The third Friday “Revolution Of The Day” posting.
OK, so it’s actually Saturday… I got a bit behind what with all the rain, snow, cold, and the action in Japan…
Besides, the MSM was doing a generally pretty complete job of “4 walling” the actual war in Libya, so I didn’t see where my comments would add much. But, as that “newness” fades, their attention will wander… Also, along the way, there had been comments on particular countries like Cote d’Ivoire and the UN giving an “OK” for action in Libya, so It’s not like I’ve just ignored things.
But things have happened, some of them fairly important… So, a “recap of what dictator still has his country” ;-)
First ROTD posting is here:
Second ROTD posting is here:
No News is Good News?:
I’m having a hard time thinking of anyone to put in this list this time…
Invading Helping Neighbors
There is an interesting article from a while back (Feb 16) about how events are making Turkey the key player in regional (read Arab / Muslim) affairs:
Arab revolt makes Turkey a regional power
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
One of the unexpected consequences of the unrest in the Middle East is the elevation of Turkey’s role in the Middle East, making Ankara a potential regional power.
On Feb. 8, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, said in Istanbul that he was taking refuge in Turkey, where he will remain until the demonstrations to remove Mubarak from power succeed. Mr. Abdel Ghaffar then praised Turkey, referring to the governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, political role, and said that his movement considers the AKP to be a model for Egypt after Mubarak. And on Feb. 10, Turkish media quoted Abdel Ghaffar as saying that “there might be dialogue” between the Muslim Brotherhood and the AKP.
These developments and the AKP’s recent comments against Mubarak make Ankara a de facto protector of the Muslim Brotherhood, a potential powerbroker in post-Mubarak Cairo. More importantly, it provides Turkey with access to hitherto unimaginable power in the Egyptian capital.
So, let me get this straight, being in bed with The Egyptian Brotherhood is a “good thing”? OK….
Nato Member, EU Applicant, Protector of the Muslim Brotherhood… interesting resume… (Oh, and as NATO member has a veto over what we do with the NATO Coalition in Libya right now. That’s comforting…)
The Arab Winter of 2011 has created a new Middle East landscape in which the AKP’s Turkey, which has positioned itself as the defender of the Muslim Brotherhood and popular uprisings ― Ankara has voiced the strongest support for the Egyptian demonstrators, calling for Mubarak’s departure before any country did so ― is a regional power to be reckoned with.
The proximity between the AKP and the Muslim Brotherhood goes beyond contemporary political support. In past years, leading AKP politicians, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, broke their political teeth in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Turkish versions. This included the Islamist Welfare Party, or RP, in the 1990s, its predecessor and even more radically, the Islamist, National Salvation Party, or MSP, in the 1970s. The Muslim Brotherhood, RP and MSP shared political goals, such as a desire to make a narrowly defined conservative brand of religion the moral compass of their respective societies, as well as a strong dislike of secular democracy and the United States.
Such political hobnobbing, akin to the socialists’ networking for a common cause in the Socialist International during the 20th century, lasted for decades, bringing together AKP and Muslim Brotherhood members and allowing for the development of mutually supportive political and personal friendships. This history affords the AKP power in the Arab capitals in the new Middle East.
This is the effective end of Turkey’s decades-long policy of strategic isolation from the Middle East. The secular parties that ran Turkey until 2002 chose to coordinate Middle East policy with the West. After 2002, AKP supporters argued that the party’s new Middle East-focused foreign policy would make Turkey a regional power, especially since the party did not seek concert with the West. Until the Arab Winter of 2011, this approach did not produce results. Not only did the AKP fail to wield influence in Arab capitals, but it also alienated the country’s traditional Western partners, for it often broke ranks with the West on Middle East issues. In other words, the AKP could neither have its cake, nor eat it.
Now, the AKP can at least eat its cake. The party will not only continue to break rank with the West on issues such as Sudan and Hamas, but it will also have the benefit of a receptive audience and powers to support such policies in Cairo and elsewhere. After nearly a decade of disappointments, the AKP’s Turkey is now emerging as a regional power, thanks to the Arab Winter of 2011.
Hmmmm….. This, as they say, “bears watching”…
The TUR Turkey fund has been fairly volatile, and clearly “took a hit” the last couple of months. The “indicators” are giving a tepid “buy soon” with RSI stepping up off ‘near 20’, MACD “blue on top” approaching zero from below, and DMI “blue on top” but the ADX is “way low” indicating not strength to the trend and we’ve mostly been just tracking a descending moving average down. Looks more like a “Dead Cat Bounce” than an actual entry call to me. GUR the “Emerging Europe” fund looks much better (and does have some Turkey exposure, but also other countries).
