What is to come of the Middle East?

Throughout my life, there has never been much stability in the Middle East or Arab world. We have all had to deal the inconsistency of power in the region. Now, al-Jazeera has released an article highlighting the problem once and for all. The countries in the region are up for grabs. The article basically says that al-Jazeera has no idea what is going to happen to the countries in the region. It claims that the instability will create such turmoil that the region will eventually implode on itself.

The cause for this is ultimately because of foreign involvement, most notably, the United States.

What would happen to the US credibility if Iraq crumbled? Obviously we are not very pleasing to most of the world when it comes to the matter of the Middle East, but would there be global backlash towards the US?

Between Iraq and Syria, the region has its hands full with intra-regional conflict. The “endgame” of this conflict will ultimately end in what is called BLOOD BORDERS: A solution for the misconstrued international borders. A scary thought for those of in the Western world where diplomacy is the first action, this tribal-esque solution for the region is unsettling for the modern world.

 Blood borders is a form of xenophobia. Keeping the people in that are similar to you and those who are slightly different are excommunicated.

This entire situation really makes you question whether or not the US has made the best decisions in the past few decades. What is your take?

The article can be found here

Or you can follow the author on twitter @MazMHussain

Blogs Overstated in Tunisian Revolution?

Amy Aisen Kallander makes bold claims that blogging played less of a role than perceived by the West in the Tunisian revolution in her article “From TUNeZINE to Nhar 3la 3mmar: A Reconsideration of the Role of Bloggers in Tunisia’s Revolution.” Kallander asserts by her conclusion that Westerners have blown up the concept of the use of social media as the tool of the oppressed while ignoring the reality that the majority of the mobilized population were so moved by other forms of media.

Blog by Z http://www.debatunisie.com

The truth is that as much as the West may think they know about the Arab Spring, without having experienced a similar revolution under similar circumstances Westerners have little actual understanding of how things happened. There is only so much that the news can explain – other factors are always at play. The establishment of a Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Egypt, for example, might have been predictable, but the real question of why is the most important. Cultural factors that emerge in dinner-table conversations are as common in the Arab world as the West, and these as much as anything else led to the revolutions that toppled long-standing governments. Social media such as blogging played a role, without a doubt, but to claim they are the sole impetus for creating social change in a region is naive. One must take full consideration of a region to understand why something happens, not just that it did.

http://www.arabmediasociety.com/index.php?article=818&p=0

Russia and USA to Syria: “Play Nice”

Image

In the wake of the various headlines that Syria has dominated internationally, the United States and Russia have agreed to attempt another set of peace talks. The attempt has been hailed as a great step forward. I honestly don’t get it, if the world is supportive of two countries trying to regain a handle on the situation as it has clearly gone too far then our priorities are incorrect. We praise the idea of inciting a peace after we clearly lost the ability to continue the talks. The peace talks never should have stopped, a war has been raging where upwards of 70,000 people have been killed and we effectively gave up. The media should shift its view from praising the two countries to condemning them for letting it get this far.

 Image

            One of the reasons it failed was , “Both the US and Russia endorsed a plan for a political solution for Syria last June but have differed over how to implement it.” In the end part of the responsibility for the madness falls to the two countries that dropped the ball in terms of how to enforce the peace. It’s the equivalent of two parents telling their children not to do something and then being surprised when they did it.

 

            Furthermore, Instability in the region is bad for both countries, it has a negative affect on Syria and the surrounding countries, of which both the United States and Russia are allied. This situation has escalated to a point where more than politics are in order. Sanctions should be put in affect and UN peacekeepers should be deployed and stricter sanctions on weapons should be forced in order to De-militarize both the rebels and the regime in an attempt to incite peace. Civil discourse has failed because neither side has any trust for the other, it is imperative that they attempt these peace talks with the utmost of severity if they were to be broken.

Starving Palestinian Childeren, No One Seems to Care.

The world is witnessing souring poverty in Palestine, could it be due to the massive walls surrounding the Palestinian people? Recently, the UN introduced a figure that showed 80% of Palestinian children living in east Jerusalem were living in massive poverty.  Their “findings echoed a report issued by an Israeli human rights group earlier this week lamenting that the city’s Palestinian residents were suffering the “worst (poverty) rate of all time.” At the same time, the rates of poverty of Israeli children have been declining. I believe that this is due to one word, “segregation”. If you surround a population and restrict trade and resources it only makes sense that they are going to be forced into poverty.Image

            To add figures to this statement, “The barrier has caused direct losses to east Jerusalem’s economy of more than $1.0 billion, the UNCTAD report said, adding that the wall continues to cost the city’s economy around $200 million a year in lost trade and employment opportunities.” This wall has a direct effect on the surrounded Palestinians and is proven to cause poverty at a staggering rate. How is it possible to justify the pain that you inflict on the society, when you claim that you are the ones being oppressed? If the red line that they are talking about actually exists then it has been crossed hundreds of times in regards to the treatment of the Palestinians.

