Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Feb 18, 2011

The Political Domino Game

As expected the revolutionary political development that occurred in Tunis and Egypt has its repercussions in other Arab countries. Most probably changes from authoritarian to democratic rule will ultimately occur in most of the Arab states.

The following is an introduction to the latest uprisings in the Arab world as they occur daily.

In Jordan the masses are calling for political reforms, solutions for the high unemployment rate, poverty and corruption. The continuous protest led to the resignation of Al Rifa’i government and the nomination of Al Bakhit as Prime Minister responsible to form a new cabinet.

University students, who vociferously participated in the demonstration, are calling for the establishment of a new Constitutional Monarchy. Such wishful change would limit the king’s authority and would allow the election of a prime minister who is presently nominated by the king. Furthermore, they are calling for a change in the law dealing with the election of the parliament’s members. The last election that took place a few months ago was rigged similar to the parliamentary election in Egypt.

In Bahrain the protestors are facing a savage repression from security forces that lead to the death of 4 protestors and more than 200 injured. The majority of the protestors are members of the Bahraini Shi’a who constitute two third of the population. The remaining one third consists of Sunni who are in control of the government. The Parliament consists of 18 shi’a members out of a total of 40 members. This parliamentary minority ceased to participate in the Parliament protesting government’s discrimination against the Shi’a community. They are demanding free election and the resignation of the Prime Minister who happens to be the uncle of the Bahraini King. The security forces are using tear gas to disperse the protestors. According to a government spokesman, the army moved in to control the protestors in Manama and to prevent a sectarian civil war.

The public in Yemen has also been demonstrating against President Ali A. Saleh demanding his resignation, despite his recent declaration for not running again in 2013! He did not reform the country in spite of his ruling for 33 years. The people are demanding an end to corruption and unemployment, which exceeds 40%. Similarly the protestors are facing attacks form the Yemeni security and from policemen in civilian clothing. The protestors did not relinquish their position and their demands in spite of the use of force and tear gas to disperse them. The news has recently reported the death of 11 protestors and of more than 40 injured.

Libya is another Arab country where the cadence of the domino game is applied. Colonel M. Al Qathafi has been in power for 43 years! The Libyans are demanding his removal and an end to his family’s political influence in Libya. Similarly to other Arab countries the protestors’ wish is to have free elections that will lead to a democratic society.

It seems that all security forces in the uprising countries have a secret pact as to their treatment of protestors. In Libya, similar to other countries, the security used extreme force to subdue the demonstrators.

Other protest movements are taking place in Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Syria and Iraq.

The factors that fueled the protests in the Arab countries are all the same: the absence of democracy, high rate of unemployment, poverty, corruption, lack of freedom of expression.

It is obvious that the era of authoritarian rulers has come, and will come, to an end. It is the end of a period where foreign colonial power has prevailed since WW II and where corruption has erupted.

The Arab world is the last among other regions in the world that is struggling for freedom and democracy. There is no doubt that in the near future democracy will triumph.

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