Sunday, February 20, 2011

Arab Revolution update

Really I don't know what opinions to throw other than it all being incredibly exciting and unprecedented, with autocratic rulers who have been decades in power being challenged by a people that just realized how powerful they can be.

Approximation of the extent and impact of the Arab Revolution so far
The worst is happening now in Libya, where more than 100 demonstrators have been killed by the armed forces in Cirenaica, while in Tripoli instead there are, it seems, demonstrators of support of Col. Qaddafi, who has ruled the desertic nation since Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon, not as president or anything but as "leader of the revolution". Qaddafi, who dared to lecture the Sandinistas and even Cuba on popular power once now faces real popular power at home and has cut the Internet in the state.

That Qaddafi is being challenged by the Libyan people is maybe the most disturbing picture of the moment: the man who blended Islamism with sexy female bodyguards, socialism and who knows what, paladin of Africanism and Arabism depending on the mood of the day, confronted to Reagan and then friend of Berlusconi, the author of the Green Book and inspirer of the Great Artificial River (the thickest water pipe in the World) is probably facing his own end soon after he condemned the ousting of Ben Ali in Tunisia. Or maybe not because he's shown to be an incredible survivor... but everything has an end.

Whatever the case, he is massacring his own people and that's not in the manual of the popular ruler... unless he wishes to become most unpopular.

Another hotspot is Bahrain, where the demonstrators have retaken the Pearl Square, after a bloody crackdown that left many dead. There seem to be internal differences on how to manage the crisis within the ruling family, although it is also possible that they are playing good cop/bad cop with their own people. In any case, the people of this small strategic island where the USA have their main aeronaval base in the region, want some meaningful change as well, including surely the head of the prince who ordered their massacre. The likelihood of contagion to Saudi Arabia from this particular hotspot is very hight.

Then there is Yemen, where opposed factions of demonstrators have exchanged gunfire. As weapons are widespread in the country, there is fear of tribal raids and who knows what. The demonstrators are not limited to the capital Saana but also happen in the strategical port of Aden and other localities like Taiz, the second largest city. The number of casualties is increasing as we speak.

Then there is Algeria, Morocco, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait... and even Palestine.

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