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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.

Mar 14, 2011

The Ongoing Protestors Movement

The political outrage blowing in all directions in the Arab world is calling for genuine political reforms and an end to corruption.

In Libya, Gadhafi’s air, sea and land forces continue to bombard towns that are under the rule of revolutionary forces. It has been reported that more than 50 people have been killed and hundreds wounded. Many unarmed civilians, including children, are among the casualties. Gadhafi and his son have lost their minds and are determined to put an end to the people’s revolt. Unless outside interference take place, especially to prevent Gadhafi air force and tanks from being used against the protestors who are poorly armed with no prior training. They will continue to pay a high price for trying to liberate themselves from a savage and mentally derailed person.

I am confident that at the end, they will achieve their goal. The Arab League just called on the international community to impose a no flight zone over Libya.

In Yemen the protestors continue to call for Ali A. Saleh to resign. He made a new offer to the protestors to change the political system into a parliamentarian one before the end of 2011, as well as a change in the constitution. The protestors rejected the offer. In the meantime his security forces continue to use force that led to the killing of more unarmed protestors. The Arab National Human Rights organization condemned the government for its use of excessive force. More members of his political party have resigned from parliament in protest of the use of force against the protestors.

One of the major factors that have played a role in his favor is his tribal affiliation and the relatives of the people that he appointed in high governmental positions. Nevertheless, it is only a matter of time before Ali Saleh is forced out of office.

It is very unfortunate that the USA provided direct support to Ali Saleh by telling the protestors to consider the president’s offer to change the Yemeni government. This offer came too late and he should step down.

In Bahrain, the protestors’ movement is still occupying Pearl Square in Manama. The protestors are calling for constitutional reforms and now are calling for a change from the monarchy into a republic type of government. The government continues to say that reform will be considered only through discussion and not through protesting. In the meantime, the economic council of the Gulf is proposing a Marshall economic plan for Bahrain and Oman to raise billions of dollars for economic investment in Bahrain to create jobs for the many who are unemployed. Members of the Gulf Council want to maintain political stability in the region. Any drastic political changes in Bahrain will have an impact on their government. As usual, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates offered American support to the Royal Family during his visit to Bahrain and urged the government to begin its reforms This is a big mistake and interference in the civil affairs of Bahrain. Because it gives the impression to the public that the USA is supporting the royal family.

In Oman, the second Arab state where the protestors were calling for an end to corruption and the creation of employment for many who are seeking jobs. The protestors’ movements spread to other cities despite the resignation of two ministers from the cabinet. Also, other groups began protesting to increase their salaries in order to meet the continuous increases in the cost of living. The Gulf Economic Council also included Oman in addition to Bahrain for a proposed substantial economic development.

In Iraq, the protestors movements have spread from Baghdad to all other governates, calling for an end to corruption and improvements in their living conditions. The protestors are condemning the people they have elected who have turned their backs on those who elected them.

Iraq still experiences shortages in electrical power and clean drinking water, as well as poor sanitation and health care services. Also, the high unemployment rate is a major influential factor among the protestors. The parliamentary election that took place ten months ago was based on sectarianism did more damage to the public, which was not anticipated. Struggles and conflicts have been occurring among politicians who belong to various sectarian political groups, distracting them from the urgent problems that the public is facing. The protestors are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

In Algeria, the protestors have gathered in the capital despite the barrier that government security erected to prevent the public from reaching the square in front of the parliament building. Despite previous efforts that the government took to prevent the gathering of the protestors, their numbers reached nearly ten thousand. The protestors called for an end to corruption and a clean political reform that will lead to free political elections and other demands that were put on Face book and sent to the president.

In Morocco, the protestors’ numbers were small but they called for an end to corruption and the need for political reform. They have called for a constitutional monarchy and for the election of a prime minister the protestors were carrying signs calling for justice, dignity, freedom of expression and genuine political reform. The king promised political reforms in response to the young people’s demands. However, I doubt that he will move to change the absolute monarchy into a constitutional one.

In Jordan, the protestors’ movement has been going on in Jordan for several weeks. They are protesting the increases in the cost of living and unemployment and calling for an end to corruption, the dissolution of the parliament and a constitutional monarchy. The protestors called March 11th “Dignity Friday”.

The government has called for a national dialogue with all political parties under the direction of Tahrir al-Masry, the lead of Majlis al-Ayan. The political parties responded by setting conditions to participate in the proposed dialogue: first this dialogue should be established by a royal decree; second, it should include revisions in the constitution and parliamentary elections; third, the establishment of a constitutional court and the legal right to prosecute cabinet ministers and the right to challenge elections in court; fourth, increasing the time duration of parliament and the cancellation of the reforms added to the 1952 constitution, in addition to the election law as well as the laws pertinent to political parties; fifth, that the proposed reforms should be accomplished within a period of no more than two months. The consensus among political parties is that the Jordanian government is not serious enough to deal with the proposed agenda.

The social structure of the Jordanian society reflects a division between Jordanians of Palestinian background and Jordanians who still have a strong affiliation with their tribal background. The royal family depends on part of this group for support of its political position in Jordan. This was reflected during some of the protestors’ rallies, where the supporters of the king clashed with the main opposing groups. The Jordanians of Palestinian background constitute over 50% of the total population of Jordan. However, the Jordanian army is heavily linked with the tribal affiliations that support the royal family. Nevertheless, there will be some political accommodation at the end. How far the political reform will be, this is to be seen.

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