topic
Arab Spring

Introduced: April 18 2011

 Are the Arab revolutions good for the U.S. – and what role are women playing as new governments take shape?

 

Our first topic is set against the backdrop of changing Middle East governments. Daily events make headlines – in Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Jordon and more.  If dissidents in these countries succeed in changing their governments as they did in Egypt, will that be good for the U.S.?

 

A side topic is the role women will play in these new governments. Using Egypt as test case, women were there in Tahrir Square – do they still have a voice? Why does it matter? What difference do you think having women gain more respect and authority in the Middle East will have on the future of those countries – and possibly on our future? Read Dialogue on Arab Women - Roles and Rights

 

 

Dialogue on Arab Spring
319:

As the new Arab democracy unfolds, we will just have to wait and watch.

339:

What did the Arab Spring produce? I think we all knew in the back of our minds that a country that oppresses women would come up led by none other than the "Muslim Brotherhood." It is not the "Muslim Sisterhood." Our operatives that are involved in encouraging the democratic rise of the Arab people are creating chaos. This chaos, if it had been facilitated in civilized nations which have not been grounded in theocracy as their political ideology for thousands of years, might have produced positive change. Instead, the new leading party has deep ties to terrorist organizations. This exacerbates the de-stabilization of the Middle-East even further. If there is one thing I have learned about history....you cannot turn a theocracy grounded in thousands of years into a Democracy. Our own Democracy is in dire need of change. There is much work to be done here in the USA to re-build the civil rights of our nation and especially women's rights and equality. A society founded on Democratic principles is a fluid and ever changing society. Courts rule, legislatures create laws, and Presidents give executive orders. All of these present challenges to our Democratic society. Yes, the USA should be very concerned about the human rights of people in other countries. But, the USA should not be engaged in over-throwing the ideological foundations of foreign governments.
Forced Democracy----think about it.....is it really working out in all the countries where we have sent our brave men and women to fight? Is it really working out in the Arab Spring? Just because foreign countries are not governed like us does not mean they are wrong...it is a cultural difference that we must respect and at the same time continue to maintain our human rights watch all over the world.
I totally admire and respect Hillary Clinton (if you knew me you would know) and this in no way is meant to disrespect her. It is simply my humble opinion..

282:

The announcement of the election results in Egypt seems the first really big development since protestors took the Tahrir Sqyare in early 2011. Yes, there were parliamentary elections, but the Parliament as been disbanded by the military. The election itself was a major milestone as Egypt had never before had an open election with non-military candidates. But now that the winner has been announced, we will be able to look at this country and see where revolution can take a country. We worry about an Islamist state that will take away the rights of other religions and women –all in the name of Islamic law and authority, but maybe we will be wrong. Maybe this Islamist government can show us that we don’t have to be afraid. The winning candidate Mohamed Morsi resigned his position in the Muslim Brotherhood in a symbolic move to show he represents all Egyptians and said in an interview with CNN, Morsi said, "There is no such thing called an Islamic democracy. There is democracy only. ... The people are the source of authority."

035:

Mr. Morsi is an American-educated engineer who received his doctoral degree at the University of Southern California. It will be interesting to see what his attitude is toward the United Strates. Can we take heart in the possibility that once someone is here partaking of American life and sitting side by side with Ametricans in a class room that they will be more “temperate” in their feelings toward the U.S.? Or are we just filling our universities with foreign students so they can go home and turn against us?

Note from IWD: For more facts about Morsi and more quotes from him, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/24/world/meast/egypt-morsi-profile/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

217:

I suppose it is a good sign that the secular block argued that Morsi was backed by America. We can’t win! But at least we are not forever deadlocked in a battle with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Note from IWD: American officials and the embassy have said they support only the democratic process regardless of the result. Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/world/middleeast/mohamed-morsi-of-muslim-brotherhood-declared-as-egypts-president.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

 

097:

Following and trying to interpret “Arab Spring” is a marathon. The lessons learned are that people in power – like the military in Egypt – do not easily give up power. They have maneuvered to negate some of the strides made toward democracy and made it abundantly clear there’s a long way to go before there’s an outcome to the Egyptian revolution.

Note from IWD: For those of you who want a an informed opinion about which direction the revolutions in the Middle East are heading, here’s a book with an original analysis by a foreigh correspondent who has spent years in the region. After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked The Middle East Revolts by John R. Bradley

058:

Here we are at Egypt's first election since Arab Spring -- and only second in the country's history -- and we still don't know the answer to the question IWD asked: will this revolution be good for America? But I have to say it's exciting to see the Egyptians be so excited about their chance to vote -- and for us to remember how thrilling it is to live in a democracy, even though we take it for granted in the U.S. Egyptians are diving in with both feet -- writing campaign songs for their candidates, etc.



