Currently viewing the tag: “Democracy”

As we watch the Egyptian revolution unfold half-way across the world, George Washington’s words come to mind:

It is yet to be decided, whether the Revolution must ultimately be considered as a blessing or a curse: a blessing or a curse, not to the present age alone, for with our fate will the destiny of unborn millions be involved.

Nothing can be taken for granted with revolution—and nothing is certain about Egypt’s future.

In the wake of Mubarak’s departure, CNN characterized Egypt’s revolution as “people from every walk of life…united in a common cause…to reclaim their dignity, control of their lives and the right to determine their government.”  Many hoped, and even expected, that an educated and proactive populace would damper the influence the Muslim Brotherhood.  Unfortunately, this extremist group—which worries everyone except Jimmy Carter—has established a working relationship with the Egyptian military and appears to be gaining influence. 

Recently, the New York Times shared “growing evidence” of the Brotherhood’s influence over the outcome of Egypt’s referendum.  Blitzing TV networks and distributing propaganda, the Brotherhood encouraged Egyptians to vote for a quick election scheduled in September, thus giving newer parties less time to organize.  If the Muslim Brotherhood is the only effective and well-established political party five months from now, Egyptians will be left with few electoral options and their revolution may be endangered.

As September approaches, we hope that the Egyptian people will refuse to be lured into the excesses of popular passion, which could endanger the safety of ethnic and religious minorities, including Egypt’s substantial Christian population. Exhibiting this vigilance in his timeless Federalist #51, Madison observed: “If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.” We must moreover hope that the military can find inspiration in the actions of then-General George Washington and relinquish power when a government is elected.  As Thomas Sowell argues, whether or not they follow a model of successful democratic revolution largely depends on whether “the preconditions for freedom and democracy” exist.

Amidst these uncertainties, it is helpful to remember that this isn’t the first time Americans have watched an overseas revolution.  Alexander Hamilton, in 1794, grappled with the nature of the French Revolution and whether a man like Robespierre was “predominant in influence as in iniquity.”  Ten years later, Latin American nations sought U.S. aid as they fought for independence.  President Monroe eventually recognized the new republics for the same reason Washington left the French revolutionaries to their own devices: prudence.  While Latin American nations successfully transitioned into working democracies, France fell from anarchy into tyranny.  Mubarak’s departure is only the beginning, and the ultimate influence of the Muslim Brotherhood is yet to be seen.  Time will reveal the true character of this revolution.

Michael Sobolik is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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These are raw thoughts, not fully formed, subject to change. Just reflections bouncing about through otherwise unoccupied brain cells.

The question is easy; the answer and the why and the solution, not so much. Are we losing our democracy? I think, in these raw thoughts, the answer is yes.

Walking through some of today’s news bits – the ones on the margins – you’ll see that former Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) says he doesn’t mind being involuntarily retired from the Senate. He was tired of the game. The game he referred to was constantly being required to turn every day into an opportunity to embarrass Democrats rather than govern. Then there’s Elizabeth Warren addressing the Chamber of Commerce. She told them not to worry about over regulation; that given the wealth and influence of financial institutions she’d be lucky if her consumer protection bureau would be able to make much of a dent at all. The power brokers and money providers would see to cuts in the budget of her agency if she tried, or so she worried.

These are just scraps from the edges of the news, but more fundamental shifts are taking place. The slow boiling off of the middle class, concentrations of power, legislation written by, and for, lobbying interests, blue collar desperation, the insatiable need for money in what passes for electoral politics. Does anyone remember former Senator William Proxmire (D-WI). He once, maybe more than once, ran without raising any money for his campaign. He drove and walked the state meeting with voters. And got elected.

Sure, we still go to the polls and cast ballots. Democracy isn’t completely lost. But, do we vote for courageous principled candidates? Do we even have that choice? Or are we simply reduced to voting for competing lobbying interests represented by two people each of whom has sold out for cash or been intimidated or coerced to sell false populism on the campaign trail only to abide by the dictates of his or her masters once in office.

