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The Arab Spring In Winter

2011 was the year of “the Arab Spring.” As the year ends, we ask where it really stands.

Egyptian protesters throw rocks at military police during clashes near Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Activists say the clashes began after soldiers severely beat a young man who was part of a sit-in protest outside the Cabinet building. (AP)

Egyptian protesters throw rocks at military police during clashes near Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Activists say the clashes began after soldiers severely beat a young man who was part of a sit-in protest outside the Cabinet building. (AP)

Wherever it goes, however it ultimately unfolds, 2011 will be remembered as the year of the Arab Spring. Those jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring nights in February when masses of Egyptians shouted down a tyrant in Tahrir Square.

The Tunisian fruit vendor who preferred burning alive to submission. The uprisings in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya. The crowds still singing and dancing and dying for change, rolling straight into gunfire in Syria. It’s felt epochal. It’s been inspiring. Where does it go? What has it meant? What will it mean?

This hour, On Point: the year of the Arab Spring.

-Tom Ashbrook


Shadi Hamid, expert on Arab politics and democratization in the Middle East at the Brookings Institution.

Rami Khouri, an internationally-syndicated columnist and editor-at-large for Lebanon’s Daily Star Newspaper and Director of the Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University in Beirut.

Anthony Shadid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

From Tom’s Reading List

Slate “A year ago, the unrest that came to be known as the Arab Spring had yet to be sprung. The anniversary most point to in retrospect – the self-immolation of a jobless Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, to protest his treatment at the hands of a dictator’s police, took place on December 17, 2010. Within a month, the unrest that began with Bouazizi’s suicide ultimately toppled that dictator.”

Foreign Policy “Egypt is spinning out of control. But it’s not only the fault of the ruling military junta — the protesters in the street deserve plenty of blame, too. ”

Al Jazeera “Thousands of people filled the streets of the Egyptian capital on Tuesday in protest against the beating of female protesters by the ruling military during clashes in and around Cairo’s Tahrir Square.”

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  • Anonymous

    It would appear that the Arab Spring is turning into a Winter of discontent.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    I hope for them ALL, the BEST!!
       How they negotiate from where they were, to where they will eventually get to, will be a struggle! 
       I’m afraid that some of them will wind up being as bad off, as before their transformation, unless a LOT of wisdom is used!

    • Hidan

      Don’t you love the double standard some persist to have? Arab’s shouldn’t have democracy unless it’s the way or group the U.S. wants. Can’t have any extreme elements in there government. Yet this standard does not apply in the U.S. say with the Tea Party likes and extremist like Bachman and Shah,Nationalist and Yisrael Beiteinu, 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Double standards ALWAYS irritate me.  It  is a form of hypocricy!.   Hypocricy is usually a tool of GREED for power!
           My wish is for the BEST for the people of ANY country, regardless of its benefit to the U.S.! 
           Hopefully, someone will come up with a BETTER form of government, that is better to its people, environment, and fellow Earth-dwellers!

        • Dave

          Better than democracy, sound money, and rule of law to protect our individual liberties?

          What’s that old saying? Perfection is the enemy of the good?

          That’s the problem in trying to substitute Utopian dreams for empirically pragmatic forms of self-govenment and law.

  • Gregg

    I believe the Arab Spring can trace it’s roots to the liberation of Iraq. The stated goal was to change the face of the entire Middle East. The whack-a-mole revenge strategy of combating terrorism failed and sweeping change is the only real solution. It’s fragile and without America’s leadership it can all be undone. We very well may see something worse than we had arise in Egypt and Libya. We missed a huge opportunity in 2009 by not supporting the uprising in Iran.


      I agree with your post if you replace the word leadership with the word bludgeoning.

      • Gregg

        The bludgeoners are in full force whether we act or not.

    • Hidan

      That crap was debunked some time go but feel free to link a protesters saying because the U.S. invaded Iraq they decided to protest in X country.

      Dude I google that claim and it comes from none othe than Dick Cheney and other neo-con rejects.

      Happy reading

      America’s Radical Idealists Strike Again To claim that the Iraq war caused the Arab spring
      is, to draw an analogy from Isaiah Berlin, fox-like, attributing change
      to one big event; the second is more hedgehog-like, attributing change
      to the cumulative product of many smaller efforts.

      The first argument makes no sense and is even dangerous, given
      that the logical conclusion one might draw from it is that democracy
      promotion at the end of a bayonette is a good thing. The second claim is
      more plausible, albeit ultimately unprovable.

      • Gregg

        I’m not sure what you googled, I’m referring to a Bush State of the Union speech that I remember watching.