Note from IWD: Here is a quick summary of the candidates:


1. Amr Moussa -- he served under Mubarek as foreign minister and was head of the Arab League at the time of Arab Spring.


2.  Abdul Muniem Abul Fotouh -- a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood with less conservative views than many members. He is against censorship and would be willing to have a Christian as President.


3. Mohammed Morsi -- the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate who was educated as an engineer in southern California. He promises to reform corrupt institutions and apply more Islamic law.


4. Ahmed Shafiz -- He served as Mubarek's prime minister until shortly after Mubarek stepped down. He appeals to voters who want stability and security. He is a former Air Force Commander, so he has some support from the military establishment.


5. Hamdeen Sabahi is a journalist who took part in the demonstrations that ended Mubarek's presidency, which he opposed long before Arab Sprng.His appeal to voters is that he is neither an Islamist nor a former member of Mubarek's ruling group.


For more information: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/05/23/215880.html


To read about the first woman to run for President in Egypt, visit this link: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/14/world/la-fg-egypt-women-20120215

222:

It is difficult to get excited about Arab Spring when the outcome hasn’t been so great so far. Syria and Yemen are not coming around to the first anniversary of their "spring" – and their despots are still in power. The countries of Libya and Egpyt, even with new governments are still in turmoil

035:

Six months ago, everyone wondered if the vacuum of power in Egypt would be filled by Islamists – and guess what? After the first election, not only did the Muslim Brotherhood win more parliamentary seats than anyone else, but the more extreme Salafi party also did better than expected.

Note from IWD about the Salafi Party. According to Wikipedia, a Salafi  is “a Muslim who emphasizes the Salaf ("predecessors" or "ancestors"), the earliest Muslims, as model examples of Islamic practice.” After the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, members of this group formed the Al-Nour Party, and in the elections following the revolution, Al-Nour led the Islamist block to win 27% of the vote. As a result, they won 127 of 498 parliamentary seats, coming in second to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. Al-Nour is considered ultra conservative with a focus on Sharia law,

 

161:

Developments in the Middle East continue to be troubling. That’s why I felt better when I came across something from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs: A professor of the International Relations of the Middle East at the London School of Economics said he believes that Arabs are on the brink of a democratic wave similar to what happened in Eastern Europe – what he calls the “Berlin Wall Movement.” He says it’s possible that the age of oppressive regimes has come to an end.

282:

When I heard that Sec. Clinton was spending time in Myanmar, I was surprised because it seemed a slightly out of the way place when there’s so much going on elsewhere. I thought maybe we were giving up on the Middle East and trying to defensively shore up another part of the world. Then I learned that Myanmar – which is important to both India and China -- had been making changes, had release d political prisoner Aung San Suu KYI and was making overtures toward the U.S.

204:

According to this news article, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is thinking of presenting the Nobel Prize to leaders of the Arab Spring. More information at http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110929/D9Q261RG0.html The announcement will be made Friday, October 7.

Note from IWD: Since this item was sent in, a Peace Prize has been awarded to a Yemeni woman as support for the role of women in democracy.

091:

I think the Middle East revolutions will be co-opted by the Islamists who will install Sharia law and continue to suppress women. Unfortunately, our government has bankrupted itself to the point where we no longer will be able to influence the course of history in a positive way. Not that war is a positive thing but the THREAT of our power used to be important. Now we have to gut our military and will be much more vulnerable to threats from abroad.

020:

When I think of the situation in Egypt , Libya and Yemen I think of the dog that finally catches up with the car he’s been chasing, NOW what? It is inspiring to the oppressed stand up and demand to be counted, but I sure hope a plan to insure democracy is in place because the radical Islamist has a plan, too, and it doesn’t include freedom.

048:

I found what I thought was a pretty intelligent comment in the publication Foreign Affairs. The writer Shadi Hamid said, "For decades, U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been paralyzed by ‘the Islamist dilemma’ – how can the U.S. promote democracy in the region without risking bringing Islamists to power? Now, it seems the U.S. no longer has a choice. Popular revolutions have swept U.S.-backed authoritarian regimes from power in Tunisia and Egypt…Like it or not, the U.S. will have to learn to live with political Islam.”

094:

The news now seems to be mostly about Syria. For awhile people said Assad was on the fence, saying he was willing to institute reforms, but equally likely to use force against opponents. In the days since then, he clearly has chosen force, turning the military loose on the protestors. Now, we (the U.S.) have frozen the assets of some of Assad’s closest colleagues.

Note from IWD: On March 29, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution - with an overwhelming majority by members from all regions of the globe – that unequivocally indicates that the use of force by the Syrian government to quell peaceful political demonstrators is “unacceptable.” The Council also decided to establish an urgent investigation led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,

069:

The Upheaval in the Middle East will be good for the U.S. if democracy gains a firm foothold. That seems to be the will of the people in Egypt according to my sources. It's too early to call in Yemen, Tunisia, etc. Secretary. Clinton readily admits we know too little about the rebels in Libya. Events are too fluid to predict the benefit or detriment to the U.S. in my opinion. However, democracy is ALWAYS good. If democracy prevails it will benefit the Middle East & the U.S.

