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Egyptian Insurection


William Kelly
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I'm sure that western-allied military are hoping Gaddafi will fall, but you are quite correct - Bahrain is of strategic importance and has been stable in the past.

Bahrain has only been stable because it has a repressive government. It is a country where a religious minority rule a religious majority. This is why they cannot allow it to be democratic. Once the king is overthrown it will become an ally of Iran.

I disagree.

The same thing was said about Tunisia and Egypt, but that didn't happen, at least not yet.

The people of Bahrain will not rid themselves of one Arab monarch for an Iranian dictator.

I also disagree with you that the dictators and religious clerks that rule Iran are safe, as they try to co-op the current revolt as an extension of their own revolution, but that doesn't work because they installed another dictator after overthrowing the Shah.

Bahrain will not became an ally of Iran because it is also the home of the US Fifth Fleet, a carrier Task Force that is unlikely to fall into the hands of the Iranians.

The USA is a constitutional republic that practices a form of representative democracy, and while attempts to forcefully export it to Iraq and Afghanistan have not been successful, it appears that the Arabs youth, women and workers have taken it upon themselves to get rid of the dictators and install some type of secular constitutional democracy and open the economy to all. It appears that they are the only things that the revolutionaries have in common.

I believe the new Arab revolution is a continuation of the American revolution, and will unite a disunited tribal Libya into a nation, even if they only agree that Ghadaffi must go.

BK

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I'm sure that western-allied military are hoping Gaddafi will fall, but you are quite correct - Bahrain is of strategic importance and has been stable in the past.

Bahrain has only been stable because it has a repressive government. It is a country where a religious minority rule a religious majority. This is why they cannot allow it to be democratic. Once the king is overthrown it will become an ally of Iran.

I disagree.

The same thing was said about Tunisia and Egypt, but that didn't happen, at least not yet.

The revolution has not taken place yet. The military are still in charge. I hope you are right. However, as they have not been allowed to form political parties, at the moment, religion plays too important role in politics.

Bahrain will not became an ally of Iran because it is also the home of the US Fifth Fleet, a carrier Task Force that is unlikely to fall into the hands of the Iranians.

It is at the moment but if Bahrain becomes a democracy they can do what they want. Or, maybe the US is only in favour of democracies when they agree with their world view.

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I believe the new Arab revolution is a continuation of the American revolution, and will unite a disunited tribal Libya into a nation, even if they only agree that Ghadaffi must go.

BK

Libya seems headed for a very bloody conflict apparently Ghadaffi is importing armed mercenaries from other countries.

Edited by Len Colby
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I'm sure that western-allied military are hoping Gaddafi will fall, but you are quite correct - Bahrain is of strategic importance and has been stable in the past.

Bahrain has only been stable because it has a repressive government. It is a country where a religious minority rule a religious majority. This is why they cannot allow it to be democratic. Once the king is overthrown it will become an ally of Iran.

I disagree.

The same thing was said about Tunisia and Egypt, but that didn't happen, at least not yet.

The revolution has not taken place yet. The military are still in charge. I hope you are right. However, as they have not been allowed to form political parties, at the moment, religion plays too important role in politics.

Bahrain will not became an ally of Iran because it is also the home of the US Fifth Fleet, a carrier Task Force that is unlikely to fall into the hands of the Iranians.

It is at the moment but if Bahrain becomes a democracy they can do what they want. Or, maybe the US is only in favour of democracies when they agree with their world view.

You're talking as if the United States has world view. Those dictators who have previously received economic and military support from the USA are in deep xxxx, and the USA can't help them, so it doesn't matter what the US world view is. I think most if not every American supports the new Arab revolutionary uprising against such dictatorships, and really don't care if it goes against the government's foreign policies.

When the early rabid analysists were saying that the revolution would be co-opted by the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Fundamentalists, because they controlled 90% of the citizens, well that never happened, or hasn't happened yet. And in fact, when properly polled, only a small percentage wanted an Islamic state.

Talking about only favoring certain democracies, there was a women journalist interviewing one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, who said that they were prepared to create such an Islamic State if a majority of the population supported it, and enforce islamic law on everyone. I don't think these revolutionary youth and women who have thus far led the leaderless revolution will allow that to happen.

