• The roundabout revolutions

    The history of these banal, utilitarian instruments of traffic management has become entangled with that of political uprising, #Eyal_Weizman argues in his latest book

    This project started with a photograph. It was one of the most arresting images depicting the May 1980 #Gwangju uprising, recognised now as the first step in the eventual overthrow of the military dictatorship in South Korea. The photograph (above) depicts a large crowd of people occupying a roundabout in the city center. Atop a disused fountain in the middle of the roundabout a few protestors have unfurled a South Korean flag. The roundabout organised the protest in concentric circles, a geometric order that exposed the crowd to itself, helping a political collective in becoming.

    It had an uncanny resonance with events that had just unfolded: in the previous year a series of popular uprisings spread through Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, #Oman, Yemen, Libya, and Syria. These events shared with Gwangju not only the historical circumstances – they too were popular protests against military dictatorships – but, remarkably, an urban-architectural setting: many of them similarly erupted on roundabouts in downtown areas. The history of these roundabouts is entangled with the revolutions that rose from them.

    The photograph of the roundabout—now the symbol of the “liberated republic” – was taken by #Na_Kyung-taek from the roof of the occupied Provincial Hall, looking toward Geumnam-ro, only a few hours before the fall of the “#Gwangju_Republic”. In the early morning hours of the following day, the Gwangju uprising was overwhelmed by military force employing tanks and other armed vehicles. The last stand took place at the roundabout.

    The scene immediately resonates with the well-known photographs of people gathering in #Tahrir_Square in early 2011. Taken from different high-rise buildings around the square, a distinct feature in these images is the traffic circle visible by the way it organises bodies and objects in space. These images became the symbol of the revolution that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 – an event described by urban historian Nezar AlSayyad as “Cairo’s roundabout revolution”. But the Gwangju photograph also connects to images of other roundabouts that erupted in dissent in fast succession throughout the Middle East. Before Tahrir, as Jonathan Liu noted in his essay Roundabouts and Revolutions, it was the main roundabout in the capital of Tunisia – subsequently renamed Place du 14 Janvier 2011 after the date on which President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country. Thousands of protesters gathered at the roundabout in Tunis and filled the city’s main boulevard.

    A main roundabout in Bahrain’s capital Manama erupted in protests shortly after the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt. Its central traffic island became the site of popular protests against the government and the first decisive act of military repression: the protests were violently broken up and the roundabout itself destroyed and replaced with a traffic intersection. In solidarity with the Tahrir protests, the roundabouts in the small al-Manara Square in Ramallah and the immense Azadi Square in Tehran also filled with protesters. These events, too, were violently suppressed.

    The roundabouts in Tehran and Ramallah had also been the scenes of previous revolts. In 2009 the Azadi roundabout in Iran’s capital was the site of the main protests of the Green Movement contesting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. Hamid Dabashi, a literature professor at Columbia University and one of the most outspoken public intellectuals on these revolutions, claims that the Green Movement was inspirational for the subsequent revolutionary wave in the Arab world. In Palestine, revolt was a permanent consequence of life under occupation, and the al-Manara roundabout was a frequent site of clashes between Palestinian youth and the Israeli military. The sequence of roundabout revolutions evolved as acts of imitation, each building on its predecessor, each helping propel the next.

    Roundabouts were of course not only exhilarating sites of protest and experiments in popular democracy, but moreover they were places where people gathered and risked their life. The Gwangju uprising is, thus, the first of the roundabout revolutions. Liu wrote: “In all these cases, the symbolism is almost jokingly obvious: what better place to stage a revolution, after all, then one built for turning around?” What better way to show solidarity across national borders than to stage protests in analogous places?

    Why roundabouts? After all, they are banal, utilitarian instruments of traffic management, certainly not prone to induce revolutionary feeling. Other kinds of sites – squares, boulevards, favelas, refugee camps – have served throughout history as the setting for political protest and revolt. Each alignment of a roundabout and a revolution has a specific context and diverse causes, but the curious repetition of this phenomenon might give rise to several speculations. Urban roundabouts are the intersection points of large axes, which also puts them at the start or end of processions.

    Occupying a roundabout demonstrates the power of tactical acupuncture: it blocks off all routes going in and out. Congestion moves outward like a wave, flowing down avenues and streets through large parts of the city. By pressuring a single pivotal point within a networked infrastructure, an entire city can be put under siege (a contemporary contradistinction to the medieval technique of surrounding the entire perimeter of a city wall). Unlike public squares, which are designed as sites for people to gather (therefore not interrupting the flow of vehicular traffic) and are usually monitored and policed, roundabout islands are designed to keep people away. The continuous flow of traffic around them creates a wall of speeding vehicles that prohibits access. While providing open spaces (in some cities the only available open spaces) these islands are meant to be seen but not used.

