Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Morning Twitter Messages -- June 5

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers and NPR just aired a feature with interviews of his widow and Julian Bond. I didn't expect that after all this time I could be as deeply moved as I am at the moment. I was only nineteen at the time and was just getting into the civil rights movement and this story brought back memories of those days. As someone said a few years later I was being deprovincialized. Grabbing a few Twitter messages will help me calm down this morning.

Aiman Ismail Assistant Professor and Jameel Chair of Entrepreneurship at AUC The American University in Cair Just got back from the World Economic Forum in the Dead Sea, Jordan
  1.  major international investors will not look at egypt as a potential FDI destination until three conditions are in place: political stability, security, and rule of law. However, they all see the potential and are eager to invest in egypt.
  2.  in the mean time, egypt is "too important to fail," so aid will continue flow to ensure that the economy doesn't completely collapse ; however, Egypt is also "too big to float," so aid won't go beyond survival levels - no real investments until the three per-requisites above are in place.
  3.  credibility of the current government is all but gone. They often have very cordial discussions with international donors, banks, investors, etc, but they don't follow through on their promises. Nobody believes them or trusts them anymore. The 5 ministers attending came under strong attacks from investors and other participants.
  4. there is no appetite for military coups in general, and the military knows it loud and clear. Any future role for the military will be very short and only in a severe crisis situation, or better, behind the scenes.
  5.  no IMF loan in the horizon. IMF people don't trust the current negotiators. Most of the competent negotiators on behalf of egypt have already quit. The government doesn't seem to be willing to do the necessary reforms to balance the budget; they don't like to pay the political price. So they're digging us deeper into the debt and deficit hole. 
  6.  minister of finance was scheduled to be on a panel discussing energy subsidies, but did not show up. IMF advice was that subsidies must be removed, but gradually to avoid big social or political shocks.
  7.  the regional map is likely to change in the next two years. The US will put heavier military weight behind the Syrian rebels, and is also likely to re-engage in the Israeli Palestinian negotiations.
Go to this account for an excellent overview of events in Turkey.


Those with Twitter accounts, open the message and 
click on "View conversation" for messages to which this is a response.

Encomium for the outgoing president of Iran. Maybe he was just what the religious establishment needed to get keep a nominally Muslim population in line, even if their faith was almost too thin to notice.
For someone who presided over the imprisonment of his competitors in the last presidential election, and routinely trolled sensible people everywhere by denying the Holocaust, this has been a humbling decline. Having arrived with a bang, Ahmadinejad now seems fated to depart with a whimper. But if that comes as a disappointment to the president's supporters in Iran, it really shouldn't come as a surprise. Ahmadinejad, after all, was an unrepentant populist in a country where authentic populism has enormous odds stacked against it. It’s not that Ahmadinejad wasn’t effective at expressing a mixture of religious fealty and crude nationalism—it’s that Iran’s political system discovered it simply couldn’t tolerate the combination.
...Ahmadinejad has always been an extraordinarily skilled populist, with a particular talent for reflecting the concerns and aspirations of Iran's lower-middle-class masses. He looks like them (shaggy beard) and dresses like them (baggy clothes). For the vast majority of his life, he lived like them, in a simple household with traditional manners and gender divisions. Above all, he talks like them; his speeches and interviews are always laced with familiar, sometimes crude, Persian vernacular.

Ahmadinejad even inhabits downtrodden Iranians' style of religiosity, in which Islam is fluently translated into a provincial Persian idiom. For the country's ruling clerics, Islamic morality is naturally conveyed through study of the original Arabic source material; but for Ahmadinejad, and the many millions like him in Iran, the ethics of Islam are more a matter of lived experience—something that consists in custom and superstition, and shows of obligation at the bazaar and the neighborhood shrine. The relevant quality of Ahmadinejad's religiosity never seemed to be the purity of his belief, but the depth of his piety. And that has always allowed him to stump in two distinct registers, Islamist and nationalist, at the same time.

This worked well enough to get him elected once (if not twice). But when it came to translating this sensibility into policy, the seams inevitably began to show. In office, Ahmadinejad was forced repeatedly into making a choice between his commitments to the clergy and the interests of the broader public. Ahmadinejad was perfectly capable, for instance, of defending Iran's right to a nuclear program as an abstract proposition. But when international sanctions began to bite, Iranians concerned about their economic well-being would have preferred he find a diplomatic way to prevent the country from becoming an international pariah. Instead, Ahmadinejad pursued a course of economic isolation that mostly appealed to the sorts of Iranians pre-disposed to Shiite notions of martyrdom and ideological suspicions of Western infidels.

The promotion highlights Obama's willingness to stand by Rice despite intense Republican criticism of her role in disseminating information in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that ultimately proved misleading.
Republicans want red meat. Let them chew on this. 

In his first press conference after winning re-election in November, Obama tore into Rice's Republican critics. "If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me," he said. "But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous."

The sentiment followed a pledge by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and others to check the ambassador's influence and ascendance. "I want to make sure that we don't promote anybody that was an essential player in the Benghazi debacle," Graham said.

A consummate Obama insider, Rice took a gamble in 2007 by supporting the president over then-frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. On the campaign trail, she led candidate Obama's foreign-policy team and the two "emailed and spoke constantly," according toJames Traub, who profiled her in the pages of Foreign Policy last year.

Those who imagine Assad is losing are not paying attention. Good map at the link. And it seems Hezbollah's gambit may be paying off.  

No comments:

Post a Comment