Tunisia. Egypt. Where next?

First Tunisia. Now Egypt. The dominoes are toppling. Autocrats across the region and beyond are trembling as 2011 becomes the year of people power.

Where next? That’s the question on the perspiring lips of despots and dictators everywhere as they realise that even the dollars, arms and political might of the United States can’t be counted on to save them from their people’s demand for human rights.

The Economist has come up with a rather fun way of predicting which of the region’s nations are most likely to be next in line for a nonviolent revolution, The Shoe Thrower’s Index:

The Economist compiles the chart as follows, although they are honest enough to acknowledge that their weighting and calculations may well be a bit askew. Indeed, you’d think that Tunisia and Egypt might have made it a tad higher up the chart.

The chart below is the result of ascribing a weighting of 35% for the share of the population that is under 25; 15% for the number of years the government has been in power; 15% for both corruption and lack of democracy as measured by existing indices; 10% for GDP per person; 5% for an index of censorship and 5% for the absolute number of people younger than 25.

With Qatar at the bottom of the league table and the Yemeni regime (the people there are already revolting) most likely to teeter and fall, it’s the sort of thing that might even inspire Slugger’s favourite turf accountant Betfair to open a book. Meanwhile let the Slugger speculation commence.

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  • fitzjameshorse1745

    As fatalities occurred in Tunisia and Egypt, it is probably not exactly the most moral idea to open a book on the next one. That would de-value human life to being a mere game.

    It would certainly be interesting if Jordan, Lebanon and Syria were involved, to see the knock on effect on Israel/Palestine and whether American attitudes would be benign.
    Frankly Im not as impressed with the Facebook Revolution as many others are. If it is the outpouring of what people really want, then I see no reason why it should be confined to North Africa and/or the Gulf.
    If the most visible sign is graffiti proclaiming “Twitter”, a reference to how out of touch regimes are with the under 30s with access to a cell phone and a broadband connexion……its a revolution thats generational as much as political.
    Looking around the nether regions of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Live Journal, the anglophonic (western) sphere there seems a type of politics in the air which is not to the liking of many old lefties like myself. It is nihilistic, selfish and nasty……..maybe Britain, Canada, Australia, Ireland, USA should be on the league table also.

  • Manfarang

    Celebrators cruised in cars in Beirut and Tripoli, with riders waving Egyptian and Lebanese flags and playing Egyptian anthems, while Islamic groups staged processions in the northern city. Demonstrations also took place in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh. – The Daily Star

  • wee buns

    FTZJMHRSE
    Having turned 45 lately I must declare, there is something deeply unappealing about Twitter, namely its incontinent shallowness, though trends do emerge, to wade through the disjointed floss is to loose the will to live.
    However applied to Egypt where organization & speed is of the essence, fair enough.

  • orly

    My bets would be on Yemen, Lebanon and Jordan

  • slappymcgroundout

    “Where next? That’s the question on the perspiring lips of despots and dictators everywhere as they realise that even the dollars, arms and political might of the United States can’t be counted on to save them from their people’s demand for human rights.”

    No, the question is, how loyal are the armed forces. We otherwise don’t know whether they will have their human rights. Who replaces, assuming someone does, the interim govt of the army council? Getting rid of someone is nice, but the point is the replacement and not the getting rid of. What I had proposed on 6 February in a comment on the Sandmonkey’s blog:

    “SM: This isn’t Tiananmen Square nor do you want it to be. You need to occupy the presidential palace, the parliament and the supreme court. Let the people go about their daily lives. But make it impossible for the govt to function. So start with those three and then add whatever other govt venues that are necessary to occupy in order to shut down the govt in Cairo (or at least have them meeting in a tent under a tree). Your allies in other cities can do the same where they are. Once the movement does such a thing, easier for you to do what you propose, since it won’t be one big mass of humans but several smaller masses of humans.

    Next, Baradei, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Nour have, are, or will be meeting with the govt. If such souls do not represent you all, then you all need to make that abundantly clear. Not by holding signs or chants, but in press releases to all of the media that you can find. You should already have a press relations brigade whose sole job is to feed your propaganda to the media. That said, as others have advised, if there’s a way to hack into the state run tv system or destroy the hardware necessary to transmit, I would suggest that such be done.

    Lastly, might I seriously ask how adverse you all are to an interim military govt, i.e., Mubarak abdicates and the Parliament dissolves and the armed forces fill the void on an interim basis? You could propose an interim military govt with a free election to be held within one month of Mubarak abdicating and Parliament dissolving for purposes of selecting delegates to attend a constitutional convention. Once the election is certified, say, no later than one week following the election, at the latest, the delegates then have one month to draft a constitution. A month after that, there is another election for the populace to either ratify or reject the constitution. Assuming that the delegates and voters are sane, the populace will ratify the fitting and proper constitution. Then a month following ratification, you have an election to select the representatives called for in the constitution. Once those election results are certified, the interim armed forces govt transfers power to the new govt. You can invite the UN to handle the mechanics of the elections. In the meantime, the interim armed forces govt will rule by decree. How does that sound? That’s a concrete proposal, requires that Mubarak abdicate and Parliament dissolves, and it reassures the armed forces that anarchy will not ensue.”

    Such also places some time limit on just how log the interim military govt will be ruling by decree and sets them on a road to a new constitution and new representative govt. Which they don’t have now.

    Lastly, journos never cease to amaze me. So the CNN headline: Analysts: Military now in rare, uncomfortable role of running Egypt.

