Peu importe qui sera au pouvoir, des réformes très douloureuses seront notre pain quotidien dans le future le plus proche. Ceci n’est pas une spéculation, mais une vérité et une réalité amère.
“Shale oil production in the US is still in its early stages, and its full potential remains uncertain, but development is happening at a faster pace than shale gas. Preliminary estimates for 2020 range from 5-15 million barrels per day with a production breakeven price as low as $44-68 per barrel depending upon the fields. By the 2020, the US could emerge as a major energy exporter.” The Global Trends 2030 page 35-36
Je ne suis pas un alarmiste d’habitude, mais les alarmes en Algerie doivent être données.
Selon les perspectives économique de 2012 du FMI, l’Algérie doit avoir le coût du baril de pétrole entre $100 à $120 pour pouvoir équilibrer et balancer les dépenses fiscales et budgétaires–c.a.d: pas de deficit et ni de dette publique. En 2011, l’Algérie a enregistré le 2ème plus gros déficit budgétaire des pays producteurs de pétrole au Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord avec un deficit égale à 3,6% du PIB–c.a.d: 6.8 milliards de dollars. En 2012, elle a enregistré une dette publique relative au PIB de 8,80%–c.a.d: 16.62 milliards de dollars–avec une croissance économique relativement faible de 2.6%. Il faut noter, au passage, que la croissance économique en Algérie est très largement dépendante des exportations du pétrole et du gaz naturel.
L’Algérie se dirige vers une crise budgétaire d’une magnitude et d’une gravité dont le peuple n’ai jamais vu pareille. Le pétrole, le gaz naturel et les produits pétroliers représentent 97% des exportations de l’Algérie. Les hydrocarbures ont longtemps été l’épine dorsale de l’économie Algérienne, et en 2012, le pétrole et le gaz naturel représentaient environ 60% des recettes budgétaires et 44% du PIB. Si l’Algérie ne diversifierait pas son économie d’une manière très brutale et rapide dans les 10 à 15 prochaines années, le pays se dirigera littéralement vers des troubles sociaux gigantesques et le collapse total du système politque.
C’est tres simple: Les USA commencent déjà a diminuer drastiquement leur importations de gaz naturel (les USA seront totalement indépendant en gaz naturel en 2020), et pour ce qui est du pétrole, ils seront independent des importations, et même exportateurs entre l’an 2025-30. Quand les USA entreront le marché du gaz naturel comme exportateur en 2020 (et par la suite, le marché du pétrole en 2035), les prix de ces 2 produits vont chuter et d’une maniere drastique. Non seulement le plus grand consommateur de pétrole au monde n’est plus un importateur de pétrole et de gaz naturel, mais il les exporte en plus. Cela représentera un choc énorme dans les marchés du gaz naturel et du pétrol. Certains économistes ont estimé un swing de $45 à $55 dans le prix du baril. Ceci veut dire une baisse drastique du PIB, une croissance économique negative, autrement dit une recession, et une baisse d’environs 40% des recettes budgétaires . C’est une catastrophe pour le pays. L’heure du réveil est ici pour l’Algérie parce qu’il ne reste plus beaucoup de temps.
A tout casser, l’Algeria a une fenêtre d’opportunité de 10 à 15 annees au plus pour agir durant laquelle il faut mettre en place des réformes sérieuses et radicales au système économique entier, et il faut commencer dès maintenant. Si de sérieuses réformes ne sont pas engagées dans les 10-15 prochaines annees, l’avenir pour l’Algérie sera d’une laideur absolu.
L’Algérie doit réformer radicalement son système bancaire. Elle doit totalement restructurer son système fiscal (perception de l’impôt, collection d’impôt et sa redistribution). Tous les programmes de prestations sociales doivent être totalement revus (retraire, santé, couverture sociale, prestations familiales, le coût du travail, prestation de chomage, logement social, les prestations de Moudjahideene, de fils de Chouhada, et des veuves de Moudjahideenes etc). Certains de ces programmes de prestations sociales doivent complètement être éliminés, d’autres pourraient être renforcés. Il faut éliminer toutes les subventions dans presque tous les secteurs à l’exception des programmes d’éducation, et de santé des enfants, et certains produits de base. Il faut réduire le budget de la défense, fermer et consolider des bases militaires, réduire de l’effectif de l’armée, arrêter complètement tous les nouveaux contracts d’armement. Et surtout, il faut ouvrir le marché Algerien et abandonner la règle des 51% parce que le gouvernement Algerien sera forcé de l’abandonner un jour contre notre gré; alors il faut le faire dès maintenant quand on est encore en contrôle de nos actions.
Depuis 1962, l’Algérie s’est efforcée sans aucun succès a développer des industries hors-hydrocarbures en raison de la réglementation lourde étatique, d’une bureaucratie lourde et archaïque, et en raison de l’accent mis sur la croissance mené par l’État. Les efforts du gouvernement ont fait peu pour réduire les taux élevés du chômage chronique des jeunes ou à remédier à la pénurie de logements. Une vague de protestations économiques en Février et Mars 2011 a incité le gouvernement Algérien à offrir plus de 23 milliards de dollars de subventions publiques, des augmentations de salaires rétroactives, et d’autres avantages sociaux. Malgré cela, les mouvements sociaux continuent de peser sur les finances publiques, et sur l’environnement politique qui est devenu explosive ces derniers temps. Les défis économiques à long terme sont plus qu’essentiels, ils sont obligatoires, et doivent comprendre comme partie integrale la diversification de l’économie au détriment de sa dépendance aux exportations d’hydrocarbures, le renforcement du secteur privé, l’attration des investissements étrangers, et la création des emplois adéquats pour les jeunes Algériens. Cette diversification de l’économie ne se fera pas sans les réformes susmentionnées.
Cela va être douloureux; c’est une thérapie de choc; un choc au le système économique qui a été moriband depuis plus d’un demi-siècle. Mais hélas ce choc doit être fait et donné autrement la douleur sera insupportable quand l’Algérie n’aura plus aucun contrôle sur ses politiques économiques et sociales, et surtout aucun contrôle sur son destin. Sans cette douleur, qui doit être partagée équitablement par tous les Algériens, le désordre social et l’anarchie seront le pain quotidien du pays. .
Et peu importe qui sera au pouvoir, il ne fera pas de miracles. Peu importe qui sera au pouvoir, il sera obligé de réformer. Peu importe qui sera au pouvoir, il sera obligé d’infliger de la douleur à une population entière et de faire des choix très impopulaires. Aucun dictateur ne peut engager ces réformes douloureuses sans causer un mécontentement populaire, et même un soulèvement. Les dirigeants actuels du pays, la classe actuelle de nos politiciens, n’ont aucune crédibilité auprès du peuple, et sont profondément doutés et haïs par le peuple Algérien. C’est pour cela que celui qui sera à la tête du pays dans un très proche avenir doit jouir d’un large mandat populaire. Ce futur président doit avoir le plein appui, le soutien, et la confiance du peuple Algérien. Aucun dirigeant autoritaire peut avoir cela; aucun dirigeant de l’Algérie d’aujourd’hui, de l’Algérie de Bouteflika et des généreux Toukif et Tartag, n’a ce soutien et cette confiance. Seules de véritables réformes démocratiques, avec des élections propres, ouvertes et transparentes donneraient au pays ce leader et cette classe politique qui meneront le combat des réformes structurelles et institutionnelles.
D’ailleurs, je conseille vivement à ce prochain president de prononcer ce passage légendaire Churchillienne lors de son premier au discours a nation–ce passage d’une sérénité grave et sérieuse que Churchill a prononcer devant la Chambre des Communes le 13 mai 1940, juste avant l’invasion Nazie et la grande et héroïque Bataille de l’Angleterre.
“Nous sommes dans la phase préliminaire de l’une des plus grandes batailles de l’histoire….nous devons être préparés.
Je voudrais dire à la Chambre comme j’ai dit à ceux qui ont adhéré à ce gouvernement: je n’ai rien à offrir que du sang, du labeur, des larmes et de la sueur. Nous avons devant nous une épreuve des plus graves et des sérieuses. Nous avons devant nous beaucoup, beaucoup de longs mois de lutte et de souffrance.”
Du sang, du labeur, des larmes et de la sueur, c’est exactement ce que le futur président Algerien doit promettre au peuple algérien. Tout autre promise sera un mensonge.
Courtesy of Juan Cole.
