And the Arab Winter Rumbles On…

Syrian Soldiers Patrol the Streets of Homs. Courtesy of the Guardian/Yin Bogu/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Syria has rejected the Arab League’s demand to end its violent crackdown on protesters and allow greater freedom or face economic sanctions from the League after 3500 people have been killed since the rebellion began in March.

They were suspended from the League on Wednesday.

Along with the demand to end the violence, the League also ordered Syria to allow foreign journalists to work, release all recent political prisoners, withdraw all military from the cities and enter talks with opposition groups within two weeks.

It is understood that the Syrian authorities have agreed to allow a small number, much smaller than originally proposed by the League, of observers in to monitor the peace talks but activists say that 11 have died in the unrest since last Friday are worried that the country will slide into civil war.

Libyan’s suspension from the League was a major factor in the UN agreement to send in support for the rebels back in March and with huge public pressure in countries around the Western world Syria is widely tipped to be the next country faced with foreign intervention. However there are fears within the elite that if they give into the League’s demands and in allowed foreign peace keepers they will lost control of large swathes of territory.

Meanwhile in Egypt, more than 200 people have been hurt in clashes in Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the Egyptian revolution earlier this year, as police use rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the long-term sit-in that started on Friday to protest against Egypt’s military rule.

Finally, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son that always claimed the regime would rise again, was captured trying to flee the country yesterday and will be transported to the Hague to stand trial at the International Criminal Court.

It would seem the Arab Spring still isn’t over.
Continue reading And the Arab Winter Rumbles On…

After The Fall: What’s Next For The Middle East?

Courtesy of Nick Hayes/ The Guardian

Now that the Gaddafi regime has been ousted from Tripoli and the rebels revel in and loot the various palaces of him and his family, the blogosphere and the Guardian’s picture editors are making the (slightly obvious) comparison’s between Gaddafi’s regime and the forgotten colossus in Shelley’s Ozymandias.

However, as talk turns to what Libya and the Middle East will do next I think a probably more profound literary allusion would be George Orwell. Or more specifically, the final words of his 1945 novella Animal Farm:

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from
pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Continue reading After The Fall: What’s Next For The Middle East?

Gaddafi’s Last Stand And The Future Of Libya.

Celebration In Green Square As Gaddafi Falls? Courtesy of NewsTalk.com

The rebels are closing in. The heirs to the regime have either been arrested or killed. The compound is all that is left of a dictatorship that has spanned four decades.

With only 20% of the capital, according to current reports, still in his possession and night long celebrations in the capital’s Green Square it looks like the jig is up for Colonel Gaddafi.

His time in power, lubricated by sitting on top of an oil reserve that the Western powers don’t want to lose, has been marked by suspicion, mystery and worldwide condemnation. It is hard to believe this is the end of the saga that has been going on since the airstrike began back in March.

Back when NATO sanctioned the air attack the government tried to suggest that it would be quick and painless as Gaddafi was already on his last legs. However the past 5 months have proved that was as naive as most commentators and members of the public thought at the time.
Continue reading Gaddafi’s Last Stand And The Future Of Libya.