    Another possible explanation is their symbolic power: they often contain monuments that represent the existing regime. The roundabouts of recent revolutions had emblematic names – Place du 7 Novembre 1987, the date the previous regime took power in Tunisia; “Liberty” (Azadi), referring to the 1979 Iranian Revolution; or “Liberation” (Tahrir), referring to the 1952 revolutions in Egypt. Roundabout islands often had statues, both figurative and abstract, representing the symbolic order of regimes. Leaders might have wished to believe that circular movement around their monuments was akin to a form of worship or consent. While roundabouts exercise a centripetal force, pulling protestors into the city center, the police seek to generate movement in the opposite direction, out and away from the center, and to break a collective into controllable individuals that can be handled and dispersed.

    The most common of all centrifugal forces of urban disorganisation during protests is tear gas, a formless cloud that drifts through space to disperse crowds. From Gwangju to Cairo, Manama to Ramallah, hundreds of tear-gas canisters were used largely exceeding permitted levels in an attempt to evict protesters from public spaces. The bodily sensation of the gas forms part of the affective dimension of the roundabout revolution. When tear gas is inhaled, the pain is abrupt, sharp, and isolating. The eyes shut involuntary, generating a sense of disorientation and disempowerment.

    Protestors have found ways to mitigate the toxic effects of this weapon. Online advice is shared between activists from Palestine through Cairo to Ferguson. The best protection is offered by proper gas masks. Improvised masks made of mineral water bottles cut in half and equipped with a filter of wet towels also work, according to online manuals. Some activists wear swim goggles and place wet bandanas or kaffiyehs over their mouths. To mitigate some of the adverse effects, these improvised filters can be soaked in water, lemon juice, vinegar, toothpaste, or wrapped around an onion. When nothing else is at hand, breathe the air from inside your shirt and run upwind onto higher ground. When you have a chance, blow your nose, rinse your mouth, cough, and spit.

    #révolution #résistance #giratoire #carrefour #rond-point #routes #infrastructure_routière #soulèvement_politique #Corée_du_Sud #printemps_arabe #Egypte #Tunisie #Bahreïni #Yémen #Libye #Syrie #Tahrir

    Du coup : #gilets_jaunes ?

    @albertocampiphoto & @philippe_de_jonckheere

    This project started with a photograph. It was one of the most arresting images depicting the May 1980 #Gwangju uprising, recognised now as the first step in the eventual overthrow of the military dictatorship in South Korea. The photograph (above) depicts a large crowd of people occupying a roundabout in the city center. Atop a disused fountain in the middle of the roundabout a few protestors have unfurled a South Korean flag. The roundabout organised the protest in concentric circles, a geometric order that exposed the crowd to itself, helping a political collective in becoming.

    –-> le pouvoir d’une #photographie...

    signalé par @isskein

    ping @reka

  • The Rise and Decline of a Heterotopic Space : Views from Midan al-Tahrir
    Une lecture vraiment bien articulée et intéressante (peut être un peu académique) du moment Tahrir et du reflux qui a suivi
    Il faut vraiment Jadaliyya ces jours, il y a des textes passionnants

    Coupling the work of Foucault and Lefebvre offers us a robust analytical concept that can enrich our understanding of urban space, and revolutionary moments. By offering a modality, a counter arrangement, an alternative way of being and doing, heterotopic space reflects, inverts, and reconstitutes social processes. In powerful ways, Tahrir critiqued the existing system that was corrupt, violent, and inefficient, and offered a model that promised to fulfill the aspirations of many Egyptians. Yet it was quickly unmade as a heterotopic space when dominant groups managed to appropriate it, put it to different uses, and invest it with different meanings. While Lefebvre saw heterotopic spaces as providing “the seed-bed of revolutionary movement” (Harvey 2013: xvii), he also emphasized that they could be quickly appropriated by dominant forces. Thinking of heterotopic space as mediating the utopic and isotopic reveals the multiple possibilities embedded in urban encounters, and the new opportunities they offer for the reproduction of power systems, as well as their transformation and reconstitution. Exploring such spaces, and their changing meanings and uses, especially in the constitution of urban publics, is an important part of any adequate understanding of political mobilization, emerging meanings of citizenship, claims to the city, and the relationship between power, space, and resistance.

