Repercussions of the Arab Spring

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Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby sardia » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:54 pm UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/world ... &ref=world
Egypt is getting more hardlined against Western and American funded nonprofit groups. The military leaders want to maintain relations and keep the UA aid money flowing, yet they keep arresting, and investigating Western backed groups.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/world ... &ref=world
Russian and China double vetoed the already watered down resolution against Syria. This is a direct result of resolution against Libya, and the air strikes that brought it down. Those two countries are adamant in the belief that this is all an excuse for foreign intervention to bring down other countries not allied with the West. Since they think they were tricked on Libya, they won't let Syria be Libya the 2nd.
Spoilered because I think the problem about small African nations aren't as important.
Spoiler:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/world/africa/tuaregs-use-qaddafis-arms-for-rebellion-in-mali.html?pagewanted=2&ref=world
Interesting side note that could be a harbinger of what is to come in Africa, especially the smaller countries. The people who fought in Libya took the arms that they acquired there, and brought them to their home countries to reignite and reinvigorate their rebellion. The side in question happen to fight for Qaddafi, but the consequences are the same. The fighters going to other countries are armed with heavy weapons, mortars, anti aircraft guns, and anti tank weapons are out gunning the national armies who are used to fighting against ak-47 rifles.



The last one is a headache and a source of instability that should be handled with destruction and confiscation of the arms lying around Libya, but I don't think any Western country is going to spare enough attention on the matter. Especially considering the civil war in Syria, and that Egypt is a regional powerhouse(not sure how to describe them, but they're more important than Africa).

Egypt, I don't know where the Generals in Egypt are going with this, but whatever they do, they have the implicit deferral of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is more concerned about solidifying its electoral gains than fighting for the civil rights. I wonder if the protesters can speed up the transfer of power, or prevent the military from giving out excuses to maintain their grip on power. I could see the Brotherhood, under pressure from protests, supporting more civil rights and more restrictions on the military.

My prediction for Syria is that the civil war in the country is crushed, a la Hama massacre. With Chinese and Russian backing, Syria's Assad has the political cover to kill everyone. I'm wonder if the Arab League will start action on their own, without the UN security council's consent. Aka, they ask everyone that isn't Russia and China to do something. It's doubtful to me, but I don't see many other options other than hope the pile of bodies grows too big for Russia to stomach. (highly unlikely)

The old thread was simply about riots in Egypt, so I made a new one about the overarching themes, focusing on Egypt, and Syria.

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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby CatOfGrey » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:32 am UTC

My crystal ball - pure opinion here.

Egypt, Jan. 2013: More Islamist, more Sharia. Religious freedoms going away. Human rights not important under Sharia law. Possible bright spot coming from a lack of unity - Shi'a vs. Sunni factions might keep centralized power from forming. I'm deeply concerned about Coptics being slaughtered, and I hope that Muslims who don't believe in execution for leaving Islam find peace in a country where minority Muslims have human rights. I hope that the Brotherhood doesn't take lessons from the Taliban, and destroy pre-Muslim sculptures, architecture, monuments, and artwork as "blasphemous". Let's not prove that the Brits and French were more civilized by stealing artifacts and preserving them in Europe.

Speaking of places where minority Muslims have some human rights, Israel would prefer Egypt spend time and energy promoting good commerce and tourism, instead of waging war over a strip of land so small, that it would be the 253rd largest county in Texas. Yes, it's important, but launching rockets into Israeli residential areas and bombing civilians doesn't help the problem in Gaza, as evidenced by, well, most of the last 50 years.

Syria in Jan. 2013, I'm thinking, is a different story. Assad knows how to keep the "trains running on time", which could be translated as "killing protesters and generally being brutal". The UN isn't much help in these situations, and will continue not being much help, aside from taking away the exercise room and sauna privileges of Syrian diplomats on odd-numbered Thursdays. Expect another two UN council resolutions, no military actions, and 2500 deaths from unruly protesters making unreasonable demands for personal freedom.

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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:42 am UTC

Texas has that many counties? But unfortunately, the Arab Spring doesn't bode to well for Israel because Egypt dislikes the West, as the West backed Mubarak partially for keeping the peace with Israel. That said, if things in Egypt stay this chaotic, they won't have enough time to worry about Israel :/

I too am rather scared for the Syrians. The Syrian government has shown that it has no problem killing tens of thousands of its own citizens, and so unless there's foreign military intervention a la Libya, that is probably what's going to happen.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Steax » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:40 pm UTC

CatOfGrey wrote:I hope that Muslims who don't believe in execution for leaving Islam find peace in a country where minority Muslims have human rights


Or, you know, places where all people have human rights. The majority of Muslims around the world do enjoy human rights, you know.

Human rights are important under Sharia law.

Spoiler:
Heck, Sharia law defines human rights within them, and most of them overlap with the rest of the world. Many Muslim scholars also agree that the laws should be appropriated with modern life, which makes issues like fair trials better. I'm taking issue with this because Sharia law does not clearly define things like "execution for leaving Islam". Sharia law is based on the Quran and Hadith, and the Quran does not define executions for leaving the religion, and the Hadith is highly contextual: remember, this was from an era of war when someone leaving the religion could potentially spread vital information and stuff like that.


So it's not an issue of what they pick up. It's in issue of keeping democracy and transparency alive. This has little to do with religion, and all to do with how the people are able to control their government. It seriously irritates me when people blame religions, cultures or beliefs for issues like this; it's the people and the process, not the thing behind it. They'll obviously cite Sharia to manipulate things to their will, like how people cite Nostradamus and cite the Bible and cite the Constitution.

The problem is that aiming for the religious aspect only pushes people to conflict. It won't fix the transparency and democracy issues. A transparent government is also more likely to not want to destroy Israel.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Dauric » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

Steax wrote:It seriously irritates me when people blame religions, cultures or beliefs for issues like this; it's the people and the process, not the thing behind it..


The thing is that religions are so often 'Done Wrong', and in so doing used to control and harm others in the name of that religion. It's not just Islam, hell look at the threads around here about us Americans dealing with 'social conservatives' being colossal dickheads to LGBT community* and the Vatican Bishops for whining that three decades worth of U.S. employment rules and a decade's worth of validation of those rules in the U.S. won't let them treat non-Catholic employees like they should adhere to Catholic standards.

* (which I believe estimates put them at 2%-5% of the population, so clearly granting them legal marriage status will overwhelm and invalidate the other 95%-98%, or so one might think by the amount of energy being expended on preventing them from getting those rights...)

The kick in the teeth for Islam is that the people 'Doing it Wrong' are doing it so terribly wrong that discussing the things that they've done is almost a new form of Godwin. I think "Islamic Fundamentalist" is a terrible media-driven turn of phrase because there's not a damn thing fundamentally Islamic about the dickheads that are beheading prisoners or stoning women who might dare to try to get rights that the rest of the world's women have had granted for a century or more.

But that doesn't change that religion, despite all the good it may or may not do socially or through charitable works and regardless of what particular flavor of religion it is, are all too frequently used as justifications to institute draconian social controls in violation of those religions own tenets, and with enough willing support of the adherents of those religions that makes a clear case of 'Doing it Wrong', the way it's successfully done.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Steax » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:50 pm UTC

I agree. I'm just saying that we shouldn't fuss about religion in this aspect, because it quickly becomes a "them-vs-us" thing, which is completely the wrong approach when we're trying to help them, not blow them up. Regardless of how it actually works, it only becomes a tool of the government in question ("Look, they hate our religion, we must stop them and embrace it more!") We need to push Egypt to embrace better democracy and transparency in their government, and blaming their religion is definitely not the way to start.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:51 pm UTC

Beliefs and cultures are the problem. So are the individuals. The collective beliefs and culture are simply the collection of the individuals.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Steax » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

When we're talking about millions of lives and an unstable country, it doesn't matter what the "problem" is. You simply do not get a country to cooperate by categorizing them as fundamentalists with no human rights with a problematic religion.

Of course, I'm not implying that, but CatOfGrey mentioned it as the first line of a paragraph that would make perfect sense if it's not pinned down on religion. I agree - the issue is when people interpret a belief for their own benefit. I don't agree that we approach them by stating that their religion is the issue, as the media and politicians have always gone for.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:21 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Beliefs and cultures are the problem. So are the individuals. The collective beliefs and culture are simply the collection of the individuals.


