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Tunisia-Egypt-Qatar Unified Theory Thread

Discussion in 'International News' started by Maximum Optimal, Jan 14, 2011.

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  1. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    I apologize in advance because this thread will have a significant political content. But soccer is at least tangentially involved, as is the US Men's National Team.

    Those of us old enough to remember 1989 know it as the year of revolutions in Eastern Europe. Regime after regime were toppled like dominos by citizens yearning for a freer and more democratic society.

    Ceauşescu was the last to fall in December of that year. Around the time he was being arrested, a summit of Arab leaders was being held. The meeting room was arranged in two large concentric semi-circles. In the inner circle were the leaders. In the outer circle were their top aides. When news of Ceauşescu's arrest reached the meeting, the men in the outer circle spontaneously rose in applause. The applause lasted only about fifteen seconds because they noticed that the principals in front of them had not budged from their seats.

    The yearning for a more free and democratic society runs as deeply in the Arab world as anywhere else. I have visited many of these countries on several occasions. They are all repressive to various degrees and I always felt the governing regimes were as vulnerable to vanishing into the desert sands as the Eastern European dictatorships were at an earlier time.

    The hopes of an entire generation have been frustrated since 1989. But we are seeing something happening in Tunisia that I believe will prove as significant as the day Lech Walesa jumped over the wall at the Gdansk shipyard to assert his leadership of some striking workers. An entire region is watching Tunisia very closely and wondering how long they will have to wait before it is their turn.

    So why is Egypt in the title? Well, we have a friendly scheduled there for February. Keep an eye on that.

    Why is Qatar in the title? I'll let you all figure that one out.
     


  2. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    Is this in any way like "theoretical parallelism"?

    Anyhow, I have thought roughly about the same thing earlier today.

    The root of my hypothesis lies in the overview of the future infrastructure projects planned by the oil/gas rich Gulf states and their much poorer Arabic speaking neighbors in North Africa.

    In essense, the secondary expansion - once the Gulf's own infrastructure is sufficiently developed - will go to these poorer nations for the purpose of using them as means of securing locally derived food supplies that are independent of the military situation and the shipping lanes in the Gulf itself.

    First, this has direct benefit for the richer states.

    Second, the improved rail networks and local water supplies will improve the standards of living throughout the region and lower chances of the radical Islamic groups damaging the wealth created in Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, etc.

    In other words, this is an Arabic version of the trickle-down theory.

    It worked well enough in the US (or Russia, for that matter) to try there.
     
  3. xbhaskarx

    xbhaskarx Member+

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    But Egypt is a lot closer to Tunisia.

    Qatar has a better chance of eventually being influenced by the growing movement towards democracy* in places like Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia post-2003.

    * (I use that term loosely, in 2 of 3 it's minor change at lower levels)
     
  4. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    My guess is that Bahrain is the next Arab country most likely to experience something similar to what is happening in Tunisia. Bahrain is very close to Qatar geographically. Bahrain's royal family is very close to Qatar's royal family. They have even discussed building a bridge between the two countries. A political earthquake in Bahrain will have big effects in Qatar.

    Each of these countries is unique, but they are all susceptible to the power of example from what is happening elsewhere. Qatar also has a vulnerability related to the size of the guest worker population relative to the natives. I'm struck by how important social networks have been to movements in places like Tunisia and Iran. There is a lot of resentment among the guest workers. Up to now there has not been much of an outlet. It is just a matter of time before thousands of them start hooking up and coordinating activities via social networks. It is a potentially explosive situation.
     


  5. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    Egypt is interesting because you have a pretty sclerotic regime in place and there are succession issues. Once the old man goes we'll see.

    Imo though there's really nothing like the anti-colonial, socialist, nationalist movements of the 20th century to really provide a strong impetus to the humbling of repressive govts. Even the wave that swept across Eastern Europe in the 90's can be viewed as anti-colonial or anti-imperial throwing off the yoke of regimes that had been installed with no small help from the Soviets.

    And as we've seen in Iran recently, student power and political dissendents don't amount to much in the face of well organized and loyal security forces.

    Think basically what you'll see will be usual disappearances, accusations of torture, some assasinations, protests, photogenic martyrs, etc.. But the security forces will carry the day and the region will remain stable except for Yemen(totally different set off issues).

    The Gulf countries btw are sourcing their food stuffs from black Africa and South America with burgeoning investment especially in the former.
     
  6. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    "Joy as Tunisian President Flees Offers Lesson to Arab Leaders"

    Wow. I guess there's an exception to every rule.
     
  7. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    Bahrain's GDP per capita in PPP is 3 1/2 times that of Tunisia.

    Plus, it's a small country and the rich Gulf states have interlocking security.
     
  8. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    pretty amazing. this is the first collapse of an autocratic regime in the Arab world due to a popular uprising.

    I due wonder about popular islamic radicalism taking hold in these countries if the regimes fall. Seems like Algeria had that problem when they tried to introduce democratic reforms.
     
  9. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    Here's what stratfor had to say:

    --------------------------------------
    Egypt is the most vulnerable in all of North Africa and the Middle East given it is already in a historic period of transition because its elderly president, Hosni Mubarak, is ailing and his successors are divided over how to ensure regime stability and policy continuity. Moreover, the opposition boycotted recent elections that it saw as unfair, and opposition parties lack representation in the system. The country’s largest opposition force, the Muslim Brotherhood, has even said it is considering civil disobedience as a way forward in the wake of the recent electoral rigging. Regime change in the region’s largest Arab state (80 million people) has huge implications for not just the Arab states but also Israel and U.S. interests.
     