How is it that we can be told there are special interests that are too big to fail, too important to confront for their misfeasance and malfeasance, too powerful to challenge? If that is true, democracy is on the wane. Democracy, at its best, represents the people. When it bows and curtseys to those who are too big, too important, too powerful, it ceases to be of, by and for the people.

Maybe these raw thoughts will simmer and reduce down with time, but that’s a start. It could be overly pessimistic, but there seems just cause for concern if we continue where we’re headed. Oh, the question of solutions. I haven’t gotten there yet. What scares me is that I’m not sure there are any.


The Moderate Voice

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With democratic revolutions shaking the Middle East, Iran, a Democratic think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, and the pro-democracy group Freedom House are launching a new task force aimed at shifting American policy on its central regional foe, Iran, toward a more aggressive focus on democracy.

The new "Iran Strategy Task Force" is subtitled "Beyond Sanctions" and its members include former Holbrooke aide Ray Takeyh and Brookings’ Ken Pollack, people associated with the group said. It’s co-chaired by Freedom House’s Andrew Apostolou and PPI’s Josh Block.

"PPI believes a more democratic world is a safer world. The United States has failed to apply that principle to Iran, even as popular movements for freedom spread throughout the Middle East. It’s time for a new approach," PPI President Will Marshall said in an emailed statement.

"The dominant issues in the Middle East are democracy and freedom. The Iran regime thinks that it can escape demands for change," said Apostolou. "The United States, and its allies, therefore need a strategy that will help Iranians attain the human rights they so richly deserve."

The full list of task force members is after the jump.

Continue reading post…





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Ben Smith’s Blog

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Many in the West will assume equal rights for Christians will happen more or less automatically, or are not truly an issue under Sharia law, which apologists portray as a complex system that shape-shifts like the goop in a lava lamp the moment some skeptical non-Muslim observes something unpleasant about human rights.

Outside of the West, non-Muslims know better, and they know from experience as well as the content of Islamic texts: Sharia is a vehicle for Islamic supremacism and the subjugation of non-believers. Therefore, constitutions that set Sharia as the supreme law of the land (as with Article 2 of Egypt’s constitution) have written inequality for non-believers into their national DNA, so to speak.

Archbishop Sako has warned before that the West indeed cannot fully grasp the dangers of Islamization, a danger heightened by blind faith in “democracy” alone to ensure respect for human rights. “True Democracy in Muslim Countries Only If Christians Are Equal Citizens,” Says Assyrian Bishop,” by Joseph Mahmoud for Asia News, March 29:

Würzburg — “Aid to the Church in Need” organised a world conference titled “Welt Kirche in Würzburg”, in Germany on 18-20 March 2011, on the situation of Christians in Muslim counties. Many bishops from Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Nigeria and elsewhere took part in the event. Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, was among them. He expressed serious concerns about how ‘Jasmine Revolutions’ were developing in many countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

The Chaldean prelate saw few signs of optimism in the events now unfolding in Arab countries, like mass protests and popular unrest, which have front-page in newscasts, newspapers, magazines and websites. The sight of crowds praying or shouting slogans gives the impression of a wave of extremism.

Media are always talking about Islamic parties. Many Muslims want an Islamic state. After the collapse of regime that lacked a direction and vision, questions abound. Will things improve? Will there be security? Who comes next? Who is pushing these masses of young people? Who is funding the movement? I hope things will evolved differently in Iraq.

The bishop described the situation in Iraq, where for the past eight years, “we have lived with different kinds of oppression. Establishing freedom and democracy takes time and education, especially a separation between politics, which is based on interests, and religion, which is based on ideals that cannot be compromised.”

“Democracy cannot function if Islam is not updated. We must work together for a civilian state in which the only criterion is citizenship,” he said.

“In Iraq, the post-Saddam government, and the people, have proclaimed democracy, but democracy cannot be imposed by pushing a magic button. Eight years after the US invasion, we do not have democracy in Iraq. Indeed, we have groups fighting each. Instead of democracy, we have a growing sectarian problem, with expulsions, abductions and attacks.”

“We Christians are at a disadvantage, socially and religiously discriminated. More than half of the country’s Christians have left, but others are leaving as well. The exodus is never-ending. If Islamisation continues, there will be no Christians left. A million Christians used to live here; now 400,000 are left. Christians certainly respect Muslims, but Muslims must also recognise Christians are real citizens, not as second-class citizens. There must be a clear and courageous decision by the state, as well as Muslim authorities.”

In fact, Mgr Sako issued an appeal to Muslim authorities. “It is necessary,” he said, “that Muslim religious leaders get involved in dialogue to build a multicultural and multi-religious society and reduce inter-religious tensions and conflicts so as to build true coexistence. Sectarian and provocative speeches do not help humanity’s development and are contrary to the universal religious message of ‘Peace on earth’.”

“We must work together for a civilian state in which the only criterion is citizenship. The government, police, army, courts and all institutions should uphold the law and maintain order among all citizens.”

Jihad Watch

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Many in the West will assume equal rights for Christians will happen more or less automatically, or are not truly an issue under Sharia law, which apologists portray as a complex system that shape-shifts like the goop in a lava lamp the moment some skeptical non-Muslim observes something unpleasant about human rights.

Outside of the West, non-Muslims know better, and they know from experience as well as the content of Islamic texts: Sharia is a vehicle for Islamic supremacism and the subjugation of non-believers. Therefore, constitutions that set Sharia as the supreme law of the land (as with Article 2 of Egypt’s constitution) have written inequality for non-believers into their national DNA, so to speak.

Archbishop Sako has warned before that the West indeed cannot fully grasp the dangers of Islamization, a danger heightened by blind faith in “democracy” alone to ensure respect for human rights. “True Democracy in Muslim Countries Only If Christians Are Equal Citizens,” Says Assyrian Bishop,” by Joseph Mahmoud for Asia News, March 29:

Würzburg — “Aid to the Church in Need” organised a world conference titled “Welt Kirche in Würzburg”, in Germany on 18-20 March 2011, on the situation of Christians in Muslim counties. Many bishops from Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Nigeria and elsewhere took part in the event. Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, was among them. He expressed serious concerns about how ‘Jasmine Revolutions’ were developing in many countries of North Africa and the Middle East.

The Chaldean prelate saw few signs of optimism in the events now unfolding in Arab countries, like mass protests and popular unrest, which have front-page in newscasts, newspapers, magazines and websites. The sight of crowds praying or shouting slogans gives the impression of a wave of extremism.

Media are always talking about Islamic parties. Many Muslims want an Islamic state. After the collapse of regime that lacked a direction and vision, questions abound. Will things improve? Will there be security? Who comes next? Who is pushing these masses of young people? Who is funding the movement? I hope things will evolved differently in Iraq.

The bishop described the situation in Iraq, where for the past eight years, “we have lived with different kinds of oppression. Establishing freedom and democracy takes time and education, especially a separation between politics, which is based on interests, and religion, which is based on ideals that cannot be compromised.”

“Democracy cannot function if Islam is not updated. We must work together for a civilian state in which the only criterion is citizenship,” he said.

“In Iraq, the post-Saddam government, and the people, have proclaimed democracy, but democracy cannot be imposed by pushing a magic button. Eight years after the US invasion, we do not have democracy in Iraq. Indeed, we have groups fighting each. Instead of democracy, we have a growing sectarian problem, with expulsions, abductions and attacks.”

“We Christians are at a disadvantage, socially and religiously discriminated. More than half of the country’s Christians have left, but others are leaving as well. The exodus is never-ending. If Islamisation continues, there will be no Christians left. A million Christians used to live here; now 400,000 are left. Christians certainly respect Muslims, but Muslims must also recognise Christians are real citizens, not as second-class citizens. There must be a clear and courageous decision by the state, as well as Muslim authorities.”

In fact, Mgr Sako issued an appeal to Muslim authorities. “It is necessary,” he said, “that Muslim religious leaders get involved in dialogue to build a multicultural and multi-religious society and reduce inter-religious tensions and conflicts so as to build true coexistence. Sectarian and provocative speeches do not help humanity’s development and are contrary to the universal religious message of ‘Peace on earth’.”

“We must work together for a civilian state in which the only criterion is citizenship. The government, police, army, courts and all institutions should uphold the law and maintain order among all citizens.”

