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s a new Arab Spring unfolding in the Middle East?

s a new Arab Spring unfolding in the Middle East? thumbnail

As the last of the Middle Eastern summer fades away, is the region slipping into a new Arab spring?

In Iraq, demonstrators are being shot dead in the streets. In Lebanon, protesters have paralysed the country and seem set to bring down the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. In recent weeks the Egyptian security forces crushed attempts to protest against the police state of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt have plenty of differences. But the protesters have grievances in common, and they are shared by millions of people, particularly the young, across the Arab Middle East.


A rough approximation is that 60% of the region’s population is under the age of 30. A young population can be a great asset to a country. But only if the economy, the educational system and the institutions of the state are functioning well enough to accommodate their needs, and with some exceptions that is not happening.

The young in Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region are very often consumed by frustration that slips easily into rage.

Rampant corruption

Two of the biggest complaints are against corruption and unemployment. One leads to another.

Iraq ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to a number of indices of worldwide corruption. Lebanon is slightly better, but not by much.

Corruption is a cancer. It eats away at ambition and hope for those who become its victims.

Media captionThe eleventh day of protests in Lebanon saw an attempt to form a human chain 170km (105 miles) long

The losers in a corrupt system can get very angry, very quickly when even the educated cannot get jobs, and they see small cliques lining their pockets.

When the institutions of the state – the government, the courts and the police – are implicated, it is a sign that the entire system is failing.

In both Lebanon and Iraq, demonstrators not only want their governments to resign. They also want the entire system of governance to be reformed or replaced.

Live fire

One of the tragic realities of Iraq is that violence has become ingrained in society. When demonstrators, chanting against unemployment, corruption and the government, took to the streets, it did not take long for live ammunition to be used against them.

The demonstrations on Iraq’s streets, so far, seem to be leaderless. But the fear in the government must be that as time goes by, and casualties mount, they could become more organised.

Demonstrators have targeted bastions of government power, notably the walled off Green Zone in Baghdad. It used to be the centre of the American occupation. Now it is the place where government offices and embassies are located, as well as the homes of prominent people.

The demonstrations started in Baghdad, and have spread. Overnight in the holy city of Karbala there were unconfirmed reports of many killed and injured when demonstrators were fired on. Video has been posted on social media of men running from live fire.

Ever since the protests started, the casualty rate has climbed steadily. Reports from Baghdad say that some Iraqi soldiers have appeared wearing the national flag wrapped around their shoulders, showing what seems to be some solidarity with the protesters.

But reports also say that men dressed in black, some masked, have been opening fire. One theory is that they are from pro-Iranian militias.

Unfinished business

The demonstrations started in Lebanon on 17 October after the government tried introduce taxes on tobacco, petrol and WhatsApp calls. The new taxes were cancelled quickly but it was too late.

To start with, the demonstrations in Lebanon were good-humoured. But the very real tensions in the country are showing, with some outbreaks of violence.

So is it an Arab spring? More than anything it is a sign of the unfinished business left by 2011.


27 Comments on "s a new Arab Spring unfolding in the Middle East?"

  1. Cloggie on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 3:57 pm 

    No worries, Iraq, Egypt and the rest can always fall back on fundamentalist Islam.

    After all, wasn’t the 1917 Russian revolutuon not preceded by the 1905 one before the real thing exploded into being?

    IS might very well be a precursor for things to come in the ME in a couple of years.

  2. Sissyfuss on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 4:07 pm 

    You know, the Crowded Rat Syndrome is exacerbated if you stop feeding the rats.

  3. ANAL REAPER on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 4:16 am 

    Fucking sand niggers

  4. JuanP sock on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 4:16 am 

    Stupid is up:

    ANAL REAPER on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 4:16 am

    Fucking sand niggers

  5. joe on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 7:03 am 

    pnac plan to keep the arabs down.

    just wash rinse repeat.

  6. joe on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 7:15 am 

    russia is no example of how revolution works. russian people have always struggled for freedom including from repeated western invasions. even the US got in on the act but got beat in russia.
    i know, american kids only learn that whites only attacked blacks and ‘natives’ but the US never really discriminates in that regard.
    but lets be honest. defeat for the kurds of syria/iraq implies victory for assad/hizbolla. therefore by destabilising the status quo in Lebanon it will weaken assad and limit his strategic scope evrn more. It also ensures that the syrian regime remains sufficiently weak to keep Russia in the war. the only real question is this, will there be money for guns in Lebanon and if so who will give it. seems to me that the Wahabbis that the USA protescts in Mecca will almost certainly back jihadis against Christians and Shias so civil war seems certain imho. I only hope that Israel does not attempt another foolish invasion

