Tag Archives | Revolution
“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” — Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, at a Human Rights Day ceremony on 10th December 1961
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In November, 1990 a man set himself on fire in front of the U.S. capitol, the news reports from the time say that the reasons for the man’s act were unknown, no riots were forthcoming. Last year the cultural shifts in Egypt, Yemen and Algeria proved a different outcome in light of similar self-immolation. As individuals express their anger, alienation and rejection in self willed conflagration it is igniting their communities into violent uprisings shaking the foundations of global culture.
As I’m writing this a young man sits in protest in a Palestinian Mosque, part of the March 15 Youth Coalition who set up tents in the Bethlehem municipality to demand a new Palestinian national council and a unified Palestine. He is threatening to set himself on fire if the Coalition’s demands are not taken seriously.
Did shit just hit the fan? Those keeping up with the Middle East protests and oil prices are well aware of the powder keg that is Saudi Arabia.
Yahoo News reports:
CAIRO – Saudi police opened fire Thursday to disperse a protest in the mainly Shiite east, leaving at least one man injured, as the government struggled to prevent a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom.
For full article, see Yahoo News.
“Oil will go up ‘ballistically’ if unrest shifts to Saudi Arabia, says Marc Faber”. Business Intelligence Middle East reports:
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Brent crude futures could hit US$200 a barrel if political unrest spreads into Saudi Arabia, Societe Generale said on Monday.
Under what the bank called Geopolitical Scenario 3, “unrest spreads to Saudi Arabia and threatens Saudi crude exports and any remaining spare capacity. Brent price range of US$150-US$200 a barrel,” it said in a research note.
Robert Fisk writes in the Independent:
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Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a “day of rage” from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington’s highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.
Washington’s request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America’s chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban.
As fighting inside the country intensifies, Libya's links to the net appear to have been completely severed. Net monitoring and security firms are reporting that no net traffic is entering or leaving Libyan net space. Renesys said the outage was more than just a "blip" as many sites have been unreachable for more than 12 hours. Net traffic into and out of the country had been intermittent during recent protests but the cut coincided with a push to oust rebels. During the early days of the rebellion in Libya, net access was restricted but in early March net traffic started to pick up in areas no longer under the control of Colonel Gaddafi's government. Graphs of net activity maintained by Google show a steady rise in traffic to its sites throughout this week. In particular, Libyans were making heavy use of YouTube to post images of the conflict.
No stranger to controversial opinions, Christopher Hitchens asks on Slate:
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However meanly and grudgingly, even the new Republican speaker has now conceded that the president is Hawaiian-born and some kind of Christian. So let’s hope that’s the end of all that. A more pressing question now obtrudes itself: Is Barack Obama secretly Swiss?
Let me explain what I mean. A Middle Eastern despot now knows for sure when his time in power is well and truly up. He knows it when his bankers in Zurich or Geneva cease accepting his transfers and responding to his confidential communications and instead begin the process of “freezing” his assets and disclosing their extent and their whereabouts to investigators in his long-exploited country. And, at precisely that moment, the U.S. government also announces that it no longer recognizes the said depositor as the duly constituted head of state. Occasionally, there is a little bit of “raggedness” in the coordination.
I can’t quite settle on what shocked the West more: 9/11 or the popular democratic uprisings sweeping throughout the Middle East. 9/11 certainly came easier for some to explain. Testament to this are the endless column inches and books about the otherness of a world of Islamists at war with humanity; added with the current titillating literary imagination of powerless women victims held in bondage by their men and their faith.
That these very Muslims want democracy has to be the real shocker though. Well it certainly negates the truth of all the regular intelligence agency national dossiers, the think tank country profiles, the political proclamations and so on.
As I try to search for answers of such gross miscalculation. I can’t help but remember personal encounters with such experts. I had written a book about the phenomenon of the Iranian blogosphere that a Times columnist had quoted from telling his readers that “Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, the head of the Iranian judiciary, recently described the Internet as a ‘Trojan Horse carrying enemy soldiers in its belly.’”
Within days I received a gentle enquiring email from an Iran-based foreign correspondent of a renowned western publication asking me about the source of the quote.… Read the rest
The back story to the revolutionary overthrow of longstanding dictatorships in the Middle East is that the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, et al couldn’t afford even basic foods and weren’t going to stand for the elites hoarding all their countries’ resources any longer.
The U.S Dept. of Agriculture’s Outlook Forum suggests that syrocketing food prices will continue, with possibly disastrous consequences around the world. Adam Gordon analyzes the situation for Forbes:
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The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual “Outlook Forum” in Washington D.C., usually draws a polite trickle of insiders and commodities traders, but on February 24 the forum’s venue was overrun with 2,000 attendees.
At the event, USDA chief economist Joseph Glauber warned of record farm prices for corn, wheat, and soyabeans for 2011, and resulting US food inflation of at least 4% this year and next as prices work their way through the supply chain.
Riz Khan interviews writers Ahdaf Soueif of Egypt, Hisham Matar of Libya, and Ariel Dorfman of Chile about the roles of artists and intellectuals in revolutions.
According to DEBKAfile, western military advisers have landed in Libya and are actively assisting anti-government forces:
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Hundreds of US, British and French military advisers have arrived in Cyrenaica, Libya’s eastern breakaway province, DEBKAfile‘s military sources report exclusively. This is the first time America and Europe have intervened militarily in any of the popular upheavals rolling through the Middle East since Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution in early January. The advisers, including intelligence officers, were dropped from warships and missile boats at the coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk Thursday Feb. 24, for a threefold mission:
1. To help the revolutionary committees controlling eastern Libyan establish government frameworks for supplying two million inhabitants with basic services and commodities;
2. To organize them into paramilitary units, teach them how to use the weapons they captured from Libyan army facilities, help them restore law and order on the streets and train them to fight Muammar Qaddafi’s combat units coming to retake Cyrenaica.