The Arab world waking from its sleep

The current (July 26) edition of the Economist has a special report called “Waking from its sleep, a report on the Arab world”.

Also check out the leader article.

I have only had a glance but it looks rather informative and seems to get some things right.

30 Responses to “The Arab world waking from its sleep”

  1. 1 Steve Owens

    Whilst some are waking up others seem intent on going back to sleep. New York Times article August 4 by Timothy Williams describes the new censorship laws in Iraq as “The new policies will put Iraq more in line with neighouring Islamic states.” Seeing that the neighbouring Islamic states are Iran and Saudi Arabia it must be a bit of a concern..

  2. 2 Steve Owens

    Ive just watched the Gaurdian on line video Baghdad: City of Walls. Its very interesting and part three might shed some light on an earlier discussion on where are all the bodies? The reporter visits a militia “death pit” a place where bodies were just dumped.

  3. 3 Barry

    Steve, You will be able to continue to point to negatives for the next twenty years and beyond. There will probably still be occasional bomb blasts a decade from now. None of the supporters of the war at this site ever said a ‘land of milk and honey’ would replace the old fascist regime. The struggle continues but it can now happen within the context of a constitutional democracy in which multi-party elections are held regularly. That is something you cannot deny. I’m sick of saying it, and indeed increasingly feel no need to point to the obvious any more (since my side won) but: had the anti-war movement won the day, either Saddam would still be in power or there would be civil war and intervention by neighbouring states supporting their respective sides (in short, regional conflagration).

    Wish for something else all you like…..

  4. 4 Steve Owens

    Barry if your sick of saying something then my advise is stop saying it. Maybe you could address what is happening. Take the video report that the Guardian is running, showing a city ethnically cleansed, divided by 40 foot concrete walls and each side of the wall patrolled by militias that are soaked in blood. Or reassess your minimising of the death toll when in the same report people explain that they had to turn a children’s play ground into a cemetery because the fighting was so bad they couldn’t get their dead to a real cemetery. Barry I never said everything about the invasion was bad Saddam is gone and elections have been held. Freedom of speech as of assembly have been greatly enhanced. But that’s why when the government moves to introduce censorship in line with other neighbouring Islamic states people who support freedom of speech should talk about it, as we should talk about Maliki’s recent move to take down some concrete walls and the electoral rebellion against Talibani for his parties corruption and nepotism.

  5. 5 Steve Owens

    Barry just on the no one here ever stated that Iraq would become a “land of milk and honey” well yes that is literally true but in a political sense what this site has been saying is that a war in Iraq would spark a democratic transformation of the Middle East. Now in political terms that is milk and honey.

  6. 6 Barry

    Yep – a transformation… which will take a long time for the region, but which is underway in Iraq and couldn’t have happened with you-know-who still in power yet will still take time. But the Iraqi people are in a qualitatively better position now to effect their own future.

    Steve, you really need to check out this:

    As should others who contribute to this site.

  7. 7 Steve Owens

    Thanks Barry that was very good.

  8. 8 Steve Owens

    I see that Israel is going to plan. cough cough

  9. 9 steve owens

    Anyone still delusional that Iraq leading the democratic revolution in the Middle East? Apart from a soft attitude to Syria Maliki is arguing that the Arab spring is most benificial to ….guess who?

  10. 10 Arthur

    The report looks like a MEMRI beat up.

    There certainly are some signs of Shia sectarians siding with the Alawite regime in Syria (including Hezbollah) just as Sunni sectarians including Muslim Brotherhood sided with the Bahraini (Sunni) regime against its (Shia) people

    I haven’t been able to find the original text (just echoes of MEMRI reports). But I would guess that Maliki was just warning against the Salafi attempts (supported by Saudis) to derail democratic revolution in Syria in favour of a Salafi dictatorship replacing the Alawite dictatorship (including some recent murders of Alawi civilians by Salafi militia). Pointing out that sectarian strife only benefits Israel is “standard Arabic” for “don’t go there”.

    Israel is of course completely irrelevant, now making odd statements in favour of regime change in Damascus, despite actual opposition. The Saudi support for regime change is more interesting, and more likely to worry Maliki (Iraq was the only Arab regime to side with the Bahraini people).

    Anyone still delusional about whether invading Iraq would destabilize the whole region and whether that is what US policy makers wanted should note that even after “everyone” agrees that the neocons were insane, the US has made no attempt to prop up any of the regimes now tottering and has only offered “helpful advice” (like “don’t kill you enemies”) that if followed could only result in them falling faster.

