Archive for the 'democratic revolution' Category

UN Declares War on Gaddafi

The UN Security Council has approved a “no fly zone” over Libya and more importantly authorizing “all necessary measure” (ie. direct attacks against Gaddafi’s forces) to protect civilians, by a vote of 10 in favour with 5 abstentions (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russian Federation). The resolution excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”

NB. This morning France stated that the resolution did not rule out an invasion by foreign troops. An invasion is not the same as an occupation. (20/3/2011 10:57 pm clarification by BK: This was heard on the radio in the early hours but I have been unable to confirm it through googling. It is true however that the resolution does allow for attacks on Gaddafi’s ground troops and that operations by foot soldiers are also not specifically ruled out)

The UN delegates referred repeatedly to the Arab League’s call for a no fly zone.

Speaking before the vote, Alain Juppe, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, said the world was experiencing “a wave of great revolutions that would change the course of history”, as people throughout North Africa and the Middle East were calling for “a breath of fresh air”, for freedom of expression and democracy.  Such calls for democratic transition had echoed thro­ugh Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.  Everyone had witnessed the events with great hope and he believed “this new Arab springtime is good news for all”.  The changes required the international community not to “give lessons”, but to help the people of those countries build a new future.

FOREIGN INTERVENTION PROGRESSIVE and ESSENTIAL

Libya is a largely urban country with 85% of pe­ople living in its two large and about twenty smaller cities and towns. The democratic rebels have control of the eastern towns and the second largest city Benghazi as well as substantially unarmed but very widespread support in the west. They currently have, compared to the undemocratic Gaddafi forces, a reasonably small, badly organized and poorly trained army with virtually no ‘airforce’ and only tiny naval forces that exist under the protection of western navies.

Without foreign intervention Gaddafi can’t be dealt with in anything like a timely manner. He would win in the short term. His army will however be routed once his air power, tanks and armoured vehicles are denied to him.

Gaddafi has already lost Libya. He can only hold Tripoli and the highway east only so far (he can’t for example ever again send his forces to the Egyptian border) and he can not hold that territory that he does indefinitely. Eventually, he won’t be able to hold the outlying eastern end and a more or less rapid withdrawal west will unfold. Everyone interested in this would already have read up on the WW2 forward and backward fighting. Gaddafi understands this perfectly well.

Continue reading ‘UN Declares War on Gaddafi’

Dictatorship on the way to becoming illegal

Today’s New York Times’ article: Libyan Rebels Said to Debate Seeking UN Airstrikes has this issue lurking in the background.

It seems to me that ever so slowly we’re on the way to a world in which outright, naked tyranny is unnaceptable. There’s a clear parallel here with the stages in the long struggle to outlaw chattel slavery.

Continue reading ‘Dictatorship on the way to becoming illegal’

WikiLeaks: Gadhafi and Chávez are Great Pals

This Huffington Post article about the warm relations between Gadhafi and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is a good read: WikiLeaks Drags Libya and Venezuela Through the Mud

No fly zone demand for Libya

Author: Arthur
Comment: (on Egyptian thread)

Former UK Foreign Secretary David Owen has come out with a clear demand for UN Security Council to immediately enforce a no fly zone over Libyan to prevent air force attacks on opposition.

All previous commentary has been hand-wringing. Al Jazeera interviewer uncomprehending asked inane question about whether regime would take any notice and was given clear explanation that the point was not to influence them but to shoot them down.

Immediately available forces mentioned were NATO UK, Cyprus, and Egypt.

Qatar also called for (unspecified) Security Council action.

Meanwhile US still dithering and editorialists blathering about “dilemma” in Bahrain.

And from D.C. Exile:

Former British Foreign Minister David Owen today called for a UN No-Fly Zone to be adopted and imposed on Libya. Owen’s call came in the wake of the defection of two senior Libyan air force pilots and reports of the state’s use of airstrikes against protesters in Tripoli. Along with the defection of the two pilots, several Libyan diplomats resigned in protest over the state’s use of force against protesters. At the same time, protesters in Benghazi have declared their city liberated from the regime.

Twitter feed #libya

Cuba: Viva la dissolution

Cuba definitely deserves our special attention because the hideous regime there calls itself socialist and people believe it. Current developments mean that things may start to get a bit more interesting. The current economic “reforms” are in full swing. Basically they are sacking about a million government employees while allowing them to set up small businesses and “cooperatives”. Also the fibre optic cable connection to Venezuela is complete and the government will now endeavor the tricky task of trying to manage wider use of the internet which is presently very limited.