        How on earth can the liberation of 50 million in Iraq and Afghanistan not inspire the oppressed to rise up? It doesn’t make sense.

        • Hidan

          Read the link I posted and you will realize how absurd your comment is. I asked you to quote protestors thanking the War in Iraq for the arab spring are your going to do that?

          Liberation to you Occupation to the world. of course 5 million iraqi’s displaced both in and outside of Iraq and 100s if not millions killed in iraq and 500k children who died due to direct sanctions by the U.S.

          • Gregg

            I dispute your numbers but they still pale in comparison to the death, torture and destruction under Sadaam Hussein.

          • TFRX

            Blahblahblah. Smoking gun-mushroom cloud. He kicked out the inspectors. Yellowcake, refined aluminum tubes, all that false crap.

            I’d love to be the chiropractor servicing the whiplash you’d get if a Democrat committed war crimes to get us to invade as Shrub and co did.

          • Gregg

            Seriously, are you denying Hussein kicked out the inspectors? Or that we removed 500 metric tons of Yellowcake from Iraq?

    • Hidan


      Iranian’s are Persian not arabs.

      • Gregg

        I realize that, the opportunity was still missed. Wouldn’t it be better to not have to fire a shot. Too late, war is inevitable now.

        • Hidan

          “war is inevitable now. ”

          No it’s not.

           beside firing shots were what the advocates for getting involved with Iran has been pushing, counter to the warnings that  doing just that would push even the green movement to supporting the Iranian government over U.S.

          • TFRX

            Hey, when a right-winger says “War is inevitable”, all the factual actuals in the world won’t convince him otherwise.

          • Dave

            Kind of like the left wingers saying “Equal outcomes are possible, and government should make it so”.

            Both are delusional, utopian ideals, and will bankrupt us, and restrain our freedoms in their pursuit.

            Neither Neocons nor Marxists will deliver us from ourselves or the reality we live in. 

            But it makes for great 2-party ping-pong, keeping the politicians and talking heads perpetually in power.

          • TFRX

            No point telling you what lefties say. The psychotic break which may come from breaking someone committed to their delusion is simply not worth the risk.

            But, as always, great right-wing caricature of liberals. “Neocons nor Marxists”? Here’s a hint, Einstein: One is always given a seat on our TV, the other you only know through what Fox News (and therefore every other outlet) tells you. Glad to see your media consumption is not imbalanced.

          • Dave

            Just defend your marxist case, or whatever your case is.  You never say anything substantive. Prove your case is more workable than liberty and rule of law.

            Best we can gather is you like some strand of Benevolent Dictator or Philosopher King, or technocratic rule by “intelligent, well meaning” elites.
            We will wait.

          • TFRX

            “We can gather”? “We” who?

            Talk about pronoun trouble!

          • TFRX

            Oh, and you earn bonus points by going OogedyBoogedyMarxistDictator!!!!one!1 about me, then backing off.

            If you’re gonna namecall, be committed to it.

          • Dave

            Great substance! 

            Guess you’ll be throwing the grammatically-incorrect in you re-education camps as well.

          • TFRX

            Pfft. You say “we” as if everybody agrees with you.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        True, Persian are totally different from Arabs. especially the language.

    • nj

      Greggg posts the standard pablum from those trying to justify Bush’s fiasco in Iraq.


      Without Iraq ‘Arab Spring May Have Broken Out Earlier’

      • Hidan


        The dreaded wiki-leaks has more to do with the arab spring than anything Bush has done. Bush actions may have even delayed the arab spring from happening in the first place.

        Wanna see if Greg will qoute protesters in Egypt linking  the Bush Admin invasion in iraq to the arab spring?

        • Gregg

          I can link to Democrats who say Clinton killed Vince foster. So what?

          • Hidan

            So in other words you can’t provide quotes from protestors crediting the invasion of Iraq for the arab spring?

          • Gregg

            We spent 10 years, untold treasure and 4000+ lives liberating Muslims. Don’t tell me that is lost on them.

            The Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan. They gave safe haven to Al Qaeda. Hussein gassed the Kurds. His thug sons raped women in front of their children. There was a wood chipper in the basement of Abu Graib for prisoners. The lucky ones went in head first. The oppression was brutal. Speak against Hussein and your tongue was ripped out. You will not convince me they wanted or deserved this treatment. I side with the oppressed.

          • Hidan

            Than it must be easy to qoute a protester linking the Invasion of Iraq with the arab spring. Why not attempt you can’t find one?

            CNN: Declassified government docs show U.S. let Saddam gas Kurds for farm dealhttp://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/11/20/sbm.overview/index.html

          • Gregg

            Relevance? My point stands.

          • Hidan

            The “Gipper” saw no issue with Sadaam gassing the Kurds while a Farm deal and Support against Iran was being worked out.

            Still waiting for you to qoute a protesters. The reason you have not done so so far is you can’t.

          • Gregg

            I don’t go to google for knowledge. Frrl free.

          • Hidan

            Declassified U.S. government documents show that while Saddam
            Hussein was gassing Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. opposed punishing Iraq with a
            trade embargo because it was cultivating Iraq as an ally against Iran
            and as a market for U.S. farm exports.
            According to Peter
            Galbraith, then an idealistic Senate staffer determined to stop Hussein
            from committing genocide, the Reagan administration “got carried away
            with their own propaganda. They began to believe that Saddam Hussein
            could be a reliable partner.” Read once-secret U.S. documents


          • Terry Tree Tree

            I had heard enough of this about Saddam, while he was our ‘ally’, according to G.H.W. Bush!
               The guy they took out of the hole, his eye-ridges and cheekbones did NOT match up with those of Saddam Hussein, when he was in power!   Those features CANNOT change that much!
               Saddam Hussein was FAR more cunning, than to be caught where, and how they got that guy!
               FAR more RUTHLESS, too!

      • Gregg

        I’m not justifying anything, it’s just what happened. I think the German’s opinion is misguided.


    • Anonymous

      That is why we were greeted as liberators.  Iraq is already starting to fall apart.  There is more to a free society than just holding elections.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      Gregg,  What opportunity in Iran???   The uprising was hyped and instigated by the western media.  There was not enough there to topple a government.  Even Syria isn’t working out the way they planned.  The best goal they can obtain is ala Libya and Iraq…. leave destabilized, fractured and in shambles.

      • Gregg

        Maybe, it wouldn’t be the first time the media hyped something but it looked genuine to me. I do believe it was an opportunity lost even if the notion of doing so without firing a shot is exaggerated.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The U.S. got out of there, in the 18 months ‘W’ admin. said?  We were welcomed as liberators, by ALL the people?  Over 5 million Iraqi refugees, and about 1 million dead, have a stable, honest, un-corrupt, workable,democracy?  Or, did some oil companies, and other resource-grabbers, get access to resources?

    • nj

      Nice to see this ridiculous assertion dismissed on air.


    I don’t get many chances to say this…  but I TOLD YOU SO!!!  All these repeated shows on the Arab Spring were SO premature.  As we are seeing in Iraq and Egypt, old habits die hard.  Only the perspective of history will reveal if this was the genesis of new governance in Arab nations.

    • Hidan

      Cause we all know that the U.S. once it became an republic gave rights to all right? It wasn’t until the 90′s were the rights of gays being protected in the U.S. 2011 in the military. not until the 1970 and on were the rights of blacks protected, 1920 and still the rights of women, after the 1940′s for Japanese Americans. Look at the second hour of the show our rights are now slowly being taken away for the perceived need of security.

      • Dave

        Ron Paul has been explaining that for a long time.

        We are always moving toward our ideal, as long as we are vigilant and engaged in our self-government.

        To throw out our system because it didn’t deliver perfection in the blink of an eye, or magically eliminate the challenges of scarcity and entropy, is short-sighted and foolish, even if tempting, IMO.

  • Hidan

    Amazing the U.S. switched from backing the despot in Egypt to backing both the smaller group of protesters in Egypt and the Military at the same time. What I been reading is the protest now are far more violent than before and the armies actions have become more violent as well. What I also read is the U.S. is even more now backing the military because of fear of the freedom and Justice party and it’s Islamist coalition(which did state they will honor the peace treaty between Israel and Egpyt) at the same time pushing the protestors to fight against the election results. As the BCC put it the Military is winning the P.R. campaign and instead of 10 of 1000′s of protesters it’s now in the hundred who refuse to see what will happen after the election results.

    I also read that one of the princes from the most extreme and radical Islamist country is investing 300 million in Tweeter. This country actually bans protest as against Islamic law and will openly kill protesters who do. This country also helped it’s neighbor gun down protesters and going so far as to arrest and abuse doctors who helped the injured ones and sent forces in to shoot at the protestors homes to get them to return. This county disallows women from most civil liberties and has some of the worst Human rights abuses against foreigner. Of course this country is an U.S. ally and it’s neighbor host an U.S. base so the arab spring so the U.S. is darn near mute.

  • Hidan

    Noam Chomsky: “The U.S. and Its Allies Will Do Anything to Prevent Democracy in the Arab World”


  • margbi

    So far, no one has commented on the problem women are having with the military. If Egypt and other Arab countries, persist in treating half their population in such a cavalier manner, how can things improve?


    Since On Point will soon be rolling out a week or so of rebroadcasts, I wanted to take this live opportunity to wish you all a happy holiday season.  Even those of you whose perspectives I abhore serve to make my mind churn and work on a daily basis.  See you next year, when we’ll do it all again. 

  • Hidan

    Noam Chomsky: Arab Spring, American Winter


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    The US media is paying obligatory lip-service to the Egyptian protestors, while the US government continues backing the military.

    Nothing has changed in Egypt even though Mubarak is out of the picture. The military has been subsidized by the US in $$ billions for decades.  Many of the staff officers are US trained and influenced. 

    The Egyptian protestors are well aware of this and as it seems, do not intend to give up.  

    The only two possible results are that islamist are voted in and purge the Egyptian military,  or the military continues to crush the protesters with increasing brutality, mass incarceration and repression.  I don’t think the later approach will turn out as it did in Chile. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      What is new? Nothing, if the Egyptian Military is against terrorism and against the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s doesn’t matter if the Egyptian military killed millions of Egyptian as long no terrorist group that will control Egypt.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Is this sarcasm??   The Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate group and if they are elected, so be it.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          it is not who are against the Muslim Brotherhood it is the Egyptian Military. probably they know what is going on inside the Brotherhood than you and me.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          if you live in a country with a dictator or military junta and against terrorism. Do you think the American government will support that government even if those government are brutal to the people as long it will stop terrorism controlling their country.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      What is the difference between Marcos and Pinochet?

      Marcos never killed his enemies in front of the world or created torture camps run by ex German Nazi.

      Marcos was for the poor and he did everything he can to give some of his money to them but unfortunately not all of them.

  • Dave

    With regard to Arab Spring and US Militarism:

    Ron Paul Challenges Mindless MilitarismThe Texas Republican’s foreign policy perspective is desperately needed in the 2012 campaign.http://reason.com/archives/2011/12/21/ron-paul-challenges-the-gops-mindless-mihttp://www.dailypaul.com/195322/examiner-grassroots-video-on-ron-pauls-foreign-policy-converts-manyYou all know that both parties have been complicit in our military adventurism hypocritical foreign policy.For once, we have someone running who tells it like it is.Feel free to explain why Paul’s views are not relevant or accurate about our foreign policy, and his predictions regarding blow-back, like those about our financial house of cards.Or just dismiss him like all the mainstream media pundits scrambling to defend the status quo.

  • Dave

    With regard to Arab Spring and US Militarism:Ron Paul Challenges Mindless Militarism
    The Texas Republican’s foreign policy perspective is desperately needed in the 2012 campaign. 


    You all know that both parties have been complicit in our military adventurism hypocritical foreign policy. For once, we have someone running who tells it like it is. 

    Feel free to explain why Paul’s views are not relevant or accurate about our foreign policy, and his predictions regarding blow-back, like those about our financial house of cards. Or just dismiss him like all the mainstream media pundits scrambling to defend the status quo.


    • TFRX

      Wait just a second. There’s a website called “dailypaul”?

      I thought that’s what this board was!

      And keep on with your “You all know both parties” fail. I’m not gonna interrupt you.

      • Dave

        “Feel free to explain why Paul’s views are not relevant or accurate about our foreign policy, and his predictions regarding blow-back, like those about our financial house of cards. Or just dismiss him like all the mainstream media pundits scrambling to defend the status quo.”

        • TFRX

          Your Paulmania has long since reached the point of diminishing returns in this space.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Are you guys really serious voting for that old man Ron Paul. if Obama grey hair came out within 3 years of his presidency what do you think the Presidency will do to Ron Paul’s hair or health? I saw him last walking and shaking.

        • Dave

          While you’re at it, feel free to make the DNC apologist argument, that almost everyone is as skeptical of as the neocons, with regard to our current fiscal and international situation.

          Go on, trot out the Good Dems, Bad Repubs lines, and how this time, it will really be different.

          Tell us why we should listen to Bill Clinton and George Bush, before we should listen to Ralph Nader and Ron Paul.

          Of course you won’t tell us why, as you never provide reasoning, you will simply tell us to do it.

    • nj
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    As a Filpino and seen the effects of American Colonialism in the Philippines. I doubt that the Egyptian people will accept any help from America. It is their responsibilty to create a democratic country without any foreign intervention.

