Archive for Saturday, June 11, 2011

Arab spring’ chaos

June 11, 2011


The personal cost of tyranny in the Arab world is rising. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali escaped from Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is to stand trial for murder and corruption, and now Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen has been evacuated to Riyadh with burns and a shrapnel wound.

In each case, the president, once supported by the West as a stabilizing factor, resisted the demands of protesters and became a liability. Saleh, who repeatedly equivocated over a peace plan proposed by the Gulf Cooperation Council, had long passed that point. Instead of the “honorable exit” which he said he sought, he has suffered the humiliation of being injured in a rocket attack on his palace in Sana’a and forced to seek medical treatment abroad.

Saudi Arabia is most immediately threatened by Yemen’s descent toward civil war. With Saleh out of the way, we hope permanently, the prospects for the GCC plan have improved. But success will require persistent pressure. ...

Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s main source of aid, is best placed to find a way out of this chaos. In the eastern Mediterranean, the Turks could likewise play a key role in resolving the impasse in Syria, where Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime continues to fire on protesters. ...

Moreover, the outcome of the West’s intervention in Libya remains far from certain, while the advent of some sort of democracy in Egypt is turning into a nightmarish prospect for that country’s Christians. The term “Arab spring” may have passed into the language, but it is increasingly being used ironically, and that is not a good sign.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

It isn't really just an "Arab Spring", what we are seeing is revolutions in several countries at once. I am not an expert on history, but I think this is a new record for the number of countries going through a revolution at the same time, World Wars 1 and 2 excluded. Well, since antiquity anyway.

Historically, revolutions have not all ended well. Some have resulted in terrible tragedies when the governments that replaced the old ones were even worse. So, all this might not be good for Western countries because we are so dependent on crude oil, and most of the immediately available supply is right in the middle of all the bad news.

I have felt for a long time that automobiles that run on natural gas or propane should be marketed here in the US beyond just the Honda Civic NG,which is available only in California.

I've driven tractors that ran on propane, and I've driven pickups that were converted to run on propane. True, for a given size engine displacement there is a slight loss in horsepower, but that's not a terrific obstacle. Automobiles as well as pickups can be converted to run on propane. They ran just fine, can't say no problems, but not big problems.

The US is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas because we have more of it than anyone else, but it's hardly been tapped at all. It will take quite some time to develop the infrastructure required in order to use it.

The ramifications of the "Arab Spring" have barely touched the US yet. There was a rise in crude oil prices, and I believe that's it.

But chances are very good that really bad news for the Western countries is on its way. And if it goes really bad, we're going to call it chaos here also.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

There's another big factor that has now just about slipped below the radar screens of Americans because it's now just the way things are. It certainly did slip my mind when I wrote the above! That's the fact that we're already involved in the chaos of the Middle East pretty deep already.

Because we're involved in wars in Afganistan, Iraq, and I think Lybia should count too.

Well then, I suppose the fact that there's a budget problem at the federal level is also a big problem too, for one thing the wars we're involved in have turned out to be pretty expensive.

And, not just in money.

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