Posts Tagged ‘Juan Cole’

Arab Spring Spreads Across the Middle East

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Juan Cole on the protests spreading across the Middle East:

Friday saw major protests in Syria, Jordan and Yemen, along with continued fighting in Libya. The Arab Spring has not breathed its last gasp, but rather seems to be getting a second wind. Protesters are crossing red lines set by governments and risking being shot. They know that movements are watered with the blood of martyrs. One of the major protests, in Deraa, Syria, on Friday was actually a funeral procession. But the Baathist regime created dozens more martyrs in response to being challenged. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh seems to have admitted he is outgoing, though he is bargaining with the crowds about the timing and circumstances.

Qaddafi Forces Strike Back Hard as Grip on Power Loosens

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Here’s the New York Times on the latest from Libya and Juan Cole with a larger analysis of the internal political situation that Qaddafi faces. As Cole notes, Qaddafi has largely maintained power for forty two years by balancing tribal alliances, so the reports that major tribes are now aligning against him is significant (not to mention the defection/resignation of many of his own diplomatsgenerals and fighter pilots).

That being said, this could turn into a long standoff as Qaddafi continues to fight back with all means at his disposal, from the air force to paramilitary mercenaries.

Just to put his country at ease, he followed up his son’s rambling statement from yesterday with this bizarre video of him lackadasically joking about the protests while sitting in a the cab of a truck, holding an umbrella.

I swear, this guy is straight out of a James Bond (or an Austin Powers) movie.

But seriously though, what a month…

Protests Grip Libya, Yemen and Bahrain

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Here’s Juan Cole again, on the spreading Middle East protests.

The politics of Bahrain are particularly interesting. It’s a Shiite majority country that is ruled by a Sunni royal family and has had sporadic flare ups of political protest with a sectarian edge since the 1990′s.

While the country’s citizens are majority Shiite, there are actually more expatriates than citizens in Bahrain and many of them are Sunni Arabs, Pakistanis or South East Asians.

Once again, the United States’ rhetorical support of democracy is colliding with it’s national security interests. The US Fifth Fleet, which provided critical logistical support for the Iraq war as well as all other Persian Gulf operations, is headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.

Juan Cole: Why Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Here’s Juan Cole on why Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979. As always, consider the source and keep a healthy skepticism, but this is a guy who knows a lot about the Middle East.

Let’s hope he’s right.

Also see below on possible outcomes in Egypt.

He later clarified in his actual post that what he meant by “pull a  Khamenei” was that the usual suspects: the military, the pro-Mubarak people, etc. would prevent real change and real democratization. He also noted that this possibility seemed diminished after the events of Friday.