Archive for January 4th, 2017

The Guardian view on the Arab spring: it could happen again


The Arab world is home to 5% of the global population, but accounts for half of all terrorist attacks. With poverty outpacing the growth in numbers of young people and democracy crushed, a revolt could re-emerge

This month marks six years since the beginning of the Arab spring, a series of events that were meant to be a major turning point in the modern Middle East.

It was the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor and his death on 4 January that initiated a revolutionary year.

The subsequent protests energised ordinary Arabs, who recovered, it seemed, a popular self-confidence diminished by six decades of autocracy.

The Arab street was honoured for its people’s courage and determination, inspiring movements across the world. Protesters did not just voice their complaints, it was said, they changed the world. Four Arab leaders fell.

Yet six short years on those dreams are now in tatters. In Egypt, the most populous Arab nation, a counter-revolution has returned a military dictatorship. Much of Libya and Yemen is reduced to rubble in a war where outside powers are the principal actors, prepared to fight until the last local is dead. Syria is in ruins, stained by rivers of blood.

The sole democratic success was Tunisia, which did see a peaceful transition from authoritarian rule to elective government. The main Islamist party won power and last year declared it would end all of its cultural and religious activities to focus only on politics – becoming a Muslim democratic party, rather like its western Christian counterparts.

But every silver lining has a cloud: Tunisians make up the largest number of foreign fighters in the ranks of Islamic State. Read the rest of this entry »

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MACC is like Alice in Wonderland becoming “curiouser and curiouser”- in its pronouncements, staff movements as well selective even malicious investigation of corruption cases

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, is becoming “curiouser and curiouser” – in its pronouncements, staff movements and selective even malicious investigation and prosecution of corruption cases.

I agree with Tun Mahathir’s lawyer Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla who questioned why the MACC issued a statement of denial on the reason cited by its former Special Operations Division director, Bahri Mohd Zin, on his early retirement.

It is certainly “strange and awkward” that the MACC had done this after allegedly contacting Bahri, who allegedly denied to MACC in making such a statement and yet the MACC could not coax Bahri to issue a denial – resulting in the MACC statement losing all credibility.

There is considerable merit in Mohd Haniff’s challenge calling on the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohanmed Apandi Ali and the MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad to explain transparently the MACC’s investigations into SRC International and why the SRC International case was never brought to court, when it seems to be an open-and-shut case against the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak for corruption and abuse of power. Read the rest of this entry »

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