Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Huge protests fan Egypt unrest But Indian DIPLOMACY Stranded in wildness!India to take up dubious university issue with US!

Huge protests fan Egypt unrest But Indian DIPLOMACY Stranded in wildness!India to take up dubious university issue with US!

Armed forces chief seen as Mubarak successor!

"We will be taking it up with the educational authorities in the US as how it allowed the university to function, how it was allowed to dupe gullible Indian students," said External Affairs Minister SM Krishna while terming the Tri-Valley university as "dubious."
more by SM Krishna - 12 minutes ago - Hindustan Times (14 occurrences)

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A senior Congress leader from Telangana, G Venkataswamy, today lashed out at the style of functioning of party President Sonia Gandhi and demanded that she step down from her post and make way for an Indian.

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A senior Congress leader from Telangana, G Venkataswamy, today lashed out at the style of functioning of party President Sonia Gandhi and demanded that she step down from her post and make way for an Indian.

India to take up dubious university issue with US!

Armed forces chief seen as Mubarak successor!

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Huge protests fan Egypt unrest But Indian DIPLOMACY Stranded in wildness!Since Nehru Era Non aligned age, India and Egypt are very GOOD Friends! Apart from Friendship and bialiteral relations, EGYPT is the Epicentre of Developing World Geopolitics, specilly West Asia, Middle East and Arab World.Citing internal Matter, India may not be detached with events of Global Revolution as it is projected involving Muslim Sentiments worldwide!

Hundreds of thousands of people have flooded into central Cairo, where protesters have called for a "million-strong" march to press their demand that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak cede power.

THE turmoil in Egypt spread to Jordan last night as King Abdullah sacked his government and appointed a new prime minister, Maruf Bakhit, with orders to carry out "true political reforms".     Jordan's King Abdullah Tuesday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai's government and asked ex-premier Marouf Bakhit to form a new government, according to a royal court statement.

India ONGC to give up Egypt exploration assets-source





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8:47pm GMT+0530

NEW DELHI | Tue Feb 1, 2011 8:10am EST

NEW DELHI Feb 1 (Reuters) - India's state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC.BO) will give up its exploration assets in Egypt, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday, as the discoveries are not commercially viable.

"ONGC has informed Egypt authorities that it wants to relinquish North Ramadan concession, while it would shortly do so for NEMED block," the source, who did not wish to be identified, told Reuters.

ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of ONGC, has a 70-percent stake in Egypt's North Ramadan Concession while U.S.-owned IPR Energy Red Sea Inc. holds the remainder.

ONGC Videsh also owns a 33 percent stake in the North East Mediterranean Deepwater Concession (NEMED), in the Mediterranean sea offshore Egypt.

The other partners in that block are Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) with 51 percent as operator and Malaysia's Petronas [PETR.UL] with a 16 percent stake.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Jo Winterbottom)

Fuel prices in India to rise as Brent tops $100
NDTV Correspondent & Agencies, February 01, 2011

    India seems insulated from the crisis in Middle East where a popular uprising for democracy in Egypt continues unabated. However, Indian consumers are likely to bear the brunt of the unrest as international crude prices start inching upwards to break previous records.


    On Monday, Brent crude oil price crossed $100 per barrel for the first time since 2008. Brent crude is the accepted world benchmark crude oil which is used to price two-third of the world's internationally traded crude oil supplies including that in Asia and Europe.


    The sharp rise in Brent crude will affect India because Brent has 32 per cent weightage in the Indian crude basket. The Indian crude basket is hovering at a much lower $94 per barrel currently. But that is 5 per cent more than the price in December when the average price of the Indian basket was $89.78 per barrel.


    The situation would get even worse if the Egyptian unrest spills over to more important oil producing regions like Saudi Arabia. India's largest crude imports come from Saudi Arabia.


    While Egypt is not a major oil-producing country, each day about two million barrels of oil pass through the Suez Canal and an adjacent pipeline, both of which are controlled by Egypt. The Suez remains open and shipping has not been interrupted.


    On Monday, PSU oil firms hiked jet fuel prices by a massive 4.5 per cent, the biggest hike in almost a year, on the back of spiraling international oil prices. This is the eighth straight increase in jet fuel prices since October 2010, when international crude oil prices started soaring.


    Petrol prices, that have been deregulated, are also likely to rise soon . The last revision in petrol prices came on December 14 when oil major Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) hiked prices by Rs. 2.95 per litre. This was the fourth hike after government's decision to deregulate petrol prices.


    Oil marketing companies (OMCs) in India are already facing huge under-recoveries as they give a subsidy of Rs. 8 per litre on diesel, Rs. 19 per litre subsidy on Kerosene and a massive Rs. 360 per cylinder subsidy on LPG. The cumulative losses to OMCs are pegged at about Rs. 300 crore per day.


    On Monday, the government approved Rs. 8,000 crore in cash subsidy to state-owned fuel retailers to make up for half of the revenues they lost on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost in the October-December quarter.


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Mass protests reflect aspirations of Egyptian people: India

New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) Marking a shift in its stand on the popular uprising in Egypt, India Tuesday described mass protests in the north African country as 'an articulation of aspirations of Egyptian people' for reform and hoped that the current situation will be resolved in a peaceful manner.

'India continues to closely follow the mass protests in Egypt which are an articulation of the aspirations of the Egyptian people for reform,' India's external affairs ministry said in a statement.

'It is hoped that the current situation will be resolved in a peaceful manner, in the best interests of the people of Egypt,' said the ministry.

'India wishes that Egypt, a fellow developing country with which she enjoys close and traditional ties, will continue to be a strong and stable nation, contributing to peace and prosperity in the region,' it added.

India's stand on Tuesday marks an important shift from its circumspect stance of the current agitation being an internal affair of Egypt.

On Monday, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna described the unrest in Egypt as 'an internal affair of that country' and hoped for a peaceful resolution of the standoff.

New Delhi's reaction came as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square Tuesday and many more were streaming in to participate in the march of a million as the movement to end President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule gained momentum across Egypt.

Some 100,000 protesters thronged Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square for a march to the Presidential Palace, a day after the army said that it won't be using force.

With the upheaval showing no sign of abating, around 600 Indians returned to India in special flights arranged by Air India over the last two days.

©Indo-Asian News Service

The king's edict followed days of escalating protests on the streets as Jordanians echoed protests in Egypt for change.
"Bakhit's mission is to take practical, quick and tangible steps to launch true political reforms, enhance Jordan's democratic drive and ensure safe and decent living for all Jordanians," a palace statement said last night.
Jordan's powerful Islamist opposition said it had started a dialogue with the state, saying that unlike the situation in Egypt, it did not seek regime change.
Despite recent government measures to pump about $US500 million into the economy in a bid to help improve living conditions, protests have been held in Amman and other cities over the past three weeks to demand political and economic reform.

Egypt's armed forces chief of staff Sami Enan could be an acceptable successor to Hosni Mubarak because he is perceived as incorruptible, a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood said on Tuesday.
Kamel Al Helbawi, a prominent overseas cleric from Egypt's main opposition movement, told Reuters that Enan, who has good ties with Washington, was a liberal who could be seen as suitable by an opposition coalition taking shape on the streets of Egypt.
"He can be the future man of Egypt," Helbawi said in a telephone interview.
"I think he will be acceptable ... because he has enjoyed some good reputation. He is not involved in corruption. The people do not know him (as corrupt)."
Helbawi said Enan was not an Islamist but "a good, liberal man".
Little is known internationally about Enan, believed to be in his early 60s, other than he appears to have spent much of his career in air defence.
A profile on Silobreaker, the news and information monitoring service, gives his date and place of birth as 1948, in Cairo, and says he was trained in both Russia and France as well at a military academy in Egypt.
He held senior roles in air defence before being appointed to his current job in 2005, the website indicates.
US orders non-essential personnel to leave Egypt
The State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential US government personnel and their families to leave Egypt amid growing anti-government protests and uncertainty over the security situation.
It said it had taken the step "in light of recent events."
The move is an indication of Washington's deepening concern about developments in Egypt and replaces the department's initial decision last week to allow non-essential workers who wanted to leave the country to do so at government expense. In a statement, the department said it would continue to evacuate private US citizens from the country aboard government-chartered planes.
On Monday, the US evacuated more than 1,200 Americans from Cairo on such flights and said it expected to fly out roughly 1,400 more in the coming days. Monday's flights ferried Americans from Cairo to Larnaca, Cyprus" Athens, Greece" and Istanbul, Turkey. On Tuesday, the department expects to add Frankfurt, Germany as a destination.
It also hopes to arrange evacuation flights from the Egyptian cities of Aswan and Luxor.
The Cairo airport is open and operating but the department warned that flights may be disrupted due to protests against the Egyptian government.

