Egypt’s elections seem to have come off with much less violence than feared. But talk of boycott by liberal groups was unnerving, and it will be tense when results are announced to see if they are accepted by all major parts of the electorate.
Meanwhile, Syria is drifting toward civil war, but that war may be brief. The combination of sanctions and conflicts is eating up Syria’s budget and dragging down its economy; the opposition is growing stronger and more aggressive day by day; and it seems only a matter of time before business elites in Aleppo and Damascus say “enough” and joint the effort to force Assad to step down.
However, it will likely require an international agreement and perhaps international peace keepers to keep a post-Assad transition from leading to a sectarian civil war; so let’s hope those plans are being made.
It is very helpful that Turkey has come out so strongly in favor of the populace and against sultanistic rulers in the region. But it would be even better if Turkey were to be mindful of its own human rights record. There the news is not so happy; actions against pro-Kurdish groups and journalists critical of the regime are creating a climate of fear and distrust. PM Erdogan needs to be reminded that while the world is grateful to Turkey for its work to promote human rights and civilian safetly in the region, Turkey would be even more persuasive as a model and regional leader if its own record on human rights was exemplary.