Revolution is in the Air: 4/26/11: Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal

INDEX (stories follow)

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 150

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell
from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

This is the Egyptian revolution

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

Security forces again fire on protesters in Yemen, Syria

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report


Pew Poll of Egypt and the New York Times

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)


Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal
By Pepe Escobar (Asia Times)

Headlines for April 26, 2011

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by (Democracy Now!)

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 150

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell


Pew Poll of the Egyptian people

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“No dividend emerges for the United States from the political changes that have occurred in Egypt. Favorable ratings of the U.S. remain as low as they have been in recent years, and many Egyptians say they want a less close relationship with America. Israel fares even more poorly. By a 54%-to-36% margin, Egyptians want the peace treaty with that country annulled.” (thanks “Ibn Rushd”)

Bahrain regimes punishes Al-Quds Al-Arabi

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

A reader in Bahrain sent me this:  “Abdulbari Atwan showed sympathy for the democracy movement in Bahrain  a few weeks ago on Al Hewar TV:
The Bahrain government responded by blocking AlQuds AlArabi’s website:
And today Bahrain TV has just run a cheap smear campaign against Atwan  (not that I am a big supporter of Atwan in any way)  Please don’t use my name, for obvious reasons that you have already
written about. The witch-hunt in Bahrain is in full force”

This is the Egyptian revolution

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

Egyptians are demonstrating against the Israeli occupation embassy in Cairo. (AP)

Security forces again fire on protesters in Yemen, Syria

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report

In Yemen, security forces shot and wounded at least 10 people April 25 as they opened fire to disperse huge anti-regime protests in the city of Taez, south of the capital Sanaa. In Syria, human rights activists report that 25 people were shot dead as government forces deployed tanks to put down protests in Daraa. Rights activists put the total death toll in the Yemeni protests at 130 since January, and in the Syrian protests at 350 over the last month. However, with Syrian figure is harder to confirm, with journalists barred from the country. (Middle East OnlineMiddle East OnlineAirang TV, BBC World Service, April 25)

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First Tunisia, Then Egypt, Now Yemen? Yemeni President Saleh Agrees to Resign Within 30 Days; Protests Continue

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by (Democracy Now!)

YemenYemen’s longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh has reportedly accepted a plan designed by neighboring Arab nations to hand over power within weeks, following three months of street protests. If he actually resigns, Saleh would become the third leader in the region to resign in the last three months. But demonstrations are continuing in Yemen because many people do not believe Saleh will keep his promise. Earlier today, at least 10 people were injured in the Yemeni city of Taiz after security forces opened fire. We speak to independent journalist Laura Kasinof, who has just left Yemen where she was reporting for the New York Times. [includes rush transcript]

Syrian Crackdown Intensifies: Over 150 Killed Since Friday as Assad Regime Attempts to Crush Protest Movement

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by (Democracy Now!)

Syria_funeralSyria has intensified its massive crackdown on demonstrators, despite the lifting of emergency rule last week that banned demonstrations. Al Jazeera reports thousands of troops backed with tanks have swept into the southern city of Daraa, where a curfew is in place, setting up snipers on rooftops and killing at least 20 people. Government security forces have also stormed the large Damascus suburb of Douma. These latest developments follow protests on Friday that ended with more than 100 people killed in the deadliest day since the uprising began. We go to Syria to speak to Rula Amin of Al Jazeera and Razan Zaitouneh, human rights lawyer and activist. [includes rush transcript]

Don’t forget Morocco

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

There has not been much in Western press about protests in Morocco.  (thanks Mirvat)

Casio Watches an Arresting Offense in Afghanistan: Wikileaks on Guantanamo

from Informed Comment by Juan

1 person liked this

Wikileaks has released the Pentagon assessments of nearly 800 suspected al-Qaeda prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay to newspapers such as the Washington Post.

The documents show that some of the prisoners were likely dangerous men, while many others were probably arrested on flimsy evidence or even out of stupidity. Wearing a Casio watch could be a cause for arrest, apparently, because al-Qaeda types used them as timers.

how nice and merfiful

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“The lawyer for one of five Washington state soldiers charged with killing Afghan civilians for sport says his client is being released from custody pending his court martial.   Attorney Colby Vokey tells The News Tribune of Tacoma that an Army judge on Friday agreed to release Spc. Michael Wagnon, originally from Las Vegas. The other four defendants remain in custody.”