This is easily the most dangerous thing you've ever said.

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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Steax » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:29 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Beliefs and cultures are the problem. So are the individuals. The collective beliefs and culture are simply the collection of the individuals.


This is easily the most dangerous thing you've ever said.


Well, destroying the Earth does save millions of people from suffering... I guess.

(well to be fair sourmilk's post was so... un... well I didn't understand how that was even a statement, so I guess my earlier response probably couldn't make up for it.)
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:35 pm UTC

I don't see what problem you have with my statement. Are you saying that problematic beliefs and cultures exist independently of the members of the culture and the people who hold those beliefs? It's honestly just a semantic nitpick.
Last edited by sourmìlk on Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:37 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Dauric » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:37 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Beliefs and cultures are the problem. So are the individuals. The collective beliefs and culture are simply the collection of the individuals.


This is easily the most dangerous thing you've ever said.


And yet I think in a roundabout way you've both summed up the problem succinctly.

To elaborate:

Beliefs and cultures are tools. They're how we communicate ideas which allow us to share work efforts which in turn allow us to create the things and systems that allow us to control our environment, raise our collective survival rates and grant us more leisure time, which we use to come up with more ideas to communicate which refines the culture and makes it more efficient at communicating...

Yet at the same time beliefs and cultures are tools, like a chainsaw. Some people will void the warranty by installing a bigger motor, more aggressive cutting blade, etc., and then some other dickhead will grab that out-of-warranty chainsaw, put on a hockey mask, and go on a messy murder-spree.

The ultimate problem is how do you allow people to have the terribly dangerous tools that do incredibly useful work while minimizing the occurrence of hockey-flesh-masks?

Answer: You make another terribly dangerous but incredibly useful tool...
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:39 pm UTC

Okay, I think I've lost track of this. All I'm saying is that blaming problems on the members of a culture is essentially the same as blaming the problems on the culture itself. I think you're all reading into that way more than what I intended.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Steax » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I think you're all reading into that way more than what I intended.


Which is probably why a bit more elaborating would be useful, because I didn't really understand what you were trying to say with that statement.

And... no. So lets say a fictional arab country suddenly goes berserk and half its citizens kill a whole bunch of people. Naturally we blame those people who go berserk. Am I blaming the problem being that they were of arabian culture?
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:04 pm UTC

Steax wrote:Which is probably why a bit more elaborating would be useful, because I didn't really understand what you were trying to say with that statement.

It was mostly a semantic nitpick.

And... no. So lets say a fictional arab country suddenly goes berserk and half its citizens kill a whole bunch of people. Naturally we blame those people who go berserk. Am I blaming the problem being that they were of arabian culture?

Okay, but as far as I know that doesn't actually happen. What's more likely is that a specific Arab country will fund and support terrorist groups. And so we can both say that the culture of terrorism is problematic as are the terrorists and the people supporting them. A condemnation of a culture doesn't need to be a condemnation of the largest superset containing that culture. A criticism of a certain Arab country's culture of encouraging terrorism isn't the same as a criticism of Arab culture or a criticism of Islam.
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby Steax » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

Okay, that's fine. I just don't see how that ties in with the earlier statements I mentioned, basically stating "we shouldn't blame culture or religion because that would not help us push their government to be better for peace and humanity."
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Re: Repercussions of the Arab Spring

Postby sardia » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:07 pm UTC

CatOfGrey wrote:My crystal ball - pure opinion here.

Egypt, Jan. 2013: More Islamist, more Sharia. Religious freedoms going away. Human rights not important under Sharia law. Possible bright spot coming from a lack of unity - Shi'a vs. Sunni factions might keep centralized power from forming. I'm deeply concerned about Coptics being slaughtered, and I hope that Muslims who don't believe in execution for leaving Islam find peace in a country where minority Muslims have human rights. I hope that the Brotherhood doesn't take lessons from the Taliban, and destroy pre-Muslim sculptures, architecture, monuments, and artwork as "blasphemous". Let's not prove that the Brits and French were more civilized by stealing artifacts and preserving them in Europe.