Posted on 09/21/2012 by Juan
As the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior announced that no demonstrations would be permitted on Friday, the Muslim leader Rached Ghanoushi warned of the dangers of violent fundamentalism. The Tunisian government invoked emergency powers on learning of plans for violent disruptions on Friday, in response to anti-Islam caricatures published in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Ghanoushi, the leader of the ruling al-Nahda Party and a long-time proponent of political Islam in Tunisia, has come out strongly against the small but violent “Salafi Jihadi” movement in an interview with Agence France Presse. He said that these violent extremists posed a threat both to his own al-Nahda Party and also to general liberties in the country, and said that such disruptive groups need to be dealt with decisively.
The Salafis, or hard line ultra-fundamentalists, in Tunisia, unlike those in Egypt, did not gain seats in parliament, and they are mainly known for a series of small but provocative public acts of violence and disruption, including throwing stones outside movie theaters, rioting outside art exhibits, harassing unveiled women, attacking tourist hotels for selling alcohol, and, last Saturday, attacking the American school and setting a fire on the grounds of the US Embassy in Tunis. The hard core of activists sometimes gets support in a few working class districts of the capital and some small rural towns, but it is far out of the mainstream of the country.
Many Tunisians are secularists, and there is a strong tradition of moderate Sunni Muslim reformism. Ghanouchi himself told me in an interview in May that his al-Nahda had unreservedly embraced democracy and the principle of popular sovereignty.
Other Tunisians when I was there viewed al-Nahda with suspicion and felt as though it was using the Salafis or at least not interfering with them, as a way of shifting the country toward the religious Right. Educated women often expressed fear of the Salafis taking away their rights.
The al-Nahda government is being criticized for not having arrested Salafi extremist Seif Allah Ibn Hussein, known as Abu Iyadh.
Ghanoushi has in the past condemned actions of the Salafis but at the same time complained of ‘provocations’ by secularists. In this interview, he appears to have made no excuses for them and to have condemned them roundly (though the Arabic version of the AFP interview condemns ‘Salafi Jihadis,’ not all Salafis).
I take it he has begun to worry, as I suggested last weekend, that al-Nahda itself may become associated in the public mind with the extremism and violence of the Salafis, and so could suffer in the parliamentary elections now scheduled for late spring, 2013. The proponents of political Islam in both Tunisia and Egypt face the problem that if they crack down on the extremist Salafis, they look like lackeys of imperialism defending attacks on the Prophet Muhammad. They could thus injure their standing with their own base. On the other hand, if they don’t dissociate themselves from and prove the can curb the disruptions of the Salafis, they could lose the general public in a future election.
Secular-minded Tunisians will be watching al-Nahda carefully to see if it follows through on its commitment to public order and to curbing the Salafi Jihadis.
The US State Department took revenge on the al-Nahda government for its failure to prevent Saturday’s attack on the American embassy by issuing a travel warning for Tunisia, discouraging Americans from going there. This step was a blow to Tunisian tourism and prospects of attracting foreign investment. Ghanoushi told me that the al-Nahda government had good relations with the US and was pleased with the support in Washington for Tunisian democracy. He couldn’t say so publicly, but some of his forthrightness in his AFP interview may have been an attempt to reassure Western powers about the new Tunisia.
Throughout the day today, pictures of young and not-so-young Americans showing their support for Islam in their own simple way in their own words popped up on the web. This movement of support has gone viral. 1000s of Facebook pages, blogs, tweets, and YouTube videos have been posted. It is truly sui generis and truly impressive movement.
Take a look, here are a few samples…you can find 1000s more on the web…
Suite à la publication de cette image (voir ci-dessous) dans le journal satirique, “The Onion,” dans laquelle les personnages les plus vénérés de plusieurs confessions religieuses étaient représenté se livrant à un acte sexuel lascive et de dépravation considérable, personne n’a été assassiné, battu, brulé, ou a vu sa vie menacé.
On attend toujours les fans de Moïse, Jésus, de la déesse Ganesha, et de Bouddha. Mais on risque d’attendre longtemps et pour rien.
Sur la réaction des musulmans aux films/caricatures anti-Islam & l’industrie de l’indignation factice
The Industry of fake-outrage
Be advised, this is not an analysis. This is a rant. I will write an analysis in the upcoming days.
Enough is enough. That’s my reaction to this stupidity displayed by Muslims throughout the Muslim world. Every time there is a stupid cartoon or an asinine amateurish movie published in the West, the whole Muslim world plunges into a collective psychotic hysteria. People running around, foaming at the mouth, burning buildings, burning flags, burning effigies, killing people, suicidal attacks, two-bit fatwas flying left and right condemning people to death, and breaching embassies. For your information, embassies are sovereign territories by international law, and their breach, technically, constitutes an act of war.
