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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Libya, Yemen, Syria all ripe for revolution

Tunisia and Egypt set the table for Arab Spring

Yemen fits the mould of the earlier 2011 revolutions, in that the oppressive leadership was / is West-aligned, and we therefore need to be diligent in supporting open and fair elections in Yemen, and also continue with assistance for that nation to fight terrorist elements within. Although there is a firefight aspect to controlling Yemeni radicals, the bigger challenge is creating compelling ideology and education programs that encourage Yemen's youth to opt for freedom, equality, human rights / dignity and non-violence; assistance that helps all Yemeni citizens pursue the paths proven successful elsewhere, a "best practices" governance approach.

Libya and Syria are a whole new ballgame

Unlike Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, the Libyan government was far from pro-West and though Gaddafi had moderated somewhat in recent decades, one was always aware that like Arafat, the Colonel had a different message in English than he did in Arabic.

An even better analogy is Mugabe, in that both he and Gaddafi emerged as revolutionary heroes, and each gained the respect of communists, socialists and social democrats worldwide. Decades in power created a sense of insularity, as ego and self-preservation policies reinforced each other, and the towering man became the brutal tyrant.

In Eastern Libya there is much talk about freedom, democracy and secular government, so let's hope this remains the focus in Tripoli, post-Gaddafi.

Syria is flash point for end game, serious trouble

Though Syrian authorities have cracked down as hard or harder than other Arab governments, there are no easy answers for the world community, other than to plead with the government to stop attacking peaceful protesters. The Syria situation is Libya again, times ten. Why times ten?

Bashar al-Assad is part of a tiny minority that rules Syria, taking the best jobs in government and business, and controlling all the levers of power. Democracy will crush this, as elements of a meritocracy begin to emerge and the majority population begins electing their own people of their own ethnicity as their political representatives. Some of Assad's closest allies have already moved their families to the UAE, and it would not be surprising to see al-Assad and his wider family join them, for unlike Gaddafi, Bashar is still a relatively young man, most likely unwilling to fight to the death over demonstrably unsustainable power.

When Gaddafi falls and open elections are held in Libya, it solidifies North Africa as a free, democratic zone. If and when the Syrian government topples and freedom emerges in Damascus, the bell tolls then for Tehran and Beijing.

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