We are witnessing a revolution in the Middle East, probably the largest such revolt in a region since the Eastern bloc revolution of 1989. With each passing day, the phenomenon seems to grow. The president of Tunisia flees the country to live in exile in Saudi Arabia. Yemen's president has said he will not run for re-election in the wake of protests there. But of course the largest and bloodiest revolt is happening in Egypt, where the course of history is changing radically on a daily basis.
But this may only be the beginning. This recent article from The Guardian highlights some new developments:
Spirit of Egypt protest spreads to Yemen, Algeria and SyriaDemonstrators gather on streets of Sana'a as Algeria aims to defuse tensions by lifting 19-year state of emergency
Reverberations from the mass protests in Tunisia and Egypt continued to be felt around the Arab world as demonstrators gathered on the streets of Yemen for a "day of rage" and Algeria became the latest country to try to defuse tensions by lifting its 19-year state of emergency.
More protests are expected across the region following Friday prayers, including in Syria, where activists have used Facebook to organise demonstrations in front of parliament in the capital, Damascus, and at Syrian embassies across the world.
But hey, this is all good isn't it? These are all non-democratic, mostly military dictatorships that are the focus of the protests by their respective citizens, so what's wrong with them rising up against their oppressors? You would think the neo-cons of all people would be rejoicing the rise of freedom and democracy in the Middle East! Especially when their pResident George W. Bush had this to say in the aftermath of another "regime change":
"Yet there's a great challenge today in the Middle East. In the words of a recent report by Arab scholars, the global wave of democracy has -- and I quote -- "barely reached the Arab states." They continue: "This freedom deficit undermines human development and is one of the most painful manifestations of lagging political development." The freedom deficit they describe has terrible consequences, of the people of the Middle East and for the world. In many Middle Eastern countries, poverty is deep and it is spreading, women lack rights and are denied schooling. Whole societies remain stagnant while the world moves ahead. These are not the failures of a culture or a religion. These are the failures of political and economic doctrines."
"The great and proud nation of Egypt has shown the way toward peace in the Middle East, and now should show the way toward democracy in the Middle East. (Applause.) Champions of democracy in the region understand that democracy is not perfect, it is not the path to utopia, but it's the only path to national success and dignity.
As we watch and encourage reforms in the region, we are mindful that modernization is not the same as Westernization. Representative governments in the Middle East will reflect their own cultures. They will not, and should not, look like us. Democratic nations may be constitutional monarchies, federal republics, or parliamentary systems. And working democracies always need time to develop -- as did our own. We've taken a 200-year journey toward inclusion and justice -- and this makes us patient and understanding as other nations are at different stages of this journey."
These words are from November 6, 2003. Eight years later, Egyptians are doing exactly what the fearless neo-con leader asked for. Yet instead of neo-con ecstasy, the mood from the talking heads around Fox News is one of sheer horror. One of the biggest fraidy-cats is former State Department stooge John Bolton, who came up with this thoughtless strategy:
Bolton: If Mubarak falls in Egypt, Israel should bomb IranTuesday, February 1st, 2011 -- 11:24 am
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said the ouster of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would speed the timetable for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
"Do you think that the Israelis are going to have to strike — they are going to have to take action?" Fox News Republican opinion host Sean Hannity asked the former ambassador on his radio program Monday.
"As you pointed out, ElBaradei ran cover for the Iranians for all those years that he was with the IAEA. And, I just don’t think the Israelis have much longer to wait… they're going to have to act in fairly short order."
"I think that's right," Bolton responded. "I don't think there’s much time to act. And I think the fall of a Egyptian government committed to the peace agreement will almost certainly speed that timetable up."
Bolton chided the protests in Egypt last week, saying that "the real alternative is not Jefferson democracy versus the Mubarak regime, but that it’s the Muslim Brotherhood versus the Mubarak regime, and that has enormous implications for the US, for Israel, and our other friends in the region."
Why all the fear tactics in regards to the Muslim Brotherhood? True, these are not good guys by any stretch of the imagination. They have documented historical ties with the Nazis and questionable ties with al-Qaeda. But in proportion to the population of Egypt in the event of a democratic government actually occurring, they really are what Chris Matthews described them as: the Tea Party of the Middle East. In a democratic society, both have a right to exist, but as columnist Bob Norman said, "and then be put on the fringes where they belong". Perhaps the real reason for all the commotion in the reich-wing echo chamber is that this is what they want: an Armageddon slugfest between these counterpoint crackpots. It certainly wouldn't be the first time there was an association for their mutual benefit: