My geography is better than Fox News'.

ht Think Progress

I made a pretty map of the what-what in the Middle East and North Africa. 😀

Here’s what’s up:

Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali ruled his nation for 23 years. He was ousted after 29 days of protests.

Hosni Mubarak joins the ranks of the unemployed.  Now Egypt is in transition to Democracy.

Algeria: Thousands are protesting against the military government.

Bahrain: a majority Shi’a nation is fed up with their Sunni king.  Reforms have been announced, but pro-democracy forces say too little, too late.  Police thugs are brutalizing crowds.

Jordan: largest protests in the country’s history taking place. The people want change, but they still like their king.

Syria lifts a 5 year ban on facebook. (Baby steps?)  But Security Forces are roughing up protesters.

Yemen’s protests parallel Egypt’s with government forces beating protesters.

Saudi Arabia is a tinder box with a 22% unemployment rate.

Iran is trying. Perhaps their Green Movement will be re-energized. Tear gas. 😦


50 thoughts on “Jasmine Revolution: Smells like Freedom which is So Much Better than Teen Spirit

  1. Yemen scares the dickens out of me. They’re too close to becoming the next Iran. I’ve got my money on Algeria next. (Literally – a gent I know has a blog where he’s taking bets from his readers. Well, not with MONEY…) Although Bahrain may be coming up fast on the inside.
    Has anybody heard where dear old Hosni fled to?
    And to the fairest blogger in the land, our beloved Saint M herself, and to all her readers, Happy Valentine’s Day! 😀

  2. John, last I heard Hosni was holed up in his villa in Sharm El Sheikh, resort town down on the Red Sea, in Egypt. It’s a big mecca for diving, I know a couple of folks who’ve been. Of course, the only Egyptians who can afford to go there are the rich ones…
    Heard some talk on Al Jazeera a couple of days ago about rumblings amongst the protesters that he needs to get the hell out, and that his villa needs to be confiscated.

    • Thanks, Vicki. I just heard something that agrees with you on Sharm El Sheikh. It sounds like most of his assets have been frozen around the world, which doesn’t leave him a lot of choices on how to get out, or where to go. I doubt there’s any country in the region that wants him – they all seem to have some level of their own problems. He better watch out for those Mossad-trained sharks if he goes swimming! 😀

    • No problem, Vicki. I’ve got a half-dozen web pages open and am bouncing between 5 different TV stations! Well, 4 stations and whatever you call Fox (Faux?) News…..

    • This is starting to feel like Egypt late last week, several times over. I think I might have to change my default browser page, or put a bookmark up high on the list that goes directly to Mid-East pages on my various news sources. Jeez, I just could NOT picture doing this for a living! Programming computers made me grey by the age of 25 – this kinda confusion would KILL me! 😀

  3. Oh, Joy, boys and girls. BNP Paribas, the big French bank, has closed it’s doors in Ivory Coast due to fear for the lives of their employees. Let’s see – eastern Africa in chaos (Somalia) – check. North going to heck – ditto. West – yep, Nigeria and Ivory Coast. So now all we need is South Africa to go nuts, and the whole continent will be hosed. If you ever wanted to visit Africa, do so now while it is still there.

    • Iran’s the one that scares me. We might see a handful of deaths here and there, like in Syria or Algeria (just for example!). Ahmedinejad is nuts enough, and at the head of a sufficiently self-important organisation (the Revolutionary Guard), that I could see him ordering mass machine-gunning of protesters. I sincerely hope not, but I wouldn’t want to risk money on Ahmedinejad simply bailing like Mubarak did. It’s going to be an interesting spring!

    • We may see blood, Jean-Philippe, and that’s an old story repeated…regimes beating down their own people. But the world is different. Even where there’s a lot of censorship information is accessible like never before. My silly site gets regular visits from Iran. As foul as I am, the censors aren’t absolute. My thinking is young people know there’s a world they don’t have access to, and maybe it’s worth demanding access, even fighting for.

      The newspapers and online magazines are constantly scrutinized by the government in Iran. But the journalists keep at it. And Tehran is VERY Western. Yes, they generally think the West’s policies suck, and they don’t want their daughters growing up to be Paris Hilton, but our culture they love. The malls, the nose jobs, the boob jobs, cars, clothes. And our access to information is enviable.

  4. i wonder if the iranian army will turn on ahmadinejad and side with the people after what they saw in egypt (if they actually saw it).

    p.s. the flowers are a nice touch
    p.p.s. i hope libya is added to the list soon. i’d be very happy to see gadhafi go down in flames.

