Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Scent of Jasmine

So in the news today, other than Egypt:

  • King Abdullah of Jordan disbanded his government and appointed a former General as his new prime minister.
  • On the West Bank, they are rushing to hold municipal elections, the first since 2006.
  • Syrians are trying to organize mass demonstrations for Saturday. One of my Syrian employees was trying to reach her family in Damascus most of the day yesterday and the phone lines were down. You decide why that was the case. She finally got through yesterday evening. Her family had been trying to contact her from their end as well with no success.
  • And there were protest in Lebanon last week when a Hezbollah candidate was selected as Prime Minister.
I am hesitant to speculate on what is going to happen because it seems that so many others are and the situation is changing so quickly. And it this point, it is just amazing to see how fast this has spread. The time is ripe and people are tired of being poor, jobless, and suppressed.


Dr. Strangelove said...

I have heard two schools of thought on this.

Some staunch right-wing ideologues insist that these protests prove that George W. Bush and the neocons were right--that the democracy we established in Iraq has become a beacon of liberty to the entire region.

The other school of thought (which makes a hell of a lot more sense) holds that what this really shows is that the Middle East is capable of democratic change all by itself. The broken Iraqi government is an inspiration to no one, and if anything the ill-conceived war in Iraq and other American meddling in the region may well have interfered and prevented these movements from taking root earlier.

Raised By Republicans said...

Neocons are nuts.

Step 1: Invade Iraq in 2003
Step 2: Turn the country into a war torn catastof#@(*.
Step 3: ?????
Step 4: 2011 pro-democracy revolt in Tunisia.

Go figure. This has more to do with telecommunications technology and globalization than it does with the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Raised By Republicans said...

RE: Jordan.

My impression is that Jordan is considerably more open politically than Egypt or Tunisia. I could be wrong but I suspect that the Jordanian regime could get out of this by just calling new elections (they have at least the superficial structures of a parliamentary system).

USwest said...

I agree on Jordan.

Dr S wrote, " . . .that the Middle East is capable of democratic change all by itself."

I think the jury is still out on this. They are capable of asking for it. I am not sure if they are capable of creating it. I am cautiously optimistic, but I'll believe it when I see it.

If anything, Iraqi has served as an example of what NOT to do, and this may be why the current governments in the Middle East are trying to avoid violence. That is where I am the most impressed.

As for Mubarak conceding that he won't run again, that's a joke. He wasn't going to run again in September anyway. He was setting his son up. I don't think that non-concession, attempt-at-face-saving will work on Egyptians. The bottom line is that they don't want any Pharaohs. They want elections with viable candidates.

Dr. Strangelove said...

It was a smart move to convince Mubarak to make that announcement. Though it clearly is not what the crowds demanded, nevertheless it is a meaningful concession. Moreover, having one foot halfway out the door now weakens him further and thus may ultimately force his resignation.

I agree that we'll have to see it to believe it. But as we watch the right-wingers jumping on the Egyptian liberty bandwagon, it is worth recalling that until last week, many of them loudly doubted that muslims in the Middle East were even capable of asking for democracy... That their society was culturally incapable of embracing democratic values, and that all they wanted was to have their Pharaohs. The democratic uprisings around the muslim world should put at least the more insulting of those claims to bed now.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The right has been divided between Neocons who viewed Democracy as a US cultural export we should try to pressure into the Middle East and the traditional conservatives who think that Muslims weren't capable of democracy no matter what. Both were clearly wrong.