    They need to find better analysts. Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak are all former top-ranking military officers. Hell, the govt goes back to a military coup that deposed a king. Has essentially been a military govt wherein the CEO and CIC simply exchanges the uniform for a suit and tie. And other than scale issues, there isn’t necessarily all that much difference between running a country and running an armed forces (a country within a country)(with such things as their own code of military justice, etc.).

  • fordprefect

    FJH
    I don’t believe it! I actually agree with you on this!

  • fordprefect

    What about the million or more people that marched in protest in britain against the Iraq war/invasion, did the government take a blind bit of notice of them? Not a bit of it! What about the hundreds of thousands of students/activists that marched in protest against the hike in tuition fees, did the government take a blind bit of notice, etc. etc. etc.

  • joeCanuck

    1. Yemen
    2.Algeria
    3. Libya
    4.Syria

  • pippakin

    Twitter and Facebook became a way for the protesters supporters to keep the subject live. It was a young middle class revolution and its supporters communicated in the way the young do.

    I like Twitter its a great place for breaking news. I understand it ‘broke’ the news about the Cork plane crash, and if anyone saw the number of complaints to RTE about the way they cut off an important government press conference they too would be impressed. RTE certainly knew they had made a big mistake. Irish people were offended at having to turn to the BBC to get live coverage of the Irish governments most important announcement for decades and told RTE so.

    Its likely that the next several months will be the most dangerous in Egypt and elsewhere. If it is not handled carefully the west could find they have another Iran on their hands.

  • RepublicanStones

    Have to agree with Slapp here. Mubarak was the face of a system of rule. A system that preceded his rise to power. Getting rid of Bela Lugosi was good, but now comes the hard part. Completely restructuring the system. I have hope, but my cynical glasses are just resting on my chest.

  • Reader

    fordprefect: What about the million or more people that marched in protest in britain against the Iraq war/invasion, did the government take a blind bit of notice of them? Not a bit of it!
    There have been 2 general elections since the marching. Who did those million vote for? Labour – same as usual? So why should the Government have cared? But in Egypt – how many of the protesters would vote for Mubarak?

  • Greenflag

    In Algeria crowds are gathering for a demonstration . They also have very high youth unemployment and a huge young population and governments there have been under pressure for a decade or more.

    The entire Maghreb looks like it’s coming face to face with the cumulative build up of 30 years of insufficient economic growth , huge young populations , and dictatorial regimes , incompetent and degenerate aristocrats and now ‘free’ information has reached a critical point .

    Even the Egytian Army while it may ‘install’ temporarily the country’s interim President it cannot and won’t undermine it’s position in Egypt by battering down the demands for free elections and reform . While the officer corps is loyal to the system -it’s bread and butter -further down the chain where the numbers begin there are those who will be reluctant to fire on their own . Now that Mubarak has been ousted by ‘people ‘ power some lessons will have been learned by the ‘next ‘ power mongers in Egypt and presumably elsewhere in the region.

  • iluvni

    Why is Iran excluded….too hot for the Economist to handle?

  • oracle

    While popular uprisings against non conforming or hostile governments in Muslim countries are a constant desire of Israeli/American foreign policy, a regional domino effect is the last thing that either of them wanted or had planed for.

    Having witnessed the Tunisian events and the subsequent unfolding events in Egypt the CIA/NSA have had several weeks to ponder their strategy for the immediate future.
    Mubarak hanging on as long as the Egyptian military/ CIA let him has bought a gold mine of time for the American/Israeli interests in the region.

    Both intelligence services will be working flat out to organize a popular or well advertised uprising in the region that will be both protracted and shambolic so that it is doomed to fail and fail miserably.
    The problem they have is selecting a country that they have a hidden but very heavy influence over in military and media circles and where unemployment is not high enough to sustain large numbers of full time protestors on the streets.

    Because they need a publicized failure in this peaceful revolution craze that is now rampant in the Arab world at the moment, a failure to curb the enthusiasm for more revolts and to break the confidence of those planning similar action in the country that matters most to the American/Israeli intelligence services Saudi Arabia, whoever controls Saudi Arabia controls the middle east.

    Democracy is good but only for the bad guys.

  • The Raven

    Exactly, iluvni. I’m rushing to be elsewhere, so I can’t go digging, but hasn’t there been a significant youth movement against the current regime over the past couple of years?

    Naturally as a ‘westerner’, I wouldn’t even pretend to be au fait with the similarities and differences between each state, but one dictator is the same as another. Were there not irregularities in recent elections? Just because he isn’t supported by Amerika, doesn’t lessen Ahmadinejad’s ranking in the despot leagues.

  • But why only concentrate on the middle east, by the way, Lebanon is not a dictatorship, its democracy is more worthy of the name than say Russian; or come to that the six counties which is an absolute sham of a democracy.

    Perhaps we should also give a thought to the elected ‘dictatorships’ in countries like the UK. The governing elite took the country to war in Iraq, despite the majority being against and today the yellow, blue Tory coalition is making cut backs and raising uni fees, none of which appeared in their election manifestos and they have no greater mandate for this than mubarak had for being the USA’s billion dollar Quisling.

    We have also seen in recent weeks the british police attack peaceful demonstrators in the most violent manner which would make Egypt’s head spook and vice president proud. Still this is hardly surprising as western security services taught him his vile trade.

    I note Palestine is not on that list, where at this very minute Western security services are ‘training’ Abass secret police in the same tricks as they taught Mubarak. fixing elections, arresting and beating up opponents and doing deals with those who oppress the Palestinians.

