First Unrest, Then War

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It appears powers won’t let Middle East crisis be solved until Gaddafi is ousted

It appears the current Middle East unrest began when Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26 year-old Tunisian fruit seller, set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid last December, protesting the regional authorities’ seizure of his goods. His self-immolation triggered clashes between residents and the police, which escalated into wide-sweeping violent protests throughout Tunisia.

Soon after, protests began in Egypt, with Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria following suit. The ‘New York Times’ wrote on April 22 that “The widening defiance in Syria comes after months of challenge to the autocrats of the Arab world that confronts them with a stark choice: either they can step down, as the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt were forced to do, or they can protect their own power with varying degrees of force, like the rulers of Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, at the risk of ever greater violence.”

The common denominator of all those countries is the presence of oil.

At the time of writing, Tunisia’s Ben Ali who had fled to Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment in absentia, while Egypt’s Mubarak was forced to resign and ordered to stand trial on charges of premeditated murder of peaceful protestors during the 2011 Egyptian revolution; if convicted, he could face the death penalty if he is still alive by then. Yemen’s Saleh agreed to sign a deal with opposition groups, stipulating that he would resign within a month but later reneged on this commitment. On June 3, he was injured in an RPG  attack on his presidential compound and was taken to a military hospital in Saudi Arabia for treatment.

Syria’s al-Assad is holding on to power in spite of widespread violence and anti-government protests since months, and the Syrian authorities have responded with overwhelming military force. Bahrain’s King Hamad alleged that a foreign-backed plot against his country was foiled, largely thanks to mostly Saudi Arabian troops who were brought in and is confident that Bahrain will overcome the crisis with national unity. The suffering in all countries particularly among civilians is great.

Meanwhile oil prices are soaring.

Last but not least, Libya. Why is Libya the only country being directly targeted by western leaders? Gaddafi is the longest ruling autocrat in the world, having been in power for over 40 years. The uprising against the Gaddafi government is raging throughout Libya and the question arises why NATO moved into Libya beginning of March, and the protests have turned into a war, with leaders of Britain, France and the US ‘vowing to keep up their military campaign’ until Gaddafi quits and to ensure ’civilians remain protected’. They further declared, “For transition to succeed, Colonel Gaddafi must go, and go for good.’

At a rally in Tripoli, Gaddafi’s daughter Aisha claimed the demands are an insult to the population, for “he is in the hearts of all Libyans.” Meanwhile the clashes between government troops and rebels are raging back and forth and NATO confirmed already in April the first US Predator drone aircraft strike against “a Gaddafi regime multiple rocket launcher (MRL) in the vicinity of Misrata, which had been used against civilians.” The warfare has accelerated since then with the aim to prepare for the regime’s fall and oust Gaddafi.

Looking back in history, it is clear that Gaddafi is a maverick tyrant and hard to pin down. Although the Nixon administration saw him as a positive influence in the Arab world because he expressed anti-communism, Libya was also classed as a ‘rogue state’ and in 1986 Reagan ordered a bombing raid against Libya with the declared aim of killing Gaddafi which failed. The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988 provided an excuse for severe sanctions imposed on Libya. Significant hurt to the country was caused by falling oil prices during nineties and early 2000’s; Libya was being punished.

However, after the ‘rogue state’ label was lifted in 2006, western politicians flocked to Libya, embracing Gaddafi and signing a myriad of deals. Earlier, in 2004 Tony Blair visited Gaddafi, establishing a ‘new relationship’ and getting profitable oil contracts for Shell, while in an unprecedented deal in 2008, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi forked out US$ 5 Billion in compensation for Italy’s colonization of Libya in the past. Condoleezza Rice, then US Secretary of State flew in the same year on an official visit and Gaddafi has been helping in their ‘war on terror’ by passing on information to the CIA and MI6, thus becoming a collaborator of the so-called imperialists of today and an unlikely candidate to simply give up his power .

Are we hearing echoes of the invasion and following destruction or Iraq?

Almost prophetically, Osho speaks about a previous attack by the American government on Libya:

“This [American] government is not going to last long. They have already started doing suicidal acts. With the attack on Libya they have shown their real face. A small country like Libya, and a nuclear power like America – there is no comparison…. The only reason for attacking Libya is that the man who leads Libya, Gaddafi, is really a brave man, outspoken, and he says whatever is the truth. He is not a politician.

And he said that Ronald Reagan is Adolf Hitler Number Two. This statement was the root cause for attacking Libya; all other things were not of any consideration…

…But he does not know that before attacking Libya he should attack me – fortunately I don’t have any land – because I have immediately corrected Gaddafi: “You are wrong. Ronald Reagan is not Adolf Hitler Number Two; he is Adolf Hitler Number One.”

The poor Adolf Hitler of the Second World War cannot be number one. He is now second, for the simple reason that Ronald Reagan has a million times more power than Adolf Hitler had. Now he is calling Gaddafi ‘the mad dog of the Middle East,’ calling him ‘the bad smell.’

Ronald Reagan and his government started dying the day they arrested me. It takes a little time. Let them do a few more stupid things and let the American people understand what kind of a government they have got. It is not a democracy: it is not for the people, it is not of the people, it is not by the people.

It is a fascist gang that is ruling America, and it will be good that the American people get rid of it; otherwise…. People naturally think the government and the so-called political leaders are the leaders of the people. That is not so.”

Osho, Beyond Psychology, Ch 33, Q 3

Bhagawati for Osho News
Updated version of previously published article in Osho World Newsletter

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