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Land of the Pharaohs, But Not of Democracy

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The Great Pyramids at Giza still stand as testaments to Ancient Egypt’s role as a foundation for civilization. However, the foundation for democracy in modern Egypt appears unstable.
Picture Source: CIA World Factbook

Ever since the autocratic Hosni Mubarak was forced out of the presidency in 2011, political instability in Egypt has been as predictable as the annual flooding of the Nile River.  Mubarak’s ouster led to a period of military rule, and promises of a quick transition to democracy faded as the military clung to power for more than a year.  But then, in what appeared to be a sign of progress, Egypt successfully conducted it’s first democratic presidential elections in 2012, choosing Muhammed Morsi to be the country’s new leader.

Unfortunately, a successful election does not guarantee a successful presidency, and Morsi faced an uphill battle from the start.  Even after Morsi took office, the Egyptian army attempted to maintain control of the country, going as far as demanding that the newly elected Parliament be disbanded.  Morsi’s first few months were essentially a power struggle against army leaders, but since still Egypt lacked a Constitution, he had little legal legitimacy in his actions to wrest control from the army.

Morsi’s government managed to create a new Constitution, but many in Egypt were angered by his attempts to include Islamic law into the Egyptian legal code.  Morsi originally ran as a candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, a moderate Islamist group, but his polarizing choices as president (often involving religious issues) began to hurt his popularity and led to fears that he would be no better than Mubarak.  Having only won 52% of the vote when he was originally elected, Morsi began to see a swift decline in his popularity after taking office.  Persistently high levels of both unemployment and inflation also hurt his public perception.

Simply put, Morsi’s first year in office was far from the return to normalcy and stability many Egyptians had hoped for, and the first anniversary of his inauguration sparked renewed protests in the streets.  These protests quickly became violent, prompting the still-powerful army to give Morsi an ultimatum.  Either Morsi would give some concessions to his opponents or the army would force him from office.  The result of this ultimatum has been front page news – Morsi refused to give in, and the army followed through on its threat, reclaiming political power for itself.

This means that, for now, the future of Egyptian democracy is in the hands of army generals.  Considering their reluctance to cede any authority the last time they were in power, Egypt may be wise to expect a long period before any elections are held.  However, the army justified their most recent takeover as being in the interests of the populace, who were increasingly against Morsi’s policies.  If the army feels they are now working as an agent of the people, they might be more inclined to promote a democratic transition than they were back in 2011 and 2012, when they appeared reluctant to hand over power.

Of course, given the army’s record, optimism about their willingness to promote democracy should be kept to a minimum.  And even if the army is willing to hold elections and cede authority to the victor, Egypt still faces polarizing political divisions that it must come to terms with.  Mubarak’s old autocratic government would often simply ignore dissenting opinions, but if Egypt wants to be a democracy, it must find a way to bridge the gap between supporters of secularism and Islamism as well as determine how powerful the nation’s executive should be.  Morsi’s actions in regard to both of these issues led to the public discontent that eventually forced him from office, and any new chief executive would be wise to learn from Morsi’s mistakes.

Muhammed Morsi was a controversial and divisive figure in Egypt.  But by ending his rule, Egypt’s army has created fertile ground for more controversy and division before Egypt can finally have a chance to reach the stability it has so desperately been seeking.

 

For another article that explains the underlying problems Arab Spring revolutions have faced, read “The Revolution Paradox“, which applies historical examples to modern revolutions.

Filed under International
Jul 5, 2013

What’s going on in Syria?

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In the early months of 2011, the middle eastern nation of Syria experienced anti-government protests as a result of the growing Arab Spring movement.  But back then, almost no one expected that those protests would morph into a more than two year long, extremely bloody civil war resulting in tens of thousands of deaths nationwide.  While this gloomy scenario was unexpected, it has transformed into an unfortunate reality for not just Syria, but also the entire world.

How did this remarkable transition from clustered protests to widespread civil war occur?  One explanation lies in the fact that while leaders of many other nations affected by the Arab Spring were hesitant to respond with excessive violence, Syrian autocrat Bashar al-Assad quickly resorted to violent means to quell protests.  Not willing to allow a totalitarian crackdown against descent, rebels responded with violence as well.  As both sides stepped up their tactics, the conflict quickly devolved into an all-out war that has included the targeting of civilians.