Jihad Watch

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A foreign policy adviser to President Obama said this evening that the Administration has "rehabilitated" the concept of human rights, tarnished by the Iraq war, in a way that laid the groundwork for international collaboration.

Samantha Power, a senior director on the National Security Council best known for her human rights advocacy before she entered the White House, spoke at Columbia University in New York City two hours before the president’s planned speech in Libya tonight.

Obama "has used his pulpit and a number of speeches … to kind of clear the brush that had gathered around the norms in previous years, rehabilitating some of the principles and cleaning up some fo the associations," she said, referring to international values of democracy and human rights.

"The words ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ have come to acquire meaning and content that Barack Obama and his administration provided," she said.

"His success in rehabilitating those norms or providing that ocntent has actually made it easier for other governments to stand with us," she said. She didn’t refer directly to the coalition now battling the Libyan government.

One of the key elements of this "clearing of the brush," she said, had been "recognizing that human rights had to begin at home, and that his task and the Administration’s task was to strenghten the power of our example." 

She cited Obama’s torture bank, his "return to the Geneva Conventions, and his push to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

"He also renounced the imposition of democracy by military force," she said.

Power also made the case that the American decision to return to the United Nations Human Rights Council — a venue disliked by the U.S. for its focus on criticism of Israel — has paid off in the Libya crisis with the Council’s expulsion of Libya.

"We were ale to use some of what the Council offered as a way of compounding the Qadhafi regime’s isolation in the early days of this crisis," she said, making the case that the Council is "a venue that we’re using more and more to do traditional business. This advanced the U.S.’s foreign policy aims in the moment, it isn’t just a small boutique place where human rights concerns are raised nad rejected."

Power also defended the speed of the Administration’s response to the Libyan civil conflict, which she contrasted to the slow international response in Bosnia.

"When it was clear that [diplomatic and legal] tools would not be enough to prevent the fall of Benghazi," she said, "the president mobilized an international coalition."

She noted that it took a year for the international community to impose asset freezes on Bosnian Serb war criminals and two years to impose travel bans, acts which took nine days in Libya.

"In the Balkans it took three years for the international community to use air power to prevent heavy weapns from firing on civilians," she said. "In Libya it took a little more than a month."





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Remember when the columnists and the newsrooms in the dinosaur media were practically jumping out of their shoes touting the Egyptian ‘pro-democracy’ movement? How wonderful it all was, and how Egypt was going to be the new liberal paradise in the Arab world? How sagacious and wise Obama was for encouraging it all and dumping Mubarak so quickly?

Well, it appears that some second thoughts and some serious walking back are in order as reality rears its ugly head.

They’ve finally noticed that the secular unemployed and underemployed twitter addicts and students in Cairo aren’t the ones who will be running the new Egypt…it will be the military in partnership with the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We are all worried,” said Amr Koura, 55, a television producer, reflecting the opinions of the secular minority. “The young people have no control of the revolution anymore. It was evident in the last few weeks when you saw a lot of bearded people taking charge. The youth are gone.”

In other words, something more along the lines of Iran, just as I predicted.

And the ‘youth’ will go along with it, as will the military…just as they did in Iran.

Whaddya know about that?

The folly of the whitewashing of the ‘secular’ Muslim Brotherhood by the Obama Administration and people like their shills at the Times is about to become all too plain.

The Egyptians, urged on by their imams and the Ikhwan turned out in record numbers to vote for early elections that favor the Brotherhood, not the nascent ‘liberal’ movements. And it is the new Brotherhood dominated parliament that will revamp Egypt’s laws and create a new Islamic Republic that will be absolutely sharia-licious.

The rabid response Ikhwan leader Yusef Qaradawi received when he returned to Egypt should have been one clue to the boys and girls at Parvda-on-the Hudson. So was Lara Logan’s gang rape while the crowd screamed “Jew! Jew!”

Islam and the western notion of freedom and democracy don’t mix, for the most part.

