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Geopolitics

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا

MOROCCAN FUTURE
*Egypy's Al Ahram newspaper reported on the largest protests Morocco has witnessed to date, with thousands of people demonstrating in at least 10 cities around the country, including Fez, Marrakech and Casablanca. The demands of protesters are similar to those in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and other Arab countries: an end to corruption, the resignation of the government and a new constitution. These steps will begin the process of "building a society of freedom, dignity and social justice," the paper reported.

TUNISIAN PAST
*Facebook group "February 17th Intifada" posted this amateur home video of deposed Tunisian President Zine al-Abbeddin Bin Ali staying in a New York hotel suite with his wife and daughter. The group called the video "deposed President Ben Ali in a state of drunkenness." The video moves from the suite to a bar, where one of the president's associates is seen drinking what looks like alcohol.

SYRIAN PRESENT
*Syrian troops appear to have conquered the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour with a combination of tanks, helicopter gunships, intelligence agents and thousands of soldiers. Army units are now under orders to "fully pursue agents of terrorist organization who are armed and hiding in the surrounding mountains." The humanitarian crisis continues to grow, with hundreds of Syrians crossing the border into Turkey every day.

*The Syrian Revolution Facebook group reports that protests continued into Monday around the country. This mini-documentary of 15 minutes, in both English and Arabic, reviews the revolution in Syria from the beginning more than three months ago. "It all began 50 years ago," the documentary begins. Since then, Syrians have endured "one-family rule," the subtitles read as dramatic music plays in the background.

*Over the past week, the Syrian government has rolled out Reem Haddad, a Syrian government spokeswoman whose British accent is possibly intended to give her more credibility with the Western public. Her blanket denials of facts on the ground (to Sky News: "The Syrian army has NOT entered Jisr al-Shughour") have resulted in widespread panning and contempt by members of the facebook group and YouTube viewers of the clip. Comments include: "A first-class liar" and "despicable."


June 13, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Ideas

Is Thailand Ready To Be A Bonafide Democracy?

Thai voters spoke in favor of Pita Limjaroenrat's Move Forward party, bringing hopes of in-depth reform of the country's institutions. But that doesn’t guarantee Thailand’s opposition forces will be able to form a government, or that the military will ultimately give way.

Photo of Leader of Thailand's Move Forward Party, Pita Limjaroenrat, celebrating election results in Bangkok on May 14.

Leader of Thailand's Move Forward Party, Pita Limjaroenrat, celebrating election results in Bangkok on May 14.

Greg Raymond

The last time voters headed to the polls in Thailand was in 2019, following five years of a repressive military dictatorship. Thai voters spoke nervously of their democratic aspirations and allowed a military-led government into power.

Now, after four years of a functioning parliamentary democracy, Thai voters have roared. With nearly all votes counted in Sunday’s parliamentary election, they have resoundingly rejected the junta and its successor military-proxy parties.

Thailand’s most progressive party, Move Forward, looks set to gain the most seats in the new parliament. Close behind is the more established and similarly liberal Pheu Thai party of the polarising Shinawatra dynasty.

Following them in third place is Bhumjaithai. This rural-based, more traditional party of patronage politics had recently been the previous government’s coalition partner.

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