Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A rude Arab awakening

What will happen to the uprisings in Libya, Yemen, and Syria as the ruling governments continue repressive policies?

Marwan Bishara


"Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, answers questions about the current escalation - and what some see as setbacks - surrounding the uprisings in Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

How do you explain the fact that since the upheavals erupted several months ago, the Libyan, Yemeni and Syrian regimes have continued their repression unabatedly - while in Egypt and Tunisia the regimes fell quickly?

....These "mini armies" are headed by, and are loyal to, influential family members of the regimes that have long groomed them to fight in defence of the regime, not for state or society.

These soldiers' indoctrination and privilege blind them from noticing the changing reality. Instead, they continue to kill and destroy their countries to try to save their expired regimes.

As these ruling families monopolised security and business, they've emptied their countries of independent state agents capable of taking a neutral or mediating position. This has led to direct and ugly confrontations between people and the escalation of brute force.

Be that as it may, Libya, Yemen and Syria face complete economic shutdown, economic sanctions, and poor supplies. There is a limit to their resources.

Realising that their fight is primarily against time, the regimes are throwing all they've got to tame the upheavals, in order to avoid yet worse sanctions and the loss of whatever remaining legitimacy they have as state actors, shielded from international interference under the international system.....

If these are signs of weakness, why are these regimes able to continue their fight unabated?

....This usually escalates to an unpredictable dynamic of its own, leading to terrible and ugly violence such as "war crimes". Such violence represents the governments' de facto abdication as the recognised authority and their transformation to being just another rogue element in the state.

From then on, it's only a question of time before the regime loses all power. And time is generally on the people's side, especially if the international community takes a moral or legal stand.

But what does that mean concretely for the future of Libya, Yemen and Syria?

The good news is that despite the terrible violence, pluralistic city- and town-based associations and regional coordination committees are being established to help the resistance in all three countries. Such civil cooperatives are the best guarantees for ploughing forward and ensuring a popular-based, post-conflict future.

But as they enter their final phase, regimes could also get so desperate that they try to bring the country down along with them. However, they may also use that "craziness" as a bargaining chip to share power, ensure safety for themselves and their families, and obtain immunity from prosecution....."

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