Saturday, February 19, 2011

Arab Unrest - Quick Update


Anyone who read my previous post about Washington's message to the Egyptian leadership would have been surprised at how things did turn out.

Our prediction is that the military may not hold elections in 6 months time, contrary to what the junta are saying in Public. The military prefers to maintain control of the economy as it remains heavily invested. Initial reports appear that arrests of the previous ministers who were pro-economic liberalization have taken place. There appears to be a socialist slant towards comments being made by the military leaders.

The Egyptian military wants to protect its interests and therefore we believe that it is unlikely that the junta will go after Mubarak's money as this may show the level of involvement of the Egyptian military as well as several high profile individuals from around the world (including Israeli's).

We also think that if there is democracy to be established, there would be 2 possible models:

Turkish: Islamists and liberals allied with a strong military. This is what the people of Egypt desire.

Moroccan/Pakistani:  Free parliament, elections, but ultimate control of security issues is directly with King/Kayani/Egyptian Army.

The decision on direction may take a long time to play out (possibly greater than 6 months). Its clear to us that the military do not want to see a Turkish situation where the senior generals have been placed under arrest for attempts at coup. Therefore, the Egyptian military is interested in protecting its political power and obtain immunity from any arrests, but retain the power to intervene politically when it feels the need to do so (much like Pakistan).


Well many would have seen the protests that are currently taking place in Bahrain.

 I think that the Bahrain situation is being fanned by the western media. There is a lot of anti-government propaganda by  well respected journalists such as Nick Kristof from the NY Times. There are currently petitions being circulated against this journalist.

We at Eye on the Middle East believe that the Bahrain monarchy WILL NOT FALL! This is based largely on comments made by the mainstream opposition (Al Wefaq and others) parties. There are some calls to remove the Al Khalifa dynasty but this is not widely echoed by protestors, in fact, most anti government protestors just want economic reform more than the political reform.

The Crown Prince has appeared on CNN earlier today, which is a great idea to explain to the world at large the views of the government of Bahrain. See Link 

Why were the BDF (Bahrain Defense Force) deployed?  From what we see, the BDF was deployed to protect national infrastructure such as oil infrastructure and parts of the city as a show of force. We have heard that the Saudi's had asked Bahrain if they require any extra forces, however HM King Hamad had decided not to use force against the protestors.

The BDF were deployed because the Bahrain NSA had most likely received intelligence that Iranian backed movements had decided now is their time to launch their civil disobedience movement which would want to damage infrastructure.

For many years, the Bahraini security services have watched individuals travel to Qom (Iran) for religious training and then onwards for training with IRGC & Ministry of Intelligence Service on basic intelligence gathering skills, Civil disobedience movements and arms training. We have learned via sources that the Iran backed elements were split into 2 groups, people that wanted to act now and others who preferred to use these tactics only in the event of a major conflict with Iran.

Lets not confuse these Iran backed elements with normal protestors who were out there to ask for political and economic reforms. The vast majority of protestors want this, but sadly the trouble makers attempted to take advantage of the situation.

Another major reason to deploy the BDF was to prevent any clashes breaking out between pro and anti government protestors. The seriousness of the incidents could have sparked a civil war in Bahrain. Thankfully, none of this happened.

There have been more trade union strikes that have been called for Sunday 19th and Monday 20th February.

It does appear many opposition parties have agreed to dialogue with HH Crown Prince Salman earlier today and the removal of the BDF from the streets of Manama was seen as a positive step. The Crown Prince has attempted to defuse the situation and hinted at an economic package being delivered to all Bahraini citizens. So, the editor believes that this situation will be resolved relatively soon.


Meanwhile, early reports suggest Libya will be the next domino to fall. Reports are streaming through mainstream media that the Eastern part of Libya (Bengazi in particular) is now completely under the control of the people! It does appear that many have lost their lives.


Sultan Qaboos has cancelled his month long visit to India due to the prevailing situation in the Middle East.

It is important to note that Indian and Omani forces are due to conduct a major military exercise next month.

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