It is no secret that Arab nations never shared any goopy love with the Colonel for as long as the history of the frequent tense (and sometimes comical) confrontations under the roof of Arab summits that leaders, princes, kings were hardened by their fuming populations into attending in the first place.
Delegates already not jumping in their leather seats about the idea of meeting their neighboring counterparts, having to bear insults thrown left and right from what could be best described as the court jester makes it all too much to bear, really. The most famous (or infamous) occurrence is the self-declared Imam of Muslims, King of the Kings of Africa, the Colonel's cringe-worthy tongue-lashing of the Saudi King Abdullah in Doha under the constant falls of the hammer by the mediating Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa of Qatar, whose requests for order were ignored. Despite all of that, the media stunts (a troupe of sultry female guards, a non-environmentally friendly green book that leaves the most confused of souls, baffled), what could be best described as egomaniacal behavior, not to mention wild, colorful consumes best suited for a Halloween party, it seems that Arab leaders are doling over the Colonel now, and secretly, in their closets, wishing that he would be able to quell the rebel uprising. Arab leaders (and probably a huge chunk of the world collection of dictators) are hoping that this wave of disturbing revolutions sweeping through the Middle East would not gather any further momentum that it had gained from the Egyptian and Tunisian uprising that managed in the span of two months reduce the population of world dictators by two. That is more than what Arabs wished for in a decade, cross that - in a lifetime, and thought impossible if not for the tirelessness and ingenuity of the Tunisians. But the Colonel, unpredictable, nutty or devilishly genius as he is, call it what you want, it doesn't matter the result is the same, managed to turn tables with a magic trick as simples as transforming a handkerchief from white to red, a revolution from non-armed to bloody. What were once enthusiastic calls for a no-fly zone are suddenly dampened, reduced to faint pleadings, spearheaded by a French political system keen on not repeating mistakes of the past by betting on the wrong horse as they did with the Tunisian uprising that cost them the sacking of a Foreign Minister, not to mention public embarrassment. World powers embittered by recent memories of the muddy swamps of Iraq and Afghanistan, don't want to get entangled in the spidery web of what is now dangerously being labeled a civil war, in other blunter words - an internal matter. China, wary of an emulation worthy of their textile factories of the revolution on its own soil, believes that "the Middle East should solve its own problems" in a tone reminiscent of a parent scolding their children for non-behavior. The reason for the sudden change of tone, is that the West, fluid and changeable as it is, will not back a losing side, only to be put in the humiliating corner of having to deal with a dictatorship that they vehemently opposed at the risk of losing a somewhat trusted source of oil output to nations (in the wake of a paralyzing economic crisis) addicted to the barrel.
The success or lack thereof of this revolution is not up to the Security Council, G8, EU, NATO, UN, US or Russia or even the Arab States, it is up to the Libyans themselves. The tides will need to shift to the rebel's side so that we would be able to hear the same ardent language, the same fervent calls for intervention and immediate cessation of violence against civilians that we heard in the last few weeks.
Grim as it might be, but the Libyans are on their own in this one, as were the Egyptians and Tunisians before them, despite the grave difference in the means of revolution. If they are to succeed, they need to put together a united front, forgo their losses, and fight as hard as they can, with tooth and nail, otherwise we can expect to see more stoned appearances and future hair-rising, blood-spilling vendettas.
A sudden break, a failed case perhaps, would manage to buy authoritarian rulerships around the world much-needed time to gather themselves, catch a breath, regroup, realign and redeploy their forces to do what they've always done best; oppress
Author: Hamed Halawani
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