United Nations and Kingdoms in the Arabian Deserts

France sees Libya armed action with hours, Paris hints at speedy military action as US envoy to UN accuses Gaddafi of defying international demands for ceasefire. ( 19-Mar-2011 )

Western military forces are being deployed in Libya; England, France, the United States  and the Arab League have supported some form of military action/intervention; Russia and China have opposed it.  Much to my relief, the French and not the United States, have taken the lead and have been very aggressively pursuing military intervention.  But somehow it does not feel good, why does this have the feeling of colonialism to me?  I don’t know, but maybe because the nature of the opposition to Gaddafi is fuzzy, as is their agenda for Libya should the succeed.  Al-Jazeera has an editorial questioning the west’s intent in taking any military action.  Given the history of the Arab world since the end of World War I, indeed since the middle of the 19th century, it is not surprising they should question our motivation.  Of course Gaddafi is a dictator who rules with an iron fist, but he did last month, last year and at every other time in the history of his control.  So why is today the day to attack?

The United Nations Security Council voted to do it and the French rushed into action.  The United States and England say they will join in soon, the Arab states, while supporting the idea in concept, are not promising to send any forces to Libya – Egypt has said adamantly it will not.   The stories out of Libya vary widely today, a jet was shot down, some are reporting it was a Libyan jet shot down by the French, but al-Jazeera is reporting that it was an opposition jet and that it was shot down by the Libyan air force.  Several sources are reporting an attack on Benghazi by Libya, Gaddafi’s government denies the claims. Nothing is any clearer today, except that now there is another force taking to the field.  My opinion on the Middle East and west have been changing since the events in Tunisia started a general period of unrest across the region.

I think for the first time in my life I am beginning to see the Arab point of view.  I have not been able to understand the colonialism charge.  But,  freeing the Arab world of western control and manipulation has taken a very, very long time.  The jaded – “it is all about the oil” – point of view never seemed right to me.  I have always believed, somewhat naively I will admit, that our government and the other democratic governments of the world acted out of an honest political motivation.  Weren’t we always trying to help the oppressed of the world find true political, and of course economic, freedom – isn’t our form of democracy and capitalism the best of all possible ways to live?

Today at a polling place in Egypt voters attacked one of the potential candidates for president of Egypt.  They shouted at him to leave and go back to America.  They said they did not want some like him to be their leader.   His crime is not association with Murabak, but association with Obama.  I think for the first time that position is understandable to me, western influence sometimes simply looks anti-Arab.  After all, the French jets are flying all over Libya marking all of the potential targets for a coordinated attack on Gaddafi.  Only of course the target will not be one man, or his government, it will be a country and all of its people.

This is way too serious for me; I prefer stories like Saudi Arabia.  On Thursday the King of Saudi Arabia announced that he would make significant announcements on Friday.  No one knew what to expect, was it possible that like the Algerian government, the kings of Jordan and Morocco that he was really going to promise reform? Well, no, instead he gave everyone in the country a raise, double pay for government workers for a couple of months, 70,000 new government jobs, thousands and thousands of new houses and promises of stability and security for every citizen of the kingdom.  He also thanked all of the citizens for their continued support and reasonable behavior while their neighbors were acting like wild animals – he also promised to kill any one who did not honor and respect the kingdom and its religious leaders.  See! That is the kind of government that fueled my belief we had a better way and as soon as an opportunity arose we should support a change in government; would that the world were that simple.


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March 2011
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