Unfortunately, the conflict does not appear to be approaching any satisfactory conclusion.  Recent attempts at peace negotiations have been met with extreme skepticism from all parties, as Syria seems to be too entrenched in conflict to find an easy resolution.  Worse, recent evidence shows that chemical weapons may have been used in the conflict.  The use of chemical weapons demonstrates that the war is escalating, exacerbating the conflict in the face of international hopes to stop the fighting.

But even though the majority of the international community has attempted to curb the fighting, these attempts have been extremely limited in their effectiveness.  A major factor for this limited success has been the overwhelming influence of Russia, a nation that not only has veto power on the United Nations Security Council but also has been supplying arms to Assad.  The United States government has deliberated on whether or not the U.S. should intervene more directly than Russia has allowed the U.N. to do, but so far, the rebels are only receiving limited support from western governments.

Russia is not the only reason the U.S. is hesitant to offer more assistance to the rebels, however.  Al-Qaeda influence has spread into many rebel groups, forcing the United States to question whether they are willing to help defeat Assad if doing so might hand the country over to terrorists.  Basically, the U.S. has found its foreign policy stuck between a rock and a hard place, and while it may be uncomfortable with the status quo of civil war, it doesn’t want to commit itself to either the rebels or Assad.

The idea of a status quo works well for Syria right now, as little action seems to be occurring that could transition the country towards peace.  However, we must remember that the status quo so many nations seem comfortable with has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians.  While an easy path to stability and peace in Syria seems unlikely, that doesn’t mean the international community should give up on Syria.

Filed under International
May 22, 2013

Only a Stepping Stone: Egypt’s New Constitution

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Egypt has spent a nearly two year long transitional period lacking a Constitution to gauge the legality of its leaders’ actions.  But now, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has signed the country’s new Constitution into law.  Such an action might make one believe that Egypt’s unstable transitional days are over, and that the country is now headed for a stable and democratic future.  Unfortunately, that unchecked optimism is unwarranted, and Egypt’s new Constitution is only a stepping stone on the path to creating a stable democracy.

The first obstacle Egypt’s constitution presents to creating a stable democracy is its inclusion of sharia law as a foundation for Egyptian law.  While moderate Islamist government is not by principle undemocratic, the incorporation of this fundamentalist Koranic doctrine into Egyptian government is too vague to give citizens a clear understanding of what religious laws they are bound by.  Without clearly differentiating the boundary between religious rules and democratic freedoms, the new Constitution fails to define the extent of democracy in the new Egypt.  The gray area this creates has already proven itself to be dangerous through the response to the controversial Innocence of Muslims video.  This inflammatory video denigrated Islam and broke Koranic law, but also was protected under the basic democratic tenet of free speech.  The video ignited widespread protests in Egypt, and although Morsi was able to eventually calm the protestors, the incident serves as a first chapter in Egypt’s struggle to reconcile democracy and Islam.  Unfortunately, the Constitution has not solved this conflict and in fact has only exacerbated it by sparking new tensions.  Egypt still faces an uncertain future in regards to the limits of religion in government.

Additionally, the public vote on the Constitution demonstrates both distrust and apathy towards the new government.  While the Constitution was passed in a nationwide referendum with an impressive 64% of the vote, less than one third of eligible voters cast their vote.  Considering that the very legal structure of the country was at stake, the apathy of most Egyptian voters serves as a disheartening surprise.  Morsi can claim public support for his Constitution from the fact that it passed, but the underlying voter apathy shows that the mood in Egypt is far from enthusiastic about Morsi’s policies.

Worse still, the Constitution has come under heavy criticism for failing to protect Egypt’s women and minorities.  64% of voters may have approved the Constitution, but that leaves 36% who voted against the document.  This latter group has served as a very vocal opposition, and many of their concerns are both valid and unanswered by the Egyptian government so far.  After all, how can a Constitution that uses Islamist law as foundation for national law protect the rights of Egypt’s large Coptic Christian population?  Opponents of the Constitution have followed this line of questioning, but Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have been hesitant to provide concrete answers.