More than a million gather in and around Cairo's Tahrir square, as Muslim Brotherhood said they would not negotiate with President Hosni Mubarak's government.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa said he is willing to assume any role of leadership if asked by fellow Egyptians.

Protesters in Egypt show no signs of abating their call for President Hosni Mubarak to step down after 30 years in power. Late on Monday, Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman said he is authorized to open a dialogue with the opposition.
The U.S. has shared strong ties with Egypt since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and, many analysts say, Egypt under Mr. Mubarak has promoted US interests in the Middle East, especially by maintaining the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.  

So far the U.S. has proceeded with caution in commenting on whether President Mubarak should step aside. But Egyptian voices inside the country and out say a revolution is under way, and the United States, no matter what position it takes, can do little to direct it.

Tunisia's popular revolt, which ousted veteran strongman Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, has inspired dissidents across the Arab world, with the eyes of the world on the extraordinary demonstrations in Egypt, where a "day of anger" was called last night.
The thunderous roar of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians calling for democracy filled central Cairo early today as protesters set off on a "million-strong march" to bring down President Hosni Mubarak. As the UN High Commissioner for Refugees announced that at least 300 people had died in the eight days of protests, the Australian government said it would send as many aircraft as it took to pull Australians out of strife-torn Egypt.
A Qantas jumbo jet chartered by the government and capable of carrying 400 passengers was due in Cairo today and another was urgently put on last night for tomorrow . The government vowed to provide a "jumbo a day" until demand was met.
The hundreds of thousands who began massing after dawn yesterday in Cairo's Tahrir Square did so with the assurance that the military would not fire on them.
The army's declaration yesterday that the protesters' claims were "legitimate" came after days of speculation about whether the army was prepared to put down the protests.
"To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people," stress that they "will not use force against the Egyptian people," the military said in a statement.
It appeared to be a major break with Mr Mubarak, who is commander-in-chief and has branded the protests illegal. A bloody confrontation could, however, occur if the protesters march on the presidential palace and attempt to take it over.
Fifty Egyptian human rights groups called on Mr Mubarak to step down to "avoid bloodshed" yesterday, while pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei gave the President a deadline of Friday to stand down and asked for a "safe exit" for him.
While army helicopters circled overhead in Cairo early today, the roar from the protesters could be heard several kilometres away.
As the push to oust Mr Mubarak reached a crescendo, Australians seeking to flee Egypt were yesterday advised to reach assembly points in the city from where they could be taken by bus to a point near the airport to be flown to Germany.
More DFAT staff would be waiting in Frankfurt to help the evacuees.
As concerns grew that today's Qantas jumbo would not be able to take all the Australians seeking to flee Egypt out of the country, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade head Dennis Richardson said the government would organise as many flights as necessary. "If there are too many for this flight we will have one the next day," said Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade head Dennis Richardson. "We will put on a jumbo a day for as long as it's needed."
Yesterday, 31 Australians left Egypt on flights organised by Canadian authorities. While the Canadians had to pay for the flights, the Australian government will pay for the Australians on those aircraft.
By last night well over 400 Australians had indicated that they wanted to fly out on the government charter, more than enough to fill the first Qantas jumbo.
DFAT officials were working their way through a list of those who "expressed interest" in getting on the government charter flight to avoid duplications and to delete those who'd got out already on commercial flights.
Families and work colleagues trying to find out who was booked on the Qantas jumbo said it had been hard to get information from government officials.
Andrea Connell, headmistress of Sydney Girls High School, said she could not get any information from DFAT about maths teacher Nader Maker who was visiting family in Cairo.
In Cairo, Mr Maker said he had initially not been able to get help from DFAT.
"I contacted the embassy (in Cairo) and they transferred me to Canberra and said we can't do anything," he said. "Canberra said get in contact with the airline, but I can't get in contact with the airline. What can I do?"
After trying the embassy in Cairo again, Mr Maker was able to register for the evacuation flight today. He has been staying in an area that has been heavily attacked by gangs who burnt down a police station. "I saw hell," he said.
He was afraid to even carry his suitcase into the street. "If they see my bag they will take it -- gangs control the area," he said.
Many Australian travellers in Egypt are caught up in a nightmare situation, with no way to get cash at Cairo airport while they are being charged as much as $30 for a bottle of water. Most credit cards do not work.
Mr Richardson said he could understand the frustrations people were feeling.

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"We will be taking it up with the educational authorities in the US as how it allowed the university to function, how it was allowed to dupe gullible Indian students," said External Affairs Minister SM Krishna while terming the Tri-Valley university as "dubious."

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'We will be taking it up with the educational authorities in the US as how it allowed the university to function, how it was allowed to dupe gullible Indian students,' Krishna said, terming the Tri-Valley University as 'dubious'.

Krishna, however, sought to cool the tempers in India, saying the matter related to only '12 to 18 students' out of 108,000 Indian students studying in the US.
'Well, let us understand one thing. There are about 1.8 lakh Indian students in the United States of America. And we are now talking about these 12 or 18 students who have been subjected to this treatment,' Krishna said when asked about the tagging of Indian students.

'I would appeal to the people of the country, and to the media in particular, that we should look at it in the larger perspective of these one lakh and odd Indian students who are pursuing their studies in various universities,' he said.

Some 1,555 students of Tri-Valley University, 90 percent of them from India and mostly from Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of deportation following the closure of the Pleasanton-based university on charges of selling student visas.'

Earlier, Krishna strongly condemned the radio tagging of Indian students. The practice was 'inhuman', he said and demanded that the US government 'initiate severe action against those officials responsible for this inhuman act'.

'Indian students are not criminals. The radio collars should immediately be removed,' Krishna said in Bangalore Sunday.

The US has, however, vigorously defended the radio tagging of Indian students, saying the practice was a 'standard procedure' for a variety of investigations.
'Use of ankle monitors is widespread across the United States and standard procedure for a variety of investigations, and does not necessarily imply guilt or suspicion of criminal activity,' the US embassy here said in a statement Monday.

Peaceful protesters carried signs saying "Bye, bye Mubarak" and chanted "Take him with you" as helicopters flew overhead.  Effigies of Mr. Mubarak hung from traffic lights.

Military forces are stationed throughout the capital, but were not interfering with the rally crowds.  The army announced earlier it recognizes the "legitimate demands" of the Egyptian people, and pledged not to fire on protesters.

Opposition activist Mohamed ElBaradei told Al Arabiya television that Mr. Mubarak should leave in order for Egyptians to start a "new phase."

Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood and the secular opposition have chosen ElBaradei to represent their side in possible negotiations with the army over Mr. Mubarak's departure.

Thousands gathered for other massive protests in Suez and the northern port city of Alexandria.

National train services were cancelled for a second day and streets leading into Cairo were blocked, continuing what some consider an attempt by authorities to prevent rural residents from joining the urban protests.

An unprecedented Internet cutoff remains in place in Egypt Tuesday.  But Google announced it has created a way for Twitter users to post to the micro-blogging site by dialing a phone number and leaving a voicemail.

Egypt's newly appointed vice president said Mr. Mubarak has asked him to begin immediate discussions with all "political forces" on constitutional and legislative reforms. Omar Suleiman, a longtime intelligence chief and confidant of Mr. Mubarak, did not say what the changes will entail or which groups the government will contact.

The Muslim Brotherhood says it will not negotiate as long as Mr. Mubarak remains in office.

A crisis committee from Egypt's newly formed opposition coalition met Monday to discuss strategy in anticipation of Mr. Mubarak's ouster.  The gathering issued a call for Tuesday's escalated protests but did not reach a final agreement on a list of demands.