I’m also going to make another prediction, one that seems quite obvious to me. The Obama Administration’s policies in Egypt and the Middle East are almost certain to lead to a new war in the region between Israel and the genocidal Hamas, with a good chance of Hezbollah joining in and Egypt participating, at least tacitly and perhaps overtly.

Mubarak was no friend of Israel, but after seeing the Muslim Brotherhood murder his predecessor Anwar Sadat, he realized that they were a threat to his regime and made efforts to suppress them at home and keep Iranian arms out of the hands of Hamas, the Ikhwan branch in Gaza.

The new Egyptian regime is going to be much more sympathetic to Hamas and isn’t likely to make any such efforts, even if they elect to go through the motions of observing the Israel-Egypt peace treaty to keep that fat $ 2 billion US subsidy coming in. As soon as Hamas feels it’s ready, we’ll see another war against the Jews.

Since Hezbollah now owns Lebanon and is an Iranian proxy like Hamas, they will almost certainly join in. And we could actually see a scenario where Egyptian popular opinion and religious fervor has the new regime putting their US trained and armed military into the mix as well.


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J O S H U A P U N D I T

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I am writing this in an airport lounge somewhere in the United States, and Fareed Zakaria is on CNN explaining it all for us at high volume on the TV overhead. I was doing my best not to pay attention, but I just heard him say, in a piece asserting that al-Qaeda’s influence is waning in the Islamic world, that the recent uprisings all over the Middle East show that Muslims there “want modernity, jobs and democracy more than they want an Islamic caliphate.”

I’m not really surprised that the mainstream media is still peddling such corrosive drivel, but Zakaria might have been kind enough to take even cursory notice of recent stories such as these:

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

Muslim Brotherhood rising in Libya, envisions government on “Qur’anic principles”

Muslim Brotherhood takes leading role in post-Mubarak Egypt

Jihad Watch

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The Brotherhood marches toward seizing power.
American Thinker Blog

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Written by Ndesanjo Macha

Computer language explanation of the democratic developments in Africa: “IVORY COAST: 60% [Alert: Virus-Gbagbo detected_Trojan Horse-Ouattarra in Quarantine], CONGO: Connection lost since 1997, NIGERIA: Starting Connection, ZIMBABWE: 404 Error – Server not found…”

Global Voices in English

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Written by Filip Stojanovski

Macedonian bloggers commented on the private meetings between leaders of the biggest political parties as a replacement of public democratic dialog within state institutions.

Cockfight in Otavalo, Ecuador. Spikes fixed at cock's feet.  Photography by Superbass 10:09, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Volan asked [MKD]:

Why do we need the democratic model of governance? After the dissolution of a one-party state, Macedonia de facto turned into a bi/tri-sultanate. The Constitution and the institutions of the system are adjusted according to the will of the two sultans. It turns out that today’s meeting of the two sultans from the two most powerful political parties is the most important meeting to decide everything. Afterwards the governmental structures will just raise two fingers and rubberstamp – starting from the Parliament, the most shameful gravedigger of Macedonian quasi-democracy. [Quoting Wikipedia:]

Sultan (Arabic: سلطان‎ Sulṭān) is a title, with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning “strength”, “authority”, or “rulership”, derived from the masdar سلطة sulṭah, meaning “authority” or “power”. Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms…

I propose to legalize the sultanocratic system by changing the Constitution, which at least will notify the people and allow it to adjust to the truth.

Prof. Mirjana Najchevska, a human right expert, lamented [MKD] the consensual murder of the democratic process:

Yesterday’s meeting between Gruevski and Crvenkovski [MKD] was a requiem over the grave of democracy in Macedonia. The gradual sucking out of power from all democratic institutions and especially from the highest legislative body—the Parliament—finished with the meeting of leaders of the two biggest political parties and their secret negotiations and deals.

The lack of citizens’ understanding that this act means moving of the entire power from their hands (power exercised through their elected representatives in the Parliament) into the hands of two leaders (who accumulate the whole power and decide behind closed doors) results from the enormous ignorance about the basic meaning of democracy, and why it was accepted as a system of contemporary civilization.

The Parliament, democratic institutions, transparency and accountability were invented precisely with the purpose to prevent kings, power mongers, and cockerels from the dumps to bring decisions affecting the lives of the citizens without participation of those citizens, without the opportunity to influence or control the outcomes.

