Thursday, February 3, 2011

Notes on the Uprisings in the Middle East

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, last evening, did a very helpful piece on the correlation between the percentage of the middle east countries who populations are under 25 and the percent of those people who are unemployed. The figures were astounding!
Well over half the population of such countries as Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Syria are under 25, and among that group, the unemployment rates range from a low of 15-18% to a high of 35%.
Just that calculation is a recipe for civil unrest!
That is also a recipe ripe for the picking by AlQaeda recruiters, in all those countries.
Rising food prices, higher prices for gasoline and other staples linked with high rates of unemployment will inevitably bring unrest, especially when the whole world now has access to some form of information flow about the 'way the other half lives'...
And today we learn that the Muslim Brotherhood has been invited to sit down the governmen of Egypt to hold discussions about where to go from here. The Vice-president has just announced that a minimum of 70 days are necessary to put some structure under the transition process...that's at least two months, before anything changes, hardly addressing the immediate demands of the anti-government protesters.
We also learn today that Vodafone has stated publicly that the Egyptian government forced it to distribute messages positive to the government over its communications system. That is not going to sit well with those who have warned the government not to interfere with the protesters and their movement. We learned today also that the son of the President will not run in the elections that are scheduled for September, again too little too late for the anti-government protesters.
Pro-government activitists now clash with anti-government activists in Tahrir Square, with the army  providing a minimal shield of protection for the street fighters whose weapons include rocks, concrete, swords and who knows what other kind of available weapons.
Last night we witnessed a confrontation between Egyptian anti-government protesters and ABC's Christiane Amanpour: "We hate you, please to to another place!" "We hate Americans, please leave!" shouted a young Egyptian male, before  Amanpour and her camera crew and driver drove off, only to have their vehicle struck as it moved away, and then a rock was thrown through the windshield as they drove away.

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