But all this negativity directed towards Egypt’s constitution does not mean the country is doomed to instability forever.  While many obstacles still remain, it is important to remember that many of Egypt’s problems have been encountered before.  The ‘vagueness’ of Egypt’s Constitution mirrors that of many other constitutions.  Even America’s Constitution needed a Bill of Rights to include the basic freedoms many have argued Egypt’s Constitution ignores, as the original draft of the U.S. Constitution lacked the freedoms of speech and religion.  Voter apathy may be unexpected for such an important vote, but many democracies have learned that large segments of the public simply don’t care.  Minorities haven’t won their protections yet, but many other democracies have taken decades to extend full rights to all citizens.  Egypt’s new Constitution may have problems and may only be a stepping stone towards stability, but at least Egypt is taking a step in the right direction.

Filed under International
Dec 27, 2012

The Dark Side of the Arab Spring

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Cairo, seen here, was one of the starting points for the wave of protests that have swept up across the Middle East.
Source: CIA World Factbook

On Septemeber 11th, protests in Egypt resulted in a storming of the American Embassy in Cairo.  That same day, an attack was made on U.S. officials in Libya, killing the American ambassador.  These acts of violence were reportedly instigated by an anti-Islam video posted online.

Of course, the exact justification for the events that have unfolded remains to be clear.  While an inflammatory video is certainly capable of sparking outrage, mere anger alone should not be expected to lead to the storming of an embassy.  The attack in Libya is even more mysterious, and there is no sure connection between the video and the shooting.

But even as authorities investigate the exact chain of events, the incidents in both Egypt and Libya have sparked increased anti-Western sentiment across the Arab World.  Protests have erupted from Nigeria to Bangladesh, representing a deep-seated distrust of Western powers by the general populace in varying Muslim-majority countries.

These recent protests highlight a transition originally sparked by the Arab Spring.  This transition, marked by a shift from authoritarian secularism to both democracy and Islamist tendencies, has reinvigorated tensions between the Middle East and the Western world.

Western governments, it should be noted, are partly responsible for creating the conditions that led to this shift.  As the Western world condoned the actions of secular autocrats, Islamist groups often served as the main political opposition to these leaders in the absence of international pressure.  Even though the Arab Spring was a series of secular and not religious revolutions, the power void created in its wake allowed the already established Islamist oppositions to take control.

Still, this Islamist control of post-Arab Spring countries does not fully explain the actions that occurred in Egypt and Libya.  They most certainly don’t explain the protests occurring in many countries largely unchanged by the Arab Spring.  In fact, Mohamed Morsi, the president who controls Egypt’s moderate Islamist government, has repeated his calls for an end to the violence and a return to normalcy.  New Islamist governments should not receive the blame for recent actions.

A more reasonable explanation is that the video was viewed by the Muslim populace of many nations as yet another injustice against the Muslim world condoned by the U.S. and other Western powers.  This theory helps explain why protests have spread to Muslim countries not affected by the Arab Spring even though they started in the Arab Spring hotspots of Egypt and Libya.

The whole series of incidents underlines the growing symptoms of a worsening clash between Western democratic ideals and Islamic beliefs.  The incendiary video is of course protected by free speech- a basic tenet of democracy.  But on the flip side, the Islamic world places just as much value on the sanctity of their religion as Westerners do on the freedom of their speech.  Westerners are long accustomed to the obscene and occasionally revolting side-effects of free speech.   Much of the Arab world is not, and they should thus be expected to be more sensitive to its abuses.

The continuing turmoil in the Middle East is an unwelcome turn for Westerners.  However, it is also an expected and logical effect of ongoing trends.  As the Middle East struggles to find its place in the larger world, natural clashes between established traditions and new values should be expected, even if the results of these clashes are unwelcome.

Filed under International
Sep 15, 2012

In Egypt, A Consolidation of Power

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Even though new President Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected this summer, Egypt has faced a continuing power struggle.  Army leaders in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, also known as SCAF, have been reluctant to relinquish power.  After dissolving the newly elected Parliament, SCAF claimed legislative and executive powers for itself.

Morsi, of course, has actively combated the army’s efforts to maintain power.  His first bold move as President was to call Parliament back into session, superseding the army’s orders.  But now, by forcing the retirement of SCAF’s top generals, Morsi has effectively disabled the army’s grip on power.

Cleverly, Morsi relied on younger army officers to support this shake-up.  With the old army leaders gone, Morsi was able to give younger army members the most powerful positions.  Since these new leaders owe their positions to Morsi, they are less likely to challenge his power than the Mubarak appointed army leaders Morsi had been dealing with.  The army seems to be, once again, loyal to the president.

