Solved

Protesting in the middle east: Please chime in

Posted on 2011-02-18
46
32 Views
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
There is too much in the middle east to keep up with...

I see there is a lot of middle easterners on Experts Exchange. I hope to see some comments from them and anyone else who can help me keep up with the news.

Iran, Lybia, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt...

Is the entire middle east imploding into democracy for their individual countries?
0
Comment
Question by:ChiefIT
  • 24
  • 13
  • 6
  • +2
46 Comments
 
LVL 9

Assisted Solution

by:suvmitra
suvmitra earned 12 total points
Comment Utility
On Egypt's first day in nearly 30 years without Hosni Mubarak as president, its new military rulers pledged on 2/12/2011 to eventually hand power to an elected civilian government and outlined its first cautious steps in a promised transition to democracy. It reassured the world that it will abide by its peace deal with Israel.

The protesters who drove Mubarak out with an unprecedented 18-day popular uprising were still riding high on jubilation at their success. But they also began to press their vision for how to bring reform to a country where autocracy has pervaded the system from top to bottom for decades.

They also had an immediate question to resolve: whether to continue their demonstrations.

A coalition of the movement's youth organizers called for their massive protest camp entrenched for nearly three weeks in Cairo's central Tahrir Square to end, as a gesture to the military. Still, they called for large-scale demonstrations every Friday to keep up pressure for change. Others in Tahrir, however, insisted the constant protests should continue.

"This is the start of the revolution, it's not over yet, but I have to go back to work," said Mohammed Saeed, 30, packing away his tent.

Mohammed Farrag, 31, who was also departing, said he believed stability was returning. "But we will not give up on Egypt as a civilian state, not a military state," he said.

Many protesters still at Tahrir Square said they were staying in the makeshift tent city partly because they feared that security forces would pick them up if they went home. With thousands still celebrating in the square, shooting fireworks in the air, there was no sign of significant numbers leaving.

At the same time, the coalition put forward their first cohesive list of demands for the next stage, focused on ensuring they — not just the military or members of Mubarak's regime — have a voice in shaping a new democratic system.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
I find this absolutely thrilling. I spent a couple days in Egypt. I was in the military at the time. They looked upon me as an outcast and I had an uneasy fealing. As an allied nation, I couldn't understand the disdain I felt in Egypt, Bahrain, Abu Dahbi.. I didn't realize their governments were allied to the US, and the US supported these leaders, that I am now finding were deemed as dictators by their own people.

As a Marine in the US, all I ever wanted was a free people in the entire middle east. A free people are happy people. I see a bomb strapped to someone's back and then they walk into an open market to kill anyone they can. I also see wemon and children executed for their education.

I could never understand why the majority of the people in the middle east didn't retaliate and gain their freedom, as the US did 200 years ago. After all, with social media and other types of information they have seen in the US and other free countries, they would have to want better for their families.

Iran, Yemen, Bahrain, Somalia, Pakistan, Afganistan, Palistine:  I have waited many years to see these people say enough is enough.

As the US sets back and watches, I can't help but feel that every US citizen wishes the same results for all of these countries.. Individual freedoms and the ability to pursue happiness is one of the fundamental beliefs that every American loves. I wish this on every person of the world. I have waited a long time for these middle easter countries to take matters into their own hands. But, I was shocked to see that many of these countries our leaders have supported and called allies.

Are our leaders in the US missing the point? A stronger and healthier nation anywhere in the world, that is free of oppression, will always be our allies. That's how Americans think. I am glad to see these countries coming of age.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>As the US sets back and watches,...

Like hell it does. For 30 years the USA supported Mubarak's dictatorship.

>A stronger and healthier nation anywhere in the world, that is free of oppression, will always be our allies.

You mean like France?

>That's how Americans think.

Do they think at all?
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>I could never understand why the majority of the people in the middle east didn't retaliate and gain their freedom, as the US did 200 years ago.

Come on, understand is expecting too much of Yank when confronted with anything relating to another country. Not surprising as only 20% of Yanks have passports.

0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>I could never understand why the majority of the people in the middle east didn't retaliate and gain their freedom, as the US did 200 years ago.

Understand - Oh come on, that's expecting too much of a US Marine.

As for the comparison with 200 years ago that illustrates all too well just how little you understand.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
>As the US sets back and watches,...

