Tunisia and the Domino Effect in the Islamic World

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Ray, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    So has the domino effect started in the Islamic countries?

    In such strict and regulated societies, such happenings occuring spontaneously, does appear suspect.

    What's up?
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The issue does not stop with Tunisia.

    The question is what next for the Sheikdoms, and quasi democratic regimes of North Africa and the Middle East?

    Will it have any repercussion on the activities of the AQ in Asia and North Africa, where it has made inroads?

    Will there be any effect in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    More material to mull upon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    More unrest.

    The Middle East is the most unstable of regions in the world and these happenings can have serious consequences.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The turmoil in North Africa and the it creeping into the Middle East will surely give the US many a sleepless night, especially since this region is as fickle as the wind.

    In case, these govts topple, there is no guarantee that there will be democratic govts. There could be radicals and their could be fundamentalist based govts.

    How will this turmoil affect international geostrategy and geopolitics?

    It must be also taken into account that the Mediterranean Rim is strategically important to the countries bordering it, especially the European ones and more so, those who had colonial past with the Nations on the Rim.

    What will be its effect on the US and its position as the global policeman?
     
  7. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    You know this is the problem in entire Muslim world-- all are despotic in that part of the world and in most cases, US puppets. These guys create the impression that the entire West would be like their oppression and push the people to dangerous ideologies like jihadi mentality. Look what happened in Iran in 1979; one tyrant's collapse brought the mulla company to power. If this happens in Arab world including Saudi, then there is going to be a dangerous rise in jihadi terrorism because the now in-control mullas would use their previous suppression as an excuse to silence anybody.

    Saudi is already tipping the scale. Their king's iron fist rule and their compromise with Salafi clerics has a lot of tensions that is not being spoken of much in the open. On a short trip to Middle East, I had the opportunity to talk to this smart Jordanian female who (surprisingly for Arab women) was quite open and we discussed about this.

    Lebanon is already in the grips of Hezbollah and Iran's puppets. Syria is also ruled by an absolutist president. The domino effect would be dangerous.
     
  8. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    As Arabs protest, Obama administration offers assertive support
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/26/AR2011012608249.html

    The Obama administration is openly supporting the anti-government demonstrations shaking the Arab Middle East, a stance that is far less tempered than the one the president has taken during past unrest in the region.

    As demonstrations in Tunis, Cairo and Beirut have unfolded in recent days, President Obama and his senior envoys to the region have thrown U.S. support clearly behind the protesters, speaking daily in favor of free speech and assembly even when the protests target longtime U.S. allies such as Egypt.

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that "the Egyptian government has an important opportunity . . . to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people." She urged "the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications, including on social media sites."

    Asked whether the administration supports Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs replied only: "Egypt is a strong ally."

    Administration officials say they will pursue a dual-track approach in the coming weeks, both speaking with civil activists in Egypt and meeting with officials to encourage reform in the bellwether Arab nation.

    Such an approach comes with a degree of risk in the region, where democratic reforms have often empowered well-organized Islamist movements at odds with U.S. objectives. As a result, the United States has often favored the stability of authoritarian allies in the Middle East over the uncertainty of democratic change.
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    The administration's assertive stance contrasts sharply with Obama's approach during his first year in office, when he often tempered his advocacy of human rights and democracy with a large measure of pragmatism. His decision this time reflects the rising importance of those issues in his foreign policy goals.

    The president is also less reluctant to inject the United States into the Arab Middle East after two years of speaking directly to the Muslim world, withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq and supporting a Israeli-Palestinian peace process, even though it has since faltered. Polls show U.S. popularity rising in many Arab countries since Obama took office and falling in a smaller number of others.

    "Some of the confidence and assertiveness comes from having spent time in government, and now we've identified ways where we want to make our push," said a senor administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss White House thinking on the Middle East developments.

    The official said Obama's emphasis on Internet freedom as well as on U.S.-funded programs to foster rule of law and government accountability are among the measures the administration is using to foster change.

    "We've aligned our approach to where we see the currents of democratic reform moving," the official said.

    On the sidelines in Iran


    In his June 2009 address in Cairo to the Islamic world, Obama said "there is no straight line to realize this promise" of democratic government with respect for human rights. He offered mild advice to the region's autocrats, saying that "governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure."