    #Egypt #Tahrir

  • Is History Repeating Itself in #Egypt?

    Is history repeating itself in Egypt today, or are the same mistakes being committed again? About four years ago, the opposition called for boycotting the second round of elections, because candidates of the now-dissolved #National_Democratic_Party (NDP) won a suspicious landslide victory, gaining 95 percent of parliamentary seats, even in districts where NDP candidates had lost popular support to candidates from the opposition and independent parties.

    #Ahmed_Ezz #Articles #Hosni_Mubarak #January_25_revolution #Mohammed_al-Baradei #Muslim_Brotherhood #Tahrir_square #The_Constitution_Party #Mideast_&_North_Africa

  • “What We Learned in Tahrir” :
    #Tahrir #Egypt #revolution #activism

    "That winter we all became activists [..] I thought, we all thought, that the euphoria, the sense of possibility, of those first few weeks, would carry the country for years. [..] The euphoria quickly dissipated [..] What had brought us together in those first few weeks in Tahrir eventually tore us apart"

    "[..] a minority of exceedingly righteous idealists, somewhat privileged,
    fighting a growing majority who increasingly opt for stability over the
    more ambitious political goals to which the revolution first aspired"

  • #Egypt releases secular activist, extends detention of another

    An Egyptian student smashes a #police vehicle during a demonstration on December 1, 2013 in support of a comrade engineering student at #Cairo University killed the previous week in clashes with Egytian security forces during an Islamist demonstration. (Photo: AFP - Khaled Kamel) An Egyptian student smashes a police vehicle during a demonstration on December 1, 2013 in support of a comrade engineering student at Cairo University killed the previous week in clashes with Egytian security forces during an Islamist demonstration. (Photo: AFP - Khaled Kamel)

    Egyptian authorities on Sunday freed a prominent secular activist but extended the detention of another after the two were arrested for holding unauthorized demonstrations, (...)

    #Alaa_Abdel_Fattah #Tahrir_square #tear_gas #Top_News

  • A SUIVRE Le gouverneur du Caire aurait pour projet de construire 4 portes de fer aux entrées principales de la place Tahrir (Shorouk news). De nombreux murs rendent déjà difficile (parfois impossible) la circulation autour de la place, et au Caire.

    « Dans la guerre de symboles de la transition politique égyptienne, Tahrir est au premier plan. Qui tient la place tient le pouvoir. » écrivait Samuel Forey dans « Nettoyer Tahrir » http://orientxxi.info/lu-vu-entendu/nettoyer-tahrir,0380 & http://muftah.org/midan-al-tahrirs-past-and-present

    Extrait de « The square », documentaire ambitieux consacré à la place Tahrir et aux événements en Egypte depuis 2011 - YouTube

    #Tahrir #film #culture

  • #Egypt's Anti-Coup Alliance advises supporters to avoid Tahrir Square

    An Islamist alliance urged its supporters to stay away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square during protests Friday to avoid more bloodshed after a week in which nearly 80 Egyptians were killed. The Anti-Coup Alliance, which rejects Egypt’s military-installed government, said the “coup regime is shedding blood without any respect to law or values adopted by our great people”. “So the alliance is calling for marchers to evade places of bloodshed, be it Tahrir or other squares,” said a statement from (...)

    #Tahrir_Square. #Top_News

  • Le général Al Sissi pour une transition rapide en Egypte - Les échos


    S’exprimant lors d’un séminaire devant des militaires et des policiers, le général Al Sissi a appelé « chacun à prendre vraiment conscience de l’ampleur des problèmes qui se posent à la société égyptienne et qui nécessitent une accélération de la dernière phase de transition », rapporte le porte-parole de l’armée sur sa page Facebook.
    Le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Nabil Fahmy, a déclaré la semaine dernière que la phase de transition politique devrait s’achever « d’ici le printemps prochain ».