Considering that there has been little opposition to Morsi’s consolidation of presidential powers, Egypt finally appears to be returning to normal.   However, the next step that Egypt needs to take is the creation of a constitution.  After all, a constitution is critical not only to set the powers for each branch of government, but it is also critical to subdue the army in the future.  It is difficult for Morsi to argue that the army has overstepped its powers when there is no formal constitution to dictate those powers.  Additionally, a constitution will give Morsi increased legitimacy, as until now the only legitimacy for his actions has been his democratic election.  And while he is Egypt’s first democratically elected president ever, it is important to note that the duties of the office were still extremely vague when he was elected.

But even after successfully wresting control from the army, Morsi still faces a conundrum over Egypt’s courts.  In the past, Egypt’s courts have sided with SCAF and against Morsi.  The main reason for this is that, like the old members of SCAF, the most powerful judges were appointed by Mubarak and are hesitant to the change that Morsi represents.  Any new constitution will have to respect the judiciary while understanding that current judges may be unwelcome to change.

The most powerful leaders of SCAF defeated, Morsi and his Parliament face a new challenge in drafting a Constitution.  The future of a newly democratic Egypt is at stake, and specific laws must be drawn up to prevent a power struggle in the future.

Filed under International
Aug 14, 2012

Al-Qaeda in Syria, A Dangerous Development

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Westerners have tended to side with the rebels in Syria in their fight against Assad’s government.  The rationale is simple: Westerners view the rebels as freedom fighters and Assad as a dictatorial figure.  But these empathetic feelings may soon disappear.

Suspicions of al-Qaeda working in support of the rebels have been growing.  If al-Qaeda gains influence within voids created by a weakening Assad government, Syria could become a breeding ground for terrorism.

This creates a problem for the U.S. and other Western nations.  Theoretically, as nations pledged to democracy, they should support the ousting of an autocrat.  However, the collapse of Assad’s regime may only serve to further destabilize the region and further the spread of extremists.  The possibility of democracy is coupled with a threat of instability.

Up until now, the United States has appeared supportive of policies that allow the rebels to obtain arms through the Turkish-Syrian border.  However, the news of al-Qaeda influence gives the U.S. reason to double think that strategy.  A few decades ago, similar policies allowed the Taliban to obtain guns in order to combat the Soviets in Afghanistan.  Fast forward twenty years, and the U.S. government regretted that decision.  U.S. military leaders will not want to make the same mistake with Syria.

Then again, stopping Syrian rebels from receiving arms only serves to tip the fight towards Assad.  To fix this, the United States also has the option of trying to establish stronger diplomatic relations with the rebellion’s leadership.  The rebellion is actually based in Turkey, and since both the U.S. and Turkey have taken a strong stance against Assad, the two countries share a mutual interest in a strong but al-Qaeda free rebellion.

However, it is not exactly clear how much control rebel leaders headquartered in Turkey have on ground operations in Syria.  The U.S. has no way of telling if the rebellion’s leaders would have a way to successfully remove al-Qaeda influence from the rebellion.  And since the extent of al-Qaeda’s reach is still a mystery, the U.S. does not even know how widespread the problem is.

Because of the many unknowns still surrounding the situation, no extreme action should be expected in the short term.  Still, the danger a nascent al-Qaeda influence presents will likely impact international reactions in regards to the Syrian conflict.  Actions by the international community against Assad are more difficult when the alternative is just as scary.

Filed under International
Jul 25, 2012

Continued Violence in Syria: The Rebellion Reaches Damascus

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The 17 month old Arab Spring Rebellion in Syria reached a turning point Wednesday when a bombing attack killed both the Defense Minister and President Bashir al-Assad’s brother-in-law.   The rebels, who are often viewed as being disjointed, proved that they have the ability to target influential individuals who are close to Assad.

But in the case of this bombing, the location is just as important as the targets.  Occurring in the Syrian capital of Damascus, the rebels were able to attack Assad where he should have been the strongest.  Nascent organization amongst the rebels, especially through the Syrian National Council, has been increasing, meaning that the rebellion is providing a more unified opposition to the Assad regime.  Partially for this reason, the Red Cross has declared the conflict in Syria an official civil war, which helps to legitimize the rebel organization.

