Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
2005.03.02 : The Baghdad Wall Is Down

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. . . . The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
         - Walid Jumblatt, Lebanese Druze leader

     The following headlines (with excerpts therefrom) all appeared on a single page in the International section of the Guardian. (Yes, you heard that right – The Guardian.)

Protests force out Lebanese government
The Syrian government's hold on Lebanon was shaken last night when its placeman, the prime minister Omar Karami, was forced to resign after a wave of street protests . . . With Beirut halted by a general strike and tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets, Mr Karami announced the dissolution of his government, saying: "I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country."

Tel Aviv bomber's family shunned
Scores of chairs lined the rooms and corridors, and jugs of coffee and water and trays of figs were ready to welcome men paying their respects.
    But the family of Abdullah Badran, the 21-year-old who blew himself up at the entrance to a Tel Aviv nightclub on Friday, killing five Israelis, were left alone in their grief.
    For seven days after a burial a Palestinian family receives mourners, normally a big social even involving colourful banners and patriotic music.
    But yesterday seven members of the family occupied the otherwise empty chairs and when asked if Abdullah's death had achieved anything they all shoook their heads, and one said no in English . . .
    Sami Qadan said the whole town was shocked and angered by the bombing and in protest no one was paying respects to the family.
    "Things were getting better and then no sooner do we have money coming in again then it is stopped by this suicide bombing. This intifada has killed us . . . and we want it to stop."

Blair meets Abbas as No 10
The prime minister, Tony Blair, held talks at Downing Street last night with the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, on the eve of an international conference in London aimed at preparing the Palestinian Authority for eventual peace negotiations with Israel.
    A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Abbas had condemned the Tel Aviv bombing that killed five Israelis last Friday and had promised to bring the perpetrators to justice . . .
    The remit of the London conference is . . . reform of the Palestinian security services, the economy and government.

A new Egypt waits to be born
. . . On Saturday, Hosni Mubarak, the president since 1981, amazed his compatriots by proposing a multi-party presidential election for the first time in Egyptian history.
    "I took the reins of this initiative in order to start a new era of reform," Mr Mubarak said. "The president will be elected through direct, secret ballotting, opening the opportunity for political parties to run." He was convinced, he said, "of the need to consolidate efforts for more freedom and democracy" . . .
    Reformers have been putting pressure on Mr Mubarak with increasing vigour . . . the street-level Kifaya (Enough) movement, which has taken inspiration from similarly named activist groups in Serbia and Ukraine, and most recently in Lebanon.


    Additionally, this from the New York Times:

Saudi Shiites Look to Iraq and Assert Rights
. . . The fact that Shiites, at least in this city, their main center, no longer feel the need to hide reflects a combination of important changes here and elsewhere in the Middle East.
     The most important include the emergence of an elected Shiite majority government next door in Iraq, the campaign for municipal elections here in the country's first nationwide polls and a relaxation in some of the discrimination that Shiites have long faced in the kingdom.
     Sheik Hassan al-Saffar, a dissident Shiite cleric who has been jailed and spent the 15 years before 1995 in exile, spoke for an hour in one candidate's campaign tent on the first big night of electioneering. Even limited elections are important, he said, "because they ignited in people's minds the spark of thinking about their interests and aspirations."
     Sheik Saffar also drew parallels to Iraq, saying voting was the least Saudis could do, considering the risks their brethren had taken next door to exercise this new freedom.


    And, finally, this from the Washington Post:

A Tyrant Cornered
AS THE MIDDLE East changes all around him, Syrian President Bashar Assad still tries to play by the old rules . . . such tactics have been defeated by an emerging Arab movement of people power. The 8 million Iraqis who turned out to vote, the Palestinians who have overwhelmingly supported the cease-fire with Israel, and the tens of thousands of Lebanese who have been marching and camping in the center of Beirut have all proved more potent than assassinations and suicide bombs.
     The potential payoff is a big one: another free election in the Arab world this spring, an independent Lebanon and, just possibly, a change in Syria. The old, corrupt order in Beirut, as in Baghdad, is crumbling.


    Oh – and because I can't resist, here's a link to Mark Steyn's new piece in The Spectator, which does all the gloating I'm too, erm, polite to do. The last two paragraphs are worth the price of admission alone.
  israel     middle east     excerpts     iraq     the long war  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs

ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Seven - Death of Empires, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eight - Empire of the Dead by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : NEMESIS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Nine - Cataclysm by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eleven - Deathmatch by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Twelve - Carnage by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Thirteen - The Siege by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Fourteen - Endgame by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Fickisms
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