January 16, 2011
Financial Times

Wake Up And Smell The Jasmine

by David Gardner

The ignominious demise of Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia's "Jasmine Revolution" has put a dent in the armour of the Arab national security state that will set tyrants trembling across the Middle East. The idea that Arab autocracies, with their backbone in the military and their central nervous system in the security services, are uniquely resilient to popular pressure has evaporated in the smoke of Tunis. . . .

The west's long connivance in this "Arab Exception" may be a welcome casualty of the Tunisian drama. The last 30 years have seen waves of democracy burst over almost every other despot-plagued region of the world, from Latin America to eastern Europe, and from sub-Saharan Africa to south-east Asia. Yet the Arab world remained marooned in tyranny. In the post-Communist era there is no other part of the world - not even China - treated by the West with such little regard for the political and human rights of its citizens. . . .


Gregory White, "This Is The Wikileak That Sparked The Tunisian Crisis,", January 14, 2011

[The Arabs used to say that two-thirds of the entire Tunisian population - seven million out of 10 million, virtually the whole adult population - worked in one way or another for Mr Ben Ali's secret police. They must have been on the streets too, then, protesting at the man we loved until last week. But don't get too excited. Yes, Tunisian youths have used the internet to rally each other - in Algeria, too - and the demographic explosion of youth (born in the Eighties and Nineties with no jobs to go to after university) is on the streets. But the "unity" government is to be formed by Mohamed Ghannouchi, a satrap of Mr Ben Ali's for almost 20 years, a safe pair of hands who will have our interests - rather than his people's interests - at heart.--Robert Fisk, "The brutal truth about Tunisia," Independent, January 17, 2011]

David Gauthier-Villars, "Islamist Leader Seeks Return to Tunisia,", January 18, 2011

Angelique Chrisafis, "Mood in Tunisia lifts, but revolution may not be over: New president promises 'complete break from past' as people return to work amid ongoing discontent," Guardian, January 20, 2011

[Ben Ali . . . saw that the Holy Quran was banned and desecrated in the cages and dungeons where prisoners of conscience are beaten if they dared to pray outside of allotted times.--Yvonne Ridley, "Tunisia: Hijab makes a return,", January 21, 2011

"Wave of unrest spreads to Yemen and Algeria," Sydney Morning Herald, January 24, 2011

Tim Ross, Matthew Moore and Steven Swinford, "Egypt protests: America's secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising," Telegraph, January 24, 2011

Mark Landler, "A Region's Unrest Scrambles U.S. Foreign Policy,", January 25, 2011

"Hezbollah- backed Najib Mikati appointed Lebanese PM," BBC News, January 25, 2011

"Egypt protests: Demonstrators 'face prosecution'," BBC News, January 26, 2011

Robert Fisk, "A new truth dawns on the Arab world: Leaked Palestinian files have put a region in revolutionary mood," Independent, January 26, 2011

Roula Khalaf, et al, "Tens of thousands protest in Egypt," BBC News, January 27, 2011

Dan Murphy, "Joe Biden says Egypt's Mubarak no dictator, he shouldn't step down,", January 27, 2011

Robert Fisk, "Egypt's day of reckoning: Mubarak regime may not survive new protests as flames of anger spread through Middle East," Independent, January 28, 2011

Jordan Robertson, "The day that Egypt unplugged the Internet," Independent, January 28, 2011

Amy Hybels, "Thousands protest in Jordan for political, economic reforms," CNN, January 29, 2011

Amos Harel, "Egypt riots are an intelligence chief's nightmare,", January 29, 2011

"Israel fears radical takeover in Egypt,", January 29, 2011

Andrew Hammond, "Analysis - Egypt's Al Jazeera ban illustrates channel's key role,", January 30, 2011

Kevin G. Hall, "Egypt's unrest may have roots in food prices, U.S. Fed policy," McClatchy Newspapers, January 30, 2011

[The United States bombed its offices in Afghanistan in 2001. . . .

In April 2003, US forces shelled the Basra hotel where Al Jazeera journalists were the only guests and killed Jazeera's Iraq correspondent Tareq Ayoub a few days later in Baghdad. The United States also imprisoned several Al Jazeera reporters (including at Guantanamo), some of whom say they were tortured. . . .