Speaking of places where minority Muslims have some human rights, Israel would prefer Egypt spend time and energy promoting good commerce and tourism, instead of waging war over a strip of land so small, that it would be the 253rd largest county in Texas. Yes, it's important, but launching rockets into Israeli residential areas and bombing civilians doesn't help the problem in Gaza, as evidenced by, well, most of the last 50 years.

Syria in Jan. 2013, I'm thinking, is a different story. Assad knows how to keep the "trains running on time", which could be translated as "killing protesters and generally being brutal". The UN isn't much help in these situations, and will continue not being much help, aside from taking away the exercise room and sauna privileges of Syrian diplomats on odd-numbered Thursdays. Expect another two UN council resolutions, no military actions, and 2500 deaths from unruly protesters making unreasonable demands for personal freedom.

Getting back on track here, Syria is the most volatile of the scenarios, Egypt is a much slower burn. From what I'm hearing, there's been weapons and fighters flowing into Syria on both sides, so this is going to get ugly, fast. We all know how well arming civilians to fight their oppressive government works out. =\ *cough* aghanistan* cough Somalia *cough*. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/world ... ?ref=world
Iraq is backing the free Syria army, apparently out of concern of that Iran will turn Iraq into their puppet to replace the loss of Syria.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/world ... ?ref=world
Turns out the reason we are getting mixed messages from Egypt, and why western backed democractic groups are being targeted are all because of one ambitious woman.
Spoiler:
Egyptian Official Vexes Ruling Generals and U.S. by Pressing Investigation
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

CAIRO — She is a holdover from the Mubarak era, a friend of the former first lady and the driving force behind the indictment of 16 Americans in a criminal investigation that threatens to undermine the decades-old alliance between Egypt and the United States.

Now Fayza Abul Naga, 61, is defying even Egypt’s military rulers.

With $1.5 billion in annual American aid hanging in the balance, Egypt’s top military officer and de facto chief executive is asking Ms. Abul Naga to moderate her tone. But she has become more caustic than ever, issuing her own warnings for Washington to back off. If the United States is not careful, she says, it may push Egypt closer to Iran.

“Every country has pressure cards in the political field,” she said this week, according to the state newspaper Al Ahram. “Egypt is no exception.”

When Ms. Abul Naga, the minister of planning and international cooperation, requested the investigation into foreign financing of nonprofit groups here, she was widely perceived as a mere agent of the ruling generals. At least two of the generals even hinted that the investigation might reveal the “foreign hands” they blamed for stirring up street protests. But as her case has escalated, officials in Cairo and Washington say she has been acting independently to exploit an emerging power vacuum as the military council’s power erodes.

Now the supposedly all-powerful generals appear afraid of a backlash if they interfere in her campaign, which has tapped into a deep reservoir of anti-American sentiment.

Over the weekend, Egypt’s military ruler, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, publicly called for strengthening relations with the United States and, according to news agency reports, privately urged Ms. Abul Naga and other cabinet officials to moderate their tone. But this week Ms. Abul Naga unloaded as never before.

On Tuesday, state media reported that she had told prosecutors in closed-door testimony in October that the United States had poured money into federally financed nonprofits that promote political organizing — the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House — in an effort to sow chaos, thwart the development of a strong and democratic Egypt and turn the revolution to the interests of the United States and Israel.

The Republican Institute served the “right wing” agenda of its namesake party, she charged, while the Freedom House was a tool of the “Jewish lobby.”

With her vocal support, the case has only gained momentum. In addition to the indictments, the prosecuting judges have issued a travel ban trapping more than a half-dozen Americans in Egypt. Three, including the son of the secretary of transportation, have sought shelter at the American Embassy for fear of arrest.

Although Ms. Abul Naga’s comments this week only aggravated the tensions between the United States and Egypt, it was unclear who might intercede.

With a transfer of power to a civilian president promised within just four months, almost everyone in the Egyptian government, including the 19 members of the ruling military council, appears preoccupied with his or her own personal fate after the generals leave power, American and Egyptian officials say. Some have reason to fear that they could face trials for corruption or charges related to the crackdowns, as former President Hosni Mubarak and many of his lieutenants already have. But others are eager to preserve their positions, buttress their institutions or seek elected offices in the new government.