  11. 11 Arthur

    Typo “don’t kill your enemies”.

    BTW its fascinating that Steve chose to revive this particular thread pointing out that the region was indeed waking up as expected, from long before the recent explosions. Not the slightest awareness that he is drawing attention to the fact that we got it right and he got it wrong. Completely oblivious.

  12. 12 Steve Owens

    Arthur I think that you are being too soft on Maliki
    You were correct to anticipate the Arab spring and I do think that freedoms in Iraq could have a benificial effect on visiting Iranians who can now visit Shia holy places however I don’t think that the Iraqi experience is being held up as a model for those interested in democracy in other Arab countries. Seeing elections and then seeing the elected government attack a refugee camp and attack demonstrators is hardly an inspiration.

  13. 13 steve owens

    Im sure that we are all very happy about the liberation of Tripoli and the speedyand farely bloodless manner that this was achieved.
    Praise to the Libyan people and praise to those nations that lent their support. I have a list of those nations that recognised the Interim National Council as the legitimate government. You can also play wheres Wally (Maliki) with this list.

  14. 14 Arthur

    The old regimes are holding up Iraq as a warning not an example. The usual suspects in the West are of course joining in that chorus. The Arab street is not listening and has its own agenda (which will be complex and full of ups and downs).

    Incidentally, Iraq’s Parliament (ie the region’s only Parliament) stood against the regime. More links to the same MEMRI inspired stories won’t change that.

    Meanwhile its almost settled in Libya, which means revolution in Egypt won’t be rolled back or limited and so the remaining regimes have no hope. Just as things changed rather suddenly in Libya after a long delay, things could suddenly speed up in Syria etc.

  15. 15 steve owens

    Arthur I find your logic to be well illogical.
    The Iraqi PM states that Israel is the biggest benificiary of the Arab spring.
    The Iraqi PM hosts a delegation of Syrian officials at the same time that Syrian troops are gunning down protesters.
    The Iraqi PM advises the protesters to use the democratic process. Really in Syria there’s a democratic process? A member of the Iraqi PM’s party has described the protesters as being Al-Qaeda.
    All this and you describe these reports as a beat up.
    You then go on to give us the correct line which is to quote a motherhood statement issued by the Iraqi parliament.

  16. 16 jim sharp

    steve that plum in the gob oxonian ruling class-git
    meister cameron who in all likelihood get his sinecure
    from the same source as arfur Clanger
    told reports at a downing street briefing that “stability experts”
    in london had been working for months with the libyan rebels to plan for a smooth transition in Tripoli![j.f.burn’s nyt]
    so much for arfur’s “rebels” leading the revolutionary change when MI6 & the CIA baton’s at hand sit in the orchestra- pit the afore said is orchestrating those flunkey rebels

  17. 17 barry

    How does he carp?

    The old ‘prole’ Jim Sharp,

    Even when people rebel

    An imperial plot does he smell.

    And it’s all gloom and doom

    As he talks to himself (by the light of the moon)

    While the world moves on

    And democracy is being won.

  18. 18 jim sharp

    correct me if i’m wrong but!
    i do believe the independent u.k.
    is apart of the massmurdoch empire
    if so as old marx told us many moons ago
    ’tis the imperative for capital to expand or die &
    bizness as usual
    Dash for Profit in Post-War Libya Carve-Up The Independent/UK
    [Lord Trefgarne [grand knight hospitaller] said he believed Britain would not be overshadowed by its competitors. “The success of the French and Italians inside Libya has been somewhat overstated,” he said. “We’ve been dealing with competition from other countries all over the world for decades and I’m fully confident of our ability to do so in Libya.”]

  19. 19 barry

    jim sharp, you were suggesting that the rebels are flunkeys, not genuine – yet already the TNC has announced its desire for elections to be held in April next year. This will be a qualitatively better situation for Libyans than the Gaddafi dictatorship. An elected Libyan government will decide on what to do with foreign investment and how best to do it. The people will be able to vote out any party whose policies they don’t like.

    Karl Marx would today support the bourgeois democratic revolutions in the Middle East just as he supported those in the Europe of his own time.

  20. 20 Arthur

    Steve, instead of just repating the same “reports” which I described as looking like a typical MEMRI “beat up” via NYT, provide a link to actual text of Maliki’s remarks.

    I couldn’t find them in looking through 14 pages of “politics” items from national newsagency NINA. If anyone actually references them in Arabic the google translation could be useful.

