Saddam Trial & Political Consequences

The trial of Saddam is the trial of his tribe and the people who are still loyal to him. He seems to be still having influence on the mind of many, especially those who enjoyed affluence in his era. Saddam seems to have a double set of defendants. There is the defence that represents him at court as there is the secret defence that carries the killing of judges and their relatives in his support.

Even at the end of his trial and in the case of subsequent execution, Saddam will continue to exercise influence from his grave. Saddam can disappear from public view when the trial finally ends. He can totally disappear from people’s mind as a force when Iraq returns to full stability instead of remaining under the mercy of mutual and collective recrimination.

Suspending the trial of Saddam also means suspending the trial of those that were closely associated with him like Tariq Aziz and others. This can make a mockery of the justice system in Iraq in that justice is carried out of political consideration and not for its own sake. This will also open the gate for the demand to acquit and compensate those that have been imprisoned and tried because of their former association with Saddam’s regime.


Space Tourist travel, a Waste of Money?

Space is considered in the USA and some other countries as the new frontiers. But space tourist travel is still very rare. There are now just three people. The latest is the Iranian first female paying space tourist, Anousheh Ansari. While it is impossible for many people to spend a holiday outside their countries or to travel by plane because of the high cost, there are rich people ready to spend in a single flight what forty thousand people spend in a year, considering their average income of $500 each if the flight cost amounts to US $20 million.

Space exploration itself is seen by many as a waste of money if it goes beyond the objective of improving the life of impoverished people on earth. More plans should be made to make Earth prosperous for ordinary people and not just to fill libraries with astonishing studies about the mystery of the universe while illiteracy is still plaguing the third world.

For Anousheh Ansari she deserves all praises. Her success in the flight can be another example to the frontiers women can cross to prove their unlimited abilities. But this shouldn’t distract us from the fact that the budget for space should be for necessity and not for extravagance.

Gun Control

Gun possession has been a hot issue in many countries like Brazil and the USA. Each time a crime occurs, especially the one in which there is the storming of building like schools or armed robbery of financial institutions like banks, there is a call for tight control on gun possession and sale. The gun has a lot of symbol for some it is a source of prestige and power. Others make collection of guns without ever firing a single shot. There are arm dealers who are the suppliers of those needing them in face of strict government measures or for waging a war against it.

In some Middle Eastern countries like Yemen and Lebanon the possession of guns is commonplace. In Lebanon common possession was the result of the civil war that pushed each section of the Lebanese society to have enough arms as a way to impose its will.

In Iraq, former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein armed populations loyal to him to defend themselves against invaders.

In Yemen possessing a dagger and a gun is a sign of manhood. It is estimated that in this country there are more than five million guns among the Yemeni populations. Some tribes take advantage of these guns to kidnap tourists to force the central government to carry development projects in their region. But considering the number of guns in relation to Yemeni population numbering 20 million people, gun linked murder is rare in Yemen compared to the USA where it is estimated that there is the possession of 200 million guns.

The gun isn’t dangerous by itself. It is as dangerous as it is made to be. The gun doesn’t trigger itself and chooses its targets. It is its possessor or manipulator who makes it kill. So legislation banning or allowing gun possession has to go in line with the fabric of societies. A killer is a killer. If he needs a gun or any murderous weapon he will get it.

Fuelling Terror

The American values have been criticised by Islamists as a threat to theirs. Now the US presence in Iraq has fuelled hatred to the US. The US presence in Muslim countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, which are under its occupation, has fuelled terror and hatred to the US. There are other Jihadists who are against US military bases in Muslim countries like Qatar.Other incidents like the scandals of Abu Gharib prison indecent torture of Iraqi prisoners and the controversial setup of Guantanamo prison where alleged terrorists are held, some of whom committed suicide portray the US as an aggressor after human dignity .

Iraq is viewed by extremist Islamists as the first step for wide range and direct involvement of the US in Muslim countries, dictating to them under the threat of sanction the government style they should have. Iraq remains a battleground against the US as Afghanistan was a training ground for terrorists who succeeded in carrying 9/11 attacks and others in many parts of the world. For Jihadists from all over the world, the US interests and those of its allies remain their target.

Terrorism will increase as long as there are diametrical differences between US policy in the Muslim world and the views of Jihadists who have enough means to spread their terror. Terrorism can’t be rooted out overnight as long a captured or a killed terrorist is easily replaced by another. Jihadist ideology has deepened even in Western countries through the radical members of Muslim communities. Iraq will remain their focus, as it is the best examples for them to show their followers to what extent American values don’t fit in what they consider an Islamic surrounding that should remain purely so without any foreign influence.

Death Crimes

Soweto has gone down history as the place where was the uprising against apartheid that finally ended after decades of armed and political struggle, leaving a big number of deaths. But if there were death in fight of freedom, there still remains crime-linked death. South Africa as whole got notorious for high rate crime due to poverty, lack of education and unsuccessful social reforms. The end of apartheid has bred just a black elite benefiting from the wealth of the country while places like Soweto are still under the mercy of deprivation. When South Africa presented its candidature for 2010 World Cup it had to convince FIFA that it was a safe country and there would be no danger for the foreign visitors.

But South Africa isn’t the only country in the world to have a high murder rate. The USA, despite its developed security system, is one of the countries in which there are daily murders. Peaceful countries like Sweden have seen political figures killed on the hand of criminals without political motivation. Its Prime Minister Sven Olof Joachim Palme was killed by a criminal when walking after being at the cinema. Its foreign minister was stabbed to death by a lunatic in a supermarket.

