Ben Ali fled, Mubarak tried to face it down, but in the end ben Ali remains in exile and Mubarak was "caged". Gadaffi decided to teach the "rats" of Benghazi a lesson and brought the bombs of NATO on his compounds. The bombs came from Britain, whose Prime Minister of the day Tony Blair had visited him, embraced him and welcomed him back into the "club of Nations". It came from the USA, whose Sect. of State, Condy Rice had visited him in Tripoli and who had made such an impression on him that he had a specially bound photo album made of her and later on Hillary Clinton publicly welcomed his son at the State Dept.Berlusconi had many business deals with him and then FreNch, not to be left out of any oil deals led the charge with Britain to get their licks in first.
Gadaffi resisted and continues to do so, even though the rebels, with the help of NATO bombs and Special forces from France, Britain, Jordan and Qatar have steadily advanced, even into Tripoli. Thousands have been killed and many more thousands have been displaced (even Gadaffi's wife, daughter and two of his sons have fled to Algeria). He has seen the fate of ben Ali and Mubarak and the charges made at the ICC and the call for his head from the rebels and he is adamant about not giving in. There is no alternative but to fight to the end. He will not surrender and neither will his sons (images of a hung Saddam and his brothers must haunt them), but he may well move between the long borders with Algeria, Chad, waging war for a long time. He still has many supporters at home and many friends in the African Union (they may well offer sanctuary.He was their friend and financial supporter during their colonial struggles ). His last bastion is Sirte, and this is where he will make his last stand. It will be bloody.
In Syria, Assad has made it very clear that he will not step down and that he will use all necessary force to remain in power. He is from the small Alewite group and they have held power for over over forty years, benefitting immensely and they realise that they would be slaughtered (like they have their enemies), if they lose power. The West have been pressuring Assad to ease up on the use of force and even to step down, but he will not. The West may use diplomatic and economic means to pressure him ( Syria supply Europe with about 160,000 barrels of oil a day), but they(West) dare not go any further. Syria has massive amounts of chemical and other types of weapons, spread around the country and Assad has control of it. He has not used it and signs are that he will not use it and he has not lost control of it, which is crucial. Should he fall from power, that control would be lost and who knows who will be in charge or whether any control of these weapons is possible. This should give pause to those who want Assad to go.
. So Gadaffi in Libya and Assad in Syria will fight to stay in power, at any cost. Libya has sarin and mustard gasses (maybe not weaponized) and tens of thousands of shoulder-fired missiles. Syria has much more than and (its chemical and biological ) they are weaponized. BE CAREFUL, BE VERY,VERY,VERY CAREFUL
Interests not Friends, always Interests.
East/Bengazi vs. West/Tripoli vs South/Tribes vs Berbers/non Arabs vs Islamists/Jihadists vs Secularists/liberals, Libya with its 6 million people and its regional/geographic,religious and tribal cleavages, with 2% of the world oil reserves, in a very volatile region, next to a major shipping lane is confronted with a future after 42 years of Qaddafi, that is fraught with dangers, both for itself and its neighbors and especially the West.
A rebel rabble, armed with rifles and derring-do, and backed by NATO airstrikes, which denied the Colonel the full use of his overwhelming fire-power, has managed to work its way into Tripoli, the stronghold of Qaddafi. There was the usual dancing and firing of weapons in celebration, but even though the western media and rebel leaders announced the end of 42 years of tyranny, Saif Gaddafi, the heir -apparent , who was supposedly captured, appeared at the hotel where foreign journalists are "staying"and jubilantly announced that the rebels had been duped into entering Tripoli. How much of this is true remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, Qaddafi and at least two of his sons (one, Mohammed, supposedly escaped after being captured),are alive and fighting and the brief celebration has been turned into an embarassing disappointment.
The battle is not over and now there are concerns that Qaddafi will use WMD (mustard gas etc.), which he had promised to destroy as a price of Western acceptance in 1999- 2003 and had been physically embraced by Tony Blair and welcomed by USA (his son was welcomed by Hillary to the State Dept), France, Italy etc. There are thousands of shoulder-fired missiles that have not been accounted for. What else does he have and when will he use them? The Colonel has vowed to fight to the end. He is not without leverage, if it is true that he has WMDs. He ceratinly has the backings of many including those from his tribe and mercenaries from Chad and neighboring countries. The Arab League under American/Saudi pressure may have abomdoned him, but NOT the African Union and Russia and China have been lukewarm in their concerns.
There is no doubt that western Special Forces have and are playing a vital role with the rebels, arming, training and leading them in the fight. British and French Special Forces are reported to have limited/controlled the movement of western and other reporters. Of course, NATO has used its planes to bomb widely, even though the UN resolution call for them only to act to protect civilians.
If the rebels are in Tripoli and if Gaddafi is holed up in his compound, we can expect a protracted urban battle. The ability of NATO to bomb will be limited by the possibility of civilian casualty and so they may be forced to bring more, if not "boots" then at least "hush puppies"into the fray.
Ther is a lesson to be learned fron Iraq, after Saddam was defeated...the years of bloodletting thatcontinues until now, the looting of treasures, the extra judicial killings, the roving bands and the IEDs.
Be careful, be very,very careful.
Gadaffi is still holding out, as of Aug.30,2011. It has become a battle of attrition. He may be driven out of Tripoli but he can hold out in Sirte, among his tribesmen for a long time and even NATO bombing will not change that.
