Sunday, June 05, 2011

Arab world roundup

It is amazing how quickly things can move when the right time has come. Saleh is now in Saudi Arabia for treatment and that means the game is over there. He will never come back to Yemen as President, nor otherwise if he knows what is good for him. Of course this does not mean that Yemen is in the clear, and like Egypt and Tunisia, there is a mammoth task ahead of the people as they begin reconstructing their country and picking up the pieces. In a sense, getting rid of the tyrants is the easy bit because after decades of authoritarian rule, the roots of injustice go very deep and will need to be dug out individually.

Speaking of justice, the events in Syria last Friday only highlighted how brutal and incompetent the Syrian regime is becoming. The fact that they blocked internet access to the entire country is a sign that they are weak. Regardless, we were stilling hearing news and videos were continuing to trickle out. Unlike 1982, the world is watching Syria and will not tolerate a repeat of the Hama massacre. More importantly, the Syrian people are watching what the regime does, and I am noticing that the actions of the security services are becoming less defensible by apologists and people who are undecided yet. The apologists are becoming increasingly detached from reality, posting links to government websites for "Tasharokia" (cooperative) projects and initiatives. What does Tasharokia mean, anyway? This seems like another case of regime double-speak, similar to Libya's Jamahiriya project, which is some kind of collaborative utopian vision where dictatorship merges with populism.

Still, today Syria has continued the trend of allowing protestors to reach the Golan heights, 3 people have died today by Israeli fire. I am very cynical about this manouevre, and I believe it is a calculated attempt to divert attention for Syrians away from the widespread protests that have engulfed the country for the past 2 months towards external events. Regardless, Assad's regime is now very isolated even if its position remains quite strong. This situation will not be over anytime soon, but it will be over.

Regardless of the Syrian regime, the Golan episode today highlights something very worrying for Israel. The loss of the dictators in the Arab world and a wave of revolution that is sweeping the area will affect them too. The borders will no longer be policed by regime secret police, and more and more people will be tempted to come right up to the border with Israel and attempt to cross it. Israel is no longer a distant bogeyman to be frightened of but rather it is a 15 minute drive away.

No comments: