Saturday, January 29, 2011

Assad is nervous, claim Israeli spies

(Shamelessly copied from an Israeli blog):

Syria's Assad nervous about Tunisia-style uprising

From Intelligence Online (registration required):
The intelligence services in Syria are doing everything possible to prevent a copycat uprising in the country, following the overthrow of Ben Ali in Tunisia.

President Bashar Al Assad held a meeting with the principal as well as regional heads of Syria’s security services on January 16. On the agenda was how to ensure that the current wave of opposition in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt does not spread to Syria’s streets.

In a bid to preempt unrest, Assad ordered a crack-down on corrupt officials. He also told the security services to position their officers in meeting places throughout the country, in the souks and in town centres, ready to deal swiftly with any demonstrations of opposition. Military security was also told to increase the pace with which it takes down satellite TV dishes (IOL 632).

The various units in charge of phone tapping are going to increase their presence in call centres, and they are going to set up an emergency plan that, in case of trouble, will isolate a village, a town or even a region from the rest of the fixed and mobile telephony network.

On January 17, Assad took a highly rare meeting with Interior Minister Saed Samour, police officials from the different regions and the heads of Criminal Security branches: usually, the president only takes meetings with the interior minister and the head of Political Security.
If Assad is good at anything, it is staying in power.

Washington Bribes Corrupt Egyptian Generals

An Egyptian military delegation visiting its paymasters in Washington two days ago was told not to intimidate the population, ease Mubarak out of office and take control. The delegation was promised additional financial and material support to enable an interim military government to introduce partial political reforms, cut food prices and help the unemployed.

In other words, Washington and the Israeli lobby are trying to buy more time and prevent the complete meltdown of a client state.

A slightly cleaner and more nationalistic government would probably open the Raffah crossing to Gaza and threaten to revoke the peace agreement with Israel, thus costing Washington and Israel a great deal more to appease and fund. That would be a good medium term outcome for starving ordinary Egyptians but not sustainble politically or economically. The nation wants radical change. Until the majority is lifted out of poverty, it is unlikely that any future government will enjoy popularity or stability.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The oppressed finally take to the streets

Tunisia and now Egypt. Mubarak's regime will not crack that easily; the Israelis , Americans and local army chiefs and business barons are firmly behind it.

The demonstrations have built up some momentum but change in Egypt can only come about when people take to the streets in their millions and paralyse the country for weeks not days.

What have they got to lose and who cares what comes after the chaos? Could it possibly be any worse than the decades-long humiliation, subjugation and near-starvation of a great nation by an aging despot backed by foreign enemies?

In Syria, we of course have our own home-grown little despot regime. While it has plundered, mismanaged and abused the country for a whole generation it has at least shied away from becoming a total stooge of any foreign power. I call this smart but not smart enough. One day young Syrians too will take to the streets out of sheer frustration with corruption, lack of freedom and lack of jobs. An oppressive regime cannot continue to feed itself and all of the hungry people at the same time!