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Entries tagged "Middle East"Page Previous 1 • 2
May 19, 2011 · By Phyllis Bennis
The Obama administration faces a huge contradiction in trying to craft a new policy for the Middle East in the midst of the Arab Spring.
|Obama faces his own contractions with today's speech (Photo by Matt Ortega)|
They are trying to position the U.S. as a friend of the newly democratizing forces, while at the same time refusing to give up the policy of support for those on top, who imposed dictatorships and occupations across the Middle East, to protect U.S. interests in oil, Israel, and strategic stability. Now it is the people of the region who are creating new democracies from below – and it is long past time to change how the U.S. relates to them.
A transformed U.S. role in the region will have to go beyond soaring words and even additional economic assistance. It will require an entirely different policy based on support for popular bottom-up democracy, acceptance of new indigenous definitions of social and economic justice, and respect for local decision-making – even when reality doesn’t match Washington’s illusion of what the “new Middle East” should look like.
What would that policy look like?
- An end to the U.S. military aid and diplomatic protection that enable Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies, and supporting regional and globally-led diplomacy rather than imposing its own failed “peace process.”
- An end to all U.S. military ties to any regime suppressing the Arab Spring protests in its own or other countries (that means Saudi Arabia as well as Bahrain, for example, as well as pulling all troops and mercenaries out of Iraq).
- An end to all economic aid until it can be redirected away from militaries (even in democratizing countries) and into the hands of accountable governments. Supporting creation of a nuclear weapons-free zone throughout the Middle East.
- An end to the double-standard of harsh sanctions and massive military force (such as in Syria and Libya) imposed against some dictators’ attacks on protestors, while continuing to arm and finance dictatorships strategically allied with the U.S. (such as Bahrain and Yemen) with hardly a word of protest against their lethal assaults on unarmed demonstrators.
March 8, 2011 · By Joy Zarembka
In two short months, we've seen two dictators leave power and the tide of the Tea Party movement begin to turn. Young people are connecting using new forms of communication and stating that the ideals of solidarity and government of the people are very present in today’s world.
In the Institute's Unconventional Wisdom newsletter, we asked readers to send us their suggestions as to what they would call the current period of democratic demonstrations by young people and workers across North Africa, the Middle East, and in far-away but not unrelated Madison, Wisconsin. Thanks to those who sent your comments like Maynard Riley (“Middle Class Insurrection”) and Benedetta Camarota (“Jasmine Revolutions”). On the ground in Egypt, what began as the January 25 Revolution is also being called the 18-Day Revolution or Egypt's Youth Revolution. In Tunisia, they are calling it the Sidi Bouzid Revolt, after the city where protests began.
We discussed a number of suggestions and puns from IPS staff. Among them were Pharaoh-less / Fearless Uprising, The Great Neocon Refudiation, and the The time of Democracy -- Whatever It Means!
Some of my favorites were Democracy 2.0 and The Great Uprising. Truly, the impact of social media tools has made a difference and allowed grassroots organizers to maximize the support of massive protesters. Another one I liked was Democracy Spring. Millions of people are springing into democratic action, refusing to be subjects to the cynical rule of tyrants and choosing to believe that a better world is possible.
Still, we don’t know where this moment is going. The movements for democracy aren't over, and with the situation escalating in Libya, the geopolitical implications for the region and the world are barely beginning to become clear. But we know one thing; we're living through times of change across the world. Regardless of all the monikers we can come up with, the resounding voice of democracy is a refreshing one in our work to continue working for peace, justice, and the environment.
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