    #transition #élections #AlSissi #Tahrir #Fahmy

  • Pour la première fois depuis la destitution de Mohamed Morsi, certains de ses partisans sont allés protester sur la place Tahrir - Ahram Online


    Sur le sujet, lire sur Orient XXI
    L’esprit du 25 janvier survivra-t-il en Égypte ?
    Égypte, une stratégie d’élimination des Frères musulmans

    #Tahrir #Egypte #FM #MB

  • #Egypte Premier bilan des événements de ce matin : pas sûr qu’il y ait déjà eu autant de morts et blessés sur un laps de temps aussi court (bilan provisoire plus lourd qu’après l’attaque de la garde républicaine).
    Des journalistes (BBC & NYT) en ce moment à l’hôpital de Rabaa (Nasr city, au Caire) parlent de « carnage », « folie absolue ». Ils tweetent des photos/vidéos de blessés graves et cadavres touchés à la tête, au cou, au cœur. Ces victimes sont des pro-Morsi ou anti-coup.
    La journaliste @Beltrew tweete : « Meanwhile in parallel universe land #tahrir is a total post-party mess. People still celebrating stuff. » On y entend notamment « Army, police, people : one hand ! »
    A suivre.
    #rabaa #nasr #morsi

  • New Work by #Julie_Mehretu: The Unruly Rush of the City

    It is as if Julie Mehretu has boxed some corner of a great, rambling city, shaken it, and spilled the contents out onto a canvas. Girders and struts, and the faint memory of the structure and reason that once guided their making, lies broken. Now, on the canvas, these once straight lines are contaminated with [...]

    #ART #Nairobi #painting #Tahrir_Square #White_Cube

  • Several thousand in Tahrir for anti-Morsi demonstration

    Officially launched on 1 May, the ’Rebel’ campaign is a grassroots movement aimed at registering opposition to Morsi and forcing him to call early presidential elections by collecting as many as 15 million signatures by 30 June. The group says it has already collected 2 million names.

    Campaigners for the signature drive said they aim to intensify their presence in the square to collect the maximum number of signatures, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.

    Protesters put up a platform in the square, and pictures of slain protesters were displayed in the square’s central garden. By sunset, the numbers in the square and the surrounding streets had reached several thousand.

    Security has been tightened around the usual protest hotspots, including the interior ministry, the Cabinet headquarters, the Shura Council, the presidential palace and the Brotherhood headquarters.

    In Alexandria, hundreds of protesters have started heading to Qaid Ibrahim Square in support of the petition against President Morsi, condemning the “Brotherhoodisation of the state,” Al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website reported.

    A number of political parties are participating in Friday’s planned million man march, including the Constitution Party, the Free Egyptians Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Karama party, the Free Front for Peaceful Change, the Popular Current and the Kefaya movement.


  • مصر : التحرش لمنع التظاهرات؟ | الأخبار

    La question du harcèlement sexuel (entre 20 ou 30 récemment) dans cet article de al-Akhbar : une arme maniée par les Frères pour écarter les manifestantes ; un conséquence d’un harcèlement sexuel devenu « normal » et jamais réprimé... En tout cas, les Egyptiennes - certaines ont eu le courage de livrer publiquement leur témoignage - trouvent que les révolutionnaires de Tahrir devraient s’investir davantage dans une question qui n’est pas « marginale »...


  • للتحرّش جماعات منظمة في ميدان التحرير ! | الأخبار

    للتحرّش جماعات منظمة في ميدان التحرير!

    On raconte de plus en plus que le harcèlement sexuel qui a pour théâtre la place Tahrir est tout sauf spontané. Il serait - j’insiste sur le conditionnel - organisé par des bandes payées par ceux qui souhaitent écarter de la place un certain type de manifestant(e)s... Les accusateurs se tournent vers les Frères...

    #égypte #tahrir

  • #Egypte : autre #dictature et même #constitution


    #Boycott du #référendum : quelle #société #civile, la #révolution de « Square #Tahrir » a-t-elle accouchée ?

    Contrairement à ce qui est entendu, le #décret promulgué par Mohamed #Morsi à la veille d’une nouvelle constitution, a été retoqué et mis dans les tiroirs. Selon Morsi, il sera ressorti après le référendum de mi-décembre. Il n’a pas été abrogé, seule est reportée son exécution. Les « #FrèresMusulmans » sont d’anciens alliés de #Moubarak, Morsi lui-même était #député égyptien depuis 2005 et il n’a gagné qu’avec 51,7 % les #présidentielles... Il est contesté, dans une ambiance de guerre civile...

  • http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/8870/al-masry-al-youm-goes-inside-the-brotherhoods-tort

    Opposing protesters were brought to the chambers after being detained by Brotherhood members, who beat them and tore their clothes. The chambers were informal and it was unclear how many there were; when someone was detained, a chamber would be established anywhere near a building.

    The kidnappers would take the detained person’s ID card, mobile phone and money before beginning “investigations,” which included intervals of beating to force the confession that he or she is a “thug.”

