It seems this Friday just happened to be another Friday, in that, once again a few Arabs, seemed to be a little pissed off with the ‘promised’ pace in the Arab Spring’s reforms and progress…

First off, from Tunisia…

Tunisian rally faces off tear gas

…Tunisian police used teargas yesterday to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators demanding progress in reforms promised after the president’s removal in the first of the Arab Spring revolutions.

More than 700 protesters gathered in Kasbah square in the centre of the Tunisian capital but were quickly dispersed by hundreds of police officers in riot gear. Protesters shouted “We are not afraid” as police pushed them out of the square, where Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi has his office.

Protests also took place in Sidi Bouzid, the central Tunisian town where a vegetable seller set himself on fire last December, setting in train protests that brought to an end the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

From Egypt…

Egyptians extend protests at Tahrir Square

Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, after a week of demonstrations, to tell the ruling generals they are failing to meet demands to reform the system…

From Syria…

1 Million Protesters Push Syria’s Assad to the Brink…

An estimated 1 million Syrians took to the streets Friday to press for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, whose use of force and offers of dialogue have failed to stop a four-month revolt. At least 32 protesters were killed around the country, including more than 20 in the capital of Damascus…

From Jordan…

Jordanian police beat up journalists covering demonstration

…At least 10 people, mostly journalists, were injured yesterday when police tried to stop clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and government supporters in central Amman.
Police used batons to disperse the clashes outside city hall, beating and injuring nine journalists who were wearing orange vests marked “press,” an AFP reporter at the scene witnessed. The wounded included an AFP photographer and a female activist.
“We were beaten by police, although we were wearing special press vests,” said the photographer. “We thought we would be safe when we stood next to the police and away from the clashes.”
A photographer who works for another international news agency said he was ordered by police not to take pictures, while New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim was beaten by 10 policemen.
Around 2,000 people, including Islamists and youth groups, marched from the nearby Al Husseini mosque to the city hall before the clashes occurred with hundreds of government supporters.
“Rulers, we want to reform the regime. We want the palace to hear the voices of Jordanians,” the demonstrators chanted.
They carried banners reading “We need political, economic and social reforms for future generations,” and “It’s our right to fight corruption.”

From Bahrain…

Thousands rally for political reform in Bahrain

Tens of thousands of Bahrainis shouting “one man, one vote” attended a rally for political reform held by a leading opposition party on Friday, days before the group decides whether to pull out of national reform talks. Bahrain’s Sunni rulers have launched a national dialogue to discuss reforms and heal deep rifts in the Gulf island kingdom…

Now, lets put some proper perspective on the problem…

More Harm Than Good…

…Now, before Tunisia and Egypt even have new governments in place, the IMF has jumped to offer them loans for vast infrastructure projects in the desert—as if the fund didn’t know that young Arabs there want ways to start businesses and have careers, not temporary construction jobs.

The Greek debacle and the North African drama raise existential questions about the IMF. Responsible governments have no business borrowing vast sums from abroad, rather than from domestic sources. That’s what tinpot regimes do. And lending even more to borrowers who can’t pay what they already owe? That’s what loan sharks and mafiosi do.

The IMF’s business model sabotages properly functioning capitalism, victimizing ordinary people while benefiting the elites. Do we need international agencies to enable irresponsible—verging on immoral—borrowing and lending? Instead of dreaming up too-clever-by-half schemes to stumble through crises after they happen, why not just stop imprudent banks from accommodating foreign borrowing by feckless governments? After all, it’s French and German taxpayers who are on the hook—not just the Greeks and the Irish…

Now, today in Libya, we’ve officially recognized the Rebels, freeing up the $34 Billion that we had froze, shortly after Qaddafi had announced that he was earmarking that specified amount to the African Development Bank…

U.S. formally recognizes rebel group as Libya’s government

…The chief effect of recognition may be financial. The rebels have been pleading with Washington and other governments for months to release frozen Libyan assets, including $34 billion held in U.S. banks, and that now appears increasingly likely.

At the Istanbul meeting, France said it was taking steps to unfreeze $250 million, while Italy said it was moving to unfreeze $100 million. U.S. officials said it would take time to release the Libyan money because of legal restrictions, but the task is easier if the council is the recognized government.