Like hell it does. For 30 years the USA supported Mubarak's dictatorship.
---Good point! Why is our government supporting such a dictator? It's because we are a bit antimidated by some of the other folks that could be elected into the country, like the Muslim brotherhood, (a suspected terrorist supporter)
------------------------------
>A stronger and healthier nation anywhere in the world, that is free of oppression, will always be our allies.

You mean like France?
I have and probably always will consider France and Allie to the US. They helped us during the Civil War gain our independence. We helped them during WWII combat Deutsches occupation.
---------------------------------------------
>That's how Americans think.

Do they think at all?

I believe so, (except the government that has an alterior motive to protect the country). Imagine if the (terrorist suspected) Muslim Brotherhood gained power throughout the entier middle east. Would we see an increase in Violence in the Middle East our around the world.
-----------------------
Understand - Oh come on, that's expecting too much of a US Marine.
--Oh yah, I suppose it is. That's a great statement Patrick.



0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>They helped us during the Civil War gain our independence.

That's TWO centuries ago. Isn't it time you moved on as a nation? You paid a few taxes you didn't feel were justified - big deal. You didn't have secret police terrorising your nation, you didn't have a dictator as a head of state. It was nothing like what the arab nations have endured for decades now. Mind you, do I care about arab nations - no I do not. I have nothing in common with their way of life, I have not experienced anything pleasant about arabs with whom I have come into contact. They are welcome to their way of life which to my way of thinking is medieval. Their treatment of women is appalling - I dislike so called arab culture.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
This is why I am on this thread Patrick. I need to learn a bit about the middle east. In some ways they seem like my wife. I will never fully understand them.

I also find some of their policies and ecological influences appalling. I often wonder why they don't fight for a better life. The differences in beliefs and their ways of thinking has caused craziness throughout the world. They have been somewhat fighting for thousands of years and still haven't been able to sort things out. Sunis, Shiites, Jewish, etc.. Their fighting goes on WAY back. It has caused chaos in many parts of the world.

2.5 centuries ago, (this nation is an infant compared to the rest of the world). Yet, it is a very strong and happy nation. I can't help but feel it is because we are far removed from this consistant conflict. We do have all religions and races living here in peace, (for the most part).
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
I think the American people are far removed because of their news media. I often watch BBC news to give me a different perspective, rather than American news channels.

Neither BBC or American news channels told us that we are supporting dictators or shady characters around the middle east. This includes Mubarak, and Musharif in Pakistan, and originally Ahmadinejad in Iran. The American people know the importance of not supporting dictators diplomatically. This is why it comes to a great suprise and a big eye opener when we see our government supporting them in an effort to protect our country from something more dangerous. I can now see why most of the middle east deams this nation as hypocritical and despises the US almost as much as the Isrealis.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>...we see our government supporting them in an effort to protect our country from something more dangerous.

As long as it's an excuse that the electorate will swallow. $1.2Bn is what the USA have given to Mubarak's regime every year to maintain and buy USA-manufactured arms. Sounds more like protecting the USA arms industry rather than anyone else.
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:satsumo
Comment Utility
I have much the same problem with the Middle East.  The media presents a limited perspective of countries like Egypt.  Discussions on the internet quickly disolve into argument along entrenched lines.  And of course, politicians are following financial, political or personal self-interest.  You certainly can't form any sort of accurate opinion of the Middle East from the way a western government deals with it.

The people of Egypt have done something quite inspirational and yet I have no understanding of how they arrived at this.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
Well, the straw that broke the camel's back was when the government took away social network sites, like facebook or twitter. But, thirty years of a repressive regime is more than I would have ever taken. I do like many of the people in the middle east, including Iranians. In fact the Iranian people seemed to be the most cordial I have met in the US.

This limited perspective from US media, and the desire to learn more about our own policies, leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I agree that logging on and communicating on social networking sites often ends up being an insulting match or a bitter word war. So, it seems there is no way to figure out some of these life long questions on how we can vote/control how our nations government agenda is handled. It seems to me that we citizens are the last to know what our government is doing. In this nation. After all, during the thirty years of a repressive regime, I didn't know we were supporting a dictator until these last few weeks.  
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
@ Patrick: I don't disagree with you on protecting arms. Many of our politicians own stock in arms and contracted mercenaries like haliburtin. Talk about a bad reputation to give our country. As politician's kids are not going into the Military, and the government with control over the military, it does seem like a quick and easy way to line their own pockets by providing "AID" to middle Eastern countries and having them turn that "AID" into weapons to fight their wars.