    #egypt #revolution #brotherhood #tahrir #morsi

  • Quick SoTic (kikhote) sur Twitter

    #tahrir 19.05 pic.twitter.com/KOHXOPlE

    #Tahrir overview 16.00

    L’Egypte tremble, un nouveau Pharaon émerge
    Par M. K. Bhadrakumar
    Indian Punchline, le 27 novembre 2012

    Le problème est apparemment la passe autoritaire qui marquerait le dernier décret de Mohamed Morsi, lui conférant l’immunité contre la cour constitutionnelle, alors que l’Égypte s’apprête à s’embarquer dans la phase capitale de l’adoption d’une nouvelle constitution. La grande crainte est que les islamistes forcent la majorité silencieuse à rentrer dans le rang.

    Ce danger existe vraiment. Même un libéral comme Mohamed el Baradei s’est exprimé pour dire que Morsi était un « nouveau Pharaon ». Mais Morsi ne montre aucun remords. C’est un vieux renard, qui a débordé les militaires et les vestiges de l’ère Moubarak par sa dernière performance sur Gaza, démontrant à Washington qu’il peut servir les intérêts occidentaux dans la région plus efficacement et de façon plus crédible que n’importe qui d’autre en Egypte.

    Le conflit de Gaza a été transformé par Morsi en jeu d’échecs politico-diplomatique de première classe. Il a accouché d’un accord qui soulage les Etats-Unis et Israël. Mais tandis que le fer est encore chaud, il a également frappé pour consolider son emprise sur le pouvoir en émettant ce décret fatidique, calculant qu’il n’a désormais rien à craindre des militaires et des institutions de sécurité pro-américains.

    Pour l’administration de Barack Obama, Morsi est devenu un cadeau de Dieu : il est un dirigeant légitime, démocratiquement élu, qui est prêt à favoriser l’agenda des Etats-Unis. Et, pour couronner le tout, il est aussi un islamiste. L’exemple de Morsi, en tant que collaborateur secret, encourage Washington à pousser les Frères à prendre également le pouvoir en Syrie - ainsi qu’en Jordanie, Inch Allah !

    Morsi a vraiment excellé. Il a même conclu avec le FMI un ensemble de mesures de sauvetage de 4,2 milliards de dollars pour l’économie égyptienne - avec les compliments d’Obama, bien sûr ! En outre, il a dans sa cagnotte 2 milliards de dollars de la part du Qatar et de la Turquie, chacun. Seuls les Saoudiens gardent une distance prudente.

    Mais pour s’affermir, Morsi doit d’abord se défaire du défi bruyant que pose la Nouvelle Gauche. Comment il y parviendra reste à voir ! Aura-t-il du sang sur les mains lorsque tout cela sera fini ?

    Cela laisse aussi l’administration Obama avec des moments angoissants à venir. Obama a besoin une fois encore de comprendre quel est le « bon côté de l’histoire » en Egypte. Morsi est une prise de premier choix - trop rare pour la laisser filer. D’un autre côté, s’il remporte de façon décisive cette tranche de révolution à Tahrir, l’islamisme sera irrésistiblement en marche dans la région. Et l’ironie est que Morsi aura amoché de façon irréparable le groupe électoral qui aurait dû constituer les « alliés naturels » des Etats-Unis - les libéraux, les centristes, les laïcs, etc.

  • iyad_elbaghdadi
    This is the final final version of your tweet session. I believe it is complete.

    #Syria OK guys, I’m starting an important tweet session on #Syria and Islamist/Jihadist fears. I urge you to pay attention.

    This may be all over the place because I’m typing as I go, so please do have patience with me. #Syria

    As many of you know, I’ve been warning about #Syria becoming a Jihadist magnet for nearly a year now.

    For example, I tweeted this some six months ago: bit.ly/PkOI40 - and we may be witnessing it happening. #Syria

    What ticks me off is when everything is jumbled into the statement “There are Alqaeda in #Syria”.

    So I’m going to try to do what I can do demystify this maze of Islamism & Salafism & Jihadism & and how they relate to #Syria's revolution.

    I’ll have to start with “Islamism”, notoriously difficult to define. #Syria

    Islamism is a wide spectrum. The acid test for an Islamist is they believe Islam has something to say beyond the personal sphere. #Syria

    Non-Islamists (Seculars) are happy enough with Islam being restricted strictly to private life. #Syria

    That there is a wide umbrella. There are all sorts of people under that “Islamist” umbrella. But I’ll focus on what’s relevant for #Syria.