    What I am saying is our own excreta stinks and before we treat this manner as if it were a game by making a book on it, perhaps we should ask the Egyptian people for forgiveness, for it was out tax dollars/ pounds and Euros which helped keep them under the boot of Mubarak for the last 30 years and when in recent weeks our leaders had a chance to side with the oppressed, they failed and instead hedged their bets or kept stum.

    If you still feel those who drew up this list are not engaged in a filthy game, ask yourself why Israel is not on it, a country which holds more political prisoners than almost any other regime in the region. and is vulnerable to the wave of freedom sweeping the middle east.

  • iluvni, Iran isn’t a member of the Arab League, which forms the basis for the selection of countries by The Economist for its index.

    The Iranian authorities are already showing some fear of copycat protests there, having just denied permission for a solidarity rally planned for Monday and locking up the organisers. More details from Amnesty.

    There’s a similar and developing situation in Algeria, where protests, planned by a new coalition of opposition parties, trade unions and human rights organisations, are under way right now, despite being banned by the authorities.

  • Greenflag

    Iran hasn’t gone away either. 18 months ago . .

    On 12 June 2009, after 10 days of exciting campaign, 85% of eligible Iranian voters all over the world turned out to vote for their favorite candidate. But the morning after elections the result was not what they voted for. Their votes were stolen, politicians, human right activists and opposition leaders had been arrested over night, foreign media correspondents and international journalists had been expelled and cities were full of riot police and security forces. Despite all these Iranians have come to streets to shout their freedom and ask for their vote. Hundreds have been killed so far and thousands have been arrested.

  • tacapall

    Mr Suleiman is Israel’s preferred candidate to replace 82-year-old Mr Mubarak. A secret hotline between Mr Suleiman and the Israelis was said to be “in daily use”, according to US diplomatic cables.

    Mr Suleiman has already won the backing of Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to lead the “transition” to democracy after nearly three weeks of demonstrations calling for Mr Mubarak to resign.

    Earlier this week, David Cameron spoke to Mr Suleiman and urged him to take “bold and credible steps” to show the world that Egypt was embarking on an “irreversible, urgent and real” transition to democracy.

    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=19888

    “Mamdouh Habib Interview on New US/Israeli Egyptian Pet Omar Suleman”.

    Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured and tortured in the years after September 11 in both Egypt and Guantanamo Bay.

    For years, “war on terror” supporters defamed Habib and claimed he was lying about his allegations of mistreatment. However last year in just one case against the Australian Murdoch press, he won a small victory

    The courts have delivered another win to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib, declaring that he was defamed by News Ltd columnist Piers Akerman, paving the way for a hefty payout.

    The New South Wales Court of Appeal overturned a 2008 judgment in favour of Mr Akerman’s publisher Nationwide News and yesterday ordered them to pay Mr Habib’s legal costs in the five-year-old battle.

    It was the second win for Mr Habib in a month after the full court of the Federal Court upheld an appeal in his mammoth compensation case against the federal government for allegedly aiding and abetting his torture by foreign agents. Another hearing will now be held to determine what damages he will receive for the 2005 article in The Daily Telegraph and other News Ltd newspapers, headlined ”Mr Habib, it’s time to tell the full story”.

    Today, with the Egyptian uprisings in full swing, the man tapped by the US, Israel and the West to lead the country Omar Suleiman, was one of Habib’s torturers and there is intense scrutiny of who this man truly is.

    “No, I don’t want you to die now. I want you to die slowly.” He went on, “I can’t stay with you; my time is too valuable to stay here. You only have me to save you. I’m your saviour. You have to tell me everything, if you want to be saved. What do you say?”

    Yep Democracy, American style.

  • Reader

    tacapall: (Quoting someone who was apparently quoting Suleiman) : “You have to tell me everything, if you want to be saved. What do you say?”
    Did Habib talk? Did Suleiman save him? Don’t keep us in suspense.

  • tacapall

    Reader obviously the man is still alive,why dont you just read the link for yourself.

  • The Raven

    Hmm. Social media. People power. Toppling dictators. Gives me an idea…for here… 😉

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    We have become accustomed to thinking of “revolution” as beinf in some way “liberating” in the long term….French, Russian etc as arguably bigger tyranny was overthrown.

    The Egyptian Revolution may make us think the same but in the short term there might be a different tyranny (as in France or Russia..arguably)

    But essentially despite what lefties think…revolution is something that occurs among the middle class (will Egypts impoverished be any better off?) ….which makes Kenneth Clarkes statement about the middle class reacting against cuts in services very timely. The middle class (via university tuition subsidy or tax breaks or creative accountancy for the self employed) are actually the most subsidised class.

    If the Middle Class ever get the intelligence to use “Twitter” or “Facebook”……Society is in big trouble.

  • wild turkey

    “15% for both corruption and lack of democracy as measured by existing indices; ”

    does anyone know anything about the corruption and lack of democracy indices? how they compiled and their robustness?
    Raven, with respect to these particular indices, are you thinking what i’m thinking?

    Joe Canuck
    agree with your ‘book’ except i would switch algeria and yemen

    FJH
    “But essentially despite what lefties think…revolution is something that occurs among the middle class (will Egypts impoverished be any better off?)” agree. except the impoverished do come in handy for cannon fodder and other heavy lifting chores

    by the by, the american revolution (well thats how we are taught it guys! none of this war of independence bullshit) was led by white aristocrats, most of whom were slave owners. the subsequent federal constitution ensured the rights of property and kept the people, the mob, whatever, at arms length. this fundamental fact was poingnantly by Chief Justice Scalia who, when ruling on the Gore – Bush 2000 Florida vote coup noted, american voters DO NOT vote for the president, but rather the great and the good who will attend the electoral college.

