Monday, 21 February 2011

Libya - A Prayer for the People

Dear Reader, 

Recently I submitted a comical (allegedly) post about the the domino effect in it's various forms. One of those was of a political variety. It seems that another domino effect is taking place in the Middle East as we speak. 

I think it only fair that I apologise in advance for the number of hyper-links in this post. By it's very nature, there is a lot of supplemental information floating around my simplistic overview of what is occurring. This whole re-defining, (if that is the appropriate phrase), of power bases throughout the Middle East, (and potentially beyond) requires a lot more supplemental information than I can easily paraphrase in a single post. 

Firstly Tunisia, whose 23 year regime fell in a largely bloodless overthrow. Interestingly a leak from Wikileaks has been cited as one of the the key influences for this uprising, which is (in my opinion), an under documented positive result from Julian Assange and his colleagues. Important in this uprising was the support of the military, who decided that suppressing this uprising by force would not be the right way to go. Just to balance this, it should also be pointed out that when Tunisia's leader Zine_El_Abidine_Ben_Ali came to power, it was a as a result of a similar shift in military support.

So onto Egypt, whose 18 days of largely peaceful demonstration led to the eventual deposing of President Husni Mubarrak. This result did not come without a fight however. A fight fought on many fronts, utilising the existing control he still held over communications (i.e mobile phones and the internet) and the more traditional violent route. Again, crucially the military held sway, now in temporary power until a new power structure is put into place on a democratic footing.

Onto Bahrain, whose current situation is better than it was a couple of days ago. Again, the military, and crucially, the police have stood down, allowing peaceful protest and a dialogue is opening between the ruling Royal Family and the protesters.

It should be noted that this upsurge in demonstration is also being felt in Yemen and Morocco. Quite a domino effect I think you will agree.

So, onto the reason for the post, Libya. This country is also gripped in a storm of rebellion, typified by a leader who has long outstayed his welcome. The key difference between the examples cited above and Libya is that the military are not the tools of government, they are the government. 

Colonel Gaddafi has been in power in Libya since 1969. He has resisted numerous attempts to remove him, including US bombing raids in response to the 1986 Berlin Discoteque Bombing which Libya was thought to be a sponsor of. Libya was also thought to be a sponsor of the Lockerbie bombing, so not the most pro-Western regime in the world.

He has also resisted rigorous economic and political sanctions from the UN, when it comes to holding onto power whilst breathe is still in the body, he seems to be a professional clinger.

Clearly things aren't running as smoothly (if you are a protester) here. Reports of widespread slaughter are rife. Although it is comforting to hear that two Libyan jet pilots have defected to Malta, the reasons why are not so comforting. Having been given orders to bomb protesting civilians, they chose not to.

I am, as I write this, listening to a live feed from the BBC. Reports of protesters being bombed and genocide in the streets of Tripoli are not encouraging. This coming from the entire Libyan delegation to the UN, pleading for international intervention to stop the genocide.

So, no comedy here, apologies for that, but there doesn't appear to be anything to laugh about. Colonel Gaddaffi may be at this point fleeing to Venezuela, (let's hope so) but more importantly lets hope that some of the stories flooding out of Libya are not as bad as they sound.

My prayers, (such as they are) are with you along with I'm sure those of my readers. A swift and peaceful resolution to this situation is the only acceptable outcome.

Back soon, dear reader with a more (hopefully) positive post.


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