The Arab Awakening, By Tariq Ramadan

From The Independent:

ArabWhat is happening in the Middle East? Tariq Ramadan, one of the foremost Muslim intellectuals, calls the events “uprisings”, more permanent than “revolts” but still short of thoroughgoing “revolutions”. So far, Tunisia is the only clear democratising success, and there it remains unclear if the new dispensation will be fundamentally more just than the last. Half of this slim volume is spent examining whether the uprisings were staged or spontaneous. Ramadan counsels against both the naive view that outside powers are passive observers of events, and the contrary belief that Arab revolutionaries have been mere pawns in the hands of cunning foreign players. Certainly the US and its allies helped to guide events by collaborating with the military hierarchies which removed presidents in Tunisia and Egypt, and by full-scale intervention in Libya – for a variety of obvious reasons. An agreement signed by Libya's NTC last year, for instance, guaranteed France 3 per cent of future oil exports.

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