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Tag: Arab Spring

The Arab Fall

Yemen
The fault line that caused the political earthquake that erupted in the Middle East last winter and changed the chemicals in the environment continues to spread wider and wider into the months, and perhaps a new year – threatening to call the hopeful journalistic moniker, “the Arab Spring” a misnomer!

So what’s going down in the neighborhood?
Ali Abdullah Saleh, wicked ruler of Yemen says he won’t step down and submit to a Coup d’etat that would come in the form of a democratic restructuring of that country should his opponents be permitted to compete in the next election.

Saleh is specifically referring to the dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who defected earlier in the year to the favor of anti-government demonstrators, as well as the stalwart tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar. Ali Abdullah Saleh recently returned to Yemen from Saudi Arabia on September 23, where he was receiving treatment for injuries he received in a June 3 rocket attack on the presidential palace.

The 69-year-old has consistently refused to sign a power transfer deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council; a deal that would see him hand over power to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in return for immunity from prosecution.

Lebanon
In another part of the world, Najib Mikati is the prime-minister of Lebanon, where the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah commands all military authority. Lebanon says that an Israeli reconnaissance plane penetrated Lebanese airspace and thereby violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

The Lebanese military reported last Saturday that the Israeli aircraft entered Lebanese airspace from the southern border at 10:05 a.m. (0705 GMT) on Friday and flew over several areas of the country. Afterwards, the plane left the country at 3:15 p.m. (1215 GMT). UNIFIL, the United Nations-appointed peacekeeper in the region condemn such flyovers.

Lebanon’s leader, Mikati, has supported the President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath regime in Syria from the get-go. In an interview with the Daily Beast he said:

Are you worried that the unrest in Syria will spill over into Lebanon?

No … What I’m trying to do is create a kind of wall between what’s happening in Syria and any implication here on the Lebanese side … I’m trying to say, “Please, this is an internal Syrian issue. Let us take care of our own agenda; take care of our own problems.”

You’ve had business ties with Assad in the past. Are you still in touch with him? Do you talk?

Yes, we were friends. Unfortunately, now he’s so busy. [I haven’t had] the chance to see him or even talk to him. Some Syrian opposition groups have criticized you for supporting Assad.
That’s politics. Some analysts predict that Hizbullah will attempt a military takeover of Lebanon if the Assad regime falls. This is a very hypothetical issue.

Your critics have called you “Hizbullah’s candidate.” Your reaction?

In the beginning, they put this label of Hizbullah [on me]. But … we’re taking our decisions independently.

You don’t take Hizbullah’s interests into account?

We listen to everybody.

When the Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued indictments in the assassination of Hariri, you said you would follow up. But in early August, the prosecutor general said no suspects have been found or arrested. What is the government doing?

The relevant authorities have been looking for the various people on a daily basis. And they already submitted a detailed report about their findings. I believe it’s now up to the court to decide if what we did is right and what we have to do next.

Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently said that even if it took 300 years, nobody from Hezbullah would be arrested. Did that undermine the work of your government?

It’s his point of view. We have complete freedom of speech … He has the right to say whatever he wants.

Libya
In other news, Libyan Jews are now returning home after a 44-year exile imposed by General Muammar al-Qadaffi. He had expelled the rest of Libya’s 38,000 Jews two years after the 1967 war broke out between Israel and a conglomerate of Arab nations. The Jews went to America, Italy, Israel; all over.

Jordan, Egypt, Grapel

On Friday, more than 500 Jordanians demonstrated outside the prime minister’s office in Amman, pleading for a government free of corruption and other particular. At the same time, some 600 Hashmoneans held pro-reform protests in the southern cities of Tafileh, Karak and Thieban as well as the Northern city of Irbid.

Demonstrators chanted:

“The people want to reform the regime. Speed up democratic reforms now. We want our stolen money back…We demand an incorruptible national salvation government…”

One banner read:

“Democracy means an independent judiciary, honest MP’s and an elected government…”

In Karak, protestors hailed former information minister Taher Adwan who was forced to resign on Tuesday after accusing the government of introducing “restrictive” legislation, he described as a “blow to the reform drive” and “martial laws.”

Heavy protesting in Jordan actually began in January, as Arab citizens throughout the Middle East have demanded political and economic reforms and an end to corruption.

In Jordan, unlike other Arab countries, the protests have usually passed without serious violence.

Meanwhile, the Jordanian Transport Ministry said it was following up with Egyptian authorities on re-opening the maritime line between Aqab and Taba for tourism. These hot resort towns were closed by Egypt.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated story, Jerusalem and Washington held meetings with Cairo on June 13, to release 27-year-old Ilan Grapel, the dual US/Israeli citizen arrested on charges of Mossad affiliated espionage. Israel announced on Monday, Grapel had no connection to Israeli intelligence, whatsoever. Furthermore, the Israeli foreign ministry insisted Cairo had not informed Jerusalem of the arrest.