WikiLeaks releases classified Gitmo documents

from World War 4 Report blogs by Jurist

WikiLeaks on April 24 began publishing “The Guantanamo Files,” a collection of more than 700 classified documents relating to the evidence against and treatment of almost all detainees held at Guantánamo Baybetween 2002 and 2008. The documents—detailing things such as the circumstances of detention, the evidence justifying detention, detainee risk evaluations, and the decision process of which detainees to transfer, hold, or release of 758 of the 779 total detainees—were published in part on the WikiLeaks website and released to media outlets. According to the media outlets that have analyzed the documents, they reveal that 220 “high value”al-Qaeda operatives had been held at Guantánamo, in addition to 150 who had been held for years without significant evidence against them. The documents also detailed the practice of US forces detaining people in Afghanistan based on their wearing a particular model of watch that is known to be used by al-Qaeda leaders. Additionally, 20 juveniles were held at the detention facility, including Omar Khadr, who was classified as a high value detainee by the Obama administration and agreed to a plea agreement after eight years in detention.

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Misrata Reprieved

from Informed Comment by Juan

The city of Misrata, a port and steel-making city and Libya’s third-largest urban center, was sentenced to death 7 weeks ago by the Qaddafi family, which sent its armored brigades and professional snipers in to punish the entire population for having dared throw off their fascist rule by ‘revolutionary committee.’

For seven weeks, the some 400,000 people of Misrata city (there are nearly 600,000 in the province of that name) were subjected by Qaddafi brigades to tank fire, to artillery fire, to mortar fire, and to sniper fire, in a vicious, indiscriminate manner that constituted serial crimes against humanity. Hundreds have been killed, some say over a thousand, and wounded are probably three times fatalities.

On April 7, Qaddafi’s forces made a drive into the downtown area, taking it from the city’s defenders and pushing them to the port area as their last bastion of hope.

For now, the brave fighters of Free Libya have rallied to push the Qaddafi brigades out of their city, taking the tall buildings along Tripoli Street downtown away from the snipers, one by one. UNSC-authorized NATO attacks on Qaddafi’s tanks and GRAD missile launchers (and more recently a US drone strike on such a rocket emplacement) gradually sapped the strength from the brutal attackers even as aid ships brought desperately needed food and supplies to the Free Libya forces.

I call them “Free Libya forces” because that is what they call themselves, on Benghazi radio. The Benghazi Transitional National Council has been recognized as the legitimate government of Libya by France, Italy and Qatar, with more governments near to taking this step. They are not mere ‘rebels’ any more. They control major urban centers– Tobruk, Dirna, Baida, Benghazi, Misrata and Zintan as well as some of the rural areas– probably in all the population supporting the TNC is at least half the country. If we count populations laboring unwillingly under Qaddafi’s rule, it is a clear majority.

Agence France Press reports that the Qaddafi brigades have been forced to withdraw to the western suburbs of Misrata. On Monday they retained the ability to rain mortar shells onto the city in their wonted indiscriminate way, killing nearly a dozen people. But for the moment, the city has been reprieved from its death sentence. People are no longer pinned down, afraid of the snipers. For the moment the danger has receded, of the city being simply crushed under Qaddafi’s jackboot.

Captured loyalists and mercenaries revealed to AFP that morale is extremely low among the Qaddafi brigades at Misrata, and that they might have surrendered some time ago if they had not been afraid of being summarily executed by the Free Libya forces in the city. The Free Libya commanders need to do a better job of advertising, and demonstrating, that they will treat surrendering soldiers decently.

Aljazeera Arabic reports ominous rumors that one of Qaddafi’s sons, Saadi, is preparing to lead a brigade loyal to him against Misrata, reopening the front against the largest Western city to still resist Qaddafi’s sinister embrace.

Qaddafi’s hold on the west is precarious. His forces are being actively fought by the Berbers of the Western Mountain region, centered at Zintan. There is reportedly a strong underground resistance against him in Zawiya, which his tanks crushed in March in what was almost certainly a massacre. On Monday, the youth of the Duraibi quarter of Tripoli defied the dictator by releasing flocks of doves to signal their support of the Free Libya government based in Benghazi, according to Facebook and Twitter announcements.

It is to be hoped that the doves, a symbol of peace, are harbingers of things to come in Libya. In the meantime, we must be grateful for small, provisional victories by Free Libya against the dictator, and Misrata’s liberation surely counts as a major such moment. And, it is a vindication of the UNSC decision to call for outside intervention. Without that step, Misrata by now would have been crushed, and the Free Libya leaders and known supporters would be being dragged off to dark places for torture and summary execution.

