The massive uprising in several Arab states and protestors’ movements are in their third week and the people continue to demand political reforms and an end to corruption. In Libya, the protestors are calling on Gadhafi to step down and for an end to his sons’ influential roles in governmental affairs.
Colonel Gadhafi is responding in an address to his followers and bodyguards by saying that those who do not love him do not deserve to live. Gadhafi and his son Saif il-Islam have been threatening to create a bloodbath unless the rebels stop their protest movement. The Gadhafi African mercenaries have been shooting unarmed protestors. Army helicopters have been used to spray the protestors with bullets. It has been reported that hundreds of people have been killed and many were injured. Most of the killings were committed by the hired ‘Soldiers of Fortune’ who were recruited from neighboring African states. More than 20 of them were arrested by protestors.
It ahs been reported that a high Libyan government official, Abdallah al-Sanusi – the director of the Libyan Intelligence Services – met with high ranking Israeli officials at a military base in Chad. During that meeting, the Libyan official requested help from the Israeli officials to send some of their trained African agents to Libya to support the Gadhafi regime. The Israeli press reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Defense and Foreign ministers met on February 18, 2011 and decided to send African trained thugs to Libya in support of Gadhafi. (www.aljazeera.net, 3/3/2011).
Many military personnel from the Libyan army have joined the protestors. Also, high cabinet members resigned in protest and joined the Libyan masses in defiance of the Gadhafi regime, which is killing unarmed protestors.
Gadhafi has been condemned worldwide for his ruthless response to the protestors. His reaction to the protest is a proof that he is mentally an unstable person. He will continue to resist the protestors’ pressure and most probably will be killed in office.
I am surprised that he continued to rule for more than 42 years. During this long period, he abused and wasted state wealth. Unemployment rate is over 30%, and more than 25% of the Libyan people are poverty stricken.
A recent report estimated the Gadhafi family wealth to be between $35 and $100 billion. Many western governments, as well as the United States, began to freeze the Gadhafi financial assets.
In my opinion the next regime that will collapse soon is the government of Yemen. Ali A. Saleh is still resisting people’s demand’s to step down. His security forces have been clashing with the protestors for the third week, which led to the deaths of 22 people and the injuries of hundreds.
Some the members of his ruling party, in addition to other members of parliament, have resigned their positions in protest of his policies. They have denounced the violence that has caused the bloodshed.
Yemen is among the poorest Arab states, where poverty exceeds 50% of its population. In addition, the unemployment rate is very high, exceeding 45%. Many Yemeni families are facing shortages of drinking water and the country is classified among the most water-poverty stricken states in the Arab world. President Saleh has been in office for more than three decades in spite of the fact that his country has been on the wrong path. My prediction is that he will be out of office soon, or and may be killed before surrendering. Other Arab states where the protestors are demanding sweeping reforms are Bahrain, Morocco and Jordan. The domino game is in process!
The three monarchies share a similar political system and protestors are calling for constitutional monarchy to lessen the extensive authority of the kings. The protestors are also demanding free parliament elections where the prime minister is elected and not appointed by the king, as it is the case now. Freedom of expression and of the press are among the demands of the protestors, as well as an end of corruption and the creation of more jobs for many of those who are unemployed.
We are certainly in some new and drastic developments in the Middle East in the near future.