February 2011 Archives

February 27, 2011

Do political events in sub-Saharan Africa carry the same resonance with western media outlets as revolutions in North Africa, an area populated primarily by African Arabs? If not, why not?

 Azad Essa analyzes those questions in a February 21, 2011, report in Al Jazeera English headlined “In Search of an African Revolution.” Conclusion: “International media is following protests across the “Arab World” but ignoring Africa.”  It’s worth reading.

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February 26, 2011

Has Interim Government Been Formed in Libya?

“Mustafa Mohamed Abud Ajleil, Libya's former justice minister, has led the formation of an interim government based in the eastern city of Benghazi, the online edition of the [Arabic language] Quryna newspaper reported on Saturday [February 26, 2011], according to a February 26, 2011 Al Jazeera article headlined “Gaddafi 'losing grip' over Libya.” Numerous publications around the world are also reporting this development.

According to Al Jazeera, “Quryna quoted him as saying that Muammar Gaddafi "alone" bore responsibility "for the crimes that have occurred" in Libya and that his tribe, Gaddadfa, were forgiven.”

"Abud Ajleil insisted on the unity of the homeland's territory, and that Libya is free and its capital is Tripoli," Quryna quoted him as saying in a telephone conversation, according to Al Jazeera.

Mustafa Mohamed Abud Ajleil will most likely be an interim president since he comes from the same era and once served in the Libyan government Muammar al-Gaddafi and carried out its policies. Libya needs younger, fresher leadership to thrive and survive as an independent entity.

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February 25, 2011

Will Revolution Bring Down House of Saud?

Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics and Political Science, asserts in a February 25, 2011 article in The Independent:

There is a revolution taking place in the Middle East. The young people are emboldened and confident in a way they have never been before, and what we have seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya could yet take hold in other countries in the region.

Mr. Gerges said,"But if the revolution is going to stop anywhere, it is likely to be in the desert at the gates of the House of Saud, crucially the home of the world's greatest supply of oil." If you want to know why Mr. Gerges thinks the House of Saud will withstand any revolt by its citizens, see Fawaz Gerges: “Saudi Probably Won’t Fall, but if it does the world will change.”

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February 24, 2011

‘Dogs of War’ Still a Problem in Africa

The Guardian of London’s David Smith, writing from Johannesburg, South Africa, offers an informative look at the use of African mercenaries, both black and white, in the continent’s wars. See “Has Gaddafi Unleashed a Mercenary Force on Africa?

Smith noted in his February 22, 2011, report that, “Mercenaries remain a potent weapon against civilian populations, despite the African Union's 1977 Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa.”

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February 16, 2011

Changing Middle East Status Quo Worries Israelis

Jordan Fabian, writing in a February 15, 2011, article in The Hill datelined Tel Aviv, asserts that, “Israelis are worried about two more years of [U.S.] President [Barack] Obama, and the crisis in Egypt is adding to their concerns.”

The Israelis must have known that the status quo would change one day. In fact, Israel has been under the U.S. security and economic umbrella since 1948. If you want to read Mr. Fabian’s article, please see “Israelis Fretting Over U.S. Policy.” 

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February 12, 2011

Pundit’s Obsession With the Muslim Brotherhood

James R. “Jim” Lobe, Washington bureau chief for the global news agency Inter-Press Service and a respected foreign affairs analyst, offers a good round of opinion in Washington, DC, the U.S. capital , on the role the Muslim Brotherhood may or may not play in a future Egyptian government now that former Egyptian  president Hosni Mubarak has been ousted from power. Notes Mr. Lobe:

While the many and far-reaching implications of Friday's [February 11, 211] transfer of power to what is apparently a military junta in Egypt have yet to be absorbed here [in Washington, DC, the U.S. capital], the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in any transition to a more democratic regime is certain to figure high on the political agenda.
Mr. Lobe said, “For a number of prominent politicians and commentators, especially those closely associated with the so-called "Israel lobby", the Brotherhood's possible pathway to power in Cairo constitutes the nightmare scenario which Washington should do everything it can to prevent,” writes Mr. Lobe.

If you want to read more of Mr. Lobe’s analysis, please see “The Brotherhood Bogeyman.” Also see the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English website.

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Is a New Type of Pan-Arabism Emerging?

Lamis K. Andoni, a Palestinian-American journalist who serves as Al-Jazeera’s “head of international relations,” contends in a February 11, 2011, opinion post in Al-Jazeera that, “The Egyptian revolution has resurrected a new type of pan-Arabism, based on social justice not empty slogans.” See “The resurrection of Pa-Arabism.”

“The Egyptian revolution, itself influenced by the Tunisian uprising, has resurrected a new sense of pan-Arabism based on the struggle for social justice and freedom,” writes Ms. Andoni. “The overwhelming support for the Egyptian revolutionaries across the Arab world reflects a sense of unity in the rejection of tyrannical, or at least authoritarian, leaders, corruption and the rule of a small financial and political elite.”

Ms. Andoni, who has written about Middle East affairs for more than 20-years, offers a perspective worth reading and pondering.

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February 10, 2011

‘Obama Seems to Lack Empathy for Little People’

Professor Juan Cole over at Informed Comment offers a scathing critique of U.S. President Barack Obama’s handling of a numbers important domestic and foreign policy issues in a February 10, 2011,post headlined Wael Ghonim vs. Barack Obama:Change We Can Believe in, Yes We Can. Writes Mr. Cole:

It is no secret that President Barack Obama has been in some regards a profound disappointment to the American Left, and his erratic and often disgraceful performance on the Egypt crisis exemplifies his faults in this regard. He just seems to lack empathy with the little people and is unwilling to buck the rich and powerful, even though they all opposed his run for the presidency. As Iran’s speaker of the house put it, the Obama administration, faced with a choice of supporting the youth revolution or the camels unleashed on it, has chosen the camels.
Mr. Cole, who daily offers thoughts on the “Middle East, history and religion”, said Mr. Obama’s performance “makes a person think there should be rule that no one can run for the presidency who didn’t have a proper father figure in his or her life (Bill Clinton, W., Obama), since apparently once they get into office they start thinking the billionaires are their long-lost parent, whom they have to bend over backward to please.”

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February 8, 2011

Is Omar Suleiman the CIA's Man in Cairo?

Recommended: Suleiman: The CIA's man in Cairo
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Is Egypt Hosni Mubarak's Private Estate?

Salwa Ismail, a professor of Mddle East politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, wrote in the February 5, 2011, edition of The Guardian of London that:

"There is a lot more behind [Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak digging in his heels and setting his thugs on the peaceful protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square than pure politics. This is also about money. Mubarak and the clique surrounding him have long treated Egypt as their fiefdom and its resources as spoils to be divided among them."

Ms. Ismail, author of Political Life in Cairo's New Quarters: Encountering the Everyday State, makes a plausible argument. If you want to read more, please see "A Private Estate Called Egypt."
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