Thursday, December 31, 2009

So Long 2009

Tom Gross: The three most important events of 2009

Posted by Oped 7 hours ago National Post| tom gross important events All — I was asked by Iran’s main opposition, pro-democracy website, Radio
Farda, which claims 8 million listeners daily in Iran, as well as a
strong online presence, to outline the three most important global
political events of 2009.(I joined journalists from The Guardian, Huffington Post, France24 and The Christian Science Monitor in doing so.)These were my choices, in their original English. (They appear on the website and were read out on air on Radio Farda in Persian.)(1) The unrest in Iran.
The widespread protests that have continued unabated since June’s
rigged presidential elections, now increasingly look like the
beginnings of what could turn into a full-fledged movement to overthrow
the entire Islamic Republic. Were Iranians to do this and bring in a
government that respected human rights, suspended its nuclear program,
and extended a hand of friendship to the West, to the Arab world, and
even to Israel, it would have enormous repercussions far beyond the
Middle East.
(2) The inauguration of Barack Obama:
but not for the reason others may give (i.e. he is the first
African-American president), but because he is the most inexperienced
president America has had for a long while – and it shows, especially
in foreign policy. Obama has already mishandled Russia, Eastern Europe,
China, the Arab world, Israel and Japan to name only some. I am a
believer in a strong America that supports democracies and doesn’t
coddle up to dictators, so let us hope Obama changes course in 2010.(3) The increased destabilization in Pakistan.
Although Pakistan’s army and secular elite are still firmly in control,
the increasing insurgency and terror attacks by al-Qaeda-inspired
Islamic radicals trying to take over a country which has a large
nuclear arsenal, is a cause for deep concern globally.

National Post

Tom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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