At least 140 people died during protest violence in the past week. Mr. Mubarak on Monday replaced the widely reviled interior minister Habib Adly, who was in charge of the police and plainclothes domestic security forces.

The military's central command has been meeting frequently during the past week to review intelligence on the political situation as well as what many see as a growing economic crisis from the continued unrest. Banks and the stock market remained closed for a second day Tuesday.

Are We Witnessing the Start of a Global Revolution?
North Africa and the Global Political Awakening, Part 1

Global Research, January 27, 2011
- 2011-01-26

For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive... The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination... The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening... That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing... The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches...


The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well... Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious "tertiary level" educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million "college" students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred...


[The] major world powers, new and old, also face a novel reality: while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.[1]


- Zbigniew Brzezinski

Former U.S. National Security Advisor

Co-Founder of the Trilateral Commission

Member, Board of Trustees, Center for Strategic and International Studies



An uprising in Tunisia led to the overthrow of the country's 23-year long dictatorship of President Ben Ali. A new 'transitional' government was formed, but the protests continued demanding a totally new government without the relics of the previous tyranny. Protests in Algeria have continued for weeks, as rage mounts against rising food prices, corruption and state oppression. Protests in Jordan forced the King to call on the military to surround cities with tanks and set up checkpoints. Tens of thousands of protesters marched on Cairo demanding an end to the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of activists, opposition leaders and students rallied in the capitol of Yemen against the corrupt dictatorship of President Saleh, in power since 1978. Saleh has been, with U.S. military assistance, attempting to crush a rebel movement in the north and a massive secessionist movement growing in the south, called the "Southern Movement." Protests in Bolivia against rising food prices forced the populist government of Evo Morales to backtrack on plans to cut subsidies. Chile erupted in protests as demonstrators railed against rising fuel prices. Anti-government demonstrations broke out in Albania, resulting in the deaths of several protesters.


It seems as if the world is entering the beginnings of a new revolutionary era: the era of the 'Global Political Awakening.' While this 'awakening' is materializing in different regions, different nations and under different circumstances, it is being largely influenced by global conditions. The global domination by the major Western powers, principally the United States, over the past 65 years, and more broadly, centuries, is reaching a turning point. The people of the world are restless, resentful, and enraged. Change, it seems, is in the air. As the above quotes from Brzezinski indicate, this development on the world scene is the most radical and potentially dangerous threat to global power structures and empire. It is not a threat simply to the nations in which the protests arise or seek change, but perhaps to a greater degree, it is a threat to the imperial Western powers, international institutions, multinational corporations and banks that prop up, arm, support and profit from these oppressive regimes around the world. Thus, America and the West are faced with a monumental strategic challenge: what can be done to stem the Global Political Awakening? Zbigniew Brzezinski is one of the chief architects of American foreign policy, and arguably one of the intellectual pioneers of the system of globalization. Thus, his warnings about the 'Global Political Awakening' are directly in reference to its nature as a threat to the prevailing global hierarchy. As such, we must view the 'Awakening' as the greatest hope for humanity. Certainly, there will be mainy failures, problems, and regressions; but the 'Awakening' has begun, it is underway, and it cannot be so easily co-opted or controlled as many might assume.

The reflex action of the imperial powers is to further arm and support the oppressive regimes, as well as the potential to organize a destabilization through covert operations or open warfare (as is being done in Yemen). The alterantive is to undertake a strategy of "democratization" in which Western NGOs, aid agencies and civil society organizations establish strong contacts and relationships with the domestic civil society in these regions and nations. The objective of this strategy is to organize, fund and help direct the domestic civil society to produce a democratic system made in the image of the West, and thus maintain continuity in the international hierarchy. Essentially, the project of "democratization" implies creating the outward visible constructs of a democratic state (multi-party elections, active civil society, "independent" media, etc) and yet maintain continuity in subservience to the World Bank, IMF, multinational corporations and Western powers.

It appears that both of these strategies are being simultaneously imposed in the Arab world: enforcing and supporting state oppression and building ties with civil society organizations. The problem for the West, however, is that they have not had the ability to yet establish strong and dependent ties with civil society groups in much of the region, as ironically, the oppressive regimes they propped up were and are unsurprisingly resistant to such measures. In this sense, we must not cast aside these protests and uprisings as being instigated by the West, but rather that they emerged organically, and the West is subsequently attempting to co-opt and control the emerging movements. 

Part 1 of this essay focuses on the emergence of these protest movements and uprisings, placing it in the context of the Global Political Awakening. Part 2 will examine the West's strategy of "democratic imperialism" as a method of co-opting the 'Awakening' and installing "friendly" governments.

The Tunisian Spark


A July 2009 diplomatic cable from America's Embassy in Tunisia reported that, "many Tunisians are frustrated by the lack of political freedom and angered by First Family corruption, high unemployment and regional inequities. Extremism poses a continuing threat," and that, "the risks to the regime's long-term stability are increasing."[2]


On Friday, 14 January 2011, the U.S.-supported 23-year long dictatorship of Tunisian president Ben Ali ended. For several weeks prior to this, the Tunisian people had risen in protest against rising food prices, stoked on by an immense and growing dissatisfaction with the political repression, and prodded by the WikiLeaks cables confirming the popular Tunisian perception of gross corruption on the part of the ruling family. The spark, it seems, was when a 26-year old unemployed youth set himself on fire in protest on December 17.


With the wave of protests sparked by the death of the 26-year old who set himself on fire on December 17, the government of Tunisia responded by cracking down on the protesters. Estimates vary, but roughly 100 people were killed in the clashes. Half of Tunisia's 10 million people are under the age of 25, meaning that they have never known a life in Tunisia outside of living under this one dictator. Since Independence from the French empire in 1956, Tunisia has had only two leaders: Habib Bourguiba and Ben Ali.[3] The Tunisian people were rising up against a great many things: an oppressive dictatorship which has employed extensive information and internet censorship, rising food prices and inflation, a corrupt ruling family, lack of jobs for the educated youth, and a general sense and experience of exploitation, subjugation and disrespect for human dignity.


Following the ouster of Ben Ali, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi assumed presidential power and declared a "transitional government." Yet, this just spurred more protests demanding his resignation and the resignation of the entire government. Significantly, the trade union movement had a large mobilizing role in the protests, with a lawyers union being particularly active during the initial protests.[4]

Protests in Tunisia

Social media and the Internet did play a large part in mobilizing people within Tunisia for the uprising, but it was ultimately the result of direct protests and action which led to the resignation of Ben Ali. Thus, referring to Tunisia as a "Twitter Revolution" is disingenuous.

Twitter, WikiLeaks, Facebook, Youtube, forums and blogs did have a part to play. They reflect the ability "to collectively transform the Arab information environment and shatter the ability of authoritarian regimes to control the flow of information, images, ideas and opinions."[5] [Editors Note: The US based foundation Freedom House was involved in promoting and training some Middle East North Africa Facebook and Twitter bloggers  (See also Freedom House), M. C.].

We must also keep in mind that social media has not only become an important source of mobilization of activism and information at the grassroots level, but it has also become an effective means for governments and various power structures to seek to manipulate the flow of information. This was evident in the 2009 protests in Iran, where social media became an important avenue through which the Western nations were able to advance their strategy of supporting the so-called 'Green Revolution' in destabilizing the Iranian government. Thus, social media has presented a new form of power, neither black nor white, in which it can be used to either advance the process of the 'Awakening' or control its direction.
Whereas America was publicly denouncing Iran for blocking (or attempting to block) social media in the summer of 2009, during the first several weeks of Tunisian protests (which were largely being ignored by Western media), America and the West were silent about censorship.[6] Steven Cook, writing for the elite U.S. think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, commented on the lack of attention being paid to the Tunisian protests in the early weeks of resistance prior to the resignation of Ben Ali. He explained that while many assume that the Arab "strongmen" regimes will simply maintain power as they always have, this could be mistaken. He stated that, "it may not be the last days of Ben Ali or Mubarak or any other Middle Eastern strongman, but there is clearly something going on in the region." However, it was the end of Ben Ali, and indeed, "there is clearly something going on in the region."[7]


France's President Sarkozy has even had to admit that, "he had underestimated the anger of the Tunisian people and the protest movement that ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali." During the first few weeks of protests in Tunisia, several French government officials were publicly supporting the dictatorship, with the French Foreign Minister saying that France would lend its police "knowhow" to help Ben Ali in maintaining order.[8]


Days before the ouster of Ben Ali, Hillary Clinton gave an interview in which she explained how America was worried "about the unrest and the instability," and that, "we are not taking sides, but we are saying we hope that there can be a peaceful resolution. And I hope that the Tunisian Government can bring that about." Clinton further lamented, "One of my biggest concerns in this entire region are the many young people without economic opportunities in their home countries."[9] Her concern, of course, does not spur from any humanitarian considerations, but rather from inherent imperial considerations: it is simply harder to control a region of the world erupting in activism, uprisings and revolution.


The Spark Lights a Flame


Tunisia has raised the bar for the people across the Arab world to demand justice, democracy, accountability, economic stability, and freedom. Just as Tunisia's protests were in full-swing, Algeria was experiencing mass protests, rising up largely as a result of the increasing international food prices, but also in reaction to many of the concerns of the Tunisian protesters, such as democratic accountability, corruption and freedom. A former Algerian diplomat told Al-Jazeera in early January that, "It is a revolt, and probably a revolution, of an oppressed people who have, for 50 years, been waiting for housing, employment, and a proper and decent life in a very rich country."[10]


In mid-January, similar protests erupted in Jordan, as thousands took to the streets to protest against rising food prices and unemployment, chanting anti-government slogans. Jordan's King Abdullah II had "set up a special task force in his palace that included military and intelligence officials to try to prevent the unrest from escalating further," which had tanks surrounding major cities, with barriers and checkpoints established.[11]


In Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arab world, engulfed in a U.S. sponsored war against its own people, ruled by a dictator who has been in power since 1978, thousands of people protested against the government, demanding the dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. In the capitol city of Sanaa, thousands of students, activists and opposition groups chanted slogans such as, "Get out get out, Ali. Join your friend Ben Ali."[12] Yemen has been experiencing much turmoil in recent years, with a rebel movement in the North fighting against the government, formed in 2004; as well as a massive secessionist movement in the south, called the "Southern Movement," fighting for liberation since 2007. As the Financial Times explained:


Many Yemen observers consider the anger and secessionist sentiment now erupting in the south to be a greater threat to the country's stability than its better publicised struggle with al-Qaeda, and the deteriorating economy is making the tension worse.


Unemployment, particularly among the young, is soaring. Even the government statistics office in Aden puts it at nearly 40 per cent among men aged 20 to 24.[13]


Protest of the Southern Movement in Yemen

On January 21, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Albania, mobilized by the socialist opposition, ending with violent clashes between the police and protesters, leading to the deaths of three demonstrators. The protests have been sporadic in Albania since the widely contested 2009 elections, but took on new levels inspired by Tunisia.[14]


Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom stressed concern over the revolutionary sentiments within the Arab world, saying that, "I fear that we now stand before a new and very critical phase in the Arab world." He fears Tunisia would "set a precedent that could be repeated in other countries, possibly affecting directly the stability of our system."[15] Israel's leadership fears democracy in the Arab world, as they have a security alliance with the major Arab nations, who, along with Israel itself, are American proxy states in the region. Israel maintains civil – if not quiet – relationships with the Arab monarchs and dictators. While the Arab states publicly criticize Israel, behind closed doors they are forced to quietly accept Israel's militarism and war-mongering, lest they stand up against the superpower, America. Yet, public opinion in the Arab world is extremely anti-Israel, anti-American and pro-Iran.


In July of 2010, the results of a major international poll were released regarding public opinion in the Arab world, polling from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Among some of the notable findings: while Obama was well received upon entering the Presidency, with 51% expressing optimism about U.S. policy in the region in the Spring of 2009, by Summer 2010, 16% were expressing optimism. In 2009, 29% of those polled said a nuclear-armed Iran would be positive for the region; in 2010, that spiked to 57%, reflecting a very different stance from that of their governments.[16]


While America, Israel and the leaders of the Arab nations claim that Iran is the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Middle East, the Arab people do not agree. In an open question asking which two countries pose the greatest threat to the region, 88% responded with Israel, 77% with America, and 10% with Iran.[17]


At the Arab economic summit shortly following the ousting of Ben Ali in Tunisia, who was for the first time absent from the meetings, the Tunisian uprising hung heavy in the air. Arab League leader Amr Moussa said in his opening remarks at the summit, "The Tunisian revolution is not far from us," and that, "the Arab citizen entered an unprecedented state of anger and frustration," noting that "the Arab soul is broken by poverty, unemployment and general recession." The significance of this 'threat' to the Arab leaders cannot be understated. Out of roughly 352 million Arabs, 190 million are under the age of 24, with nearly three-quarters of them unemployed. Often, "the education these young people receive doesn't do them any good because there are no jobs in the fields they trained for."[18]


There was even an article in the Israeli intellectual newspaper, Ha'aretz, which posited that, "Israel may be on the eve of revolution." Explaining, the author wrote that:


Israeli civil society organizations have amassed considerable power over the years; not only the so-called leftist organizations, but ones dealing with issues like poverty, workers' rights and violence against women and children. All of them were created in order to fill the gaps left by the state, which for its part was all too happy to continue walking away from problems that someone else was there to take on. The neglect is so great that Israel's third sector - NGOs, charities and volunteer organizations - is among the biggest in the world. As such, it has quite a bit of power.[19]


Now the Israeli Knesset and cabinet want that power back; yet, posits the author, they "have chosen to ignore the reasons these groups became powerful," namely:


The source of their power is the vacuum, the criminal policies of Israel's governments over the last 40 years. The source of their power is a government that is evading its duties to care for all of its citizens and to end the occupation, and a Knesset that supports the government instead of putting it in its place.[20]


The Israeli Knesset opened investigations into the funding of Israeli human rights organizations in a political maneuver against them. However, as one article in Ha'aretz by an Israeli professor explained, these groups actually – inadvertently – play a role in "entrenching the occupation." As the author explained:


Even if the leftist groups' intention is to ensure upholding Palestinian rights, though, the unintentional result of their activity is preserving the occupation. Moderating and restraining the army's activity gives it a more human and legal facade. Reducing the pressure of international organizations, alongside moderating the Palestinian population's resistance potential, enable the army to continue to maintain this control model over a prolonged period of time.[21]


Thus, if the Israeli Knesset succeeds in getting rid of these powerful NGOs, they sow the seeds for the pressure valve in the occupied territories to be removed. The potential for massive internal protests within Israel from the left, as well as the possibility of another Intifada – uprising – in the occupied territories themselves would seem dramatically increased. Israel and the West have expressed how much distaste they hold for democracy in the region. When Gaza held a democratic election in 2006 and elected Hamas, which was viewed as the 'wrong' choice by Israel and America, Israel imposed a ruthless blockade of Gaza. Richard Falk, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestinian territories, wrote an article for Al Jazeera in which he explained that the blockade:


unlawfully restricted to subsistence levels, or below, the flow of food, medicine, and fuel. This blockade continues to this day, leaving the entire Gazan population locked within the world's largest open-air prison, and victimized by one of the cruelest forms of belligerent occupation in the history of warfare.[22]


The situation in the occupied territories is made increasingly tense with the recent leaking of the "Palestinian Papers," which consist of two decades of secret Israeli-Palestinian accords, revealing the weak negotiating position of the Palestinian Authority. The documents consist largely of major concessions the Palestinian Authority was willing to make "on the issues of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, territorial concessions, and the recognition of Israel." Among the leaks, Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to concede nearly all of East Jerusalem to Israel. Further, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (favoured by Israel and America over Hamas), was personally informed by a senior Israeli official the night before Operation Cast Lead, the December 2008 and January 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza, resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 Palestinians: "Israeli and Palestinian officials reportedly discussed targeted assassinations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists in Gaza."[23]


Hamas has subsequently called on Palestinian refugees to protest over the concessions regarding the 'right of return' for refugees, of which the negotiators conceded to allowing only 100,000 of 5 million to return to Israel.[24] A former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt lamented that, "The concern will be that this might cause further problems in moving forward."[25] However, while being blamed for possibly preventing the "peace process" from moving forward, what the papers reveal is that the "peace process" itself is a joke. The Palestinian Authority's power is derivative of the power Israel allows it to have, and was propped up as a method of dealing with an internal Palestinian elite, thus doing what all colonial powers have done. The papers, then, reveal how the so-called Palestinian 'Authority' does not truly speak or work for the interests of the Palestinian people. And while this certainly will divide the PA from Hamas, they were already deeply divided as it was. Certainly, this will pose problems for the "peace process," but that's assuming it is a 'peaceful' process in the first part.


