Feb 20, 2011

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The Arabist



Shukri: Mazel Tov, Egypt!

Posted: 19 Feb 2011 05:14 AM PST

Israelis, you need to read this: your government has done you one more disservice with its pro-Mubarak position during Egypt's crisis. Ezzedine Shukri, who knows your country well, highlights its mistakes
First, Egypt's revolution has been about Egyptian affairs only, with almost no reference to foreign policy. No one was chanting death to the US or to Israel. The dominant themes were related to freedom, social justice and dignity. Egyptians who took to the streets in millions were expressing their rejection of an ossified regime which ignored their concerns for decades. It is somehow miraculous that no one tried to capitalize on the 'Palestinian cause' or 'anti-American' sentiments. People ignored these issues; why Israeli leaders injected themselves into the story and brought undue attention upon themselves is a mystery to me.


Algeria update #fev12

Posted: 19 Feb 2011 05:07 AM PST


The above video is great commentary by the French specialist on Algeria Benjamin Stora. It explains the tension between the need for change and the fear of a return to the civil war of the 1990s. He argues Algerians are "exhausted" by the last 20 years of instability.
Le Monde highlights another type dueling trends: an opposition that has collapsed upon itself and has little credibility cannot give much leadership, but on the other hand youth anger gives momentum to the protests.
AFP notes few demonstrators today in Algiers and a big police presence.
 


The Battle for Bahrain

Posted: 19 Feb 2011 03:58 AM PST


This is a good report on Bahrain (and Libya) from PBS' Newshour. It features veteran Gulf expert Gary Sick, who on his blog noted this:
 
I suggested that, in addition to the battles in the streets of Bahrain, there is a battle within the royal family. The king apologized for the one death on the first day, then the security forces launched an incredibly ugly attack shortly thereafter, killing at least 5 more Bahrainis. They then attacked people coming from the funerals today. They have prevented ambulances from reaching the wounded, and they have brutalized doctors trying to tend to the wounded.


Veteran Egypt activist sees revolution as ongoing - Yahoo! News [del.icio.us]

Posted: 19 Feb 2011 03:58 AM PST

Profile of our friend, former Arabist contributor Hossam Hamalawy. I got him blogging!

Some notes on Libya #feb17

Posted: 19 Feb 2011 02:41 AM PST

Things in Libya are getting ugly:
  • Human Rights Watch: "(New York) - Government security forces have killed at least 84 people in three days of protests in several cities in Libya, Human Rights Watch said today, based on telephone interviews with local hospital staff and witnesses."
  • The internet has been cut in large parts of the country, making it difficult to upload the videos to Youtube that have been a major source of information.
  • Journalists are not allowed in for the most part - see What If Libya Staged a Revolution and Nobody Came? - By Najla Abdurrahman | Foreign Policy. I understand that some of the correspondents for the Arab satellite channels were pro-regime anyway — it was the only way they could get into the country in the first place. Because of this the picture of what's really happening is not detailed, we have tidbits here and there. Diaspora Libyans in the US and UK are doing much of the work of getting word out. Enough Qaddafi (whose great website is unfortunately still down after being attacked) noted on Twitter: "catch 22 in libya. You spk 2 media you could suffer, and if you don't get word out by spk 2 media u could suffer#Feb17 the result is that we can generally understand what's happening, but the details that describe magnitude of events are virtually impossible to confirm.its frustrating for pple on ground and those that want to report"
  • Mercenaries have been employed by the regime.
  • There are reports of divisions within the regime on how to handle the uprising. For now one of the main tools used has been the Revolutionary Committees controlled by Qadhafi. I am not sure where the army has been doing though. 
  • Audio recording by a protestor: Audioboo / LPC: Detailed on the ground account of violence in Benghazi moments ago!! #Libya #Feb 17
  • The heart of the revolt appears to be Benghazi, long a town critical of the regime and where politics have been dominated by Islamists. But several other cities have fallen out of government control.
 


Esam Al-Amin: Anatomy of Egypt's Revolution (Part Two) [del.icio.us]

Posted: 19 Feb 2011 01:54 AM PST

More from Esam al-Amin.

Links 18 February 2011

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 02:01 PM PST

SOAS conf. on settler colonialism

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 08:15 AM PST

I am posting the following as a public service announcement — there will be a conference at my alma mater, SOAS, on Israel/Palestine. If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know I think it's important to cast the Zionist project as a settler colonial one to counter the narrative, particularly in US media, of a conflict that existed "since time immemorial." Otherwise, the conference is entirely its organizers' work. 
PAST IS PRESENT: SETTLER COLONIALISM MATTERS!
SOAS Palestine Society Conference Organizing Collective
On 5-6 March 2011, the Palestine Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London will hold its seventh annual conference, "Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine." This year's conference aims to understand Zionism as a settler colonial project which has, for more than a century, subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation and erasure in the pursuit of a new Jewish Israeli society. By organizing this conference, we hope to reclaim and revive the settler colonial paradigm and to outline its potential to inform and guide political strategy and mobilization.


