22 March 2011

The next domino, and beyond

The end game may be approaching for yet another authoritarian Arab regime -- not Libya's but Yemen's. With yesterday's defection of several top military leaders, the majority of the army is now allied with the rebels there. Yemeni diplomats around the world, and even the state-run newspaper in Aden, have also switched sides. More here.

In Libya, rebels have regained the initiative after Western air attacks on Qaddhafi's murderous thugs, who had been mercilessly shelling cities which had thrown off regime control. Protests have continued for days in Syria, whose rulers are among the most brutal in the region and normally keep their subjects too cowed to speak out. Perhaps most encouraging of all, the constitutional referendum in Egypt saw huge voter turn-out. The package of amendments passed, setting the stage for parliamentary elections in June and a presidential election in August. The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood supported the amendments does give pause, but the important point is that the decision to adopt them has been made by the Egyptian people themselves, rather than being imposed on them; the high level of participation shows that people power is still very much alive and likely to resist any future effort to impose authoritarian rule, whether military or theocratic.

In Bahrain, the king has subdued the rebellion for now by calling in soldiers from Saudi Arabia -- but with the people now angrier than ever, it's unclear what his long-term prospects are. As Boris Yeltsin once quipped, you can build a throne out of bayonets, but you can't sit on it for long.

The inspiration of the Arab rebellion continues to spread beyond the Arab world, intimidating tyrants elsewhere. Even in Europe, as popular resistance against economy-wrecking austerity policies gathers momentum, some protesters openly claim inspiration from Tahrir Square.


Blogger Silverfiddle said...

All good news, but the keystone of terror, the root of all evil is the Iranian regime.

If that regime falls, it then truly is a new day in that part of the world. I hope to hell we are providing covert aid to the Iranian resistance, and I pray we are smart enough to resist military action there.

The Iranians can do it themselves, they just need the right kind of help.

22 March, 2011 07:20  
Blogger John Myste said...

I hope the U.S. has decided on the number of nations to bomb so we can move forward rapidly.

I guess the U.N. can help. I hope no one here revolts.

22 March, 2011 07:21  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SF: No one would be happier than I to see the Iranian regime brought down. It has proven a tough nut to crack, but I'm convinced it will happen eventually.

I suspect we're doing what we can behind the scenes -- and the Israelis as well.

JM: I don't really understand your comment.

22 March, 2011 08:43  
Blogger uzza said...

the keystone of terror, the root of all evil is the Iranian regime, who has worked behind the scenes to overthrow freely elected governments, invaded other countries, arrested citizens without trial, tortured them, even maintains a secret prison overseas where it holds people indefinitely even after they've been found innocent ...

22 March, 2011 10:23  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

My impression is that Iran has approximately nothing to do with the long-standing situation in Yemen, which pits a number of factions against one another, divided along religious (Shiite- Sunni) as well as ethnic and political lines. (There is a fairly strong socialist faction in various parts of the country.) in a number of instances, shown considerably more flexibility and rationality than the likes of Gaddafi. Simplistic analysis has never gotten us anywhere in the middle east, and it surely won't in this very complex country.

22 March, 2011 14:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I haven't heard that the Iranian regime is much involved in Yemen specifically, but there's no disputing that they're one of the main regional troublemakers (surpassed only, perhaps, by Saudi Arabia) -- and also one of the most repressive regimes domestically. The fall of the Iranian regime would certainly make Iran and the whole Middle East a much better place.

22 March, 2011 15:04  
Blogger Silverfiddle said...

Green Eagle had to take a jab at me. The Iranian Mullahs are evil people, but I never said they were behind everything. I guess Green took my "root of all evil" comment too literally.

I think Green described Yemen pretty well. It is a mixed up place and we should stay out of it.

23 March, 2011 08:03  
Blogger Green Eagle said...


I didn't take a jab at you. I took a jab at what you had to say. You've always been pretty decent when I have taken jabs at you, and i have nothing against you personally.

27 March, 2011 06:54  
Blogger Silverfiddle said...

Eagle: No problem. I should have clarified my comments better.

The reasons for all the upheaval are multifarious, and as you point out, each country, like Yemen has its own local issues.

Iran does a good (bad?) job at sending out terrorists and troublemakers anywhere there are pockets of Shia. Of course, the other side of this is that if the Sunni rulers didn't treat them so badly, Iran would have no excuse to start trouble, and the Shia in those other lands would not welcome the Iranian troublemakers.

It's a complex situation, which drives me to belatedly join you guys against military action

27 March, 2011 07:22  

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