- They continue in Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, and
most recently in Iran and Bahrain, Al Jazeera saying:
- "At least one person has been killed and several
others injured after (Bahrain) riot police opened fire at protesters holding
a funeral service for a man killed (a) day earlier."
- Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands
in Manama, Bahrain's capital, demanding the regime's removal. Majority
Shias want redress, saying Sunni rulers unfairly discriminate. However,
more than sectarian issues are involved. Others include political freedoms,
ending media and Internet state controls, prohibiting police use of excessive
force, and addressing the extreme wealth gap between Bahrain elites and
- On February 15, Al Jazeera's unnamed correspondent for
his safety said:
- "Police fired on the protesters this morning, but
they showed very strong resistance. It seems like (a) funeral procession
was allowed to continue, but police are playing a cat-and-mouse game with
- Angered by deaths from their ranks, al-Wefaq Shia opposition
members suspended their parliamentary participation, calling it a first
step toward continuing or resigning, depending on future developments.
In a rare gesture, Bahrain's king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, offered condolences
on state television. Words, of course, don't suffice.
- On February 15, Al Jazeera headlined, "Deaths reported
in Iran protest," saying:
- A member of parliament told the Iranian Student's News
Agency (ISNA) about two deaths and others injured, including members of
Tehran's security forces. Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari said police used tear
gas, pepper spray and batons against protesters. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein
Mohseni-Ejei said, "Those who created the public disorder on Monday
will be confronted firmly and immediately.
- On February 13, AP headlined, "US Starts Farsi Twitter
Account Aimed at Iranians," saying:
- "The US State Department began sending Twitter messages
in Farsi on Sunday in the hope of reaching social media users in Iran."
- USA darFarsi told Iranians, "We want to join in
your conversation." Other tweets accused Iran's government of targeting
dissent while praising Egypt's protesters, the same ones Hillary Clinton
urged to stay calm despite harsh security force crackdowns.
- US tweets also called on Iran "to allow people to
enjoy the same universal rights to peacefully assemble and demonstrate
as in Cairo," what's viciously attacked when Americans protest against
globalization, IMF and World Bank injustice, as well as Republican and
Democrat party conventions over legitimate political and social justice
- Washington's policy is do as we say, not as we do, including
its imperial wars, torture and other civil and human rights abuses committed
globally, including at home.
- Yemenis Continue Protesting
- Anti-government demonstrators protested for the fifth
day, Al Jazeera saying thousands demanded political reforms, including
President Ali Abdullah's ouster after ruling despotically for 32 years.
Pro-regime loyalists and plainclothes police confronted them, dispersing
crowds with tear gas, batons, tasers, electric cattle prods, rifle butts,
- Lawyers dressed in black robes joined protesters, chanting:
"The people want the regime to step down. Leave Saleh, (and) After
Mubarak, Ali." Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra said:
- "What we are seeing is thousands of pro-government
protesters (and security forces), armed with batons, attacking the pro-democracy
protesters and dispersing the crowd using violence. The situation is very
tense. The government has been describing the pro-democracy protesters
as traitors and accusing them of pushing foreign agendas. But the mood
of the pro-democracy protesters is on the rise and they are saying that
they will continue their fight to bring down this regime and to bring about
- The Yemen Post said, "Police and bullies hurled
stones at the protesters fed up with bad living conditions, high unemployment
rates, widespread corruption at the public institutions and oppression.
They also beat them with stun batons, and police fired live ammunition
in the air in an attempt to disperse the protesters."
- Numerous injuries were reported. In Aden, dock workers
stormed the Yemen Gulf of Aden Port Corporation offices, seizing top officials,
including chairman Mohamed Bin Aefan. One protester said, "We have
had it with corrupt officials and it's time to tell them to leave. What
happened in Egypt and Tunisia motivated the workers to demand their rights."
- Even after opposition parties accepted Saleh's dialogue
offer, demonstrations grew. He also agreed not to change Yemen's constitution
to remain president for life and have his son, head of the Republican Guard,
succeed him. At the same time, a new National Defense Council law lets
it freely tap phones, open mail, and monitor Internet and other electronic
- For Washington, Yemen is strategically important, located
near the Horn of Africa on Saudi Arabia's southern border, the Red Sea,
its Bab el-Mandeb strait (a key chokepoint separating Yemen from Eritrea
through which three million barrels of oil pass daily), and the Gulf of
Aden connection to the Indian Ocean.