Aljazeera English reports on the sad condition of Misrata in the wake of the Qaddafi brigades’ withdrawal:


For the resistance to Qaddafi in the Berber Western Mountain region, see this excellent report by Aljazeera English, filmed at great risk:


Libya: Qaddafi escalates attacks on Berbers of western mountains

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report

After pulling back from besieged Misrata, Moammar Qaddafi’s forces have reportedly been pouring into Libya’s western Nafusah Mountains, surrounding and shelling villages of the Berber minority. The offensive in the remote region follows the seizure of a border post near Wazen by rebels last week. Some 30,000 have fled the region into Tunisia, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “He has been trying to starve us,” said Jamal Maharouk, a Berber rebel fighter in a Tunisian hospital told the New York Times. He insisted that rebel actions in the region were purely defensive. “By my god, these are peaceful people fighting against an evil regime,” he said.

read more


Pew Poll of Egypt and the New York Times

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

As I read about the poll yesterday (see the post below), I was thinking: I wonder how the Zionist media will twist this.  I could not wait.  And here it goes.  This is the headline of the New York Times about the matter:  “Poll Finds Egyptians Full of Hope About the Future“.  Ha ha ha and Ha. Are you kidding me? This is the most interesting element in the poll for the Times? Are you kidding us.  We know what you care about, and it is not hope about future.  And then they report this about the most important finding for Zionist hoodlums:  “The poll also found that a majority of Egyptians, 54 percent, want to annul the 1979 peace treaty with Israel that has been a cornerstone of Egyptian foreign policy and the region’s stability. The finding squares with the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that Egyptians feel Israel has not lived up to its commitments in its treatment of the Palestinians.”  What? The anecdotal evidence is that Egyptians don’t feel that Israel lived up to its commitment?  The EGYPTIAN PEOPLE use language of French diplomats?  Who writes such dumb language here?   Anecdotal evidence point that Egyptian people hate, despise, and detest the state of Israel and want the full liberation of Palestine.   And then they say that the treaty brought “stability” to the region.  To whom in the region?  To Israel and its war crimes of course.  And then the foreign editor of the times adds this:  “But more than a third of respondents, 36 percent, favored keeping the treaty, and the poll did not ask the more controversial question of whether Egyptians wanted to sacrifice the three decades of peace they have enjoyed along the border.”  This was humorous.  First, they take solace from the smaller figure in the poll, and then add disapprovingly that the Egyptians were not asked in the same questions about whether they want to sacrifice peace.  They basically want a better survey to ask the Egyptian in this manner: would you support the peace treaty with Israel KNOWING that bombs would fall on your heads if you say no?  Thanks for the polling experts of the Times.  Without them I would not have understood the demands and aspirations of the Egyptian people.

Who is more qualified to liberate Arabs than the US? I mean, its record speaks for it

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“A US drone strike targeting the Taliban in northwest Pakistan killed 23 people, including three civilians, today, officials said, after 16 security forces died in an insurgent attack.”  Does that not make you thrilled to see the drones in action in Libya?

Bernard-Henri Levy is a fan of the Transitional National Council: a reason to detest them

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

Can you talk about the members of the Transitional National Council? Who they are?

Most of them are lawyers, or men who have worked in the legal realm: former judges, lawyers or people with legal training. They are people who are more oriented toward the West. Some have lived in the U.S., went toBritish universities. Most speak English. And they are friends of the Free World.”

US approves “nonlethal” aid for Libyan rebels

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report

The US is sending $25 million in nonlethal aid to Libyan rebels to cover “vehicles, fuel trucks and fuel bladders, ambulances, medical equipment, protective vests, binoculars, and non-secure radios,” the White House informed Congress April 21 in a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A State Department official told ABC News the aid will be “in support of key partners, including the Transitional National Council.” The letter does not state whether US military advisors will be involved in providing the aid. (ABC News, April 20)

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A matter of language in the New York Times

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

Of course, the Syrian regime deserves to be toppled.  Strong language is needed to denounce its brutal crackdown.  But as I read this article today by Anthony Shadid, I thought this: if he were to use the same denunciatory language against, say, an Israel brutal attack of an Arab city or camp, he would be fired on the spot.  Shadid–a smart guy–knows this, no doubt.  Does that mean that he should not use this language here? No.  What am I saying then?  I am saying that the New York Times is not a credible place to work and cover the Middle East.