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials renewed his detention. Grapel will spend 15 more days in an Egyptian jail pending further investigation.

Enter: Muslim Brotherhood

With the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in February, Israel’s relations with Egypt have been turned on their head. It is a game of waiting. Will a treaty between Egypt and Israel hold? Will Muslim Brotherhood take more than 50 percent of Parliament seats? If yes, does it mean direct threat? Imminent danger for the Jewish State? Is everything going to be alright after all?

Ahead of legislative elections, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has reportedly joined forces with 17 Egyptian political parties – both liberal, secular and religious alike – to concretize a mutual platform. Involved in the joint platform are such political parties as Brotherood’s Freedom and Justice Party, the more liberal Wafd party, the leftist Tagammu and the brand new Salafi (Muslim Fundamentalist) Noor party.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces – which took the governmental reins after Hosni Mubarak was ousted – has set the parliamentary elections for a date in September.

Despite these signs of modernity and democracy from the Brotherhood, Chairman Mohammed Badie held an interview on Egyptian television, indicating as Caroline Glick paraphrased:

“That the Brotherhood will end any thought of democracy in Egypt by taking control over the media. Badie said that the Brotherhood is about to launch a public news channel,” committed to the “ethics of the society and the rules of the Islamic faith.”

Mr. Badie recently said in an interview:

“Mubarak tries to black mail Obama by using Muslim Brotherhood name to remain in charge of on going chaos. All 1.57 billion Muslims are part of Muslim Brotherhood excluding Mubarak, he is member of Israel Brotherhood, he can go Israel and live there.”

Jerusalem Post in February reported Badie saying:

“Asked on CNN if his organization would support the maintenance of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Mohamed Morsy, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, dodged a direct answer but said Israel had failed to honor the treaty. He said it would be up to the Egyptian parliament to decide on the fate of the treaty, and that the parliament would reflect the will of the people.”

Abbas Does New York

I appreciate the spirit of freedom and independence but many modernist Islamist politicians are unrealistic when it comes to the situation with Israel; and the New York Times is an outlet for such figures to preach their hatred and prejudice. Ironically, the Palestinian territories are famous for their media censorship and abuse of journalists.

On April 20th, Abdullah Gul, President of Turkey, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which he cited the “Arab Spring” as a tangible socio-political trend toward democracy and modernity in which Israel is both the cause of all Middle East turmoil as well as the feet-dragger in the great Middle East Revolution:

“The plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict in the region and is being used as a pretext for extremism in other corners of the world. Israel, more than any other country, will need to adapt to the new political climate in the region. But it need not fear; the emergence of a democratic neighborhood around Israel is the ultimate assurance of the country’s security.”

Mr. Gul’s country is one where blood libel accusations are aimed at Israel and prime-time television airs television shows in which IDF soldiers are fictionally portrayed murdering children.

While many Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, unified under the Palestinian Liberation Organization, curse the United States and stomp on the red, white and blue flag of the leaders of the free world, Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, has taken a more diplomatic approach. He too has written an op-ed in The New York Times – a publication that is among the most syndicated print media outlets in the world.

“This month… as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.”

Wrote Abu Mazen:

“Our quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt; too many of our men and women have been lost for us to engage in such political theater.”

The fact remains, and Abbas later in his article admits that the Palestinians could have had a state in 1947 but refused one. Why? So they could create war without a state in the name of freedom from oppression. This is more affective. This is the stunt. Had they now a “state,” recognized by the UN, though, on the borders they now have, it would be a pariah state. One that makes war with Israel – and is still, despite the strange Fatah/Hamas merger government, at war amongst themselves.

Abbas wrote:

“We have the capacity to enter into relations with other states and have embassies and missions in more than 100 countries. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union have indicated that our institutions are developed to the level where we are now prepared for statehood. Only the occupation of our land hinders us from reaching our full national potential; it does not impede United Nations recognition.”

However, in a pluralized Israel, where Arab Muslims thrive and hold seats in Knesset, it seems strange that an “occupation,” which he cannot define, but surely refers to the settlements, is some kind of hindrance to a state that would be an ethno-cracy.

Abbas wrote:

“The State of Palestine intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel. A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948.”

However, Nakba day, was not peaceful. Several Israeli policemen were wounded by Palestinian stone throwers.

Meanwhile, Israel has agreed to release tax transfers to the Palestinians despite the Hamas-Fatah unity pact; after finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, said they would be withheld.

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