    America is exhausted this year and beyond another war or foreign policies that will screw up another nation like Egypt is beyond my comprehension

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    What is Arab Spring? Are the Arabs flowers? they bloom to overthrow their dictators or just another Media name.

  • Webb Nichols

    Sometime consider talking to the Father of Arab Spring, the  the Fight for Liberty in Burma, and the fight for freedom in Eastern Europe. He resides in East Boston as Director of the Albert Einstein Institute. Gene Sharp, a former Harvard research fellow, wrote “From Dictatorship to Democracy” (translated into 27 languages), “On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict”, “Making the abolition of War a realistic Goal”,and “Self-liberation”. His voice needs to be heard.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      I saw him on TV. They made a documentary film about People Power. The sad part was they skip the 1986 People Power Revolution in the Philippines. if the Albert Einstein Institute talked to the leaders of the People Power revolution. They will learn something.

      Especially the most powerful radio station during the revolution. “Radio Bandido” by Filipina Journalist June Keithley.NPR should interview this magnificent and brave Journalist to show the media how to support a peceful revolution.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        By the way, What is Albert Einstein got to do with People Power or non-violent protest. I have been scratching my head why they name their institution after a scientist who didn’t believe in god and contributed to creation of the Atomic bomb. If they name their institution Gandhi that would acceptable. i am just annoyed

  • Chitown

    From Paneta’s comments, look like hostilities with Iran will be timed for just before November’s elections.  Perfect.

  • christopher

    My concern about the new democratic islamic governments is the tyranny of the majority de Tocqueville wrote about in the 18th century during the american revolution. Who will protect minorities?

    • Dave

      Such concerns are too 1700′s for this board.

  • Gilbertysullivan

    Women’s Rights are universal rights. Democracy does not exit without them!

  • Fr Antony

    What about religious mimories? If extremists come into power, what kind of horrors might we see? For example, the Copts in Egypt

  • Scott

    It over simplifies to say that this country is about democratically elected government.  Yes, we care about government “for the people and by the people,”  but for at least 150 years we have also come to recognize the equal importance of “freedom and justice for ALL.”  I don’t see this in democratically-elected theocracies.

  • Dave

    “Tocqueville worried that if despotism were to take root in a modern democracy, it would be a much more dangerous version than the oppression under the Roman emperors or tyrants of the past who could only exert a pernicious influence on a small group of people at a time. In contrast, a despotism under a democracy could see “a multitude of men,” uniformly alike, equal, “constantly circling for petty pleasures,” unaware of fellow citizens, and subject to the will of a powerful state which exerted an “immense protective power”.[2] Tocqueville compared a potentially despotic democratic government to a protective parent who wants to keep its citizens (children) as “perpetual children,” and which doesn’t break men’s wills but rather guides it, and presides over people in the same way as a shepherd looking after a “flock of timid animals.”[2]“

  • Anonymous

    The Arabs need outside help.  Our country had a revolution a couple hundred years ago.  If not for the help of the French, we would have lost.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Aha. after the French helped the Americans. What do you think how Americans feel about the French when they were against the Iraq war? Freedom Fries? remember that moronic issue.

  • http://twitter.com/setaspellmedia setaspell media

    What if the Islamist come into power?? Well the USA continues to struggle with the Christian Extremist hijacking the democratic process. Very few people in the US are outwardly concerned about the Christians dominating the US elections. Religious intolerance exists in all the world, even in Democracies. Let the Egyptians decide for themselves.

    • Anonymous

      We need to fight the religious extremists here too.  At least we have constitutional rights to protect minority rights. 

  • Richard Pate

    The Arab Spring is no different than the civil rights issue in the US during the 60′s.  Main stream America did not get it at first and many resisted it.  The push for equality came from within the US and the world spoke up about what was happening in one of the world’s leading countries.  Many Americans buried their heads in the sand and wanted to keep status quo and others wanted to burn the place down.  Even after all these years of we still have not resolved all the issues.  The Arab Spring will take time and their people will have to work through the issues just as we continue to.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68


  • Anonymous

    We are now struggling ourselves with a “Corporate Despotism” that is stripping away individual rights using bought politicians.  The occupy movement could get ugly and the Arab nations might be talking about the”American Spring” if enough folks turn their televisions off, start reading and actually communicating, and stop reluctantly Kow-Towing to their thieving Medievally minded “Too Big To Fall Masters”  As the poem Ozimandias shows us (Too bad many have not even heard of it, let alone read it) Nothing is too big to fail and turn to dust.  To think otherwise is folly.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    WOMEN were a major part of most of the Arab Spring uprisings, and therefore a major part of the sucess!   To disregard this, and subjugate women, would be demanding the wrath of those women.  They would deserve that wrath!

