Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Immunity for Saleh

There is currently a debate over whether the US should have given Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh a visa to receive medical treatment. A lot of folks who know Yemen better than me say it was a mistake. But Dana Stuster, who also knows Yemen better than me, just published this piece arguing it was the right move.

Stuster contends that while the GCC deal is bad (it gave him immunity before he actually left power) and while the decision might anger Yemenis protesting in the streets, ultimately giving Saleh a visa makes sense because the US still needs him. Yes, he is on his way out the door, but he still has his foot stuck in the door jam. We need to convince him to kindly move it. And that means staying on his good side by allowing him medical treatment in the States.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lessons of January 28th

Today is the one year anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. Yes, the protests began on January 25th. But it was on January 28th that a minority of protesters ballooned into a majority of revolutionaries. Exactly one year ago, protesters collided with security forces all across Egypt, but one clash in particular has especially engrained itself in my mind: the battle of Qasr al-Nil Bridge.

At this time last year, waves of protesters crashed and crashed again upon the seemingly immovable security forces on Qasr al-Nil. For hours, the battle lines went back and forth, but it seemed for certain that the protesters would eventually be turned back. But then the improbable happened. The protesters actually won. And those waves that once crashed ineffectively against the security forces began to flood Tahrir Square. They would not leave until Mubarak fell.