An earlier Arab Summit Photographed by أ.ف.ب
As the number of Arab societies throwing up major opposition movements to challenge existing govts, as that number grows, one wonders whether the overthrow of tyrants will make a difference, first, to the democratic development of each country in turn. And, second, whether the end of dictators overseeing widespread poverty will result in new dictators (deploying religious rhetoric, rather than democratic talktalk) overseeing widespread poverty.
The countries with mass demos calling for overthrow now include Tunisia, Egypt and a day or so ago Yemen. Lebanon is of course in the throws of far-reaching change with the terrorist Hezbollah taking power, Shiites there displacing Sunnis and Druze allying with Shiite Hezbollah while Lebanese Christians dividing to support either Hezbollah or the Sunnis backed by Saudi Arabia. At the same time, the Sunni ruler of Bahrain (among the Gulf States) calling for an Arab Summit to head off a recurrence of the mass protests of its Shiites (a majority of its population).
It seems to me the Tunisia Revolution may turn out well. But I doubt that elsewhere the democratic moderates like Mohammed ElBaradei, now back in Egypt, will prevail against the Muslim Brotherhood which woud impose, it woud seem, a Taliban-like regime. My chief concern at the moment is the fate of Egypt's several millions of Christian Copts and other Christians who have suffered much already under the ''benign negligence'' of Hosni Mubarak's regime. I had thawt the situation there mite have been easing, as two of Mubarak's sons joined the vigil outside a threatened Christian church in which numerous Sunni Muslims formed a cordon sanitaire to protect the Christian worshippers inside. Therefore, I'm rooting for ElBaradei -- who knows that if he succeeds, the USA will continue its enormous subsidies. If instead the MuslimHoods win the current fite, one can expect that they will undergird the terrorist Hamas govt across Egypt's border in Gaza. Will the Muslim Brotherhood break with Saudi Arabia (leader of the Sunni common front)? Of course, the Hoods woud turn down USA aid, which the USA woud not offer any more, anyway. So where woud Egypt get the wherewithal to govern and develop the country? Hamas is already getting $25 million a month from Iran, how coud the latter finance the 70 million souls of an Egypt that, without USA dollars, woud, despite its relatively large middleclass, revert to a basketcase. It's industry is too underdeveloped to support its ever-burgeoning population, despite the ruling of al-Azhar university that birth control is okay.
Bahrain, I'd tend to think, woud be next. Surely, besides Gaza, the Iranians woud step in to ''liberate'' the Shia majority in that Gulf State.
So, it's back to Tunisia, about which I'm still able to be quite hopeful, for the moment.
Mubarak's government will not go quietly, of course, and security services have attempted to crush the protests through force. But with demonstrators driven by deep resentments and long-suppressed rage, police have been unable to squelch the nascent movement.
'It will be like Tunisia'
While the primary organizers have beenuniversity students, others have spontaneously joined the demonstrations as those in the streets beckoned in unison to those watching from the balconies: "If you are Egyptian, why don't you come with us?"
Many have, and while the demonstrations Wednesday and Thursday were significantly smaller than those on Tuesday, organizers said they were planning a much larger show of force after prayers Friday, despite a government ban on such gatherings.
Until now, the protests have been distinctly secular, with few representatives of the country's largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood. Whether it will stay that way after Friday is an open question. Those involved in organizing the protests say they hope their movement to oust Mubarak is not overtaken by a group that has said it wants to bring Islamic law to Egypt but is widely suspected of occasional complicity with the government.
"Egyptian protestors feel the world has passed them" by Griff Witte (Jan27,2k11)
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Egypt: This time, the protests have no clear leader, and no limit to how large they could grow. Those who have taken part see no limit to what they might achieve. In a region where transfers of power are almost always either hereditary or at the barrel of a gun, events this week have raised the prospect that Mubarak may be forced by popular unrest to yield authority before he can hand it to his son, Gamal.