    • That’s who the people have to petition. The army. Thanks about the flowers. There’s a jarring disparity between flowers and the worst that could happen to these people. But they named it. 🙂 I’m willing to promote the optimism and the beauty of the idea. 🙂

    • I’ll second the vote on Gadhafi. The world would be far better without him. And I’ll second the Iranian protesters working with the Army. Hopefully the Revolutionary Guard will go the way of the Egyptian state police. Hopefully….. but I doubt it.

    • Some of the writeups I’ve seen are stating that the Iranian protesters were chanting against Ali Khameni, the religious leader, rather than against Ahmedinejad. That sets up an interesting possibility (not likely, but interesting) – a religious decapitation of Iran, leaving the secular government (and maybe the Revolutionary Guard) in power, minus the ultra-conservative religious leadership. Like I say, not really likely, but definitely an interesting possibility.

      • That’s why I don’t think it’s very likely that the government and the religious leaders would split. About the only situation I could see would be Ahmedinejad throwing the clerics to the protesters as sacrificial lambs to save his own butt. But with the complete interlace of religion into the political process, I don’t see the clerics letting go first. Actually, I don’t see the clerics letting go at all, so maybe Khameni will pitch Ahmedinejad to the crowd, though I don’t see that as enough for the protesters. Either way, it’s gonna be a heck of a show.

    • It’d be amazing to see Iran become a self-governing people. The Iranian government “celebrated” the ouster of Mr Mubarak and now sends brutes to beat and arrest protesters in Tehran.

    • It really depends on how far into the Revolutionary Guard the mullahs have their fingers. If they have control like they did in the days after the 1979 revolution, things will get messy. On the other hand, if the mullahs can be separated from the Guard and the military, then there’s hope. And there are several potential secular leaders abroad in exile, which could make a transition far quicker and easier than what we’re seeing in Egypt.

  5. One thing for sure … both the people and each government will handle it differently … well, and the latter will probably provide the unfortunate news.

    PS: Send the map to Alaska.

  6. I have a couple of Persian (their preferred appellation) acquaintances here in the ‘Ham. There’s a reason they prefer the US to Iran, even though they still have family there. And they think long and hard before even visiting there. Not to mention heaving a big sigh of relief once they return home here safely. Even with the majority of the population being so young, I’m not making any bets on the situation there. I see the Rev. Guard as being in way too deep with the mullahs…but I could be surprised. I hope I am…

    • Iran has blocked websites sites, texts, and phone calls. That’s when the shit really hit the fan in Egypt.

      Now, I’m reading protests in Fallujah, Iraq. I can’t believe it’s still inhabitable after the bombing it took.

    • Um… why do you think they’re protesting in Fallujah? I’ve been nosing around the planning (or direct lack thereof) of the Iraq invasion, and I can’t get a clear answer, despite all my military contacts – where the HELL were the Construction Battalions/Corps of Engineers? We should’ve rolled in with the engineers RIGHT behind the tanks, putting the wires and plumbing back together. That’s why the Iraqis don’t like us – unlike Afghanistan, they DID have a working infrastructure in the major cities. The best answer I’ve ever gotten was a feeble “we had to prioritise our force distribution”. In other words – “we is ARMY, we blow tings up. Don ask us to FIX tings!” (And I’m not alone with that question, I’ve seen it come up through DOD, House Armed Services Committee, and a couple Defence analysis groups. Same question, same dang answer.)
      Ya know, it SUCKS to know how the military works on the inside. Sometimes I wish I was just a dumb civilian. I hate asking questions nobody WANTS to answer. But, that’s the bear I have to cross! 🙂

    • By the by, I know the obvious answer to all our Iraq problems is, “We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq”. Sorry, guys, I’m a tactician. The big boys in Washington launched the attack – that’s a whole ‘nother issue to argue over altogether. So please, don’t attack me TOO violently? 😉 I just hang with the PBI – poor bloody infantry! 🙂

  7. …oh, and I agree with you about Jordan, Melissa. From what I read about their king and his wife, they seem a lot more open to some change. She particularly has a big interest in women’s issues, which is a breath of fresh air in the Arab world.

  8. And let’s not forget the latest problem growing from the unrest in Tunisia. Italy is being flooded with Tunisian refugees. They have several processing facilities that have 5-10 times their “maximum” capacity of Tunisians. If more countries start to seriously unravel, we could end up with refugee hoards traveling from other countries, through Tunisia, and via Italy into southern Europe.
    Will the last Tunisian leaving please turn out the lights?

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