With that said, I use to think like most here tainted by media in the US. I use to think there were a small contingent of radical muslims that were picking fights in various countries, like the squabble between Pakistand and India. You know it's not the general people of any country that is picking fights. It apears to be people with interesting religious beliefs or anyone who can make a dollar off of it.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>But, thirty years of a repressive regime is more than I would have ever taken.

Brave words. The truth is you have no idea how you would have reacted. Like most people you would have most probably done nothing for many years.
0
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:BigRat
Comment Utility
>>Why is our government supporting such a dictator?

A very good example is Gaddafi in Libya. Originally at Reagan's time probably responsible for terrorist attacks (Lockerby disaster), then got made acceptable through Bush and Blair, is now under pressure from his own people. If one comes out on the side of Gaddafi and he looses how does one then negociate oil and gas? If one comes out against Gaddafi and he stays in power, how does one negociate oil and gas? This is the dilemma that politicians have. The solution would be to adhere to the principles laid down in the country's constitution, but a quick look at American history will show that that has never ever happened. Often a resolution goes out from the European Parlement against some dictator somewhere and then all the European heads of state start grinding their teeth.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>>Why is our government supporting such a dictator?

Usually there's only one word needed to explain it. Money.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
The funny thing is we are all Capitalists. Is it a money driven scenario when we support and maybe pick fights between these countries? As a free people in the middle east, don't you think they would be much easier and willing to work with US and other free people interests?

Let's take Egypt as an example. They just overthrew their government. Enough was enough, I guess. Now that they are taking an active roll in making sure their people have a prosperous and free country, don't you see how much easier they would be to work with? This seems like a NO BRAINER.

If it were me, I would abandon all interest in the Middle East. We have plenty of Oil in the US and we should be using the billions in "SEED" money that spent on green-energy jobs. These are jobs the US really needs right now. I would ween this country off oil from other, non-allied countries, not send any aid to any of them. China, as an up and coming industrial nation, could deal with their craziness. They need oil worse than the US.

I think Patrick is right. Wars mean arms. Arms mean stocks in arms and picking fights and sending our troops in harm's way for their personal gain. Picking fights means ruining any type of diplomatic relations and morales we have as a country.

These old school political tactics should be banned or voted out in this country.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
The truth is that politicians will support any regime so long as it benefits their own careers as politicians. It's only personal self-interest that is the motivation behind virtually all politicians.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
Patrick:

This is certainly an eye opener. Like some have stated, most of the American people didn't realize we were supporting a dictator. That's not good business or ethics. I see a lot of people talking about the middle east, here. They are a little disturbed a supporting dictatorships, knowing that's bad business and ethics.

It's good this is happening. The American people are waking up to their own nievity.
0
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:BigRat
Comment Utility
>>These old school political tactics should be banned or voted out in this country.

Well the Founding fathers thought just like that. But reality crept in with Monroe's Little War, Southern Destiny and the various wars against Mexico. The problem is always perceived national interests, I cannot agree with Patrick that it is simply personal self interest.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>The problem is always perceived national interests, I cannot agree with Patrick that it is simply personal self interest.

Please cite an instance where a politician's foreign policy decision was purely altruistic depite the effect it might have on his/her career.

Perceived national interests usually coincide with how well his/her decision will be accepted by his/her constituents.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
The USA has a long record of interferring with foreign countries without realising the long term effects. For example the USA helped Ho Chi Minh back from exile in France into VietNam - and then spent the next 30 years fighting him and his forces - and then losing with 56,000 US dead troops - all very sad.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
For as long as Gaza remains as one large slum with entry and exit controlled by Israel there will be serious problems in the Middle East. As for democracy in the MEast it might happen but there is no guarantee - not even in Egypt.
0
How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
- Increase transparency
- Onboard new hires faster
- Access from mobile/offline

 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:BigRat
Comment Utility
>>Please cite an instance where a politician's foreign policy decision was purely altruistic depite the effect it might have on his/her career

The best example is Winston Churchill's proposal of merging Britain and France after WWII into an economic entity - predating Jean Monet (although not exactly the same proposal).

