Arab Spring Yet to Bloom

Stephen Lendman

"Liberating struggles throughout the region just began. Expect no resolution easily or quickly."

Despite months of heroic Middle East/North African uprisings in over a dozen countries from Morocco to Syria to Oman, none so far has achieved any [significant] change, suggesting months, perhaps years, of sustained struggles lie ahead.

Media commentators first used term Arab Spring in March 2005 to suggest a beneficial Iraq war spinoff, what, of course, never happened nor could it, given Washington's intent to prevent any emerging democracies.

However, it partly succeeded in Lebanon after Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's February 14, 2005 assassination. Afterwards, "Cedar Revolution" anger erupted, ending Syria's occupation, reducing, but not eliminating the Bashar al-Assad regime's influence in the country.

In late 2010, the term resurfaced to reflect regional uprisings still ongoing, on and off, across the Middle East/North Africa. In recent days, notably they've occurred in Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt.

Libya is noticeably different - a Western influenced insurrection now war to replace one despot with another, discussed in numerous previous articles.

Throughout most of the region, people want jobs, decent pay, better services, ending corruption and repression, as well as liberating democratic change in a part of the world where poverty, unemployment and despotism reflect daily life for tens of millions.

A previous AWIP article headlined, "Hold the Celebration: Egypt's Struggle Just Began," saying everything changed but stayed the same, a common bait and switch scheme, notably because a military junta replaced Mubarak, assuring no possibility of democracy and social justice without sustained heroic pressure forcing it, though never easily against powerful pro-Western rulers.

As a result, after initial jubilation, Egyptians know their struggle just began against adversarial military leaders, continuing the same Mubarak era policies.

Obama's Re-Election Bid: A Peacemaker or the Author of World War III?

Yuri Gavrilechko
Strategic Culture Foundation

The presidential race opened in the US this April when incumbent B. Obama officially announced a re-election bid via various outlets including YouTube, saying that the second term in the White House would enable him to implement the plans that failed to materialize during his first presidency. Jim Messina is to take charge as the future campaign chief, and Obama expects to raise at least $1b – an amount unprecedented in the US history – to advance his candidacy.

Obama's campaign total was reported at $750m when he ran for president in 2008. The fund-raising was largely Internet-based, prompting talks about the importance in today's world of blogging and social media to a politician's public image. If re-elected, Obama will, on top of becoming America's first black president, be the first black president in the US to count two terms in office, the US presidential candidate with the biggest ever campaign fund, and the first presidential hopeful in the US history to avoid pouring his own money into the race to the White House.

These days, social media like Facebook and Twitter are instrumental not only in promoting political figures but also in coordinating mass protests, as the recent unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, and Yemen clearly showed. To a large extent, Obama can be credited with pioneering the wide-scale use of new media in politics.

Truly speaking, the incumbent cannot boast considerable success over the three years since being elected. While Obama relied on a reformist image to sell his candidacy, his policies in many respects failed to depart from those of his Republican predecessor G. Bush. Some watchers even went as far as to liken Obama to the Soviet Union's first and last president M. Gorbachev, the leader who epitomizes overturned expectations, though there was a time when Obama's promised role – beating the crisis, achieving economic growth, reducing unemployment – seemed almost messianic.

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