So all in all I’d rather take the GUR for some “European near Asia” exposure. Looks like when the S&P rolled down it kept trucking too…
So all of this “Turkey in bed with The Muslim Brotherhood” just gives a wonderful warm feeling and great confidence in the more recent story:
Turkish base to be center of NATO operations in Libya
Friday, March 25, 2011
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Once-reluctant Turkey is now gearing up to play a critical role in NATO operations in Libya, which will have their command center at the alliance’s air base in the Aegean city of İzmir.
The announcement of the base’s selection as the center for operations monitoring the no-fly zone in the crisis-hit North African country followed the lifting of Turkey’s previous opposition to any kind of NATO involvement in Libya.
The consensus among NATO member states came after the Turkish Parliament passed a motion late Thursday authorizing the military to participate in the international force in Libya and the government to make a “multi-dimensional contribution.”
“We are very glad that allies reached a consensus in Brussels on the no-fly zone as well as the arms embargo. Turkey is a member of NATO. We have been very close to Turkey in this process, communicating well at all levels,” a Western source told the Daily News.
Turkey has already contributed five warships and a submarine to the international operation in Libya; the vessels are to be used solely for humanitarian and defense purposes. The country may additionally offer F-16 jets and its tanker aircraft in the Central Anatolian province of Konya were said to be ready for any NATO request.
One of the key factors that angered Ankara was the way France has taken control of the situation in Libya.
“Paris has begun to be excluded, which is a positive development,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday in Istanbul, reflecting his government’s initial uneasiness.
So, we’ve got NATO running an operation to let the “Rebels” have Libya. It is being run out of Turkey. It has the full blessing of a government that’s playing footsie with the Muslim Brotherhood. They (the Turks) don’t like the French getting any traction in the area. And they are not keen on the USA… But are as happy as can be with The Muslim Brotherhood and their plans for Egypt. So what are they likely to be expecting as the outcome in Libya?
Why is it I’m getting this feeling that the USA involvement is that we are providing a nice free Air Force for The Muslim Brotherhood?? And we are doing this because???….
That “Aroma” I mentioned in another thread is getting a bit stronger now… IMHO, of course…
Saudi Arabia –
Well, we can always depend on our Good Friends the Saudis in the Middle East…
‘Arab spring’ drives wedge between US, Saudi Arabia
Published: Saturday, March 26, 2011 8:41 p.m. MDT
By Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — The United States and Saudi Arabia — whose conflicted relationship has survived oil shocks, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the U.S. invasion of Iraq — are drifting apart faster than at any time in recent history, according to diplomats, analysts and former U.S. officials.
The breach, punctuated by a series of tense diplomatic incidents in the past two weeks, could have profound implications for the U.S. role in the Middle East, even as President Barack Obama juggles major Arab upheavals from Libya to Yemen.
That alarm turned to horror when the Obama administration demanded that the Saudi-backed monarchy of Bahrain negotiate with protesters representing the country’s majority Shiite Muslim population. To Saudi Arabia’s Sunni rulers, Bahrain’s Shiites are a proxy for Shiite Iran, its historical adversary.
“We’re not going to budge. We’re not going to accept a Shiite government in Bahrain,” said an Arab diplomat, who spoke frankly on condition he not be further identified.
Ignoring U.S. pleas for restraint, a Saudi-led military force from the Gulf Cooperation Council, a grouping of six Arab Persian Gulf states, entered Bahrain on March 14, helping its rulers squelch pro-democracy protests, at least for now.
In a March 20 speech in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to Washington, said the Gulf countries now must look after their own security — a role played exclusively by the United States since the 1979 fall of the Shah of Iran.
“Why not seek to turn the GCC into a grouping like the European Union? Why not have one unified Gulf army? Why not have a nuclear deterrent with which to face Iran — should international efforts fail to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons — or Israeli nuclear capabilities?” al-Turki said, according to a translation of his remarks by the UAE’s state-controlled Emirates News Agency.