Image

            As highlighted in the Al Jazeera article, The “UNCTAD chastised Israel for not doing enough to meet its obligations as an occupying power, urging the country to act “with vigour to improve economic conditions in east Jerusalem and the well-being of Palestinian residents.” However I believe that more than just a simple push of encouragement is in order, if they want to see real results in the protection of the Palestinian people, they should push for sanctions to be put on Israel in order to expedite the process.

Literature as Media that Still Matters

Jadaliyya continues its series on Arab writers and bloggers with and interview of author Esam Al-Amin, author of “The Arab Awakening Unveiled.” Al-Amin’s book is an analysis of the Arab spring and the effects of history in its beginning, as well as the potential effects in the short and long term. Al-Amin intends the book to be directed at both the well-informed and not, to educate anyone with a curiosity about becoming more informed on the region.

Al-Amin’s book and its content are not the primary point of significance  here, as there are many such titles and authors out there since the Arab Spring. However, the fact that in the face of all the talk of new media, a book still generates attention, is significant. Many have said that print media is dying a slow death – that newspapers will become completely digital, that with the close of chains such as Borders there is little demand for physical books since the inception of the tablet/ereader, yet the continuing release of such works seems to indicate the opposite. Authors are not writing exclusively for the digital audience, and seem to recognize that claims of societal degradation from the shorthand of twitter and texting are alarmist at worst. The written word is not going anywhere, and there will continue to be a wealth of literature available to those who choose to take advantage of it. Print media, and even digital forms of the written word, will not go anywhere, and the fact is that the Arab world, with its long history of high importance placed on this medium, will likely be a source of such for a long time to come.

 

http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/11145/new-texts-out-now_esam-al-amin-the-arab-awakening-

Pulling the plug on the Internet, Seriously Syria?

Did the government of Syria think it would be a good idea to turn off Internet for two days? If so, it would be hard not to make connections between their actions and the actions of Egypt before it fell. Turning off Internet does nothing to strengthen your reputation around the globe or even domestically. What are your afraid to show your population that you’re willing to go to the massive trouble to shut down the Internet of an entire country? Something smells wrong.

            However, no party has claimed responsibility for the blackout. The timing of this is very suspicious. The Syrian government has before shut off the Internet of a county based upon the idea that it would disrupt rebel fighters. It’s not something that they lack the capacity, or willingness to do. At this point in the war, Assad would do almost anything to gain the upper hand. As the world looks in, a great way to stop information from getting out would be to shut off the ability for reporters to report.

            Aljazeera has claimed, “The blackout, which ended on Wednesday, was blamed by state media on a technical fault, but activists and a watchdog accused the regime of deliberating cutting the connection to shield military operations.” This introduces an interesting element, as non-affiliated groups have deemed the actions state caused.

 Image

            The Syrian state news “quoted the director general of the General Establishment for Communications, Bakr Bakr, as saying internet services and communication between provinces had gone down because of a malfunction in an optic cable.”

 Image

            The problem in this situation is that we are given two sides of the story; both claim that they were in the right, and attempt to dispute the other. You are stuck in between a mass of misinformation, with both sides in the wrong and contributing to the mess. In the end it would be almost impossible to prove that this was in fact caused by government intervention, however it would seem like the logical reason.

Gun Running and Cairo

Nour Youssef has posted a blog on The Arabist entitled “A Day at the Gun Market,” which discusses her experience with the illegal arms trade taking form in Cairo since the revolution. The video below was included in the blog, and shows the discussion between an arms dealer and a gun runner about the way business works today with the use of social media.

 

Gun running is a dangerous enough concept to begin with, as the black market is inherently risky, but the fact that much of Egypt is now being armed because of a lack of police efficiency could make the situation more volatile. While the same can be said for other countries around the world, including the United States, the difference in those states is that the police are willing and able to take action against crime, whereas the it would appear the police in Cairo are unable to monitor the city efficiently. However, the concept of everyone being armed as a security measure cannot be discounted – Reba, Nour’s taxi driver who brought her to the gun market, speaks to this point with the statement that “the point is everyone here is armed (or in the process of getting armed), if someone is provoked enough to shoot; everyone will start shooting.” The idea of mutually assured destruction worked on the large scale during the Cold War, apparently it can work on the small scale today as well.