Posts Tagged ‘Arab Revolt’

Colonialism, or sectarianism, or. . . ?

Posted in Bahrain on September 3rd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Sadeghi’s take on Bahrain

An in-depth and worthwhile article in Al Jazeera by Shirin Sadeghi, which is nevertheless partially retrograde in its analysis.  Yes, sectarianism is promoted as the root cause of the troubles in Bahrain by many actors, not least the Bahrainis and Saudis, for their own cynical reasons.  However, suggesting that colonialism is the root cause–that Britain and America are the primary villains–is a step backward.  The ongoing Arab Revolt is increasingly successful because the Arabs in the revolutionary countries have, for the first time, taken responsibility for their own governance.  For the first time, they have said to hell with foreign conspiracy theories and outmoded ideas of the survival of colonialism, and, recognizing that their oppressors are their own, they have eliminated them.

Still, this is an insightful and well-written article by a native Iowan of Iranian ethnic stock.  We can learn something from Intricacies of Bahrain’s Shia-Sunni divide


When is it time for armed revolt?

Posted in Bahrain on September 3rd, 2011 by admin – 2 Comments

Al Jazeera’s story of Bahrain’s own Arab revolt

It is difficult to watch this brutal story and conclude that the example of the Egyptian and Syrian non-violent revolts will work in Bahrain.  There comes a point, as it did in the American colonies in the late 18th century, when armed revolt is justified. 

Ghandi would not have approved; a Buddhist would not approve.  But, other than martyrdom, oppression and torture, what is the alternative?

And where is the western pressure, the American sanctions, against this regime?

Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark


We should have let Osama live

Posted in Op ed on May 3rd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Osama bin Laden

Another wrong call

‘End of the Jihadist Dream’ runs one New York Times editorial.  In fact the Jihadist dream was almost dead; we may have just shocked it back into a brief, fitful life.

Bin Laden was increasingly irrelevant to the Arab world.  The Arab Spring, the Arab Revolt–whatever we want to call it–is a sea change in the way an entire nation (Nasser’s Arab nation) sees itself: for the first time in how many life times, Arabs are taking responsibility for their own governance.  And, for the most part, non-violently!  Jihad and Bin Laden are not even on the Arab radar.  Who could have foreseen such an evolution?  Certainly not the US State Department or the US Administration, packed as both are with Dennis Ross-style ‘experts’: civil servants and consultants who for twenty years have published in Foreign Affairs Magazine and advised administration after administration . . . with not one significant success to show for it.

What should we have done?

We should have marginalized Bin Laden even further.  This is how:

Let him live–but appropriate the neighborhood

We should have made his neighborhood American soil.  Twentyfour hour webcams set in concrete and placed all around and peering down into his compound would have beamed real-time pictures up to YouTube and dedicated English and Arabic websites. He and his family would have wanted for nothing, but everything and everybody would have gone through an American airport-style scanning process, going in and going out.  Instead of patting down elderly ladies from Wisconsin, we would have patted down Bin Laden’s family and relatives.  We would have made him increasingly visible–and increasingly ignored.  We would have discussed his long-term prospects with the Pakistani government in very long-term discussions . . . while immediately reexamining our multi-billion dollar yearly aid to the Pakistani military.

Encourage Arab democracy movements

We should right now kick Saudi forces out of Bahrain and pressure the Bahraini government to enter into serious discussions with the opposition to transform the country into a democratic, constitutional monarchy.  We need to promote development within Saudi–every kind of development–and that means being vocal and unpopular.  No doubt we’ll lose some defense contracts.  It’s a small price to pay.  At the same time we should enter into direct talks with Hamas in Gaza, as part of a Hamas/Fatah Palestinian unity government.  We should do what is necessary to forge peace in Israel and Palestine.  The short-term domestic political hysteria in the US will quickly subside.  It will be difficult to argue with peace.  With success. 

It’s too late to follow the first prescription.  We’ve turned a loser into a martyr.  Another failure of American leadership.  But it’s not too late to redeem our error.  It’s not too late to promote freedom and democracy in the Arab world–an Arab world eager to take responsibility for their own democratic governance.

There’s still time to redeem America’s increasing irrelevance in the Middle East.


Up close and personal in Bahrain

Posted in Bahrain on April 16th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

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Not from Al Jazeera . . . from CNN!

All kudos to Al Jazeera for Middle Eastern news–EXCEPT for serious news from Qatar, Saudi or Bahrain.  Yes, we are now dependent on Amber Lyon and her CNN team for a picture of Bahraini reality.

Veterans of the Middle East may at first cringe a little at the blonde, wide-eyed Amber, sitting all by herself in the big airplane, heading to Manama.  But watch and listen to the whole story.  She’s a professional journalist.  She has guts.  Watch not only the ‘story’, but the back story.  Yes, it’s her first time in this kind of situation, but she got through it and came back with the real story and told it.

Kudos for CNN and for the journalist Amber Lyon.  And shame on Hilary, Obama, and the US government.


The West’s ‘double standards’ in the Middle East

Posted in Bahrain on March 29th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Nabeel Rajab on the situation in Bahrain

American double-standards prevail on the southern shore of the Gulf, as Mark Levine and Nabeel Rajab make clear.  Kudos for Al Jazeera publishing this material, but where is the live news story, direct from Manama?

The West’s ‘double standards’ in Middle East – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.


First demands for regime change

Posted in Syria on March 28th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

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Ruma Amin on location in Sanamin, Syria

Another first-class Al Jazeera field correspondent.  This time reporting on what happens when regimes use force in the face of popular protests.  The demands escalate: from an end to corruption, to regime change.


Undercover reporting in Syria

Posted in Syria on March 26th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

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Zeina Khodr on location in Daraa, Syria

Who was reporting from Daraa that day?  Someone from CNN?   From The New York Times?  From the BBC?  No–no one was allowed in . . . but one journalist made it in on her own: Zeina Khodr.

Who is this Arab woman, this daring and professional Arab journalist? read more »


American irrelevance

Posted in Op ed on March 23rd, 2011 by arabiaflambe – Be the first to comment

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Bloodshed in Bahrain

The plot of my 2008 novel, The Desert Contract, started with a Shia uprising in Saudi Arabia.  The video above shows Shia protesters in Bahrain–about 35 miles from Saudi’s eastern coast–being shot by Bahraini police (probably Pakistanis).  They are being shot in an attempt to maintain the monarchs of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. read more »