Three days ago a European diplomat and his wife were killed in their home in Rabat, Morocco by a criminal who succeeded in entering it through the window.

Death crimes can’t be prevented even in prosperous societies. Crimes due to material necessity can be prevented by improving the material situation of the population. But crimes related to lunacy and revenge are hard to predict and prevent. They happen in poor and rich societies alike.

Journalists at risk

The death of Jozi FM journalist Jabulani Mlangeni is a reminder of the constant risks some journalists are under. There are some who die because of being caught in a battle zone; others are targeted because of their opinion or investigations. Five hundred and eighty journalists have been killed for their work over the past 15 years in troubled areas like Iraq and Somalia. So if we can get pictures of the atrocities around the world in the comfort of our homes, it is thanks to those journalists who in time of crises have sleepless nights to provide round the clock updated news.

The BBC also had the bad luck of having some of its journalists or cameramen attacked or killed. It is always sad to hear a famous journalist being attacked as it was the case for BBC Frank Gardner who was the victim of a terrorist shooting that fortunately didn’t succeed in taking his life. When I see him in the news I admire his courage to keep his dedication to reporting despite this tragic incident. My sympathy also goes to BBC Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond who I wish to see on screen in perfect shape as soon as possible.

Thai Military Coup

Democracy is necessary for political stability. If Thailand remains under military control after the Thai military coup, it may lose friends around the world. The military has already been criticised by Washington. As a country whose economy is based on tourism, it should remain an open society where investors feel safe about their economic projects.

The military should be pressed to give up power as soon as possible. If it stays longer in power, this will kill democracy – making of any government its puppet, while the will of people is ignored.

It’s better for the Thai people to have democratic fights for power than to remain under the power of the army which primarily should be in barracks at peace time, not giving orders to civilians about what lifestyle they should have.

Should Romania & Bulgaria Join the EU?

Joining the European Union doesn’t guarantee economic prosperity for the whole population. It can have adverse effect as joining the EU means abiding by its laws, which some see as an erosion of their country’s sovereignty. In Poland – now a member of the EU – there is shortage of skilled workers because of their massive migration mainly to England. So this means if Bulgarians and Romanians have skills needed in rich countries of the EU like France, Germany and UK, they will leave for them leaving their own country in need of a skilled labour that will no longer be easily available and at affordable prices.

But at the same time it can be an opportunity for the Romanians and the Bulgarians to be more competitive to enter the EU market as active partners and not living on EU aid and subsidies, which will make of them just satellite states or small brothers needing the protection of their big brothers

Political Lies

It is commonplace that politicians tell half the truth to keep their positions. They try to embellish their decisions and achievement although they are unpopular. In many countries election results are contested because of irregularities during campaigns and voting. Even in developed countries there are election scandals like illegal funding of campaigns. The case of Helmut Colt in Germany is still in mind.

In politics, the end justifies the means. For a party it can resort to spying on other parties as it was in Watergate or they can lure candidates from other parties to join them.

The Hungarian PM was bold enough to admit that he had lied. Many governments are in power because of the continuous lies they use to keep their grip on power. They all have the Machiavellian mentality, which say that you should nail your enemies before they nail you.

We all lie from time to time. There are lies and lies. White lies are benign. They aren’t meant to give a black eye. Many governments lie through their broken promises. In politics, any small lie counts. You can lie to your rivals. But the people should be told the truth about anything of paramount concern to them. Then they have the right to wage protest, show solidarity or fall into the silent majority.

How Credible is the UN?

The United Nations General Assembly is meeting to debate the state of the world. Topics are expected to include international peace keeping, the environment, the Middle East, nuclear proliferation, UN reform and the next secretary-general. Each assembly puts in question the effectiveness of this world body.

UN members have different political agendas. Small countries tend to follow the big ones through the World Bank, economic aid and military protection. The UN, despite its successes in some areas, remains a lame duck in a world where there is competition for superiority. The US, the biggest member has a history of deep disagreement with the UN on many issues like Iran and Kyoto accord. The UN is working in a world where there are political alliances that don’t often see eye to eye. The US and its allies have enough power to impose their will on the world stage. There are other organisations like Non-aligned movements whose members are good at drafting resolutions without implementing them. All such states converge at the UN, but there they have more what to disagree than what to agree upon. At best the UN is just a forum where no one is forcibly bound to any signed agreement.

For the UN to be effective, member states should built mutual trust and cooperation. The UN doesn’t have the power to change governments. When regional grouping like the Arab League, the African Union become able to implement their resolutions effectively, then it will become easy for UN member states to agree on global policies. Today many states have political commitment with countries far from their borders. The relations with their neighbours are mainly based on guarding the borders from infiltrators rather than deepening political cooperation.

As there are many corrupt governments, whatever aid the UN provides will be futile. As for conflicts, it’s up to the parties involved to resolve them peacefully. The UN can’t step in any area without the agreement of the governments concerned. All it can do is to impose sanctions. This is not a radical solution, since only the people who suffer from them as it was the case in Iraq.

The UN despite its failure to resolve long standing problems in areas like the Middle East has had some success in areas like East Timor. The world can be worse without it. If it can’t solve all political problems, at least, it limits their worsening. Without UN intervention in Lebanon, this could have turned into rubble, dragging the whole region into a catastrophic war. The UN should reshape itself to have more credibility instead of remaining a forum for debates leading nowhere.

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