The Gulf Today, April 23, 2011
It seems that Iran has enormously profited from the upheaval in the Arab countries at least in one aspect: it has eased the international pressure regarding its nuclear programme and maybe removed the shadow of war.
In his memoirs (Decision Points), former US President G.W. Bush said that in dealing with Iran he faced three options:
Negotiate directly with Ahmadinejad, which he believes “would legitimise him and his views and dispirit Iran’s freedom movement.”
“Multilateral diplomacy conducted with both carrots and sticks.”
A “military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
Apparently, Bush was leaning towards the third option, as he acknowledged, but was thwarted when a “National Intelligence Estimate” produced in 2007 reported that there was no active nuclear weapons programme. He did not hide his disappointment and cast doubts on the report. Read more
Strategic Trends 2011
The yearly report of the Centre for Security Studies (CSS- ETH Zurich) titled “Strategic Trends 2011” made some remarks about the ongoing situation in the Middle East and the global and regional power shifts. The overall picture emerging from this analysis is that a “new multi-polar international order is gradually emerging that is marked by diversity, a lack of leadership, and potentially growing instability.”
In this new order, emerging economies will not be dependent on the West. The US and the EU still suffering from economic hardships are already lacking the resources and the political will to provide global stability. The divergences about the Libyan issue are a symptom of a crisis which stays largely unscrutinised. The domestic problems may hinder Europe from playing a major political role abroad. In France, we already see people going live with questions like: how are we going to pay the costs of our intervention in Libya? Or, why are we “obliged” to interfere in the Côte d’Ivoire, in Libya, and in Afghanistan? The distrust that these military interventions arise is also related to doubts about the ability of the legislature to keep these expenditures in check, for unlike the USA, where the Congress can block any budget, the French system accords more prerogatives to the President. Read more
The Gulf Today, April 9, 2011
Libya’s events since the uprising put the international community on the rift and unveiled a dilemma: for the US and the West the question is: who would we be supporting in this internal conflict? That is not an issue of choosing between Qadhafi and his opponents, but rather between opponent and opponent, if it is possible to choose one’s allies.
The lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq are still reminded. They say: Arm rebels without a clue about their doctrines and real objectives, and you’ll end up with them fighting you. Example: The Mujahidin that the USA trained and armed to fight the Soviet army, later formed the core of Al Qaeda. Read more
The Gulf Today, April 2, 2011
Unlike Tunisia and Egypt, Yemen’s uprising was triggered by the opposition parties. A March 2011’s report to the US Congress emphasises that well before unrest in these two countries, Yemen’s opposition parties had been angry over President Saleh’s plans to amend the electoral law, form a new Supreme Commission for Elections and Referenda (SCER), and amend the constitution to allow himself to stand for re-election—all without opposition agreement.
However, though opposition protests started in Yemen on Jan.16, 2011, it has acquired weight and popularity with key-elements of the elite and the tribes joining the protesters and more and more defections from the party of the president, included prominent members of his own family, particularly after the brutal reaction against the demonstrators.
Today, the urgent question is about succession. But it is not new. On Sept.17, 2005, a cable from the US embassy in Sana’a (released by WikiLeaks) addressed the succession issue. Read more
The Gulf Today,March 26, 2011
Jennifer Gandhi who studied “the Political institutions under dictatorship” raised an interesting question. “Why, she asked, do non-democratic rulers govern with democratic institutions such as legislatures and political parties?”
Of course, these institutions are emptied of their substance under dictatorship; they are mere form. Still, we find that a ruthless dictator like Saddam managed to project a “democratic” image, like the nonsensical and impossible 99, 99% landslide.
Qadhafi, who is no dictator, since he is not even president, has no power. The power is in the hands of people. And the people after 40 years of this rubbish want him out and make him look much like a mad man. Read more