    But within weeks, tens of thousands of Iranians rallied in the streets after presidential elections widely believed to have been rigged in favor of the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    While calling on the Iranian government to respect the right of its people to demonstrate peacefully, Obama stayed largely on the sidelines as the Green Movement rose and fell under the weight of a government crackdown.

    One senior administration official said at the time: "There is clearly a debate going on among Iranians about Iran. This is not about us." Conservatives criticized Obama for not calling for the Iranian government's overthrow.

    Obama signaled a different approach to democracy last fall in his address to the U.N. General Assembly, where, in addition to calling for a final settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, he elevated human rights as a tenet of his foreign policy.

    With the young populations, epidemic unemployment and political stagnation of the Arab world as his tacit target, Obama said that "America is working to shape a world that fosters . . . openness, for the rot of a closed or corrupt economy must never eclipse the energy and innovation of human beings."

    But many in the Middle East have heard U.S. pledges of support before.

    "Why should we follow American advice in the name of democracy?" asked Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader in Lebanon who recently threw his movement's support behind Hezbollah's choice for prime minister at the expense of the U.S.-backed candidate. "They have nothing to teach us when they have supported dictators."

    No anti-U.S. rhetoric

    While the current unrest is directed against U.S. allies, all of it is dictated by distinct political circumstances largely beyond Washington's control. So far, at least, the demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia have not featured anti-American rhetoric or been shaped by political Islam.

    And in Lebanon, where Hezbollah, the armed Shiite movement, has pushed through its preferred candidate for prime minister, the United States has little leverage.

    Administration officials say Obama has, as a result, felt less constrained in taking a firm position in favor of democratic reform, without fear that the United States will be blamed for instigating the unrest.

    "Democracy had been characterized in some quarters as the United States seeking to control countries," said the senior official. "What we've made clear in the last few years is that democracy is important to the United States because of who we are, but not as a means of controlling governments. Quite the contrary, we're supporting a process in Tunisia now that we do not know how it will end or who will emerge as leader."

    On Tuesday, Obama used his State of the Union address to highlight the Tunisian demonstrations, which this month drove authoritarian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from power after more than two decades.

    "The will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator," he said, adding that "the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia and supports the democratic aspirations of all people."

    The senior administration official said the events in Tunisia played out as the speech was being drafted, and Obama settled on them as the example he would use to promote democratic values.

    The Egyptian protests arose too late in the drafting process for inclusion, but the official said that last phrase was "intended to convey that we recognize that what happened in Tunisia resonated around the world."

    Tunisia has never been a hotbed of Islamism, and the opposition has not claimed a religious mandate to govern. A day before Ben Ali was ousted from power, Clinton criticized Arab leaders for the autocratic control they exert on their societies.

    Jeffrey Feltman, the top U.S. diplomat for the region, said during a visit to Tunisia this week that "I certainly expect that we'll be using the Tunisian example" in urging other Arab leaders to change.

    Egypt, a longtime U.S. ally that has received billions of dollars annually in aid, is an influential player in the Arab world. The country's largest and most organized opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood, the seminal Islamist movement, which has declined so far to officially join the demonstrations.

    "The most the U.S. can do in the short run is reorient their rhetoric," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution's Doha Center. "People want moral support; they want to hear words of encouragement. Right now, they don't have that. They feel the world doesn't care and the world is working against them."
     
  9. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    I think those countries which have oil will not be allowed to fall but the rest of the countries with out oil will have regime changes
     
  10. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    CAIRO: Tanks guarded key government building around Cairo and the central square Saturday as protesters returned to the streets a day after massive and violent confrontations emboldened the movement demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. The Cabinet resigned in the midst of rampant looting across the sprawling city and the death toll since protests began rose to 45.

    Dozens of military armored personnel carriers and tanks as well as soldiers on foot deployed around a number of key government buildings in the capital, including state television and the foreign ministry after thousands of protesters besieged the two offices in Friday's riots. The military was protecting important tourist and archaeological sites such as the Egyptian Museum, home to some of the country's most treasured antiquities, as well as the Cabinet building. The pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt's premiere tourist site, were closed by the military to tourists.

    On Friday, protesters burned down the ruling party's headquarters complex along the Nile in one of the more dramatic scenes in a day of utter chaos.

    The demonstrators did not appear satisfied with Mubarak's actions to address the discontent. The president of 30 years fired his Cabinet late Friday night and promised reforms, which many doubt he will deliver.

