Original Post: Feb. 28, 2011 Updated: Aug. 6, 2012
There is a fraternity in the Middle East and although they have different captives the Dictator Club is feeling some heat. The problem with this lot, is they do not make compromises, there are no alternatives and the danger they are facing is one born in fear of losing power.
The men of the middle east are a fragile bunch most of them in the old age of 70’s or 80’s and they all dye their hair trying to make you forget how long they have been in power.
Whether one street vendor in Tunisia could have been treated with more respect and avoided this volcanic anger of millions of people or not we will never know. The symbolic message spread quickly, of a man dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a match illustrated the disparity, the futility and the meaningless life he felt he was living and it wasn’t worth it anymore.
The people are breaking up the Dictator Club of men who have abused power, denied their people civil rights, food, jobs, housing and health care due to their own greed and hunger for power. This is what the revolution is at its core the revolt against government corruption and it has put the Dictator Club on notice.
In each country there are common threads and similarities just like a football game there are playbacks for dictators who all follow the same policies of repression and violence.
These are just some of the countries experiencing the waking up of the people and we who watch on the sidelines do so with amazement at the human spirit and see the lack of compromise as the pitfall of the dictator club and it will destroy their strongholds of power.
Algeria Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised reform and lifted the state of emergency last month with plans to change the government. However the security forces on March 19, 2011 stormed the capital stopping protesters with barricades and heading off anyone from joining the protests.
A strategic yet futile move on the part of the government. Algerians are protesting the high cost of living, want decent jobs and unemployment benefits. The protests started on January 21st, 2011 and five people are dead with 800 injured so far. Protesters vow to continue until Bouteflika steps down after 50 years of a dictatorship regime in Algeria.
Bahrain is a tiny kingdom based on a monarchy centuries old, tied up in one family the Al Khalifa’s who handed down from generation to generation of Al Kalaifa’s the royalty dictatorship. In the wrong hands, monarchies can be dictatorships which cause harm to the population through oppressive rulers.
The unrest here is the Monarchy still dictates through an appointed 40 member chamber and there is no other form of government such as in Britain’s monarchy and their parliamentary system. This makes corruption even easier and protesters want the same as all other middle east countries: democracy, economic opportunities, higher pay, higher standards of living, less repression of human rights and a democracy. Basically they have nothing and although highly educated have no job opportunities. There is a big sucking sound of oil revenues going into one fat ruler who like Mubarak enjoys the fruits of the country’s labor but does not share the fruit bowl with anyone.
The Bahrain monarchy system in this case has not worked for the people but for itself and now change is needed quickly, and without violence. Security forces have killed protesters in this oil rich state, where the money stays within the royal family if you can call them royals.
Dubai an oil rich state where every building is opulent, extravagant, and rolling in oil revenues however Dubai is heavy in debt relying on massive loans it spends more than it earns on rich expensive real estate developments. Dubai is more concerned in showing the world its money than taking care of business, the economy and the people. As part of the Arab Emirates Dubai needed loan bailouts from the UAE and defaulted on balloon loan payments that ended in their credit lines being frozen. The ruler of Dubai Highness Shaikh al-Maktoum does what others in the dictator’s club do, live life to the fullest on state funds.
Egypt has ousted Hosni Mubarak, his assets frozen in some banks, the UK has not, the USA waited for several weeks which allowed the Mubarak family to hide or move money in international accounts. Mubarak received 19 billion dollars which he invested in platinum in a Swiss Bank called the Union Bank. Even though Mubarak used the state’s money for business investments it is still money that belongs to the State of Egypt. Corruption extended to Mubarak’s military generals, friends, family, relatives and businesses he owns obtained with embezzled funds. Today Mubarak is under orders to not travel and is holed up in one of his opulent palaces on the Red Sea. Some say he is dying or had a heart attack and others say he should be tried as a war criminal and put in jail.
Iran previously run by kings, sub kingdoms, dynasty rule is run by clerics and a rigged election in 2009 caused a massive revolt which was squashed by heavy military forces who shot protesters in the streets for days on end. The government believes as does another dictator Kim Jong Ill that power can be increased by possessing nuclear capabilities. The current regime with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been critical of Ghadafi’s violence in Libya and yet support the same violent attacks on their people. In Iran opposition forces have already been rounded up and put under house arrest or kidnapped away. The revolution in Iran is still seething and yet not resolved until the clerics and Ahmadinejad are removed from power.
Iraq even though the US government spent over a few trillion dollars to free Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s 30 year dictatorship of dozens of palaces and massive poverty Iran is in revolutionary mode also. The wasted money the US spent on Weapons of Mass Destruction brought the oil state out of one dictatorship into US military conflict for over 10 years. Ex President George W. Bush started a war in the wrong country, blaming terrorists where actually he made Iraq a training camp for more terrorists. The attack at the World Trade center on 9/11 in 2001 was blamed on Saddam however there was no proof he had any involvement in the attack. The state of affairs in Iraq is not much different from Egypt, poverty still is rampant, oil revenues go to the top elite of government but not the people. On Feb. 25, 2011 nine people were killed by the Iraq government for peaceful protests in Baghdad and other cities. The country is in a state of flux with more Al Qaeda attacks in 2011 than there were in 2001.