The industry of fake outrage in the Middle East and North Africa has become the most productive and lucrative industry. The Muslim world produces nothing, but fake outrage. If Muslims really cared about the welfare of Islam and cared about the welfare of other Muslims, they should pay more attention to the abysmally catastrophic situation in their own countries; they should pay more attention to their bankrupted economies, to their medieval educational systems, to their diseased public health systems, to their crumbling infrastructures, and pay less attention to stupid amateurs in the West whose only aim is to foment troubles and excite the already hyper-excited Muslims.
If Muslims really cared about the welfare of Islam and other Muslims, they should have stood tall and denounced the horrendous murders committed by Al-Qaeda in the name of Islam in Muslims countries; they should have stood tall and denounced the killings by the 1000s committed by Muslims on Muslims in Algeria, in Egypt, in Sudan, in Iraq, in Bahrain, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and in other places. Or is it okay for radical crazed Muslims to kill other Muslims? Are we so scared of the thugs of Al-Qaeda that we dare not criticize them, and we dare not oppose them? Where were these fake-outraged Muslims when babies were slaughtered, young girls were kidnapped and gang-raped, pregnant women were opened up and their fetuses ripped out of their bellies? Where was this outrage when Muslims killed Muslims by the 1000s in Afghanistan? I bet they looked away.
All this killing–the killing of a U.S. ambassador and 3 foreign service officers is an act of war if i may add–and all these millions of dollars wasted in this faux-outrage is the result of a movie (and other domestic struggles that i will analyze in my next post) that nobody saw and nobody heard of. It is the work of a twisted radical and former felon who is apparently a Coptic Christian with an ax to grind. This idiot named Nakoula Bassely Nakoula successfully manipulated millions of Muslims to engage in a total breach of international law and commit murder in cold blood. Yes, Al-Qaeda is involved in Libya, and the ambassador’s killing is most likely the work of Al-Qaeda splinter group. However, without the brouhaha caused by these idiot imams calling for Jihab because some idiot in Los Angeles said something bad about the Prophet Mohamed (saaws), this Al-Qaeda splinter group would not have had the opportunity to do what it did.
More importantly, and let me ask my fellow Muslims directly here: are we that insecure in and about our faith and belief? Are we this insecure about our religion? Are we? Is the divine status of the Prophet or the Koran in danger because a two-bit idiot said something bad about him or burned a couple of Korans in defiance? Is the reputation of our religion this fragile and our faith this friable that when a thug does something we start shaking in our boots, and we start doubting our belief and our principles? If you feel this way, let me tell you, you should not be part of the Islamic faith. I grant you the authorization to leave the Islamic faith because you are not Muslims, and you bring shame to my religion.
Juan Cole posted on his blog an excellent analysis of the movie that caused such an uproar in Libya, Egypt, and Muslim countries. He investigated in details (and with links) the origin of the movie, who shot it, who funded it, and for what purpose. As we already know, the U.S. government is in no way or shape linked to the production and/or promotion of this movie. Moreover, the U.S. government, federal and/or state, cannot shut down or ban this movie because it has no constitutional basis for doing so. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the first amendment protects your right to be a jackass.
So without further do, i let you read Juan Cole’s article.
The late science fiction writer Ray Bradbury authored a short story about time travelers. They were careful, when they went back to the Jurassic, not to change anything, but one of them stepped on a butterfly. When they got back to the present, the world was slightly different.
When scientists studying complexity put forward the idea that small initial events could have large effects in non-linear, dynamic systems like the weather, they chose the term ‘butterfly effect.” One of the images students of weather instanced was that a butterfly flapping its wings might set off minor turbulence that ultimately turned into a hurricane. (In the older model of Newtonian physics, small events have small effects and large events have large effects, so you wouldn’t expect a minor action to produce big changes).
So the Associated Press did a careful investigation of the ‘Sam Bacile’ who supposedly directed the hate film, ‘The Innocence of Muslims.’ And AP found that probably he does not exist, but is a persona used by a convicted Coptic Egyptian fraudster, Nakoula Bassely Nakoula.
