REVOLUTION, RIOTS, OR RENEWAL
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Should you give a flip about what happens in the Middle East? Since your well-being could depend on the outcome of a struggle, you betcha!
The United States could quickly get sucked into a new armed struggle with Iran. The current Arab uprisings have turned that corner of the world upside down. Is it spring or winter over there? No one can say, but we better think about it. I certainly am.
Here’s some fact we should discuss today.
After Wael Ghonim helped start the Egyptian revolution with his internet attacks, experts from the U.S. Department of State to the Kremlin were shocked to discover Cairo’s Tahir Square exploding with protests and Mubarak fall from power. After the riots quieted, it was not clear whether this was renewal or ruckus. It still isn’t. Fireworks time is not over in Egypt.
The centuries old war between the Shiites and Sunnis rocks on in Iraq, threatening to topple any achievement the American presence made. It’s a little like the Methodist and Baptist shooting it out over how much water is needed in baptism. It’s no better across the border in Iran. Internal religious tension has only increased sectarian mistrust in Iran. Moreover, stepped-up sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program are punishing the economy and the Khamenei regime remains shaky.
And then there’s Syria, a country that I have visited and find most intriguing. In future blogs, I’ll described some of that experience. For all practical purposes, the Syrians are already in a civil war. Syrian President Barar Al-Assad watched the Arab Leagues observes run from his country while the brutal killing of thousands of Syrian citizens continues. No one knows whether Assad really believes the tides might turn in his favor or whether he is nothing but a tool of the military junta led by his brother Maher, called a ruthless murderer by many observers. I found Syria to have all the earmarks of an old-fashioned dictatorship.
Getting the picture? The fuse is already burning and I smell smoke in the air.
Of course, the outcome in Lybia appears more positive. New President Moncef Marzouki believes the democratic process is now irreversible. Recently, masses of citizens in Tunis, Tunsia, also marched to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali that helped spark the entire Middle East Revolution. I find encouragement in those situations.
In the on-going blogs, I will analyze what is occurring in these various states as well as concentrate on developments in Israel. I intend to give you a balanced and politically unbiased picture of this critical time of change.
We are living in one of the most important moments in recent history. There’s too much at stake to let this time slip passed us.
What’s your sense of what’s on the horizon? Do you doves descending or smoke going up?