The Source of Instability

8 Nov, '11

Secretary Clinton encouraged both Bahrain and Saudi to embrace the Arab Spring. I do hope that they do because it IS in their best interest t do so. What we actually see on the ground now; however, is abstinence and a deep sense of denial. It’s almost as if some in both countries’ administration are refusing to believe that the Arab Spring has arrived at their shores and that it could never happen to them. For those still in disbelief, she had these wise words:

“The greatest single source of instability in today’s Middle East is not the demand for change,” she said, “It is the refusal to change.”

These words should have jerked them awake to the fact that the US administration (and the democratic world) recognizes that they are the biggest rocks in the path to democratic change. To me, what’s veiled within them as well is the somewhat diplomatic warning that if they don’t embrace such change and acquiesce to their public’s legitimate demands, the US might well not stand by them but for once actually stand on the “right side of history” and gladly watch them fall.

The whole Arab world, not just Bahrain, needs to embrace change and use the positive energy within change to forge forth with a better more inclusive and democratic future in which institutions rule, rather than the whims of individuals.

Clinton continued:

Clinton said the United States would continue to have “frank conversations” with long-time allies such as Bahrain, where the Sunni ruling family brought in troops from Sunni allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help crush a protest movement earlier this year.

“Mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away,” Clinton said, saying the tiny Gulf country’s monarchy had made public promises to begin political dialogue and investigate abuses.

“We intend to hold the Bahraini government to these commitments and to encourage the opposition to respond constructively to secure lasting reform,” she said.


Good. I know that intrinsically everyone wants to be on the right side of history, ultimately, but some need to be judiciously encouraged to tread a path in that direction. This pressure by a major power which has a vested interest in this region as well as the local political opposition groups are good manifestations of the much required pressure. The momentum of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya will gain strength and the laws of motion will take root. Whether the remaining Arab countries will use that momentum for their benefit, or get rolled over and discarded in the process remains to be seen.

Eid Mubarak!

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Comments (6)

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  1. Mike Diboll says:

    I agree with you about Clinton’s subtle rhetorical stick backing up the carrot of diplomatic nicety. BTW, she’s paraphrasing Edmund Burke (1729-1797), whose thought fed into both modern British liberalism and conservatism: “A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.” Eid Mubarak!

    • mahmood says:

      Eid Mubarak to you too Mike.

      Let’s see if this “invitation” is taken seriously enough to embrace change. There has been similar advice given for decades without any perceivable movement being taken, other than some backward steps into further regression. The perennial one step forward and two back seem to be the order of the day.

  2. Steve the American says:

    The Arab Spring is just the exchange of old stale tyrants for fresh new ones. Any wishful thinking that it will lead to democracy is delusional. Historically, the only way Arabs enter a democracy is to have America invade their country and forcibly convert them; have Israel conquer them; or leave for the West. Left by themselves, Arabs always revert to their natural state of tribal tyranny. They are hopeless.

    • mahmood says:

      You’ve become a tiresome troll Steve. You’re doing nothing but showing your prejudices while I know that you can do and be a lot better than this my friend.

      • Steve the American says:

        Mahmood, I’m speaking the irritating truth. In all these countries experiencing the Arab Spring, the majority of their populations want Sharia law, not democracy. There is no popular desire for democracy. Arab society is a collection of tyrannies, starting with the father of each family. It’s leadership will reflect that society. The Arabs will have to turn themselves upside down, culturally, before they have established a society that runs itself democratically. The dead hand of tradition and Islam holds them back from that.

        • mahmood says:

          The truth according to Steve that is.

          I disagree with you on your premise that we as Arabs and we as parents are tyrannical by nature. We’re just as human as you and the rest of humanity are. We might not agree on the application of democracy, but that doesn’t make us less human.

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