Middle East

 2011 is already history and will remain a historical turning point in international affairs, enthuses Eric Walberg

A Tunisian fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in a public square in a small town in December 2010, sparking protests that brought down dictators in Tunisia and Egypt , and began a tidal wave of change both in the Middle East and farther afield. Add in the 2011 American withdrawal from Iraq and failed attempts to subdue Afghanistan and Iran, and the writing on the wall for empire is written boldly — in blood.

 This week Tunisia’s constitutional assembly elected 66-year-old Moncef Marzouki, a former dissident who was imprisoned and then exiled in France, as Tunisia’s first president after the fall of Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali. Marzouki told Tunisians he “represents a country, a people, a revolution ... I know you will hold me to account.” As president, he will be a progressive secular counterweight to the moderate Islamist party Al-Nahda (renaissance), now Tunisia's dominant political force.

As people of conscience around the world marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, ever new actions help bring Palestinians closer to achieving a state of dignity, says Eric Walberg

Just in case there was an iota of doubt left in your mind, Israel was officially declared an apartheid state during a session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Cape Town on 7 November.

US friendly fire knows no bounds. The deaths of Pakistan soldiers and civilians is just the tip of the iceberg, which will only disappear in the heat of a national uprising, putting an end to Pakistan's neocolonial dependency, says Eric Walberg

Morocco beats the other Arab Spring nations to a constitution and elections, with mixed results

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html