The rebels have said they need $3.5 billion this year to prosecute the war and administer the cities and towns they control.

Here’s a juicy little tidbit about those very same Al QaedaLibyan Rebels…

Now, speaking about ‘prosecuting’ and ‘administering the cities and towns they control’. The House of Saud is in full panic mode…

Saudis Seeking Arms amid Growing Fears

Saudi Arabia’s hunger for weapons has grown with the upcoming US withdrawal from Iraq and instability in Yemen and Bahrain.

…”Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries in general realize that they must rely on themselves to defend themselves during this critical period marked by the beginning of a US withdrawal from Iraq,” said Anwar Eshki, director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies. [...]

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has traditionally bought US and British arms, but it showed no hesitation in contacting a new supplier, Berlin, with which it is negotiating the purchase of 200 Leopard tanks, according to reports in Germany.

The order is worth some two billion Euros ($2.8 billion), German magazine Der Spiegel said on its website.

“The kingdom is looking for weapons in Germany and even in Russia, knowing that with the vacuum left by the Americans in Iraq, Iran might begin to extend its influence to the Levant reaching out to the Mediterranean sea,” said Eshki.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, whose country sent about 1,500 troops to Bahrain, freeing up local security forces to crush a month-long uprising, recently reiterated Riyadh’s rejection of “foreign adventures” in Bahrain.

“Persian [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) states have strategy to maintain their security,” Faisal said on July 5…

As, b at M of A, pointed out some of the unique features of those 200 Main Battle Tanks…

German Tanks For Saudi ‘Peace Support Operations’

…But the question is not really about a $1+ billion tank deal with the Saudi, they do have lots of U.S. build M1A1 as well as British Challengers and could easily get more, the question is about the specific version of this first class tank the Saudis have asked for.

The Leopard II A7+ (PSO) variant was specifically developed for “Peace Support Operations”. Such Orwellian termed operations, as this video of a pretty lousy military show depicts, consist of suppressing demonstrations and rebellions as well as general fighting in urban terrain.

Hmmm… Yeppers, it’s all those pesky Iranians fault…

Btw, can we finally be rid of this annoying Beach Boy earworm…?

…There is almost “near certainty” that Netanyahu is “planning an attack [on Iran] … and it will probably be in September before the vote on a Palestinian state. And he’s also hoping to draw the United States into the conflict,” Baer explained.

….It should be noted that the Iranian regime is quite capable of triggering a war with the United States on its own through some combination of colossal stupidity and sheer hatred. In fact, Baer says, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would welcome a war. They are “paranoid.” They are “worried about … what’s happening to their country economically, in terms of the oil embargo and other sanctions.” And they are worried about a population that increasingly despises the regime.

They need an external enemy. Because we are leaving Iraq, it’s Israel. But in order to make this threat believable, they would love an attack on their nuclear facilities, love to go to war in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and Iraq and hit us where they could. Their defense is asymmetrical. We can take out all of their armored units. It’s of little difference to them, same with their surface-to-air missile sites. It would make little difference because they would use terrorism. They would do serious damage to our fleet in the Gulf.

Given all that, is it possible that the United States would allow Israel to attack when the president knows “we would be forced” to join the war on Israel’s side?

Baer’s response: “the President is up for re-election next year” and Israel is “truly out of control.”

What happens when you see 100 F-16′s approaching Iraq and there is a call to the White House [from Netanyahu] that says “We’re going in, we’re at war with Iran”? What does the President of the United States do? He has little influence over Bibi Netanyahu. …We can’t stop him. And he knows it.

Hmmm…! I suppose not…!

Now, this was some great news which actually did instill some hope in my cold, cynical heart…

Thousands of Israelis and Arabs march in Jerusalem to support Palestinian independence…

Several MKs participate in the ‘March for Independence,’ the first such Jewish-Arab event in 20 years…

Arab League seeking full status for Palestine at UN…

The Arab League will ask the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status, a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar said yesterday. “It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership,” said the communique.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the move, saying if the Palestinians really wanted peace, “they would sit down for negotiations, without preconditions. There is no replacement for negotiations. Unilateral steps will not bring peace closer and will not bring any solution.”

Even the ever-odious Mustache of Fury just had to chime in… …PA bid for UN recognition means ‘next to nothing’…

*gah*