As most of you have probably already heard, the violence in Libya and other Arab nations where civil protests first began just over one month ago continues to escalate, with the death toll rising daily in the region.
At this current time, an extremely dangerous situation is developing in Libya, where forty-two year dictator, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, insists that he will go down fighting. Over the past few days, Gaddafi has begun to incite the citizens of Tripoli, and arm his supporters with weapons, for what will undoubtedly be a bloody showdown in the days and weeks ahead. Apparently, Gaddafi has no qualms about setting citizen against citizen, in order to save his own skin.
With much of the country already falling to the resistance, the rebels slowly encircling Tripoli, and some politicians and military men beginning to abandon him, Gaddafi is growing more desperate. He has sworn that he will turn Libya into a hellhole, and that it will become “red with fire”.
As news outlets have been reporting, the protests in Libya are very different compared with those that recently occurred in Tunisia and Egypt. While those two protest movements were non-violent for the most part, the revolution that is now occurring in Libya is a whole different story. Not only are their organizers and leaders older and more experienced than the youthful protesters of Tunisia and Egypt, but the anti-Gaddafi rebels have not hesitated to take up arms, and have even acquired more sophisticated weaponry from the military bases which they have taken over.
To say the least, many Libyan citizens are currently filled with terror and fear, and it is anyone’s guess how the situation will evolve in coming days; but whatever happens, it will no doubt be very ugly and brutal. Just as Gaddafi declared that Libya is not Tunisia or Egypt, in similar fashion, Gaddafi is not Hosni Mubarak or Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In other words, it appears that he is not going to go quietly into the night. He would rather take down the entire country with him, if need be.
Meanwhile, the violence in Iraq also continues to rise. In the latest incident, early Saturday morning, gunmen attacked Iraq’s largest oil refinery in Beiji, which is located about one hundred and fifty-five miles to the north of Baghdad. An undetermined number of bombs exploded during the attack.
The attack against the Beiji refinery was undoubtedly a very calculated move by anti-government forces, and I strongly suspect that its primary purpose was to further raise the ire of Iraqi citizens, and to widen the divide between Sunnis and Shi’ites in Iraq.
If, as the mass media is reporting, the attack results in long lines at fuel stations, and longer electricity outages, it will severely exasperate Iraqi citizens who are already angry, and running out of patience, as a result of the substandard government services — including very limited electricity service — to which they have been subjected since the American invasion in April of 2003. In other words, if the current situation lasts much longer, it will only fuel the fires of discontent, and possibly result in the eruption of a full-blown Sunni-Shi’ite civil war, which has been simmering for a long time now.
Quite frankly, I suspect that the entire situation in Iraq is purposely being manipulated and controlled. It has been eight long years since the American invasion. While the devastation which resulted from the American attacks was severe by most reports, nevertheless, eight years is still a long time. Why in the world is it taking so long to restore basic services? Is it meant to purposely keep the people weak and divided?
Before concluding this post, I would like to reiterate one final point, and that is this: As outside observers, we need to realize that what is occurring all across North Africa and the Middle East right now is in large part based on sectarian loyalties.
In other words, if you were to take a map of that region of the world, and mark each country based on the religious majority of that nation — that is, Sunni Islam or Shi’a / Shi’ite Islam — and then look at its leadership, you will see exactly what I am talking about.
For example, you will understand why the Saud family of Saudi Arabia supported Hosni Mubarak — they are both Sunnis — while at the same time, Saudi Arabia is at odds with Iran, which is dominated by Shi’ites.
In short, the Sunni-controlled nations support other Sunni nations, while the Shi’ite-controlled nations — such as Iran — support other Shi’ite nations. That is why Iraq is beginning to look more and more like a Shi’ite puppet state of Iran. Former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, was Sunni, while current Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is Shi’ite. In fact, al-Maliki lived in Iran for eight years during his time of exile when Saddam Hussein was still in power.
Furthermore, you will also come to realize that in a number of countries where protests are now occurring, it is a majority of one branch of Islam, protesting against a government that is controlled by the minority branch of Islam.
So, if you begin to view events in the Arab world through that lens, you will begin to understand a lot more.
I hope that the above information has been helpful to you. Just remember; God is in control of the affairs of men. While He has endowed all of us with free will and personal choice, so that we can determine our own futures, at the same time, He does have an overall plan, and He knows what He is doing, even if we don’t. As the Prophet Isaiah wrote over 2,500 years ago:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV