Senate Revolution in the Muslim World

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Lowbacca_1977, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Actually, the Turkish Air Force is quite robust. It's third in size for NATO forces after the USAF and RAF with an inventory of around 800 aircraft, of which roughly 172 are Block 50 F-16Cs (which is about the most modern F-16 variant right now) and equally importantly, owns seven KC-135 refuelling planes to support them. It also plans to buy around 116 F-35 JSFs, but that's not relevant right now. There's an ongoing 45 billion dollar a year general modernization program that has been ongoing since 1997. So as far as regional powers go, Turkey is actually a pretty big deal (hence how they can invade Northern Iraq pretty much on their own initiative whenever they like.)



    FWIW, "lead from behind" pretty much describes the USA's role in NATO from 1949-1991; yes we were THE power, but we were also just another partner with a role to play. Call it a return to sanity.



    Turkish Air Force
  2. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    The Arab League and Syria seem to have come to some kind of agreement, to withdraw all tanks from cities and free all political prisoners. I don't think this will work, the Syrians are probably just trying to kill time, but we'll see. If I was a Syrian, I know I wouldn't trust the Syrian government as long as Assad and his cronies stay in power.



    But in other news, not sure if this is the place to put it, but there's been a recent burst of articles reporting that Israel and the United Kingdom are planning to bomb Iran. The US too, I would guess.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/11/02/israel-s-dangerous-plan-to-strike-iran-violence-against-us-targets-likely.html

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2098532,00.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/02/uk-military-iran-attack-nuclear

    Now, Israel has been reported to be "on the verge of bombing Iran" since at least 2005, so I'm highly skeptical of these reports. Still, I feel something has changed, with the Arab Spring and Green Revolution bubbling beneath the surface and the allegedly-foiled assassination plot.
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I think you'd be correct to be skeptical. It looks like these are simply more contingencies that were made public, correct? As all of us know, contingencies are simply plans for hypothetical emergencies. It's like when Seymour "I'm so desperate for anther Pulitzer it's made me crazy" Hersh released his expose' on how it was imminent that the US was going to invade Iran, when in reality, it was only declassified hypothetical scenarios that Hersh got his hands on and he overreacted..er, "journalistically focused on the story.." This was back in 2007 or 2008....

    I'm sure all sorts of powers from the UK, to the US, to NATO itself, has plans on what to do to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities considering the fact that Iran is non-compliant with UN treaties. One thing is for certain is what Israel excels at is keeping things secret. If Israel was actually going to take out Iranian nuke plants, it would be done, and everyone would have to speculate who actually did it after the fact.
  4. Vader_vs_Maul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2003
    star 3
    On some level, these threats are counter-productive. Threats of an imminent external danger rallies people behind a government they otherwise would be trying to overthrow. Not to mention that the noise surrounding talks of invasion etc gives the Iranian regime the perfect psychological environment in which to commit conveyor belt mass executions of political dissenters without the average citizen caring or paying attention, because he's got bigger things to worry about.
  5. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Assad doesn't seem to be taking his deal with the Arab League seriously. Big surprise. Reminds me of Gadhafi.


    were killed in the Syrian city of Homs on Thursday, activists said, in a burst of violence following reports of sectarian killings this week that threaten to ignite civil strife between majority Sunnis and the minority Alawite sect.

    Tanks pounded a main residential district in Homs for the second day, and there was no sign of troops leaving cities under an Arab League agreement to end bloodshed after seven months of protests against President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite sect dominates power.

    A witness, who declined to be named, said he saw dozens of civilian bodies at the National Hospital, which is under security forces' control. The circumstances of their death were not clear.

    "They were all males with bullet wounds. A doctor told me they came from all over Homs," he said.

    Activists said a further 19 people were killed in tank shelling of the Bab Amro district, a hotbed of pro-democracy protests against President Bashar al-Assad, and in shooting by security forces elsewhere in Homs.

    There was no independent confirmation of the killings. They follow reports by local activists that forces loyal to Assad shot dead at least 11 Sunni Muslim villagers they had stopped at a roadblock northwest of Homs on Wednesday.

    Nine Alawites had been dragged from a bus and killed near the city the day before, another activist said.

    Tough Syrian media restrictions have made it hard to verify events on the ground since an uprising against Assad began in March, inspired by other revolts in the Arab world.

    Syria, under mounting pressure to halt a crackdown that the United Nations says has killed over 3,000 people, agreed on Wednesday to an Arab League plan to pull the army out of cities, free political prisoners and hold talks with the opposition.

    The authorities blame the violence on Islamist militants and armed gangs who they say have killed 1,100 soldiers and police.

  6. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I guess that could depend on the circumstances. If the people consider their government to be taking a horrendously reckless course of action, then they might not get behind it. Then again, maybe it's worth it anyway to be making the threats? Do we consider enforcing non-proliferation to be important enough to risk war?
  7. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Syria is to be suspended from the Arab League. Which is humiliating for a country that prides itself on pan-Arabism. Lebanon (which is greatly influenced by Syria), Iraq (which is greatly influenced by Iran), and Yemen (dealing with its own uprising) were the only ones to oppose.

    The King of Jordan is calling for Assad to step down.



    Jordan's King Abdullah urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday to resign.

    "If Bashar has the interests of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life," Abdullah told the BBC.

    "If it was me, I would step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo that we're seeing," he added. But, he said, "I don't think the system allows for that ... I think it's simply Bashar goes, somebody else comes in. But if it's the same regime and the same members, then we're going to be back to the same thing on the street."

    The Syrian president is under increasing pressure to step aside even as his government continues an eight-month crackdown that the United Nations says has claimed more than 3,500 lives since unrest broke out in mid-March, including 13 reportedly killed on Monday.

    Abdullah's pronouncement "is big" because the monarchs in the Arab world have been reluctant to call for other rulers to step down, said Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and at the George W. Bush Institute. "Gadhafi was the big exception, but Gadhafi was a nut who had badly alienated everyone," he said. "Assad is not a nut. He's a cruel dictator and cruel dictators have never offended other rulers in the Arab world."

    Muravchik contrasted the world's reaction to the violence meted out by troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad with the lack of reaction to the the 1982 massacre in Hama, which may have killed some 20,000 people, during the regime of Hafez al-Assad, the current leader's father. "Everyone was cool with what his father did," Muravchik said. "It's a new age, even in the Arab world, which has been the last to enter this new age. Rulers just can't do that with impunity, and Assad, by killing so many of his own peaceful protesting citizens, seems to have crossed the line, which no one is willing to accept."


    Eighteen of the Arab League's members voted Saturday to suspend Syria over its failure to rein in the violence. The suspension is set to take effect Wednesday.

    The league's decision could open the door for broader international sanctions against al-Assad's regime.

    "I think it is very good that the Arab League (is) taking a leading role on this crisis," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday. "It is very important in the European Union that we consider additional measures to add to the pressure on the Assad regime, to stop the unacceptable violence against the people of Syria. And we have adopted a wide range of sanctions on Syria already, but I think there is a very good case to add to those."

    But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the Arab League's actions and accused the West of instigating Syrian opposition, according to the Moscow-based Interfax news agency.


    "Radical opposition activists have also been incited to seek a change of the regime and decline any invitation for dialogue," Lavrov said, according to Interfax.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, quoted by the state-run SANA news agency, said, " Syria is a state of full sovereignty and will defend every span of its land."

    "The Arab League decision on suspending Syria's membership and the other provisions it has included constitute a very dangerous step on the present and future of the joint Arab action and on the goals and role of the AL," he said, according to SANA.

    "The Syrian people should not be worried because Syria is not Libya," he said, according to SANA.

    "The Arab economic sa
  8. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Yesterday, the "Free Syrian Army" blew up an air intelligence base on the outskirts of Damascus.

    Today, army defectors have attacked in northwestern Syria.

    The Arab League is preparing sanctions.

    Turkey is also threatening to cut off electricity, and urging the world to stop Syria's oppression. Turkey is also a member of NATO.
  9. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    My gut still says that Assad will retain power. I don't think we'll see him out of office any time this year.

    That said, the uprisings in Syria have gone further and longer than I had anticipated: Ghadaffi's fall has certainly had an effect since he was probably the most bloodthirsty tyrant to fall to the Arab Spring.

    Tyrants in the Middle East are certainly having a hard time of it. It's true that Saddam was removed in the Iraq War, and three more have fallen this year. Assad is the most prominent strongman in the region that I know of: most of the rest either cowtow to public pressure in at least some regard (Saudi Arabia) or have at least some institutional check on their power that has at least some teeth (Jordan, Lebanon... I think even Iran and Algeria have certain divisions of power that aren't just rubber stamps).

    This is probably the most significant change to happen in the Arab world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Even Israel's creation was less significant to the overall whole.
  10. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Agreed on this being the most significant change in the region since World War I.


    News in Egypt:

    Egypt's ruling generals offered on Tuesday to transfer power to a civilian president by July in a dramatic attempt to placate protesters and defuse a political crisis that has jolted plans for the country's first free election in decades.

    The military council, in power since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown on February 11, also agreed at a meeting with politicians to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's cabinet and to replace it with a national salvation government within days to steer Egypt to civilian rule.

    "We agreed on July as the month to transfer power to a civilian president," one participant, Emad Abdel Ghafour, head of the Salafi Islamist Nour (Light) Party, told Reuters.

    He said a president would be elected in June ahead of a power transfer in July. Under the previous army timetable, the vote might not have taken place until late 2012 or early 2013.

    Anger against the military council exploded this month after a cabinet proposal to set out constitutional principles that would permanently shield the army from civilian oversight.

    Ghafour and other politicians at the meeting said parliamentary elections would start as planned on Monday.

    The concessions have been wrenched from the military by five days of protests against army rule in Cairo's Tahrir Square and elsewhere amid violence that has cost at least 36 lives.

    It seemed doubtful if they would satisfy the demonstrators, who again braved clouds of tear gas to converge on Tahrir Square to demand that the generals relinquish power immediately.

  11. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    So uh, what happens then? The uprising clearly isn't dying down, if anything it seems to be heating up. Assad probably won't accept the indignity of having large chunks of his country is taken away from him that a drawn-out stalemate would cause, so he'll probably escalate the brutality in an attempt to crush the rebellion. Will the world sit on the sidelines and watch this happen? Maybe we could do the no-fly zone thing again for years on end like we did in Iraq during the 1990's? Or maybe the Arab League can get him to resign and leave the country before that happens?
  12. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    So uh, what happens then?

    Assad kills a whole bunch of people, and the protestors can then no longer protest because they are all dead.

    And Assad is capable of doing this because the Russians (if not the Chinese) continue to use their UN Veto to keep NATO airstrikes out of Syria.
  13. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    France is going to send a "humanitarian" intervention into Syria, after getting approval from the Arab League.

    France seeks Arab backing for Syria intervention

    Meanwhile, Turkey is comparing Assad to Gadhafi, Mussolini, and Hitler.


    Also, Yemen's President finally signed the agreement to step down, with his Vice President replacing him in a month.

    I don't think that is enough to appease the protestors.



    EDIT:

    The United States is moving an aircraft carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush, to the coast of Syria.
  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'm increasingly respecting France
  15. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    I am presently deployed to Kuwait, and news of the goings-on in Syria are often in the news. I've found it interesting to note the manner in which these current events are reported in the local media versus how they are framed in Western sources. The internet access that I have in my room is (in addition to terrible) provided via the locals, whereas the (limited) internet access on gov't. computers is directly from the U.S. For example, Yahoo! in my room or at Kuwait City International Airport is en-maktoob.yahoo.com as opposed to simply www.yahoo.com.

    With that as context, it's noteworthy that where American Yahoo! (for lack of a better term) will list headlines as 'Violence in Syria Continues,' 'Syrian Protestors Shot,' and the like, the Arab headlines are much more neutral ('Unrest in Syria Continues,' 'Syrian Protestors Clash with Authorities,' etc.). The news footage I've watched on Al-Jazeera in the airport has consistently been more sympathetic than CNN, BBC, Fox, etc.

