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Secretary Clinton Gives Arab Leaders Reality Check


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DOHA, Qatar — U.S. Secretary of State Hillarious Rodham Clinton on Thursday delivered a stark warning to Arab leaders that they will face growing unrest, extremism and even rebellion unless they quickly address depleting oil and water reserves and enact real economic and political reform.

Wrapping up a four-nation tour of U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf with unusually blunt remarks to a regional development conference in the Qatari capital of Doha, Clinton said economic and political space must be opened up for the Arab world's exploding youth population, women and minorities.

Without that, respect for human rights, improved business climates and an end to pervasive corruption, she said young people and others will increasingly turn to radicalism and violence that will bleed outside the region, threatening not only Middle Eastern stability and security but the rest of the world.

"In too many places, in too many ways, the region's foundations are sinking into the sand," she told officials at the Forum for the Future conference. "The new and dynamic Middle East ... needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere."

Clinton made her comments after visiting the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen and Qatar. During her trip, civil unrest continued unabated in Tunisia and Algeria, Egypt remained tense after disputed elections and a political crisis hit Lebanon, underscoring what Clinton said where deep concerns about trends in the Middle East.

"While some countries have made great strides in governance, in many others, people have grown tired of corrupt institutions and a stagnant political order," she said. She appealed for leaders to heed calls to rein in rampant graft and offer all of their people a better way of life.

"Those who cling to the status quo may be able to hold back the full impact of their countries' problems for a little while, but not forever," Clinton said. "If leaders don't offer a positive vision and give young people meaningful ways to contribute, others will fill the vacuum."

"Extremist elements, terrorist groups and others who would prey on desperation and poverty are already out there appealing for allegiance and competing for influence," she said. "This is a critical moment and this is a test of leadership for all of us."

Improving the climate for business and outside investment is one approach, she said. Critical to that is fighting corruption, she said, reeling off a list of complaints about payoffs she had heard from businesspeople around the broader Middle East and North Africa.

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"There needs to be a concerted, constant chorus from the business community to end the corruption," Clinton said, her voice quavering with frustration.

At each of Clinton's stops in the Gulf, she met members of civil society, including women's rights activists, opposition leaders and students, encouraging them to speak out for reforms they see as necessary. She urged governments to listen to their citizens and to provide them job opportunities.

She hailed planning, development and innovation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and congratulated vibrant civic groups in Oman that have helped improve the standard of living to among the highest in the Arab world.

But the limits of Clinton's message were clear in Yemen, a fragile, politically closed and impoverished nation that is a critical U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. She said civil society in Yemen is viewed with deep suspicion by the government.

"There is not the level of cooperation that there needs to be to improve the lives of the Yemeni people and put Yemen on a firmer foundation going forward," she said.

Developments in Yemen appeared to underscore that concern.

A day after Clinton met Yemeni opposition leaders at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, authorities in Yemen announced Wednesday that citizens must get prior approval before entering a foreign embassy. Yemen's official news agency Saba said the conditions were security precautions and part of efforts to fight terrorism and to preserve the embassies' security.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/13/clinton-middle-east-faces_n_808522.html#

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DOHA, Qatar — U.S. Secretary of State Hillarious Rodham Clinton on Thursday delivered a stark warning to Arab leaders that they will face growing unrest, extremism and even rebellion unless they quickly address depleting oil and water reserves and enact real economic and political reform.

Wrapping up a four-nation tour of U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf with unusually blunt remarks to a regional development conference in the Qatari capital of Doha, Clinton said economic and political space must be opened up for the Arab world's exploding youth population, women and minorities.

Without that, respect for human rights, improved business climates and an end to pervasive corruption, she said young people and others will increasingly turn to radicalism and violence that will bleed outside the region, threatening not only Middle Eastern stability and security but the rest of the world.

"In too many places, in too many ways, the region's foundations are sinking into the sand," she told officials at the Forum for the Future conference. "The new and dynamic Middle East ... needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere."

Clinton made her comments after visiting the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen and Qatar. During her trip, civil unrest continued unabated in Tunisia and Algeria, Egypt remained tense after disputed elections and a political crisis hit Lebanon, underscoring what Clinton said where deep concerns about trends in the Middle East.

"While some countries have made great strides in governance, in many others, people have grown tired of corrupt institutions and a stagnant political order," she said. She appealed for leaders to heed calls to rein in rampant graft and offer all of their people a better way of life.

"Those who cling to the status quo may be able to hold back the full impact of their countries' problems for a little while, but not forever," Clinton said. "If leaders don't offer a positive vision and give young people meaningful ways to contribute, others will fill the vacuum."

"Extremist elements, terrorist groups and others who would prey on desperation and poverty are already out there appealing for allegiance and competing for influence," she said. "This is a critical moment and this is a test of leadership for all of us."

Improving the climate for business and outside investment is one approach, she said. Critical to that is fighting corruption, she said, reeling off a list of complaints about payoffs she had heard from businesspeople around the broader Middle East and North Africa.

Story continues below

Advertisement

"There needs to be a concerted, constant chorus from the business community to end the corruption," Clinton said, her voice quavering with frustration.

At each of Clinton's stops in the Gulf, she met members of civil society, including women's rights activists, opposition leaders and students, encouraging them to speak out for reforms they see as necessary. She urged governments to listen to their citizens and to provide them job opportunities.

She hailed planning, development and innovation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and congratulated vibrant civic groups in Oman that have helped improve the standard of living to among the highest in the Arab world.

But the limits of Clinton's message were clear in Yemen, a fragile, politically closed and impoverished nation that is a critical U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. She said civil society in Yemen is viewed with deep suspicion by the government.

"There is not the level of cooperation that there needs to be to improve the lives of the Yemeni people and put Yemen on a firmer foundation going forward," she said.

Developments in Yemen appeared to underscore that concern.

A day after Clinton met Yemeni opposition leaders at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, authorities in Yemen announced Wednesday that citizens must get prior approval before entering a foreign embassy. Yemen's official news agency Saba said the conditions were security precautions and part of efforts to fight terrorism and to preserve the embassies' security.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/13/clinton-middle-east-faces_n_808522.html#

Thanks for the post. She has a very good point, it is legitimate. Problem is simple...although there is likely many

there that would agree with her statements, do not think for a minute they are also NOT thinking among themselves

the following:

"Thank you madam secretary for your comments, but it is difficult for us to take you serious when we see what your own

country is doing and how you need to heed your own advice".....they are correct in this thought.

We are trying to assist and guide these countries in their effort to embrace democratic principles, and we violate the very words

we say to them by our own irresponsible actions. To them, it just does not add up, and they are again correct.

All my best!

Jim

---

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Great news article Carrello ( + 1. ) It really underscores the difficulties that companies face ( especially western companies ) when dealing with M.E. countries , many of which expect a " tribute" be paid ( another way of saying bribe ) to their house for allowing them to do business in their country . Corruption , alone , is the biggest road sign against doing business there , but corporate greed always wins the day and they write these " tributes" into the contracts . So I'm fairly certain that Hillarious's speech sadly fell on deaf ears. It has been this way for thousands of years in this region , and one speech ( by a woman they have no respect for ) will do little to change things , even when we all agree with her point of view .

Thanks again Carrello and keep up the great article hunting !

Uncle Barkie :D

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its all planned pre-written jargon to camoflauge the real reason she is there... she went to Doha??? why? on the way to Iraq why? Just to say - "you guys need to do a better job promoting fairness for your citizens?" cmon there is more to that she is sec of state on a mission...her presence was required to cement the dealings

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