Social Question

throssog's avatar

Why are Middle Eastern Governments suddenly toppling?

Asked by throssog (795 points ) July 20th, 2011

Libya, Syria, almost the Saudi’s…why now and to this degree?

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25 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

People will only put up with injustice for so long. I still can’t believe there are places where women aren’t allowed to drive. Can you believe some human is controlling the life of another human due to a god damn chromosome!? The amount of inequality on this planet is confounding!!!!

throssog's avatar

@Blackberry So, you believe it is because the people of the countries became unable to tolerate the injustices perpetrated upon them any longer?
As to women driving: There are much greater…injustices perpetrated against women in many places where no one, as yet, has revolted. India and dowry , S.E.Asia and the selling of women to labor corporations, etc.,etc.,etc. But, we are in agreement in principle,eh?

incendiary_dan's avatar

A lot of it started as food riots. These places haven’t grown their own food, or at least much of it, for thousands of years. As the economy worsens and oil supplies become more difficult to access, food and other basic commodity prices skyrocketed. That tends to stress a population and push them to address the other issues much more vocally.

Blackberry's avatar

@throssog Of course lol. I can’t name every injustice.

throssog's avatar

@incendiary_dan Hmmm, I don’y know that I could endorse that as a major reason but as a contributing factor, yes. To my personal knowledge there are many nations less able/willing to feed their poor than those experiencing this turmoil,now. But , I will agree, contributing factor. What about the religious schisms and religion vs. political system difficulties?
@Blackberry Wouldn’t expect you to. LOL, Don’t know that we’ve the space, eh?:)

rOs's avatar

Increased access to the internet has resulted in an intellectual boom. It’s getting harder for governments to lie to their people.

throssog's avatar

@ Hmmm, not sure that one follows from the other,eh? :) Propaganda being what it is. But, I do see what you are saying – even agree to some degree.
What of the organizations in these countries? In some the Shia clerics are doing big things, in others it is the Wahhabi. What ideas/thoughts on that?

JLeslie's avatar

Someone I know recently said she believes it is all planned way in advance, and some of the planning is done at high levels, not just some movement in the streets. I don’t know enough about it to give a compelling argument to support that theory though.

josie's avatar

Sic Semper Tyrannis

rOs's avatar

Get your foot off my neck!

incendiary_dan's avatar

@JLeslie That theory was put out by Glenn Beck in his usual “I have no evidence at all so I’ll make shit up” way.

JLeslie's avatar

@incendiary_dan Oh, I had no idea. Thanks for the info.

throssog's avatar

@JLeslie Perhaps your friend is correct? But then, who /what would do the planning? And, how carry it out?
@josie Ah, the motto of the State of Virginia. :) Always loved that one – shame they didn’t follow it, eh?
@rOs Bingo!
@incendiary_dan Really? Who is this Glenn Beck? Some pundit of the right ? By the way _ good to see you .

incendiary_dan's avatar

@throssog Certainly not the main factor, but sort of the match that caught the powder keg. One of the reasons the food shortages were so bad was because of government corruption on the part of the ruling regime, so it was an easy jump to start complaining about food shortages and move to throwing out the tyrant altogether. At least, this was the case in Egypt.

throssog's avatar

@incendiary_dan Hmmm, and what is your opinion as to the Wahhabi /Shia cleric(s) influence in these matters? Rather a lot of it, Wahhabi recruitment/evangelicalism, in Egypt, I’m told.

wundayatta's avatar

I think the same stresses have been affecting all the nations in the area. I think that any one of them could have gone first, but after the first victory, all the others saw it was possible. They took heart, in other words. They started to believe they could have the power to make a change.

That, together with technology that made it possible to respond instantly to ongoing events, were important factors in supporting the spread of these “revolutions.” The internet has spread throughout the world, and it makes it possible for people to organize rallies very quickly. It makes it possible for there to be “leaderless” events. There is no one the government can go after whose incarceration will have any significant affect on the ability of the movement to continue.

throssog's avatar

@wundayatta Hmmm, I do like your thoughts…but, I am too old and too experienced with the starting and stopping of revolutions. Just so you will understand my meaning: There is no where to go and say, “Hi! I’m a revolutionary, seeking the overthrow of this vile regime and would like to pick up my issue now. You know, my AK 47, ammo, web gear and boots. Oh, a couple of grenades would be nice. How about some RPG’s and a few land mines?”
Revolutions such as you postulate can be and have been done – however, they usually don’t contain violence to the degree that these have and do. Sorry, but ‘tis true.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, that’s because the revolutionaries don’t have any guns. Most of these are “people’s” revolutions. Which is why they are having any success at all. Violence rarely works. At least, not for long. The only stable revolutions are popular. Even the American Revolution could be considered a popular, peaceful one—until the British decided they wanted it not to happen.

throssog's avatar

@wundayatta Forgive me,...are you claiming that the revolutionaries in Egypt, Syria, Libya, et al, are without “guns” and other munitions?

whitenoise's avatar

I cannot speak for all counties here, in The Middle East, but I feel a lot has to with failing economies and a relatively young population.

Most of these economies have in common that there is no true free economic system, few reliable institutions and an underdeveloped service sector. The economies are often fueled by a money flow from activities that do not sustain employment by itself. The oil industry, for instance, generates a lot buying power, but little employment. The same goes for economies that are kept afloat with foreign aid. Many kids go to schools and universities to then find out that there is no one waiting for them. They feel entitled to a place in life but there is economy for them to participate in.

These are – in my impression – the core of the protesting movement. The truly poor people cannot afford to riot and rebel, they are looking for food and shelter and have no powe base. In Egypt, as an example, the median age is 24 years and one out of three of the population is under 14.

I feel this is bein recognized by some of the countries though, that invest heavily in setting up a better institutional infrastucture and services industry.

ETpro's avatar

I don’t know how much credence to give the claim, but the hacker group, Anonymous claims to have exposed secrets about corruption in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria.

throssog's avatar

@ETpro I am unfamiliar with the group, however, it wouldn’t take much, aside from courage, to expose such in regard to these governments. They don’t even try to hide it. :)

wundayatta's avatar

@throssog My impression, which could easily be wrong, is that most of the participants in the rallies in the parks did not have weapons. It was the government that had the weapons. Egypt was like this. The country that preceded Egypt (I forget now) also sported revolutionaries who were without guns, at least as far as coverage I saw indicated.

Obviously Libya and Yemen and Syria are different, but I’m not sure how many weapons they have compared to the weapons controlled by the government. Would you characterize Egypt differently?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@wundayatta I just read something not too long ago from an Egyptian who was pissed off at the Western portrayal of the protests as non-violent. Aside from not being strictly one way or the other, and that there were numerous violent struggles between protesters and police, he said he was angry about the story of the rebellions being used in the West to further the narrative of strict non-violence when that wasn’t their aim or method. I’ll see if I can find where that was.

throssog's avatar

@wundayatta I’m afraid that the characterization of the Egyptian situation requires that its’ many players be dealt with. Some were armed and some , as you make mention of, were not. I will say that only a few non-violent revolutions have had a serious effect and fewer still success. In Egypt the Shia are very active as are the Wahhabi – both are quite violence prone and do have access to weapons . In Egypt it has been a common place to expect a “bomb now and again” for some time. The West is chary of mentioning too much about the nature of Egyptian troubles as they are an ally and a fulcrum for opinion swings. Also a rather large army. :)
@incendiary_dan I don’t doubt you’ll find a couple of such comments. So many in the region are so very tired of being ‘Gandhi-ed” when it comes to their political aspirations. Ran into a good bit of that in India with the various ” Foreigners quite India ” backing groups.

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