Puppets of Western governments are permitted to perpetrate massacres: South Sudan

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“At least 165 people have been killed in the past week in fighting between south Sudan’s army and militia, the army said on Monday, part of a wave of violence in the territory ahead of its independence in July.”  Can you imagine if this army is not supported and armed and financed by the West?  Can you imagine the festivals of feigning outrage?

The New York Times/Noah Feldman’s criteria for Democracy in the Middle East

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

““In Iraq, Bottoms Up for Democracy” (Week in Review, April 17) seems to equate democracy with men getting drunk in bars and ogling women. The fact that “young women beckon men from the doorways of shiny nightclubs” is cited as a positive example of a more progressive, “free-spirited”Iraq.

This is a puppet looking for some polite respect, damn it

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“”Abbas also criticized Washington’s handling of the revolution in Egypt, saying the push that Obama gave President Hosni Mubarak was “impolite””” (thanks “Ibn Rushd”)

Sudden democrats

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“”North African and Middle Eastern countries must adopt democracy before the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will consider lending in the region, said the bank’s President, Thomas Mirow.”” (thanks Redouane)
Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal
By Pepe Escobar (Asia Times)To follow Pepe’s articles on the Great Arab Revolt, please clickhere.You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes”

vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya – the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.

The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said, “This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner.”

As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to “seduce” three other members to get the vote.

Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.

Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution.

Profiteers rejoice 
Humanitarian imperialists will spin en masse this is a “conspiracy”, as they have been spinning the bombing of Libya prevented a hypothetical massacre in Benghazi. They will be defending the House of Saud – saying it acted to squash Iranian subversion in the Gulf; obviously R2P – “responsibility to protect” does not apply to people in Bahrain. They will be heavily promoting post-Gaddafi Libya as a new – oily – human rights Mecca, complete with US intelligence assets, black ops, special forces and dodgy contractors.

Whatever they say won’t alter the facts on the ground – the graphic results of the US-Saudi dirty dancing. Asia Times Online has already reported on who profits from the foreign intervention in Libya (see There’s no business like war business, March 30). Players include the Pentagon (via Africom), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Saudi Arabia, the Arab League’s Moussa, and Qatar. Add to the list the al-Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain, assorted weapons contractors, and the usual neo-liberal suspects eager to privatize everything in sight in the new Libya – even the water. And we’re not even talking about the Western vultures hovering over the Libyan oil and gas industry.

Exposed, above all, is the astonishing hypocrisy of the Obama administration, selling a crass geopolitical coup involving northern Africa and the Persian Gulf as a humanitarian operation. As for the fact of another US war on a Muslim nation, that’s just a “kinetic military action”.

There’s been wide speculation in both the US and across the Middle East that considering the military stalemate – and short of the “coalition of the willing” bombing the Gaddafi family to oblivion – Washington, London and Paris might settle for the control of eastern Libya; a northern African version of an oil-rich Gulf Emirate. Gaddafi would be left with a starving North Korea-style Tripolitania.

But considering the latest high-value defections from the regime, plus the desired endgame (“Gaddafi must go”, in President Obama’s own words), Washington, London, Paris and Riyadh won’t settle for nothing but the whole kebab. Including a strategic base for both Africom and NATO.

Round up the unusual suspects
One of the side effects of the dirty US-Saudi deal is that the White House is doing all it can to make sure the Bahrain drama is buried by US media. BBC America news anchor Katty Kay at least had the decency to stress, “they would like that one [Bahrain] to go away because there’s no real upside for them in supporting the rebellion by the Shi’ites.”

For his part the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, showed up on al-Jazeera and said that action was needed because the Libyan people were attacked by Gaddafi. The otherwise excellent al-Jazeera journalists could have politely asked the emir whether he would send his Mirages to protect the people of Palestine from Israel, or his neighbors in Bahrain from Saudi Arabia.

The al-Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain is essentially a bunch of Sunni settlers who took over 230 years ago. For a great deal of the 20th century they were obliging slaves of the British empire. Modern Bahrain does not live under the specter of a push from Iran; that’s an al-Khalifa (and House of Saud) myth.

Bahrainis, historically, have always rejected being part of a sort of Shi’ite nation led by Iran. The protests come a long way, and are part of a true national movement – way beyond sectarianism. No wonder the slogan in the iconic Pearl roundabout – smashed by the fearful al-Khalifa police state – was “neither Sunni nor Shi’ite; Bahraini”.

What the protesters wanted was essentially a constitutional monarchy; a legitimate parliament; free and fair elections; and no more corruption. What they got instead was “bullet-friendly Bahrain” replacing “business-friendly Bahrain”, and an invasion sponsored by the House of Saud.