But "purely alturistic despite career" is not what I said nor intended. I said that such decisions are made on perceived national interests. One could also add in blinkered analysis, which explains why the West's perceived international interest was to keep Murbarak in power. In fact the Wests whole Middle East policy is based on the fact of having actors whose positions are known and well positioned. Any "Mid-East" solution, as the West sees it, is based on the agreements between a handful of actors. Sort them out and one has a solution. The fact that there are millions of people who might have different views - and who in fact might have then again more different views if they were allowed to have views in the first place - is completely ignored. It's all a sort of Bismarck/Metternich/Tallyrand game rather than issues which effect real people leading real lives.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
I'm not sure that example bears examination. It didn't happen so we can't measure the effect either nationally nor personally. All we know is that the French kept the UK out of the EEC, as it was then. for as long as they could. And that was after Britain had fully supported De Gaulle throughout WW2.

The Mid-East is so far from becoming a democratic region as to beggar belief. It's still socially and religiously in the Middle Ages.
0
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:BigRat
Comment Utility
>>All we know is that the French kept the UK out of the EEC

Because Britain refused to give up trade preferentially with the Commonwealth, particularly New Zealand and Australia. There were other problems concering the European Coal and Steel pack, which essentially put a cap on production. Both sides are well documented in the memoires of Harold Wilson (The Labour Years), then then Labour prime minister, and those of Couve de Murville (Une politique étrangère) the French prime minister under DeGaulle.

>>And that was after Britain had fully supported De Gaulle throughout WW2.

Which they didn't. Churchill detested DeGaulle, made his life difficult most of the time, and didn't really support him with the StPierre et Miquelon incident. The relationship between the "Allies" and the French was at the best of times difficult at the worst down right diabolical (see http://mondediplo.com/2003/05/05lacroix)

The attitude towards DeGaulle by the two powers shows exactly the same traits as we have been discussing here. Rooseveld saw DeGaulle as a dictator-in-training whereas those who knew him found him very aloof but at the same time proudly nationalistic and very French. He saw Vichy as the worst shame that had ever befallen France. The second worst shame was that the English had to save it! When he was first in Britain he was the only military leader (as colonel) who had had any sucess against the Germans. All of this went unrecognised.

>>It's still socially and religiously in the Middle Ages.

Which is hardly surprising when one considers how the dictators have surpressed free thought, an open press and foreign influences. The only thing they could not really put a stop to was religion. In fact when one goes to Libya one finds that Gadaffi has turned Islam into his own thing, in order to control the population.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
>>The USA has a long record of interferring with foreign countries without realising the long term effects. For example the USA helped Ho Chi Minh back from exile in France into VietNam

Patric, you are right about this point.

Ahmadinajad is another
Muhbarak
Sadam
Gadaffi
tony blaire-- (just kidding.)
Ho Chi Man
Benladen
Musharif
How about afganastan that we supported with arms to fight Russian invasions and end up fighting the same people we supported?
etc....

This was my point.. The American people don't support dictators or any of these shady charactors, like that. It's out leadership. It seems we usually end up at war with the people we call allies, especially in the middle east.
0
 
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:BigRat
Comment Utility
>>It's out leadership.

Yup, about a couple of months ago Hilary Clinton turned up in Bahrain, whose population has an average annual income of some 23,000 dollars, and praised the country enormous progress. Only last week the government was shooting their own people. Why did she not take the time and effort to find out, before she went there, that the government does not tolerate opposition and was holding some 500 political prisoners? Now under US pressure (and probably a bit of hindsight) the government has stopped the shootings and will release the prisoners.

The answer of course is that Bahrain is a US ally with US bases there. For the Bahrainains the US is probably the lesser of two evils, since they don't like the Iranians.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
Bahrain...and the Middle East

The problem is that the USA depends upon the Middle East for a large percentage of its oil. Thus it will support any regime that helps it protect both the sources of oil as well as the USA-bound oil shipping in the area. In the end it comes down to protecting the USA economy as well as those of other countries dependant upon Middle Eastern oil - and that's most western countries except Norway.
0
 
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:satsumo
satsumo earned 12 total points
Comment Utility
And yet there seems to be very little will to change that.  The world and its brother is talking about sustainable fuel sources, and yet there is no serious attempt to make use of it.  It seems that political will prefers to fight over expensive, dirty, limited oil rather than invest in other energy sources.  Sometimes I wonder if the slow progress of car manufacturers toward producing hydrogen fuel cell cars is more to do with oil than technology.  Where is the investment in local geothermal energy generation?
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
The cost of developing alternative sources of energy far exceeds the cost of oil. Apart from that how would aircraft and ships be powered? Ships - nuclear perhaps - as per Russia's ice breakers.