But the story gets more complex. Nakoula had Coptic and evangelical associates in the shooting of the film, including Steve Klein, a former Marine and current extremist Christian who has helped train militiamen in California churches and has led “protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques.” My guess is that most of the Egyptian Copts involved are converts to American-style fundamentalism.
The Egyptian Coptic church has roundly condemned the hateful film they made smearing the Prophet Muhammad.
Anyway, the bigotry of the edited film, directed at Muslims, is part of a movement of religious prejudice that also targets . . . Mormons.
Mitt Romney may want to rethink his ‘visceral’ reaction to the US embassy in Cairo’s tweet condemning the group’s hate speech.
Then it turns out that the film was shot in such a way that there was originally no mention of the Prophet Muhammad in the script, and the cast had no idea what they were getting themselves into, and then the name of Muhammad was clumsily dubbed into the final edit.
So, the film was from the beginning a fraud. It was directed by a fraud. It was promoted by a militia trainer. And Nakoula marketed it fraudulently as the work of a fictitious Israeli-American Jewish real estate agent, ‘Sam Bacile,’ and falsely said it had been funded by “a hundred Jewish donors.”
The group behind the film, in other words, managed to evoke all the classic themes of anti-Semitism as a way of disguising the Coptic and evangelical network out of which the ‘film’ came. When they weren’t busy picketing Mormons and defaming Muslims they were trying to get Jews killed for their own smears of Islam!
Of course, given the strident hatred of Muslims promoted by a handful of Jewish American extremists such as Pamela Geller, David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes and others, in which they gleefully join with white supremacists and Christian fundamentalists, it was only a matter of time before their partners in hate turned on them and used them.
The bad, dubbed ‘film’ only had one theater showing in some dowdy place in LA. Then in July the group had the trailer for it dubbed into Arabic with subtitles as well, and put it on Youtube, where it was found by strident Egyptian Muslim fundamentalist Sheikh Khaled Abdallah, who had it shown on al-Nas television and caused the sensation that led to Tuesday’s demonstrations in Cairo and Benghazi. As I argued yesterday, the vigilante extremists or ‘jihadis’ have been left on the garbage pile of history by the democratic elections in Egypt and Libya, and are whipping up the issue of this film in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.
Aware of the building sensation about the film, an employee of the US embassy in Cairo condemned it as hate speech before the rally began outside its premises.
In other words, this is a non-film and a non-story, a fraud, promoted by the worst people in each culture.
In Cairo, the rally allegedly got out of hand because the Ultras or soccer ruffians joined in, and they were probably the ones who tore down the American flag and ran up a black Muslim-fundamentalist one. Ultras are not fundamentalists but they are mischievous and resent authority, so a superpower that backs the army and police they hate might be a target of their wrath. There may have also been a handful of al-Qaeda supporters there, not surprising on the anniversary of September 11. The crowd at the American embassy was tiny by Egyptian protest standards.
In Benghazi, Hadeel Al Shalchi got the story. She talked to Libyan special forces members who explained that there were three stages to the events there. First, there was a demonstration. Then when the police and consulate guards tried to curb it, the demonstrators got angry and some of them went for guns and a rocket propelled grenade, so that the consulate was set on fire and looted. It was at that second stage that US ambassador Chris Stevens and another diplomat were killed (Stevens inhaled too much smoke in the fire and the other man was shot). Stevens’ death is a great tragedy and irony, since he was liaison to the transitional national council during the Libyan revolution and many Libyans lionize him. Why in the world he was in an insecure minor consulate in a provincial city on September 11 is a mystery to me.
Then 37 embassy personnel escaped to a rural safe house. The Libyan special forces commander charged with evacuating them to Tripoli at first was stymied by not having enough vehicles for so many people. Then the safe house came under fairly precise mortar fire from members of an al-Qaeda affiliate operating in Benghazi, which must have been surveilling consular personnel. Finally, the Libyan government forces got the Americans to the airport and they flew back to the capital of Tripoli.
It should be remembered that Libyan forces fought and risked their lives to protect Americans. In opinion polling in Eastern Libya, the United States has a 60% favorability rating, while the Salafis or hard line Muslims stand at only 28% favorable.
It was while all that was going on in Cairo and Benghazi that Mitt Romney took it into his head to condemn Barack Obama for the tweet issued by the Cairo embassy before the demonstration. He alleged that Obama had *reacted* to the embassy attacks by showing some sympathy for the attackers. This allegation is untrue and absurd, but Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan went on repeating it all day Wednesday.
