Friday, January 28, 2011

Mideast Protest Scorecard

With the Mideast situation changing by the minute, as of Friday afternoon EST, here is roughly the scorecard.

Fire Your Dictator, Arrest the Police!

What can the Arab street be thinking? The answer seems to be evolving fast, much faster than the elite can keep up.

Egyptian Army: Shoot the People or Join the Revolt?

Egyptian protesters are, according to reports, focused on getting rid of Mubarak, a goal that, if achieved, would leave the population far short of having achieved any sort of revolution. More to the point is whether the army, now being deployed in view of the apparent defeat of the police by the people, will choose to disobey orders or murder the protesters.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The People Are the Enemy: Egyptian Chapter

The struggle for Arab democracy is now squarely focused on Egypt, with the intensity vastly hotter than that of the Tunisian, Lebanese, or Algerian chapters.

Washington’s Mideast Dilemma: Choices Exist

Washington faces a dilemma in the Mideast as a result of its long-time policy of supporting Arab dictators and right-wing Israeli expansion, but policy-makers do have choices, if they can imagine new ways of doing business.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lebanese Sunni Fight Each Other While Hezbollah Calls for Unity

Miqati becomes prime minister of Lebanon with the Sunnis politically fractured and fighting each other. Is there hope for replacing Lebanon's delicate and anti-democratic confessional structure with a modern political system?

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Day in the Life of a Superpower

The last decade in world affairs has revolved around a global conflict between the world's last remaining superpower and "political Islam," with a seemingly endless series of horrifying events - African embassy bombings, 9/11, Fallujah, half a million Pakistani refugees, etc. All the deaths demonstrate the importance of tracking the impact of Mideast affairs on the superpower: it is a very big elephant and where it steps will matter. Today was a very bad day for the proponents of empire.

Lebanon Upside-Down

Just a quick thought and a question on the latest from Lebanon...

The establishment, "pro-democracy," "pro-stability," "pro-US" candidate for prime minister has his guys in the street burning tires and is screaming the most incendiary rhetoric about all his opponents being traitors and refusing to compromise while Hezbollah--that representative of the largest confessional group in Lebanon--is playing precisely by Western democratic rules. In classic British tradition, Hezbollah brought about the fall of the government and now gets the chance to form a new government. What's not to like? Surely you are not going to tell me we in the West only like democracy when our guys win!?!? I mean, these are "our" rules that Hezbollah is following! Ain't democracy a beautiful thing?

Question: is the real news here the installation of a Hezbollah government or the splitting of the Sunnis?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The People Are the Enemy: Algerian Chapter

Following the standard handbook of repressive regimes, the Algerian dictatorship continues taunting the long-suffering Algerian society.

Friday, January 21, 2011

One Short, Exciting Week in the Mideast

The Muslim world, wracked by political instability over the past week, took a step in a new direction while Washington remained focused on domestic political squabbles of little historic significance.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Obama Fumbles Three Times in One Week in the Mideast

If history is at least half the story of opportunities missed, Obama has made a lot of history this week.

Impunity for (Some) Political Murders

Obama noted, in reference to the murder of Hariri, that the "era of impunity" should be brought to a close.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Iraqi Lessons and Mideast Change

The situation in Iraq may be poised to teach the rising number of Mideast proponents of change some significant lessons.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stimulating Self-Organization in the Gaza Laboratory

Israel's so-called policy of defending itself against Gaza by imposing collective punishment constitutes a serious and unpredictable threat to Israeli national security: stimulating the rise of a desperate and inventive self-organized network of enemies is not rational behavior for a traditional status-quo military power.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mideast Strategic Evolution

Is there a type of strategic evolution in its Mideast policy that the U.S. could pursue without overall decline in its national security?