  • Will Egypts impoverished be any better off?

    FJH,

    I doubt they will be any worse off and that is the key to any revolution, when people have nothing to lose they go for broke. It was the same for much of Egypt’s middle classes, especially the young, whether graduates or not and those who are outside the golden circle.

    The fact is, it was only after Egyptian trade unionists and workers joined the young people the military finally realised Mubarak was a busted flush.

    If we look back to Paris in 68, it was the failure of the student to link up with the workers that spelt the end of their revolt. Not blaming the student for this as there were all sorts of forces at work to prevent this happening. The same happened with the Students in Tiananmen Square, once the CCP realised the workers were not on their way, they ordered their military to murder the young people at will.

    The real danger now in Egypt is the protesters will take their foot off the gas. the old Mubarak clique of senior military are still in place and must hate the people in Tahir Sq like the plague, despite all their soft talk about the people and the army are one. Everything depends on the middle ranks of the army, in countries like Egypt these are often made up recruits from lower middle class homes, many from rural areas, who have decided to enter the military as it gives them an opportunity which does not exist elsewhere to advance and build careers. There loyalty is to the State and they must have been influenced by the same things as the young protesters, many of whom may be members of their families.

    All is still to play for, one might breath a little easier if Mubarak had been sent abroad or better still into a cell.

    Finally I believe all Clarke is doing is preparing the grand for the coalition so it is not such a surprise to the middle classes when the cuts start to bite. I could be wrong about this but I doubt it as no PM would allow a cabinet minister to undermine him like this unless he was surviving a purpose, especially one like Clarke, who has absolutely no sizeable support base in the Tory Party.

  • fordprefect

    I remember the yanks and all the rest of them calling for “democracy” in the middle east, so, what happened when the people of Gaza elected Hamas? I’ll tell you, the howls and screams from US britain et al, Noooooooooooooo you have elected the wrong ones, this isn’t right, ad infinitum, “democracy” (western style) my arse!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Wild Turkey……
    yes USA was founded by angry white middle class men with guns.
    Now they just email Bill O’Reilly, Shaun Hannity, Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, Ann Coulter etc etc

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    “Egyptian trade unionists and workers”?……another lefty myth is born. 🙂
    “As soon as this pub closes, the revolution starts” (Alex Glasgow).
    Do they have pubs in Egypt?

  • qwerty12345

    Wonderful scenes from Egypt….. but In Palestine Fatah was organising pro Mubarak marches:

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=206421

    Combine this with some of the contents of the recent leaked negotiation papers and theres not much question as to why Palestinians prefer Hamas. The upcoming elections in the west bank should prove to be a model exercise in democracy I would think.

  • Brian

    The Muslim Brotherhood will be in full power and curtailing elections and secular laws within 5 years. Too bad

  • To return to the original question, where next?

    After watching Al Jazeera tonight, Yemen and Algeria already.

  • fordprefect

    FJH
    I agree with you, yet again. What happens if the Muslim Brotherhood are elected into positions of power? Will the west accept that, or, is it another: oh noooooooooooo we didn’t want them elected, we would prefer someone much nicer than you, i.e. a government that goes along with whatever the US and Brit government et al says what is right?

  • fordprefect

    Brian
    Why don’t you go and get a life!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I suspect the USA had more to do with Mubarak leaving Cairo than those hordes of workers and students (that Mickhall mentions above) or the middle class.
    I suspect that the State Department spooks called in a few of its friends from the Egyptian embassy, not to mention their station people in Cairo having a word with influential Egyptians including politicians and the military.
    And at least short term the Wests “interests” are secure. Ive never regarded myself as part of “the West” so I will affect a certain couldnt care less attitude about the Middle East until oil prices go thru the roof ……(oh wait they have already done that).

    The middle class, the military and even the hordes of students and workers…..and militants too are all dependent on Western aid……and ultimately thats the key.
    USA can turn it on or off as easily as the Arabs in the Gulf can turn off the oil.
    It wont end well.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Recognition, yes. Political dialogue – negotiation, even – with representatives of ? Yes. Generous and discretionary financial support for pro-terror/theocratic states which are a danger to their ‘own’ citizens and to neighbouring states ? Absolutely not. No obligation to and all the reason in the world not to. Don’t be sending those regimes any of my tax dollars, thanks.

    Take Hamas by way of a parallel (be interesting to see how that relationship plays out if MB assume office in Egypt…). Hamas says that it wants an Islamic state stretching all the way from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. It publishes and promulgates the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a revolting piece of invention deployed by, among others, the Nazis. Hamas is a conscious obstacle to the creation of a proper Palestinian state by virtue of its dependence on foreign dictatorships and by the violent criminal methods it has used, among others, against Fatah and the PLO. People everywhere interested in the humanitarian plight of the people of Gaza would do well to make a point of having nothing whatsoever to do with the racists and criminals of Hamas, even as a means of distributing food or medicine. As for the MB in Egypt, we shall see.

    People can call a refusal to extend credit or other privileges to the likes of Hamas as anti-democratic if they like. Most of them are conscious supporters of this pro-totalitarian, racist riffraff. Most of the rest of them are just talking through their arseholes.

