Rebellion – The Spring Of Discontent

Ever since the world ushered in 2011, with the hopes of a fruitful year and a return to economic stability, it seems the pendulum has swung the other way. The prospect of global economic recovery seems as far away as ever, and the news has been dominated by country after country being racked by protests and regime changes, albeit mostly in the arab world.

A New Year With Renewed Hope

As we all know by now, Tunisia was the spark that ignited the trail of discontent across North Africa and on into the Middle East. Protesters in both Tunisia and Egypt have successfully rid themselves of an oppresive regime and may be turning to democracy, but we shall have to wait and see.

Further afield we have seen Libya, Syria, Yemen and The United Arab Emirates among others all suffering civilian unrest. In the case of Libya, outright war between the populace and the government is on-going with Syria heading in the same directiuon. The protesters all demand the same thing, release from an oppressive regime that has held power too long.

Libya: http://youtu.be/nqJgBhDkekc

It has always been the nature of dictators not to relinquish power once they have achieved it, a fact that still holds true today. Many who have, or perhaps will be toppled in the near future, have all held power for many decades and it often occurs that time makes such people lose contact with those they rule.

Libyan Protest

History teaches us that people will accept such a situation with passive acceptance – initially, but over time, especially if their living standards deteriorate, the discontent grows until it suddenly bursts forth in uncontrollable rage. Poor living standards are a great driver to action for those living in oppressed countries.

Desperate measures are taken by some rulers like Gaddafi of Libya and Assad of Syria, who attempt to quell the unrest by force of arms, but as we have seen in both these countries, it only makes the protesters more determined. Libya is now racked by civil war, and even with the help of a UN resolution and the actions of NATO, we are approaching a stalemate.

There are indications the war in Libya will take on a new twist that may well cause headaches at NATO Headquarters. The latest news quotes government sources as saying the eviction of the rebels from Misrata will be left to local tribes who have suffered loss of trade with the city since the uprising began. The army is said to be retreating from Misrata and negotiations will take place between tribal leaders and the rebels. If the tribes do in fact attack the rebel positions in the city it will be civilians against civilians, so where will that leave the coalition forces and the UN Mandate?

Syria Defiance

Meanwhile, Syria is seeing daily deaths among the protesters at the hands of the security forces. International involvement has only taken place in Libya, and it seems unlikely at this time that such action will be repeated in other countries.

Syria: http://youtu.be/qb7Irlq60Ew

Ivory Coast and Nigeria have also been trouble spots for the last few weeks but the reasons there are different.

The Ivorian Protagonists

In Ivory Coast the dispute arose from the failure of its President, Lauren Gbagbo to accept defeat when he lost the election. Fighting has been going on there for some time as forces loyal to Gbagbo sought to prevent the elected President Ouattara from taking office. Eventually Gbagbo was defeated, but now Ouattara is finding it hard to reign in his troops and stop fighting between Gbagbo supporters and his own. Once again, the UN has made pleas for calm which have fallen on deaf ears.

Ivory Coast: http://youtu.be/Y0Lpmdzt6mk

A similar situation is developing in Nigeria where the defeated presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhuri, refuses to accept his defeat against Goodluck Johnson in an election that was cleared by international observers as being fair. Should the violence continue, there is a chance the Muslim north of the country will be at war with the Christian south.

Sectarian Violence in Nigeria

The difference between this altercation and others seems to be religion, for like Muslims everywhere, they wish to dominate, and the north will not be satisfied until it rules the whole of the country purely for the purposes of turning it into a Muslim state. A story we have all heard before.

The UN is still confining itself to useless pleas for calm and a cessation of violence in the various nations currently in the news. This is standard practice for the international body that rarely sees fit to actually take action to prevent bloodshed and war.

Nigeria: http://youtu.be/QzFQ3zrW7QA

The United Nations was formed as a body with the ideal of ending war and insurrection in any country but has over the years been found wanting. The various nations have almost always found it impossible to come to a decision to end violence, for each country must first look to its own interests before embarking on any agreement to intervene in trouble spots around the world.

The Libyan conflict serves as a prime example, for many countries could not bring themselves to endorse Resolution 1973 until it was too late to be of any strategic use, perhaps because they did not wish to offend the Middle East nations for fear of jeopardising their oil imports. Now with Syria and Yemen they again cannot agree for the same reason, and content themselves with platitudes and pleas for a cessation of the violence, all of which go unheard.

A Sign Of UN Impotence At Ending Wars?

It is obvious these nations will not take any notice, for it has become a power struggle with the elite not wishing to relinquish their grip, and the protesters refusing to accept anything less.

Countries like Russia and China who hold veto powers, refuse to allow any UN action to stop the bloodshed for reasons of their own, which is most likely an attempt to gain influence in the area.

There is little doubt the UN, founded with such lofty ideals, is failing in its mandate in a disastrous fashion, for it was intended to end wars and provide a platform for the settlement of international disputes. Something it has never managed to do, and in my opinion, never will. Meanwhile, ordinary people die needlessly!

Roy.

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