Arab spring, foreboding winter

Couple of stories ringing alarms this morning.

First up, out of Libya:

Arabspring Libya is in danger of falling into the hands of Islamic extremists if a stable government is not rapidly established, Nato’s secretary-general warned last night.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Islamic extremists would “try to exploit” any weaknesses created as the country tried to rebuild after four decades of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s rule.

Mr Rasmussen was speaking amid growing evidence of splits in the rebel leadership in Tripoli. His words will cast a damper over the euphoria sweeping Tripoli in the wake of the revolution.

His warning came as the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, told cheering crowds in Tripoli that Islamic shariah law would be the “main source” of legislation in the new Libya.

Now over to Egypt:

The authorities in Egypt have widened emergency laws and clamped down on the press, raising fears of a curtailment of the liberties gained after the popular uprising which toppled Hosni Mubarak, the former president, earlier this year.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in power during a promised transition to elected rule, said on Sunday night that it was widening emergency legislation to cover a range of “threats to public order” including “attacks on the freedom to work” – code for strikes – and the deliberate dissemination of rumours and false information.

Much to the embarrassment of Egypt’s military rulers, they received calls from Israel and the United States urging the country to respect its international obligations.

But even before the embassy events, the military council – made up of some twenty top commanders with no political experience – has been buffeted by unfamiliar pressures from every direction. Liberal and Islamist groups are clamouring to influence the political arrangements of the transition; young activists have been mobilising rallies to call for radical changes to break with repressive practises of the past; labour strikes have multiplied; and the country is in the grip of a crime wave.

“I think we will see restrictions during the coming period, especially because elections are approaching [in November.]” said Nasser Amin, who heads the Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary, a legal civil society group.

“It is an attempt to regain control of the situation using the same security methods for which President Mubarak was criticised. In my view this reflects a state of confusion.”

In my view, this reflects on a culture where true freedom is an anomaly.

Just sayin’.

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  • jim_m

    Jeffrey Goldberg has a column in Bloomberg today that does a good job of reminding us exactly what arab culture is like. 

    Here is a bit of recent, though apparently forgotten,
    history: In 2003, the then-prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, announced that Israel would unilaterally withdraw about
    8,500 settlers from its 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip, and
    pull out its army as well. The territory would be handed over,
    in its entirety, to the Palestinian Authority.

    In the summer of 2005, he executed the plan, ordering the
    Israeli army to expel the settlers. It would have been better,
    for many reasons, for Sharon to have negotiated this handover
    directly with his adversaries. But the fact remains that Israel
    gave the Palestinians of Gaza what they claimed they wanted:
    their territory, which they said would become part of their
    independent state.

    How did Gazans respond? First, looters destroyed the vast
    settlement greenhouses that could have formed the basis of a new
    Gaza economy. Then, voters elected into power Hamas, a terrorist
    organization devoted to the annihilation of Israel. Gaza quickly
    became a launching pad for rocket attacks against Israeli towns.
    We are dealing with the enemies of civilization.  They don’t want to live in peace with anyone. They cannot preserve the benefits that others have left them, they are compelled to destroy everything they touch out of hearts filled with malice toward anyone who believes differently than they do.

    • Anonymous

      Hey, I’ve got an idea: maybe if we stayed out of their countries, stopped propping up the crooked and oppressive leaders that we installed and keep bribing to let us keep looting their resources for our benefit, they might not be so angry.

      Let them rule themselves as they wish, stop stealing land and resources from them and trade with them as equals, that would be new.

      How about this example of “culture,” much more recent than the example you give:

      In the early morning hours of Monday, 5 September 2011, while travelling
      in the West Bank between the Palestinian villages of Al-Lubban and Turmos Aya and near the Israeli settlements of Ofarim and Bet Ariye along the Nablus-Ramallah, Dr. Adwan Adwan, a faculty member in the Arabic Department at Bethlehem University, was the victim of a violent attack by some 20 Israeli settlers who threw rocks in his face, injuring his head, shoulder, and stomach. His car was blocked by a pile of burning tires when he quickly came under what he said felt like a well-orchestrated ambush. Dr. Adwan eventually was able to speed away from the scene and get himself to a hospital for treatment. “I felt lucky to escape with my life,” he says.

      On the same day and further along the same road, near the settlement of Shiloh in the Palestinian Territories, Miss Yara Odeh, a Bethlehem University masters degree student, was the victim of a violent attack by some Israeli settlers. . . ..

      As reported in the media and by the United Nations, there appears to be an increase in the number of Palestinians who are being attacked by groups of Israeli settlers. The United Nations and other international human rights and aid organizations report that more than 500,000 Israeli settlers, many of whom are armed, occupy the West Bank and East

      Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

      Blessings to you,
      Brother Jack Curran, FSC, PhD
      Vice President for Development
      Bethlehem University

      I’m sure Brother Curran is an anti-semite, though.

  • Anonymous

    But…but…but Barry and Hillary! said they’re “Smart Diplomacy” was working.  Right?

  • Anonymous

    I guess the terrorists hate Barry just as much they do Booosh. They have overcome racism..

    • jim_m

      They never tried to impose sharia law in Libya, until there was a black president.

      Egypt never let people invade the Israeli embassy, until there was a black president.

      Turkey never tried to provoke a war with Israel, until there was a black president.

      All the foreign policy setbacks n the middle east are because of RACISM!!!!!!!

      Wow! Playing the race card is really easy.  I think I might have maxed mine out already.

  • Anonymous

    Yet another reason I wish we had stayed out of Libya.  Khadaffi was a devil, but he was at least the devil we knew. 

  • Anonymous

    Where’s that RESET button when we need it?


  • Anonymous

    In reply to CC:

    Nah, just read what he wrote 6 years ago and note the colors of the borders.  He’s a real objective sort, this Father.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks.  Here’s the money quote of Brother Curran:

      But, Sahar, a Palestinian Christian young man, a person born here in the Holy Land, faces a much different reality.  The Israeli government and military authorities control and limit his freedom of movement within the West Bank and within Israel.  Yes, even within the West Bank itself, Sahar and all Palestinians have their freedom of movement controlled and limited by the Israeli government!   Sahar, like other Palestinians, is not allowed to leave the confines of the Bethlehem region for a visit to these Holy Sites in Jerusalem, Galilee or Nazareth.  He is not allowed to go for a visit to friends and family members living in Jerusalem — and the separation wall with its sniper towers are re-enforcing this.

      But of course if he were unbiased, he’d support the untrammeled right of Israeli settlers to steal Arab land and wall the Arabs into camps.