  7. supremacist muzzies jerk on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 12:22 pm 

    dear little big brother joe,
    i promoted you to supertard.
    muzzie baghdadi title is “the believer”
    your supertard title will be “the lover” (of muzzies)
    congrats brother, love you

  8. Cloggie on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 12:36 pm 

    Serious consideration to vote Labour:

    “Senior rabbi urges his congregation to vote against the Labour Party on December 12 as he claims a Jeremy Corbyn-led government ‘would pose a danger to Jewish life as we know it'”

    Brexit-election coming up… everybody gearing up to vote strategically…

    The irony is that participation of the party that wants Brexit most, could torpedo Brexit, because it could split the conservative vote.

    “Lib Dems urge the Remain Alliance to work together at the general election to help them oust Jacob Rees-Mogg as Jo Swinson confirms her party will not stand against ex-Tory Dominic Grieve”

    “Nigel Farage hosts Donald Trump on his radio show ahead of hotly-anticipated election announcement on whether the Brexit Party will stand nationwide or axe HUNDREDS of candidates to avoid split in Leave vote”

    Last time the Tories had a huge lead over Corbyn too, the election turned out to be disastrous for the Tories.

    “Labour declares class war: Jeremy Corbyn says he would hold a second referendum and delay Brexit for at least SIX MONTHS as he launches election battle by targeting ‘vested interests’ and pledging tax hikes for the rich”

    “Jeremy Corbyn fuels SNP ‘pact’ row by admitting he ‘keeps in touch’ with Nicola Sturgeon – despite Scottish First Minister branding him ‘useless'”

    “Battle of the tactical voting apps: Gina Miller launches website that shows Remain supporters how to thwart Brexit and Leavers turn to technology to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of No 10”

  9. JuanP stupidity on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 1:05 pm 

    Stupid, do you think you are funny or have creative writing skills? What I think is you are just a stupid 3rd worlder and need a good ass kicking:

    supremacist muzzies jerk said dear little big brother joe, i promoted you to sup…

    supremacist muzzies jerk said Dredd on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 11:38 am Dear supertar…

    supremacist muzzies jerk said dear supertard, please join hands and help send ni…

  10. Cloggie on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 1:31 pm 

    Now here is a conspiracy theory to believe in: Russia promoting Brexit to push Britain out of the EU… and take its place.

    “General election: Boris Johnson accused of suppressing secret report on Russian meddling in Brexit vote and UK polls”

    BoJo can’t afford to be seen as Russia’s useful idiot.

  11. More Davy Stupidity on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 2:57 pm 

    JuanP stupidity on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 1:05 pm

  12. Cloggie on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 10:14 pm 

    “pnac plan to keep the arabs down.”

    PNAC went down itself a long time ago, in 2006:

    There isn’t going to be a “2nd American Century” as the planners have admitted:

    Brexiteers like you have embarked on the wrong ship, namely the Titanic 2.0.

  13. joe on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 1:13 am 

    Wash, rinse, repeat. If u think pnac is not always the plan then u are even more hopeless than I thought u already. What they call a pig is irrelevant.

  14. Cloggie on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 2:13 am 

    “If u think pnac is not always the plan then u are even more hopeless than I thought”

    joe esquire keeps on hoping the standard Anglo dream that somehow 330m US and 65m UK = 395m Anglos somehow will continue to dominate the world, like they did in the 19th and 20th century. It is the main motivation why grumpy old white UK males voted for Brexit.

    joe esquire is like a 50 year old ugly tart who prepares to go to the dancing in the expectation to attract attention. He won’t. He can’t even produce a car.

    The main reason why a continental European like me is also so pro-Brexit (“obsessed” even, according to Antius) is because it creates the possibility for Eurasia to put the Anglos in quarantine, exactly what the US and UK war party did to Germany in the runup to 1939.

    Because I am fairly confident about the outcome of the upcoming soccer match Eurasia-Anglosphere. Kickoff probably in the South China Sea. Makati will bring cookies and tea.

    2000 million vs 450 million (ca. 300m whites)


    Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam small sign of things to come.

    joe esquire can stick his PNAC plan in a place where the sun doesn’t shine. His kosher masters have already given up on the plan, but forgot to inform water carrier joe about it, who still soldiers on, like those Japanese soldiers in the jungle of SE-Asia who in the seventies still thought that WW2 was on.

    The fact that this Brexit farce drags on and on, is a pretty good indicator that a large part of the British population doesn’t really believe in a shining future after Brexit.