Jordan On Feb. 1, 2011 King Abdullah II fired his Prime Minister and cabinet to get ahead of a revolt in his state of the land of Kings and riches from oil revenues. Allegations of corruption in government as demonstrations mount in Jordan and where criticism of the King is banned. There are no democratic policies in Jordan but pay raises were brought in for civil workers, fuel subsidies in a country with high food prices and a low standard of living. King Abdullah has overseen the sale by the cabinet of state assets through privatization to corporations for personal profits. Opposition to the government Nahedh Hattar state that the government of Jordan is a club of businessmen serving their own financial interests and the king is a member of that club.
The King Abdullah is a good friend of Hosni Mubarak and has not met with groups to hear their complaints and is very much disconnected to the poverty in his own country.
Kuwait protests continue in Kuwait with 30 wounded protesters in clashes with government security forces, arrests of demonstrators who were peacefully marching for change. The demands of the protesters are: citizenship, free education, free healthcare, jobs, benefits and a better standard of living. In Kuwait it remains a stateless society for some Arabs known as Bedouin tribes without nationality people cannot obtain benefits or acquire citizenship rights. The US invaded Iraq on Kuwait’s behalf for the threat of invasion by Saddam Hussein, although Kuwait makes billions in the oil business they never paid for protection from the USA. The money spent on invading Iraq the first time by ex President George Bush Senior was paid for by the American taxpayers and they were never reimbursed by Kuwait’s massive oil revenues.
Libya under the most brutal dictators for 41 years Libya is now in full revolution mode while the Gadhafi family try to hold onto power while bombing, killing, attacking peaceful protesters. The latest is that Gadhafi is bombing his own military bases which have been taken over by protesters. For 3 weeks Gadhafi has massacred thousands of Libyan people in another oil rich state of the middle east. The battle continues as Gadhafi’s assets are frozen in world banks and his inner circle have said he is completely insane as he has been mentally unbalanced for decades, this time he faces the fight of his life.
Gadhafi appears in staged appearances although hides like a coward behind his private military of hired mercenaries of about 5,000. The opposition vow to liberate Libya from the oppressive killer who’s corruption mirrors that of all other in the Dictator Club.
Update: August 6, 2012 Gadhafi was killed by the rebel forces, the people of Libya in a violent end to his life, caught while trying to leave the country after he massacred thousands of Libyan people.
Oman two demonstrators killed while protesting in Oman where unemployment is high, and Sultan Bin Said has ruled for 41 years said he would hire more people, and raise payment to job seekers to 390.00 a month. The sultan is trying to get ahead of a complete overthrow is that the oil revenues are being spent by the Sultans and Kings.
Pakistan is not exempt from protests although it claims to be more modernized as a state, corruption still exists in the government and the former President Pervez Musharraf was long propped up by US aid into the billions of dollars. The country today is in deep debt but the current President Asif Ali Zardari the husband of has accumulated 1.5 billion dollars in personal wealth which is 290 billion pounds. Since 2007, Mr. Zardari is facing corruption charges and misuse of power after the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto who was running for President again after she was ousted under charges of corruption.
Qatar Sheikh Khalifa’s 23 years of dictatorship is coming to an end in a world of palaces, elaborate assets and billions in oil revenues Qatar is another country ripe for revolutionary changes towards democracy.
Saudi Arabia protests have not spared the capital of oil production in the middle east and the kingdom of sheiks are said to have invested through Goldman Sachs in Facebook to prevent further revolutions. The unrest surrounds the Saudi Kings who for decades have lived the life of royalty have hired thugs and beat protesters to stave off the revolt. While the kingdom enjoys the oil revenues, living in opulence the people demand higher pay, cheaper food prices, better accommodations and a higher living standard.
The huge country faces millions of protesters also demanding democratic reforms in a populated country of 18 million comprised mainly of a youth population under 30 years of age. In a country where clerics rule and being critical of the kingdom is forbidden the Sheikhdom is on shaky grounds if it opposes democracy and human rights. The country oppresses women and while its government enjoys oil profits the majority of the population live in poverty with high unemployment.
Tunisia after President Ben Ali left the country as the leading dictator the interim PM Mohamed Ghannouchi resigned also since he was a part of the old regime. Ben Ali was directly responsible for the death of a street vendor and his regime of oppression came to an end rapidly. The people of Tunisia were enraged by this one single action and the results were an overthrow of the Ali dictatorship and he fled the country.
Ben Ali lived an opulent lifestyle with luxurious homes, controlled dozens of corporations to hide their loot owned Hyundai car dealerships and drove around in luxury automobiles. Similar to Saddam Hussein’s children the Ali’s kept tigers in cages and even had frozen yogurt flown in from Saint Tropez on private jets for fancy dinners while people like Bouazizi starved in the streets of Tunisia. Some of his family and perhaps Ali himself had escaped and are now living near or in Montreal, Quebec Canada under the approval of the Canadian government.
Turkey is said to be facing a revolution in 2011 as the anger grows and poverty continues Turkey faces an Islamic revolution although it has not surface yet.
Yemen is still protesting and President Saleh’s attempt to hold on to some power until 2013 has asked opposition forces to form a coalition government but they require him to step down. It is highly unlikely this deal will bear fruit and Saleh is on his way out. Yemen started their protests on January 27, 2011 and continue to overthrow the left overs of the regime.
Updated: August 6, 2012 Mr. Saleh has left power finally and a new leader Abd Hadi has taken over as leader of Yemen. Yemen was the fourth middle-east country that has replaced its leader ending the old rule of the dictators.
The politics of the middle east has always been about repression, regimes, brutal monarchy’s and crazy insane rulers who all have same method of operation shoot first and bury your people. Many have received justice at the hands of their people after years of tyranny, brutality and finally have ended their greedy grasp of power.