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A rising tide?
February 9, 2011 5:30 PM   Subscribe

The expanding pro-democracy protests in Egypt, which now include a popular labor movement, are (allegedly) inspiring anti-government demonstrations in Iraq.
posted by clarknova (56 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
al-Sadr still in Iran...not for long.
posted by clavdivs at 5:40 PM on February 9, 2011


So Glenn Beck may have been right is what you're implying?
posted by mkb at 5:57 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Al Sadr ran back to Iran a few weeks ago. A lot of Iraqis blame him for the violence and extended American presence. The nationality is being rewritten as a new political coalition grows in Iraq. perhaps Iraqis have come to realize that the bloodletting of the past 8 years has been enough and they are now ready for a bit more civil society and democracy. Or Al Maliki's secret army and prison network is just too scary.

Next up Iran green revolution part II.
posted by humanfont at 6:09 PM on February 9, 2011


Yay, Bush was right! wait, what?
posted by octothorpe at 6:12 PM on February 9, 2011


So Glenn Beck may have been right is what you're implying?

As far as I could tell, that was just Beck pointing at maps with fire icons on them saying that different regions are colliding.. if he was making a point, it was lost on me.

Glenn Beck is to purple stuff as Charlie Rose is to Sunny D.
posted by pwally at 6:13 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anderson Cooper: "Imagine that courage."
posted by Joe Beese at 6:31 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Glen beck spends a lot of time in front of a blackboard for a dude who doesn't like intellectuals.
posted by boo_radley at 6:36 PM on February 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


I listened me some glenn beck, meth heads have better repartee and at least the meth heads could re-bore your engine block with supervision.

al-sadr came back, he was threatened with death and left again and oh, it is share the wealth time. You little naybobs sound fresh out of practicum.
posted by clavdivs at 6:39 PM on February 9, 2011


except radley, his rep is solid.
posted by clavdivs at 6:41 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


In Egypt, as [Egyptian-born Australian citizen Mamdouh] Habib recounts in his memoir, My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn’t, he was repeatedly subjected to electric shocks, immersed in water up to his nostrils and beaten. His fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks. At one point, his interrogator slapped him so hard that his blindfold was dislodged, revealing the identity of his tormentor: Suleiman.

---
After sending mixed signals, the administration has appeared to settle on supporting a measured transition for easing Mubarak out of power. That strategy, which remains the subject of vigorous debate inside the administration, calls for a Mubarak crony, Vice President Omar Suleiman, to lead the reform process.

According to experts who have interacted with the White House, the tactic is favored by a group of foreign policy advisors including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, national security advisor Thomas Donilon and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who worry about regional stability and want to reassure other Middle East governments that the U.S. will not abandon an important and longtime ally.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:46 PM on February 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Relevant.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:16 PM on February 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Abandon the ally! Realpolitik be damned! This is a chance to recast the image of the United States into what it should have turned out to be and did, according to its propaganda. Know what I mean?
posted by kozad at 7:28 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


It isn't as simple as abandon the Egyptian government and america looks grand. More likely you have 1979 style process where radicals take charge and use America's past misdeeds to cement their grip on power. Ideally we walk a tightrope pushing Egypt to a democracy but protection those who have allied themselves with us in the past to leave some people who like us in the new powerstructure. Peoples perception of America isn't just shaped by our misdeeds it is also shaped by the leadership of their country.
posted by humanfont at 7:41 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


While we're bringing up Shit Glenn Beck Says™, how about this? I'm assuming by "No George Washington" he means "America better have a heavy hand in this. And preferably not Obama's, because Obama probably started this riot."
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:50 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think this one is about Iraq, humanfont.
posted by notion at 7:51 PM on February 9, 2011


It isn't as simple as abandon the Egyptian government and america looks grand More likely you have 1979 style process where radicals take charge and use America's past misdeeds to cement their grip on power.

We must undermine Arab democracy now to spare us the consequences of having undermined Arab democracy before.

But it will work out for us this time. This time we know what we're doing.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:53 PM on February 9, 2011 [14 favorites]


C'mon. You gotta admit we're due.
posted by Ritchie at 7:55 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


with JB. no USSR bogeyman that we can cling to. even muslim radicals, as dumb and vicious as they are, seem to be o.k. with diplomatic visits in the long run.

an aside - anyone that has viewed the last weeks in egypt purely in TV-Armchair Analyst terms, and has missed the fact that you just witnessed 1817 Paris, or the most amazing spontaneous victory of humanity over inhumanity...then...i feel sorry for you
posted by lslelel at 8:00 PM on February 9, 2011


So Glenn Beck may have been right is what you're implying?
Yay, Bush was right! wait, what?


Stopped clocks, etc.


Beck is pretty clever. He's recasting economic justice movements as The Specter of Islamism in a sort of Domino Theory Redux; serving his network's agenda. Simultaneously he's playing up the global-economic-collapse narrative that benefits his sponsors.
I guess you could say he's crazy like a Fox.

Get it guys?1? A Fox! Get it?!!?


Guys?

posted by clarknova at 8:03 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


anyone that has viewed the last weeks in egypt purely in TV-Armchair Analyst terms, and has missed the fact that you just witnessed 1817 Paris, or the most amazing spontaneous victory of humanity over inhumanity...then...i feel sorry for you

---

Chris Floyd:
The American power structure has been set reeling by something that is simply outside the boundaries of their mental universe: a non-violent, non-sectarian, non-ideological, leaderless revolution by ordinary people. Our power structuralists know only one thing: violent domination. Since that is what they seek to impose, they believe that anyone who opposes them must seek the same. They cannot conceive of anything different. They don't know how to react to such an incomprehensible event. There's no one to demonize. There are no armed groups to flex their muscles against -- or to make a cynical deal with, if necessary. ... The poltroons on the Potomac are dumbstruck as they look at these crowds of people who have freed themselves, who just walked out into the streets and claimed their human freedom -- on their own, individual by individual, with no "authority", no leader, no armies to "grant" them what is already theirs by their birthright, our birthright, on this our common planet.

posted by Joe Beese at 8:21 PM on February 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


a non-violent, non-sectarian, non-ideological, leaderless revolution by ordinary people.

And if Al Jazeera weren't making that clear to the rest of the world the bombs would already be falling on them. Or maybe the gas.
posted by clarknova at 8:27 PM on February 9, 2011


Salve, Clavdivs.
posted by boo_radley at 9:30 PM on February 9, 2011


I'm not sure I believe that these are "pro-democracy" protests.

They're anti-status-quo protests, but a large percentage of those involved don't really care about liberal democracy like we have. I've seen polls that suggest that the majority of Egyptians think that establishing an Iranian-style Islamic Republic would be just fine with them.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:32 PM on February 9, 2011


They want a more democratic government. They've said so in unmistakable terms and continue to say so. Not necessarily liberal democracy like we have, though.

Also, these protests are decidedly secular, not religious, so I don't see how you can even talk about them and the idea of an Iranian-style Islamic Republic in the same context, unless you think all those people are very cleverly hiding a religious agenda.
posted by perspicio at 9:55 PM on February 9, 2011


Chocolate Pickle: I've seen polls that suggest that the majority of Egyptians think that establishing an Iranian-style Islamic Republic would be just fine with them.

Where? And who is conducting polls in Egypt right now? What kind of reliable poll could be carried out in the current circumstances?

If you mean old polls showing they'd would have happily swapped Mubarak's regime for an Iranian system, what exactly would that have to do with right here and now?
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:06 PM on February 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I didn't watch the Glenn Beck thing the whole way through but I'm pretty sure that others are correct that it's purely a coincidence if he says anything correct in the course of it because he appears to simply be doing his "World War III" skit again, which I remember coming across him doing when he was still back on CNN.

Not the same specific story every time, but taking the general approach of talking about what World War III is going to be like and how it's going to happen as a way of holding his audience.
posted by XMLicious at 10:59 PM on February 9, 2011


Meet Egypt's Future Leaders an article by Esam Al-Amin via.
The new leaders are young, educated and technically savvy.
Chocolate Pickle could you provide a link to those polls you are so enthusiastic about.
posted by adamvasco at 12:06 AM on February 10, 2011


Joe Beese: There are enough reasons to doubt this guy's commitment to democracy and human rights. But, in 2001, Suleiman would have been at least 65, and head of the entire Egyptian intelligence service for 10 years or so, and he's personally conducting an extended and physical interrogation of a suspect?

That's rather incredible isn't it?
posted by Grimgrin at 12:07 AM on February 10, 2011


Yeah, Joe Beese's first link in this comment is interesting. I would want to know how long Suleiman was in Libya and how frequently he went there, though. Here's the original on the (U.S.?) site Jadaliyya, although the Al Jazeera version is better laid out and easier to read.

Author is a professor at UC Santa Barbara. The expert^ making the connection had just arrived at UPenn law school when 9/11 happened.

New articles covering the original story: Pacific Free Press, l'Express in French.
posted by XMLicious at 1:45 AM on February 10, 2011


Anti government protests aren't actually a problem for a democracy. We have them all the time.
posted by empath at 4:41 AM on February 10, 2011


I've seen polls that suggest that the majority of Egyptians think that establishing an Iranian-style Islamic Republic would be just fine with them.

And is something that the majority of Egyptians want something that we can permit them to have?
posted by Joe Beese at 5:38 AM on February 10, 2011


They're anti-status-quo protests, but a large percentage of those involved don't really care about liberal democracy like we have. I've seen polls that suggest that the majority of Egyptians think that establishing an Iranian-style Islamic Republic would be just fine with them.

That would be just fine with me. What has Iran ever done to the US?
posted by empath at 5:43 AM on February 10, 2011


I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not.
posted by electroboy at 6:18 AM on February 10, 2011


I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not.

Number of times we have overthrown their democratically elected leader to install a despotic torturer: 1

Number of times they have overthrown our democratically elected leader to install a despotic torturer: 0
posted by Joe Beese at 6:39 AM on February 10, 2011


Joe Beese: "Number of times they have overthrown our democratically elected leader to install a despotic torturer: 0"

Has the US needed foreign assistance on this front recently?
posted by mkb at 6:46 AM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, at least we're not going to get or have ever had a theocratic leader in America who bases foreign policy off of prayer and what not.