046:

I am very excited about the change taking place in Middle East and African countries and see it as a domino effect and relatively peaceful conversion we will hopefully continue to witness. It is a sweeping change for government by choice, not edict and the time is now, due to irreversible high-technology. “Nanocommunication” is now so widespread among the broad populace via emails, facebook, twitter, photos, videos that they can now know, hear, read, see in an instant.. That is really the major revolution - there can no longer be massive information manipulation! And that is formidable!

023:

Any revolution in Arab monarchies/oligarchies implies a change for the better. The “Muslim Brotherhood” however, remains an erratic and loosely defined entity that generally implies an anti-American sentiment and trouble for women.

012:

An article in The Economist said “Religion is a growing force in the Arab awakening. Westerners should hold their nerve and trust democracy.” The contention was that Islamic parties will undoubtedly play a larger role in government in the Arab world than elsewhere because Muslims generally do not believe in the separation of church and state as Americans do. But the author believes there is a differenced between “Islamic” and “Islamist and we don’t need to worry about “Islamic.” The author believes Al-Qaeda has lost popularity in the past few years (don’t we hope!) and that a lot of moderate Muslims hate the minority that are jihadists – partly for giving Muslim such a bad name.

Note from IWD: The difference between “Islamic” and “Islamist”? “Islamic” pertains to the Muslim faith; “Islamist” refers to a violent ideology. "Jihad" is defined as a holy war against unbelievers

030:

My thought on the MidEast turmoil is rather basic. Summed up by: The devil that you know may be better than the devil you don't know.”

076:

I was alarmed to read in the New York Times that Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric who is a top propagandist for Al-Qaeda, said he and his cohorts watched “gleefully” the protests against governments they had long considered their enemies. He said, whatever comes, the uprisings play to Al-Qaeda’s long-term goals by toppling leaders who protected “American Imperial interests.” It is so important than when these old regimes crumble, that jihadists aren’t the only ones who come running to seize power.

031:

a) What does "good for the U.S." mean?
Will it help protect the flow of oil to us? Is that good if it postpones efforts to reduce our carbon footprint?
Will it make the work of international diplomacy easier? Avert future military spending in the region?
Help preserve our position of power in the world?
b) Should we ask: "are the revolutions good for the people who live in these countries"?
Will the post-revolutionary state in these countries enable the people to achieve their goals, eg. lower rates of unemployment?
Will opening up their political systems empower them to preserve what they value in their culture?
c) Should we ask: are Arab revolutions good for humanity from a global perspective? Are they in the world's best interest? And how active or passive should the rest of the world be in getting involved?

089:

The revolution in Egypt doesn’t seem to be turning out the way we hoped. Although it was supposedly started because of secular ideals – a movement by young, educated activists – it seems that the older, more religious and fundamentalist groups have taken over. The military council that is running the country used to vilify the Muslim Brotherhood, but it seems they’ve linked arms, because the Brotherhood seems to be the best organized and most influential opposition movement. Some people are even suggesting the militarymade a deal with the Brotherhood: “You get people off the street and you’ll have power when it’s over.”

Note from IWD: Did you know that a young woman named Asmaa Mahfouz is credited with the act that sparked the protests in Egypt? Although people had been making anonymous pro-democracy pleas, she is credited with being the first to face the camera directly in a YouTube video that was shared widely and posted on many blogs and web sites. Looking straight into the camera, she said “I am a woman and I am going out on January 25 and am not afraid of the police. For the men who brag of their toughness, why exactly are you not joining us to go out and demonstrate?”

319:

As the new Arab democracy unfolds, we will just have to wait and watch.

339:

What did the Arab Spring produce? I think we all knew in the back of our minds that a country that oppresses women would come up led by none other than the "Muslim Brotherhood." It is not the "Muslim Sisterhood." Our operatives that are involved in encouraging the democratic rise of the Arab people are creating chaos. This chaos, if it had been facilitated in civilized nations which have not been grounded in theocracy as their political ideology for thousands of years, might have produced positive change. Instead, the new leading party has deep ties to terrorist organizations. This exacerbates the de-stabilization of the Middle-East even further. If there is one thing I have learned about history....you cannot turn a theocracy grounded in thousands of years into a Democracy. Our own Democracy is in dire need of change. There is much work to be done here in the USA to re-build the civil rights of our nation and especially women's rights and equality. A society founded on Democratic principles is a fluid and ever changing society. Courts rule, legislatures create laws, and Presidents give executive orders. All of these present challenges to our Democratic society. Yes, the USA should be very concerned about the human rights of people in other countries. But, the USA should not be engaged in over-throwing the ideological foundations of foreign governments.
Forced Democracy----think about it.....is it really working out in all the countries where we have sent our brave men and women to fight? Is it really working out in the Arab Spring? Just because foreign countries are not governed like us does not mean they are wrong...it is a cultural difference that we must respect and at the same time continue to maintain our human rights watch all over the world.
I totally admire and respect Hillary Clinton (if you knew me you would know) and this in no way is meant to disrespect her. It is simply my humble opinion..