    "What we want is for Mubarak to leave, not just his government," Mohammed Mahmoud, a demonstrator in the city's main Tahrir Square, said Saturday. "We will not stop protesting until he goes."

    As the protests entered their fifth straight day, the military extended a night curfew imposed Friday in the three major cities where the worst violence has been seen, Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. State television reported the curfew would now begin at 4pm and last until 8 am, longer than the 6 pm to 7 am ban Friday night that appeared to not have been enforced.

    Internet appeared blocked for a second day to hamper protesters who use social networking sites to organize. And after cell phone service was cut for a day Friday, two of the country's major providers were up and running Saturday.

    After years of simmering discontent in this nation where protests are generally limited, Egyptians were emboldened to take to the streets by the uprising in Tunisia, another North African Arab nation.

    But a police crackdown drew harsh criticism from the Obama administration and even a threat Friday to reduce a $1.5 billion foreign aid program if Washington's most important Arab ally escalates the use of force.

    Stepping up the pressure, President Barack Obama told a news conference he called Mubarak immediately after his TV address and urged the Egyptian leader to take "concrete steps" to expand rights and refrain from violence against protesters.

    "The United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free and more hopeful," Obama said.

    Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, said Saturday he believes Mubarak must address the issues that matter to the people of Egypt.

    "Dismissing the government doesn't speak to some of those challenges," he said. "I think he's got to speak more to the real issues that people feel," he said. "Dismissing the government doesn't speak to some of those challenges."

    Read more: Tanks at Egypt government offices, pyramids closed - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-closed/articleshow/7385396.cms#ixzz1CQlOXWyk
     
  11. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    The joke about Ben Ali,the former Tunisian dictator, stopping his plane in Cairo to pick up Mubarak on his way into exile,was so prophetic...Mubarak however is no Ben Ali and the security apparatus he operates is much more efficient and less likely to crumble so easily,the guys in Cairo's streets should expect to stay on the streets a while longer and not be taken in by any promise of reforms by Mubarak.

    There is a possibility that Egyptian military establishment,might be willing to sacrifice Mubarak to keep their hold on power, by carrying out a coup against Mubarak and thus take the sting out of the current series of massive demonstrations,once the momentum is lost you cannot gather it up again and all hopes of complete change will be lost.Revolution must stay up and the streets occupied until Mubarak goes..........

    Its not every day that one can claim to be making history,Egyptians on the streets of Cairo have this one chance to make history and not just learn about it in history books
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  12. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Interesting to see how Libya avoided the crisis in North Africa. Oil really is king!

    Personally, I doubt the "domino effect" will continue on into Saudi Arabia and any other oil-rich countries. It will most likely stop in Egypt.
     
  13. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Syria is another Apple that is ripe for revolution and could drop if the strong breeze of revolution blows its way,there are already reports coming from Syria that the Assad govt has imposed internet blackouts to prevent Tunisian-Egyptian style organized protests.If Mubarak survives the revolution,Assad can breath easy,if Mubarak goes Assad will have revolution on his hands and on the streets of Damascus.

    The Persian gulf states,including Saudi Arabia,may not have distributed power,but to an extent and largely thanks to their oil windfalls,have managed to distribute wealth,to a level where economic prosperity has managed to neutralize any pent up frustration resulting from lack of political reforms.However to what extent this will shield the sheikdoms from the rage of the people is a moot point.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Religion can creep in and that will be the unfortunate face of the overthrow of the 'kleptocratic' government.

    However, fundamentalism may have a harrowing time to exert itself since Tunisia has always had a liberal attitude to life where western culture also played its role and the people inculcating the open attitude that is equated with the West.

    Can the beer, nightclub and brothel culture be replaced by religious fundamentalism?

    If it does, will it not affect the remainder part of the Arab world?

    If it does, what will be the consequences on the geopolitical and geostrategic matrix of North Africa and the Middle East?
     
  15. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    The current violence in Libya is worth watching.

    Latest news as of now: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12535883

    Will Libya succeed in defeating the protesters? If it does, then the domino effect will probably stop. If it does not, it might spread to other countries in the Middle East.

    One thing to note here is that so many authoritarian regimes (some of them) supported by the US will crumble. This is a growing concern for the US and its implicit control over of oil producing countries.
     

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