Is Egypt on the Edge of Revolution?


Unrest is even spreading to Egypt, personal playground of U.S.-supported and armed dictator, Hosni Mubarak, in power since 1981. Egypt is the main U.S. ally in North Africa, and has for centuries been one of the most important imperial jewels first for the Ottomans, then the British, and later for the Americans. With a population of 80 million, 60% of which are under the age of 30, who make up 90% of Egypt's unemployed, the conditions are ripe for a repeat in Egypt of what happened in Tunisia.[26]


On January 25, 2011, Egypt experienced its "day of wrath," in which tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest against rising food prices, corruption, and the oppression of living under a 30-year dictatorship. The demonstrations were organized through the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. When the protests emerged, the government closed access to these social media sites, just as the Tunisian government did in the early days of the protests that led to the collapse of the dictatorship. As one commentator wrote in the Guardian:


Egypt is not Tunisia. It's much bigger. Eighty million people, compared with 10 million. Geographically, politically, strategically, it's in a different league – the Arab world's natural leader and its most populous nation. But many of the grievances on the street are the same. Tunis and Cairo differ only in size. If Egypt explodes, the explosion will be much bigger, too.[27]


In Egypt, "an ad hoc coalition of students, unemployed youths, industrial workers, intellectuals, football fans and women, connected by social media such as Twitter and Facebook, instigated a series of fast-moving, rapidly shifting demos across half a dozen or more Egyptian cities." The police responded with violence, and three protesters were killed. With tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets, Egypt saw the largest protests in decades, if not under the entire 30-year reign of President Mubarak. Is Egypt on the verge of revolution? It seems too soon to tell. Egypt, it must be remembered, is the second major recipient of U.S. military assistance in the world (following Israel), and thus, its police state and military apparatus are far more advanced and secure than Tunisia's. Clearly, however, something is stirring. As Hilary Clinton said on the night of the protests, "Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people."[28] In other words: "We continue to support tyranny and dictatorship over democracy and liberation." So what else is new?


Egyptian Protest, 25 January 2011

According to some estimates, as many as 50,000 protesters turned out in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other Egyptian cities.[29] The protests were met with the usual brutality: beating protesters, firing tear gas and using water cannons to attempt to disperse the protesters. As images and videos started emerging out of Egypt, "television footage showed demonstrators chasing police down side streets. One protester climbed into a fire engine and drove it away."[30] Late on the night of the protests, rumours and unconfirmed reports were spreading that the first lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, may have fled Egypt to London, following on the heels of rumours that Mubarak's son, and presumed successor, had also fled to London.[31]


Are We Headed for a Global Revolution?


During the first phase of the global economic crisis in December of 2008, the IMF warned governments of the prospect of "violent unrest on the streets." The head of the IMF warned that, "violent protests could break out in countries worldwide if the financial system was not restructured to benefit everyone rather than a small elite."[32]


In January of 2009, Obama's then-Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the greatest threat to the National Security of the U.S. was not terrorism, but the global economic crisis:


I'd like to begin with the global economic crisis, because it already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries ... Economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they are prolonged for a one- or two-year period... And instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community.[33]


In 2007, a British Defence Ministry report was released assessing global trends in the world over the next 30 years. In assessing "Global Inequality", the report stated that over the next 30 years:


[T]he gap between rich and poor will probably increase and absolute poverty will remain a global challenge... Disparities in wealth and advantage will therefore become more obvious, with their associated grievances and resentments, even among the growing numbers of people who are likely to be materially more prosperous than their parents and grandparents.  Absolute poverty and comparative disadvantage will fuel perceptions of injustice among those whose expectations are not met, increasing tension and instability, both within and between societies and resulting in expressions of violence such as disorder, criminality, terrorism and insurgency. They may also lead to the resurgence of not only anti-capitalist ideologies, possibly linked to religious, anarchist or nihilist movements, but also to populism and the revival of Marxism.[34]


Further, the report warned of the dangers to the established powers of a revolution emerging from the disgruntled middle classes:


The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx.  The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples' attachment to particular states.  The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite.  Faced by these twin challenges, the world's middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.[35]


We have now reached the point where the global economic crisis has continued beyond the two-year mark. The social repercussions are starting to be felt – globally – as a result of the crisis and the coordinated responses to it. Since the global economic crisis hit the 'Third World' the hardest, the social and political ramifications will be felt there first. In the context of the current record-breaking hikes in the cost of food, food riots will spread around the world as they did in 2007 and 2008, just prior to the outbreak of the economic crisis. This time, however, things are much worse economically, much more desperate socially, and much more oppressive politically.


This rising discontent will spread from the developing world to the comfort of our own homes in the West. Once the harsh realization sets in that the economy is not in 'recovery,' but rather in a Depression, and once our governments in the West continue on their path of closing down the democratic façade and continue dismantling rights and freedoms, increasing surveillance and 'control,' while pushing increasingly militaristic and war-mongering foreign policies around the world (mostly in an effort to quell or crush the global awakening being experienced around the world), we in the West will come to realize that 'We are all Tunisians.'


In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his famous speech "Beyond Vietnam":


I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.[36]


This was Part 1 of "North Africa and the Global Political Awakening," focusing on the emergence of the protest movements primarily in North Africa and the Arab world, but placing it in the context of a wider 'Global Awakening.'
Part 2 will focus on the West's reaction to the 'Awakening' in this region; namely, the two-pronged strategy of supporting oppressive regimes while promoting "democratization" in a grand new project of "democratic imperialism."

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).  He is co-editor, with Michel Chossudovsky, of the recent book, "The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century," available to order at Globalresearch.ca. He is currently working on a forthcoming book on 'Global Government'.



[1]        Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Global Political Awakening. The New York Times: December 16, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/opinion/16iht-YEbrzezinski.1.18730411.html; "Major Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next US President," International Affairs, 85: 1, (2009); The Dilemma of the Last Sovereign. The American Interest Magazine, Autumn 2005: http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=56; The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership. Speech at the Carnegie Council: March 25, 2004: http://www.cceia.org/resources/transcripts/4424.html; America's Geopolitical Dilemmas. Speech at the Canadian International Council and Montreal Council on Foreign Relations: April 23, 2010: http://www.onlinecic.org/resourcece/multimedia/americasgeopoliticaldilemmas

[2]        Embassy Tunis, TROUBLED TUNISIA:  WHAT SHOULD WE DO?, WikiLeaks Cables, 17 July 2009: http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/07/09TUNIS492.html

[3]        Mona Eltahawy, Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution, The Washington Post, 15 January 2011: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/14/AR2011011405084.html

[4]        Eileen Byrne, Protesters make the case for peaceful change, The Financial Times, 15 January 2011: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/82293e38-20ae-11e0-a877-00144feab49a.html#axzz1C08RDtxu

[5]        Marc Lynch, Tunisia and the New Arab Media Space, Foreign Policy, 15 January 2011: http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/15/tunisia_and_the_new_arab_media_space

[6]        Jillian York, Activist crackdown: Tunisia vs Iran, Al-Jazeera, 9 January 2011: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/20111981222719974.html

[7]        Steven Cook, The Last Days of Ben Ali? The Council on Foreign Relations, 6 January 2011: http://blogs.cfr.org/cook/2011/01/06/the-last-days-of-ben-ali/

[8]        Angelique Chrisafis, Sarkozy admits France made mistakes over Tunisia, The Guardian, 24 January 2011: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/24/nicolas-sarkozy-tunisia-protests