    Just an interesting observation I've made since I've been here.
  16. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
  17. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Well, they say "We want to apply the basics of Shariah law in a fair way that respects human rights and personal rights"... I'll hold off statements til I see how they do that. That said, I do hope that they take the route of not trying to make the state and the religion the same thing.
  18. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    I hope they make it the most Muslim state ever.
  19. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    Politics of course, what else? The so-called "Western media" is against the Baath regime and acts largely as a partisan of the Syrian opposition, not an objective source of news, and on other hand, the so-called "Arab media" in Sunni countries tends to downplay the Syrian situation so as not to give ideas to their own populations.
  20. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    There is no such thing.
  21. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    Really?

    How's the Far-Right&Christian Zionist project of the current government proceeding in the Netherlands, by the way?
  22. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    There is no such thing.
  23. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2005
    star 5
    Really? Everytime government aligned Dutch politicians like the puppet master of the current government, Geert Wilders, open their mouths and speak they seem to disagree with that. Did you know that Wilders publicly promised to Israel's regime that the Netherlands will stop the formation of the state of Palestine? If that's not Christian Zionism leading government policy, then what is?
  24. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Rouge. Wrong person, wrong thread.
  25. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Here's an article on the Muslim Brotherhood vs the Salafis, which was just pointed out to me, and addresses exactly this:



    Egyptian Vote Forces Islamists to Confront Their Divide Over Rule by Religion

    To Sheik Abdel Moneim el-Shahat, the Muslim Brotherhood?s call to apply only the broad principles of Islamic law allows too much freedom.

    Sheik Shahat is a leader of the ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafis, whose coalition of parties is running second behind the Brotherhood party in the early returns of Egypt?s parliamentary elections. He and his allies are demanding strict prohibitions against interest-bearing loans, alcohol and ?fornication,? with traditional Islamic corporal punishment like stoning for adultery.

    ?I want to say: citizenship restricted by Islamic Shariah, freedom restricted by Islamic Shariah, equality restricted by Islamic Shariah,? he said in a public debate. ?Shariah is obligatory, not just the principles ? freedom and justice and all that.?

    The unexpected electoral success of the Salafis ? reported to have won about 25 percent of the votes in the first round of the elections, second only to the roughly 40 percent for the Muslim Brotherhood?s Freedom and Justice Party ? is terrifying Egyptian liberals and troubling the West. But their new clout is also presenting a challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood, in part by plunging it into a polarizing Islamist-against-Islamist debate over the application of Islamic law in Egypt?s promised democracy, a debate the Brotherhood had worked hard to avoid.

    ?The Salafis want to have that conversation right now, and the Brotherhood doesn?t,? said Shadi Hamid, a researcher with the Brookings Doha Center, a Brookings Institution project in Qatar. ?The Brotherhood is not interested in talking about Islamic law right now because they have other priorities that are more important. But the Salafis are going to insist on putting religion in the forefront of the debate, and that will be very difficult for the Brotherhood to ignore.?

    The Brotherhood, the venerable group that virtually invented the Islamist movement eight decades ago, is at its core a middle-class missionary institution, led not by religious scholars but by doctors, lawyers and professionals. It has long sought to move Egypt toward a more orthodox Islamic society from the bottom up, one person and family at a time. After a long struggle in the shadows of the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, its leaders have sought to avoid potentially divisive conversations about the details of Islamic law that might set off alarms about an Islamist takeover. But their evasiveness on the subject has played into long-term suspicions of even fellow Islamists that they are too concerned with their own power.

    The Salafis are political newcomers, directed by religious leaders who favor long beards in imitation of the Prophet Muhammad. Many frown on the mixing of the sexes, refusing to shake hands with women let alone condoning any sort of political activity by them. Although their parties are required to include female candidates, they usually print pictures of flowers instead of the women?s faces on campaign posters. And while the Salafis? ideology strikes many Egyptians as extreme and anachronistic, their sheiks command built-in networks of devoted followers, and even voters who disagree with their puritanical doctrine often credit the Salafis with integrity and authenticity.

    After the first election results last week, the Brotherhood?s Freedom and Justice Party quickly declared that it had no plans to f