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BLITZER’S BLOG: Arab Spring, who would have predicted?
October 20th, 2011
04:38 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Arab Spring, who would have predicted?

(CNN) - It’s truly amazing to see the dramatic changes that occurred in North Africa and the Middle East this year. Gadhafi, bin Laden, al-Awlaki dead. Mubarak in jail. Other despots have fled or are on the verge of being removed from power. Bashar al-Assad brutally fighting for his survival in Syria.

Anyone who would have predicted these changes a year ago would have been dismissed as weird.

That helps explain why it’s so risky to make any long- or even short-term predictions about the Middle East right now. I have no idea what the region will look like in the next six months. It sounds trite, but the power of the people – especially the young people - is truly revolutionary.

“The events of this entire year in that region of the world have spoken more dramatically than any individual could about where the future lies in that region,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “and it’s a future that lies with the youth of the region and those who are demanding greater democracy, greater accountability from their governments, greater freedom.”

And Carney added: “That’s as true in Syria as it is in Libya.”

I assume al-Assad is watching Libya very nervously right now.

Post by:
Filed under: Libya • Middle East • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Rutuja

    I agree though that it would ienedd be laughable if anyone were to make such a claim. Perhaps you can explain the relevance of the absence of NATO/imperialist altruism to the development of events in Libya when you come to answer. Greg M that is exactly what I meant. Fran the intervention by NATO in the events of Libya means they must have an agenda, the reason given of protecting the people of Libya, (from themselves) is utter nonsense.The imperialists don't intervene in anything unless there is something in it for them. Gadaffi wasn't doing as he was told, maybe. To try and analyse this than anything else but more hegemony by the west, but WITH military force in this case, is laughable.Give it a few weeks and the members of NATO will be arguing over the spoils.Give it a few months and another Gadaffi will be running the show.

    March 5, 2012 at 12:48 am |
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    November 30, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  3. bill levy

    I am very sorry that so much time and energy is being spent bemoaning the posssibility that Gaddafi might have been killed by the rebels instead of being accidental shot in a crossfire.

    I feel the same about this man as I feel about a serial killer or rapist. He has killed hundreds of innocent Amerians aboard Pan Am 103 over Scotland and has bombed a German cafe frequented by American soldiers.

    He was a killer and he deserves death not the wailing of Western naitons especially Americans. The rights which we have fought so hard to preserve would be in jeopardy by the despots of Iran, Syria, Libya and Egypt.

    As Handel wrote and my bible proclaims, "Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice".

    Bill Levy

    October 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  4. Griff

    "Iran is isolated in all it's situations, and can't really do anything about it. Why is CNN and the USA can't look at things the way I do. Dubai/ Emerates is/are the most powerful country-mix. They just about own the Gulf!"

    October 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  5. roman


    You are taking sides of anti Obama regarding Iraq withdrawal. Are you taking side of Israel Lobby/AIPAC who want to drag us into another war ... this time with Iran.

    Please have both sides speak – don't use that megaphone for your personal views.


    October 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  6. Peter Bright

    The US completely out of Iraq by the end of the year...The lies nine years ago about the "weapons-of-mass-destruction" sure were worth thousands of lives lost, maimed, a Trillion dollars and our own (save Haliburton) economic collapse.

    If you haven't read Eisenhower's Military-Industrial Complex Speech recently, or ever, so...Iraq, and our other current "action" were avoidable.

    October 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Tom

    Shame on you for showing such violent images and video, non-stop of Gadhafi. It is offensive. Are you thinking of the children walking through our homes, while we are tuned into CNN?

    October 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  8. Little Tin God

    Why is everybody so excited about the "Arab Spring" thing? What democratic (and friendly to the US) government has surfaced where these "uprisings" have occurred? I'm pretty sure that we'll see Muslim Theocracies forming just like that in Iran and we'll end up worse than we were before they started.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  9. Rich

    I am a bit skeptical because at one time the leaders who are now dead were once beloved by the same people who killed them. Times change and there is absolutely no guarantee that what is to replace these now obsolete leaders will be any better for the world or even the country.

    The problem with over throwing a government is that the new one has to be built from the ground up with little or no assets and while the people sit by hungry for change their stomachs are growling from emptiness. If there is no money to rebuild then what exactly have they accomplished? A broke government is no more stable then a useless one. Only time will tell what is to become of these lands and the people that reside their will suffer greatly before things get any better.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  10. Paul

    These people are not yet ready for decent government. In 2 years we will look back and wonder how some were so naive to think it would be better for the Arabs. There will be new dictators and no improvement for the people.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |

    I think the President encouraged some of this, in his powerful speech to the arab world, in Cairo, Egypt. He spoke to the old and young alike. The young educated had the arab spring in their hearts already. He (President) just spoke to it.....God Bless America! God Bless the world!
    Obama 2012!!

    October 21, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  12. cigarman

    Uh OH I stand corrected, I forgot about Alawaki, OBAMA Four, Bush and the Republicans OOOOOOOOOOAll Zeros.

    October 21, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  13. cigarman

    Like I said yesterday, OBAMA Three, Bush and the Republicans , OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALL ZEROS>

    October 21, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  14. andrew

    who would of predicted the Arab Spring? Hmmmmmm? I do not know. How about President George W Bush. I seem to recall him and his administration saying that by putting a Arab Democracy in place in the middle of the middle east would inspire others in the area to seek democracy and freedom.

    Does anyone else remember this? I do.

    October 21, 2011 at 2:00 am |
  15. Griff

    "So that means it would be better in debates if nobody spoke when others ran out of things to say, then you would have more time for boring advertising??"