Then in late November 2005 Britain's Daily Mirror reported that during an April 2004 White House meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, George W. Bush floated the idea of bombing Al Jazeera's international headquarters in Qatar.--Jeremy Scahill, "Washington Embraces Al Jazeera,", January 30, 2011]

Ari Berman, "Neocons Attack Egyptian Dissident Mohamed ElBaradei, Again," thenation, January 31, 2011

"'Mubarak is Our Berlin Wall': Egyptian Columnist Mona Eltahawy on How the Youth Drove the Uprising in Cairo and Implications for Democracy in the Region,", February 1, 2011

"Media Blackout in Egypt and the U.S.: Al Jazeera Forced Off the Air by Mubarak, Telecommunications Companies Block Its Expansion in the United States,", February 1, 2011

M K Bhadrakumar, "Iran wins, Israel loses in turmoil,", February 1, 2011

"Jordan's king sacks entire Cabinet amid street protests," AP, February 1, 2011

[No, the United States is not hated across the region because of the freedoms we enjoy or even because of the lectures on democracy we do not cease to deliver. We are hated because we are perceived as hypocrites who say one thing and do another.--Patrick J. Buchanan, "Winners and Losers From a Pharaoh's Fall,", February 1, 2011]

Lionel Beehner, "In Egypt, 'Islamist' fears overblown,", February 1, 2011

Leila Fadel, "Looters included undercover Egyptian police, hospitals tell Human Rights Watch," Washington Post, February 1, 2011

"Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh 'to quit in 2013'," BBC News, February 2, 2011

Griff Witte, "Yemen Mubarak pledges not to run for reelection, plans to remain in office to transfer power," Washington Post, February 2, 2011

Anthony Shadid, et al, "Clashes Erupt in Cairo Between President's Allies and Foes,", February 2, 2011

Robert Dreyfuss, "Mubarak Strikes Back: Thugs Attack,", February 2, 2011

Thierry Meyssan, "EGYPT ON THE BRINK OF A BLOODBATH,", February 2, 2011

Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Glen Carey and Henry Meyer, "U.S. Interests in Peril as Youth Rebel, Leaders Quit in Mideast,", February 2, 2011

[Egypt is not a major oil producer, . . . But it is a crucial link for oil and gas headed to Europe, Asia and the United States.--Clifford Krauss, "Shippers Concerned Over Possible Suez Canal Disruptions,", February 3, 2011]

"Yemen protests: 20,000 call for President Saleh to go," BBC News, February 3, 2011

Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, "White House, Egypt Discuss Plan for Mubarak's Exit,", February 3, 2011

"'Day of departure' rally in Egypt," BBC News, February 4, 2011

John Pilger, "The Revolt in Egypt is Coming Home,", February 10, 2011

[It is a mistake, therefore, to link the re-Islam isation that has taken place in the Arab world over the past 30 years with political radicalism. If Arab societies are more visibly Islamic than they were 30 or 40 years ago, what explains the absence of Islamic slogans from the current demonstrations? The paradox of Islamisation is that it has largely depoliticised Islam. Social and cultural re-Islamisation - the wearing of the hijab and niqab, an increase in the number of mosques, the proliferation of preachers and Muslim television channels - has happened without the intervention of militant Islamists and has in fact opened up a "religious market", over which no one enjoys a monopoly. In short, the Islamists have lost the stranglehold on religious expression in the public sphere that they enjoyed in the 1980s.--Olivier Roy, "This is not an Islamic revolution,", February 15, 2011]

Webster G. Tarpley, "Mubarak Toppled by CIA Because He Opposed US Plans for War with Iran; US Eyes Seizure of Suez Canal; Was this the Threat that Forced Mubarak to Quit?,", February 18, 2011

"Tunisian Jews reportedly embrace revolution, dont fear Islamism,", March 6, 2011

Webster G. Tarpley, "Al Qaeda: Pawns of CIA Insurrection from Libya to Yemen,", April 3, 2011

Elizabeth Day, "Fedia Hamdi's slap which sparked a revolution 'didn't happen' ," Guardian, April 23, 2011

Seumas Milne, "This war on 'Islamism' only fuels hatred and violence,", April 23, 2014

Junaid Jahangir, "Five Muslim Scholars On The Permissibility Of Not Wearing The Headscarf,", January 10, 2017

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