  10. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator Staff Member

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    MO - I luv ya, but what the heck does this have to do with this forum?
     
  11. AngryMobRun

    AngryMobRun Member

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    haha, I doubt as many people would notice in the political forum. Interesting discussion though. Maybe the USMNT has a great opportunity to stir up emotions in Egypt??? I guess we will see. Doubt the reaction will contribute to a revolution though.
     
  12. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    A small country with a Sunni royal family and a Sunni political elite sitting on top of a restive Shiite majority.
     
  13. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    I wuv ya back dude and promise that my wuv will not change in any way if you move it somewhere more appropriate.
     
  14. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Moving from USA Men to International News/Politics.
     
  15. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    Is this where Henry Kissinger and the other heavy hitters post? I feel honored.
     
  16. IndividualEleven

    IndividualEleven Member+

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    looks like it was an army coup. the president told the military to take out the trash and so the prez was dumped in the bin. wonder if those wikileaks revelations pissed the army honchos off.
     
  17. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

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    I see the connection between potential future political turmoil in Qatar and the 2022 World Cup, and ergo the USA. It won't surprise me when any of these Middle East Kingdoms and dictatorships fall.

    However, the direct parallels are very thin. In Tunisia an educated middle class citizenry pressured the dictator to leave. In Qatar the guest workers are not citizens and have no say about any government. They could just be deported if they cause trouble. Plus, if it is anything like what I have read about guest workers in Dubai, these people have had their passports taken away and cannot contact anyone outside their worker camps. I doubt they have access to the social media that Tunisians used to organize.

    Qatar also has the ability to buy off the 300,000 to 400,000 actual citizens from their natural gas wealth, in a way that Tunisia's leaders cannot do with a much smaller per-capita income.

    Lastly, while everyone is celebrating the fall of a Middle East dictator, it seems like very few are commenting on the fact that this leader's own Prime Minister is the guy who took over. Could really end up as more of the same.
     
  18. soccerdisciple

    soccerdisciple Member

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    Tunisia is on the title of the thread. Why? They are having a freaking revolution.
     
  19. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    The expats outnumber the natives by three to one. If things get out of control fast, who's going to deport them? They gonna find a new set of sub contractors to do that?

    As for Tunisia, it was pointed out that the prime minister is not in line to succeed the president based upon the constitution. So he has stepped aside for speaker of parliament. But he is 77 and associated with the ruling regime. Maybe he will turn out to be an acceptable caretaker. In most of these situations there is some sort of transitional figure. With the Czechs it was Dubcek for a few months, then there were elections and a genuine change in government.
     
  20. benztown

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    I don't think we can easily draw a parallel between Eastern Europe and the Arab World. The cultures are just too different.
    Europe has had a long common history, that's why the example of Western Europe had even more appeal to the East, because it showed them that they could have this too.

    In the Arab world, there is not a single free country that can serve this purpose as a beacon of light...

    Still, Tunisia might be a starting point and I'm sure that the ruling class in countries like Algeria or Egypt are starting to get nervous. The thing is though that the pendulum might go either way. Instead of a chain reaction of freedom, we might see even more tyrannic regimes grow out of this. Or nothing much will happen at all...
     
  21. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    I agree that there are big differences between Eastern Europe and the Arab world. But I think the contagion effect is operative in both and is driven by broad-based disatisfaction with repressive and sclerotic political leadership. There is a lot or rot in both systems. Rotten structures are prone to toppling. The hard part is predicting the timing.
     
  22. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    With me being the latter, I hope.
     
  23. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator Staff Member

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    What the ******** is this?
     
  24. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator Staff Member

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    You also have that the nations of the Arab world all have their own approaches to governance, and no real commonality in political terms.
     
  25. laasan

    laasan Member

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    the so-called 'domino effect' in 1989 in Eastern Europe is in fact a superficial misrepresentation of what actually happened. the events in different countries in '89 were very much interlinked, as it usually is in history. in a sense it was a combined effort of the whole of Eastern Europe. it's just that because the regimes fell one after the other that people think there was some kind of domino effect. there maybe was to a small degree, but not in the way most people imagine. take East Germany for example, one of the first to fall properly. if Hungary wouldn't have opened their border to Austria, there wouldn't have been such a large exodus of people out of East Germany, which in turn would have meant a much lower momentum to the protest movement, if there would have been any at all. in other words, even though Hungary fell after East Germany in terms of total collapse, it were the actions of the Hungarian leadership, under the pressure of their population, which was to a large degree responsible for what happened then in East Germany. once East Germany, one of the most oppressive dictatorships in Eastern Europe, fell, that in turn gave hope to millions of others around the region, but the groundwork, the precondition for success, has been laid before that. I myself was quite active in the East German protest movement, and we are all very much thankful for the actions of not just the Hungarians, but also the Poles before that, and of course Gorbachev. and that's just a small example. the point is, the fall of Easter Europe was not one of one country falling and tipping the other over, and so on, it was a series of interconnected events.
    I don't know the Middle East well enough to claim things are fundamentally different there, and it is probably too early anyway at this point to make a judgement about that, but people should stop with this simplistic idea of the domino-effect when it comes to revolutions.
     
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