  • It wont end well.

    FJH

    I fear you words wreak of the cynicism of a former activist who has lost faith in the power of ordinary people to change their lives for the better. Unlike in most of your post here, you are all over the place on this and instead of debating any of the points I raised about Paris 68, Tahir sq 2010, you have resorted to tired old ruling class clichés about leftist, workers, and pubs, in the hope of amusing the more prejudiced of middle class sluggerites.

    The USA may well have telephoned one of their Egyptian hirelings and told them to give Mubarak the boot. but you totally ignore what made them do this, ie, the tens of thousands of ordinary Egyptians, students, graduates, the youth, workers, trade unionists and professionals who have gained the courage to defy the dictatorship. No matter how much you try and belittle and poo poo this, it will not make it any less of a fact.

    True we do not know how this will end, but your defeatism oozes out here, for what you are actually saying is forces bigger than the Egyptian people are at work here, so their only hope is to endure and be grateful for the scraps thrown from the masters table. Thankfully, they have tried this, and it did not sit well and the cried out, No more! Even if with US nudging the army turn on the people violently, this genie can never be put back in the bottle and once wiser heads accept that there will be a good outcome in Egypt.

    Having got rid of one satrap the Egyptian people are not going to bow to another, whether they be from the military or the Muslim Brotherhood. (Who in any case or more like the AK in Turkey than bin Laden or the Ayatollahs in Iran)

    Nunoftheabove

    Not sure if you are from the USA, but I would guess you are, as you seem to have a very one sided view of the world and democracy. Hamas was democratically elected by the Palestinian people, sometimes that is how the cooky crumbles in a democracy, for christ sake I live in a country were the government carries out policies which go against everything I believe it. but I would defend their right to hold office as they were able to stitch together a majority.

    Thus I spend my time between now and the next election, doing all I can to expose them for the sharks I believe them to be, in the hope they will be removed from office by the electorate in 4 years time or hopefully sooner.

    That is what Abbas party should have done in Palestine when they lost to Hamas, especially as they still held their mockney presidency, not run to nanny in the US and Israel and asked for help in carry out a coup.

    Democracy is about allowing people through the ballot box to decide who governs them, and placing the checks and balances within the system to ensure elected governments adhere to the rules and stand down when their period of office is up.

    It is not rocket science, it may not be perfect but it is better than all human kind has tried to date, if you/we allow our own government to encourage their hirelings abroad to ignore the democratic norms, how long do you feel it will be before they import their wretched undemocratic shenanagins back home.

    Was what GW Bush campaign team did in Florida really that long ago?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Mickhall

    One sided view of the world and democracy ? You might want to check the position of the EU and a good few others on Hamas as they appear to agree, to varying degrees, with me. Some go further than I personally would, actually.

    Would you patronise, say, Spain or Portugal with UK or Irish public money if they democratically elected expansionist, virulently fascist anti-Semitic regimes tomorrow ? I wouldn’t and would object to anyone who did.

    As I say, recognition and dialogue are fine as far as I am concerned. Aid, to which no regime is entitled anyway other than at the discretion of the donor, of course – not one red cent from any state that I would support. That’s not anti-democratic, it’s just informed self-interest and responsible government. Democracy is a necessary condition for good government but it isn’t always a sufficient condition for it.

    I am unsure why where I come from is of any relevance to this thread; only you can therefore explain why you’ve referred to Bush and to Florida as it seems widely off topic to me. To the extent that it doesn’t seem off topic to you though….enough said.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Alas I was never an activist. Much more fun to watch them.
    In 1980 I was in the old USSR and we went on a trip to see Comrade Lenin (I should point out I was there for the Olympics). Anyhow the young student recruited by the tourist people to sit on our bus had attended some lectures on Ireland….and was much amused that one of the party who went to see old Lenin was in fact a priest. As the priest pointed out he was only there to make sure the old “bas****” was dead.
    Anyway on the way back to the Hotel….we were asking our young Russian friend what he knew about Ireland.
    Seems in 1980 Ireland had four political parties…….FF, FG, Labue……and the Communist Party.
    He also got to mention the Communist paper as one of the nations leading newspapers. I suppose the Russians ooops er East Germans……oops er Bulgarians……..maybe not would think that Mubarak was brought down by Egyptian workers and students.
    Maybe Cuba will issue a postage stamp. And the Chinese stage one of those endless pageants. Maybe North Koreas Kim Il Jung was leading Egypts students and workers.
    I doubt it.

  • FJH

    Oh dear, why you mention the late unlamented Stalinist regimes is a mystery to me, but then again unlike you it seems I never accepted their hospitality.

    ————————–
    “elected expansionist, virulently fascist anti-Semitic regimes tomorrow ?”

    TOTA
    I presume you mean Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah, forgive me if you do not. As things stand I see nothing expansionists about any of these organisations, nor come to that Iran. Hezbollah is certainly not, Hamas plus reactionaries like Bin Laden have used such language in the past in the context of a reborn caliphate, but they are hardly in a position to put it into practice and have pulled back. It is not something a sizeable number of muslims support, not least because it would further split Sunni and Shia irreconcilably. Most see it as a pipe dream.

    Besides, if we have learnt one thing from the Egypt protests, it is the young populations of the middle east are looking to the future not back to the past.

    What happens in the West, especially the US, is those who are actually practising or supporting an expansionist foreign policy, accuse their enemies of doing just that, Thus Israel accuses Hamas of being expansionist whilst it occupies against international law the West Bank and terrorises Gaza.

