Middle East politics explained, for the novice or anyone else, in six short paragraphs

August 26, 2013

Seven paragraphs, if one counts the cheery close.

Letter to the editor of a London newspaper (trying to track that down), explaining who is who and who is whose enemy, in the Middle East.

Letter to the editor of the Financial Times of London, explaining who is who and who is whose enemy, in the Middle East. August 22, 2013, captured by Randy Prine

A woman named Randy Prine (@RandyPrine) Tweeted this photo, and said:

THIS is why we Voted for an analytical and not ‘shoot from the hip’ McCain or ‘How can I make money’ Romney.

Most of the ObamaH8ers I run into can be stopped on almost all Middle East issues simply by asking them whether the group they rant at, at that moment, is Sunni or Shiite.  For some odd reason, they never know.

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Cartoons on the rise of Arab freedom

November 2, 2011

. . . which accompany this now eerie picture.

Toppling Dictators in Arab world

Actually, I hear tell of a cartoon that looks more like the earlier photo, with a fellow walking away after having crossed out the images of Ali and Mubarak . . . anyone got a link?

A turn of the page of history: “When will Arabs awaken?”

October 22, 2011

I just stumbled across this photograph, taken in October 2010, in Sirte, Libya, at the opening of the “Second Arab-African Summit.”

2nd Arab-African Summit, Sirte, Libya, October 2010

2nd Arab-African Summit, Sirte, Libya, October 2010

One source identifies this as an Associated Press photo (can I claim fair use here for the purposes of history discussion?).

I cannot identify all the leaders of nations in this picture, but there, on the front row we see what are the ghosts of history — at least, they are ghosts from our vantage point in October 2011, just one year later.

On the far left of the first row in the photo smiles Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, now resigned and fled the nation in the first big event of the sweeping broom of freedom we now call Arab Spring; next to him, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who today barely clings to power trying to negotiate his own departure after eight months of protests in his nation.  Dominating the center, in his flamboyant robes, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, killed yesterday in the civil war that brought down his 42-years of despotic government a few weeks earlier.  Gaddafi’s leaning post is now-ousted-and-on-trial Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Syria’s Bashar al Assad is happy he was not in the center of this group, and hopes that’s a good omen for him — though Assad did attend this event.

Syria President Bashar Al Assad at Sirte, Libya, African Arab Summit, October 10, 2010

Syria President Bashar Al Assad at Sirte, Libya, African Arab Summit, October 10, 2010 – photo by Kaled Desouki, via PRI

This historic photo above appeared as an illustration to an article by an Arab sociologist bemoaning the dwindling hopes of change in the Arab world, and asking the question:  “When will Arabs awaken?”  Dr. Mohammad Abdullah Al Mutawa’s article sounds prophetic, now.

When will the pages of history turn?  Soon, perhaps, and when we least expect it and when some have lost hope they will turn at all.

Can you help identify others in the photo?  Surely there are other photos from this meeting in Sirte, Libya.  What do they show?


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