    Meanwhile you are just echoing MEMRI/NYT.

    BTW Maliki is notoriously hostile to the Syrian regime and got pointedly criticised by Presidency Council for blaming them for allowing or sheltering the ongoing terrorist attacks in Iraq without proof that the regime was more responsible than Iraq’s own security failures.

    If you shut up and spent some time actually looking through some Iraqi news reports instead of echoing hostile foreign bloviations you could also gain some insight into the political issues actually preoccupying them and how vibrant the open conflict between political trends in Iraq is.

  21. 21 steve owens

    I guess that you are right Arthur. There is no real evidence that Maliki has changed his anti Syrian position and has now fallen into line to form the Terhan-Baghdad-Damascus axis.
    Its not like we have pictures of Maliki and Ahmadinejad holding hands.

  22. 22 Arthur

    Really pathetic Steve. Same report with an old photo nothing to do with Assad. Nothing new about a photo of friendly relations between Iraq and Iran. BTW Iran favours Maliki’s opponents in the Shia bloc.

  23. 23 Steve Owens

    Opponents in the Shia bloc? You mean the people Maliki relies on to be Prime Minister. Julia Gillard should have such “opponents”
    Of course Maliki is not going to come out and say “I support Assad” politics is a little more subtile than that. We need to learn to read between the lines rather than just state the obvious.

  24. 24 Steve Owens

    sorry that should read: Of course maliki is not going to come out and say “I support Assad” politics is a little more subtle than that. And yes it is an old photo but the politics of the situation are that Assad is supported by Terhan and Maliki is Prime Minister because parties with a strong alliegiance to Terhan allow him to remain in that office.
    It comes as no surprise that Maliki is soft on Assad the surprise is that you cant see this.

  25. 25 steve owens

    Arthur I don’t know how you are going but I am putting effort into finding anything that supports your position and havent found anything yet. Theres a lot of internet traffic on this subject but it all ends up citing the NYT article. Even when I check Juan Cole who must at least be well informed he links back to the original article that I linked to. So I guess we wait for some counter evidence. Heres an interesting (to me) link.

  26. 26 steve owens

    Arthur if you are right and Iraq supports democracy in Syria why doesn’t Iraq object to all the news reports that claim the opposite

  27. 27 Arthur

    Steve I am pleasantly surprised that you took up my suggestion to look for a link to the actual text of Maliki’s remarks.

    Less pleasantly unsurprised that you report your failure to find anything not derived from the same beat up as:

    …putting effort into finding anything that supports your position and havent found anything yet

    I generally ignore your repetitive moaning about negative aspects in Iraq as simply being pointless. The reason I took notice of that one is that there is indeed a sectarian counter current to the current democratic revolution sweeping the region, which resulted in Sunni sectarians being hostile to the revolution in Iraq and Bahrain and Shia sectarians (and perhaps Kurdish nationalists) being hostile to the revolution in Syria. Since Maliki is a Shia islamist leader it could have been possible for him to take that attitude, just as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were negative about the revolutionaries in Bahrain. That would be a serious problem since Iraq could be at least as relevant to the outcome in Syria as Turkey or Iran.

    As far as I can see the beat up reflects exactly the attitudes expressed by your latest link to “realist” wailings (indistinguishable as usual from pseudoleft wailings).

    It is now blindingly obvious that “realist” and paleocon policies on the middle east have as much future as the “America First” isolationist movement after Pearl Harbour. As the regional destabilization consequences they predicted and feared unfold they are reduced to pretending that they welcome democratization but Iraq had nothing to do with it!

    Since “everybody knows” Iraq was a disaster and “everybody knows” it was all lunacy from Bush and the neocons, THEREFORE “everybody ALSO knows” that Obama, the UN, France and Britain bombing Libya into regime change is “nothing like Iraq”.

    They would say that, wouldn’t they?

  28. 28 steve owens

    There is plenty of opposition in Iraq to what is happening in Syria. Unsurprisingly the best support comes from those who know oppression first hand

  29. 29 steve owens

    Im still looking for evidence that stories of Iraq supporting Assad are a “beat up” but while we wait we could consider this.

  30. 30 Steve Owens

    Arthur it baffles me that you think my contributions about Iraq are no more than repetitive moaning that is simply pointless. Today I highlight the murder of a journalist who was critical of the government and claimed that the government was planning his murder.
    I would have thought that anyone interested in democracy would want to know about such things.

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