- As a result, military ties between Washington and Saleh
have grown stronger, said Al Jazeera, as the country faces a southern secessionist
movement, besides rising food and energy costs in the Arab world's poorest
country. Nearly half its people live on $2 or less a day for those lucky
enough to have work. Nearly half of Yemenis don't. They want better lives,
including ending Saleh's 32 year dictatorship.
- Updating Egypt
- On February 15, Haaretz writer Avi Issacharoff headlined,
"Reports say Mubarak's health gravely deteriorated since stepping
- Reportedly ill with pancreatic cancer, he's "rumored
to be in a coma or even close to death." A senior Egyptian official
told the London-based Asharq Awsat that his death could come any time.
What's certain "is that his state of health is declining drastically."
It's just a matter of time until he expires. Few will mourn him, but what
remains is as bad or worse. Egyptians aren't close to liberation, and won't
be unless sustain pressure in large enough numbers to matter.
- Meanwhile, on February 14, London Guardian writer Hossam
el-Hamalawy headlined, "Egypt protests continue in the factories,"
- From January 25, the uprising's start, workers took part
in protests, first as demonstrators, then as strikers unable to support
their families on meager wages. Emboldened by Mubarak's ouster, they've
made demands, including for independent union representation "away
from the corrupt, state-backed Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions."
- BBC reported bank, transport and tourism workers striking
for better pay and working conditions. So are police, steel and sugar factory
ones, activists among them expressing unease about Egypt's ruling generals
- "the same junta that provided the backbone of" Mubarak's regime
for three decades.
- Moreover, even if civilian authority follows, they believe
Egypt's military will have final say, assuring support for "the much
hated US foreign policy....The military has been the ruling institution
in this country since 1952. It's leaders" were weaned on the system.
As a result, "we cannot for one second lend our trust and confidence
to the generals."
- In a February 15 press release, trends watcher Gerald
Celente agrees headlining, "Egypt Welcomes the New Boss - Same as
the Old Boss," saying:
- On February 1, his Trends Journal told subscribers:
- "As we will see in Egypt, military coups will be
disguised as regime changes. Already the public is being conditioned to
view the Egyptian military as beloved liberators. But in fact they are
simply another arm of the autocratic government, no more familiar with
democratic ideals than the dictator they replace," himself a former
- As a result, "(h)istory has not been newly made
- it has only been repeated." Yet Obama praised Egypt's transition
to "genuine democracy....The people of Egypt have spoken - their voices
have been heard and Egypt will never be the same again."
- In fact, one despot's removal doesn't bring reform. Ahead
"(e)xpect something even more dramatic, drastic and long-lasting when
the nationwide, inescapable non-change sinks in a few months from now."
Similar developments are unfolding in Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria and elsewhere
regionally. Celente calls it "Off With Their Heads 2.0" he sees
as a prelude to civil wars, regional ones, then the first "Great War"
of the 21st century.
- For now, defying junta orders, strikes for higher wages,
better working conditions, and removing corrupt state-owned enterprise
managers are ongoing. BBC reported "a whole series of mini-revolutions
going on" after Mubarak's removal.
- Egypt's largest state bank was struck, the National Bank
of Egypt (NBE). Hundreds of its temporary workers want permanent jobs.
Thousands of oil and gas workers joined them with various economic and
political demands, including ending abusive management practices, reinstating
sacked employees, raising wages, establishing independent unions, stopping
gas exports to Israel, and firing "corrupt" oil minister Sameh
- Across Egypt, transport workers, including EgyptAir,
ambulance paramedics, employees of a key Cairo traffic tunnel, others at
Cairo's Youth and Sports Organization, Opera House, education ministry,
post office, as well as steel, textile and other factory workers want redress
for long unaddressed grievances, including enough pay to feed their families,
pay rent and cover other basic needs.
- Outside Cairo, Sukari gold mine and tourism workers protested.
In Beni Sweif, thousands demand promised state-built, low-cost apartments,
usually for well-connected favorites. Police also want better pay, Al Jazeera,
BBC and other media outlets prohibited from broadcasting their Tahrir Square
protest to project an image of "normality," when, in fact, public
anger remains strong beneath the surface. However, it may resurface quickly
if key demands aren't met.
- They haven't been beyond rhetorical promises. So perhaps
Celente is right expecting a much bigger eruption, engulfing Egypt and
other regional countries in convulsive revolutionary revolts, exceeding
far less threatening uprisings so far. If so, expect much harsher military
responses, its friendly face replaced by iron-fisted toughness with full
Washington support to crack down, restore order, and get Egypt back to
business, including running the country despotically like always. Will
it work? In the fullness of time, we'll know.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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