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The death of the non-existant Arab Spring

18 Jun

Source: National Post

Why is the Arab Spring dead?

BECAUSE THE ISLAMOFASCISTS WERE VOTED INTO RULE!

  • Tunsia

  • Yemen

  • Libya

  • Egypt

File:Arab Spring map reframed.svg

  • Black = Government Overthrown
  • Dark Blue = Current conflict
  • Light Blue = Protests and Governmental changes
  • Orange = Major protests
  • Tan = Minor protests

 

 

Using a veil of democracy to replace stable autocracies with fascist theocracies is hardly a positive change.

AFP PHOTO / HO / SHAAM NEWS NETWORK

If the Arab Spring wasn’t already dead and buried, it’s demise appears much closer after a trio of weekend events.

The big news in Egypt was supposed to be the election of a president, to head the new democratically-elected administration. Except the Egyptian military decided that enough was enough, and it was time to stop pretending it would actually allow civilians anywhere close to real power in a country it has run in its own self-interest for four decades.

So, before the elections results could even be counted, it announced that the new president wouldn’t have much power anyway, that the military – not civilians – would oversee the writing of a new constitution, and that the generals would make decisions on behalf of the elected legislature (which they had dissolved last week in any event.) The only real difference between the new government and the one that was supposedly ousted in a popular uprising last year is that Hosni Mubarak, the one-time strongman, has been sentenced to life in jail, leaving the spoils of power conveniently available to his successors.

The generals maintain they will return power to an elected president by the end of June. Which they may actually do, if Egyptian voters co-operate in choosing the candidate the military prefers. Otherwise, it’s just possible an emergency will arise that, unfortunately, prevents them from once again temporarily keeping their promise.

At the same time as democracy was suffering a setback in Egypt, Saudi Arabia was deciding which member of the royal family to appoint as the king-in-waiting. This became necessary when Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz died unexpectedly after just eight months as heir to the throne. King Abdullah is 88 and won’t last forever; Prince Nayeff was 78 (or maybe 77). The new Crown Prince, Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, is 76.

The Saudi people had no say in any of this, of course, just as they have no say in much of anything. The choice is made by the Allegiance Council, which consists of the sons and grandchildren of the original King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud. The King might  approve a new bit of equality now and again – like lifting the ban against women driving cars – but only as a gesture of magnanimity, and only if he feels like it. In choosing the conservative Nayef, and now the equally conservative Salman, the sons of King Saud are making clear they want no truck with any of this democracy business.

What they want instead is security. And it’s not hard to imagine why. While Egypt and Saudia Arabia were doing their best to quell hopes of change, Syria’s government was extending its policy of simply slaughtering anyone who challenges it. The UN’s 300 observers suspended all activities on Saturday because it was too dangerous to operate in a country that ignores any effort to stop it from killing more Syrians. Neither the government nor rebel forces have been willing to halt fighting long enough for the UN to evacuate women and children from the fiercest areas of conflict. The UN’s top human rights official says the government of President Bashar al-Assad may be guilty of war crimes, a safe bet if ever there was one.

Even Russia, which, with China, is chiefly responsible for supporting Bashar, is nervous enough that it’s sending two naval vessels to protect Russian citizens at its Syrian naval base.

“We must protect our citizens,” Maj.-Gen. Vladimir Gradusov was quoted as saying. “We won’t abandon the Russians and will evacuate them from the conflict zone, if necessary.”

The Russians, of all people, appreciated that events can turn unexpected when angry citizens rise up against the established powers. And President Vladimir Putin surely understands that even the world’s most ruthless military can’t protect a hated leader forever. So perhaps he’s preparing for the possibility that Syria’s government will fall despite itself. However that turns out, it’s unlikely to further the kind of freedom ordinary Arabs dreamed of when they began giving voice to their protests 18 months ago.

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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in WORLD

 

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