Tag Archives: Middle East

Why Is David Cameron Trying Too Hard to Impress ?

In another life and under somewhat different circumstances I probably would like David Cameron. After all, he is good-looking, educated and articulate. But as it stands, there is something rather puzzling about him, and consequentially, I don’t fancy him politically. In my estimate, he just seems to be trying too hard to impress, but the question is who? Could it be other world leaders or even the British public?

Well, if we consider the fact that Cameron never really got a convincing mandate from the British populace at the last general election, maybe we would understand his need to constantly impress and therefore, won’t so much as hold it against him.

When Cameron first took up office, like other Conservative party leaders before him, he set out to shake off the “Thatcherite” shackles and prove that he is very much his own man. One such instance, that springs readily to mind, occurred during Cameron’s  trip to South Africa, where he openly expressed regret at his party’s foreign policy on apartheid under Margaret Thatcher.

I think Cameron is a bit unlucky in that not only does he feel he has to prove that he is not “Thatcher’s boy,” but he also feels the need to impress to make up for his inability to convincingly win the 2008 election.

Okay, Cameron became prime minister at a time when it may not have been a fashionable job. Although he blamed the state of the UK economy on the recklessness of the last Labour government, but surely he is smart enough to understand that the world at large was in a financial meltdown at the time – and still is – not just Britain. And better still, Britain did not cause the global financial crisis, the US banking crisis did.

Fast-forward to the crisis in the Middle East and we have new-kid-on-the-block, Cameron, strutting around making grand remarks about containing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and protecting the ordinary Libyan civilians. You almost get the impression that not only is Cameron ready to personally wrestle Gaddafi to the ground before the enforcement of UN resolution 1973, but that he also fancies himself as a wartime leader, possibly following in the footsteps of the great wartime UK prime minister, Winston Churchill.

Now, I really must touch upon Cameron’s doomed tour of the Middle East earlier on in the crisis. What on earth did he think he was doing with a handful of arms dealers in tow? Could we put this faux pas down to inexperience or is it just another instance of Cameron trying too hard to impress? Is that how other arms-producing countries peddle arms? I guess the real bone of contention here is the sheer hypocrisy of selling arms to regimes that one later criticises for attacking their own citizens.

So while Cameron is busy flexing his muscles and milking the occasion for what it is worth, we Brits find ourselves in a war – officially tagged a conflict – which we could really do without. How we are going to fund this war of questionable objects is clear to all: further excruciating public spending cuts and a couple more pre-election policy U-turns.

Cameron must be feeling self-important following his recent hosting of the London talks on Libya and the defection of Libya’s former foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, to the UK. There also is the £650m educational aid he promised to the Pakistani’s during a recent visit to Pakistan. I wonder what strings are attached to this economic aid as it is hard to believe that this is a purely philanthropic gesture.

But let’s wait and see how this eventually pans out for Cameron. On the crisis in the Middle East, he has promised that Libya won’t be another Iraq, and that there will be no deals with Moussa Koussa. Strangely enough, so far, Libya has all the hallmarks of Iraq, with regime change being the notable end game.

Time will tell whether Britain’s involvement in the shifty venture in Libya makes or breaks Cameron’s premiership. Given the manner by which he landed in No.10, some may argue that he has no other option but to project himself in this way, to endear himself to the doubting Thomases among us. I wonder what other world leaders think of his recent escapades?  Maybe the end will justify the means. After all, the vulture is a patient bird.

In the interim, maybe Cameron will care to ponder on the following quote of former Philippines president, Corazon Aquino:

“I’ve reached a point in life where it’s no longer necessary to try to impress. If they like me the way I am, that’s good. If they don’t, that’s too bad.”

Exclusive: Saif Gaddafi “wants money back from Sarkozy”

I was hoping to take a break from commenting on events in the Middle East until I watched the recent interview Saif al-Islam Gaddafi gave to Euronews – posted below. During the interview, Saif al-Islam refers to President Sarkozy as a clown and calls for him to return the money spent by the Gaddafi’s on his election campaign.  He says:

“Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he’s disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.”

For completeness, I am no friend or foe of the Gaddafi clan.  Neither do I hold with the propagandist, imperialistic, big brother-ish, neo-slavish and hypocritical tendencies often exhibited by the US and its poodle, the UK. Mine is simply a non-aligned position fueled by the need for justice and equality for all.

Given that the Gaddafi’s are sometimes prone to mixing fact with fiction, one wonders whether there is any credence to this allegation.  Furthermore, as Saif recently commented that the Gaddafi’s are a “modest” family, maybe he would care to enlighten us on how a “modest” family is able to finance an election campaign in France.

If there really is  documentary evidence of the transfer of funds to President Sarkozy, this could open a can worms, which could prove damaging for the French.

For my part, I don’t believe that the London School of Economics, and a few  American performing artists,  are the only ones to have received money from the Gaddafi’s.  However, as the Gaddafi’s clutch at straws for political survival, maybe they will spill the beans on the other big fish on their payroll. After all, what have they got to lose?