Moving the decision-making process to meetings between the chiefs (in Macedonia, initially promoted by the leaders of ethnic Albanian political parties and overwhelmingly embraced by the leaders of ethnic Macedonian political parties) represents an act of announcing the fact that the state is not democratic any more, but autocratic, or, in the worst case, organized as tribes.

The Parliament was invented as a venue for discussion, negotiation and agreement upon issues. This has to be done through defined procedures, before the public eye, and by representatives elected by the citizens. The Parliament can be vacated in protest, early elections may be demanded, the legitimacy of the elected representatives can be questioned, but it cannot be replaced by another kind of deal-making. In a democratic state, if a political party decides to negotiate, it must be done within the Parliament, through the MPs, at a Parliament session, through an appropriate procedure.

Otherwise, why do we need elections, why should we spend money, time, and energy, when we can have the two chiefs meet and strike a deal? Or, possibly, we should invest in organizing a healthy fistfight that will show who is stronger and who should lead the tribe? Or they should take it outside like [roosters], plucking in the backyard, and the winner would jump to the top of the dump and crow about his victory.

Democracy is dead – long live the cockfight!

(Photo “Cockfight in Otavalo, Ecuador. Spikes fixed at cock's feet.” by Wikipedia user Superbass. Published 2005 under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Licence.)

Global Voices in English

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Rattled by the unprecedented and contagious revolts befalling Arab despots around them, the Saudi monarchy has realized that bribery is not enough to placate their disenfranchised citizens. The notorious Saudi Minister of Interior, Prince Naif, issued a stern warning against any public demonstration by anyone at anytime in the repressive desert kingdom. As usual, his royal warning was immediately echoed by the top religious clerics including the Saudi Mufti, Al-Ashaikh. According to the Imam of Prophet Mohammed’s Mosque in Madinah, Al-Hudaifi, “Laws and regulations in the Kingdom totally prohibit all kinds of demonstrations, marches and sit-in protests as well as calling for them as they go against the principles of Shariah and Saudi customs and traditions… There is no place for chaotic demonstrations in this country of monotheism because Shariah is the dominant force in this country.” This is the first time the religious establishment has unequivocally asserted that Islam is against individual liberty and freedom of expression. This means that as long as the Quran is the country’s constitution and the Shariah is its law, there can be neither political participation nor personal freedom.

Given the sweeping Arab uprisings against their autocratic ruling elites, it is unlikely that the Saudi royals will be spared. Their people have suffered more from social, political, economic, religious, gender, and ethnic oppression than any other Arab society. Segments of Saudi society have expressed displeasure with the ruling family since the 1950s, a time when the oil industry’s maltreated employees conducted massive demonstrations in Eastern Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi ruling family has been able to survive and thrive until now because Western countries, especially the United States, are committed to protect it from external and internal threats. Attempts to protect Saudi Arabia from external threats include Egypt’s 1964 invasion across the Southern Saudi border and Saddam Hussein’s assault on Kuwait and subsequent march into the shared Saudi-Kuwait Al-Khafji oil field in 1991.

Since the inception of the Saudi state in 1932, the US-Saudi relationship has produced mutual economic and strategic benefits at the expense of the Saudi people. However, relations have been severely scarred by recent developments, particularly by Saudi nationals’ vicious attack on the US on September 11, 2001. In addition, Saudi Arabia has been a major breeding ground for anti-American religious sentiments and an exporter of extremism. Furthermore, State Department documents publicized by Wikileaks suggest that Saudi Arabia has been a major financier of extremist groups worldwide.

The Arab World, including countries bordering Saudi Arabia, is being swept by public revolts against oppressive regimes. What should the United States do when the Saudi people demand drastic political reforms or the overthrow of the ruling family altogether? Should America stand by the Saudi people as it stood with the Tunisians and Egyptians (and to a lesser degree with the Bahrainis, Libyans and Yemenis)? Should it send its uniformed men and women to defend the last absolute monarchy in the world? The prudent, pragmatic, and morally correct response is to stand by the Saudi people.