If they Bahrain becomes a democracy, and they can do what they want, maybe they will want to keep the fifth fleet in port, as I think they would want to economic benefits and security it provides.

The focus of attention has shifted to Libya, where the non-violent revolution has gone violent.

BK

The March to Tripoli is on.

Revolutionary Program

Remember the Intrepid

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I'm sure that western-allied military are hoping Gaddafi will fall, but you are quite correct - Bahrain is of strategic importance and has been stable in the past.

Bahrain has only been stable because it has a repressive government. It is a country where a religious minority rule a religious majority. This is why they cannot allow it to be democratic. Once the king is overthrown it will become an ally of Iran.

I disagree.

The same thing was said about Tunisia and Egypt, but that didn't happen, at least not yet.

The revolution has not taken place yet. The military are still in charge. I hope you are right. However, as they have not been allowed to form political parties, at the moment, religion plays too important role in politics.

Bahrain will not became an ally of Iran because it is also the home of the US Fifth Fleet, a carrier Task Force that is unlikely to fall into the hands of the Iranians.

It is at the moment but if Bahrain becomes a democracy they can do what they want. Or, maybe the US is only in favour of democracies when they agree with their world view.

A pause in the revolution.

Unfortunately, it appears John Simkin is correct, and dictators and the military aren't going to just say Goodbye and leave. It seems, as the revolution turns violent in Lybia, the military in Egypt is now in charge, or thinks they are, and the situation is similar in Tunisia, while the news reports a wind down of protesters in Algeria makes things appear as if they are getting tired and the regime is being allowed to stay around as things get back to normal.

But for some reason, I don't think that's how it's going to play out and the games not over yet.

World View

I went back to Tahrir Square today to see the continuing protests against the fact that the post-Mubarak government is still headed by and includes key members of the old Mubarak regime. Today the demo was still peaceful, but you can feel the protesters' frustration mounting toward the military council now ruling the country. I had a unique vantage point, on the ninth floor of an apartment building overlooking the square. The apartment belongs to Pierre Sioufi, a large bear of a man with wild grey hair; he opened his large and winding flat during those historic eighteen days to the Facebook "kids' who organized the protests, so they could rest and recover. The lucky journalists who got there could look down from his large balcony on the amazing sight of tens of thousands, or even millions gathered below. The tens of thousands gathered today were chanting "Mubarak left the palace, but Shafiq still governs Egypt," referring to Ahmad Shafiq, the former air force commander who is now prime minister. Shafiq was initially disdainful of the demonstrators who first gathered on Jan 25, saying he would send them bonbons and "let them have their Hyde Park." In reality, the military is the real power now; a new standoff is developing between Egyptians who fear Shafiq (and the military) want to restore the old order and the generals in charge. Sitting behind his desk and computer, flanked by jammed book shelves and chain-smoking, Sioufi told me, "We have to get rid of the remnants of the old regime. We have to close their opportunities to distribute

I went back to Tahrir Square today to see the continuing protests against the fact that the post-Mubarak government is still headed by and includes key members of the old Mubarak regime. Today the demo was still peaceful, but you can feel the protesters' frustration mounting toward the military council now ruling the country.

I had a unique vantage point, on the ninth floor of an apartment building overlooking the square. The apartment belongs to Pierre Sioufi, a large bear of a man with wild grey hair; he opened his large and winding flat during those historic eighteen days to the Facebook "kids' who organized the protests, so they could rest and recover. The lucky journalists who got there could look down from his large balcony on the amazing sight of tens of thousands, or even millions gathered below.

The tens of thousands gathered today were chanting "Mubarak left the palace, but Shafiq still governs Egypt," referring to Ahmad Shafiq, the former air force commander who is now prime minister. Shafiq was initially disdainful of the demonstrators who first gathered on Jan 25, saying he would send them bonbons and "let them have their Hyde Park." In reality, the military is the real power now; a new standoff is developing between Egyptians who fear Shafiq (and the military) want to restore the old order and the generals in charge.