0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
It is often forgotten that hydrogen fuel cells need power to run them. That is likely to be oil-based power. Whatever the system used it is impossible to get out of the process more power than is consumed by the process. Thus so called green power such as hydrogen fuel cells are simply not going to happen in as much that they will always consume more power than they generate.
0
 
LVL 27

Accepted Solution

by:
BigRat earned 13 total points
Comment Utility
The sun sends 15,000 time more energy every day than we use. Surely it is not outside the bounds of technology to use a bit of that?
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
The world and its brother is talking about sustainable fuel sources, and yet there is no serious attempt to make use of it.

What about wind farms? The tecnology is well established but it seems to me that they are somewhat unreliable. It's impossible to pass a group of wind turbines and see them all running. One or more is almost always not working.

Geothermal, wave, tidal and so on seem to be hard to harness. Hydro-electricity has a high cost both ecologically and in human terms - look at the number of displaced people in the Yangtse 3 gorges project - Other estimates range from 1.3 million to almost 2 million
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
Solar power is harnessed in the Middle East for water heating. To a small extent that is also the case in the UK - despite the lack of sunshine.

However solar power can only replace oil in very limited circumstances - houses and very light and small vehicles but not aircraft nor ships - both of which use huge amounts of oil-based fuels.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
There is no certainty that 'democracy' is going to do anything to advance the middle east. Gaza has democracy but it hasn't done it any good.

What's interesting is the use of social networking in the organisation of protestors. No small wonder that the mobile networks are shut down by the ruling governments/dictators.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
AHH, that's one of the points I wanted to get to. It appears that social networking sites is making more of a desire to advance out of the stone ages than government diplomacy and wars. So, we are getting to civil disorder because there is such a desire to know each other on these social networking sites.

It appears that a move to democracy takes a back seat to a move to free socialized networking.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
Social Networking sites only make exchange of ideas easier. In NO way do they in themselves encourage democracy. They just make organising protests that much easier.

Whether a country is still living by the standards of Mediaeval times or not has nothing to do with social networking sites. It is more to do with their attitudes towards one another, their women, religion, methods of government, education  and so on.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>Is the entire middle east imploding into democracy for their individual countries?

The answer is NO. Just a few countries but not the majority.
0
 
LVL 45

Assisted Solution

by:patrickab
patrickab earned 13 total points
Comment Utility
Democracy does nothing for a country if the people are divided. Take Iraq as an example. They nominally have democracy but the Sunnis and Shias hate one another so much that they murder each other on a daily basis. Democracy has done nothing to make them more tolerant of one another.

Democracy is NOT the solution in the Middle East. America believes that the world's problems can be solved by two things. Democracy and attempting to bomb nations back into the stone age. Neither strategy has worked on its own without massive levels of external help.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
There was an old cleric that was out of the country of Egypt for about 30 years. He came back and that was the part of his speach, when he arrived. The other part is, (he came back and, let's go kill the isrealis). It's almost scary how crazy some of the potential leaders can be in these countries.
0
 
LVL 38

Author Closing Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
Good conversing with you all. It's interesting to see the different views and opinions on the matter.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
>It's almost scary how crazy some of the potential leaders can be in these countries.

Indeed - as in Iran, except he's not a cleric - nuts all the same.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
The whole Middle East, Israel included is cursed with religion as their guiding light. For as long as that remains the case, the Middle East will remain an area of profound unrest.
0
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:patrickab
Comment Utility
ChiefIT - Thanks for the points - Patrick
0
 
LVL 38

Author Comment

by:ChiefIT
Comment Utility
Patrick-- You put up a great debate.

I hope for the best. Look at the world my kids have to grow up in.. Seems a mess.
0

Featured Post

6 Surprising Benefits of Threat Intelligence

All sorts of threat intelligence is available on the web. Intelligence you can learn from, and use to anticipate and prepare for future attacks.

Join & Write a Comment

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
Nobel Peace Prize 24 17
Obama's biggest mentor 9 15
Voter ID? 17 29
Have you some words for this picture ? 9 69
Learn more about the importance of email disclaimers with our top 10 email disclaimer DOs and DON’Ts.
Get an idea of what you should include in an email disclaimer with these Top 5 email disclaimer tips.
This video discusses moving either the default database or any database to a new volume.
Get a first impression of how PRTG looks and learn how it works.   This video is a short introduction to PRTG, as an initial overview or as a quick start for new PRTG users.

763 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

11 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now