  • Lawrence

    The host just asked a caller who asserted that we should accept the democratic election results about the case of Iran and the possibility that the result will be a govenment where democratic rights are repressed. The host’s egregious errors in both historical context and logic compelled me to right in.

    Historically Iran had a democratic secular government which was overthown and replaced by a dictator (the Shah) in  a coup orchestrated out of the U.S. embassy. When popular revolt finally overthrew this dictatorship the Iranian people with great (and apparently misplaced) affection for the U.S. hoped that we would get on the side of democracy and instead of contnuing support for the Shah. We disabused them of that hope and thereby gave the religious right their chance to take over with the result of an oppressive theocracy.

    Had we done what the caller suggested; support a democratic process instead of attempting to pursue a failed puppet government strategy we would have avoided the very terrible result that we see there today.

    Bad enough to ignore the lessons of history we see them distorted; but, even worse is thefalse logic of saying we should support repression of both human rights and democratic process out of fear that we will see a free people give electoral results that we don’t like is a repudiation of our own legacy. The Founding Fathers (and mothers, and blacks, and…) did not fight to form an America where we are allowed to vote only so long as we vote the “right” way. If we do not respect our own principles of democracy we betray those very principles.

    All our fears of the strange and unknowable “Islamic Fundamentalist” seem rather strange. How is it that we cannot understand the possiblitly of free and fair elections electing regligious fundamentalist in large numbers? That has been happening for sometime in America and we don’t see the need to replace free and fair elections with a stable military dictatorship.

    I do not say that the religious fundmentalist here in America and in Egypt are the same or even that they arise from exactly the same reasons. But we can at least see that if it can happen here that it is not so incomphrensible for it to happen in Egypt. But I am saying that just as in America we will not tolerate suspending elections because we don’t like the results we have to hold to the same human rights for Egyptians and support free and fair elections there without some condition that we’ll support democracy but only so long as you vote the way we want you to.

  • Eb3design

    These soldiers are a descries to Islam, to their government and
    their people.  These are thugs and cowereds.  I believe in Democracy, and any government be
    they Secular or Religious as long as they live up to the task of governing… “the
    protection and welfare of their people” regardless of age, ethnicity, religion,
    economics OR gender. 


    And more to the point though the US has not yet lived up to
    true equality…  it is the symbol of
    that promise, that truth and we need to be that voice for people that don’t have
    equality, both here in the US and in every country in the world.  


    Fear and disadvantage is what breeds hate.  Hate for Women, hate for other Religions,
    other Views and other People.


    There is nothing a Man cannot do that a Woman can, and vise
    versa regardless ethnicity or who they believe in.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Filipinos respects the Filipino soldiers because they never treated the Filipino civilians like trash compared to the Egyptian Army.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Where has a man carried a child, and given birth?  When?

  • karnak

    I was very interested as why no one in the panel or Mr. Ashbrook asks this basic question. Is Islam compatible with democracy, and is it possible to have a full democracy as long as Islam hovers over each and every Arab country.
    From what we get from the Iran revolution, a now 30 years old revolution (more than a full generation), I am more inclined to think that the future of the Arab spring is more likely to resemble Iran than Western Europe.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Forgot why there was an Iranian Revolution?

  • Karnak

    I wish there was more opinions expressed in this panel, it seems that all the panelist were from the same mold, and opinion, no need for 2,3 or 10 of them, one would have been enough. It would have been much more instructive to bring someone from the other side of the spectrum. There are plenty of people like these, even in the Arab world, who do not necessarily think that this spring will bear the fruits of liberty and freedom but to the contrary is a step toward a more darker future.

  • Karnak

    A last comment at what Mr. Khuri said regarding the Arab world and Israel living in peace.
    Mr. Khuri forgot to remind the audience that Israel did respond with a proposition of a summit with the head of Saudi Arabia.
    Saudi Arabia or the Arab league never got back to Israel with a serious proposition.
    Also he failed to mention that the plan that the Arab league put together included the return of Palestinian refugees to pre-1967 Israel borders.

  • Yevno

    Rami Khouri is a bad news.

    He is against the Palestinian Jews fomenting hatred towards the self determination of the Jewish people in their part of Palestine (15% of the landmass). Disparangingly he calls Jews colonialists.
    Is he a colonialist making his home in Beirut while he is really a citizen of the Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan ?
    We, Jews, are part and parcel of Palestine !