And the repression goes on – invisible to US corporate media. Tweeters scream that everybody and his neighbor are being arrested. According to Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, over 400 people are either missing or in custody, some of them “arrested at checkpoints controlled by thugs brought in from other Arab and Asian countries – they wear black masks in the streets.” Even blogger Mahmood Al Yousif was arrested at 3 am, leading to fears that the same will happen to any Bahraini who has blogged, tweeted, or posted Facebook messages in favor of reform.

Globocop is on a roll 
Odyssey Dawn is now over. Enter Unified Protector – led by Canadian Charles Bouchard. Translation: the Pentagon (as in Africom) transfers the “kinetic military action ” to itself (as in NATO, which is nothing but the Pentagon ruling over Europe). Africom and NATO are now one.

The NATO show will include air and cruise missile strikes; a naval blockade of Libya; and shady, unspecified ground operations to help the “rebels”. Hardcore helicopter gunship raids a la AfPak – with attached “collateral damage” – should be expected.

A curious development is already visible. NATO is deliberately allowing Gaddafi forces to advance along the Mediterranean coast and repel the “rebels”. There have been no surgical air strikes for quite a while.

The objective is possibly to extract political and economic concessions from the defector and Libyan exile-infested Interim National Council (INC) – a dodgy cast of characters including former Justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, US-educated former secretary of planning Mahmoud Jibril, and former Virginia resident, new “military commander” and CIA asset Khalifa Hifter. The laudable, indigenous February 17 Youth movement – which was in the forefront of the Benghazi uprising – has been completely sidelined.

This is NATO’s first African war, as Afghanistan is NATO’s first Central/South Asian war. Now firmly configured as the UN’s weaponized arm, Globocop NATO is on a roll implementing its “strategic concept” approved at the Lisbon summit last November (see Welcome to NATOstan, Asia Times Online, November 20, 2010).

Gaddafi’s Libya must be taken out so the Mediterranean – themare nostrum of ancient Rome – becomes a NATO lake. Libya is the only nation in northern Africa not subordinated to Africom or Centcom or any one of the myriad NATO “partnerships”. The other non-NATO-related African nations are Eritrea, Sawahiri Arab Democratic Republic, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Moreover, two members of NATO’s “Istanbul Cooperation Initiative” – Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – are now fighting alongside Africom/NATO for the fist time. Translation: NATO and Persian Gulf partners are fighting a war in Africa. Europe? That’s too provincial. Globocop is the way to go.

According to the Obama administration’s own official doublespeak, dictators who are eligible for “US outreach” – such as in Bahrain and Yemen – may relax, and get away with virtually anything. As for those eligible for “regime alteration”, from Africa to the Middle East and Asia, watch out. Globocop NATO is coming to get you. With or without dirty deals.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

An Arab Spring for Women: the Coles in Tomdispatch

from Informed Comment by Juan

Just out in, an essay by Shahin Cole and Juan Cole on “An Arab Spring for Women”.


‘ The Arab Spring has proven an epochal period of activism and change for women, recalling the role of early feminists in the 1919 Egyptian movement for independence from Britain, or the important place of women in the Algerian Revolution. The sheer numbers of politically active women in this series of uprisings, however, dwarf their predecessors. That this female element in the Arab Spring has drawn so little comment in the West suggests that our own narratives of, and preoccupations with, the Arab world — religion, fundamentalism, oil and Israel — have blinded us to the big social forces that are altering the lives of 300 million people.

Women have been aided by this generation’s advances in education and the professions, by the prominence of articulate women anchors on satellite television networks like Aljazeera, and by the rise of the Internet and social media. Women can assert leadership roles in cyberspace that young men’s dominance of the public sphere might have hampered in city squares.

Their prominence in the labor movements and at the public rallies in Tunisia and Egypt, moreover, underlines how much more of a public role they now have than is usually acknowledged. ‘

Read the whole thing.

Tomgram: Shahin and Juan Cole, The Women’s Movement in the Middle East

from TomDispatch – Blog by Juan Cole, Shahin Cole

The “Arab Spring” has received copious attention in the American media, but one of its crucial elements has been largely overlooked: the striking role of women in the protests sweeping the Arab world.  Despite inadequate media coverage of their role, women have been and often remain at the forefront of those protests…

This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Background & Analysis, Bahrain, Counterinsurgency, Events, Human Rights, Imperialism, Imperialist Interference & Views, Libya, Saudi Arabia, US Foreign Policy, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

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