282:

The announcement of the election results in Egypt seems the first really big development since protestors took the Tahrir Sqyare in early 2011. Yes, there were parliamentary elections, but the Parliament as been disbanded by the military. The election itself was a major milestone as Egypt had never before had an open election with non-military candidates. But now that the winner has been announced, we will be able to look at this country and see where revolution can take a country. We worry about an Islamist state that will take away the rights of other religions and women –all in the name of Islamic law and authority, but maybe we will be wrong. Maybe this Islamist government can show us that we don’t have to be afraid. The winning candidate Mohamed Morsi resigned his position in the Muslim Brotherhood in a symbolic move to show he represents all Egyptians and said in an interview with CNN, Morsi said, "There is no such thing called an Islamic democracy. There is democracy only. ... The people are the source of authority."

035:

Mr. Morsi is an American-educated engineer who received his doctoral degree at the University of Southern California. It will be interesting to see what his attitude is toward the United Strates. Can we take heart in the possibility that once someone is here partaking of American life and sitting side by side with Ametricans in a class room that they will be more “temperate” in their feelings toward the U.S.? Or are we just filling our universities with foreign students so they can go home and turn against us?

Note from IWD: For more facts about Morsi and more quotes from him, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/24/world/meast/egypt-morsi-profile/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

217:

I suppose it is a good sign that the secular block argued that Morsi was backed by America. We can’t win! But at least we are not forever deadlocked in a battle with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Note from IWD: American officials and the embassy have said they support only the democratic process regardless of the result. Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/world/middleeast/mohamed-morsi-of-muslim-brotherhood-declared-as-egypts-president.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

 

097:

Following and trying to interpret “Arab Spring” is a marathon. The lessons learned are that people in power – like the military in Egypt – do not easily give up power. They have maneuvered to negate some of the strides made toward democracy and made it abundantly clear there’s a long way to go before there’s an outcome to the Egyptian revolution.

Note from IWD: For those of you who want a an informed opinion about which direction the revolutions in the Middle East are heading, here’s a book with an original analysis by a foreigh correspondent who has spent years in the region. After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked The Middle East Revolts by John R. Bradley

058:

Here we are at Egypt's first election since Arab Spring -- and only second in the country's history -- and we still don't know the answer to the question IWD asked: will this revolution be good for America? But I have to say it's exciting to see the Egyptians be so excited about their chance to vote -- and for us to remember how thrilling it is to live in a democracy, even though we take it for granted in the U.S. Egyptians are diving in with both feet -- writing campaign songs for their candidates, etc.



Note from IWD: Here is a quick summary of the candidates:


1. Amr Moussa -- he served under Mubarek as foreign minister and was head of the Arab League at the time of Arab Spring.


2.  Abdul Muniem Abul Fotouh -- a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood with less conservative views than many members. He is against censorship and would be willing to have a Christian as President.


3. Mohammed Morsi -- the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate who was educated as an engineer in southern California. He promises to reform corrupt institutions and apply more Islamic law.


4. Ahmed Shafiz -- He served as Mubarek's prime minister until shortly after Mubarek stepped down. He appeals to voters who want stability and security. He is a former Air Force Commander, so he has some support from the military establishment.


5. Hamdeen Sabahi is a journalist who took part in the demonstrations that ended Mubarek's presidency, which he opposed long before Arab Sprng.His appeal to voters is that he is neither an Islamist nor a former member of Mubarek's ruling group.


For more information: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/05/23/215880.html


To read about the first woman to run for President in Egypt, visit this link: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/14/world/la-fg-egypt-women-20120215

222:

It is difficult to get excited about Arab Spring when the outcome hasn’t been so great so far. Syria and Yemen are not coming around to the first anniversary of their "spring" – and their despots are still in power. The countries of Libya and Egpyt, even with new governments are still in turmoil

035:

Six months ago, everyone wondered if the vacuum of power in Egypt would be filled by Islamists – and guess what? After the first election, not only did the Muslim Brotherhood win more parliamentary seats than anyone else, but the more extreme Salafi party also did better than expected.

Note from IWD about the Salafi Party. According to Wikipedia, a Salafi  is “a Muslim who emphasizes the Salaf ("predecessors" or "ancestors"), the earliest Muslims, as model examples of Islamic practice.” After the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, members of this group formed the Al-Nour Party, and in the elections following the revolution, Al-Nour led the Islamist block to win 27% of the vote. As a result, they won 127 of 498 parliamentary seats, coming in second to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. Al-Nour is considered ultra conservative with a focus on Sharia law,

 

161:

Developments in the Middle East continue to be troubling. That’s why I felt better when I came across something from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs: A professor of the International Relations of the Middle East at the London School of Economics said he believes that Arabs are on the brink of a democratic wave similar to what happened in Eastern Europe – what he calls the “Berlin Wall Movement.” He says it’s possible that the age of oppressive regimes has come to an end.