Being basically a mix of feudalism and state capitalism, “socialism” in Cuba is a total disaster and needs a massive injection of “normal” capitalism to get any growth from its economy. Vietnam and China managed to get a lease of life from doing this. It will be interesting to see if Cuba can pull off the same trick. Any sort of socialist trajectory of course is out of the question because the privileged strata would suppress it and the populace at large are not subjectively equipped for the task, in any way shape or form.

I’ve got some books about Cuba on my Kindle which I have started to plow through. The first one is Persona Non Grata: A Memoir of Disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution by Jorge Edwards who was Chilean Charge d’Affaire in Cuba under Allende and is a famous novelist. Here are some interesting quotes from the book followed by a few comments. Continue reading ‘Cuba: Viva la dissolution’

the vlog that helped spark the egyptian revolution

The Order is Rapidly Fadin’ – The Times they are a-changin’!!

"The order is rapidly fadin'!"

This seems VERY appropriate in light of events in Middle East and North Africa.

Couldn’t find a Bob Dylan version on youtube but Nina Simone does a very thoughtful interpretation:

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Melbourne and Sydney Rallies in support of the Egyptian Rebels

WLE_01_exiledsurfer 

Melbourne: Sun Jan 30 2011, 3pm

Egyptian Consulate

50 Market St, Melbourne

Click here for a map

 

WLE_02_exiledsurfer

Sydney: Mon Jan 31 2011, 4.30pm

Egyptian Consulate

241 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills

Click here for a map

Facebook event:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=136722939725676

Anyone else? Leave details in the comments.

 

WLE_03_exiledsurfer

 

More information about the protests here – including the comments

Videos from Monthly Argument debate on Iraq and Afghanistan

(I’ve been told that a transcript of this debate will soon be available at the Monthly Argument website. That could kickstart a useful discussion here, so I’ll post it , once it appears)

Debate Topic: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: Can our participation be justified?

A Monthly Argument debate held in Melbourne, Australia. December, 9 2010.

Speakers:

Major General Jim Molan
Retired senior officer in the Australian Army, author of Running the War in Iraq, Chief of Operations, Headquarters Multinational Force in Iraq (MNF-I) 2004-2005

Adam Bandt MP
Greens member for Melbourne in the House of Representatives

Professor Richard Tanter
Director of the Nautilus Institute at RMIT

Jeff Sparrow
Editor of Overland magazine

Arthur Dent (previously known as Albert Langer)

Chaired by Darce Cassidy

For more info about The Monthly Argument go to: themonthlyargument.wordpress.com/​

Iraq/Afghanistan debate (part 1of 2) from Monthly Argument on Vimeo.

Iraq/ Afghanistan debate (part 2 of 2) from Monthly Argument on Vimeo.

Iraq/Afghanistan debate (10 minutes of highlights) from Monthly Argument on Vimeo.

Summary of the Egyptian protests

The Mother Jones website has a summary of the current Egyptian protests, with links to more info.

Also, ABC Journalist Rosanna Ryan has created a Twitter list of protest-related accounts; but their accuracy is anyone’s guess.

The Twitter hashtags #Jan25 and #25Jan also have information, but as always with Twitter, treat most of it as unverified.

More numb and more dumb

I wanted to call this post “number and dumber”, but to my great frustration,  I just saw digits after I’d typed “number” into the title feed  And I was already frustrated because I was about to  eke out an election comment – this is supposed to be a political site after all, so we should be able to say something.   But I’m not interested in the election!  I don’t care who wins.

A woman came knocking on my front door a week or so.   She wanted me to vote for the ALP.   I told her that I’d be voting informally because I have no desire to vote for either, and that even if I happened to support one of the minor parties,  I knew that by the end of the count,  my vote would end up with one of the major parties, due  to the  fact that the electoral act defines a   formal vote as one in which the voter indicates a “preference” for every candidate on the list.

The woman at the door just looked at me and said “but it will be horrendous if Tony Abbot wins”.   Apparently,  I was supposed to vote Labor in order to do my bit in the fight against the forces of darkness or something.   She didn’t even attempt to give me any positive reason for voting Labor.  The only other thing she  mentioned was that the candidate is  a very nice woman – cares about the community, has an “open door”, and so on.

