The Insane, Power Hungry Arab dictators & America

The Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, talked to Libyan state TV today, blaming the recent uprisings in his country on Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s former President, also blamed the Egyptian revolution on foreign forces. What has made these leaders become so detached from reality? Couldn’t have the protests have arisen because of the decades of repression and dictatorships? It is these sort of pugnacious, arrogant, egotistical gangsters who have ruled the Arab world for too long. But why have they been allowed to stay in power all this time?

According to Psychology today magazine, there are two types of power. There is socialised power and individualised power. The first type, is used to benefit others, whereas, the second, is using power for personal gain. It seems as if it is individualised power that most of the governments in the Arab world seem to have today. Many of the Arab countries have puppet governments, who far too often, sell themselves at the expense of their own nation. These rulers are the reason why their people live on less than $2 a day.

Many leaders delude themselves into thinking that they are using socialised power, when, in fact, they use their power only for personal gain. It is obvious that it is not just Arab leaders who deceive their people, Western leaders do too. English journalist Robert Fisk, believes the Iraq war was about oil- but more interestingly- America and England not only lied to their people, but also lied to themselves in order to justify what they were about to do.

I do not believe, though, that all the corrupt leaders in the world went into politics to repress their people and steal from their country. But what I do believe is that, ‘power corrupts’ and once a leader realises that the country’s affairs and resources are at his/her disposal, they become power hungry and want more and more. There is a saying in Arabic which says “If the son of Adam (humankind) had a mountain of gold, they would only want another one.”  The quest for materialism in order to attain happiness leaves an individual empty, as wealth and power do not lead to spiritual satisfaction. And this is why many of the Arab leaders refuse to give up power-they are never satisfied as they continue their quest for materialism.

Power is a very dangerous thing, and if abused, can lead to the hardening of the heart and corruption of the soul. If the heart and soul are not sound, a human being becomes totally detached from reality, and, in effect, will lose their mind. An Egyptian retired army general, Mahmoud Zahir, called Hosni Mubarak ‘mentally and psychologically ill.’

Algeria’s General Mohamed ‘Toufik’ Mediène, is the world’s longest serving intelligence chief, having been head of Algeria’s intelligence for almost 20 years. General Toufik once described himself as the ‘God of Algeria’- a man cleary suffering from illusions of grandeur.

The German President Christian Wullf called Gaddafi today a ‘psychopath.’ And, well, anybody who has seen Gaddafi’s recent speeches, has vague knowledge about his personality, or has even looked at his face, will probably question his sanity too.

It is these types of Arab dictators which America have funded with both wealth and military support. But these autocrats are now being threatened with the recent uprisings, and the prospect of a new dawn and civilisation in the Middle East beckons.

What many of us don’t know though, is what is happening behind the scenes. What actually caused these uprisings? Was it merely inevitable? Do regions always end up imploding after years of repression? Or has the CIA had a hand in what has happened in the Arab world in a canny attempt to overthrow the old Arab dictators and replace them with newer ones who will serve America’s interests to a greater degree than ever before? President Obama, however, rejected the claim that America has had anything to do with the uprisings in his speech about Libya yesterday.

Realistically, although President Obama called the violence in Libya ‘outrageous’ and condemned what was happening in the country, America has no real strategic interests in the Libya. Furthermore, 80% of the oil from Libya goes to Europe, so if anything, the protests in Libya will concern Europe much more than America. The same cannot be said about Bahrain, where both President Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have been reluctant to blame the Bahraini regime who — like the Libyan regime — have ordered the indiscriminate killings of protestors. Bahrain, for America, is a completely different ball game. Bahrain has 6,000 American military personnel, the country is also home to the US Fifth Fleet, a major logistics hub for US Navy ships, and is therefore a base for American warships.

What is still unclear for the time being is whether the uprisings across the Arab world will change the region for the better, or whether new puppet regimes will emerge as a result who will be just as brutal as their predecessors.

Muammar Gaddafi seems like the next Arab leader to be ousted from power after losing much support from his government; and as his support weakens both in his country and in the International community, it doesn’t seem as if he will be able to retain power for much longer.

I pose one last question. If America have been supporting dictators for decades and have treated them as allies, what does this tell us about the rulers and leaders America oppose and call ‘terrorists’? Does this make them the ‘good guys’ –  the ones who have not been corrupted by their power, maybe?

Omar Shahid