Uh, Prince, can we get back to you on that “pump extra oil to keep prices down while we use our airpower that depends on your oil to promote the goals of the people you think want to kill you” thing, then?… And, about that “get your own nuke” thing, for, um, Iran and Israel… we, ah, … Oil you say?… Decisions decisions…
So somehow we’re alienating the Saudis, Kissing Off the Bahrain government, helping the Muslim Brotherhood with air cover, letting Turkey take the helm with a government that doesn’t like us (but they do like the Muslim Brotherhood) and we’re doing this why again?
Exactly WHAT IS our “Arab and Middle East” policy?
Revolution – Interim Government:
I couldn’t find much of interest on Tunisia. There might be interesting things, but it’s just taking too long to look up all the countries “having issues”…
Makes it look like some minor mayhem, but mostly just having a ‘revolution hangover’…
Two dead and 20 injured in acts of violence in Metlaoui
Groups of citizens from the town of Metlaoui, whose number is estimated at over one thousand persons, resumed on Friday morning, “acts of violence, stone and Molotov cocktails throwing and shotguns’ firing,” following the spread on Thursday, of a false communiqué on an alleged recruitment of workers by the Gafsa Phosphates Company (CPG) in the mines of Metlaoui.
Well, you can’t help but contrast these two stories:
with the optimistic:
Egypt Default Risk Drops Fifth Day as Referendum Passed, Trading to Resume
Egypt’s default risk dropped for a fifth day, the longest stretch of losses since April, after voters approved a constitutional referendum and the government agreed to resume equity trading for the first time in seven weeks.
Investors perceive increased stability in Egypt after voters backed changes to the constitution March 19, paving the way for parliamentary and presidential elections by year-end, in the Arab country’s first referendum since Mubarak’s ouster last month. The cabinet, meeting yesterday in Cairo as dozens of investors demonstrated outside with placards that read “Enough!” and “Our livelihood has been ruined,” agreed to open the bourse tomorrow.
With this one:
Egypt’s Interior Ministry Burns as Police Protest
Fire sweeps Egypt’s Interior Ministry building as police protest outside to demand higher pay
Fire swept the upper floors of Egypt’s Interior Ministry building on Tuesday as policemen protested outside to demand higher pay. A security official accused demonstrators of starting the blaze in downtown Cairo.
TV footage showed flames climbing the top floors of the building and a huge plume of black smoke filling the sky. Later, firefighters on tall ladders sprayed water to extinguish the fire.
One protester denied they had lit the fire and accused those inside of setting if off by burning security files to get rid of evidence of police abuses.
Well, sounds like a great place to vacation and do business already…
Civil War in Progress
None I can think of at the moment; but give it a week…
(Libya has been promoted to “with foreign involvement).
After the Saudis came in with force over the bridge connecting Saudi to the island, it’s not been entirely a bed of roses…
Bahrain forces quash small protests in “Day of Rage”
By Lin Noueihed and Frederik Richter
MANAMA | Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:49am GMT
(Reuters) – Small protests broke out in Bahrain’s capital for a planned “Day of Rage” Friday despite a ban under martial law imposed last week, but were quickly crushed by security forces fanned out across Manama.
Police entered several Manama suburbs that are home to the majority Shi’ite population, firing tear gas to scatter small numbers of protesters. Hours later the streets were empty but littered with rocks and overturned skips from residents trying to block police and the spicy scent of tear gas hung in the air.
After a month of mass protests from mostly Shi’ite demonstrators demanding constitutional reform, Bahrain’s ruling al Khalifa family, from the minority Sunni population, enforced a fierce police crackdown and wiped out protest. They also called in troops from neighbouring Sunni-led Gulf countries.
Bahrain has great strategic importance because it hosts the U.S. 5th Fleet, facing non-Arab Shi’ite power Iran across the Gulf, and is situated off-shore from oil giant Saudi Arabia.
OK… BTW, the “neighboring Sunni-led Gulf Countries” are, um, the Saudis that we are getting all POed at us. So you think that maybe after they save the bacon of the al Khalifa that the US “concessions” in Bahrain might come up for a bit of a review?…
But at least we’ll get to find out if suppression by force works there…
Where we have another base…
Al Qaeda said to seize Yemen town amid turmoil
Militants may be looking to take advantage of political unrest; No progress made in talks between president’s allies, opponents
(AP) SANAA, Yemen – Allies of Yemen’s president and his political opponents failed to make progress Saturday in talks on a possible exit for the man who has led the nation through 32 years of growing poverty and conflict and whose rule is now deeply imperiled by a popular uprising.