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Double Standards Again ?

Wonders will never end.  With each passing day there is a new and absurd spin on world current affairs. Sometimes it feels like common sense isn’t really that common and some of us simply enjoy stirring things up and causing unnecessary tension.

So what if Beyoncé, 50 Cents, Nelly Furtado, Usher, Timbaland, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Enrique Iglesias and God knows who else, performed for the Gaddafi family for $1-$2m  each?  In the grand scheme of things, what has art got to do with the Libyan uprising?

Witch-hunting these performing artists and forcing them to give their proceeds from these gigs to charity is senseless.  It does not change the situation on the ground in Libya or the Middle East, neither does it address the global financial crisis.

Now, I accept that the average American is not concerned with events outside of the US, and as such, some of these performers may not have thought about the potential ramifications of performing for the Gaddafi family. But considering that after 26 years the US finally restored full diplomatic ties with Libya in 2006, and most of these gigs were post-2006, I don’t see what the uproar is all about.

Furthermore, I believe that if US intelligence agencies were not comfortable with American performing artists going to Libya to perform for the Gaddafi family in the first place, they would have sponsored negative campaigns against it then. It’s no secret that the US is the mother of all propagandist.

Ironically, no one appears to be putting pressure on the British, French and Italian governments to donate the proceeds of their lucrative deals with Colonel Gaddafi to charity.  There is also no such pressure on the US companies that scrambled to Libya following the restoration of full diplomatic ties in 2006.  Double standards all the way it seems. What a shame the American performing artists are the “fall guys” this time.

In the video below,  American show “The View” takes a swipe at the performing artist who performed for the Gaddafi family. Misplaced priorities in my view. What do you think?

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In The Name of Peace

“We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.” –  Martin Luther King, Jr.

With the various goings on in the world today, it is hard not to wonder whether world peace will continue to elude us.   There appears to be so much turmoil in the world today, with one human conflict following fast on the heels of another.

If it is not the never-ending Middle East peace stalemate saga, it is one country trying to dictate to another. If it isn’t that, it is one country with stock piles of nuclear weapons harassing other countries at the development stage of their own nuclear weaponry program. As if this isn’t enough hassle, we also have to contend with the gloomy effects of the global recession – higher cost of living, reduced standards of living, violent protests, sell-out leaders and global unemployment, to name but a few.

There is no doubt that some of current world conflicts are motivated by greed and the need for absolute power. Of course no nation or leader will own up to this, but we, the masses, recognise the signs for what they really are.

Nations blessed with natural resources, be it crude oil, diamonds, gold, natural gas or platinum, find themselves under constant threats from “Big Brother.” When “Big brother” eventually decides to unleash terror on these naturally endowed countries, it is always on the basis of fabricated information.  Wouldn’t we all want to know why the weapons of mass destruction were never found? Or did “Big Brother” erroneously attack the wrong country?  What we do know is that this type of aggression is not only unjust, it is detrimental to the pursuit of world peace and it also clearly constitutes crimes against humanity. Strangely enough, “Big Brother” has not been held accountable for these monstrous crimes.

Let us look at another one of  Big Brother’s mode of operating. For strategic reasons “Big Brother” befriends countries’ with whom it has a common enemy.  “Big Brother” supplies its new ally with funds and military artillery to fight their common enemy. Once the common enemy is defeated, “Big Brother” uses its intelligence agencies to run disinformation campaigns about its ally, to discredit it.  Eventually the former ally is branded a terrorist and “Big Brother” calls upon other allies to join the fight against a new common enemy, terrorism. Is everyone really blind to these under-the-counter dealings? Does “Big Brother” really qualify to lecture the Middle East, or the world at large, on equality, fairness, human rights and justice? I think not.

Without sincerity of purpose world peace will remain but an illusion. Maybe it is simply part of our make-up, as human beings, to strive on conflict and hanker after what is not destined for us. Maybe true world peace is a figment of our imagination and that explains why it continues to elude us.

Nevertheless, let us all give peace a chance. In the words of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, “We cannot create peace on paper.”  And this may explain why “Big Brother” has failed to broker a lasting peace accord between Israel and her Middle Eastern neighbours.

We certainly need to put the hustle behind the bustle in our bid for some form of world peace. And a good place to start from is our immediate respective communities. Give someone a helping hand, a smile or a bit of encouragement today. Say no to double standards, unjust wars, modern-day slavery, oppression, treachery, self aggrandisement and social injustice. Let us all give peace a real chance.

“As all nations are economically dependent upon one another more than ever before, human understanding must go beyond national boundaries and embrace the international community at large. Indeed, unless we can create an atmosphere of genuine cooperation, gained not by threatened or actual use of force but by heartfelt understanding, world problems will only increase.”

Tenzin Gyatso, The fourteenth Dalai Lama

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Bahrain Protests

Hasan Jamali / AP

 

Joseph Eid /AFP/Getty Images

What a wind of change breezing through the Middle East.