Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘Mouammar Gaddafi’

Return to the Shadows

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 15th February, 2017

img_1933For those of us who monitor developments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, one of the most fascinating aspects of recent years has been the failure of what one might call mainstream Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood to fully capitalise on the so-called Arab Spring. True, in Egypt the Brotherhood triumphed in the post-Mubarak elections and Mohamed Morsi became President, but both he and the Brotherhood proved unfit for the task, leading to his overthrow (a military coup, but with widespread public support). In Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab awakening, An Nahda did get to have a share of power, but again had largely to withdraw after showing itself not up to the task. And in Libya, the Brotherhood never proved strong enough to be a main contender after Gaddafi’s fall from power. How and why this was the case is the subject of Alison Pargeter’s latest book, Return to the Shadows (Saqi, £16.99), which uses interview material as well as documentary research, meticulously referenced but put over in a style that will appeal to both academics and general readers alike. The author is particularly strong on the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, sober but incisive in her analysis and criticism, deftly recounting a story that has certain characteristics of a Greek tragedy. The sections on Libya and Tunisia are shorter and less powerful, but nonetheless fascinating. Overall, a significant achievement.


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Sarkozy’s Mediterranean Union

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 13th July, 2008

Gordon Brown went off to Paris today determined to persuade his EU counterparts to tighten the screws on Zimbabwe — quite right too, in view of the disgraceful volte-face by Russia re sanctions and the more predictable veto from China in the UN Security Council. But for the host of the Paris Summit, Nicolas Sarkozy, more important is the launch of his concept of a Mediterranean Union, grouping the entire EU with all the other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This idea came under fire when it seemed to be just targetted at southern European countries and their Mediterranean neighbours, but now that it has become the Barcelona Process with knobs on, it is a much more viable proposition. Moreover, President Sarkozy has seized the initiative in trying to coax some advance in the dealings between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Good luck to him.

The only spoilsport is Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, who has denounced the whole thing as a neo-colonial exercise. This is a shame, as Libya definitely has a potentially positive role to play, but the regime in Tripoli is sadly too blinkered to appreciate this.

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