- Politics and Social Issues
Current Affairs in the Middle East
In Libya, there seems to be two objectives, one from the UN mandate and one from a united Western array of forces. The UN mandate passed allowed the West to intervene in Libya on behalf of civilians to avoid slaughter. France, US, UK etc. have their own objective to get rid of Ghaddafi, one way or another. So far, the cost is $1 billion, and each time a Tomahawk is fired, $1.5 million is spent. Over 150 have been fired. There is no exit plan should Libya's leader hold out as he vowed to do. He has done this before. The US bombed him in 1985 or so and failed then. Qaddafi can afford to hold out but can the Western powers? Few have an answer. Only six aircraft make up the no-fly zone now since the Libyan AF has been neutralized.
Israel is under fire again from rockets and bombs. On the March 23rd, a bomb went off near a bus in Jerusalem hurting over 30, while Hamas fired several Iranian rockets into Beersheba. The Israeli airforce launched several airstrikes at the terrorists in the Gaza area. Israeli tanks also opened fired at suspect launch sites.
Who would have thought that Syria would face riots for freedom? President Assad, however, will not let go of power easily without a fight. He ordered the his 4th Tank Division, commanded by his brother, to attack the demonstrators. Over 300 were injured before the crowd dispersed. Most of the action was in the town of Daraa, a place that suffers from extreme poverty. I cannot really see Syria collapsing as the other Arab nations did, Assad's grip is too strong. His ties to Iran and Lebanon too deep.
Yemen is on verge of civil war. Half of the military is with the existing government, the other half, including its armor division, on the side of the "freedom" fighters demanding its president step down. Yemen is also fighting the war against al-Qaeda, which occupies the southern half of the country. In fact, the terrorist group is really all over Yemen in many areas except in the capital of Sanaa. As soon as you leave the city fringe, one enters a danger zone. Once cannot help but fear that al-Qaeda may also be behind the freedom fighters and should the government collapse, they will attempt to seize the power through various means. The old fable, Little Red Riding Hood applies here. Al-Qaeda is the wolf dressed as a sweet old Granny. Yemen is such a poor country, it is a place where money will buy anything. The US has given the government millions just because al-Qaeda is firmly there, now much of that support and arms may end up in terrorists hands.