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Total number of comments: 11 (since 2013-11-28 16:32:43)

Steven

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  • Top Ten Threats to the Legitimacy of Egypt's new Constitution
    • I noticed that the voting habits of specific governorates do not necessarily follow a pattern from parliamentary election to presidential election to constitutional referendum. In Alexandria, for example, Hamdeen Sabbahi did very well despite it being a stronghold of the FJP and al Nour. Aswan seems to have been more strongly in favor of the constitution than the presidential results would have suggested as well. Cairo, though, does seem more consistent.

      I suspect that many of the voters do not care about the culture war aspects as much as media often portrays. They may be looking for whoever the believe can provide the best chance for economic improvement/recovery. This would explain why some of the less developed areas often appear to shift their votes. It could also be why Sabbahi picked up so much steam regardless of the manner in which international media said little about him until late in the race (polls were deeply flawed as well).

    • In comparison to the territories that voted just now, how conservative or liberal are the regions that will be voting in the second round? Will be interesting to see which way the vote moves toward as the second round is factored in. Depending on what the final margin ends up being, some of the articles might be subject to amendment in an effort to make the document more broadly appealing/functional.

  • Egyptians to Decide on Fundamentalist-influenced Constitution via Referendum
    • In the case of Iran's 1906 constitution, accusations of anti-religious activities worked both ways. Many of the Shahs tried to make such claims against their opponents in an attempt to retain as much power as possible, but there were actually several cases in which revolutionaries successfully dealt with enemies through such means.

      Fazlollah Nuri opposed the constitutional movement and tried to rally retrograde forces to resist it until the constitutionalists had him convicted of "sowing corruption on earth" and executed. The Iraqi clergy at Najaf endorsed this move and generally supported the constitionalists. During some of the civil wars which pitted contending Shahs against each other, reformists had the more anti-reform Shahs declared to be both foreign backed usurpers and guilty of vague religious offenses.

      At the present time, conservative factions will far and away be the main ones trying to exploit these things. However, once unleashed, it can be difficult to control or predict how this kind of energy will play out. Generally, whoever has the most political power at a given time has the easiest chance of gaining from this.

  • Is Paul Ryan right that Obama's Foreign Policy is Blowing up in Our Faces?
    • What candidates should state about the current regional transformations, if they were actually interested in explaining what is truly occurring, is that historical processes are complicated and take a certain amount of time to fully play out. It simply is not possible to develop rational policies and reactions to events by fixating only on very brief blocs of time, like periods of one year of even just a few months.

      People now can look back at how Europe and other areas changed to reach their present conditions, and how encouraging long-term success is infinitely superior to false perceptions of short-term stop gaps to problems. Europe would not have been better off if time had halted and the conditions that existed either before or right after the French Revolution had frozen in place. Likewise, the new order in the Middle East/North Africa is being gradually ushered in and is clearly necessary for the region to achieve a more sustainable and effective situation. Thus, policies and ideas that take into account historical awareness and the fact that the coming decades will matter more than any given election year should be enacted.

  • Romney Jumps the Shark: Libya, Egypt and the Butterfly Effect
    • It increasingly looks like the maker of this film used fraud to lure actors into participating in its creation. It apparently was meant to serve a political purpose, but its creators may end up looking like they want al-Qeada to survive rather than fade away. In this sense, it won't necessarily help whatever their goal was in the long term, given that they appearly utterly unconcerned about what are contributing to; they indeed seem to want problems rather than solutions.

  • Dear Mr. Romney: Palestinians are Poor Because You Stole from them and Kept them Stateless
    • There is no reason to think that he does not believe in the same sort of explanation for wealth gaps in the United States.

      Contentions like this are often used to shield suppressive economic policies and worse.

  • Mursi and the Brotherhood in a Pluralist Egypt
    • The military's demonstrations of its continuing political/economic power reveal the dangers of focusing on factional rather than national interests and objectives. Individually, political entities can have their power easily swept away, but by cooperating together, the revolutionary movement as a whole might make substantive progress toward estabishing a constitutional democratic republic (the primary purpose of the revolution). Party politics achieve nothing if they create divisions that enable all progress to be annulled by military elites and unreconstructed courts still operating along questionable lines.

    • Now is the time for Mursi to create a coalition cabinet and include many appointments from other factions into the upcoming government. Adding Sabahi and some other important leaders to positions of significance and power, as well as reaching a compromise on the constitution, are keys to achieving this. The temptation to placate SCAF and its efforts to revive authoritarian laws and procedures must be resisted.

      Many of the liberals and labor activists have excellent ideas so it is in Mursi's interest to form a unity government with them. Addressing the problem of military intereference in politics will require the strength of all revolutionaries in order to actually succeed.

  • Brotherhood, Salafis, Camp out at Tahrir amid Thosands
    • The answer here may be a coalition government composed of elements of each revolutionary faction; exclude representatives of the military and overly tainted Mubarak-era officials.

      It is becoming harder for people to rationalize the violent mentality that underpins militaries. The notion of committing "necessary evils" espoused by those believing conflict is an answer is simply incompatible with democracy. When there is a choice between nonviolent, determined political resistance and lying, self-righteous oligarchs that use Orwellian rhetoric to accuse their opponents of the very violence they engage in, the answer is clear.

  • CIA ‘revives attacks on rescuers’ in Pakistan (Woods)
  • All Hell is still Breaking Loose in the Arab World, Television is just not Reporting it
    • The various pan-Arab movements became too tied to military autocracy and lacked a sufficient connection to those outside the elite to work well. Political consciousness in the region was too low at the point when pan-Arabism was the predominate trend for a higher level of regional cooperation to really succeed. A new order also would need to move beyond excessively focused on nationality, ethnicity, or other forms of identity.

      Right now the Middle East still would not be able to set up something like an EU prototype. However, with the new political wave, there is a possibility than in about two decades things will have changed enough to make it feasible.

      The centrifugal forces can only keep intensifying for so long. At some they too will be seen as a dead end. Democratic change is finally making some more inroads the Middle East and North Africa. It is encountering difficulties in the more artifical states like Libya, Syria, and Iraq but it already has taken hold in Turkey and efforts are underway to implement it in Tunisia and Egypt. If this model does end up proving capable of becoming a prominent reformist magnet for the region, a lot of these problems would be mitigated. Many of the present conflicts are artifically created by various political elites to advance their own agendas.

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