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Middle East and North Africa teeter on the brink

Middle East, North Africa (MENA)

Middle East, North Africa (MENA)

When the boot comes off the neck of the populace, the results sometimes are not at all what the original peaceful protesters envisioned and hoped for. Egypt is now increasingly hard-line Islamist (say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss) and Syria may well become a failed state with tribal retributions and foreign invaders vying for dominance. Assad is a thug and a pig but Syria did have a thriving economy. That economy is now rubble. Even if peace somehow comes now, it’ll take Syria years, maybe decades to recover. The entire Middle East could become destabilized.

What kept people in line was tyranny. Some dictators may have been “acquiescent”” in the eyes of the West, like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, or “adversarial” like the Assads. But they “are going the way of the dodo,” says Miller. “I am not saying the region is headed for a catastrophic meltdown, but we are at one of those hinges of history when profound changes are taking place that we are singularly ill-equipped to understand.”

The US, through its usual bumbling arrogance, has managed to alienate most of the players in MENA and thus it’s not surprising that we don’t understand what’s happening there. We’ve never really tried to understand the area but rather sought only to impose our will on it.

  • John Couzin

    “sought only to impose our will on it.” I feel that is what we are still deliberately doing. The West is not interested in a stable and democratic Middle East. Chaos is fine as long as we have our hands on their resources, that way we stay in control of what really matters to the West, those resources. With stable democratic governments in that region it might be hard for us to steal their goodies, they might drive a hard bargain, or worse, deal with that other power block, Russia and China. No the Middle East is just going along the best route for the Western corporate thugs and if need be, they will be backed up by their bodyguard, the mighty Western military.

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