Author and blogger As’ad AbuKhalil discusses the role of the US in supporting dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and North Africa both before and after the uprisings that swept the region in the spring of 2011. This presentation was part of the Building Solidarity with the Arab Spring Teach-In held on November 12, 2011 in Berkeley, CA.
Davutoglu said, “Syrian regime’s duty is not to accuse others but to listen and pay attention to its own people and meet its own responsibilities. The regime cannot survive by putting pressure on the people. Their not meeting the demands of the people increasingly shakes the confidence of the people. Syrian regime should understand that they cannot continue with status quo, the same system, one party regime, an order which pressurizes its own citizens.
Syrian regime should listen to its people instead of massacring them. As far as they do not stop massacring, they cannot get the support of the people by making epic speeches in every 3-4 months. They constantly make new promises and then postpone the reform dates they gave before.”
It is clear the Bush Administration was committed to bringing about regime change. Under President Barack Obama, it appears the US has not fully committed to the same of kind of destabilization efforts. The Obama Administration appears to have instead adopted a policy that is indicative of the sort of American exceptionalism rife within the Washington establishment.
From Tunisia, to Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Jordan and Yemen, people are rising up against the waning US empire’s puppet dictators while the US pays begrudging lip service to their struggle or like Biden, sacrifices the democratic aspirations of Egyptians to Israel and US geopolitical scheming (he means resources and militarisation). The price, once again for empire, is worth it? After all, these are only brown people who happen to be living where the resources which the US covets are situated. Several patronising US blogocrats of various shades of white supremacy have expressed less than admirable support for the courageous Egyptian people – surely these annoying foreign brown people should wait until the empire tells them it is convenient for them to pursue regime change, the government leaders they acquire after the revolution may be even more unappealing than their current torturous US allied villains. For neocon Laurent Murawiec afficionados, the dream of Egypt being the ‘prize’ for empire is surely now a nightmare.
Later, @PJCrowley tweeted “We are concerned that communication services, including the Internet, social media and even this #tweet, are being blocked in #Egypt.” #
The people’s demonstrations express heartfelt grassroots impatience to be rid of oppression – an impetus echoed also by Iranians attempting to dislodge their current repressive nexus. In Egypt,
At least four persons have died so far, 600 have been arrested and many more injured. Protests are flaring up in Cairo, 6th of October City, Suez, Mahalla al-Kubra and Alexandria.
“Young people are standing in the way of heavily armed armored vehicles and stopping them. People are genuinely frustrated,” Khaled al-Balashy, editor-in-chief of al-Badil newspaper told IPS.
“That was the first time I see people literally sacrificing their lives in face of police brutality,” al-Balashy said. “They think nothing worse could happen to them. This is unprecedented. And the changes will be equally unprecedented. It is a matter of time.”
Diaa Rashwan, an analyst with the semi-official al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies noted that the protests are now calling for regime change, not for the usual government benefits or reduction in food prices.
… the administration at least twice threatened to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority if elections were called and anyone other than Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad remained in power.
And it actively works with Israeli and Palestinian security services to deny the democratic will of Palestinians.
What is clear, then, is that Obama not only prefers the status quo, but the United States will actively subvert democracy in order to ensure that governments that will follow its policies remain in power.
If the administration has taken such an anti-democratic line with Palestinians, imagine how it must feel about the protests that have just exploded in Egypt, where substantive democratic change and a truly representative government would no doubt be far less amenable to US policies and strategic objectives regarding Israel and the war on terror than is Mubarak’s.
Faced with the overwhelming calumny and injustice of its oppressors evidenced in the Palestine Papers, dispossessed Palestinians are steadfast, continuing to insist on their rights.
For Amar al-Masaid, 28, history was something he lived with every day. “Our country was taken by force,” he said, amid jumbo boxes of cornflakes, tins of spam and chocolate Santa Clauses in his family’s shop. “They invaded us. They are a colonial power. We will never make any compromise. We will never sell our land. It would be better to stay with the Jews under occupation that give up our rights.”
His family had fled from Deir Aban in 1948; his father still has the deeds to the land they lost. “If you ask a little baby in these camps where their home is, they will answer you,” he said.
On cue, seven-year-old Dahoud and his sister Ranim, five, arrived to buy dried coconut, sent by their mother. Where did they come from? “Palestine,” said the boy; his sister whispered “Al-Maliha,” an Arab village south of Jerusalem until 1948, now home to a huge Israeli shopping mall and sports stadium.
According al-Masaid, the refugees live in a prison. Look around you, he said gesturing at the wall looming a couple of hundred yards away.
Nearby, 63-year-old Mousa al-Masaid, wearing a red-and-white keffiyeh, was passionately dismissive about the recent disclosures of negotiations. “I don’t care what they say on al-Jazeera,” he said. “All I care about is going back to my homeland. You want me to give up my land for peace? To hell with peace! I would rather live under the rule of monkeys than give up my land for peace.”
The Palestinian negotiators did not represent him, he said, and had no right to bargain away his homeland on his behalf.
The offices of the Palestinian ambassador to the UK have been occupied by a group of students who are demanding new Palestinian national council elections.
At 1pm today, around a dozen Palestinian students from a number of British universities arrived at the Palestinian general delegation to the UK in Hammersmith, west London.
Although they had made an appointment to see the ambassador, Professor Manuel Hassassian, they arrived in large numbers and with computers and banners.
A spokesman for the students said they had been moved to stage a peaceful sit-in by the release of leaked Palestinian papers over the last few days.
“The documents confirmed what we had known all along — that they are out of touch with the people,” the spokesman said.
As well as calling for new elections, the students — from Oxford, SOAS, LSE, City and Westminster universities — are demanding a more inclusive political process that reflects and engages all Palestinians.
“We are ready to stay as long as necessary until our message has been received and understood,” he said.
The ambassador, whose office has been occupied, has asked the students to leave the room but has told them they are welcome to remain in the building.
“They told me they wanted to hold a sit-in in my office. I told them: ‘You’re welcome. This is your embassy. This is your home’,” he said.
Hassassian also said he had agreed to pass their demands on to the Palestinian government, but needed his office back if he was to relay them.
“We are being very hospitable and we hope that they respect our hospitality,” he said.
Two Metropolitan police officers entered the embassy a little after 4pm, and chatted to the ambassador and protesters.
The Palestinian students have issued a demand for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation to be restored “as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”.