Continue reading ‘More numb and more dumb’

“Leave those kids alone” (or they’ll overthrow you sooner rather than later)

Ideas become a material force when taken up by masses of people. So, too, can music play a part in inspiring large numbers in the fight for democracy against tyranny. This is true everywhere, no exceptions. Including Iran.

The Pink Floyd classic, “Another brick in the wall” was first released in the UK in 1979, the same year as the Iranian Revolution. It became an anthem for those of us who don’t like constantly being told what to do by our supposed betters, be they teachers, politicians, priests, the ‘Moral Majority’, food fascists or Nature Worshippers.

Befitting a rebellious song, a version released in South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle was quickly banned there. In 1990, the song was the leitmotif for the bringing down of the Berlin Wall.

And now, thanks to Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd, a band called ‘Blurred Vision’, fronted by two Iranian brothers living in exile in Canada, have released a version of the song as part of Iran’s struggle for freedom. Waters gave them the rights to cover the song.

The title is the same except for the bit in parenthesis, which now says “Hey Ayatollah, leave those kids alone”! It’s on youtube and has proven very popular.

No doubt there will be those who see the song as a pernicious device in the Great Satan’s ‘plan to conquer Iran’. To those Iranians on the ground fighting repression, it will be encouraging and very uplifting, a source of hope. As it is for me, in solidarity with them.

Rock on!

Iraqis vote in Shepparton

Nice little video of Iraqis voting in Shepparton (Victoria, Australia).

Fukuyama treading carefully

An article that’s worth discussing is Fukuyama’s  What Became of the Freedom Agenda?.  It’s based on a United States Institute of Peace working paper which was released on January 21.

Fukuyama withdrew his support for the war in Iraq as soon as things became difficult,  yet at the same time he continues to  acknowledge  the reality that the  US can’t afford to keep cozying up to the autocratic regimes   in the Middle East.

He manages to quote Bush (2003) with approval:

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom . . . did nothing to make us safe. . . . As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export.”

But he continues to oppose what he calls ” return(ing) to the loud trumpeting of promises for support of regional democracy that we cannot keep” and    ignores the fact that in Iraq, the US has kept exactly that promise. Instead  he tries to argue that the overhrow of Baathism in Iraq can only be seen as a setback for “democracy promotion”  because it “undercut (the) credibility” of that policy, and in his view increased Arab hostility toward America.

He rightly points to the way in which the autocrats of the region continue to get away with justifying the repression of opposition groups by saying that this is necessary to keep militant Islamists out of power and then goes on to call on Obama to “recommit the United States to peaceful democratic change”

What he wants the US to do now is to follow a policy of  “working quietly behind the scenes to push friendly authoritarians towards a genuine broadening of political space in their countries through the repeal of countless exceptional laws, defamation codes, party registration statutes and the like that hinder the emergence of real democratic contestation.”

The article is quite extraordinary in the way it makes no attempt to analyse the impact of the changes in Iraq, apart from maintaining that it damaged US credibility in the region.  I don’t know how anyone can purport to be writing a serious article about the prospects for democratic change in the Middle East, without writing in some detail about the one country in which democratic change has actually happened!  The thing which will do most to force (not gently “push”) the autocrats of the region out of power, is the move from fascism to democracy in Iraq. Fukuyama may disagree with that, but he doesn’t even address the issue.

Continue reading ‘Fukuyama treading carefully’

Solidarity with the people of Iran

iran students protests in teheran dec 7 2008

Iran students protests in teheran dec 7 2008

I’ve just received the following message from “Where is My Vote? Melbourne”

——————–
Subject: HUMAN CHAIN Against Brutality and Execution in IRAN

In the eight months which have passed since the rigged presidential elections, we have witnessed elements within the Iranian regime reacting with brazen brutality against people who seek to have a voice in the country’s government. Many have been killed and hundreds imprisoned and tortured. Protestors have recently been executed or received the death penalty in recent trials

We cannot just stand by mutely, so people around the world are gathering to bear witness. Iranians around the world will stand together on February 12 in solidarity with their brothers and sisters inside Iran to show them that they have not stopped caring.

We in Melbourne on Friday 12/02/10 from 7-8 pm, will form a human chain over Princess Bridge along St. Kilda Rd to take part in this global action against injustice, and to condemn recent executions and unfair trails. We will  hold a 200m-long green scroll with our slogans written on it.

We want you to be there to echo our voice.

I think those of us who are in Melbourne should go along.