[9]        Hillary Rodham Clinton, Interview With Taher Barake of Al Arabiya, U.S. Department of State, 11 January 2011: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/01/154295.htm

[10]      Algeria set for crisis talks, Al-Jazeera, 8 January 2011: http://aljazeera.co.uk/news/africa/2011/01/2011187476735721.html

[11]      Alexandra Sandels, JORDAN: Thousands of demonstrators protest food prices, denounce government, Los Angeles Times Blog, 15 January 2011: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2011/01/jordan-protests-food-prices-muslim-brotherhood-tunisia-strike-thousands-government.html

[12]      AP, Thousands demand ouster of Yemen's president, Associated Press, 22 January 2011: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g3b2emEy39Bn52Z_haypKxNPGMSw?docId=d324160638a74e84b874baeada16bb4c

[13]      Abigail Fielding-Smith, North-south divide strains Yemen union, The Financial Times, 12 January 2011: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c7c59322-1e80-11e0-87d2-00144feab49a.html#axzz1C08RDtxu

[14]      EurActiv, 'Jasmine' revolt wave reaches Albania, 24 January 2011: http://www.euractiv.com/en/enlargement/jasmine-revolt-wave-reaches-albania-news-501529

[15]      Clemens Höges, Bernhard Zand and Helene Zuber, Arab Rulers Fear Spread of Democracy Fever, Der Spiegel, 25 January 2011: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,741545,00.html

[16]      Shibley Telhami, Results of Arab Opinion Survey Conducted June 29-July 20, 2010, 5 August 2010: http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2010/0805_arab_opinion_poll_telhami.aspx

[17]      Shibley Telhami, A shift in Arab views of Iran, Los Angeles Times, 14 August 2010: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/14/opinion/la-oe-telhami-arab-opinions-20100814

[18]      Clemens Höges, Bernhard Zand and Helene Zuber, Arab Rulers Fear Spread of Democracy Fever, Der Spiegel, 25 January 2011: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,741545,00.html

[19]      Merav Michaeli, Israel may be on the eve of revolution, Ha'aretz, 17 January 2011: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-may-be-on-the-eve-of-revolution-1.337445

[20]      Ibid.

[21]      Yagil Levy, Israeli NGOs are entrenching the occupation, Ha'aretz, 11 January 2011: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israeli-ngos-are-entrenching-the-occupation-1.336331?localLinksEnabled=false

[22]      Richard Falk, Ben Ali Tunisia was model US client, Al-Jazeera, 25 January 2011: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/201112314530411972.html

[23]      Jack Khoury and Haaretz Service, Two decades of secret Israeli-Palestinian accords leaked to media worldwide, Ha'arets, 23 January 2011: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/two-decades-of-secret-israeli-palestinian-accords-leaked-to-media-worldwide-1.338768

[24]      Haaretz Service and The Associated Press, Hamas urges Palestinian refugees to protest over concessions on right of return, Ha'aretz, 25 January 2011: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/hamas-urges-palestinian-refugees-to-protest-over-concessions-on-right-of-return-1.339120

[25]      Alan Greenblatt, Palestinian Papers May Be Blow To Peace Process, NPR, 24 January 2011: http://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/133181412/palestinian-papers-may-cause-blow-to-peace-process?ps=cprs

[26]      Johannes Stern, Egyptian regime fears mass protests, World Socialist Web Site, 15 January 2011: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jan2011/egyp-j15.shtml

[27]      Simon Tisdall, Egypt protests are breaking new ground, The Guardian, 25 January 2011: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/25/egypt-protests

[28]      Ibid.

[29]      MATT BRADLEY, Rioters Jolt Egyptian Regime, The Wall Street Journal, 26 January 2011: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704698004576104112320465414.html

[30]      Catrina Stewart, Violence on the streets of Cairo as unrest grows, The Independent, 26 January 2011: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/violence-on-the-streets-of-cairo-as-unrest-grows-2194484.html

[31]      IBT, Suzanne Mubarak of Egypt has fled to Heathrow airport in London: unconfirmed reports, International Business Times, 25 January 2011: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/104960/20110125/suzanne-mubarak-of-egypt-has-fled-to-heathrow-airport-in-london-unconfirmed-reports.htm

[32]      Angela Balakrishnan, IMF chief issues stark warning on economic crisis. The Guardian: December 18, 2008: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/dec/16/imf-financial-crisis

[33]      Stephen C. Webster, US intel chief: Economic crisis a greater threat than terrorism. Raw Story: February 13, 2009: http://rawstory.com/news/2008/US_intel_chief_Economic_crisis_greater_0213.html

[34]      DCDC, The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme, 2007-2036, 3rd ed. The Ministry of Defence, January 2007: page 3

[35]      Ibid, page 81.

[36]      Rev. Martin Luther King, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html



Andrew Gavin Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Andrew Gavin Marshall
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Egypt revolt is 'step towards Islamic Middle East'
(AFP) – 9 hours ago
TEHRAN — Iran said on Tuesday the uprising in Egypt will help create an Islamic Middle East but accused US officials of interfering in the "freedom seeking" movement which has rocked the Arab nation.
"With the knowledge that I have of the great revolutionary and history making people of Egypt, I am sure they will play their role in creating an Islamic Middle East for all freedom, justice and independence seekers," Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying on state television's website.
Salehi, who was officially endorsed by the Iranian parliament on Sunday as foreign minister, said the uprising in Egypt "showed the need for a change in the region and the end of unpopular regimes."
"The people of Tunisia and Egypt prove that the time of controlling regimes by world arrogance (the West) has ended and people are trying to have their own self-determination," said Salehi, who also currently oversees Iran's controversial nuclear programme.
"Unfortunately we are witnessing the direct interference .... of some American officials in the developments in Egypt," he said, and added the Egyptians were showing "they are no longer ready to stand idle in face of crimes by the Zionist regime."
In the initial days of the Tunisian uprising, Iran had said it was "worried" about the events in that country.
"We are worried about the situation in Tunisia...We hope the Muslim Tunisian nation's demands are fulfilled through peaceful and non-violent means," the foreign ministry had said on January 16.
On Tuesday, Salehi said Iran will offer its support to the protesters in Egypt.
"On our part we are going along with the freedom seekers of the world and support the uprising of the great nation of Egypt. We sympathise with those injured and killed" in the protests, he said.
Egypt has been rocked by deadly protests for more than a week and on Tuesday Egyptians planned more mass marches in their campaign to oust the embattled President Hosni Mubarak.
The USA, a key ally of Cairo, has urged Mubarak to do more to defuse the crisis, with President Barack Obama calling for "an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people."
Iran itself was rocked by similar protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after he was re-elected in June 2009.
Dozens of Iranian protesters who took to Tehran streets were killed in clashes with security forces and militiamen who cracked down on them in a bid to quell what was one of the worst crises in the Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution which toppled the US-backed shah.
Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

Related articles

A significant milestone in the development of the Non-Aligned Movement was the 1955 Bandung Conference, a conference of Asian and African states hosted by Indonesian president Sukarno, who gave a significant contribution to promote this movement. The attending nations declared their desire not to become involved in the Cold War and adopted a "declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation", which included Nehru's five principles. Six years after Bandung, an initiative of Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito led to the first official Non-Aligned Movement Summit, which was held in September 1961 in Belgrade.

At the Lusaka Conference in September 1970, the member nations added as aims of the movement the peaceful resolution of disputes and the abstention from the big power military alliances and pacts. Another added aim was opposition to stationing of military bases in foreign countries.[4]

The founding fathers of the Non-aligned movement were: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Their actions were known as 'The Initiative of Five'.

[edit] Organizational structure and membership

The organizational structure and membership are complementary aspects of the group.[8]

Requirements of the Non-Aligned Movement with the key beliefs of the United Nations. The latest requirements are now that the candidate country has displayed practices in accordance with:

  • Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  • Recognition of the movements for national independence.
  • Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small.
  • Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
  • Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
  • Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.
  • Respect for justice and international obligations.

