Arab and Western media had thought 2011 looked like a boring year, just a break between American elections while the world waits for the next episode in the Israeli-Iranian or Israeli-Palestinian novellas.
Until a desperate Tunisian youth (Bouazizi) burned himself alive in December, and most Egyptians suddenly remembered a skinny young blogger (Khalid Said) who was beaten to death last summer by Mubarak’s police thugs. The revolution started.
Now Arab and Western media are excited now, as never before since the 1979, or maybe since 1917, or maybe 1789.
- Democratic Israel is upset, subtly blaming Obama and asking for more money and weapons to confront the threat of this new democratic Arab wave.
- American officials are uncertain whether to be upset or not. They have shown bi-polar symptoms, a k a some hypocritical tendencies. They worried about the revolt against Mubarak and Ben Ali, welcomed the revolt against Qaddafi and heartily cheered the protests in Tehran. They ignored the lingering revolt against the dictator of Sana’a (Yemen). They seriously frowned upon the revolt by the people of Bahrain (I suspect they more than frowned upon it privately: they tried to play a game of chess whereby someone else suggests their moves). I knew that the Bahraini revolt would get no traction in the officialdom of the United States as soon as Mr. Feltman flew into Manama last week and spent several days. No statement yet from Senators McCain and Lieberman yet that, yes, “Today we are all Bahrainis”, and not necessarily “Today we are all al-Khalifas”. That is natural: a Western, or any foreign, power looks after its own national interests before it looks after the interests of the people, any people.
Tony Blair puts his middle finger to the wind, maybe to a British public that he thinks has under-appreciated him. Or maybe to the traditional mores of the Labor Party, whom he sold to BAE Systems and Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. He has an epiphany, and says the ‘uprising’ in Egypt has to be ‘managed’. Presumably by himself.
Silvio Berlusconi thinks it is all amusing and tries again to call Hosni Mubarak’s dancing ‘niece’.
Sarkozy gets chronic ED, so he calls for air strikes on Qaddafi in Libya (expletive self-censored).
More reactions later. Cheers