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The Forum > Article Comments > Arab spring looking bleak for West > Comments

Arab spring looking bleak for West : Comments

By Graham Cooke, published 8/6/2011

The Arab Spring is turning into a winter of discontent. The ill winds blowing out of the Middle East and North Africa are looking bad for the West.

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A good article.

One could have always guessed that the ecstatic pro-democracy protests in Egypt were illusions of some very tired people in a city square.

They should have realised that the new government, a committee of generals, would hardly spell stability and western style democracy.

Even some "experts" in Australia cast aside cautious cynicism.

Regarding Libya - there appears to be no substantial alternative government or vision - just a loose anti-Gaddafi coalition of idealists and opportunists. If they need Western help every step of the way (as they do) you know that the anti-Gaddafi coalition will have severe problems maintaining power and attracting broad democratic backing.

The prospect that Gaddafi's predictable dictatorship will be helped by the West into WORSE Afghan-style tribal anarchy and permanent civil war should be considered.

I think Pilger was onto something in OLO a few weeks back when he suspected oil and the Libyan crisis should be placed in the same sentence. Odd that the US and other NATO never say "oil" when they're going to the trouble of military intervention in a Middle East country. Pilger's theory may also be correct that the US/NATO intervention was partly to eject Chinese oil interests from Libya.

The obvious truth that many Middle Eastern countries where important (that is worth invading) because of their oil, was even valid in 2006 - http://gentleseas.blogspot.com/2006/06/oil-unspeakable-foreign-policy-factor.html .

Pete
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 8 June 2011 1:52:02 PM
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There were some people that took part in the protests that were really interested in democracy. They will probably be the losers. All the signs - increased use by women of head scarves and burkas and increased neo uniform short beards by the men point to the future. I fear that all of the countries with the possible exception of Tunisia will move to being dominated totally by the Imams and that overall there will rise a form of loose caliphate across the whole region.
I hope that I am wrong, but I fear I will not be.
I am puzzled that people have used and stil use the word 'spring' with all it's conotations of optimism a la 'Prague spring'. I see no reason to think anything other than that we shall see a rise of a set of theocratic dictatorships replacing a group of dictatorships driven by personal greed.
Posted by eyejaw, Wednesday, 8 June 2011 2:03:49 PM
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This piece misleadingly jutxaposes 'the West' (the 'democratic' good guys) and the nasty rabble in the Arab world.
Doesn't add up.
All these countries, with the exception of Iran and Syria, are in partnership with or in thrall to the US (with its European satraps in tow) influence.
Hence the current dismantling of Libya, with Qaddafi declining to play by the West's rules.
Islamic fundamentalism is merely another weapon in the West's armory.
The West is responsible for the shackling of the potential of the 'Arab Spring', with local headkickers happy to oblige.
Posted by evan jones, Wednesday, 8 June 2011 4:14:45 PM
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>>Arab spring looking bleak for West>>

It looks even bleaker for the Arabs. Tunisia excepted, I haven't seen anything that remotely resembles a "spring."

I would not like to be an Alawite or Christian in Syria if the Assad regime falls. Nor would I like to be a Syrian Sunni in the mean time.

All thatís happened so far in Egypt is that the military regime has undergone a change of management. Will the new management be an improvement? Maybe.

Probably the new management will co-opt factions of the Muslim Brotherhood and move in the direction of becoming an Islamic republic.

With a "just in time" loan from the IMF Egypt is able to continue buying food for now. But, as we all know, IMF loans come at a price. It cannot go on buying food with borrowed money forever.

See: The hunger to come in Egypt

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ME10Ak01.html

Yemen is a basket case. No water, no food, no education, no skills, no resources, no chance.

As for Bahrain, hereís how Patrick Cockburn puts it:

>>How to explain the ferocity of the Bahraini al-Khalifa royal family's assault on the majority of its own people? Despite an end to martial law, the security forces show no signs of ceasing to beat detainees to the point of death, threaten schoolgirls with rape and force women to drink bottles of urine.>>

See:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-only-winners-from-brutal-repression-of-shia-majority-will-be-saudi-arabia-2292460.html

We need not labour the point about the al-Khalifaís Saudi allies.

And so it goes. If this is spring Iíd hate to see autumn let alone winter.

No doubt the usual people will construct a narrative in which itís all the fault of the wicked witch of the west. That wonít put one more litre of water in Yemenís depleted aquifers or enable the Egyptians to grow one more bushel of wheat or save the life of a single Christian or Alawite if the Assad dynasty falls. Nor will it save the life of a single Sunni in the mean time.

And then thereís Assadís soon to be nuclear equipped ally in the background.

Oh well, Cíest la vie
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Wednesday, 8 June 2011 7:00:19 PM
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Islamic fundamentalism is a weapon in the wests armory?

Are you kidding?

Tell that to the Saudis. Why is this western weapon being aimed at the house of Saud, America's closest Arab ally and vital trade partner?

Tell it to the Israelis, who fight Islamic extremism on all their borders and even within them.

Tell it to Turkey, a muslim country long defined by its secular traditions, which is becoming more islamic by the day.

Tell it to Paksistan, which is in dange of becoming a failed state because of its long history of double dealing with islamic extremists.

Islamic fundamentalism is a threat to moderate interests across most of the middle east and much of Asia. It is fundamentally at odds with a progressive/leftist worldview, yet the loony-left, captivated as they are by their own hatred of the US, are absolutely detrmined to ignore this. It seems that stoning homosexuals and raped women, preventing girls from going to school, oppressing those of other religions, murdering civillians etc. etc., is acceptable as long as its coming from 'freedom fighters' (read enemies of the US).

And some in the lunatic fringe seek to explain this away by aruing that, really, the Islamic extremsists are actually pawns of the great satan (the US) which is playing both sides against the middle. Well ... if you'll believe that, you'll believe anything.
Posted by PaulL, Wednesday, 8 June 2011 10:26:10 PM
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The so-called "prospects of a wave of democracy in the Arab world" never existed. There is no chance that any Arab nation, or Muslim either, for that matter, will embrace anti-islamic concepts such as democracy, equality and respect for human rights. A simple reading will of the Quran and ahadith will quickly show that Islam is incompatible with these ideas.

There is no such thing as free speech in Islam. Nobody is permitted to challenge any word, idea or fact in the Quran. Nobody is allowed to express any negative view of Mohammad, his life and words. Since these are full of hate and violence, one cannot condemn such actions practiced by tyrants. All a radical has to do is say that something is un-islamic and moderate Muslims run for cover.

I don't know what will happen in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Tunisia, but it will not be a democracy that respects human rights. The Brotherhood will probably take power and rule according to sharia, which means more violence.

I don't believe that Muslims deserve democracy since they don't speak out for non-Muslims or denounce the hate and violence that is found in the Quran and islamic dogma
Posted by kactuz, Thursday, 9 June 2011 4:20:27 AM
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