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Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Guide to Protests-Middle East & Africa

After a few very short posts, this one is long but very important...

There's so many different nations protesting right now, its sometimes hard to keep track.  The main media focus for the moment (since they are bored with Egypt) is Libya because they supply 2% of the world's oil supply and the violence is causing gas prices to spike over 17 cents per gallon in a two-week period alone.

Of course Wall St doesn't give a bleep- it keeps rising and rising.  It briefly went down last week for a few days under the guise of concerns over oil while investors were just using the situation as an excuse to lock in profits from the Dow's steady rise over the past few weeks due to the Fed's continued free-money pumping.  On Tuesday, the price of oil went up to over $102 per barrel and yet the US stock market went up.  So it shows once again, Wall St. is not a barometer for any aspect of this nation's economy.

But I digress...

I found a concise 'guide' to all the unrest throughout Africa and Middle east currently from the NPR as of yesterday, March 2nd.   All information on the following nations below comes from NPR.org.  (Geographical descriptions in parenthesis are mine)

From NPR.org --


Algeria  (North Africa, west of Libya)

After 19 years, the government officially lifted a state of emergency in February following strikes and protests. But protest marches, which were not allowed under the state of emergency, continue to be banned in the capital, Algiers. Some viewed the move as a "ruse" to placate protesters, who have continued to turn out despite large numbers of police.

Bahrain (very small country east of Saudi Arabia)

After a violent crackdown on protesters in the capital, Manama, that killed several people, the crown prince in February called for a national dialogue between the Sunni-led government and the mostly Shiite protesters. But demonstrators have been reluctant to take up the government's offer without more concessions. So far, the government has released some political prisoners, and the king has fired four Cabinet ministers.

Egypt  (North Africa, east of Libya)

Protesters took to Egypt's streets in January, demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak after three decades of rule. Mubarak supporters clashed with demonstrators in Tahrir Square, which became the focal point of protests in the capital, Cairo. More than 300 protesters were killed in the uprising. Although Mubarak pledged not to run again, fired his government and appointed a vice president for the first time in his three decades of rule, the protests intensified until Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that the president had handed over power to the military. Protesters have continued to demand that the military rulers carry out reforms.

Iran (located east of Saudi Arabia)

Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out Feb. 14 for the biggest protests the country has seen since the aftermath of the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. After clashes between security forces and the protesters, hard-line lawmakers called for opposition leaders to be put on trial and put to death. On March 1, protesters rallied in Tehran to demand the release of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, who supporters say have been moved from house arrest to prison. Riot police used tear gas and batons to break up the demonstrations, according to witnesses and opposition websites.

Iraq  (located north of Saudi Arabia, west of Iran)

Small, scattered protests, focusing on unemployment, corruption and a lack of services, have been taking place in Iraq since early February. Protests intensified in the city of Sulaimaniyah — where demonstrators are opposing the leaders of Kurdistan, the semiautonomous region in northern Iraq — and in Basra, where the governor resigned. A nationwide "Day of Rage" called for Feb. 25 turned violent in Mosul and other cities, leading to the deaths of more than a dozen protesters.

Jordan (located east of Israel, north of Saudi Arabia)

Protesters have been gathering on Fridays to demand more of a voice in government — some want the power to elect their prime minister and Cabinet officials. King Abdullah II fired his Cabinet in February and appointed a new prime minister, tasked with carrying out reforms. More than 400 Muslim militants took to the streets of Amman on March 1 to demand the release of their jailed colleagues — the first public protest by Salafis, an ultraconservative Muslim group banned in Jordan.

Libya (North Africa betw Egypt and Algeria)

Protests challenging leader Moammar Gadhafi have led to a bloody crackdown. Hundreds and perhaps thousands have been killed. Pro-democracy rebels now largely control eastern Libya, including the city of Benghazi, where the anti-Gadhafi uprising began Feb. 15. Amid clashes between opposition forces and troops loyal to Gadhafi, thousands have fled Libya, with many crossing borders into Egypt and Tunisia.

Morocco  (North Africa west of Algeria- facing Atlantic Ocean)

On Feb. 20, demonstrations were called by a coalition of youth groups, labor unions and human rights organizations demanding greater democracy in the North African kingdom. Several thousand people marched through the capital, Rabat — one of several cities across the country where protests were held. Some trouble arose in the cities of Tangiers and Fez on Feb. 19, but overall, demonstrations were mostly peaceful.

Oman (southeast of Saudi Arabia facing Arabian Sea)

Protests began in the seaside town of Sohar in late February, resulting in deadly clashes with police. Demonstrators are calling for higher salaries, jobs and the dismissal of some government officials. Oman's ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has ordered 50,000 new jobs and a monthly stipend for the unemployed, and has reshuffled his Cabinet.

Tunisia (North Africa squeezed betw northern Algeria and Libya)

The unrest in this North African nation began in December, apparently after a 26-year-old man committed suicide when police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he was selling. Anger at a lack of employment and at a leadership viewed as corrupt exploded into demonstrations and clashes with police. A United Nations mission says at least 219 were killed in the weeks of protests. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14. In late February, Mohamed Ghannouchi, who served as prime minister for 11 years, bowed to protesters' demands and resigned after clashes between demonstrators and riot police.

Yemen (south of Saudi Arabia; borders on Arabian Sea & Red Sea)

Yemen first saw protests in late January, with more sustained demonstrations beginning in February. Demonstrators are calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who insists he will not step down before the end of his term in 2013. Several people have been killed in demonstrations. Amid the protests, civil service and military salaries have been increased, along with social services and tuition assistance.

~  That's 11 nations in Africa and the Middle East.  And that doesn't count protests last month against austerity in Greece and Croatia, or the union protests in Wisconsin and other US states.   All of these expressions of anger and rage and desperation- it's not about religion or freedom or democracy.

It all stems from the 2008 market crash and the global response to completely focus on bailing out the banks, financials and investors while destroying the 'middle class' of nations around the globe.

All the money has gone to the 'too bigs' so there's no money for job creation.  No job creation = no jobs = debt slavery, depression, hopelessness, frustration,... it builds and Builds... And as nations can't pay their debts, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) comes in like loansharks and forces severe austerity upon those governments like Greece, Ireland and eventually Portugal & Spain- i.e. higher taxes, lowering of minimum wage, reduction in social services and increased unemployment, especially from layoffs in the public sector.

And then you add increased prices for food and gas (petrol) based on global commodities investors artificially pumping up the price for their own greed-- while cost for food increases 100.. 200% in days in some nations, and the youth with no hopeful of a future... the anger builds and you have revolt & violence.

The world is a cauldron.. right now simmering to a low/mid-boil.. and its getting worse because world governments are controlled by banking and finance, and will not do a thing to help their populaces and punish those entities that caused the current global Great Recession.

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