282:

When I heard that Sec. Clinton was spending time in Myanmar, I was surprised because it seemed a slightly out of the way place when there’s so much going on elsewhere. I thought maybe we were giving up on the Middle East and trying to defensively shore up another part of the world. Then I learned that Myanmar – which is important to both India and China -- had been making changes, had release d political prisoner Aung San Suu KYI and was making overtures toward the U.S.

204:

According to this news article, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is thinking of presenting the Nobel Prize to leaders of the Arab Spring. More information at http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110929/D9Q261RG0.html The announcement will be made Friday, October 7.

Note from IWD: Since this item was sent in, a Peace Prize has been awarded to a Yemeni woman as support for the role of women in democracy.

091:

I think the Middle East revolutions will be co-opted by the Islamists who will install Sharia law and continue to suppress women. Unfortunately, our government has bankrupted itself to the point where we no longer will be able to influence the course of history in a positive way. Not that war is a positive thing but the THREAT of our power used to be important. Now we have to gut our military and will be much more vulnerable to threats from abroad.

020:

When I think of the situation in Egypt , Libya and Yemen I think of the dog that finally catches up with the car he’s been chasing, NOW what? It is inspiring to the oppressed stand up and demand to be counted, but I sure hope a plan to insure democracy is in place because the radical Islamist has a plan, too, and it doesn’t include freedom.

048:

I found what I thought was a pretty intelligent comment in the publication Foreign Affairs. The writer Shadi Hamid said, "For decades, U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been paralyzed by ‘the Islamist dilemma’ – how can the U.S. promote democracy in the region without risking bringing Islamists to power? Now, it seems the U.S. no longer has a choice. Popular revolutions have swept U.S.-backed authoritarian regimes from power in Tunisia and Egypt…Like it or not, the U.S. will have to learn to live with political Islam.”

094:

The news now seems to be mostly about Syria. For awhile people said Assad was on the fence, saying he was willing to institute reforms, but equally likely to use force against opponents. In the days since then, he clearly has chosen force, turning the military loose on the protestors. Now, we (the U.S.) have frozen the assets of some of Assad’s closest colleagues.

Note from IWD: On March 29, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution - with an overwhelming majority by members from all regions of the globe – that unequivocally indicates that the use of force by the Syrian government to quell peaceful political demonstrators is “unacceptable.” The Council also decided to establish an urgent investigation led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,

069:

The Upheaval in the Middle East will be good for the U.S. if democracy gains a firm foothold. That seems to be the will of the people in Egypt according to my sources. It's too early to call in Yemen, Tunisia, etc. Secretary. Clinton readily admits we know too little about the rebels in Libya. Events are too fluid to predict the benefit or detriment to the U.S. in my opinion. However, democracy is ALWAYS good. If democracy prevails it will benefit the Middle East & the U.S.

046:

I am very excited about the change taking place in Middle East and African countries and see it as a domino effect and relatively peaceful conversion we will hopefully continue to witness. It is a sweeping change for government by choice, not edict and the time is now, due to irreversible high-technology. “Nanocommunication” is now so widespread among the broad populace via emails, facebook, twitter, photos, videos that they can now know, hear, read, see in an instant.. That is really the major revolution - there can no longer be massive information manipulation! And that is formidable!

023:

Any revolution in Arab monarchies/oligarchies implies a change for the better. The “Muslim Brotherhood” however, remains an erratic and loosely defined entity that generally implies an anti-American sentiment and trouble for women.

012:

An article in The Economist said “Religion is a growing force in the Arab awakening. Westerners should hold their nerve and trust democracy.” The contention was that Islamic parties will undoubtedly play a larger role in government in the Arab world than elsewhere because Muslims generally do not believe in the separation of church and state as Americans do. But the author believes there is a differenced between “Islamic” and “Islamist and we don’t need to worry about “Islamic.” The author believes Al-Qaeda has lost popularity in the past few years (don’t we hope!) and that a lot of moderate Muslims hate the minority that are jihadists – partly for giving Muslim such a bad name.

Note from IWD: The difference between “Islamic” and “Islamist”? “Islamic” pertains to the Muslim faith; “Islamist” refers to a violent ideology. "Jihad" is defined as a holy war against unbelievers

030:

My thought on the MidEast turmoil is rather basic. Summed up by: The devil that you know may be better than the devil you don't know.”