[edit] Policies and ideology

The South Africa Conference NAM Logo

Secretaries General of the NAM had included such diverse figures as Suharto, an authoritarian anti-communist, and Nelson Mandela, a democratic socialist and famous anti-apartheid activist. Consisting of many governments with vastly different ideologies, the Non-Aligned Movement is unified by its commitment in world peace and security. At the seventh summit held in New Delhi in March 1983, the movement described itself as "history's biggest peace movement".[9] The movement places equal emphasis on disarmament. NAM's commitment to peace pre-dates its formal institutionalisation in 1961. The Brioni meeting between heads of governments of India, Egypt and Yugoslavia in 1956 recognized that there exists a vital link between struggle for peace and endeavours for disarmament.[9]

The Non-Aligned Movement espouses policies and practices of cooperation, especially those that are multilateral and provide mutual benefit to all those involved. Many of the members of the Non-Aligned Movement are also members of the United Nations and both organisations have a stated policy of peaceful cooperation, yet successes that the NAM has had in multilateral agreements tends to be ignored by the larger, western and developed nation dominated UN.[10] African concerns about apartheid were linked with Arab-Asian concerns about Palestine[10] and success of multilateral cooperation in these areas has been a stamp of moderate success. The Non-Aligned Movement has played a major role in various ideological conflicts throughout its existence, including extreme opposition to apartheid regimes and support of liberation movements in various locations including Zimbabwe and South Africa. The support of these sorts of movements stems from a belief that every state has the right to base policies and practices with national interests in mind and not as a result of relations to a particular power bloc.[3] The Non-Aligned Movement has become a voice of support for issues facing developing nations and is still contains ideals that are legitimate within this context.

[edit] Contemporary relevance

Since the end of the Cold War and the formal end of colonialism, the Non-Aligned Movement has been forced to redefine itself and reinvent its purpose in the current world system. A major question has been whether many of its foundational ideologies, principally national independence, territorial integrity, and the struggle against colonialism and imperialism, can be applied to contemporary issues. The movement has emphasised its principles of multilateralism, equality, and mutual non-aggression in attempting to become a stronger voice for the global South, and an instrument that can be utilised to promote the needs of member nations at the international level and strengthen their political leverage when negotiating with developed nations. In its efforts to advance Southern interests, the movement has stressed the importance of cooperation and unity amongst member states,[11] but as in the past, cohesion remains a problem since the size of the organisation and the divergence of agendas and allegiances present the ongoing potential for fragmentation. While agreement on basic principles has been smooth, taking definitive action vis-à-vis particular international issues has been rare, with the movement preferring to assert its criticism or support rather than pass hard-line resolutions.[12] The movement continues to see a role for itself, as in its view, the world's poorest nations remain exploited and marginalised, no longer by opposing superpowers, but rather in a uni-polar world,[13] and it is Western hegemony and neo-colonialism that the movement has really re-aligned itself against. It opposes foreign occupation, interference in internal affairs, and aggressive unilateral measures, but it has also shifted to focus on the socio-economic challenges facing member states, especially the inequalities manifested by globalisation and the implications of neo-liberal policies. The Non-Aligned Movement has identified economic underdevelopment, poverty, and social injustices as growing threats to peace and security.[14]

[edit] Current activities and positions

Criticism of US policy

In recent years the US has become a target of the organisation. The US invasion of Iraq and the War on Terrorism, its attempts to stifle Iran and North Korea's nuclear plans, and its other actions have been denounced as human rights violations and attempts to run roughshod over the sovereignty of smaller nations.[15] The movement's leaders have also criticised the American control over the United Nations and other international structures.

Self-determination of Puerto Rico

Since 1961, the group have supported the discussion of the case of Puerto Rico's self-determination before the United Nations. A resolution on the matter will be proposed on the XV Summit by the Hostosian National Independence Movement.[16]

Self-determination of Western Sahara

Since 1973, the group have supported the discussion of the case of Western Sahara's self-determination before the United Nations.[17] The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirmed in its last meeting (Sharm El Sheikh 2009) the support to the Self-determination of the Sahrawi people by choosing between any valid option, welcomed the direct conversations between the parts, and remembered the responsibility of the United Nations on the Sahrawi issue.[18]

Sustainable development

The movement is publicly committed to the tenets of sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, but it believes that the international community has not created conditions conducive to development and has infringed upon the right to sovereign development by each member state. Issues such as globalisation, the debt burden, unfair trade practices, the decline in foreign aid, donor conditionalities, and the lack of democracy in international financial decision-making are cited as factors inhibiting development.[19]

Reforms of the UN

The Non-Aligned Movement has been quite outspoken in its criticism of current UN structures and power dynamics, mostly in how the organisation has been utilised by powerful states in ways that violate the movement's principles. It has made a number of recommendations that would strengthen the representation and power of 'non-aligned' states. The proposed reforms are also aimed at improving the transparency and democracy of UN decision-making. The UN Security Council is the element considered the most distorted, undemocratic, and in need of reshaping.[20]

South-south cooperation

Lately the Non-Aligned Movement has collaborated with other organisations of the developing world, primarily the Group of 77, forming a number of joint committees and releasing statements and document representing the shared interests of both groups. This dialogue and cooperation can be taken as an effort to increase the global awareness about the organisation and bolster its political clout.

Cultural diversity and human rights

The movement accepts the universality of human rights and social justice, but fiercely resists cultural homogenisation. In line with its views on sovereignty, the organisation appeals for the protection of cultural diversity, and the tolerance of the religious, socio-cultural, and historical particularities that define human rights in a specific region.[21]

Working groups, task forces, committees[22]
  • High-Level Working Group for the Restructuring of the United Nations
  • Working Group on Human Rights
  • Working Group on Peace-Keeping Operations
  • Working Group on Disarmament
  • Committee on Palestine
  • Task Force on Somalia
  • Non-Aligned Security Caucus
  • Standing Ministerial Committee for Economic Cooperation
  • Joint Coordinating Committee (chaired by Chairman of G-77 and Chairman of NAM)

[edit] Summits

  1. Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Belgrade, September 1–6, 1961
  2. United Arab Republic Cairo, October 5–10, 1964
  3. Zambia Lusaka, September 8–10, 1970
  4. Algeria Algiers, September 5–9, 1973
  5. Sri Lanka Colombo, August 16–19, 1976
  6. Cuba Havana, September 3–9, 1979
  7. India New Delhi (originally planned for Baghdad), March 7–12, 1983
  8. Zimbabwe Harare, September 1–6, 1986
  9. Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Belgrade, September 4–7, 1989
  10. Indonesia Jakarta, September 1–6, 1992
  11. Colombia Cartagena de Indias, October 18–20, 1995
  12. South Africa Durban, September 2–3, 1998
  13. Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, February 20–25, 2003
  14. Cuba Havana, September 15–16, 2006
  15. Egypt Sharm El Sheikh, July 11–16, 2009
  16. Serbia Belgrade, first week in September 2011
  17. Indonesia Jakarta, second meeting in 2011
  18. Iran Kish Island, 2012

[edit] Secretaries-General

Between summits, the Non-Aligned Movement is run by the secretary-general elected at last summit meeting. As a considerable part of the movement's work is undertaken at the United Nations in New York, the chair country's ambassador to the UN is expected to devote time and effort to matters concerning the Non-Aligned Movement. The Co-ordinating Bureau, also based at the UN, is the main instrument for directing the work of the movement's task forces, committees and working groups.