Sitting behind his desk and computer, flanked by jammed book shelves and chain-smoking, Sioufi told me, "We have to get rid of the remnants of the old regime. We have to close their opportunities to distribute money and favors, so they will lose support. The old dinosaurs of the regime are still there."

Three people killed as demonstrations turn deadly in Tunisia - CNN.com

Three people killed as demonstrations turn deadly in Tunisia - CNN.com

(CNN) -- Protests in Tunisia turned violent and deadly Saturday, just over six weeks after a popular uprising forced the president out of office, and lit a spark of desire for democratic reform in parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Three people were killed Saturday and nine others injured during mayhem in the capital, Tunis, according to a Interior Ministry statement cited by the state-run news agency, Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP).

More than 100 people were arrested, the ministry said, in the area around Habib Bourguiba Avenue, in the city's center, accused of "acts of destruction and burning."

Protesters had gathered in the area to demand that the interim government step down and the current parliament be disbanded. Demonstrators were also asking for suspension of the current constitution and the election of an assembly that can write a new one, as well as organize the transition to democracy.

Several people infiltrated peaceful demonstrators in the Tunisian capital "to commit acts of disturbance, burning and looting," according to TAP, which also reported that a cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas exploded in front of a building along the avenue.

There are rumors in Tunis that the violence was perpetrated by people who are still loyal to ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and want to spread chaos and nostalgia for the old regime.

Similar violence broke out in the same area on Friday night as well, according to TAP. The agency cites an Interior Ministry source that claims acts of vandalism and destruction along the avenue resulted in injuries to 21 policemen.

Protests in Tunisia erupted late last year. Fed up with corruption, unemployment and escalating prices of food, people began demonstrating en masse after the self-immolation suicide of a fruit cart vendor in December. By January 13, Ben Ali -- who had ruled Tunisia since 1987 -- turned executive power over to his prime minister and fled the country.

Numbers dwindling for Algerian protest movement | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

The government is fooling us. On one hand it is saying that the state of emergency has been lifted. On the other hand, it is still using its police to prevent us from expressing our views," said Mohsen Belabes, spokesman for the RCD.

RIOT POLICE

But the government's concessions have polarised the coalition behind the protests. Some want radical change while others say the latest measures are a positive signal.

On the streets approaching Martyrs square, near the historic Casbah, police were lined up along the road while riot-control vehicles with water cannon were on standby and a police helicopter hovered over the centre of the city.

Some pro-government demonstrators carrying pictures of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika staged a small counter-protest, but most of the people in Martyrs' Square were onlookers.

"Saturday is a day of business, and the protesters and the police are a hurdle," said Massoud Alel, 24, who sells Chinese-made carpets in the nearby Casbah souk, or market.

Unrest in Algeria could have implications for the world economy since it is a major oil and gas exporter, but analysts say an Egypt-style revolt is unlikely because the government can use its energy wealth to placate most grievances.

Algeria's biggest opposition forces have not take part in the protests, and they have also failed to attract large numbers of ordinary people -- many of whom fear new turmoil after nearly two decades of a violent Islamist insurgency.

"Obviously, the street is still not ready, and as long as you don't have the masses backing you, you can't do anything," Mohamed Lagab, political analyst and teacher at Algiers university, told Reuters.

Bouteflika, who is 73, will remain under pressure, including from some inside the ruling establishment, to deliver more change and to explain to the public what he plans to do. (Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Edited by William Kelly
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Joe Lieberman, John McCain and William Burns, the state department’s top Middle East official, visited Tunisia last week for meetings with Mohamed Ghannouchi, who became prime minister after the overthrow of Ben Ali. The three men were pressing for Ghannouchi, a former colleague of Ben Ali, to form a new centre party that will stop the secular left and the Islamists from gaining control of Tunisia.

This diplomatic move was ill-judged and following protest marches of last week, Ghannouchi was forced to resign from office yesterday. As Radhia Nasraoui, a lawyer who heads the Association Against Torture in Tunisia, commented: “After suffering under a presidential dictatorship and de facto one-party rule, most leftists and Islamists are calling for a parliamentary system.”