076:

I was alarmed to read in the New York Times that Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric who is a top propagandist for Al-Qaeda, said he and his cohorts watched “gleefully” the protests against governments they had long considered their enemies. He said, whatever comes, the uprisings play to Al-Qaeda’s long-term goals by toppling leaders who protected “American Imperial interests.” It is so important than when these old regimes crumble, that jihadists aren’t the only ones who come running to seize power.

031:

a) What does "good for the U.S." mean?
Will it help protect the flow of oil to us? Is that good if it postpones efforts to reduce our carbon footprint?
Will it make the work of international diplomacy easier? Avert future military spending in the region?
Help preserve our position of power in the world?
b) Should we ask: "are the revolutions good for the people who live in these countries"?
Will the post-revolutionary state in these countries enable the people to achieve their goals, eg. lower rates of unemployment?
Will opening up their political systems empower them to preserve what they value in their culture?
c) Should we ask: are Arab revolutions good for humanity from a global perspective? Are they in the world's best interest? And how active or passive should the rest of the world be in getting involved?

089:

The revolution in Egypt doesn’t seem to be turning out the way we hoped. Although it was supposedly started because of secular ideals – a movement by young, educated activists – it seems that the older, more religious and fundamentalist groups have taken over. The military council that is running the country used to vilify the Muslim Brotherhood, but it seems they’ve linked arms, because the Brotherhood seems to be the best organized and most influential opposition movement. Some people are even suggesting the militarymade a deal with the Brotherhood: “You get people off the street and you’ll have power when it’s over.”

Note from IWD: Did you know that a young woman named Asmaa Mahfouz is credited with the act that sparked the protests in Egypt? Although people had been making anonymous pro-democracy pleas, she is credited with being the first to face the camera directly in a YouTube video that was shared widely and posted on many blogs and web sites. Looking straight into the camera, she said “I am a woman and I am going out on January 25 and am not afraid of the police. For the men who brag of their toughness, why exactly are you not joining us to go out and demonstrate?”

089:

The revolution in Egypt doesn’t seem to be turning out the way we hoped. Although it was supposedly started because of secular ideals – a movement by young, educated activists – it seems that the older, more religious and fundamentalist groups have taken over. The military council that is running the country used to vilify the Muslim Brotherhood, but it seems they’ve linked arms, because the Brotherhood seems to be the best organized and most influential opposition movement. Some people are even suggesting the militarymade a deal with the Brotherhood: “You get people off the street and you’ll have power when it’s over.”

Note from IWD: Did you know that a young woman named Asmaa Mahfouz is credited with the act that sparked the protests in Egypt? Although people had been making anonymous pro-democracy pleas, she is credited with being the first to face the camera directly in a YouTube video that was shared widely and posted on many blogs and web sites. Looking straight into the camera, she said “I am a woman and I am going out on January 25 and am not afraid of the police. For the men who brag of their toughness, why exactly are you not joining us to go out and demonstrate?”

031:

a) What does "good for the U.S." mean?
Will it help protect the flow of oil to us? Is that good if it postpones efforts to reduce our carbon footprint?
Will it make the work of international diplomacy easier? Avert future military spending in the region?
Help preserve our position of power in the world?
b) Should we ask: "are the revolutions good for the people who live in these countries"?
Will the post-revolutionary state in these countries enable the people to achieve their goals, eg. lower rates of unemployment?
Will opening up their political systems empower them to preserve what they value in their culture?
c) Should we ask: are Arab revolutions good for humanity from a global perspective? Are they in the world's best interest? And how active or passive should the rest of the world be in getting involved?

076:

I was alarmed to read in the New York Times that Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric who is a top propagandist for Al-Qaeda, said he and his cohorts watched “gleefully” the protests against governments they had long considered their enemies. He said, whatever comes, the uprisings play to Al-Qaeda’s long-term goals by toppling leaders who protected “American Imperial interests.” It is so important than when these old regimes crumble, that jihadists aren’t the only ones who come running to seize power.

030:

My thought on the MidEast turmoil is rather basic. Summed up by: The devil that you know may be better than the devil you don't know.”

012:

An article in The Economist said “Religion is a growing force in the Arab awakening. Westerners should hold their nerve and trust democracy.” The contention was that Islamic parties will undoubtedly play a larger role in government in the Arab world than elsewhere because Muslims generally do not believe in the separation of church and state as Americans do. But the author believes there is a differenced between “Islamic” and “Islamist and we don’t need to worry about “Islamic.” The author believes Al-Qaeda has lost popularity in the past few years (don’t we hope!) and that a lot of moderate Muslims hate the minority that are jihadists – partly for giving Muslim such a bad name.

Note from IWD: The difference between “Islamic” and “Islamist”? “Islamic” pertains to the Muslim faith; “Islamist” refers to a violent ideology. "Jihad" is defined as a holy war against unbelievers

023:

Any revolution in Arab monarchies/oligarchies implies a change for the better. The “Muslim Brotherhood” however, remains an erratic and loosely defined entity that generally implies an anti-American sentiment and trouble for women.