Secretaries-General of the Non-Aligned Movement
Name Country Party From To
Josip Broz Tito  Yugoslavia League of Communists of Yugoslavia 1961 1964
Gamal Abdel Nasser  United Arab Republic Arab Socialist Union 1964 1970
Kenneth Kaunda  Zambia United National Independence Party 1970 1973
Houari Boumédienne  Algeria Revolutionary Council 1973 1976
William Gopallawa  Sri Lanka Independent 1976 1978
Junius Richard Jayawardene United National Party 1978 1979
Fidel Castro  Cuba Communist Party of Cuba 1979 1983
N. Sanjiva Reddy  India Janata Party 1983
Zail Singh Congress Party 1983 1986
Robert Mugabe  Zimbabwe ZANU-PF 1986 1989
Janez Drnovšek  Yugoslavia Independent 1989 1990
Borisav Jović Socialist Party of Serbia 1990 1991
Stjepan (Stipe) Mesić Croatian Democratic Union 1991
Branko Kostić Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro 1991 1992
Dobrica Ćosić[citation needed] Socialist Party of Serbia 1992
Suharto  Indonesia Partai Golongan Karya 1992 1995
Ernesto Samper Pizano  Colombia Colombian Liberal Party 1995 1998
Andrés Pastrana Arango Colombian Conservative Party 1998
Nelson Mandela  South Africa African National Congress 1998 1999
Thabo Mbeki African National Congress 1999 2003
Mahathir bin Mohammad  Malaysia United Malays National Organisation 2003
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi United Malays National Organisation 2003 2006
Fidel Castro[23]  Cuba Communist Party of Cuba 2006 2008
Raúl Castro Communist Party of Cuba 2008 2009
Hosni Mubarak  Egypt National Democratic Party 14 July 2009 present

[edit] Members

Member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (2009). Light blue states have observer status.
  1.  Afghanistan
  2.  Algeria
  3.  Angola
  4.  Antigua and Barbuda
  5.  Bahamas
  6.  Bahrain
  7.  Bangladesh
  8.  Barbados
  9.  Belarus
  10.  Belize
  11.  Benin
  12.  Bhutan
  13.  Bolivia
  14.  Botswana
  15.  Burma (Myanmar)
  16.  Brunei
  17.  Burkina Faso
  18.  Burundi
  19.  Cambodia
  20.  Cameroon
  21.  Cape Verde
  22.  Central African Republic
  23.  Chad
  24.  Chile
  25.  Colombia
  26.  Comoros
  27.  Congo
  28.  Côte d'Ivoire
  29.  Cuba
  30.  Democratic Republic of the Congo
  31.  Djibouti
  32.  Dominica
  33.  Dominican Republic
  34.  Ecuador
  35.  Egypt
  36.  Equatorial Guinea
  37.  Eritrea
  38.  Ethiopia
  39.  Gabon
  40.  Gambia
  41.  Ghana
  42.  Grenada
  43.  Guatemala
  44.  Guinea
  45.  Guinea-Bissau
  46.  Guyana
  47.  Haiti
  48.  Honduras
  49.  India
  50.  Indonesia
  51.  Iran
  52.  Iraq
  53.  Jamaica
  54.  Jordan
  55.  Kenya
  56.  Kuwait
  57.  Laos
  58.  Lebanon
  59.  Lesotho
  60.  Liberia
  61.  Libya
  62.  Madagascar
  63.  Malawi
  64.  Malaysia
  65.  Maldives
  66.  Mali
  67.  Mauritania
  68.  Mauritius
  69.  Mongolia
  70.  Morocco
  71.  Mozambique
  72.  Namibia
  73.  Nepal
  74.  Nicaragua
  75.  Niger
  76.  Nigeria
  77.  North Korea
  78.  Oman
  79.  Pakistan
  80.  Palestine
  81.  Panama
  82.  Papua New Guinea
  83.  Peru
  84.  Philippines
  85.  Qatar
  86.  Rwanda
  87.  Saint Lucia
  88.  Saint Kitts and Nevis
  89.  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  90.  São Tomé and Príncipe
  91.  Saudi Arabia
  92.  Senegal
  93.  Seychelles
  94.  Sierra Leone
  95.  Singapore
  96.  Somalia
  97.  South Africa
  98.  Sri Lanka
  99.  Sudan
  100.  Suriname
  101.  Swaziland
  102.  Syria
  103.  Tanzania
  104.  Thailand
  105.  Timor-Leste
  106.  Togo
  107.  Trinidad and Tobago
  108.  Tunisia
  109.  Turkmenistan
  110.  Uganda
  111.  United Arab Emirates
  112.  Uzbekistan
  113.  Vanuatu
  114.  Venezuela
  115.  Vietnam
  116.  Yemen
  117.  Zambia
  118.  Zimbabwe

[edit] Former members

  1.  Argentina[citation needed]
  2.  North Yemen[citation needed]
  3.  South Yemen[citation needed]
  4.  Cyprus[citation needed]
  5.  Malta[citation needed]
  6.  Yugoslavia[citation needed]

[edit] Observers

The following countries and organizations have observer status:[24]

[edit] Countries

[edit] Organisations

[edit] Guests

There is no permanent guest status,[25] but often several non-member countries are represented as guests at conferences. In addition, a large number of organisations, both from within the UN system and from outside, are always invited as guests.

[edit] See also

[edit] Further reading

[edit] References

  1. ^ http://www.namegypt.org/en/AboutName/MembersObserversAndGuests/Pages/default.aspx
  2. ^ Fidel Castro speech to the UN in his position as chairman of the non-aligned countries movement 12 October 1979; Pakistan & Non-Aligned Movement, Board of Investment - Government of Pakistan, 2003
  3. ^ a b Grant, Cedric. "Equity in Third World Relations: a third world perspective." International Affairs 71, 3 (1995), 567-587.
  4. ^ a b Suvedi, Suryaprasada (1996). Land and Maritime Zones of Peace in International Law. Oxford University Press. pp. 169–170. ISBN 0198260962. 
  5. ^ http://www.nam.gov.za/background/members.htm
  6. ^ Lai Kwon Kin (September 2, 1992). "Yugoslavia casts shadow over non-aligned summit". The Independent @ Independent.co.uk. Independent News and Media Limited. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/yugoslavia-casts-shadow-over-nonaligned-summit-1548802.html. Retrieved 2009-09-26. "Iran and several other Muslim nations want the rump state of Yugoslavia kicked out, saying it no longer represents the country which helped to found the movement." 
  7. ^ Najam, Adil (2003). "Chapter 9: The Collective South in Multinational Environmental Politics". In Nagel, Stuard. Policymaking and prosperity: a multinational anthology. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books. p. 233. ISBN 0-7391-0460-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=eCVZ5Vir2e0C&pg=PA233&f=false#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2009-11-10. "Turkmenistan, Belarus and Dominican Republic are the most recent entrants. The application of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Costa Rica were rejected in 1995 and 1998. Yugoslavia has been suspended since 1992." 
  8. ^ NAM Background Information
  9. ^ a b Ohlson, Thomas; Stockholm (1988). Arms Transfer Limitations and Third World Security. Oxford University Press. pp. 198. ISBN 0198291248. 
  10. ^ a b Morphet, Sally. "Multilateralism and the Non-Aligned Movement: What Is the Global South Doing and Where Is It Going?" Global Governance 10 (2004), 517–537
  11. ^ http://www.ipsterraviva.net/TV/Noal/en/default.asp. See "Putting Differences Aside," Daria Acosta, September 18, 2006.
  12. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/2798187.stm#facts. BBC Profile, BBC News, January 30, 2008.
  13. ^ http://www.nam.gov.za/xiisummit/chap1.htm. See no. 10-11 in Durban Summit 'Final Document.'
  14. ^ http://www.nam.gov.za/xiisummit/chap1.htm. See no.16-22 in Durban Summit 'Final Document.'
  15. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2006/09/16/nonalign.html. "Non-aligned nations slam U.S.," CBC News, September 16, 2006.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ 3162 (XXVIII) Question of Spanish Sahara. U.N. General assembly 28th session, 1973.
  18. ^ XV Summit of heads of state and government of the Non Aligned Movement - Final Document. Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.16-04-2009. See points 237, 238 & 239.
  19. ^ http://espana.cubanoal.cu/ingles/index.html. See "Statement on the implementation of the Right to Development," January 7, 2008.
  20. ^ http://www.nam.gov.za/xiisummit/chap1.htm. See no.55 in Durban Summit 'Final Document.'
  21. ^ http://espana.cubanoal.cu/ingles/index.html. See "Declaration on the occasion of celebrating Human Rights Day."
  22. ^ http://www.nam.gov.za/background/background.htm#2.4. NAM background information.
  23. ^ Fidel Castro, having recently undergone gastric surgery, was unable to attend the conference and was represented by his younger brother, Cuba's acting president Raúl Castro. See "Castro elected President of Non-Aligned Movement Nations", People's Daily, 16-09-2006.
  24. ^ Member and Observer Countries, Non-Aligned Movement
  25. ^ NAM Background Information

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