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Gaddafi’s Libya: From nationalism to neoliberalism

Sunday, February 27, 2011 By Peter Boyle

libya1987_04.png

Gaddafi's trademark image on billboard in Mesrata, Libya in 1987. Photo by Peter Boyle. In 1987, I visited Libya as a journalist for the left-wing newspaper Direct Action. I visited Gaddafi’s bombed out home — attacked by the United States one year earlier.

In the 1980s, the Gaddafi regime came under attack from the US government because it took an anti-imperialist line and gave financial and material aid to many national liberation movements at the time.

There were also some weird right-wing sects seeking, and sometimes obtaining, Libyan largesse. The Gaddafi regime also meddled disastrously and sometimes bloodily in factional disputes within the Palestinian liberation movement.

The Gaddafi regime said it provided its citizens with free education and health, though quality and access was uneven. Tellingly, Libyans who could afford it preferred to go to neighbouring Tunisia or Europe.

It provided its workers with some welfare, but did not allow unions. Nor did it treat its significant number of “guest” workers equally or fairly, some of whom were placed in

closed labour camps.

A bizarre personality cult around Gaddafi was obvious. There was a pretence at popular democracy through a system of “people’s congresses”, but these seemed to only have a nominal existence.

Gaddafi came to power in the 1969 revolution led by young military officers that overthrew pro-US King Idris.

Left commentator Tariq Ali dismissed the Gaddafi-led 1969 revolution in a February 22 British Guardian article as “all for show, like his ghosted science-fiction short stories”.

But there was a political revolution in 1969 that did result in the nationalisation of Libya’s oil industry. The broader redistribution of oil wealth contrasted sharply with practices in countries such as Saudi Arabia.

This was a nationalist revolution, similar to that led by Gamal Nasser in Egypt, whose government also called itself “socialist”.

The US and other imperialist governments saw this as an attack on their presumed right to exploit Libya’s oil resources.

David Mack, a former US diplomat and state department official, explained how the US reacted to the 1969 revolution in the January 2011 Foreign Service Journal: “By 1969, the US and British air bases in Libya were of declining strategic importance, but Tripoli had become a producer of energy vital to the economies of our West European allies and profitable for American companies.

“While the US still enjoyed a cozy relationship with an aging monarch and his sclerotic political system, Libyan popular attitudes were not isolated from the rest of the Arab world … This set the stage for the Libyan Revolution of September 1, 1969.

“Eventually, US policy adapted to these new realities … Much later, during the Reagan administration, the US supported and provided some military training to Libyan emigre opponents of the Gaddafi regime. They proved unreliable.”

Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger said in his memoirs that the Nixon government had prepared a covert program to assassinate Gaddafi and other leaders of the 1969 revolution.

However, this was abandoned because big oil companies such as Exxon and Mobil prefered to cut a deal with the regime — albeit on tougher terms.

The Gaddafi regime has come a long way since then.

It has increasingly betrayed the promises and gains of the 1969 revolution.

The International Monetary Fund said in a February 15 report: “An ambitious program to privatise banks and develop the nascent financial sector is underway. Banks have been partially privatized, interest rates decontrolled, and competition encouraged.

“Ongoing efforts to restructure and modernize the Central Bank of Libya are underway with assistance from the Fund…

The IMF noted positively the “passing in early 2010 of a number of far-reaching laws bodes well for fostering private sector development and attracting foreign direct investment”.

The report said: “Recent developments in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia have had limited economic impact on Libya so far.”

The IMF will have to eat that prediction. The stifling political repression (fiercest in Libya’s impoverished east), as well as the corruption, nepotism and flamboyant lifestyles enjoyed overseas by Gaddafi’s children, have proved too much.

And the stirring example of the youth of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Sudan and Djibouti provided the spark.

What has led to this new Libyan revolution is the degeneration of the regime born of the 1969 revolution into “crony capitalism”.

The popular character of the new revolution is undeniable, but it is far from clear what sort of regime will emerge out of it.

The same greedy and powerful Western interests that first attacked and then propped up the Gaddafi regime are preparing for a change of tack — including considering direct military intervention.

As the 19th Century British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston famously observed: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual…”

Hopefully the makers of the new Libyan revolution will heed the lessons of their own history.