046:

I am very excited about the change taking place in Middle East and African countries and see it as a domino effect and relatively peaceful conversion we will hopefully continue to witness. It is a sweeping change for government by choice, not edict and the time is now, due to irreversible high-technology. “Nanocommunication” is now so widespread among the broad populace via emails, facebook, twitter, photos, videos that they can now know, hear, read, see in an instant.. That is really the major revolution - there can no longer be massive information manipulation! And that is formidable!

069:

The Upheaval in the Middle East will be good for the U.S. if democracy gains a firm foothold. That seems to be the will of the people in Egypt according to my sources. It's too early to call in Yemen, Tunisia, etc. Secretary. Clinton readily admits we know too little about the rebels in Libya. Events are too fluid to predict the benefit or detriment to the U.S. in my opinion. However, democracy is ALWAYS good. If democracy prevails it will benefit the Middle East & the U.S.

094:

The news now seems to be mostly about Syria. For awhile people said Assad was on the fence, saying he was willing to institute reforms, but equally likely to use force against opponents. In the days since then, he clearly has chosen force, turning the military loose on the protestors. Now, we (the U.S.) have frozen the assets of some of Assad’s closest colleagues.

Note from IWD: On March 29, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution - with an overwhelming majority by members from all regions of the globe – that unequivocally indicates that the use of force by the Syrian government to quell peaceful political demonstrators is “unacceptable.” The Council also decided to establish an urgent investigation led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,

048:

I found what I thought was a pretty intelligent comment in the publication Foreign Affairs. The writer Shadi Hamid said, "For decades, U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been paralyzed by ‘the Islamist dilemma’ – how can the U.S. promote democracy in the region without risking bringing Islamists to power? Now, it seems the U.S. no longer has a choice. Popular revolutions have swept U.S.-backed authoritarian regimes from power in Tunisia and Egypt…Like it or not, the U.S. will have to learn to live with political Islam.”

020:

When I think of the situation in Egypt , Libya and Yemen I think of the dog that finally catches up with the car he’s been chasing, NOW what? It is inspiring to the oppressed stand up and demand to be counted, but I sure hope a plan to insure democracy is in place because the radical Islamist has a plan, too, and it doesn’t include freedom.

091:

I think the Middle East revolutions will be co-opted by the Islamists who will install Sharia law and continue to suppress women. Unfortunately, our government has bankrupted itself to the point where we no longer will be able to influence the course of history in a positive way. Not that war is a positive thing but the THREAT of our power used to be important. Now we have to gut our military and will be much more vulnerable to threats from abroad.

204:

According to this news article, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is thinking of presenting the Nobel Prize to leaders of the Arab Spring. More information at http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110929/D9Q261RG0.html The announcement will be made Friday, October 7.

Note from IWD: Since this item was sent in, a Peace Prize has been awarded to a Yemeni woman as support for the role of women in democracy.

282:

When I heard that Sec. Clinton was spending time in Myanmar, I was surprised because it seemed a slightly out of the way place when there’s so much going on elsewhere. I thought maybe we were giving up on the Middle East and trying to defensively shore up another part of the world. Then I learned that Myanmar – which is important to both India and China -- had been making changes, had release d political prisoner Aung San Suu KYI and was making overtures toward the U.S.

161:

Developments in the Middle East continue to be troubling. That’s why I felt better when I came across something from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs: A professor of the International Relations of the Middle East at the London School of Economics said he believes that Arabs are on the brink of a democratic wave similar to what happened in Eastern Europe – what he calls the “Berlin Wall Movement.” He says it’s possible that the age of oppressive regimes has come to an end.

035:

Six months ago, everyone wondered if the vacuum of power in Egypt would be filled by Islamists – and guess what? After the first election, not only did the Muslim Brotherhood win more parliamentary seats than anyone else, but the more extreme Salafi party also did better than expected.

Note from IWD about the Salafi Party. According to Wikipedia, a Salafi  is “a Muslim who emphasizes the Salaf ("predecessors" or "ancestors"), the earliest Muslims, as model examples of Islamic practice.” After the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, members of this group formed the Al-Nour Party, and in the elections following the revolution, Al-Nour led the Islamist block to win 27% of the vote. As a result, they won 127 of 498 parliamentary seats, coming in second to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. Al-Nour is considered ultra conservative with a focus on Sharia law,

 

222:

It is difficult to get excited about Arab Spring when the outcome hasn’t been so great so far. Syria and Yemen are not coming around to the first anniversary of their "spring" – and their despots are still in power. The countries of Libya and Egpyt, even with new governments are still in turmoil

058:

Here we are at Egypt's first election since Arab Spring -- and only second in the country's history -- and we still don't know the answer to the question IWD asked: will this revolution be good for America? But I have to say it's exciting to see the Egyptians be so excited about their chance to vote -- and for us to remember how thrilling it is to live in a democracy, even though we take it for granted in the U.S. Egyptians are diving in with both feet -- writing campaign songs for their candidates, etc.



