The revolution is on hold

MONTHS after the governments of both Egypt and Tunisia were toppled, protests continue apace in Yemen and Syria but there is no end in sight, one way or the other. In Libya, on the other hand, it seems to be the end of the road for Muammar Gaddafi.

In Syria and Yemen, the governments are hanging on because the US has been unable to provide military aid through its proxies; an attempt by the US to pass a resolution in the UN Security Council against Syria was vetoed by both Russia and China.

The same two countries have connections to Yemen, Russia from the old days when there were two countries, North and South Yemen, the latter friendly to the old USSR. That the US has been unable to get Russia and China on-side is an indication of how much the US has lost its clout as a superpower.

Yemen is more likely to fall to protesters, given that its economic clout is less; Syria buys a sizeable amount of arms from both Russia and China and hence is more valuable as a client. Bashar Al-Assad is likely to survive.

Bahrain has quietened down, once the protesters realised that there was no chance that the US would support them. Being home to the US Fifth Fleet, it is a centre of strategic importance. More than anything else, Saudi Arabia is the country that calls the tune in Bahrain and since it is still of importance as an oil supplier to the US — not to mention the private deals the al-Saud princes have will US politicians — its writ runs in Bahrain.

But despite the ousting of Hosni Mubarak and Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, there is no guarantee that anything like western democracy will come to Egypt and Tunisia. A gang of Mubarak cronies is now running Egypt and has been hailed as a force for stability by the US. The government in Egypt will always have to be one with which Israel is comfortable and that is the one factor that will determine who gets the backing of the US.

Tunisia heads to the polls on October 23 and indications are that Islamists will figure prominently among the winners. The transitional prime minister, Beji Caid Essebsi, is 84 and no certainty to continue. Whatever eventuates, the Western world has to be willing to accept the outcome. Meddling in these regions and rejecting the choice of the people will not go down well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.