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Food/oil crisis sparking revolutions

Written By: - Date published: 9:47 am, January 29th, 2011 - 17 comments
Categories: activism, food, International - Tags: ,

Food and oil prices have sparked unrest across North Africa. The Tunisian Government has fallen. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak has declared martial law. In Cairo, thousands of protesters shook hands with the soldiers, and chanted: “The army and the people are united” and “The revolution has come.”* Yup. Mubarak’s screwed.

Dictatorships rely on their security apparatus being willing to put down unrest harshly. If parts of the security forces start to side with the protesters, the dictator is done for.

Ukraine’s Orange Revolution nearly became a bloodbath with 10,000 Internal Ministry troops mobilised to re-take Independence Square in Kiev from the protesters. The revolution was saved when the heads of Military Intelligence and the Secret Police warned the Internal Ministry commander that they had troops in place to protect the protesters. Serbia’s ‘Bulldozer Revolution’ only succeeded because the army refused to crush it and ended its support for Slobodan Milošević.

So, when the reports from Egypt are of soldiers refusing to fire on the protesters, you know it’s only a matter of time until they turn their guns on the Mubarak loyalist police.

The US is worried that if their old ally goes the Muslim Brotherhood is the only organisation ready to step into the void. It’s their own fault. Mubarak’s regime is the second largest aid recipient in the world after Israel. As with Israel, it’s nearly all military aid. The US has spent around $60 billion on propping him up, allowing him to eliminate the secular left-wing opposition. Only the Islamists are left. Let’s hope they honour their commitment to free and fair elections.

This could be the beginning of an extraordinary period of change across North Africa and the Middle East. Protests are building in Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Oman, and Jordan. there was even a tiny protest in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Bush’s wars failed to spread regime change. But oil and food price protests, security forces that refuse to fire, and Tunisia’s proof that change is possible just might be enough to knock over these crumbling autocrats.

PS. Al Masrya Al Youm, the largest private newspaper in Egypt, has pictures of burning police cars and ‘tips on staying safe at protests‘ – got to love the 21st century. It also reports, with understated symbolism, that tear gas used by the Police is past its use by date … and made in the USA.

17 comments on “Food/oil crisis sparking revolutions ”

  1. ianmac 1

    And a complaint by the people of Egypt is anger that most of Egypt has been privatised.
    Sobering warnings from Al Masrya Al Youm too. Our warnings are likely to be stay out of the sun or watch out for heavy rain.

  2. TightyRighty 2

    I thought you’d be all about repression in Egypt Eddie? International socialist Solidarity and all that.

    • Kevin Welsh 2.1

      Weak. Even by your standards TR.

      • TightyRighty 2.1.1

        Hardly a devastating rebuttal Kevin. Doesn’t really give any weasel excuses as to why eddies beloved labour party is part of the same international network as a power hungry and repressionist regime (that incidentally privatizes).

        • Marty G 2.1.1.1

          so, wait, it’s Labour’s fault that there’s a government that calls itself socialist and is bad? You do know that your neoliberal mates literally went to Chile to study the junta’s neoliberal reforms in the 1980s, eh?

          And, re your comment about Mubarak privatising: is he a bad guy and it’s all Labour’s fault or is he a good guy that we should copy?

        • bbfloyd 2.1.1.2

          T.R… it(the rebuttal) didn’t need to be devastating. your comments denote no more than shallow party bigotry… you represent no more than an opportunity to hone our insulting one liners… you really can’t beleive you actually have a contribution to make,do you?

  3. johnm 3

    Revolution is happening in Egypt The U$ stooge Mubarak who has privatized everything in sight needs to go.
    View gripping video footage of the passionate(on par with the French) Protests of the Egyptian people, scroll down for street video:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/spotlight/anger-in-egypt/

  4. johnm 4

    Live Stream here:
    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/
    Refer above link for live coverage of the Egyptian people’s protest. They don’t lack spirit, energy and drive!

  5. Jenny 6

    Kia Ora Gaza

    kiaoragaza.net covers momentous
    week of news in the Middle East

    by Grant Morgan
    28 January 2011

    It’s been a momentous week of news in the Middle East:

    Tunisia’s popular uprising, which deposed one of Washington’s favourite dictators, suddenly spreads to Egypt and Yemen, threatening two other allies of America and Israel.

    The media release of the Palestine Papers exposing the colonial arrogance of Israel and the week-kneed response by Palestine Authority leaders.

    The battle for the truth over what really happened on the Gaza aid ship Mavi Marmara as an Israeli commission whitewashed last May’s commando killings of nine civilians.

    These three big stories intersect with besieged Gaza and the Palestinian struggle for justice. For instance, Israel’s blockade of Gaza could not last a single day once Tel Aviv’s ally Hosni Mubarak is deposed from the presidency of Egypt in favour of a people’s choice.

    Using a mix of articles, photos and videos, kiaoragaza.net has carried in-depth news of these huge happenings. And kiaoragaza.net has spotlighted daily atrocities carried out against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

    Our people’s journalism at kiaoragaza.net is part of Kia Ora Gaza’s 2011 campaign for a Kiwi contribution to another international aid convoy to Gaza. We hope you will visit kiaoragaza.net and not only enjoy our extensive coverage of Middle East events, but also donate towards Kia Ora Gaza’s convoy costs for this year.

    capcha – “delivering”

  6. Rharn 7

    My take on this is not food or oil, although they may be contributing factors, but corruption and greed. God help us all if the Suez Canal falls into radical Islamic control. That’s the sort of thing that could set the middle east on fire.

  7. joe90 9

    January 15, 2009 cable from Cairo Embassy, classified Confidential:

    Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread. The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators, certain political prisoners and unfortunate bystanders. …

    Another contact at a human rights NGO told us that her friends do not report thefts from their apartments because they do not want to subject “all the doormen” in the vicinity to police beatings. She told us that the police’s use of force has pervaded Egyptian culture to the extent that one popular television soap opera recently featured a police detective hero who beats up suspects to collect evidence.January 15, 2009 cable from Cairo Embassy, classified Confidential:
    Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread. The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators, certain political prisoners and unfortunate bystanders. …

    Another contact at a human rights NGO told us that her friends do not report thefts from their apartments because they do not want to subject “all the doormen” in the vicinity to police beatings. She told us that the police’s use of force has pervaded Egyptian culture to the extent that one popular television soap opera recently featured a police detective hero who beats up suspects to collect evidence.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      he told us that the police’s use of force has pervaded Egyptian culture to the extent that one popular television soap opera recently featured a police detective hero who beats up suspects to collect evidence.January 15, 2009 cable from Cairo Embassy, classified Confidential:

      Watch a few US movies and read a few books, especially ones that denote US “exceptionalism”, and you’ll see the same thing.

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