Category Archives: Arab Spring

How Much Did the Arab Spring Cost?

$55 billion dollars, according to a new report released by consulting group Geopolicity. The report reveals that Egypt, Syria, and Libya were hit the hardest financially by the protests in North Africa and the Middle East. So what do these astronomical prices mean for the region now? Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Arab Spring, Economics, Human Rights, Middle East

North Korea’s University Shutdown

What’s Kim Jong-Il’s solution to the economic crisis? Shut down the schools and put those lazy students to work.

The reports, coming from South Korea, indicate that on Monday, the North Korean government issued an order that all universities cancel classes until April of next year, exceptions only applying to foreign students and those with imminent graduation dates. What will the ousted pupils be doing? Working on construction projects in major cities and doing repair work in agricultural regions, affected by a recent typhoon.

But, a Telegraph article reports, economic recovery may not be the primary reason for the university shutdown. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, Asia, Human Rights

Will Qaddafi’s Arrest Warrant Backfire?

Today the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague issued arrest warrants for former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, as well as his son and chief of intelligence, for crimes against humanity, perpetrated in the first two weeks of anti-government demonstrations in Libya. Upon first inspection, it certainly seems this is a constructive move — justice is ostensibly being served and a new beginning is approaching.  An article in the Guardian, however, suggests that bringing charges of murder and persecution against the colonel will backfire.

The article suggests that the charges make Qaddafi’s ousting imminent, and therefore may merely reinforce his dedication to staying in Libya and fighting his dissenters. This is especially likely given that Qaddafi’s supporters have reported that their leader will  not step down, leave Libya, or turn himself over to the ICC or any other authorities — a commitment with which Qaddafi has remained consistent since dissent began to rage in February. Because the ICC has essentially branded him an international criminal, it certainly seems he will stay in his barracks for the time being. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Arab Spring, Human Rights

House Rebukes Obama on Libya

The war-making powers of Congress and the president have come into constitutional conflict time and time again. What’s the battlefield this time? Hostilities — or, perhaps, lack thereof — in Libya.

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives denied President Obama’s proposal for authorization for a year-long mission in Libya. In fact, the House decisively voted to deny Obama the authority to wage war in Libya altogether; Republicans were unable, however, to cut off funds for any and all operations in Libya. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, Middle East, U.S. Politics

Egyptians Favor Osama to Obama

Yesterday Foreign Policy reported on a public poll in Egypt, conducted in the aftermath of the uprising that ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak. The good news from the polls? President Obama is more than twice as popular as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad.

But don’t get too excited; the other news is quite sobering. It turns out Obama’s popularity ratings have never been lower in Egypt, dropping drastically in the three years since his election to office. The numbers are so low in fact, that slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is actually more popular than Obama is — and by a 9 percent margin. Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, Middle East, U.S. Politics

Assad’s Disappointing Speech

As Syria suffers from a third month of violent crackdown by the authorities, the gap between President Assad’s 40-year regime and the U.S. government continues to grow. Today, Assad delivered his first address in two months, calling civilian dissidents “saboteurs”; meanwhile, in the face of such obstinacy, the Obama Administration is scrambling for ways to alleviate the strife in Syria. A new idea on the table: charge President Assad with war crimes.

The New York Times reports that administration officials are investigating the possibility of seeking international legal action against Assad and/or his security forces. It is possible that the administration is also looking into enforcing economic sanctions against the Middle Eastern country, reportedly involving “the oil and gas sectors.” Continue reading

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Filed under Arab Spring, Middle East