Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Middle Pieces

Wow, I can't say I saw this coming. Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen, Sudan...Libya. In country after country in the Middle East, protestors are taking to the streets in attempts to force their autocratic governments to step aside. The "Jasmine Revolution" as its been called.

A little more than a week after Egyptian democracy protestors forced their leader Hosni Mubarak from power, we see dynasties and monarchies much older than Mubarak's facing turmoil not seen since their creation. Jordan's King Abdullah II has pledged to institute democratic reforms in an effort to stave off upheaval. The Islamic monarchy in Bahrain has been battling demonstrators for weeks, but today said it would release all political prisoners in a move that may signal the end of its reign. Let's put this into perspective; right now an estimated 100,000 protestors are marching through the streets of the Bahrainian city of Manama...Bahrain is a country of less than one million citizens.

Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, today announced he will not seek re-election to the tumultuous presidency he has held since 1989, while Yemen's president remains defiant in a nation still clearly divided. But nothing is more intriguing than what's happening in Libya, a country at odds with the United States for decades.

Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi has been the leader of Libya since he led a military coup there in 1969, but now refugees are fleeing the country as it decends into chaos. Refugees have reported hundreds of deaths at the hands of pro-government supporters, and claim that the capitol of Tripoli looks like a war zone. When hearing of Qaddafi's recent statements, I can't help but be reminded of Iraq's former information minister, "Baghdad Bob," who proclaimed confidence in the invincible Iraqi army as the buildings literally crumbled around him.

Pre-Qaddafi era Libyan flags have been reported sprouting up at Libyan embassies around the world, and Libyan government officials have resigned in protest at the bloody crackdown. Most notably, the ambassador to the U.S. Has resigned and the Libyan ambassador to the United Nations has called on Qaddafi to step aside immediately. There have also been reports that senior Libyan military officials have asked the armed forces to support the rebellion, however, it has also been reported that military helicopters and war planes are responsible for many of the deaths. Human Rights Watch has confirmed over 200 dead, while some estimates reach as high as 500.

One of the United States' oldest foes seems to be at the end of his tenure, and it doesn't appear that a U.S. Airstrike will be held responsible...oh and Carmelo Anthony just got traded to the Knicks. As my boy Martin Lawrence put it in the movie Bad Boys II, "Shit (definitely) just got real."
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  1. The "Jasmine Revolution" is definitely something the people of the Middle East can be proud of. Things always get worse before they get better though, I hope it doesn't bring too much death and destruction to the people. Ha @ the Carmelo and Martin reference.

  2. Daym, great to have your blogging expertise on board! Ya man, I guess this Carmelo guy is pretty good.