The real war on women is in the Middle East
The dissolution of Iraq into chaos, perhaps alongside and in sync with Syria, threatens to plunge the Middle East into a humanitarian and political nightmare. If a fear of this fate conjured prudence for the first Bush Administration in its decision not to advance on Baghdad, serious labours for the sake of a viable government in Iraq seemed oddly absent in the minds of the invaders of 2003. This lapse, more than anything else, best underscores the contempt observers felt upon witnessing George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” theatre.
Rather than seriously confront the fears of 1991, the younger Bush went into Iraq stoked with a contempt for nation building. The State Department was marginalized as appointments and duties, ostensibly for the sake of rebuilding Iraq, were made on the basis of loyalty and graft. A government, as in Afghanistan, was allowed to come to be on the basis of religious and ethnic fault lines, motivated seemingly by the dreamy notion that stable democracy is a phenomenon that jumps fully fledged like a rabbit out of history’s magic hat. >continue<
Stephen Kinzer writes on Turkey’s transformation and the on-going task of overcoming its fragmented society:
…it is tempting to see the central conflict in Turkish society as pitting secularism against growing religious influence. This is misleading. None of the dozens of people I met during a recent visit suggested that Turkey is in danger of slipping toward Islamist rule. Turkish society has defenses that most Arab societies lack: generations of experience with secularism and democracy, a growing middle class, a booming export economy, a still-lively press, and a strong civil society based in universities, labor unions, business associations, and civic, human rights, and environmental groups. The emerging conflict in Turkey is not over religion, but styles of power. >continue<
Saudi Arabia isn’t taking this whole democracy thing lying down. It’s putting down uprisings, beefing up alliances with fellow autocrats, and distancing itself from the US. Dan Murphy outlines Saudi Arabia’s response to the Arab Spring in the Backchannels blog.
Unlike the US, whose selective encouragement of pro-democracy movements make it seem – in the language of pseudo-psychology – “conflicted,” the Kingdom has a laser-like focus on its interests, which begin and end with regime survival. Since the US isn’t a wholehearted supporter of the status quo anymore, the Saudis are creating alternative networks to prevent regime change. - Dan Murphy, staff reporter.