  • Yevno

    Rami Khouri is a bad news.

    He is against the Palestinian Jews and he is  fomenting hatred towards Jews and  the self determination of the Jewish people in their part of Palestine (15% of the landmass). Disparagingly he calls Jews colonialists.
    Is he a colonialist making his home in Beirut while he is really a citizen of the Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan ?
    We, Jews, are part and parcel of Palestine !(The previous message is not correct)

  • Thomas W

    I can’t help it, whenever I hear the expression ‘Arab Spring’ I instinctively think detonation device.

    • Gregg

      I feel a little guilty laughing as hard as I did at that.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Weird association?

      • Plushkin

        nope – REALISTIC if anything.

  • Hidan

    Rami Khouri was great on today’s show. What he was referring to was  the arab peace plan in 2002 which Israel soundly rejected.

    Counter to what some commenter stated below one can read it on the bbc link posted below. As for Israeli Jews discriminating against Women on the buses. There’s even places in Israel where Ultra OJ are intimidating women to vote in Jerusalem.

     It’s completely true about the Bus thing.As for abusing women my earlier point was it happens both in Christian nations along with Israel and to paint all arabs as such is just wrong.


    Below link on the bus incidents, this not the only one but one of many

    “A woman passenger on a public bus from Ashdod to Jerusalem Friday was
    told by an ultra-Orthodox male passenger to move to the back of the
    bus. The man held the door of the bus open and would not allow it to
    move for approximately 30 minutes.

    When other passengers began to complain
    about the delay, the driver called the police. The policeman who arrived
    on the scene spoke with the man and then also asked the woman, Tanya
    Rosenblit, to move to the back of the bus.”

    Since my earlier link is considered “alleged”. I’ll post incidents documented that the people fearful of women’s rights can read.

    26% Of Orthodox Jewish Women Abused, Study Finds

    Woman beaten on J’lem bus for refusing to move to rear seat

    Miriam Shear says she was traveling to pray at
    the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City early on November 24 when a
    group of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) men attacked her for refusing to move
    to the back of the Egged No. 2 bus.


    Is this the future Israeli Jewish women are doomed to live?


    History of Past Sexual Abuse in Married Observant Jewish Women

    Rachel Yehuda; Michelle Friedman; Talli Y. Rosenbaum; Ellen Labinsky; James Schmeidlerhttp://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?Volume=164&page=1700&journalID=13http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0%2c7340%2cL-3458853%2c00.html

    • Plushkin

      Rami Khouri was great on today’s show
      No doubt about that. He is always great in his bigotry.
      Here is an insight into his greatness and objectiveness
      An outspoken advocate of Arab views, Khouri, for example, argued on March 8 that Hezbollah is “a very impressive, legitimate, even heroic resistance movement” and he dismissed any menace that group poses to the Jewish state. “Hezbollah,” he declared, “is not a big threat to Israel.” Neither Khouri nor the NPR host mentioned Hezbollah’s declared dedication to Israel’s destruction, or Israeli estimates that 13,000 Iranian supplied artillery and short-range Hezbollah rockets are trained on northern Israel, some in reach of major population centers.

    • Plushkin
  • Don

    One of your guests said that we’re afraid of the Islamists. Why shouldn’t we be afraid of Islamists? Not because they are Islamists, but because they are religionists. Religions are by their very nature undemocratic, hierarchical, autocratic and because of their assumed role as the promoters and enforcers of, in their deep belief, the only true version of God’s will, imperialistic.

    Religious-controlled governments, of any stripe, are universally dangerous to individual freedoms and personal self-determination. Their is a very valid reason to have great concern with any such domination, including, for instance the US Religious Right’s wish to be in such an oppressive position in this country.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Most religions seem to be riddled with hypocricy, and a LUST for power!

  • Hidan

    The leader of the Saban Center


    As Saban has said, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

    “Brookings is a non-ideological public-policy institute, dedicated to
    nurturing American democracy. Saban is unabashedly pro-Israel and,
    according to people who work with him, harbors a wariness of Arabs that
    may stem from growing up as a Jew in Egypt; he first returned to an Arab
    country in 2004, when he went to Qatar with Bill Clinton and the Secret
    Service. But Saban’s gift was then the largest in Brookings’s history:
    thirteen million dollars, distributed over seven years. And so, in 2002,
    the Saban Center for Middle East Policy was established.”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Buying ‘respectability’?  Buying opinon?