Romney was caught on camera walking away from that shameful performance with a shark-like grin on his face. Since he was talking about matters of life and death, the expression was inappropriate. But a darker theory is that he was grinning about having stuck it to Obama.
Romney’s politicization of September 11 and of the horrible events in Benghazi was poorly received among opinion leaders, including prominent Republicans, and some observers suggest that this miscalculation may have been a decisive nail in the coffin of his sputtering campaign.
Meanwhile, the Libyan government apologized for and vehemently condemned the attack on the consulate and the killing of its personnel. And, on Wednesday Libyans staged pro-American demonstrations in several cities.
In Egypt, in contrast, small demonstrations were held again in front of the US embassy, until police pushed the activists back. When, on Thursday morning, protesters set two cars afire with Molotov cocktails, police arrested 12 of them. The police have the embassy surrounded and have closed the roads leading to it in Garden City.
Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, fell short of strongly condemning the Cairo and Benghazi attacks. Late on Wednesday the Muslim Brotherhood finally retweeted comments of one of its other leaders, Khairat al-Shater, in condemnation of the attacks. Nevertheless, the Brotherhood is sponsoring rallies protesting the film on Friday, a ‘day of rage.’ Morsi is no doubt worried that religious and political currents to his right will outflank him on the issue of the blasphemous film and its American provenance. But Morsi has a Ph.D. from the US and surely knows that the US government cannot suppress films, and it is shameful that he did not condemn forthrightly the killing of Ambassador Stevens and the others.
In Tunisia, Salafis rallied on Wednesday in front of the US embassy, but were fairly quickly dispersed by police deploying tear gas. Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki denounced the killing of Stevens and the others as an “act of terrorism.”
So the Butterfly Effect set off by a low-budget bad propaganda film gotten up by two-bit frauds and Christian supremacists, and then promoted by two-bit Egyptian and Libyan fundamentalists, has provoked some squalls and cost the lives of four good men.
The storm provoked by this butterfly has revealed character on an international scale. The steely determination of an Obama to achieve justice, the embarrassing grandstanding of a Romney, the destructive hatred of a handful of extremists in Cairo and Benghazi, and the decency and warmth toward the US of the Libyan crowds, all were thrown into stark relief by the beating of the butterfly’s wings.
In the end, the violence and extremism of the hardliners on both sides is a phantasm of the past, not a harbinger of the future. The wave of democratic politics sweeping the region has left the haters behind, reducing them to desperate and senseless acts of violence that will gain them no good will, no popularity, no political credibility.
A little-noted major event of Wednesday was the democratic selection of a new prime minister in Libya for the first time in the country’s history. Mustafa Abushagur defeated the Muslim Brotherhood candidate handily. Abushagur for a long time taught college in the US, at the University of Alabama Huntsville. Libyans again showed themselves nationalist and non-fundamentalist. This remarkable achievement, and what it portends for the shape of Libyan politics, will be drowned out by the atrocity in Benghazi, but it is the development that is likely to be marked by future historians as a turning point in Libya and in the Middle East.
Syrie: Les 10 implications/conclusions de l’attentat de Damas et de l’assassinat du ministre de la Défense
Great analysis, as always, from our friend Juan Cole.
Courtesy of Juan Cole
Posted on 07/19/2012 by Juan
The bombing of the Security Headquarters of the Baath government of Syria on Wednesday killed the Minister of Defense, the deputy Minister of Defense, and the Assistant to the vice-president and head of crisis management office Gen Hassan Turkomani. It wounded the Minister of the Interior (i.e. head of the secret police) and a member of the national security council. Some reports said that also wounded was Hafez al-Makhlouf, a cousin of the president on his mother’s side of the family and a key security figure. The Makhloufs, especially Ramy, are the business wing of the al-Assad cartel, and their billionaire ways were among the sources of discontent that provoked the uprising.
What does this bombing mean for Syria and the Middle East?
1. It demonstrates that the rebels have sympathizers in high positions within the regime. The bomb had to have been planted by an insider. This situation reminds me of the American dilemma in Vietnam, where we now know that many high-ranking Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) officers were in fact sympathizers with the Communists and basically double agents.