The rebels may have shown their increasing power by staging an attack in Assad’s stronghold, but that is no guarantee the rebels are strong enough to eventually beat Assad’s forces and take control of the government.  If anything, it represents the latest stage in an ongoing escalation of the conflict.  Rebels have managed to obtain military supplies from across the Turkish border, and Assad has likely been receiving weapons from Russia.

Still, if the rebels now have the ability to target powerful individuals in Damascus, Assad is likely to lose the support of some of the Syrian elite.  Direct clashes between the rebels and Assad’s forces will most likely only lead to a bloody war of attrition.  However, by stirring unrest through the ranks of Assad’s most powerful supporters, the rebels may have a chance to undermine Assad’s regime and weaken his grip on power.

The rebels in Syria have made a bold attack, but they must now work to continue their attempts.  One dent is not enough to collapse Assad’s government, and yet it is most certainly a step in the right direction.

Filed under International
Jul 18, 2012

Egypt’s Continuing Power Struggle

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Egypt’s newly elected president Mohammed Morsi has made an aggressive political decision by calling Egypt’s Parliament to re-assemble.  Just weeks ago, the Parliament was dissolved by Egypt’s Supreme Court in a move that many viewed was an attempt to cement the military’s hold on power.  Both the most powerful judges and the military elite are holdovers from the days of Mubarak, and their attempts to maintain power threaten the viability of Morsi’s new government.  As Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Morsi has the responsibility of successfully transitioning Egypt out of the army’s clutches and making it a fully functioning democracy.

Morsi’s call to reconvene the Parliament can be viewed as a direct challenge to the military leaders.  In this respect, his actions make sense.  After all, both he and the Parliament have been elected to serve Egypt.  The military leaders, being unelected, should in no way hold power over the legislature.

However, Morsi’s call is also in direct opposition to the Supreme Court.  While often assumed to be aligned with the military in blocking democratic efforts, the court is still important for the functioning of Egypt’s government, and Morsi has partially voided its legitimacy by attempting to overrule its decision.

The underlying problem with these events in Egypt is that Egypt no longer has a constitution to provide checks and balances to its separate branches of government.  Morsi’s action may be criticized for having no basis in law, but any action can be criticized as illegitimate when there is no supreme law of the land.

When the Supreme Court disbanded the legislature, the army assumed legislative powers.  Mr. Morsi, by reconvening the Parliament, is giving legislative powers back to elected representatives.  Additionally, the first step to creating a functioning constitution is to have a democratically elected voting body.

Mr. Morsi is creating legitimacy for his government.  While the army’s reaction is not yet known, an overruling of a Mubarak-tainted Supreme Court seems acceptable if the end goal is to create a working and stable democratic system.

Filed under International
Jul 9, 2012

Egypt’s Trudge to Democracy

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Last month, after a successful first round of the presidential election in Egypt, it seemed as if things were really going in the right direction. Sure, the provisional military government had still overstepped its bounds, but once the runoff occurred, democracy in Egypt would ensue, right? Wrong. Several recent events have thrown Egypt back into turmoil and make it seem as if democracy is yet another step away.

As it turns out, after the parliamentary elections put the Muslim Brotherhood, an political Islamist party, in power, the supreme court, appointed by ousted president Hosni Mubarak, determined that the parliament was essentially void. Both the courts and the military claim to be for democracy and for change, but in reality both are leftovers from Mubarak’s age and are truly dragging their feet. Since the court declared this, the military once again claimed legislative power. Additionally, the military threw away the constitution created by the parliament and put together a 100-person panel to draft a new one. This panel will likely side more with the military and the court, which now leaves Egypt essentially under the control of a military junta.

This move demonstrates two clear currents in Egyptian politics. The first is that the military generals who control the government currently came into power wanting democracy. Then, after a while of having this power, much like Mubarak, decided that they really like that power and do not want to give it up. The generals have a unique position though; they are the only organizational entity, beside the court, that has it within their means to help set up a government. This means that they will likely eventually set up democracy, but they want to hold onto power for just a little bit longer. The second trend this demonstrates is the ongoing clash between the secular authorities and the Islamist politicians. While the Muslim Brotherhood had an overwhelming victory in the parliamentary elections, their candidate’s expectations in the presidential runoff was considerably less. Immediately after Mubarak was overthrown, the Muslim Brotherhood exemplified that rebellious, radical spirit that so many Egyptians thirsted for. Egyptians wanted change, the Muslim Brotherhood promised it. Now, however, Egyptians are starting to see a more reasonable change in the secular politicians. These two trends show that forming a government of democracy peacefully will be hard.