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From GLW issue 870

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  • 2 weeks later...

A Pause in the Revolution - for brief reflection on the situation.

It appears that the revolutionaries of Tunisia and Egypt are keeping the heat on, and still calling the shots, or not allowing the provisional governments and military to make them.

The situation in Libya however, is in dire straights, as the handbook for the creation of a peaceful, non-violent democracy and open economy has become a very violent revolution, and now the rules were written by Sun Tzu and Clauzawitz, with the Ghadafi government holding most of the heavy equipment and firepower, with the revolutionaries having the fearless emotion and the knowledge they are right.

At the same time, small fires are smoldering in Morocco, Algiers, Bahrain, Yeman, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Iran and even China, where they are calling it the Jasmine Revolution after the name given to the Tunisian revolt. The white Jasmine flower by the way, is originally from China.

In the meantime, debate rages over the action the rest of the nations of the world can, should and will take in Libya, with many misconceptions being voiced on op-ed pages and blogs around the world.

Among the myths that are still propagated, now by Ghadfai himself, is that the new Arab revolution is controlled or will be co-opted by Islamic extremists, the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Al qada.

When a reporter asked a young Libyan revolutionary fighter if he supported Al quada, he said, "We hate Al qada. We fight Al qada. We want democracy."

When the new military head of Bengazi, a former Afghanistan fighter and Islamic fundamentalist, was asked if the revolution would become controlled by radical religious extremists, he said, no, emphatically no, that all members of the new revolutionary council were of the opinion that the new government will be secular, and all religions will be respected.

This appears to be the general consensus of those citizens of Tunisia and Egypt, as well as those engaged in non-violent revolutionary activity in the other Arab countries controlled by long running dictators and kings.

Another myth is that the old tri-color black, red and green flag with crescent moon is a call for the return of the monarchy.

Like the Irish tri-color, the Libyan tri-color represents the three original roman era colonies, and while the tribes from each area are proud of their hertiage, it is now more like Irish, Italian and Spanish Americans, or Yankees and Cowboys, and they are now united as Libyans, especially united in their cause - to oust Gadhafi.

Yet another myth being exploited by both Gadhafi and Western media op-ed writers, is that the revolution in Libya will result in a civil war over the oil.

But the revolutionaries aren't fighting among themselves and are united in their revolt against the Gadhafi government, and while the revolt, as it started in Tunisia and continued on through Egypt, was certainly economically motivated, it isn't over oil, but the ability of ordinary citizens to be part of the economic system that has thus far favored those in the government or families or cronies of the regime who got favored treatment and contracts while leaving the vast majority of people in poverty.

Or as with Mohamed Bouazizi, the hero of the revolution, it all began with the local authorities keeping him from selling fruits and veggies from a street cart.

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I have the Beeb on I was surprised to see that "Red Ed" Milliband supported the no-fly zone.

No surprise in the UK. As Milliband stated in the House of Commons today, unlike the illegal invasion of Iraq, the UN voted on the decision to create a "no-fly zone". Unlike some of my left-wing friends, I fully support the UN decision and think that this will trigger a rebellion against Gadhafi from within. I think Obama has played a blinder. By taking a back-seat he has stopped China and Russia applying a veto.

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I’m on the fence about this. Supporting the rebels seems to be the right thing to do but no one knows who will end up in charge if Kaddafi is deposed. Will it become a non-functioning state with various factions battling each other like Afghanistan 1992- 6 or Somalia; or will it become a ‘liberated’ country with a violent counter insurgency like Iraq (until recently at least) and Afghanistan since 2001; or will one despotic regime replace another as happened on countless other occasions; or will it become reasonably functioning country like Iraq seems to be becoming?

The other big question is will the no-fly zone and other measures actually lead to Kaddafi’s down fall or a protracted civil war? It is not a coincidence the revolution is centered in Benghazi, Libya used to be three sultanates corresponding to the east (Benghazi), northwest (Tripoli) and southwest. The deposed king was from the east and apparently never felt comfortable in Tripoli, Kaddafi is from the west and supposedly government services were deficient in Benghazi.