Note from IWD: Here is a quick summary of the candidates:


1. Amr Moussa -- he served under Mubarek as foreign minister and was head of the Arab League at the time of Arab Spring.


2.  Abdul Muniem Abul Fotouh -- a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood with less conservative views than many members. He is against censorship and would be willing to have a Christian as President.


3. Mohammed Morsi -- the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate who was educated as an engineer in southern California. He promises to reform corrupt institutions and apply more Islamic law.


4. Ahmed Shafiz -- He served as Mubarek's prime minister until shortly after Mubarek stepped down. He appeals to voters who want stability and security. He is a former Air Force Commander, so he has some support from the military establishment.


5. Hamdeen Sabahi is a journalist who took part in the demonstrations that ended Mubarek's presidency, which he opposed long before Arab Sprng.His appeal to voters is that he is neither an Islamist nor a former member of Mubarek's ruling group.


For more information: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/05/23/215880.html


To read about the first woman to run for President in Egypt, visit this link: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/14/world/la-fg-egypt-women-20120215

097:

Following and trying to interpret “Arab Spring” is a marathon. The lessons learned are that people in power – like the military in Egypt – do not easily give up power. They have maneuvered to negate some of the strides made toward democracy and made it abundantly clear there’s a long way to go before there’s an outcome to the Egyptian revolution.

Note from IWD: For those of you who want a an informed opinion about which direction the revolutions in the Middle East are heading, here’s a book with an original analysis by a foreigh correspondent who has spent years in the region. After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked The Middle East Revolts by John R. Bradley

217:

I suppose it is a good sign that the secular block argued that Morsi was backed by America. We can’t win! But at least we are not forever deadlocked in a battle with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Note from IWD: American officials and the embassy have said they support only the democratic process regardless of the result. Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/world/middleeast/mohamed-morsi-of-muslim-brotherhood-declared-as-egypts-president.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

 

035:

Mr. Morsi is an American-educated engineer who received his doctoral degree at the University of Southern California. It will be interesting to see what his attitude is toward the United Strates. Can we take heart in the possibility that once someone is here partaking of American life and sitting side by side with Ametricans in a class room that they will be more “temperate” in their feelings toward the U.S.? Or are we just filling our universities with foreign students so they can go home and turn against us?

Note from IWD: For more facts about Morsi and more quotes from him, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/24/world/meast/egypt-morsi-profile/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

282:

The announcement of the election results in Egypt seems the first really big development since protestors took the Tahrir Sqyare in early 2011. Yes, there were parliamentary elections, but the Parliament as been disbanded by the military. The election itself was a major milestone as Egypt had never before had an open election with non-military candidates. But now that the winner has been announced, we will be able to look at this country and see where revolution can take a country. We worry about an Islamist state that will take away the rights of other religions and women –all in the name of Islamic law and authority, but maybe we will be wrong. Maybe this Islamist government can show us that we don’t have to be afraid. The winning candidate Mohamed Morsi resigned his position in the Muslim Brotherhood in a symbolic move to show he represents all Egyptians and said in an interview with CNN, Morsi said, "There is no such thing called an Islamic democracy. There is democracy only. ... The people are the source of authority."

339:

What did the Arab Spring produce? I think we all knew in the back of our minds that a country that oppresses women would come up led by none other than the "Muslim Brotherhood." It is not the "Muslim Sisterhood." Our operatives that are involved in encouraging the democratic rise of the Arab people are creating chaos. This chaos, if it had been facilitated in civilized nations which have not been grounded in theocracy as their political ideology for thousands of years, might have produced positive change. Instead, the new leading party has deep ties to terrorist organizations. This exacerbates the de-stabilization of the Middle-East even further. If there is one thing I have learned about history....you cannot turn a theocracy grounded in thousands of years into a Democracy. Our own Democracy is in dire need of change. There is much work to be done here in the USA to re-build the civil rights of our nation and especially women's rights and equality. A society founded on Democratic principles is a fluid and ever changing society. Courts rule, legislatures create laws, and Presidents give executive orders. All of these present challenges to our Democratic society. Yes, the USA should be very concerned about the human rights of people in other countries. But, the USA should not be engaged in over-throwing the ideological foundations of foreign governments.
Forced Democracy----think about it.....is it really working out in all the countries where we have sent our brave men and women to fight? Is it really working out in the Arab Spring? Just because foreign countries are not governed like us does not mean they are wrong...it is a cultural difference that we must respect and at the same time continue to maintain our human rights watch all over the world.
I totally admire and respect Hillary Clinton (if you knew me you would know) and this in no way is meant to disrespect her. It is simply my humble opinion..

319:

As the new Arab democracy unfolds, we will just have to wait and watch.

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