As if the mess with the Egyptian parliament is not enough, Egyptian election officials have also left the results of the presidential election up in the air. After the first round, the run-off came down to the Islamist candidate Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and the secular candidate Ahmed Shafik, former prime minister under Mubarak. In all media, official and unofficial, it is clear that the votes indicate Morsi as the winner. What caused this delay is a mixture of factors. First, and most obvious is that the election officials work under the military government and were appointed by Mubarak. The military government does not want to lose its power.  Therefore, election officials cause a delay. Second, Shafik’s campaign has already filed complaints of election fraud by Morsi’s campaign. Whether this is a valid complaint or just a ploy is not immediately clear; however, based on first round results and the parliamentary results, Morsi’s success would not be a huge surprise. Third, and probably most important, is that the generals are holding back the results to dangle over the Brotherhood’s head. Currently, the Brotherhood refuses to accept the dissolution of the parliament, and the generals have vowed to not release the results, which will most likely name Morsi president, until the Brotherhood fully accepts the parliamentary dissolution.

And yesterday, as if things could not get any more complicated, there was a scare over Mubarak’s health. Although he is removed from power and in prison, many fear that the military will use his declining health as a way to let him free.

With all of these complicating factors in Egypt, the walk to the finish line of democracy will be murky, however, as is clear in the continued protests in Tahrir Square, where it all started, the Egyptian people will not settle for anything less. Egyptian people are truly getting military-fatigue and the junta needs to be out of power, yet with the dissolution of the parliament and the holding back of election results, it seems as if this will be a hard move. Egypt has lost most of its momentum in becoming democratic, but the will of the people still makes it chug on.

Filed under International
Jun 21, 2012

Russia and Syria

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Tensions have renewed between rebels and the government in Syria.  The scary news about the worsening conflict is that both sides appear to be using increasingly more destructive weapons, making everyday life more dangerous for citizens of the war torn nation.

International attempts to ameliorate the situation have been minimal.  A ceasefire, backed by the U.N., was put in place, but it failed to create an end to the deaths.  One of the reasons more has not been done is the reluctance of Russia to support the rebels.  Russia, with its permanent position on the United Nations Security Council, is able to veto measures they disagree with.

The reason Russia has been hesitant to support the Syrian uprising, or at the very least condemn Bashir al-Assad’s regime, is that Assad’s Syria has been an ally for Russia.  Additionally, Assad has allegedly bought arms from Russia, giving Russia a valuable trade partner that might be lost if the rebels take power.

Other nations have been critical of Russia’s actions, but they have not been all that outspoken until recently, when the U.S. accused Russia of supplying Assad with attack helicopters.

The U.S. is right to worry.  Thousands have already died in Syria’s bloody conflict, and Assad’s forces have commonly been indiscriminate in who they attack.  Worse news is that with a powerful weapons supplier like Russia involved, it is hard to see the Syrian conflict ending anytime soon.

The best and most obvious course of action would be pursuading Russia to end their support.  This, of course, is easier said than done.  A great deal of political capital was already expended convincing Russia to allow intervention in Libya last year.

External pressure is a difficult path forward, but perhaps we can expect some internal pressure for change as well.  Vladimir Putin’s election to a third term as Russia’s president in a vote marred with concerns over fraud has ignited large-scale protests.

Russia’s opposition has been emboldened by both the fraud allegations and by better performances in recent elections.  While Russia’s political system is still heavily stacked in Putin’s favor, the current political climate seems to be helping the opposition.

Internal change is promising, but it has no timetable.  International pressure seems  difficult, but an increasingly precarious situation in Syria may make it a more feasible solution.  As the deaths continue, it will become harder for Russia to continue their support.  For now, harsher dialogue is a better path forward than quiet acquiescence.  We must remember that Russia is a key player in fixing a broken Syria, and any progress, internal or external, is welcome.

 

 

Filed under International
Jun 13, 2012

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