      • Hidan

        Both in the guise of objective of course. Re-listen to the show after realizing that Shadi Hamid works for Saban

      • Plushkin

        buying onto another conspiracy theory by Hidan?
        He can’t dispute the facts so he goes and finds some nonsense about the messengers -typical left wing nuttiness. 

  • Alma Jadallah

    With all due respect to your prestigious list of speakers, you failed to have a woman’s voice on your panel especially given their role in the Arab Spring and the need for a gendered perspective on the topic.

    Perhaps  my article on the Portrayal of Arab Women Arab Spring will support my comment  . . . to read please visit: 

    IN peace,

    Alma Abdul Hadi Jadallah, Ph.D.
    School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution,
    George Mason University

  • david

    This Arab spring may turn into the Arab collapse by this coming spring. Alot of history to change in this area. Will this people deny their past, their history and their heritage for a American style of government?????
    Don’t think so!
    Hope I am wrong.  

  • Ebandrews

    Please, enough with Rami Khoury and his anti-Israel bias.  Yes, Israel is not perfect, but they are not foolish, either.  Is Israel really the worst presence in the middle east?  If we are going to talk of occupation, what of Tibet, Cyprus or Western Sahara or much of Lebanon?  What of Hezbollah “occupying” southern Lebanon and lobbying rockets to Israel or Hamas doing the same from Gaza?  Would you rather be a Christian in any Arab country or in Israel?  If you insist on having him on your show, could you at least give the pretense of objectivity by having someone counter his more outrageous comments?  Although Tom is a great host most of the time, he seems to turn a blind eye toward viciousness towards Jews and Israel (allowing anti-Semitic comment in show on financial failures).

  • Plushkin

    Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of Lebanon’s Daily Star, appeared December 22 on the National Public Radio (NPR) syndicated program On Point (click here to listen) hosted by Tom Ashbrook. Mr. Khouri has appeared previously on the program. Khouri, quasi journalist, quasi anti-Israel propagandist, is a frequent NPR guest. The discussion, “The Arab Spring In Winter,” also included panelists Shadi Hamid (Middle East specialist at the Brookings Institution) and Anthony Shadid (New York Times foreign correspondent). in this broadcast, Mr. Hamid and Mr. Shadid took neutral stances on Israel.

    About half-way through the broadcast, Mr. Hamid frankly observed, “Let’s be honest about it. Arabs hate Israel. They would rather it not be there if they had the choice. That said, I think you have to distinguish between what people want in theory and what they’re willing to accept in reality.”

    Ashbrook asked Khouri, “What makes you so sure that the Arab world is committed to a negotiated, peaceful path [with Israel]?” Khouri observed, repeating much of what he said earlier in this broadcast,

    I think we see this from [Arab] public opinion polling, we’ve seen it from government positions but governments don’t always reflect the people. We’ve seen it from – you know I’ve lived here for the last 45 years around the region – people are willing to live with an Israeli state that is willing to live with a Palestinian state and resolve the Palestinian issue on the basis of equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians. I think the question is not about the Arabs, the question is about the Israelis. They are the ones who are colonizing land and building settlements and imprisoning Palestinians. So, we really need to know from the Israelis, are they prepared to respond constructively.
    But specifically, what Arab public opinion polling? Khouri is not asked.
    Contradicting Khouri’s claim regarding Arab public opinion polling is a recent opinion survey of Palestinians carried out in Gaza and the West Bank by the respected American pollster Stanley Greenberg who found that 73 percent agree with the Hamas Charter’s urging Muslims to kill Jews wherever they can find them, 53 percent favored teaching songs about hating Jews to school children, and 66 percent see the two-state solution as an interim stage en route to the ultimate goal of a single Palestinian state in all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

    Other Arab public opinion polling shows similar hostility toward Jews and Israel. For example, recent reliable polling of Egyptians indicates that as little as three percent have a positive impression of Israel and a majority want to annul Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. Recent reliable polling of Jordanians indicates that less than 25 percent think Israel has the right to exist — and a large majority supports the use of rocket attacks against the Jewish state.

    As to Khouri’s claim, “They [Israel] are the ones who are colonizing land and building settlements and imprisoning Palestinians.” In fact, the settlement activity referred to by Khouri consists of expansion within Jewish communities on Jewish-owned land in the West Bank or in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. The “imprisoning” is generally of those committing terrorist acts or apprehended preparing to commit terrorist acts aimed at slaughtering Israeli civilians.

    Yet again, an NPR program provides a platform for unchallenged anti-Israel propaganda.

Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

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Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

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Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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