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Fisk on Egypt, Syria and Libya

Robert Fisk knows the Middle East probably like no one else.  He has not only lived in Beirut for upwards of 30 years, but he has "covered" the region for The Independent.    In his latest piece in the newspaper he reflects on Egypt, Syria and Libya.

"When he resigned as the United Nations envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi had a suspicion all along that Bashar al-Assad might fight on to victory rather than defeat. Many of the journalists who predicted 18 months ago – along with Western governments and the TV “terrorism experts” – that the collapse of Bashar’s regime was imminent, have had to eat their words. It’s the old problem, I fear, of believing that the opponents of a dictatorship will win because they SHOULD win: a dangerous theory founded upon emotion rather than analysis.

A similar metamorphosis occurred in Libya, where the anti-Gaddafi rebels were supposed to bring a shining new freedom to their country – not the shambolic tribal half war that exists now. But we all eat our words. I thought Morsi was a pretty rum President of Egypt. But never in my imagination did I think that millions of Egyptians would vote for another military regime run by the chap who staged the coup to overthrow and imprison his elected predecessor. Now the courageous young men who led the revolution against Mubarak have been outlawed and the deaths of thousands of Morsi’s supporters are as if they never were. I did utter in 2011, with some amusement, the old clich√© about “revolutions devouring their sons”. It is now, of course, no laughing matter."


Meanwhile, more than somewhat surprisingly in the midst of the war and turmoil pulling the country apart, Syrians go to the polls in a presidential election tomorrow, Tuesday.      AlJazeera reports:

"Until now, like his father and predecessor Hafez, who ruled with an iron fist from 1970 to 2000, Bashar secured his two previous mandates through a referendum.

The Syrian opposition and its Western allies have denounced the election as a sham designed to lend Assad a veneer of electoral legitimacy as the regime barred exiles from standing and with candidates needing the endorsement of 35 members of the state-controlled parliament.

The United States has called the vote a "parody of democracy".

The government, meanwhile, has touted the vote as the political solution to the three-year-long conflict that began as an uprising against Assad's rule.

There will be no polling stations in much of the countryside, notably northern and eastern Syria and around Damascus, or in areas of certain cities under rebel control, including Aleppo and Deir Ezzor.

Much of the international community has criticised Damascus for holding an election with the civil war still raging. But staunch Damascus allies Russia and Iran are supporting the vote, and Tehran has said it will send election observers.

The conflict began in March 2011 when the army suppressed a peaceful uprising, sparking a full-blown civil war that has killed more than 160,000 people, forced nearly half the population to flee their homes and shattered the economy."


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