    What’s urgently relevant for #Syria concerns these titles: Salafi, Jihadi, Alqaeda, Takfiri. Yes, there’re not all one and the same.

    Why this is significant is because you have to know a group’s ideology to predict what it will or won’t do. #Syria

    Today in #Syria there are both Salafi & non-Salafi Islamists, and there are a few Jihadists. No Alqaeda link is proven and no Takfiris.

    A useful generalization is that Islamism is the superset, and Salafis, Jihadis, Alqaeda are successive subsets. #Syria

    Salafis are Islamists but not all Islamists are Salafis. #Syria

    Jihadis are Salafis but not all Salafis are Jihadis. #Syria

    Alqaeda are Jihadi Salafis but not all Jihadi Salafis are Alqaeda. #Syria

    So I guess I have to start with Salafism, another word that causes so much confusion. #Syria

    I have to distinguish between Salafism as a Sunni school of jurisprudence and as a specific socio-political group. #Syria

    As a Sunni school, Salafism is a legitimate “manhaj” (or method) associated mostly with Hanbali jurisprudence. #Syria

    As a socio-political group, Salafism refers to certain groups with known leaders, political positions, and spheres of influence. #Syria

    When we use “Salafi” today we mostly mean the socio-political group. Specific positions, leaders, a religious hierarchy. #Syria

    I think I’ll have to take a step back here and talk about what distinguishes Salafis from other Islamists wrt political vision. #Syria

    Islamists generally believe the Prophet established a unique form of government in Medina, an Islamic state. #Syria

    Islamists are deeply divided about how much of this “state” is mandated, and how much is open to human interpretation. #Syria

    Salafis generally tend towards looking upon the entire early Islamic political experience as religiously mandated. #Syria

    (This itself is contradictory since the early Islamic state did not have a religious police for example, but I digress.) #Syria

    Most Muslims (and many Islamists) believe that modern democratic instutions are compatible with Islam. #Syria

    Salafis however tend to reject democracy since it entails putting Islam to the vote rather than mandating or establishing it. #Syria

    So if you speak to an Islamist who rejects democracy he’s probably a Salafi. Not Alqaeda, just Salafi. #Syria

    #Eypt's recent experience tells us that even this is flexible. Salafis who for years badmouthed democracy eventually formed parties. #Syria

    Now lemme establish how this applies to #Syria specifically. We hear “Jihadi” a lot, it’s actually short for “Jihadi Salafism”.

    Salafism itself is deeply divided into mainstream (or government-approved, or Islahi) Salafism and Jihadi Salafism. #Syria

    Islahi Salafis wish to bring about their vision through reform ("Islah"), by propagation while coexisting with current regimes. #Syria

    Such Salafis have an unspoken win-win with rulers - they can preach, so long they teach people that revolt is a form of corruption. #Syria

    That’s how you understand the positions of certain Salafi leaders towards the Arab Spring, Mubarak, and SCAF. #Syria

    Diametrically opposite are Jihadi Salafis, who believe that their vision of an Islamic state can only be achieved through making war. #Syria

    Salafi Jihadis consider virtually all modern Muslim rulers to be infidels, and consider anyone who works for them to be an infidel. #Syria

    For Salafi Jihadis, anyone who willingly serves in Assad’s army, or works directly for him, is under suspicion of having apostatized. #Syria

    Salafis (all, not just Jihadi) are notorious for extreme enmity towards what they consider heretical Islamic sects, especially Shias. #Syria

    Anti-Shiism fits the agendas of some governments who pour more gas on the fire, allowing overt sectarianism in the name of Salafism. #Syria

    So, recapping - Some Muslims are Islamists, some Islamists are Salafi, and some Salafis are Jihadist. Now on to Alqaeda. #Syria

    Alqaeda is a Jihadi Salafi organization but it doesn’t have a monopoly there. Not every Jihadi Salafist is an Alqaeda. #Syria

    There just isn’t any evidence so far that any group in #Syria has organizational or operational links with Alqaeda.

    Many have unfortunately pinned the label “Alqaeda” on anyone raising the black-and-white Islamic flag. Kinda ticks me off. #Syria

    The black & white banner has been an Islamic symbol for centuries. Alqaeda uses it, but they don’t own its copyrights. #Syria

    The black flag does not equal Alqaeda. It means Islamists. How do you know?Check if they’re raising another flag next to it. #Syria

    Jihadi Salafis do not believe in the nation-state and deride the word “watan” (nation) as a “wathan” (idol). #Syria

    Therefore Jihadi Salafis will not raise any national flag. If they’re raising #Syria's national flag they’re not Jihadi Salafis.