Massive link dump about everything

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 08:00 AM PST

No posts today — instead you get an enormous link dump courtesy of Seham, who usually focuses mostly on Palestine. I will be getting back to Egypt soon though — there's a lot of info to assess and that needs to be broken down into digestible bits. Let me know your questions in the comments.

FRANCE 24 - Prince Moulay Hicham El Alaoui, Chercheur à l'Université de Stanford [del.icio.us]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 07:52 AM PST

Interview with "Red Prince."

The Struggle to Define the Egyptian Revolution | The Middle East Channel [del.icio.us]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 07:52 AM PST

Nathan Brown.

Libya: Security Forces Fire on 'Day of Anger' Demonstrations | Human Rights Watch [del.icio.us]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 07:51 AM PST

24 killed at least.

YouTube - mukhtaralasad's Channel [del.icio.us]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 07:43 AM PST

Tons of Libya videos.

JORDAN: Clashes erupt at pro-democracy rally in Amman | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times [del.icio.us]

Posted: 18 Feb 2011 07:40 AM PST

Pro-government thugs attack peaceful protests.
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Feb 13, 2011

BADINAGE FROM THE BEAST





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February 13, 2011
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PREDICTIONS
1.Who Won CPAC?

At the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend in Washington, D.C., some contenders pitched hard but fell flat, while others hit perfect notes and were rewarded with rock-star receptions from the record crowd. Headliners included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), and Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS). Plus, Rick Perry issued a call to arms, Ron Paul squeaked out a second straw-poll victory, and Donald Trump drew libertarian ire. The Daily Beast's Mark McKinnon covers CPAC's 2012 forecasts.

Read it at The Daily Beast

LONG-TERM GOALS
2.Military Plans on Egypt Democracy

Egypt's Supreme Military Council reiterated its promise to make the transition to a "democratic and free" Egypt, but said it would take its time, leaving Mubarak's government in place as caretaker. Much to the chagrin of some of the protesters remaining in Tahrir Square, the council is supposedly being too opaque about its plans for transition. "We need a timetable for elections. We need an interim government. We need a committee for a new constitution. Once we get all that, then we can leave the square," said one protester. Others plan to return every Friday until the military repeals the emergency law and dissolves the parliament. Meanwhile, a few thousand remain in the square, and scuffles broke out between them and the troops trying to dismantle their makeshift encampment.

Read it at The Washington Post

NEXT STEPS
3.Egypt's Protesters Draw Up Demands

With President Mubarak officially ousted, a coalition of organizers behind Egypt's historic 18-day demonstrations has drawn up their first cohesive list of demands for their new government, including the end of emergency laws, the abolition of the current parliament, and a rewritten or entirely new constitution. In a symbolic gesture of reconstruction, activists began cleaning up Cairo's Tahrir Square, the heart of their rebellion. "We are cleaning the square now because it is ours," said one 20-year-old student.

Read it at The Associated Press

BELT TIGHTENING
4.Obama to Propose Budget Cuts

Get ready for the week ahead: Obama will propose some considerable budget cuts tomorrow. They'll be less than the likely Republican proposals, but will still promise a sizeable $1.1 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade, says a senior administration official. Many domestic programs the president supports are on the chopping block: Forestry and public-health programs, as well as home energy assistance to low-income families. By 2015, the country would be running a deficit of 3 percent of GDP, down from three times that level now. Unlike Republicans, Obama plans to reduce military spending. "We're going from an environment where, if something was for defense, it was outside of normal budgetary discipline," says a White House official. Like the Republicans, though, the president isn't tackling long-term budget-busting entitlement programs like Medicare.

Read it at The Washington Post

MIDDLE EAST
5.Palestinian Authorities Call for Elections

Seemingly in response to the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, Palestinian leaders announced Saturday that they planned to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by September, after a meeting with the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Islamist Hamas faction rejected the plan for national elections, which have not been held since 2006, when Hamas won a majority in parliament and has since governed Gaza while the Palestinian Authority controlled the West Bank. A Hamas spokesman pointed to the resignation of Palestine's chief negotiator with Israel over leaked documents, saying it was proof that negotiations and peaceful efforts with Israel were a failure, and adding that the Palestinian Authority should "cease all types of coordination with the Zionist enemy."

Read it at The New York Times

Latest-Cheat-Sheet
UNREST
Thousands Protest in Algeria
Government blocks Facebook, Twitter.

SEE NO EVIL
Google Proud of Wael Ghonim
Says he's welcome back.

DIRTY PARTY
Mysterious Illness Strikes Playboy Mansion
Conference attendees report respiratory problems.

STICKY WEB
'Spider-Man' Hit With Safety Violations
Surprise inspections on stunt-heavy musical.

PREVIEW
Who's On the Grammys' Odd Lineup?
Rehearsals reveal diverse cast for tonight's awards.
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