2. It follows upon this conclusion that the al-Assad regime is unlikely to be able to emulate the Algerian military, which crushed the Islamic Salvation Front in a brutal civil war from 1992 through the early zeroes of the present century. Some 150,000 Algerians are said to have died in the dirty war, with atrocities on both sides. But when the smoke cleared, the junta was still in control, and its favored secular civilians were in office. In all that time, the Muslim fundamentalist opposition never laid a glove on any of the high officials or officers. But the Algerian elite closed ranks against the Islamic Salvation Front, having a cultural set of affinities and a common source of patronage in the state-owned oil and gas sector.
If the rebels in Syria can reach into the Security HQ this way, and assassinate the highest security officials of the regime, that ability does not augur well for Bashar al-Assad’s ability to win the long game, as his counterparts did in Algeria.
3. The targets of the bombing were likely intended to send a message to Syria’s minorities. The minister of defense, Daoud Rajha, was a Christian. The Christian minority, which could be as large as 14% of the population, has been on the fence during the revolution, and some actively support the secular nationalist regime because they fear Muslim fundamentalists will come to power. Rajha’s assassination was intended to warn them to join the revolution or at least get out of its way. Likewise, Assef Shawkat, the deputy minister of defense, was an Allawite Shiite and was married to Bushra, the sister of Bashar al-Assad. If it is true that Hafez Makhlouf was wounded, he was another prominent Allawite. The rebels are largely (with significant exceptions) Sunni Muslims, from the majority community that has not typically held its fair proportion of high office.
4. The rein of terror unleashed by the Allawites on the Sunni rebels, using Ghost Brigade death squads, has backfired big time. Many Sunnis formerly allied with the regime have turned on it, including at the highest levels. The defection of the Sunni Tlass family, who had dominated the ministry of defense and regime business interests for decades, is a straw in the wind here.
5. The rocket-propelled grenades smuggled to the opposition by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as part of their proxy war against Iran, are allowing the rebels occasionally to kill tanks and take down helicopter gunships. The more such weapons they have, and the more sophisticated they are, the more they help level the playing field for the rebels.
6. Defections and desertions of Sunni enlisted men and low-level officers could accelerate in the wake of the bombings, as soldiers become convinced that the regime will eventually fall. They won’t want to risk their lives fighting for a ship that is anyway sinking, and won’t want to risk being seen as war criminals in the aftermath.
7. The economic disruptions in the capital could be decisive. With the rebels now fighting in districts like Midan and Tadamun, the Syrian business classes are not going to be making any money for a while. Since for them, the purpose of the Baath Party is to throw them licenses and government contracts, they will turn on it if it is unable to satisfy their needs.
8. The fall of the Baath regime in Syria would leave Hizbullah high and dry. Its rockets and other weapons, and some of its communications and code-breaking abilities, depended on Syrian help. The leader of the Hizbullah Shiites of south Lebanon (a neighbor of Syria), Hassan Nasrullah, gave a speech Wednesday unapologetically supporting the Baath regime and sending condolences to the families of those killed. If the regime does fall, the new government is likely to have a grudge with Hizbullah for a while. The downside of any weakening of Hizbullah is that it could encourage Israeli expansionism in South Lebanon, as in the 1980s and 1990s (Israel’s leaders have long wanted to steal the water in south Lebanon’s rivers).
9. On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood is a significant force among the rebels, and it likely will play an outsized role in a post-Baath Syria. It has ties to the Muslim fundamentalist party, Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip. Hamas could therefore become and more formidable adversary for Israel, if it is supported by both the Egyptian and Syrian branches of the Muslim Brotherhood.
10. Given the proliferation of medium weapons among the rebels, the longer the civil war goes on, the more likely these arms are to flow into Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, enabling small guerrilla groups in those countries to challenge the status quo. If the Baath hangs on for years rather than months, the whole region could see more decades of instability. That is why Jordan just declared martial law and has begun turning back refugees at the Syrian border, why Israel’s security establishment had an urgent meeting Wednesday, and why Syria’s other neighbors are watching developments there with anxiety and suspicion.
This is a Human Rights Watch video documenting the Syrian government torture methods and torture centers. In it, you will hear testimonies from several opponents to Bashar Al-Assad describing what they endured during their stay in those centers of horror.
I still maintain that the Syrian regime and Bashar Al-Assad are done. He’s toast, and there is no future for him or for his regime in Syria. It is only a matter of time. However, the longer this struggle continues and the bloodier it gets, the more radical the opposition will be, which does not represent a good omen for the post-Bashar Al-Assad period.