Ms. Abul Naga declined repeated requests for comment.

“This is a country of separate islands now,” said Mohamed Anwar el-Sadat, the nephew of former President Anwar el-Sadat and a newly elected lawmaker who recently called Ms. Abul Naga to testify before a parliamentary committee. “The Foreign Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Parliament, the generals of the military council — everyone is his own island.”

The ruling generals were “surprised” by the actions against the American groups, Mr. Sadat said, recounting what he said were conversations with top military officials. “They had not been informed, and they believed the timing was wrong,” he said. “But she knows that Tantawi is only in charge while the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is there. His time is over, so her time is over.”

Signs abound that the military’s authority is fading fast. Civilian judges have for the first time begun to rule against the military council. The police hesitate to use force or even take action for fear of retribution, and earlier this month their diffidence contributed the deaths of more than 70 soccer fans in a riot in Port Said, a parliamentary inquiry found.

Lawmakers, in turn, are moving to dismiss the interior minister, but no one yet knows whether Parliament or the military can claim that power. The Muslim Brotherhood, whose party dominates Parliament, abandoned its policy of avoiding confrontation with the military to call for the dissolution of the entire military-appointed cabinet — including Ms. Abul Naga — to make room for it to form a coalition government. But it is unclear whether even a new cabinet can last more than four months, beyond the promised vote for president.

“Power is in a very fluid state right now,” one American diplomat said, speaking anonymously under diplomatic protocol. “American pressure scares them less than the mob in the street demanding the execution of Tantawi.”

The diplomat added, “It means society is really coming apart at the seams.”

Already many here say that Ms. Abul Naga’s campaign against the Americans has made her all but untouchable — if not potentially electable — in the next stage of Egypt’s transition. “She is a hero,” Mr. Sadat said archly.

Ms. Abul Naga’s leading role in the crackdown is surprising, some old friends say, because she spent many happy years in the West. She speaks fondly of living in New York as one of the closest aides to Boutros Boutros-Ghali, then the secretary general of the United Nations, who recruited her from the Egyptian foreign service. She later worked for years in Geneva, as Egypt’s representative to the United Nations office there, and to the Human Rights Council.

She was also aware that as recently as 2010 Egypt had pledged to the council to liberalize the strict regulations of nonprofit groups that are now being used to prosecute the Americans — a commitment that American officials say led them to believe that the rules were effectively dead after the ouster of Mr. Mubarak.

But Ms. Abul Naga always stood out for her round-the-clock work habits, deft political skills and personal ambition. “I always told her, ‘When you become foreign minister of Egypt, don’t forget to appoint me your spokesman,’ ” said Ahmad Fawzy, an Egyptian friend of Ms. Abul Naga from the United Nations.

Mr. Mubarak always considered Egypt’s reliance on American aid “a humiliation,” American diplomats wrote in a cable disclosed by WikiLeaks. And Ms. Abul Naga was his chief negotiator in years of battles to stretch and control the American aid money.

Married to a diplomat now serving as Egypt’s ambassador to Japan, Ms. Abul Naga often spent time with a circle of female friends she shared with the former president’s wife, Suzanne, her friends and former officials say.

After Mr. Mubarak’s ouster, Ms. Abul Naga was one of the only cabinet members to retain a post. She even expanded it, adding economic planning as well. Her dual role means that as Ms. Abul Naga defends the crackdown on foreign financing of Egyptian nonprofits she is also in charge of asking the West for billions more in aid to help stabilize the Egyptian economy. Sometimes she does both at the same news conference.

It reminded Mr. Sadat, the lawmaker, of an old Egyptian proverb. “I beg you for charity,” he said, “but I’m your master.”

Abul Naga is taking advantage of the power vacuum between the retreating military and the recently sworn in parliament. She's tapping the anti-american sentiment by pushing for the investigation of western back groups. The generals want her to back off, but are afraid of the will of the people, and the Muslim Brotherhood is too concerned with its own power to risk facing her. Clever girl, she'll have a lot of influence until everyone else consolidates power, and she could even turn the anti-american sentiment into a campaign for some position of greater power.
Last edited by sardia on Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:38 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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