Friday, 21 September 2012

Troubled times

It seems that every so often for the last few years we have someone publishing something that will inflame the passions of some Muslims, remember the Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie, Iran was behind the condemnation. The riots come usually months after the so called outrage has been committed. That is after someone has taken the time to translate and explain what the offending message is about so that crowds can be roused. Very often this is done by Governments who see a political advantage in fomenting trouble. Despite the so called power of the internet around the world, we should remember that the internet is only really available to a small literate group of people who know how to operate a computer and have daily access to a computer and a paid internet service. In most third world countries this is a rare phenomenon, few have access, no money and no means to be connected. They rely on a person, usually connected to the local mosque or local political faction who can access the internet to tell them what they saw and then present it in such a fashion as to exploit the credulous.

At this time in Mali in the city of Timbuktu, a sacred city to Muslims, so called fundamentalist Islamists are demolishing with impunity Islamic Holy sites under the protection of UNESCO as world heritage sites. Strangely no one is saying boo about it, why is it that such people can perform blasphemous gestures towards Islam and get away scott free with no worries. The reason or twisted logic is that by designating such sites as protected makes them less Islamic. There is also a racist element, the sites were designated by a UN organization seen as Western, despite the fact that most muslim countries are full members of UNESCO and the UN.

Are the rallies and riots really against Western interest or the Western world per se or even against the USA as the media loves to tell us. I do not think so. The USA government and many other Western governments have for decades lavished generous amounts of money on countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Pakistan and others. So much so that these countries would not be able to function as Sovereign States if it was not for the financial support of the USA and many, many other Western countries. So why the hatred then? Like the saying goes, help someone and after some time they will start to resent you. It appears that the current riots are largely manufactured and largely sponsored by regimes like Iran, but I will come back to this in a moment.

If  per example tomorrow all Western donors and the USA decided to stop funding and financing the operations of Arab and other Muslim countries, these governments would collapse, one by one. With the exception of the few oil rich countries of the Arab peninsula and the Persian Gulf. Egypt is fully aware of its need for massive investments, a few weeks ago prior to the riots in Cairo, the Egyptian government was lobbying US investors. Egypt has a weak President and a non existent Parliament and the army is just sitting pretty waiting to be called in to help. The Tourism industry which is the number one vital industry of Egypt, employing ten of thousands of Egyptians is dead. Can you imagine the misery the demonstrations in Cairo have created, loss jobs, empty hotels, closed souvenir shops and restaurants. The riots in Cairo have convinced tourists to avoid Egypt as a holiday destination. Same for Tunisia and all other Arab countries who once had a healthy tourist industry.

Who could take up the challenge of replacing over night the Western financial donors, Russia, no not possible, Russia has its own economical internal problems and is struggling socially. China no not really, unless the Communist Government in Beijing saw an economic advantage to exploit for its own benefit. China is after raw materials and most poor Muslim countries have nothing to offer. Let's not forget that China supports Syria not because it thinks Syria can be of interest, no, it is because one of its major clients is Iran. China will do nothing to upset the Iranians and in return will get oil from them and will be able to sell them all manner of goods under embargo by Western countries. Iran is a strategic client of China.

As for Iran, why is it so important that it creates a wind of discontent amongst various Muslim nations. Does it not have enough internal problems, not to mention its controversial Nuclear program which could in the weeks to come trigger a major war. Iran is trying to assert itself as a major power in Central Asia and destabilize the middle-East in the never ending conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims and the racial conflict between Iran (aryan people) and the Arabs (semitic people).

The leadership in Iran is more than aware of the precarious situation of its ally the current Syrian regime, Assad cannot hold on much longer and if he falls, as he will eventually, then all 40 odd terrorist groups who have a home in Damascus and have been financially supported by Iran for the last 30+ years will have to fend for themselves. Iran would also loose its grip on Lebanon and its ally the Hezbollah (Shia) party, it would also loose influence and political ability to manipulate situations against its own declared enemies, the USA, Britain, Canada and all other Western Nations in the region, not to mention Israël.

Before modern day Iran, there was Persia and it politically and culturally dominated the Arabs for centuries.  It is thus very important for Iran to seize such a moment and use mostly poor illiterate people in doing its dirty work. Have you noticed how in all demonstrations, the people are poor, often young. They have nothing to loose, no opportunities, no money, insufficient education and live in despair. This week we saw Sheik Nasrallah the head of Hezbollah in Lebanon make a rare public appearance and speech against the little video on You Tube calling it the worst insult, it is not the worst insult, he was given a prepared text by his handlers in Tehran and told to deliver it.

The poor, the masses of marginal people all over the Muslim world know all too well that their lives are meaningless, they have to live in a world dominated by armed militias and paid thugs, mullahs who are corrupt and governments more interested in looting the national treasury than working for the good of their own country. The poor are not particularly more religious than the average person, but when all you face every day is the reality of your own misery and injustice served to you by your own inept national government, you have to hate something. It is easy to chant against the USA, they are far away, rich and seem able to do anything and the local imam and other corrupt officials will probably give you some money and a meal just so that you chant and march. If you get killed in the process well then you are a martyr to the cause. Your death will be exploited by the Mullahs and your family will get a stipend.

Poor Muslims are like all of us, their dreams are the same as everyone else, they wish for a better future for themselves and their children and that better life could happen if only they could get the to Western World, out of their misery.

So what we see now is a power play by Iran to defy its named enemies in the hope that these riots and attacks on foreign embassies will distract the world and create sympathies for Iran. It is pointless to try to explain to uneducated masses who have no experience or knowledge of what it is to live in a free and open society that we in our democracies cannot prevent anyone from publishing offensive or insulting material. It is simply not understood, in their country you fear the man above you because he can beat you at a whim and with impunity. Countries where all the people have ever known is Police brutality, oppression and States run by ruthless dictators cannot begin to understand our modern concept of open and inclusive civil society. This is why we should pity them. This ill wind will also pass with time but the cost will be the destruction of fragile local economies by its own people manipulated by Iran and its agents around the world. The Arab Spring saw quite a few old dictator thrown out but the instability and uncertainty that is now ruling the streets can be exploited by regimes like Iran and we see the results, more misery, more uncertainty.