Sunday, 27 February 2011

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The situation in North Africa and the Mid-East is still explosive, and despite progress won there is a distinct and present risk of recidivist tyrannies and back-sliding into chaos. Some protesters’ honeymoons have lost their sheen as police are doing their job of civil policing and concessions, sometimes meaningful, betimes empty, are being offered by leaders of a whole range of vested and divested authority.
People have been inspired towards revolution, though no oppression is exercised in quite the same way—Libya is a very different place than Egypt or Tunisia or Algeria or Jordan or Iran or Iraq or Yemen or Saudi Arabia—and though steady-state strife, disenfranchisement or even civil war is influenced by macroeconomic factors and policy-decisions that have left a younger population disaffected and without many opportunities for a commensurate career, aside from daily staples and small freedoms. Many observers seemed spooked by talk of civil war and the subsequent disruption to oil supplies and overall destabilization that would make it more difficult for carpetbagger corporations to operate there.
I hope that outsiders are not just wishing this away, support tepid at best, to keep cheap oil pumping and promote continued expansion opportunities to export Western luxuries and fast food franchises and to ensure that the standard of living stays low and not too much of the treasure and resources are retained and used in these places. Just like it is billed as a rarity to witness a revolt that was not under the ægis of the forces that spread freedom and democracy in the world, it is likewise billed as unusual to see a civil war starting, as most assume such regional conflicts have always been, some warring tribes in lands with borders jimmied out arbitrarily when the colonial powers moved on to pure mercantilism—and what of that blood and treasure in a decade not so well invested in Iraq as protests begin in Baghdad. Years of war and occupation have left the people with precious little left to loose, and makes the chance ripe to regain and reclaim what was once theirs without meddling, direct or tangential.