The United Nations seems on the brink of taking a momentous decision. After hanging back for days the Americans have now not only backed the British and French resolution on Libya but beefed it up. The fact that the French foreign minister, Alain Juppe, will be here in person is a sign of French confidence that the Russians and Chinese won’t block the resolution.
by Katinka Barysch
The revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have brought home to many people that Turkey has become a force to be reckoned with in this region. Turkey enjoys lots of credibility in the Arab world. It has burgeoning trade ties and solid political relations with many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. As the EU scrambles to revamp its own neighbourhood policy, it would do well to work closely with Turkey. Turkey would also gain. Sadly, there is little evidence of such co-operation to date.
The US, so long hesitant about military action in Libya, now says a mere no-fly zone doesn’t go far enough. They want something tougher.
For days the US has held back, refusing to reveal its position – even to allies like the UK and France who are behind the demand for a no-fly zone.
As the Libyan government forces close in on rebel strongholds, the UN Security Council on Wednesday started discussing a no-fly zone. Some countries continue to oppose military intervention, but those who play for time will share the blame for Gaddafi’s bloody quashing of the democracy movement, writes the press.
from Mark Mardell | The Reporters
Yemen?s President Ali Abdallah Saleh has famously likened governing Yemen to ?dancing on the heads of snakes?. Recent protests in Yemen, resignations from his General People?s Congress and parliament and tribal and religious leaders? rift with the beleaguered President, seems to point to the final act in Saleh?s near-33 year dance.
Public universities in Egypt were still closed when the wind of change hit the country?s campuses. Cairo University announced that it would banish state security forces, replacing them with civil guards. The interim Minister for Education and Higher Education, Ahmad Gamal Eddin Moussa, proclaimed the dissolution of student committees elected during the old regime. There is even talk of renaming lecture halls named after members of the Mubarak family.
Opposition groups in Egypt must now rise to the challenge of negotiating a good transition, Eberhard Kienle
President Mubarak has left office for his Sharm al-Shaykh villa, allegedly sick and depressed. His and his family?s personal fortune is under scrutiny while a travel ban temporarily prevents all Mubaraks from leaving the country. Other representatives of the ancien régime are already under investigation for corruption, abuse of power, and the unlawful use of violence against ordinary citizens during the recent demonstrations that led to Mubarak?s departure. Among them are the former ministers of housing, industry commerce, and the interior.
For the first time, I think the “no fly zone” over Libya might actually happen. If it does, it will mean the traditional Western interventionism will have won over President Barack Obama’s fear of dabbling in the Middle East.
At the Al Jazeera Forum this weekend in Doha, where dozens of Arab political figures and activists of all persuasions gathered to discuss the dramatic events sweeping the Middle East, there was a lot of optimism in the air. One Egyptian organizer, YouTube starlet Asma Mahfouz, even expressed her hope that next year’s forum would be titled “One Arab Nation With No Borders.”
from FP Passport by Joshua Keating
The American position on a new UN resolution to stop a massacre in Libya is still an enigma. Today the mystery is deepened by different signals from different players. My best guess is that there are very real divides and the White House is trying to square the circle.
I was reading an article written by Amr Yossef and Sergio Fabbrini in European Political Science discussing why Barack Obama needs European support in the ME. Such formulation of the question already presupposes that the United States needs European support, but why is European support needed in the ME?
As riot police and military troops close in on demonstrators in Pearl Roundabout today, using tanks and helicopters to suppress their people, the mass uprising in Bahrain says a lot about the country, its people, its leaders and its neighbours.
After decades of stultifying debates on the Arab world, the raw political impulse of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions are a breath of fresh air, clearing the atmosphere from the accumulation of years of what now look like sterile publications. Impossible even unthinkable within the existing politico-ideological coordinates, the uprisings rendered these decades-old coordinates obsolete in a matter of days.
from Boing Boing by Omar Chatriwala