I was unable, during the last few weeks to update this site with anything other than the crisis which emanated from the failure of congress to agree on a budget for 2014 and an agreement to raise the country’s debt ceiling level, a failure that led to the shutdown of the federal government and increased the worries about the possibility of a default which would have plunged the country into a mess of absolutely incredible dimensions, but the politicians were finally able in a rare partisan effort to agree on a deal to take care of the financing of the government and raising the debt ceiling, this was a compromise between the two extreme positions of the two parties, the deal succeeded in defusing the tensions and allowed the government to re-open and removed the worries about the country defaulting which would have been the first in its history , this was great, but it was no more than a temporary solution , it left the other major differences between the two parties still festering , and the situation between the two factions might go back the old politics of bitterness and hatred which threatens repetition of the recent crisis, still, one hopes that common sense would prevail and that the politicians have learned the need to compromise, to spare the country and the American people another shock, but today’s update is essentially about the current situation in the middle, I am going in a minute to talk about Egypt, Syria and Iraq, because things over there are getting increasingly worse and the violence reaching absolutely unimaginable dimensions.
The political winds which are blowing in Egypt now are very dangerous because they are forcing Egypt to move in a direction which is against history, with a high chance of dragging the whole world with them. the uprising which succeeded in toppling the 30 years old dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak on the 11th of February 2011 generated an atmosphere of hope for change and a better life and future under a democracy for the millions of Egyptians who have been forced to live under terrible dictatorships for almost three quarter of a century which followed the toppling of the Mohammad Ali dynasty which ruled Egypt and Sudan, from the 1805 until 1952, the demise of the old monarchy was brought about by a military coup d’état which was followed by a very long rule which relied always on the military to stay in power, but it brought nothing but misery and very severe hardships to the country and to the majority of the Egyptian people, that was why the revolt which brought down of Mubarak on February 2011 was received with a great deal of hope and expectation, but the elected authority which succeeded he down fall of Mubarak was a failure and created a great resentment and opposition, so the military leadership claiming a mandate from the people to restore order, jumped into the fray and in a classical military coup d’état on July, 3,2013 , removed the elected president, and established a civilian authority which was in fact nothing but a front for them bringing back the old harsh and the very tough police state practices of the previous regimes.
Mohammed mursi, the president who was toppled by the military, had been in power for about a year, he was a member of the Muslim brotherhood, a very powerful organization which has gained a great deal of support as result of its organizational powers and its longstanding social and humanitarian work, but they also had some political plans which they were unable to achieve until the 2011, when Mursi, their candidate for the presidency was elected, thus realizing a dream which they have strived for , for so long, but when they had their dream aborted by the military , they never accepted the defeat and swore that they were going to do everything to reverse the situation which resulted in a very dirty and violent struggle between them and the new authority, a struggle which I have talked about on three occasions in this blog before my last two updates on the recent American crisis, a struggle which doesn’t seem to be coming to an end soon, but which is becoming increasingly venomous and more violent, and without the slightest beam of light at the end of the tunnel, a terrible situation which does not augur well for the future of Egypt and for that of the whole area.
The second major source of the violence which is tearing the middle east apart is Syria which has been in the throes of an appalling civil war which is still raging since its start on April 2011, a murderous clash which had already claimed more than a hundred thousand deaths and tens of thousands of injured, more than two million displaced and an believable amount of lost treasure and destruction. Syria is home to an extremely divers mixture of Alawites which is a Shi’ites sect, Sunnis, Christians, Armenians, Assyrians, Druze, Kurds and Turks, with a history of a long series of military takeovers, and in 1971 Syria suffered yet another coup, which was led by Hafez al-Assad [an Alawite] who was the commander of the air force, who installed himself as a president, al-Assad, ruled from 1971 until his death in 2000, when he was followed in office by his son Bashar, who has been since 15 March 2011 fighting for his own survival as a result of the ongoing armed conflict between forces loyal to his regime and those seeking to oust it, a fight which was in realty the most recent manifestation of the centuries old quarrel between the two major sects in Islam, the Shi’ites and the Sunnis, which stemmed from their inability to a agree on who would be the fourth caliph after the death of the prophet Muhammad in the year 632.which manifests itself in the ongoing armed conflict between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. The unrest began on 15 March 2011, with popular demonstrations that grew nationwide by April 2011. These demonstrations were part of the wider Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring!!. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963,but the demonstrations rapidly degenerated into an open conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiites which was made worse by the interference of some of the neighboring countries and others from distant places who were because of their self-interests and greed began supporting one or the other of the two sides which is helping to prolong the war and magnify the damage which is resulting from its prolongation, and which again like its sister tragedy in Egypt doesn’t look like it is coming to end in the near future adding to the already very serious explosion of the middle east.
The third member of this unfortunate trio is Iraq, the current Iraqi situation is terrible and extremely worrying, and in spite of the fact that I was I was born there and had lived all my life there, is now a motherland which I cannot go back to because of its current abysmal situation, the history of Iraq’s current problems go back to the days which followed its invasion and subsequent occupation by the Americans in 2003, the bush administration [ the second bush] which masterminded the invasion , conducted the occupation in a manner which was totally different from what they promised the Iraqis when they were planning their adventure in Iraq, they said they were going to help the Iraqis to rebuild their country and rejuvenate its deteriorating institutions after the crushing years of Saddam Hussein, but they did not honor their promises and allowed the situation to deteriorate, with no services and no security.
On October 27,several car bombs exploded around the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least 39 people. The bombs were placed in parked cars and detonated over a 30-minute period in busy streets, mainly in Shia areas. Separately, a bomber blew himself up in the northern city of Mosul near troops queuing at a bank, killing 14 people. Countrywide violence, which was fueled by sectarian divisions between Shia and Sunni Muslims, has reached its highest level since 2008. Almost 1,000 people were killed and more than 2,000 wounded in September alone, and according to the UN. Hundreds more have already been killed in October, the turmoil is not abating, the country’s future is very upsetting and totally unpredictable.
Saturday Nov. 2, 2013