To continue supporting an oppressive regime loathed not only by the Saudi people but by the international community, would be costly to Saudi people, American interests worldwide, the international economy, and established order.

Big Peace

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But it is a secular, pro-democracy movement, doncha know. Abboud al-Zommor was released from prison and may enter politics? So what could go wrong? “Sadat killing mastermind mulls politics after release,” from International Business Times, March 18:

The mastermind behind the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, who has been released from prison since the fall of Hosni Mubarak regime, has plans to take part in post-Mubarak political future of Egypt, according to reports.

The son of a Sudanese mother and Egyptian father, Anwar El-Sadat became president in the fall of 1970 after the untimely death of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Sadat’s eleven-year reign was extremely eventful for it included a purge from the government of Nasserists, the October 1973 war with Israel, the Arab oil embargo, the 1977 bread riots and ultimately the peace treaty with Israel in 1979. That last act likely cost him his life as he was murdered two years later by assassins from his own military.

Islamic Jihad leader Abboud al-Zommor was the brain behind the killing of Sadat, who made peace with Israel and signed the Camp David peace treaty under the aegis of the United States. Al-Zommor was released last week after spending decades in Egyptian prison.

“Now, after the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak’s government, al-Zommor plans to take part in mapping out the future of Egypt,” the Doha-based Al Jazeera has reported.

The report said prisoners who have been released after the fall of the Mubarak regime are planning to form political movements. Thousands of people had been detained, most illegally, during the regime of Mubarak who strongly opposed the right wing Islamic groups in the country.

Note the mainstream media’s usage: groups that want to impose Islamic law are “right-wing,” and groups that oppose Islamic law, such as our own Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), are also “right-wing.” This has become a term entirely lacking in content. At this point it only means “A person or group that the media elites think is bad.”

After the regime change, hundreds of illegal detainees have been released. Al-Zommor’s ‘Jihad’ group was working for the overthrow of the secular government in the country and the establishment of an Islamic state, the report says.

Jihad Watch

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What does democracy look like in liberal upside-down world, where everything is the opposite of what it’s called? When Wisconsin patriots tried to get signatures to recall the obviously unfit Democrat state senators who tried to block the democratic process by hiding out in another state, it looked downright ugly:

The story:

The petition rally was originally scheduled at a local Merrill restaurant but was relocated after the proprietors received many phone calls and felt they needed to back out. The committee then set up in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse to offer citizens an opportunity to sign their names to the petition. Over 1,000 calls had been sent out the previous day notifying area residents of the petition rally.

Upon arrival, members of the recall committee were encircled by union protesters carrying signs and a leader with a mega phone who began chanting and ranting loudly. They packed in tightly around the petition collection table so as to prevent those attempting to sign from doing so. At one point, a pro union protester, pretending to be interested in signing the petition, wrote profanity across a partially collected petition form, than began ripping up the completed petitions that were in close proximity.

The policemen who were there, and who were standing in close proximity to these events as they unfolded, did nothing to assist those collecting the petitions as they were being destroyed, despite such an action being a Felony under Wisconsin law. Police also did nothing to clear the walk way for citizens that wanted to sign the petitions. Recall Committee members received many phone calls the following day from Merill area citizens who stated that they showed up to sign the petition, but were too afraid to get out of their vehicles and approach the recall table.

Why would police sacrifice public safety rather than do their jobs? Maybe because they belong to public sector unions too. Count this among the many excellent reasons even a lib like FDR would oppose public sector unions.

Not Obama though. The shenanigans in Wisconsin are right up the alley of a guy whose only real work experience is as a community organizer — i.e., radical left rabble-rouser. Unsurprisingly, his outfit Organizing for America has been involved behind the scenes. It’s all part of the Manchurian Moonbat’s “deep commitment to an open and transparent government.”

On a tip from Henry. Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.

Moonbattery

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I have seen several stories over the last several days about how Democrats and their allies in Wisconsin are out-hustling and out-organizing Republicans and their allies in regards to pending recall attempts in the state.