    Brexit = hanging on to the past.
    Brexit = prank.
    Brexit = nostalgia.
    Brexit = opportunity for snake oil salesmen like BoJo and Farage to enhance their personal careers.

    Brexit and Trump are the beginning of the end of the globalist nightmare. China, Russia and populist leaning EU will finish off the Anglo-Zionist dream once and for all.

  15. Davy on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 4:56 am 

    “joe esquire keeps on hoping the standard Anglo dream that somehow 330m US and 65m UK = 395m Anglos somehow will continue to dominate the world”

    No cloggo, we are telling you the eurotard chauvinist that you are going down too and we are following you.


  16. Davy on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 5:48 am 

    “US wind energy capacity is now more than 100 gigawatts, according to new report” cnbc

    According to the AWEA’s “U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2019 Market Report”, 1,927 megawatts – a little under 2 GW – of wind power capacity was commissioned in the third quarter of 2019, the highest third quarter on record for installations. These installations pushed overall capacity above the landmark figure of 100 GW, the AWEA’s report said. On a state level, Texas leads the way with more than 27 GW of cumulative capacity, according to the AWEA’s report. Capacity refers to the maximum amount that installations can produce, not what they are currently generating. “Wind now supplies clean and efficient power to the equivalent of 32 million American homes, sustains 500 U.S. factories, and delivers more than one billion dollars a year in new revenue to rural communities and states,” AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said in a statement.

  17. Davy on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 5:49 am 

    “The fight to stop Nestlé from taking America’s water to sell in plastic bottles” guardian

    “The network of clear streams comprising California’s Strawberry Creek run down the side of a steep, rocky mountain in a national forest two hours east of Los Angeles. Last year Nestlé siphoned 45m gallons of pristine spring water from the creek and bottled it under the Arrowhead Water label. Though it’s on federal land, the Swiss bottled water giant paid the US Forest Service and state practically nothing, and it profited handsomely: Nestlé Waters’ 2018 worldwide sales exceeded $7.8bn.”

  18. Davy on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 5:49 am 

    “Study: Rising sea levels could displace 300M people by 2050” upi

    “If these new calculations prove true, 340 million people could be displaced by 2050 and 630 million could lose their homes by the end of this century, which is three times previous estimates. The areas facing the greatest threat are in Asia, specifically China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan as they home 70 percent of all people worldwide currently living on implicated land, the report says. And land in 20 other countries that is home to 10 percent or more of their populations is forecast to fall below high tide lines, including Guyana and the United Arab Emirates.”

  19. Davy on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 5:50 am 

    “Oil Production Paralyzed As Venezuela’s Electricity Crisis Worsens” oil price

    “The major power outage in March this year disrupted severely the already crumbling Venezuelan oil production and threatened its oil exports. The massive outages in March may have made the headlines, but Venezuela continues to suffer to this day from frequent significant disruptions to the power supply for the capital Caracas, major cities, and oil processing sites. Outages in Caracas continue to occur at least several times a week, while other parts of the country, including the oil-rich state Zulia, experience blackouts practically every day, said Etienne Gabel, Senior Director, Gas, Power and Energy Futures, at IHS Markit, and Carlos Cardenas, IHS Markit’s Director, Latin America Country Risk. Venezuela is unlikely to restore sustainable power supply any time soon, because it lacks money for spare parts and skilled personnel to do the repairs. Technicians have left state power firm Corpoelec and the country’s power system is now in the hands of the military, IHS Markit’s experts say. “Realistically, the system cannot recover fully without investments and skilled labor from foreign entities—something that appears unlikely under the current economic and political environment,” IHS Markit said.”

  20. Davy on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 7:00 am 

    Did I mention I am spending less time on this lame unmoderated forum to concentrate on my own blog?

    I’m not sure if I did anymore. Could be late onset dementia. Y’all never no with us old farts.

  21. majece majece on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 9:01 pm 

    I recommend you to visit if you want to know how to find the owner of a phone number. I used this info and it was really helpful

  22. Cloggie on Sun, 3rd Nov 2019 3:56 am 

    Tulsi Gabbard attacks Hillary C.:

    “Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies….”


  23. Davy on Sun, 3rd Nov 2019 4:03 am 

    Geeze, cloggo, that is old news. Did you just now pick up on that??