    October 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  16. Griff

    "Out of context, sorry! But just because Qaddafi is dead, does not mean he is still not a leader! All I hear ing the USA, is all this confusion of a guy who was shot called King!!!"

    October 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  17. Sam

    Most of the Muslim world has been saying for years that they are capable of bringing about change if the US and the West stop propping these rulers. Muslims are intelligent enough to know what is in their best interest and value democracy.

    October 20, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  18. Dreamer96

    It's a good thing, this Arab spring. These countries have a chance to be better now, I hope they treat they women better, find ways to coexist with each other, but in the end we need to understand and let the people of Tunisa, Egypt, Libya, and even Irag, and Afghanistan, do the rebuilding, it's their country, we can help if they want it, but the U.S. should stop meddling, or Nation Building in other countries, after the Dictator is gone....

    October 20, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • jay

      I agree. We can't completely ignore them. We have to stay engage and build alliance, otherwise, another dictator can easily pop up.

      October 21, 2011 at 6:04 am |
  19. Raza

    Wolf, Thsis is great, Good job. Sure Syrai, Yemen next, but why stop there. There are repressive Middle Eastern Monarchs who have been brutally ruling over their people for far much longer. They are allies so they are good guys, right? Wolf, you there?

    October 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  20. dan in albuquerque

    Don't count your chickens. The strong minority backers of Iran's militant Islamic regime wll do everything they can to foment takeover by extremists again in all these countries. Only when the majority wants true freedom instead of religious despotism will true Democracy rule.

    October 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  21. Graham M

    I suspect history will look back someday and note US President Obama may have been the ignition point or spark in the so-called Arab Spring with his visit and speech in Egypt at the beginning of his Presidential term. It might be pure folly to under estimate the impact at that critical moment in time.

    October 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jean Sartre

      You knocked it right out of the park!

      October 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  22. Griff

    |I know my ancestral kids wont praise the USA and Obama for Libya. They are sick of the USA, always ignoring their in put. You were too far away to be a real ally in Libya, much like in Yugslavia 20yrs ago.|

    October 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  23. vic , nashville ,tn

    Obama made many smart move on right time , Gadhafi, Bin Laden, al-Awlaki dead yes cost for US less compare to remove Saddam Hussein

    October 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  24. Helena Shin

    Dear Mr. Wolf,

    It is ludiicrous to suggest that the United States can legally "recover" monies for its military expenditures in Libya by deducting the amounts from the frozen Libyan assets. The military aid was given unilaterally (a gift), without a contract for payment for the services rendered.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jean Sartre

      The USA will find a way to Pre-date that CONTRACT...

      October 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • pork chops

      The Libyans are already vowing to repay the US thew one billion spent on their behalf.

      October 21, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  25. Griff

    "I also think your readers are getting a little confused Wolf. There will never be Democracy in North Africa, only the illusion of same. Saui, and the Emerates won`t let it happen, and Lizzi Of London is also still very sick on Kingdoms.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  26. Griff

    "And now you have Turkey wanting curdish land. You were supporting the curds against Sadam. Next Syria will make it difficult for Turkey, so you will need more alliance from two conflicts, to help protect Iraq again from Iran.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  27. George

    I have just had the so called last straw. What does it take for you to get the massage. You keep driving the same question over & over. It is none of your or our business for how the man was killed. They were in a combat situation in thier country. just leave it alone Wolf and stick to news not invistagation

    October 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  28. laura

    Geez Wolf. You ask the Libyan guy about Gadhafi's death & you keep cutting him off by asking some stupid questions. Why can't you news guys let a guest finished his answer before cutting them off with another.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Sefa

      Turkey was a wonderful role model until the uerrcnt Islamicists got into power.' as OBR said above. For example, Turkish government's almost always had good relations with Israel (just like Egypt under U.S. realist backed Mubarak) while the people of Turkey wanted diplomatic relations ended with the country that was conducting a vicious war of naked aggression for the conquest of greater Israel. Now all this is gone with the wind and it won't be coming back. What's next for Libya is the fulfillment of the demands that had people taking to the streets in the first place. The region wide revolution for bourgeois democracy will roll on with it's region wide and relatively backward characteristics. Political struggle will develop as it has in Iraq, and is right now in Tunisia, and as it will in Bahrain, Syria and Iran etc.. The first Tunisian democratic elections will be held next Sunday. 3000 volunteers have been trained to man the polling stations.10,000 candidates.100 different political parties.Voting by proportional representation.Voters will dip their fingers into purple dye.Remember Iraq, January 2005? Those stained fingers shame the pseudo-left to this day and they will next week in Tunisia.

      March 5, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  29. Chris Belton

    Will there be blood test to confirm it was Gadhafi that was killed today and also blood tests to determine what substances, if any, were in his blood system that may explain his strange behavior towards his people and in past interviews?

    October 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Jean Sartre

      It could be rather strange if we found out a week or so from now the the person who was killed was a Gadhafi double!

      October 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  30. Belinda

    Whoa! Slow down Wolf!! The rapid fire way you interviewed the Libyan Ambassador left me out of breath!! You were a bit rude – hardly let the Ambassador answer!! Take it easy, man!

    October 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  31. Griff

    I nearly called Jack Cadafi?? "So now what do you really think will happen in Lybia? Well I think if Saif isn't captured, he'll make marta of his dad, and if he has tens of miilion's he can lay his hands on, he'll hit and hit when it's most un expected. As for the whole of the middle east: it will turn into another europe of the 1800's, they'll never stop waging war."

    October 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  32. manny oliver

    Lets hope Libya finds democracy in its new government!

    October 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm |

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