    If they’re raising the black flag only, they may be Jihadi Salafis. (Saying they’re Alqaeda is a speculative jump from there.) #Syria

    If they’re raising the black flag next to #Syria's independence flag, they are Islamic-inspired Syrian fighters, but not Jihadi Salafis.

    So, recapping, there are Islamic-inspired fighters in #Syria. There are a few Jihadi Salafis. There may be Alqaeda but there’s no proof.

    Once again the reason this is important is that to predict what these groups will do or plan strategically you gotta know them. #Syria

    So after finishing with all of this I’m going to look back and see which part of this is scary and which is just overblown. #Syria

    Of cousre I’m not vindicating Alqaeda but you gotta know them to know what can and cannot be attributed to them. #Syria

    Now, if you interpret “Takfiri” more narrowly, then you can say that Salafi Jihadis do have an element of Takfir, and here’s how. #Syria

    Some Salafis (not all, mind you) consider Shias and heretic Muslim sects to be infidels; in this specific case they’d be “takfiris”. #Syria

    Note that this is a contentious issue even within Alqaeda. Zarqawi for example considered Shias infidels while Al-Zawahiri did not. #Syria

    Now I can go into more details and nuances but let’s zoom out and see why this information is so important for #Syria's revolution.

    The details I just narrated can help you predict the action of groups, and help you attribute certain actions to certain groups. #Syria

    Takfiris for example will kill just about everyone (Algeria’s massacres come to mind), but even Alqaeda aren’t that kinda Takfiris. #Syria

    That’s why when #Assad tried to pin the Houla massacre on Alqaeda I saw the BS there. #Syria

    It’s probably easy to just look at all Jihadis as criminals but they’re ideologically inspired so you gotta read them right. #Syria

    What Alqaeda (or Jihadi Salafis) would do is attack the regime with reckless abandon regardless of civilian casualties. #Syria

    (Once again there’s no proof that Alqaeda is in #Syria, just Jihadi Salafi groups, and their presence is tiny and recent.)

    Also, Jihadi Salafis may deliberate attack minorities, especially Alawites, with spectacular (suicide) attacks. #Syria

    Importantly, Jihadi Salafis would be opportunistic, leaning towards spectacular attacks to give them a bigger size than they have. #Syria

    Jihadi Salafis would also use statelessness to bring in recruits from all over the Arab/Muslim worlds. #Syria

    Now looking at past few tweets I wonder, if there are established Jihadis in #Syria why didn’t we see suicide attacks on Alawite villages?

    All of this leads me to believe that the Jihadi Salafi presence in #Syria is tiny and recent and not firmly established.

    Now let me look at the regular Islamic-inspired fighters who aren’t Jihadi Salafis but just devout Syrian Muslims. #Syria

    Those “regular” Islamic-inspired fighters will fight the regime along with the #FSA and won’t give trouble just as yet. #Syria

    I mean, such Islamic-inspired fighters may raise the black flag; some may badmouth democracy; but won’t go on a Shia killing spree. #Syria

    Anyway in light of all this, who should we be afraid of? Which groups would be truly nefarious and destructive to #Syria?

    Non-Salafi Islamist fighters may give a hard time afterwards (will resist a secular state) but won’t destroy #Syria's society. Not scary.

    Jihadi Salafis, especially non-Syrian, would be scary indeed and may have a deeply negative impact on #Syria's society.

    Jihadi Salafis are right now a tiny faction but they can still launch spectacular suicide attacks to show a bigger size. #Syria

    To sum up, the #FSA has Islamists, some may be Salafi, but #FSA is neither Alqaeda nor Jihadi Salafis. #Syria

    It’s Suhoor time here so I have to take a break, but I’ll be back to discuss what the #FSA should do & what foreign powers should do. #Syria


    I’m back for a little while to complete this tweet session coz I’ll probably get too busy to do later. #Syria

    I’ve talked about Islamists, Salafis, Jihadis, Alqaeda, Takfiris, and how all of that relates to #Syria & the #FSA.

    One thing I missed is that whole “#Syria Jihadis are being funded by KSA & Qatar” issue, which I find rather BS.