See, for example, HuffPo: Conservatives: We Are Being Outworked And Out-Organized In Wisconsin Recall Campaigns

Both national and Wisconsin-based Republican operatives tell the Huffington Post the party is being dramatically outworked and out-organized by Democrats in the recall campaigns being launched against state Senators.

The operatives, who raised their concerns out of hope it would jar the GOP into assertiveness, argue complacency has taken over after Governor Scott Walker successfully shepherded his anti-collective bargaining bill into law. While the Wisconsin Democratic Party, with major assists from progressive groups and unions, has harnessed resentment towards the governor into a full-throttled effort to recall eight GOP Senators, neither the enthusiasm nor organizational acumen exists on the Republican side of the aisle.

Byron York, in a column earlier this week (Unions vs. the little guy in Wisconsin recall fight ) cast the Republicans in the role of a slow-moving underdog:

If you’re a Republican, it’s a scenario straight out of “Alice in Wonderland.” Fourteen Wisconsin state senators, all Democrats, flee the state for three weeks, bringing government to a halt in an effort to stop Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill. After three weeks, the fugitive Democrats return in failure. And then, when a rich and highly organized effort to punish lawmakers is launched, it’s directed not at the Democrats who ran away but at the Republicans who stayed home and did their job.

That is precisely what is now happening in Wisconsin. Local and national labor organizations, enraged by the successful Republican effort to limit the collective bargaining powers of public employees unions, are pouring money and manpower into petitions to recall GOP state senators. At the same time, Republican drives to recall runaway Democrats, while rich in volunteer spirit, are working with far less money and organized support.

I find that metaphor to be amusing (and, indeed, problematic) given that, to date the Republicans are, to borrow a Sheenism, winning! So, to paint the Reps as the downtrodden underdogs is to pitch a battle with reality to date.

If, as appears to be the case, that Democrats are more organized this is likely because their side of this particular political ledger are more motivated and hold more intense views on this issue than does the Republican side.

That’s the way it works in processes that requires mobilization of the public whether it be in terms of protests, petition drives, or elections. There is a reason, for example, that we talk about turn-out (and specifically which side will be most effective at turn-out) every electoral cycle.

Politics is like physics:  for every action, there is a reaction (although unlike in physics, that reaction may not be equal and opposite, but is sometimes more powerful and perhaps heads off on a tangent).  As I wrote a week ago:

As all of that plays out we will get a better picture of what Walker has wrought:  either a boost to the GOP or a boost to the Democrats.

We are about to find out who gets the boost.  Given the rules of the game in Wisconsin, which includes a recall provision, Walker and his allies should have taken into consideration the potentiality of a recall campaign.  Further, they should have included in their calculations the fact that a) the state has a strong pro-union, progressive political tradition and b) 2010 was driven by political currents (e.g., the recession, the Tea Party, etc.) that likely were not permanent changes in the political fabric of Wisconsin.  In other words, Walker and friends may have over-interpreted their mandate.  And, indeed, to return to the basic point of the post:  turn-out matters.  To wit:  2010 was a mix of depressed Democrats and energized Tea Partiers, a recipe that helped Walker and the GOP-but is also a recipe that may not be baked into post-2010 politics.

Now, we really do not know how the recall process will play out.  It is historically difficult to successfully recall politicians,* so in that regards, the GOP may not be such the underdogs after all, but by the same token this situation appears to be an intriguing one in terms of its scope, which may make past examples less useful as a guide.  For those of us who find elections and democratic institutions to be fascinating, this will be an intriguing process.

At a minimum, recalls require the collection of signatures (which requires a great deal of volunteer work and general organization) and then success at the ballot box.  This is what we call in the trade:  democracy.

Likewise, it is worth underscoring that recall process is being motivated by the results of the legislative process which, in turn, occurred because of success at the ballot box by the Republicans in term of control of the state legislature (both chambers) and the governor’s office.  This is, also, what we call in the trade:  democracy.

As such, if one can step away from one’s policy preferences for a moment, one can see that, in fact, the system it working and the democratic process will settle this issue one way or another.

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*Mike Alvarez has a round-up of scholarly research on recalls here (h/t: the Monkey Cage).




Outside the Beltway

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