"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday...

...to one of my favorite blogs. The other day, Nasser Arrabyee celebrated the first anniversary of his blog. I know I have said this before, but his is an extremely valuable work- top-notch journalism and analysis. Required reading on Yemen.

In light of that, here is an article of his about the trials and tribulations of southern leaders.  In it, you see that various leaders are being sentenced, denounced as traitors even as they insist these are political show trials.  Those being sentenced include former Parliamentarians and even an Ambassador.  

This is usually the beginning of the end for a regime.  This isn't the first time, god knows, that Salih's enemies find themselves in prison.  But the Southern Movement is obviously growing, and the regime is creating rallying points for secessionists, and at the same time essentially confirming southern propaganda.   It is as if you accused me of being a hot-head, and I was so upset by the accusation I punched you and your dog in the face. 

I am not trying to say that this regime will fall because of these trials- but historically these moves resemble panic and create a series of self-fulfilling prophecies.  More phony trials lead to more protests decrying injustice.  Protests are quashed, many are arrested, and you have more trials.   I have enormous sympathy for the Southern Movement, but they are not entirely in the clear here.  I find there calls for secession understandable, but unreasonable and potentially disastrous. (Partly because I don't think a suddenly independent southern state is feasible.)   But the onus is clearly on the President- he has the most power to put the plug back in this drain.   It is up to him to try to provide at least the barest modicum of trust.  These trials do exactly the opposite. 


  1. I can't agree that these type of show trials are, as you said, "usually the beginning of the end for a regime." The Bolsheviks solidified their hold on Russia and Stalin eliminated all the potentially "troubling" Old Bolsheviks. This isn't to say that the purges weren't damaging in the long-term (see: reaction to Operation Barbarosa) but they did not spell the end of the regime.

  2. Fair enough. If I might split hairs though, to try to defend myself, the Stalinist show-trials were a "pro-active" attempt to undercut any possible dissent. These trials, by Salih, are a panicky reaction to changing conditions, an attempt to stop a leak from becoming a flood. In this they more resemble the decadence of, say, East Germany or Romania, or any number of African countries. I think that is how they are different than the Stalin regime, but you make a good point.

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