Michael Ross wrote a pretty interesting piece in the latest Foreign Affairs (subscription required) about the possibility that the prevalence of oil in many Arab countries will dampen the effects of the Arab Spring. The boiled down thesis is that monarchs and dictators who are fortunate enough to run countries blessed with immense oil wealth … More Will Oil Drown the Libyan Revolution?
There are many challenges to real reform in the Middle East. These are none of them Now that these longstanding rulers are no longer in power in the two countries, where do these seemingly leaderless Arab revolts take Tunisians and Egyptians, and how will they effect change to their systems of governance? Virtually all previous … More Stupid Reasons to be Skeptical of the Arab Spring
So far, the Arab Awakening has toppled two regimes, in Egypt and Tunisia. Obviously, both countries have fared far better than their bloodier counterparts in Syria and Libya, but serious problem remain. Both countries have postponed elections (both until October – though this is not necessarily a bad thing) and have experienced revolutionary flashbacks with … More What Does a Successful Arab Revolution Look Like?
National dialogues talks are set to begin in Bahrain in a week, but already things are not looking promising for the scarred and divided island nation. The opposition movement saw its entry into the Arab Spring violently struck by the ruling Khalifa family while hundreds of opposition members were arrested and thrown in jail. The … More Minor Obstacles for National Dialogue in Bahrain
After the relatively peaceful revolution in Tunisia, many were shocked by the escalated violence utilized by the Mubarak regime in Egypt. Yet after the vicious response to protests by Qaddafi in Libya, hindsight has perhaps redefined the definition of a peaceful revolution. Rather than adopting the mass protest styles that resulted in regime collapse in … More Is Syria The New Libya?
Earlier this week, Robert Fisk wrote a piece in The Independent decrying the fundamental hypocrisy of America’s Middle Eastern policy: Obama rhetorically supports democracy in the region but has not followed through on his high talk when it came to the Arab Spring. The schism between what Obama says and what the United States does is pretty … More Does Obama Think That Arabs Are Stupid?
Despite the disingenuous fuss that has been made about the mention of 1967 borders in the President’s Cairo II speech, Obama really did not say anything, despite standing at the microphone for nearly 50 minutes. In many ways unlike his Cairo speech in 2009, President Obama’s beautiful rhetoric was generally empty of any real meaning, … More Obama’s Empty Words
Reports are coming out that the anti-government protesters in Bahrain have administered drugs that mock the effects of nerve gas. After claiming that nerve gas was being used by the government, protesters stole more than 5,000 vials of drugs. The Bahraini government claims that the drugs were taken in order to send false messages to … More In Case You Thought It Was Tame
I recently used the escalating situation in the Cote d’Ivoire (nearly 500 killed, 1 million refugees, advancing rebel army…) as a case similar to that of Libya, i.e. why intervene in Libya and not in Cote d’Ivoire. The US does not have strategic interests in either country and if, as Obama says, American intervention in … More Libya Ain’t No Cote d’Ivoire
A main topic on this site over the last few weeks has, of course, been the intervention in Libya. I have been pretty adamant in my opposition to American involvement in the mission (and the mission in general). In short, my opposition stemmed from launching an expensive war in a third Arab country, possible delegitimization of what … More Did The Intervention Work?