Arab Spring

Drowning the Arab Spring in Gulf Oil

by mgopin on October 7, 2013 · 3 comments

my recent piece on why the Middle East region continues to resist change following the Arab Spring: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=61723

An except:

“The excessive, concentrated wealth that extractions industries created has notoriously depressed the empowerment of millions of people throughout modern history. But considering the unprecedented role of oil as the lifeblood of the global economy, it should come as no surprise that oil politics and rivalries have an especially destructive retardation effect on freedom in the Middle East.

Specifically, the rivalries of Qatar and Saudi Arabia are wreaking havoc on the legitimate rights of the Syrian people to resist the cruelties and tyrannies of the Syrian regime. They do so by allowing their citizens to fund jihadism that has undermined the emergence of a rational Syrian opposition that could be in a position to share power and eventually replace the current regime. The Gulf jihadist proxies know no compromise, no comprehension

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The Devolution of the Syrian Revolution

by mgopin on May 28, 2013 · 1 comment

 

A crisis in Syria’s opposition deepened on Monday when liberals were offered only token representation, undermining international efforts to lend the Islamist-dominated alliance greater support.

 

To the dismay of envoys of Western and Arab nations monitoring four days of opposition talks in Istanbul, the 60-member Syrian National Coalition thwarted a deal to admit a liberal bloc headed by opposition campaigner Michel Kilo.

 

The failure to broaden the coalition, in which Qatar and a bloc largely influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood has been playing the driving role, could undermine Saudi Arabian support for the revolt and raise the specter of a rivalry among Gulf powers that could further weaken the opposition. Read more here

A couple of days ago something moved me to outrage more than all the human rights abuses of the Syrian conflict. I have witnessed helplessly as all my dear friends in Syria have lost everything to

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The Strategic Value of Forgiveness

by mgopin on November 16, 2011 · 10 comments

A version of this essay appeared recently in the Jerusalem Report on November 21, 2011.

The Arab Awakening is facing serious challenges, and some new strategic decisions are required that will end up being good for all the revolutionary movements afoot this year, in the Middle East, in Israel and beyond.

The essential point is this: The Arab Street has demonstrated incredible heroism and nonviolent principles in the face of torture and death, and even Libya began as a very peaceful revolution, even if Libyans felt at some point that they had no choice but to fight. This is a paradigm shift of ethical and political values that will be remembered for generations. It may also signify a broad-based Middle Eastern democratic shift.

The going is tough, however, because no revolution easily dislodges corrupt structures of power. The temptation is just too great for those immediately below the revolution’s chosen …

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Get on the Right Side of History

by mgopin on September 24, 2011 · 0 comments

(A version of this essay was recently published in The Jerusalem Report.)

Across the world in the last 40 years politically organized religious forces have played an increasingly important role in national politics. From India to Indonesia, from Lebanon to Israel, from the United States to Russia, organized religion has increased its impact on politics.

We are also aware of the frightening rise of very violent religion, expressed through terror groups. For this reason, it is easy to misunderstand the relationship between religion on the one hand and between states and ethnic groups and their very secular interests, on the other hand.

Precisely because so many millions of people care about religion, religion has become an essential tool of secular state and ethnic interests. Indeed, what may seem to be a religious issue often turns out to be very secular state interests. Missing this relationship, it becomes easy

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Not an Arab Spring, but a Human Spring

by mgopin on July 24, 2011 · 4 comments

Maybe we are not in an Arab Spring, but a Human Spring. Maybe it is the flowering of nonviolent resistance, and it is time for Jews and Arabs to march as one in Israel/Palestine, and it is time for Americans to march as one to put the banks back into the controls that helped us flourish in the forties and fifties.

אולי אנחנו לא באביב ערבי, אבל האביב האדם. אולי זה הוא הפריחה של התנגדות לא אלימה, וזה הזמן עבור יהודים וערבים כאחד לצעוד בישראל / פלסטין, וזה הזמן עבור האמריקנים לצעוד כאחד לשים את הבנקים בחזרה את הפקדים עזרו לנו לפרוח שנות הארבעים והחמישים.

ربما نحن لسنا في الربيع العربي، ولكن فصل الربيع الإنسان. ربما هو ازدهار المقاومة اللاعنفية، وحان الوقت لليهود والعرب في مسيرة واحدة في إسرائيل / فلسطين ، وحان الوقت بالنسبة للأميركيين لمسيرة واحدة لوضع المصارف بالعودة الى الضوابط التي ساعدتنا في ازدهار الأربعينات والخمسينات.

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By Hind Aboud Kabawat (Senior Research Analyst and Expert in Conflict Resolution, CRDC, George Mason University).

Damascus, Syria

May 20, 2011

Can our beloved Syria be saved from the brink of destruction? This is clearly the question on the minds of millions of our fellow countrymen (and countrywomen). And it is truly astonishing how quickly events have transformed the so-called “facts on the ground” in this country. One of the most locked-down societies in the Middle East quite suddenly erupted in rage, anger and frustration after forty years of political repression and economic stagnation. Just think of it: the first demonstration was on March 15, just a mere two months ago. But so much has changed in the minds, hearts and aspirations of the Syrian people that it is impossible to think that we can ever return to the status quo ante—the Syria of March 14th.

What the …

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