I mean, it's not like a developed Christian nation has ever been warlike or genocidal.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:52 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has the US needed foreign assistance on this front recently?

For the record, we sort of democratically elected our despotic torturer.
posted by empath at 6:57 AM on February 10, 2011


I mean, granted, more people voted for the other guy, but we at least voted for the guy who appointed the judges that eventually appointed his son president.
posted by empath at 6:58 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Number of times they have overthrown our democratically elected leader to install a despotic torturer: Ronald Reagan

Kinda like Nixon and Ann Chenault sabotaging the 1968 peace talks, eh?

Just to mention two critical turning points in recent US political history.
posted by warbaby at 7:05 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah told U.S. President Barack Obama that his country would prop up Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak if the United States withdrew its aid programme, The Times said on Thursday.

Abdullah told Obama not to humiliate Mubarak, who is under pressure from protesters to quit immediately, in a telephone call on January 29, the newspaper said, citing a senior source in Riyadh.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:07 AM on February 10, 2011


King Abdullah's time will come. And hopefully soon.
posted by empath at 7:13 AM on February 10, 2011


Btw, Khameni shouldn't be so gleeful about Egypt's Revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood doesn't like him and Mousavi is calling for a new march in Iran on Monday.
posted by empath at 7:16 AM on February 10, 2011




I'm not sure I believe that these are "pro-democracy" protests.

They're anti-status-quo protests, but a large percentage of those involved don't really care about liberal democracy like we have. I've seen polls that suggest that the majority of Egyptians think that establishing an Iranian-style Islamic Republic would be just fine with them.


Well, it's a popular uprising, and a democratic one by its nature. Whether or not the end result will be a democracy is yet to be seen. There will be plenty of opportunities for subversion, reactionary counter-rebellions, opportunistic leaders, and everything else that follows popular uprising throughout history.

But that doesn't necessarily mean what they're doing is any less significant or democractic, just that these things don't always end the way many of us might hope. This is an important point to stress, as I expect Egypt to be under close scrutiny by the viewing public after this. (Well I hope, it'll be a test of our North American attention spans.)
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:46 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know this is really more of an Iraq thread, but interestingly, whether we think it's a good thing or a bad thing, it's now being reported on MSNBC and elsewhere that Mubarak will step down later today, putting Sulieman in charge.

While I'm not sure how I personally feel about the outcome yet, ultimately what matters is how the Egyptian people view it, and it's notable (and at least a little reassuring) that according to the latest reports, the crowds in Tahrir Square are cheering over the news. It would be wise, however, to keep a cautious eye on the situation as it evolves. The last thing we need is an even more brutal regime cropping up to replace the last one.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:01 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


err, "suleiman"
posted by saulgoodman at 8:02 AM on February 10, 2011


On Friday, the holy day for Islam, Christian protesters in Tahrir Square joined hands to form a protective cordon around their Muslim countrymen so they could pray in safety.

Sunday, the Muslims returned the favor.

They surrounded Christians celebrating Mass in Cairo's central plaza, ground zero for the secular pro-democracy protests reverberating throughout the Middle East.

"In the name of Jesus and Muhammed, we unify our ranks," the Rev. Ihab al-Kharat told the crowd in his sermon.

posted by Pope Guilty at 8:31 AM on February 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Salve, Clavdivs.

I believe you mean "Salve, clavdi." Now, write your second-declension tables fifty times before you leave.
posted by languagehat at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Number of times we have overthrown....

We also haven't bombed their military barracks, hijacked their planes, kidnapped their diplomats or held their citizens for ransom either. The coup that overthrew Mossadegh is pretty indefensible, but lets not pretend Iran hasn't engaged in their fair share of bad behavior.
posted by electroboy at 1:54 PM on February 10, 2011


We only backed Saddam Hussein for a decade while he killed a million Iranians.
posted by empath at 2:32 PM on February 10, 2011


Yeah, but that was us doing it!
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:50 PM on February 10, 2011


We also backed Iran, while they killed 300,000 Iraqis.
posted by electroboy at 3:11 PM on February 10, 2011


It's a stretch to count Iran-Contra as 'supporting Iran" It was a complicated deal involving hostage negotiations.
posted by empath at 3:36 PM on February 10, 2011


Glennspeed You! Beck Emperor
posted by tehloki at 5:44 AM on February 11, 2011


The Iran Coup was 60 years ago now. We said we were sorry and Kermit Roosevelt is dead. What's next complain about Alexander the Great sacking the place?
posted by humanfont at 6:19 PM on February 11, 2011


Yeah, especially in the light of the 60 years of friendliness and fair play we've offered Iran since then.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:02 PM on February 11, 2011


Saying "Forget about that ancient stuff, how have we fucked up the Middle East lately?" does not put us in much of a better light.
posted by XMLicious at 11:18 PM on February 11, 2011


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