Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Deadlock Over Syria



".....But after the Arab defeat in the 1967 war, the Middle East entered a period of stagnation which lasted four decades. Its regimes — whether republics or monarchies — gave up any attempt at reform. They were characterised by authoritarianism, the concentration of wealth in a clique close to the leadership, and endemic corruption. While there were sporadic and spontaneous outbursts of popular discontent, the desire for social change was ignored and governments focused on geopolitical issues, clashing with each other over their policies towards the US and Israel.....

Are we heading for an Islamist winter, sectarian clashes, or the crushing of the protest movements in Syria and Egypt? We cannot discount any of these hypotheses, but they all underestimate the power of the protests, the commitment to holding democratic elections and the extraordinary resilience of the people in Syria, as in Bahrain. They are reviving social and democratic struggles largely dormant since 1967, while maintaining their support for the Palestinian cause, which has never gone away. In this context, further foreign intervention would risk stirring up divisions, as it did in Iraq and Libya, and risk transforming a democratic struggle into a sectarian one, primarily between Shia and Sunnis."

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