    Take Iran, it has no history of post imperialist urges to conquer its neighbours and even if it did it is in no position to do so.

    As to virulently fascist anti-Semitic regimes, in my experience America’s ally Saudi Arabia heads the pack. Given the injustice the Israelis inflict daily on the Palestinian people, whenever I have visited countries where islam is the dominate faith, I am shocked by how little anti semitism there is. Especially if you compere this with the level of islamophobia in the USA since 9/11. Sadly these days in Israel, amongst jews, hatred for muslims is a widely held emotion. It is absolutely tragic and those who cheer the IDF when they attack the Palestinians are doing no favours to either the State of Israel or the Jewish people.

    It was not always so, there was a time when jews were a welcomed part of the middle east’s communities. Indeed prior to the establishment of Israel unlike in Europe, there was hardly any anti semitism by muslims against Jews and vice versa. Thankfully tens of thousands of European jews found sanctuary in these lands, first from Spain and much later from throughout Europe. Indeed whilst the UK had a quota on Jewish refugees entering the country whilst Hitler planned the holocaust, Ataturk’s Turkey welcomed them with open arms as peoples of the book.

    Regards

  • fordprefect

    Nun
    What about the criminal terrorist actions carried out by “Irsrael” on innocent Palestinians?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Mickhell

    No you’ve misunderstood I’m afraid; I was positioning how happy you’d be with supporting through the provision of credit and aid Spain and Portugal if they went fascist, expansionist and anti-semitic at the next general elections there.

    If you don’t believe that Hamas is expansionist then you’re making a hell of a gamble that they themselves don’t believe a word they themselves have been saying for years (as well as open holocaust denial) without equivocation or apology; I wouldn’t trust them an eighth of an inch on that. I agree on Saudi, a lot of the funding for the current turmoil in Iraq is coming from that direction, all the more important therefore that a democratic federal Iraq regime enjoys the full support of civilized states everywhere, wouldn’t you agree ?

    I agree on Israel which is why a Hamas administration is all the more regrettable currently. As I said earlier on today, they are a significant impediment on the road to the only solution that everyone everywhere knows is workable, which is a two state solution. Speed the day.

  • Nunoftheabove

    fartpervert

    You going to accuse me of supporting it now ?

    If you’ve no homework to do go have your weekly bath.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mickhall,
    Their hospitality wasnt free….Paid quite a lot for it.
    Its not like I was a lefty Trade Unionist or anything.
    Anyhow….we read our first western newspapers on the flight out of Moscow. Peter Sellers had died and there was a little unease at a shipyard in Gdansk in Poland.
    I visit Moscow and Communism collapses. A coincidence?. I think not.

  • fordprefect

    Nun, also known as a very fat Gary Glitter.
    Yes I do think that you wouldn’t care how many Palestinians, innocent or otherwise were murdered by “Israel”, now run along boy, and get your monthly wash with Bill O’Reilly or whatever other Neo Con you are in love with today!

  • RepublicanStones

    nunoftheabove, Israel’s govt is currently made up of several parties, at least one of which has virulently anti-gentile people in them. Bearing in mind also, the Israeli govt still denies it ethnically cleansed large swathes of the country during the states foundation. On this basis should the Palestinians refuse to talk to the Israeli govt?
    Furthermore don’t ignore the fact that Hamas is in part, Israel’s own Frankenstein monster.
    Hamas are a much more complex and diverse organistaion than the image you are trying to portray. They are neither your view, nor the lilywhite hero’s others try and depict them as. There was an interesting discussion on radio a while back, with Blair giving the standard bullshit line and a rather more realistic view proffered by Sir Jeremy Greenstock

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7823000/7823746.stm

    Paul Waugh from the LES has an article on the edition here.

    http://waugh.standard.co.uk/2009/01/greenstock-v-bl.html

  • pippakin

    Can I just say that Hamas are the legally elected government of Palestine. It is not for anyone to deny the choice of the Palestinian people.

    Fatah are not much more than rats in a granary. The Palestinian people saw that and rejected them. Hamas have a solid record of community work, their leader, a paraplegic, was murdered by the Israelis. He is as much their loss as he is a great loss to the Palestinian people.

    Tony Blair is a lying little toe rag who cannot possibly be taken seriously by anyone with a working grey cell.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Republicanstones

    Israel should be being held to account for the parties they partner with, sure. Shas, which I assume you’re referring to, is a stomch-churningly revolting sectarian organization which the US state department allowed to make it look incredibly stupid very recently over housing appropriation of Arab homes – plain theft, in other words – in suburban Jesusalem. Obama condemned that process and then backed off the criticism and in effect ran away when Shas made it clear they weren’t going to listen and were given adequate cover by their Likud and other coalition partners for doing so – a disgrace and a perhaps significant tactical error by the USA.

    “[….on this basis] should the Palestinians refuse to talk to the Israeli govt? I personally don’t think that that achieves anything other than further stalemate.

    “Furthermore don’t ignore the fact that Hamas is in part, Israel’s own Frankenstein monster”. – that’s a fairly common argument on the left but it’s not too far away from the Cindy Sheenan line and that’s a very dity place to be; after all, it means rubbing up against outspoken supporters of the most reactionary elements in the middle east and indeed the world.

    “Hamas are a much more complex and diverse organistaion than the image you are trying to portray” – I’m not exaggerating what they say they believe in; on what grounds should I or anyone else disbelieve their party constitution or the comments of their party leaders ?

