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The Arab World Braces for the Summer of Counter-Revolution

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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:42 PM
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The Arab World Braces for the Summer of Counter-Revolution
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 01:47 PM by JCMach1
When the weather changes from Spring to Summer in the MENA region, you feel it. The sun and heat shift into a different gear and more often than not, the change comes on the wind with the dust and sand making snakes along the highways. Once that shift happens, there is no going back...

In a recent panel at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE, the prolific blogger of the Egyptian Revolution, Sultan Al-Qassemi, talked about a new-McCarthyism that was spreading across the Arab world. The more liberal parts of the Gulf Region (UAE,Qatar,Kuwait, Oman) have now (in many ways) are taking giant steps backward on the road to democratization. Social media which was once filled with the Tweets of democracy and revolution are now filled with the sounds accusation and counter-accusation. Anything less than total support of the ruling regimes is considered treason and dissent can lead to threats, insults and in some cases arrests...

All of this has a chilling effect on the media and society at-large. As I live and work here, I have to carefully measure every word that flows onto my screen. Every word here is self-censored and filled with my own self-nightmare of did I go too far? Will I get a knock on the door and a late-night deportation? But, thats the point of counter-revolution. Fear is just one of the tools.

Since the Pearl was torn-down, the Arab Revolutions have entered a bloody phase. The number of dead in the Yemen protests numbers in the many hundreds. In Syria, the numbers escalated sharply this last week as the Syrian regime practiced lessons learned from the Iranians and the Saudis: live bullets and fear are pretty effective at shutting people up. The battle for Libya, even with NATO help, will likely drag- on for months...

The Summer of the Arab Counter-Revolution is upon us. The region is no doubt beginning to experience the first bloody push-back against the high-tide of democracy which has been sweeping from Tunisia to Muscat. Here, the lessons of history are important. On January 3, I published an article that his proven somewhat prophetic. In the article, I put forward an argument that the world was poised for a new age of revolution similar to those in Europe in 1848 as the conditions around the world are so similar. In the Middle-East and the world, none of the conditions I discussed have been alleviated. If anything the current new spike of oil prices, inflationary pressure, and food shortages will put new pressure on the system. With Ramadan happening in August, and the prospects of a slim Eid to follow as things cool in the Fall we will likely see another shift in the tone of events in the Middle-East. The only question is, in which direction will things blow. The revolutions in 1848 failed miserably in a revolutionary sense (most totalitarian monarchies re-asserted themselves). However, by the end of the 19th century, the majority of people in Europe were enjoying the democratic liberties that the revolutionaries had fought and died for. What the democratic movements in the Middle-East need to remember is to keep their eye on the long-term goal of democracy and civil liberties whatever the hot and bloody fight of the present.

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Note to Moderators: I own the copyright for this piece. The substantive amount is re-printed here with my permission.
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. We need to ask Obama to raise the dissident issue when the UAE Crown Prince
visits the WH tomorrow.
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