As the political turmoil deepened, there were signs that Islamic militants in the remote reaches of the country were seeking to make gains on the situation. Residents and witnesses in the small town of Jaar in the south said suspected al Qaeda militants moved down from an expanse of mountains on Saturday to seize control there a few weeks after police fled, setting up checkpoints and occupying vacant government buildings.
After six weeks of unprecedented protests in Yemen, Saleh says he is willing to step aside in a peaceful transition of power, but has left himself room for maneuver by adding the condition that he wants to leave the country in “safe hands.”
In the TV interview, he insisted he would not leave the presidency “humiliated” and that even if he stepped down as president, he would remain head of his Congress Party, leaving the door open for his continued involvement in the nation’s politics.
So we’re in about the same situation as in Egypt when Mubarak said “I’ll go, but in a few months”. I’d give it a week or two… And who’s positioning to get what it wants? Al Qeada.
Now I find myself thinking that the best thing we could hope for is that the Saudis move in and just absorb Yemen… except we’ve PO’d the Saudis…
There are times I wonder if it would be possible to screw it up any worse than the present Non-Policy in the Arab World has done. I mean, if they tried it would be hard to make it worse… (Or is that a clue?…)
They are starting to dissolve into violence now, too.
So after a strong “crack down”, we’re now in the “backpedal and hope” stage:
25 March 2011 Last updated at 03:33 ET
Syria unrest: Government pledges political reforms
Syrian leaders have pledged to introduce reforms to meet the demands of protesters, after days of violence in the southern city of Deraa.
Officials promised to study the need for lifting the state of emergency, in place since 1963.
The government also said it would bring to trial those suspected of killing several protesters in Deraa.
President Bashar al-Assad later ordered the release of everyone arrested during the “recent events”, state media said.
Presidential spokeswoman Bouthaina Shaaban blamed outside agitators for whipping up trouble, and denied that the government had ordered security forces to open fire on protesters.
Like that’s gonna work…
Security forces opened fired on crowds three times in Deraa on Wednesday, activists and witnesses said.
The first clashes took place in the early hours outside a mosque. Later, witnesses said crowds at a funeral for those who were killed were themselves fired on.
Later on Thursday, the US issued a strongly worded statement condemning Syria’s “brutal repression” of demonstrations.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US called on the government in Damascus to “exercise restraint and respect the rights of its people”.
And we’re mixed up in telling Syria what to do because??…. The government was a friend of Saddam and they have the same political party? They promote attacks on us and Israel via H & H? The people once they take over will be joining forces with either The Muslim Brotherhood or ???
I think the State Department needs to learn when to STFU and enjoy watching two of your adversaries at each others throats. It’s not our fight, not our interest, and not our place. Let them fight it out then deal with the survivors.
Syria urges Lebanese to swiftly form Cabinet
BEIRUT: Syria has urged Lebanese leaders to speed up the formation of a new government to help Lebanon cope with the repercussions of fast-moving developments in the region, a senior March 8 source said Thursday. Syria’s position was relayed by Syrian President Bashar Assad to leaders of the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance, the source told The Daily Star
» Anti-sectarian protests planned in Beirut, Amsheet Sunday
» Rai remembered as modest and caring in formative years
» No word yet on fate of 7 abducted Estonians, search effort continues
» Mikati Cabinet set to see light of day soon
» Search is on for kidnapped foreigners
So Syria wants their puppet to move faster getting its act together while they are still coping with Hezbollah being in charge… Oh, and foreigners have been abducted (what a surprise…)
What can I say? “It couldn’t happen to a nicer group of folks?” In this case I find I am rooting for the protesters as protests in Syria must mean a bit harder times for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
They are mostly looking around VERY nervously (after all, they’ve had this ‘trouble with a neighbor’ before…) Some headlines of articles up on their front page at present:
MP queries Iranian workforce numbers in Kuwait
KUWAIT: Kuwaiti MP Mubarak Al-Waalan has submitted a number of parliamentary questions to the country’s foreign minister concerning the staff…
MPs still deciding stance on PM, deputy PM grilling motions
MoI launches Amiri amnesty awareness campaign
Muslim countries urged to pursue efforts for countering challenges
Rethinking about Arab school syllabi
Arab-Euro cultural dialogue positive
1st Arab country to fly over Libya
TRIPOLI: Fellow Arab and African nations raised the international pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, with tiny Qatar flying the…
Yemeni president’s party rejects ouster
Jordan’s oppn demands PM’s ouster after unrest
Mideast turfs out presidents who would be king
Egyptian joins ‘jihad’ on the Libyan front
Saleh offers to go if Yemen in ‘safe hands’
Bahrain forces quash protests
Shiite-led revolt awakens Bahrain Sunnis
So they are watching Qatar “helping out” in Libya, but not so sure about having all those Shiites in from Iran… and looking at Bahrain as exemplar of why… and perhaps having just a few thoughts about those schools …
TRIPOLI: Fellow Arab and African nations raised the international pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, with tiny Qatar flying the Arab world’s first combat missions over his country and the African Union imploring him to move toward democratic elections. The military operation against Gaddafi, which on Friday also included airstrikes by British and French jets, remains a US-led operation, though NATO was preparing to assume at least some command and control responsibility within days.