In the meantime, there is growing concern in the West about WMDs..sarin and mustard gas, and thousands of shoulder fired missiles that he had stockpiled. It is not so much that he will use them, but that they may go on the blackmarke, and may fall in the hands of Islamists/Jihadists/al Qaeda.There is also concerns about the hundreds of al Qaeda and others who have been freed from prison. Qadaffi had waged a bloody war against them, many of whom had fought against the USA in Iraq, many are from Bengazhi, which was a hot-bed of Islamism and had supplied many Jihadists to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. What role will they play in the
The lond wait is over and the "deliverer" has spoken. Rick Perry who held a prayer meeting to commune with his god, in a half-empty stadium has announced that he is running for the presidency and immediately stepped on his tongue.
He (surprise..suprise) questioned Pres. Obama patriotism for not serving in the military, called him the "greatest threat to our country" and then in the most inflamatory language said that if the Fed. print more money, that Ben Bernanke would be quilty of treason and that "we would treat him pretty ugly in Texas"( the Texas where Kennedy was treated "ugly"). This is mindless incitement and he should be held responsible for it.
Even Karl Rove, Bush's guru and of Fox news and Republican strategist denounced him. That in itself is revealing.
Perry's appeal is limited to the Christian right and to Texas. He has become the latest " Christian conservative" a la Bachmann etc to fight for that segment of voters. He is the new Palin/Bachmann shallow loudmouth who are good at muttering inanities and play upon the ignorance and prejudices of American voters. They have little to offer (Bachmann's latest is the celebration of Elvis birthday on the day of his death). but much hateful rhetoric and a sideshow of short burst of platitudes.
God help/save America from these buffoons.
The continuing riots in London and eleswhere in Britain is a response to the poverty, unemploymeny and anger at the authorities, the government and chiefly the police. The spark was the shooting of a young man. The youths have had enough and they have nothing to lose. The prospect of prison, if caught, weigh very little with them as their despair and helplessness in the face of government cut backs, which has the greatest negative effects on them, leave them with very little...no jobs, no prospects and little hope for a better future, from to them, a racist system
The government bailout the banks and businesses and they, the poor are the ones who pay the price. This is a cry for help and while the police have to crack down, this is seen as further proof of a system and a government that cares more for the bottom line than for the people.
There is a warnig here for France, Italy and other Euro zone nations as they also have to tighten their economic belt with austerity measures, that will hit the poor greatly. The middle class is quickly vanishing as more and more are laid off and unempolyment soars. Those with jobs have to take pay cuts and pay more taxes, while banks and businesses make a bundle. Lately the Euro Bank has decided to buy Italian and Spanish bonds, which has seen a slight drop in interest rates. High interests affect all. Money is hard to get and especially for small and mid-size businessess, who cannot afford to borrow and thus do not hire, and are even cutting back on employees.
As the middle class grows smaller and smaller, and the poor grows bigger and bigger, the buffer between the wealthy and the poor vanishes and inevitably tension rises and the explosion is waiting to happen.
The poor fight amongst themselves for the crumbs. They look for scapegoats. The colored immigrant and religious minorityies become easy targets for rabble-rousers and all hell will break loose
The intervention of the US-led West into Libya, the arrest of Mubarak and the fierce response in Syria and to a lessetr exten in Yemen, are all inter-related. They each have influenced what is going on in the Middle East and North Africa. They each send messages.
The arrest of Mubarak and his family, has sent a chilling message to dictators everywhere. "Do not give in...Fight to the bitter end or else you will suffer the same fate, even though you may have been a close ally of the USA and the West. They will desert you in your hour of need and will join your enemies against you. They always put their interests ahead of their friendship". Gadhafi has heard the message and so has Assad. They are not going anywhere and they will use all that is necessary to stay in power, because that is their only protection against humiliation, prison an/or death.
It is the citizens of these countries who will be paying the price. In Libya Gadhafi has hunkered down and as each attempt to kill him by bombing his compounds fail, he becomes more defiant and the only way he is going to go any where is on his terms, and he has already made it known that he is not leaving. The same is true in Yemen, where a close ally in the fight against al Qaeda is staying firm, even after a failed attempt to blow him up. He has seen the alternative and he is not interested. Even if a deal is made, so that he can go into exile, he will not go because there is no assurance that they will not come for him under the guise of Human Rights violation and drag him to the Hague. There are already charges levelled at Gadhafi.
The Syrian people are under attack by government forces loyal to Assad. He is from the small Alewite tribe and he knows the ugly fate that awaits him, if he gives in. He will fight on, like Gadhafi and others and the people will bleed.
This is due to the stupidity and arrogance (from whence it flows) of the USA and France and Britain. The latter two, fearing and thus resisting the dustbin of history, for their fading nations, have decided to latch on to the tail of the USA, but America is overstretched and cannot get involved in another long. drawn-out war, especially with Obama under constant pressure from the economy and the Republicans, and with an election to be fought.
They under-estimated Gadhafi (this is stupidity, they have seen him in action foe 40 years, don't they learn?) and his will to survive. They fail to learn from the history of previous wars, that you cannot win a war from the air. Yes bombs destroy a lot and casualties while high on the groung is very low for the bombimg nations. The war is protracted, with little gains to show and the increasing casualties on the ground turn saviour into enemy. Obama pulled back and Cameron and Sarkozy started whining. NATO is in disarray. Germany wants no part of it, Italy is focused on the "love"life of Berlusconi and Spain, Portugal and others are broke.
This has been a fiasco. The light at the end of the tunnel is a speedind train rushing towards you and you betterget out of the way. Sarkozy has a year in power. Cameron has "hacking" scandal, Berlusconi is a "fading gigolo" and Obama is in a fight for his political life. In the meantime Gadhafi, Assad and other dictators are making sure that they will be around to deal with a new set of "rulers"
C'est la vie. Plus ca