    As discussed earlier Salafi Jihadis believe that virtually all Muslim leaders are in fact infidels, KSA & Qatar included. #Syria

    Salafi Jihadis hate all Muslim rulers, but have a special place for the rulers of the KSA whom they consider to be the worst. #Syria

    In fact you can find impassioned diatribes against the KSA in the Salafi Jihadi library here: tawhed.ws (Arabic) #Syria

    Basically, “Alqaeda is funded by KSA/Qatar” is a stupid statement. The KSA is Alqaeda’s sworn enemy. #Syria

    For this reason I doubt Salafi Jihadis (especially Alqaeda) will ever want to have anything to do with the KSA or Qatar. #Syria

    If Salafi Jihadis ever accept KSA help it would be on the basis of an intersection of interests, waiting for to pounce on them too. #Syria

    Of course the KSA/Qatar know that nurturing Salafi Jihadis would be like keeping a scorpion for a pet. Eventually it’ll bite you. #Syria

    Essentially if KSA & Qatar are funding any rebel party, it would be the #FSA itself rather than the Jihadi Salafis or Alqaeda. #Syria

    And if Salafi Jihadis are getting any support from KSA (which I doubt) it would be from individual donors, not the state. #Syria

    Finally I want to close this where I started - my year-long warning that #Syria can become a Jihadist magnet...

    For #Syria to become a Jihadist magnet two things are required: attraction & opportunity.

    The attraction factor isn’t lacking with enough bloody footage to recruit any sufficiently passionate/gullible young Muslim. #Syria

    The opportunity however is recent - significant areas beyond regime control so Jihadist groups can slip in. #Syria

    In fact, with regime control shrinking, Jihadists can not just slip in but actually set up shop and start operating. #Syria

    To avoid this, both the #FSA and the world at large have responsibilities. The FSA must become more organized and centralized. #Syria

    To avoid this, both the #FSA and the world at large have responsibilities. The FSA must become more organized and centralized. #Syria

    The #FSA should also attempt some form of local governance in liberated areas, even if by the residents themselves. #Syria

    Finally the #FSA must make a clear stand against any opportunistic groups attempting to establish their own command in #Syria.

    If the #FSA is lousy & disorganized enough, such groups may be able to organize and operate in liberated #Syria.

    However if the #FSA organizes and centralizes, and a credible provisional government is formed, things won’t get that bad. #Syria

    As for the rest of the world, they must first realize the risks involved if #Syria devolves into a sectarian civil war.

    If #Syria devolves into civil war it will spread to Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq; Jordan & Israel will suffer as well.

    If #Syria or part of it become a Jihadi Salafi safe haven, the risk won’t be contained to Syria or even the Middle East alone.

    I strongly believe that a major factor that made the world intervene in #Libya was to avoid it becoming a Jihadist magnet/safe haven. #Syria

    With the mix of regime Migs, Jihadis, FSA gains & chemical weapons, I think a #Libya-style intervention in #Syria can be back on the table.

    The worst outcome in #Syria would be a sectarian civil war. The best would be a totally peaceful, #Tahrir-style revolution.

    However, right from the start we said that in #Syria we’re not looking for the best option but for the least bad exit.

    Let’s not kid ourselves - #Syria under Assad will not have a Tahrir square. That ship as long sailed.

    The least we can do, then, is make sure the worst of the worst outcomes (sectarian civil war) is avoided. #Syria

  • #Egypte : second étape de la #révolution


    Le front #social et le blocage institutionnel isole le #président #Morsi

    #Grève des quelques 23 000 ouvriers, de la plus grande entreprise de textiles d’Egypte, la société nationale « Misr Spinning and Weaving » (filage et tissage), pour des relèvements des #salaires, vient rappeler la seule signification de la révolution. A peine quelques jours après l’installation du nouveau président, cet arrêt de travail, dans le secteur public productif, vient rappeler que les luttes sociales sont au cœur de l’occupation révolution de la place #Tahrir en 2011.

  • El Haqed, #Morocco's #hip_hop revolutionary

    By dragging the rapper to court for his incendiary lyrics, the state isn’t silencing him, it is drawing attention to his work

    Since the initial popularity of Moroccan rapper El Haqed’s incendiary lyrics calling out police corruption and the oppression of the monarchy, he and his music have become one of the dominant public voices of the Moroccan protest movement.

    Morocco’s revolutionary story has been granted a lot less media focus internationally than some of its north African neighbours, partly because of how crafty the regime has been in creating the veneer of democratic reform while maintaining an oppressive political and economic hold, trying to deftly spin its way out of a full-on #Tahrir situation. El Haqed, best translated as “the indignant”, has, through both his songs and his arrests, managed to highlight the real nature of the Moroccan regime.