Posts Tagged: The Middle East

Some Notes on the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs' Video Calling For “Mutual Respect” in Upcoming Nuclear Talks

1. It begins beautifully when, looking dapper in a beautiful suit and sunglasses, he emerges from a beautiful building to walk past a beautiful fountain.


Regime Change Comes to Libya

The four New York Times journalists missing in Libya since Tuesday have been "found." They were in "state custody." Of course they were! And in Libya, Gaddafi has… sort of agreed to a ceasefire, and sort of offered amnesty to rebels, after the U.N. security council agreed to military action against Gaddafi. Except, in his way, Gaddafi also promised to hunt down and murder anyone who opposed him! Yes: "We will find you in your closets. We will have no mercy and no pity.” The U.N. and the U.S. are also putting real action in the hands of the Arab League, because of all the obvious reasons. [...]


Your Daily Primer on the "Middle East"

Yemen: How the Al-Ahmar family could take advantage of unrest against the Saleh regime, leading to a civil war—or simply regime change. Meanwhile, the government is going to announce what sounds like an unsatisfactory new government.

Oman: Today is the third consecutive day of protests! The Sultan is quickly making some minor concessions—distributing money

Egypt: Former president Mubarak has been ordered by a prosecutor not to travel; also his assets have been ordered frozen. Too little, too late, says Al Jazeera's analyst.

Libya: Similarly, Britain has frozen Gadaffi's assets—to the tune of £3 billion. Also, Libya asked for £900 million in new money, [...]


Syrians Face Down the Government

The Al-Jazeera live-blog from Syria is pretty incredible today. People have been protesting against the wildly corrupt government for the last four hours, facing dire stakes. The video above is from Aleppo, which is (fun fact) bigger than Damascus.


Today's Brief Primer on the "Middle East"

Libya: You know what's an invitation to a (possibly short, possibly endless) war? The no-fly zone, which is not a thing that has been proposed to happen. And yet, you can understand why the rebels who are fighting on the ground, city-by-city, would want such assistance, as Gaddafi shells towns in his own country! This is madness. Fascinating to know: "Libyan envoys are meeting with European Union officials in Brussels."

Yemen: "Government security forces beat demonstrators and then opened fire on them late Tuesday night, fatally wounding a 20-year-old protester and leaving nine others with bullet wounds…. Protests in Sana, the capital, have been relatively peaceful [...]


Don't Trust Anyone (Over 30) Who Claims to Know What the 'Middle East' Uprisings Mean

"The mass popular revolts in Tunisia and Egypt and the uprisings shaking Bahrain and Libya at the moment are contributing to sinking the culturalist mythologies of this intellectually exhausted generation of militants turned into detached, sour commentators. Not all wines age well. One also hopes that these world-historical events will contribute to overcoming the simplistic binary logic of interpretation which have dominated public discourse on opposite sides of the political spectrum for so long: external causes vs. internal ones, imperialism and colonialism vs. Islam, political logics vs. cultural ones. The recent popular uprisings have contributed to the disintegration of what now became the old culturalist myth." —Fadi Bardawil [...]


Oh Good, We Bombed a Library

Things in Libya are… God, this is depressing. But we've apparently done great damage to Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizya compound! Take that, books and files! Worry not, Lindsey Graham and John McCain are out agitating for us to just assassinate Gaddafi. (I'm pretty sure that's what "cut the head of the snake off" means.) You know: the American way.

Elsewhere? Much worse! Apparently government troops are firing on protesters in Yemen today, and, after the horrific weekend in Syria, "Syrian troops and tanks have entered the city of Deraa, where the protests against the Assad regime began last month. Troops reportedly opened fire randomly on people and [...]


Your Morning "Middle East" Primer

Oman: Not only is there a protest movement growing, it's actually being covered by the country's media—which exists in an uneasy state between self-censored and intimidated.

Libya: There is essentially an under-weaponed ground war under way in Libya. Between 1000 and 2000 people have died; in the last 12 hours, Gaddafi loyalists have seized and then lost Al Brega, an oil town in the east. Many see a chance to leave: "The Tunisian government says at least 80,000 people have crossed into the country from Libya in the past week, with many more expected." Gaddafi is trying to recall his U.N. ambassadors, who have renounced [...]


Local King Wishes to Remain King

"King Abdullah II of Jordan fired his government in a surprise move on Tuesday, in the face of a wave of demands of public accountability sweeping the Arab world and bringing throngs of demonstrators in the streets of Egypt…. Meanwhile, also in response to the mood sweeping the region, in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority announced it would hold local elections, postponed last year, 'as soon as possible.'" —You would have to know a whole lot more than I (or most other Americans) do about Jordanian politics to know what this means, but you know, it happened.