Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. In early January 2020, he traveled to Sudan to learn about the protest movement that ousted longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir last year. While the military regime that Bashir headed is still a powerful force in Sudan, it has been pressed into sharing power with a civilian government in formation.
Sudan’s future remains undecided. The leaders of the protest movement remain vigilant and determined to press for democracy, but in a peaceful manner. The military is divided between those who wish to unite a free, or at least freer, Sudan and those who would prefer a stronger military position in the future government. I spoke with Zunes in late January and again in early March for this interview. Read more at The Nation
After writing my article today, which dealt with the ongoing race riots in Tel Aviv, I saw a couple of things that spurred some further thoughts, perhaps in a different vein from the piece up at Souciant.
Sign on the right: “What country are we living in? Sudan? Eritrea? Al-Qaeda in the midst of the state!!!”
One was a tweet that pointed to the riots and sarcastically added “the only democracy in the Middle East.”
Now, Israel’s democracy has serious problems, and they include both social and bureaucratic methods (though as the hasbaraniks are always quick to point out, generally not legal ones anymore) of depriving its Arab citizens of full equality with Jews. It is also under attack from the right, as embodied in the words and deeds of leaders from Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and other, smaller rightist parties (including Kadima, which can only be called “centrist” in a country that has tilted absurdly to the right).
But this still stands as a perfect example of Israel being held to a different standard than other countries. There are many criticisms to level against Israeli democracy, even before we consider the West Bank; but as ugly as these riots are, they are not one of them. Continue reading →