  24. Davy on Sun, 3rd Nov 2019 4:14 am 

    “Joe Biden’s Campaign Is Imploding” end of American dream

    “Ever since he announced that he was running for president, Joe Biden has been the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. And the good news for the Biden campaign is that he is still leading in most major national polls. But the bad news is that his numbers have been steadily falling. At one point, his average level of support in national polls was over 40 percent, but now it is down to just 26.7 percent. And the really bad news is that Biden is falling behind other candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, according to the latest poll Biden is now in fourth place in Iowa…If the Biden campaign continues to flounder, establishment Democrats are going to become increasingly tempted to recruit another big name to enter the race. Michelle Obama has repeatedly insisted that she will never run for public office, but Hillary Clinton has been dropping hints in recent weeks that she may be interested. However, if she is going to make a move she needs to do it soon. As for Biden, his biggest problem is that he just can’t help being Joe Biden. When a young female Democratic activist recently approached him with a hard question, he once again put his foot in his mouth…You can watch video of this exchange right here. In this cultural environment, it is political suicide for someone running for president to call a young woman that is asking him a tough question a “child”. Almost every time Biden appears in public, he loses more votes.”

  25. Davy on Sun, 3rd Nov 2019 5:20 am 

    “Forgiving Student Loan Debt Would Create Moral Hazard, Exacerbate Problems: Moody’s” zero hedge

    “Wiping out student loan debt would provide a modest bump to the economy, but could risk “moral hazard” which would eventually make the problem worse, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The opinion comes as Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren dangle the prospect of forgiving some or all of the $1.5 trillion in outstanding education debt. Both candidates have also proposed free free college…”In the near term, we would expect student loan debt cancellation to yield a tax-cut-like stimulus to economic activity, contributing to a modest increase in household consumption and investment,” said William Foster, the firm’s senior credit analyst. “The magnitude of the stimulus would depend on the size of the debt relief and income level of the beneficiaries…”Over the longer term, debt forgiveness could lead to an improvement in small business and household formation, as well as increased homeownership,” Foster continues in the note. “However, it could also increase the risk of moral hazard and the accumulation of even higher student debt burdens.”…Future borrowers, for instance, might be encouraged to run up big loan balances on the assumption that their debts will be forgiven at some point. It’s also unclear how much forgiveness would address wealth inequality. The New York Fed estimates that about two-thirds of outstanding debt is currently held by the upper-half of earners. -CNBC”

  26. Davy on Sun, 3rd Nov 2019 5:23 am 

    Well, lets face it in this new world of Debt we are going to see debt jubilees. They happened in 08 GFC but that has been forgotten. IMA, much of that bad debt that was brushed under the table was latter resuscitated once the global economic situation was inflated again. Big fishes benefited from that but also everyone else because the system was in danger of seizing up in a Minsky Moment.

    Debt jubilees are inevitable in a world that malinvests. In a world without true price discovery these situations continually surface. We also see this in a world of moral hazard or worse systematic corruption. Debt and return on investment at there simplest level are what they are. It is when they are messaged and tweaked that we get what we have today. What we have today is a new normal of financial repression and liquidity easing. Those are just fancy terms for debt jubilees.

    People are not being asked to accept consequences. What is more dangerous is society is walking away from its responsibility with actions with no future. You can’t pretend something is something else and that is what we are doing. We no longer allow investments to stand on their feet in a macro sense. If moral hazard goes on long enough at the highest levels then you have a bunch of unsystematic risks becoming systematic. We are there now and we need only look to the central banks QE traps to know this. We are now hearing the benefits of MMT especially from socialists but the reality is MMT creep is already a reality. It will have to continue because the alternative is a new system. Debt jubilees are children of all this so expect more and expect less. This is a classic case of getting less from more.

  27. Cloggie on Sun, 3rd Nov 2019 12:38 pm 

    Good reason to vote Labour, that clearly wants to get rid of the nefarious “Friends of Israel” in British politics:

    “John McDonnell is confronted with Jewish fury over Labour anti-Semitism crisis during BBC interview – but is not asked ANY questions about Brexit”

    For the rest, it is Brexit as usual:

    BoJo winning the elections is not a done deal:

    “Double blow for Boris: Chances of a Tory majority narrow as new polls show Johnson’s lead shrinking in face Labour gains and a Remainer election pact”

    “Nigel Farage says he WON’T stand as an MP at snap election – but warns the Brexit Party WILL fight the Tories”

    We can even arrive at a situation where Farage will TORPEDO Brexit because of splitting the conservative vote.

    Never seen such a drama. Several MPs have received death threats, some even resigned because of that.

    “Boris Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings faces Labour questions over his Russian past after whistleblower ‘raises serious concerns'”

    Cummings “Russian asset”? Brexit is indeed a Russian interest, namely pushing Britain out of the EU… in order to take its place.

    This Banks fellow, another fanatical Brexiteer is also accused of having ties to Russia.

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