibility to protect Lebanese Muslims from racist attacks in Christian Australia.

Big Brother know best

Surprising, that Irfan Ahmad cannot see that the problems of West Asia are a direct result of West’s assumption of White Man’s Burden in West Asia – as the ‘keeper’, saviour, benevolent authority.

Irfan Ahmad is wrong when he promotes the idea of India’s ‘responsibilities.’

Since when has it become India’s responsibility to be interested in or nurture democracy anywhere, as Irfan Ahmad tries to impute. India’s avowed and stated foreign policy goal has been non-interference.

Why assume that India Government knows best about what is good for Bhutan or Myanmar? There are some in India that believe that the Indian Government does know what is good for India itself! So, why impose, influence, direct, promote agenda in other countries.

To equate India with the West, on a campaign to keep West Asia unstable for the last 100 years, is at best, laughable.

Irfan’s two legs

The other leg of Irfan Ahmad’s thesis is the idea of ‘Hindu’ Burden as Keeper of Muslims in India.

Explaining reasons for radical Islam, Irfan Ahmad argues that ‘when secular democracy is responsive to the traditions and aspirations of its Muslim citizens, Muslims in turn embrace pluralism and democracy. But when democracy becomes majoritarian Muslims turn radical.’

In effect, Irfan Ahmad claims that it is Indian ‘Hindu’ responsibility to provide ‘democracy responsive to the traditions and aspirations’ of Indian Muslims.

Otherwise …

I thought that the Partition of India made it clear that Indians Muslims will be their own keeper. So, where is the question of providing ‘democracy is responsive to the traditions and aspirations of its Muslim citizens’.

Or of ‘Hindu’ majoritarianism that Irfan Ahmad talks of?

‘Hindu’ Keepers

Even though there are ongoing attempts to make the India State interfere in religious matters, as a country India is not a theological State. Hence there cannot be a role of the Indian State to care for Muslims, ‘Hindus’, etc.

India will take care of all Indians – and any criticism of India to take care of Indians is welcome. But Irfan Ahmad’s attempts to ‘impose’ a burden of Muslims on the Indian State are neither logical or acceptable.

Those who define that burden, can carry it.


Looking Back At Arab Spring

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Is the Arab world going to get a better deal? Was it empty rage – or is there a road-map?

Who was toppling these puppets? | Cartoonist - Saieb Khalil; source & courtesy - doroob.com | Click for larger source image.

Who was toppling these puppets? | Cartoonist - Saieb Khalil; source & courtesy - doroob.com | Click for larger source image.

Gushing coverage

Nine months ago, the gushing coverage of Arab Spring  in the mainstream media bordered on hyperbole. Mainstream media boosted these ‘protests (which) may have now acquired a life of their own’ and ‘sweeping changes … coming to the Arab lands, where authoritarian regimes are the norm’ and how ‘present protests, could be a game-changer’.

Throwing cold water on an overjoyed world of Twitterati, Chatterati, Bloggerati, Paparazzi was in danger of being called cynical – even as they claimed credit for this ‘change.’

Egypt’s influential Al Ahram ran this column 3 months ago, pretty much confirming that the Arab Spring was another round of games between Arab puppets and their Western masters. Will Russia’s support to the Syrian regime mean anything?

It is clear now the whole Arab Spring is not as spontaneous as appeared at first glance. While the regimes across the region were indeed corrupt and dictatorial, they were all supported by the West. But so was the opposition.

The moment came when they were perceived as passed their due date, and with the neocons in office by 2000 and PNAC’s “new Pearl Harbour” on the horizon, it was possible to proceed with Yinon’s plan to create dynamic chaos in the Middle East. The Arab Spring is, in an eerie way, a natural conclusion to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A sort of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, American style.

It has taken various forms so far, with a breezy boot to Zein Al-Abidine bin Ali in Tunisia, a pair of handcuffs to Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a burnt face to Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, impending assassination to Gaddafi, and who-knows-what to Al-Assad. The only ones to escape unharmed are the Gulf sheikhs and the kings of Morocco and Jordan, who are so compliant that they need only a tap on the shoulder to do Washington’s bidding. Oh yes, Algeria’s President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika is still hanging on, but not even the neocons dare to overthrow him and reopen civil war wounds from the 1990s.

That is not to denigrate the revolutionaries across the region, nor to dismiss their heroic struggles to achieve independence in the face of the Western intriguers. Among the prominent new leaders are Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Tunisia’s Rachid Ghannouchi and Egypt’s Essam El-Erian. Their popular Renaissance and Freedom and Justice parties are projected to win the plurality of seats in upcoming elections, and they have no use for the imperialists. Then there is rebel military leader in Tunisia Abdullah Hakim Belhaj who plans to take the US to court for torturing him and then rendering him to Libya. There are few secular heroes in the region that can vie with the long-suffering Islamists. (via Al-Ahram Weekly | Region | Russia’s Middle East dilemma).

If only the Arab spring was better equipped – with ideas that mattered.

Instead of empty rage.


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