United Arab Emirates –
They are joining the “fun” in Libya and their pilots will get some “combat hours” logged.
THE United Arab Emirates, a key US ally, said it has committed six F-16 and six Mirage fighters to help enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, despite reservations linked to unrest in Bahrain.
“UAE participation in the patrols will commence in the coming days,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan announced, quoted by state news agency WAM late yesterday.
“In support of UN Resolution 1973, the UAE is fully engaged with humanitarian operations in Libya,” he said.
“As an extension of those humanitarian operations, the UAE air force has committed six F-16 and six Mirage aircraft to participate in the patrols that will enforce the no-fly zone now established over Libya.”
A former UAE air force commander said earlier this week that his country had delayed its military deployment because of disagreements with the West over the unrest in Bahrain.
But we note that they had been a bit grumpy, too, over our approach to Bahrain…
At this point I’m going to skip over a bunch of places like Sudan and Morocco. Tying to do “exhaustive coverage” in the face of the above “big lumps” just doesn’t seem worth it. Substantially every one of them has some level of protests, but not enough to trump the war in Libya and the implications from Turkey through Syria and The Middle East. Their stories will have to wait until I have enough “mindshare” to really care about them again.
War In Progress – Foreign Powers Involved.
Where we have a non-USA NATO operation that’s mostly the USA; but with a load of other Muslims “on board”, though exactly what all their motivations might be is a bit, er, unclear…
They have a pretty good “blow by blow” account. This quote is just a ‘teaser’ leadin:
Libyan rebels are advancing westwards after recapturing the strategic eastern town of Ajdabiya from government controls with the help of coalition air strikes.
Reports late on Saturday suggested rebels had already pressed onto the key oil-port town of Brega, 80 kilometres to the west.
“We are in the centre of Brega,” Abdelsalam al-Maadani, a rebel fighter, told the AFP news agency by telephone. But Reuters said rebels were only on the outskirts of Brega.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays, who reached Ajdabiya on Saturday, said that while it appeared that rebels had taken over the town of Brega, it remained unclear who controlled the nearby oil port.
Elsewhere, shelling by Gaddafi’s forces stopped in Misurata on Saturday when Western coalition planes appeared in the sky, a rebel said.
The French armed forces said around 20 French aircraft supported by an AWACS surveillance plane struck targets during the day on Saturday, including five Galeb fighter jets and two MI-35 helicopters on the ground outside Misurata.
British missile strikes also destroyed three armoured vehicles in Misurata and two more in Ajdabiya, the Royal Air Force said in a statement.
Libya’s third city is only about 200 km from the capital and Gaddafi can ill afford to leave it in the hands of anti-government protesters.
So looks like with some help from the best Air Force Money Can Buy, or rent, or borrow for a while if Obama feels like it… You too can have a much more successful revolution. As long as you have the oil fields…
The entire Muslim world is a mess right now, with the worst of it concentrated in Arab areas and in many cases at the hands of Shia protests. I’m still not clear on what “vital interest” of ours is at stake here. Whoever wins will be selling oil, and if they don’t, we can make it at $2.50 / gallon of gas rates from our coal.
Why we don’t just start making Gas To Liquids and Coal to Liquids and Trash to Liquids plants coast to coast and telling these jokers they can kill each other all they want and we’ll gladly sell them the guns and bullets is simply beyond me.
The place never has been stable, never will be stable, never has been peaceful, never will be peaceful, and the best thing we can do, IMHO, is walk away from it as fast as possible.
That we are not doing that speaks volumes.