    Blair’s position on Hamas is also not defensible either however he’s operating within the very limited terms of reference that he’s got which for me don’t hold any promise of progress as they stand. Duff appointment to put him there in the first place, of course.

    The Paul Waugh link doesn’t seem to work I’m afraid – can you re-post ? Thanks

  • Nunoftheabove

    pippakin

    I’m not seeking to deny them their choice; but other democtraic states have a choice as to whether they favour other states with credit, aid and other sources of assistance, such as arms, food, medicine etc. Given the choice, I wouldn’t grant that to Hamas other than on certain conditions; on a not dissimilar basis, I’d apply sanctions to Israel too until they start coming to heel.

  • fordprefect

    Applauds Pippa.

  • RepublicanStones

    I personally don’t think that that achieves anything other than further stalemate.

    Which is precisely what the view that Hamas should be ostracized does.

    that’s a fairly common argument on the left but it’s not too far away from the Cindy Sheenan line and that’s a very dity place to be; after all, it means rubbing up against outspoken supporters of the most reactionary elements in the middle east and indeed the world.

    What did Sheehan say? And the late great Tony Judt highlighted the idiocy of that argument. You cannot help who agrees with you. To try and claim a view is invalid just because idiots may agree with you and use it to claim validity for their own views is nonsense.

    “You cannot help it if idiots and bigots share your views for their reasons. That doesn’t mean that you can be taught with their views. You have your views and they should be judged on their merits and it worries me that the very first thing we do when someone writes a controversial essay, whatever its academic standing, about the Israel lobby, about relations between this country and Israel, the first question is not, what is the truth or falsity of the substance of it, but how much does it come close to anti-semitism, does it help the anti-semites, should we not have said it, because of the anti-semitism issue? This seems to me to close down conversation with this country” (Tony Judt)

    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/08/judt-you-cannot-help-it-if-idiots-and-bigots-share-your-views.html

    on what grounds should I or anyone else disbelieve their party constitution or the comments of their party leaders ?

    No-one is asking you to dis-believe it. At the very least acknowledge the context in which it was written. To recognise this, is not to excuse it. Their charter does have horrible anti-semitic passages, yes. But should this stop israel or the US dealing with them? Such a position only entrenches attitudes.

  • fordprefect

    Republican Stones
    Spot on!
    Nun
    I noticed that when you mentioned aid to governments, the first item you mention is arms, says a lot about you really!

  • Nunoftheabove

    Republicanstones

    I can’t conceive a context in which it would be justifiable to overlook the appalling policies and pronouncements of Hamas. Extremely nasty, dangerous and untrue and I woulnd’t want to be gambling that they didn’t actually mean it in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary; we ain;t seen too much of that any time recently. If you don’t want to excuse it then can I suggest that you stop giving the “yes, but…” impression that you do.

    I didn’t say that the US shouldn’t ‘deal’ with them, merely that they shouldn’t be privileging them with aid or other forms of discretionary support and that I would object if my tax dollars went into their corrupt hands. Perfectly legitimate to do so. The US should also be sanctioning Israel, like it did under Bush Snr (all too briefly) – until they get around a table with Hamas to agree terms for a two state solution within a reasonable timescale.

  • fordprefect

    The problem I think people have is, is that if anyone criticises “Israel” they are automatically branded anti-semitic, I for one have never been anti-semitic nor ever will be, but, it does not stop my criticism of “Israeli” government policies.

  • fordprefect

    Nun
    Exactly the same as some “Israeli” governments said about the Palestinians then?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Go away fordprefect, you have almost literally no knowledge of these matters and nothing whatsoever of any validity to contribute.

  • RepublicanStones

    I can’t conceive a context in which it would be justifiable to overlook the appalling policies and pronouncements of Hamas. Extremely nasty, dangerous and untrue and I woulnd’t want to be gambling that they didn’t actually mean it in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary; we ain;t seen too much of that any time recently. If you don’t want to excuse it then can I suggest that you stop giving the “yes, but…” impression that you do.

    ‘Yes but’? So actually acknowledging that the history of zionism and the actions of a state which self-defines itself as ‘The Jewish State’ might have had some import on the rise of anti-semitism among some of the Palestinian populace, is to excuse? No. It isn’t.
    You may recall Abe Foxman of ADL excused the anti-muslim* rhetoric against the park 51 islamic cultural centre, by saying that the families of the victims of 9/11 had a right to their irrational fear/dislike, however the rest of us may feel about it. I disagree with their view, but i recognise how they come to hold such a view. A lot of it lies in lack of education. Anti-muslim rhetoric is a big business in the west now, particularly in the US. Even though 99.99999999% of us have never been personally affected by any muslim whatsoever. Lets shift this logic to the Levant, where the Palestinians as a whole have been adversely affected by a state which defines itself how….?

    How do we combat this? Not by brinkmanship and ostracizing them. As i pointed out above, education. You claim we shouldn’t overlook the anti-semitism in the Hamas charter. Why then do you think the Palestinians should over look Israels denial of their Naqba, or the anti-gentile proclamations of members of its govt? Seems you set a double standard.

  • RepublicanStones

    *I prefer to use the term ‘anti-muslim’ to the more common ‘islmaphobia’. The latter term insinuates that there is something logical or excusable behind the dislike/fear of muslims. I don’t think you’d accept the Palestinian’s using the term ‘judeophobia’ to excuse their extreme rhetoric, but we blithely accept the lexicon hypocrisy here in the west.