It’s official. Mohamed Morsy is the president-elect of Egypt. Finally, the Brotherhood won it. This movement that was established in 1928 by Hassan Al-Bannah has finally achieved one of its objectives. This social, economic, and political movement has endured a tremendous systematic persecution over the years. It is a movement that has gone through phases of radicalization, negotiation, moderation, armed opposition, cooptation, cooperation and finally legalized and rightful opposition, which has ultimately led the Brotherhood to the highest office of the executive in Egypt.
The secret of this movement is no secret at all. It has lasted and overcome obstacles, torture, banishment and so on because it has always had a solid popular basis. It is a movement that is rooted in the hearts of a large number of Egyptians, and it is only fair that this large number of Egyptians got to elect their candidate to the highest office in the land.
You may ask, what now? Well, the hardest, the most taxing and the most ungrateful endeavors await the Brotherhood. They have a long list of serious economic grievances to deal with. From now on, they are going to be judged on their results, not on the perseverance of their resistance and struggle. They either deliver, or they will be voted out. As they say, the hard work starts now Mr. Morsy.
This is the small clip of president Morsy acceptance speech
Joy and Jubilation in Tahrir Square, Cairo
Courtesy of Dr. Juan Cole
Posted on 06/17/2012 by Juan
The initial reaction of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party to the high court decision dissolving parliament had been acquiescence. On Sunday, they got a bit more active, arguing that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) did not have the right to dissolve parliament despite the court ruling (i.e. that it wasn’t the body with legal standing to do so). They also argued that the dissolution must be put to a popular referendum, since it voided the vote of millions of Egyptians.
All of this raises the question of why the Mubarak-appointed judiciary backed by SCAF moved against the parliament, which was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. I don’t believe that the SCAF coup was based on a rational calculation. Rather, I think the generals see the world as a conspiracy against them, and that the basis for their action was likely irrational.
Gen. Omar Suleiman addressed a letter to the Egyptian people Saturday, urging them to vote in the elections but implicitly criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood as arrogant and overbearing, and suggesting that you might hear them now talking about cooperating with everyone, but alleging that such talk is merely manipulative. Suleiman is a former head of military intelligence and was vice president in the last Mubarak government. He had wanted to run for president but was disqualified by the courts on the grounds that he hadn’t gathered enough petition signatures.
When I was in Cairo in May, a reporter told me that Suleiman gave a talk at the al-Ahram Center in which he alleged that the Muslim Brotherhood was preparing to develop a violent paramilitary capability. Generals such as he view the Brotherhood as not very different from al-Qaeda and as potentially violent, even though the organization gave up violence in the 1970s and has been disciplined about only using civil means to gain power ever since.
It also seems clear that the generals have a conspiracy theory that the United States is somehow behind the Jan. 25, 2011 revolt against Hosni Mubarak, and that Washington is secretly funding the leftist youth groups that spearheaded the big demonstrations then and since. That is why they keep harassing foreigners and journalists who seem too interested in Egyptian politics, and why they aired commercials recently discouraging Egyptians from speaking to foreigners.
Only a conspiracy theorist could simultaneously hold that the Muslim Brotherhood is a theocratic cabal with paramilitary aspirations and that the US is supporting it and other revolutionary forces.
Another alleged foreign player in Egypt is Qatar, which Egyptians see as a supporter and funder of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Mufti or chief Muslim legal adviser of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, on Sunday riposted to an attack on him by the Muslim televangelist at al-Jazeerah Arabic, Yousuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi had blasted Gomaa for saying he was neutral in the presidential contest. Qaradawi insisted that all clerics had to come out for Muhammad Mursi, the Brotherhood candidate. (Actually using the pulpit to promote a partisan candidate is illegal in Egypt). Gomaa implied that Qaradawi is after personal glory and thinks he is a real Muslim while others are ersatz.
The subtext here is that many Egyptians see Qaradawi as a Muslim Brotherhood icon supported by the Qatari government. One Egyptian told me that when Qaradawi showed up in Tahrir Square in Feb. 2011 during the attempt overthrow Hosni Mubarak, it reminded him of Vladimir Lenin showing up in Russia after the initial revolution. Of course, Lenin later overthrew the parliamentary regime that briefly emerged, making Russia a communist dictatorship in the October Revolution of 1917. My friend was wondering if Qaradawi hoped to play Lenin in subverting a democratic revolution and putting in power an ideological one-party state.