Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Discontent in the Middle East

The respected foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn had this to say:
The sectarian and ethnic civil wars that have ravaged a large part of the Middle East over the past 40 years are coming to an end. Replacing them is a new type of conflict in which protests akin to popular uprisings rock kleptocratic elites that justify their power by claiming to be the defenders of communities menaced by extreme violence or extinction.”

His equally respected colleague, Robert Fisk, concurs:
tens of thousands of largely young protesters demanding a non-sectarian Lebanon were joyful, filled with happiness, determined that this time they would change the wretched confessional nature of their state forever...The young men and women in the street shouted as one: 'The government is corrupt, the sectarian leaders are corrupt, all members of parliament are thieves — thieves, thieves, thieves.' ”

Fisk goes on to explain: “The bolder street demonstrations become, the greater their demands. And the cry for an entirely new constitution that will utterly abandon the sectarian system of government in Lebanon has grown stronger and stronger. There are many in the Arab and Muslim world who will wish them to fail. Bashar al-Assad for one, Sisi of Egypt for another. Certainly Iran. And the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, whose petty “reforms” are now utterly overshadowed by the real shout for freedom in Lebanon.You can see why all the Arab dictators and kings fear this. If Lebanon’s people – especially its young people – succeed in their vast undertaking, then the millions of suppressed and poorly educated men and women across the Arab world will ask why they too cannot have these same freedoms.”

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