  • fordprefect

    Republican Stones
    Nun always gets on like that, I’m still waiting for an answer from him/her on his/her reaction about CIA involvement in the many coups that took place in south America, Chile, Nicaragua etc. (not to mention other countries around the world).

  • slappymcgroundout

    Yo, fordimperfect, Chile IS in South America.

    And for Stones, learn the English language. It helps. Phobia. An irrational fear. So what you posited as “implied” is the exact opposite of what the word means. And, Stones, you really ought to read the Hamas charter. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf:

    The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection. Who can presume to speak for all Islamic Generations to the Day of Resurrection? This is the status in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. This has prevailed since the commanders of the Muslim armies completed the conquest of Syria and Iraq, and they asked the Caliph of Muslims, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, for his view of the conquered land, whether it should be partitioned between the troops or left in the possession of its population, or otherwise. Following discussions and consultations between the Caliph of Islam, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, be peace and prayer upon him, they decided that the land should remain in the hands of its owners to benefit from it and from its wealth; but the control of the land and the land itself ought to be endowed as a Waqf for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. The ownership of the land by its owners is only one of usufruct, and this Waqf will endure as long as Heaven and earth last. Any demarche in violation of this law of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless and reflects on its perpetrators.

    Note the conquered by force, which gives rise to the status. Turnabout is fair play. So say that the Jews conquered the land and now it’s a Jewish Waqf. In the meantime, you can start your campaign for return of the land to those whom Hamas’ admits the land was stolen from when it was admittedly conquered by force. And they aren’t interested in peace:

    Initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad: “Allah is the all-powerful, but most people are not aware.” From time to time a clamoring is voiced, to hold an International Conference in search for a solution to the problem. Some accept the idea, others reject it, for one reason or another, demanding the implementation of this or that condition, as a prerequisite for agreeing to convene the Conference or for participating in it. But the Islamic Resistance Movement, which is aware of the parties to this conference, and of their past and present positions towards the problems of the Muslims, does not believe that those conferences are capable of responding to demands, or of restoring rights or doing justice to the oppressed. Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the nonbelievers as arbitrators in the lands of Islam. Since when did the Unbelievers do justice to the Believers? “And the Jews will not be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, till thou follow their creed. Say: Lo! the guidance of Allah is the Guidance. And if you should follow their desires after the knowledge which has come unto thee, then you would have from Allah no protecting friend nor helper.” Sura 2, verse 120 There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility. The Palestinian people are too noble to have their future, their right and their destiny submitted to a vain game. As the hadith has it: “The people of Syria are Allah’s whip on this land; He takes revenge by their intermediary from whoever he wished among his worshipers. The Hypocrites among them are forbidden from vanquishing the true believers, and they will die in anxiety and sorrow.”
    ***
    When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. This would require the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.

    They’ll be fighting in Spain next, since it too was once conquered by Islam and is thus an Islamic Waqf.

  • joeCanuck

    Fordprefect,

    Your 8.44 comment is way outside the rules.

  • fordprefect

    Slappy
    Read my post again, you idiot! I know Chile is in south America, by the way it was September 11th when Allende was murdered and the country taken over by a bunch of nutcases (which, no doubt, you would approve of) headed up by and participated in by the CIA, i.e. the US government by extention.

  • fordprefect

    Joecanuck
    What’s your point?

  • fordprefect

    My 10:38 one must be against the rules as well Joe!

  • fordprefect

    Joe
    You must be the online tout, are you?

  • joeCanuck

    Personal abuse adds nothing useful to a debate.

  • RepublicanStones

    And for Stones, learn the English language. It helps. Phobia. An irrational fear. So what you posited as “implied” is the exact opposite of what the word means.

    Actually Slapp not all phobias are not entirely ‘irrational’. Perhaps you’ve never heard of Suchophobia or Thanatophobia.

    And, Stones, you really ought to read the Hamas charter. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf:

    Jee Whizz Slapp, thanks for the advice. I had no idea about the Hamas charter.
    You must have missed the fact nunofthebaove and I have been discussing it the last few comments.
    And btw, i happen to believe any claim on land based upon religious terms (which is one of the central tenets of zionism) is utter horseshite.
    You’re probably not aware that Palestinian resistance to zionism only really took strong root in Islamic form after the fruitlessness of secular groups to achieve anything, arriving much later in Palestine than other regions of the M.E. And indeed was encouraged in the beginnings by Israel as a counter-weight to the more secular PLO. (The old colonial divide and conquer 😉
    Theres an interesting book on the topic from a local (by way of Exeter) scholar of Queens University, Beverly Milton-Edwards.

    http://www.amazon.com/Islamic-Politics-Palestine-Library-Studies/dp/1860644759

    In the meantime, you can start your campaign for return of the land to those whom Hamas’ admits the land was stolen from when it was admittedly conquered by force

    Who did Hamas steal it from Slapp?

  • qwerty12345

    Imagine some of those crazy backward Palestinians using religion to organise around. You wouldnt get Israelis doing that.

    Did yall see louis Theroux’s Ultra Zionists show? Surely the best bit was the nutbag yank christians working for free in the settler vineyard but not allowed to bring the produce into the winery as they werent kosher HAHAHAHAHAHA. Theres a lesson in there somewhere for those with a bit of wit.

    Anyone interested in starting a campaign for Gaels to return to their ancestral homeland? I fancy a vineyard or two in Gallicia or Asturias.