Some USAF generals are already saying the NFZ is too little too late will Kaddafi succeed despite outside intervention? Or will the allies seeing that the NFZ etc is not enough feel pressured to send in ground troops?

Edited by Len Colby
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I’m on the fence about this. Supporting the rebels seems to be the right thing to do but no one knows who will end up in charge if Kaddafi is deposed. Will it become a non-functioning state with various factions battling each other like Afghanistan 1992- 6 or Somalia; or will it become a ‘liberated’ country with a violent counter insurgency like Iraq (until recently at least) and Afghanistan since 2001; or will one despotic regime replace another as happened on countless other occasions; or will it become reasonably functioning country like Iraq seems to be becoming?

The other big question is will the no-fly zone and other measures actually lead to Kaddafi’s down fall or a protracted civil war? It is not a coincidence the revolution is centered in Benghazi, Libya used to be three sultanates corresponding to the east (Benghazi), northwest (Tripoli) and southwest. The deposed king was from the east and apparently never felt comfortable in Tripoli, Kaddafi is from the west and supposedly government services were deficient in Benghazi.

Some USAF generals are already saying the NFZ is too little too late will Kaddafi succeed despite outside intervention? Or will the allies seeing that the NFZ etc is not enough feel pressured to send in ground troops?

All of the revolts in the Arab countries so far have called for a democracy and economic system open to all, and not just government cronies.

That may be the only thing they all have in common, but that's what they say.

The three tribes of Libya say that they now consider themselves Libyan nationals, and their only enemy is Ghadfai and not each other.

The idea of radical islamics co-opting the revolts appear unfounded and as unlikely as US interference, although I think the USA has a right and obligation to declare war on Ghadafi, for violating the treaties of early 1800s.

Actually the nuke carrier USS Enterprise is in the Med, named after the first USS Enterprise, a schooner that was sent to the Med to fight pirates in 1803 and was the first American warship to encounter a pirate ship in the act of piracy against an American merchant vessel.

The Enterprise, with Lt. Sherrett in command - (The USS Sherrett is also engaged in fighting piracy off Africa at the moment), fought the pirate ship Tripoli and soundly defeated the pirates, although the pirate captain twice faked surrendering only to continue fighting when the American guard was down.

Now Ghadfai has called a cease fire. Ha, ha.

For more on the USS Enterprise vs. Tripoli engagement see:

Remember the Intrepid: USS Enterprise v. Tripoli - Fighting Pirates

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  • 2 weeks later...

Please note that I began this thread on January 30, 2011 - believing that a Deep Political event had begun and suggested a chronology be started.

I also noted that it was Jeff Morley on Facebook who first suggested that a "Domino Effect" was in progress, which turned out to be accurate.

A month later I started a blog on the topic: Revolutionary Program, with the idea of keeping track of the personalities involved in each country, though the situation got entirely out of hand.

I also noted that if the events carried over into Libya, the revolt there would begin in Bengazzi, as there was already a lot of dissent there and a hunger strike in progress.

This turned out to be accurate.

I also noted that based on historical experience from the US - vs. Barbary pirate wars of 1800s, one tactic frequently used by the Tripoli pirates was to fake surrender and when the guard was down, resume the fight, which is what happened when Gadhafi signaled a cease fire but continued shelling rebel held cities, and more recently when pro-Gadhafi forces flew a white flag and then resumed fighting.

Another myth that has been debunked is that the radical islamic cults or al Quada will co-op the revolts, which hasn't occurred, yet, although the Egyptian military has resorted to old style police state tactics.

Peter Dale Scott has also begun a Libyan Notebook that I think will be very informative.

JapanFocus

Revolutionary Program: Peter Dale Scott's Libyan Notebook

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  • 6 months later...

This essay, said to be available in many languages, including Arabic, is reported to be one of the guidebooks used by protesters in Egypt.

From Dictatorship to Democracy - A Conceptual Framework for Liberation

Gene Sharp

www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf

Did anybody bother to read this?

It was mentioned on PBS and BBC this week as being one of the more influential guides that kept the protesters in Egypt and Syria relatively non-violent.

BK

Revolutionary Program: Mrs Bouazizi Speaks to Mothers of Libyan Martyrs

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