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THEY FOLLOW THE MONEY.

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ALL CHANGE,BUT NOT NECCESSARILY FOR THE BETTER

A WHALE OF A STORY

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ALL CHANGE,BUT NOT NECCESSARILY FOR THE BETTER

It may just be a coincidence of fate but 2006 seems to be the year that everything changed, everything that is at the top. The year began in January, as most do. At a crucial time in it’s precarious history the most hated state [by Arab standards] in the Middle East lost its leader to a series of devastating strokes, which hospitalised Ariel Sharon. Despite the efforts of his doctors Sharon remains comatose and though it was feared that he would die he has clung to life by a thread for almost a year. As Sharon was no longer able to discharge the duties of office the Mayor of Jerusalem was appointed as the Jewish leader although with an election in the offing it was by no means certain that Ehud Olmert would hold the job for long particularly as prior to his illness Ariel Sharon had founded another political party in Israel [the second he has founded] which was also contesting the election. The Kadima party secured most of the seats it was predicted to win and Olmert remained the Prime Minister of Israel. A series of kidnappings shortly after the election brought yet another war to the area, this time on the border with Lebanon, the object of the conflict was not the Lebanese government but the terror group Hamas who had been attacking Israeli settlements with rockets supplied by both Syria and Iran. The conflict lasted a month and left southern Lebanon in ruins from the retaliatory air strikes by the Israeli air force.
As the conflict subsided Hamas found themselves elected to political office in Lebanon, a task they were ill prepared to take on as they are essentially a quasi military force not given to political organisation but perhaps it was the will of the Lebanese people that these conflicts should stop and the election of Hamas is their way of ensuring that it will happen.

Further south on the border with the Gaza Strip where more kidnappings had taken place another terror faction of the Palestinian movement also found itself embarrassingly elected to power the tactic of the electorate in both areas seems plain, they want peace and are prepared to tie the hands of the indigenous terror groups to achieve it.

The island of Cuba has, since the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960’s had its inviolability guaranteed by both the USA and the now disbanded USSR. Its leader then was Fidel Castro who was adept at political manoeuvre and the political chicanery that has kept him in power since the days of the Cold War. He was until recently one of the longest serving communist heads of state but infirmity is no respecter of political might and he too was hospitalised in the latter half of 2006. Various reasons have been put forwards for his continued absence from office but surprisingly he handed control of the Cuban state to his brother Raol who continues to rule in his absence. Fidel Castro’s tenure in Cuba has been marked by a very active and oppressive secret police, numerous cases of civil rights abuse coupled with a government that has controlled Cuba with an iron fist for almost fifty years. The news that he was ill sent a shimmer of hope through the White House that things in Cuba would change and that his illness was the beginning of the end of a situation in the country over which the USA has little control but that does not seem to be the case.
The biggest opponent of the Kyoto agreement on measures to counteract global warming has been the USA so the White House might take Cuba’s contribution to redress the balance as a criticism of the Bush regime itself and the vested interest of American industry in particular.
In a surprise edict/law passed by the Cuban government all light bulbs on Cuba that were not of the energy saving design were made illegal.  It is understood that all of the “Old type bulbs” are to be exchanged for the “Energy efficient” bulbs and the old ones are to be smashed. At a stroke of the pen the Cuban government has done more to counteract global warming than its giant neighbour is prepared to do. To add vehemence to the slight Raol made it clear that the measure was the idea of his brother Fidel Castro. The measure is expected to reduce Cuba’s power requirement by as much as 15% per year and at no cost to the environment. White House reaction is expected but not imminent.

Following the war in Iraq and the subsequent capture of Saddam Hussain there has been a lot of unrest amongst the now leaderless factions of the insurgents in the country.  Whilst they have made every effort to undermine the efforts of the invading alliance to bring peace to the country by acts of downright infamous terrorism, mayhem and violence including trying to wreck the legitimate elections that followed it is clear that a groundswell of opinion are determined that it will succeed. One of the impediments to the peaceful conclusion of the situation has been the role of Saddam Hussain in the country’s violent and oppressive history. From the moment that he was found in the hole in the ground in his home village of Takrit in was intended that he should answer for his crimes against his people in a court of law. The International Criminal Court claimed jurisdiction but under pressure from both the USA and UK it was waived in favour of Saddam Hussain being tried in Iraq. There were reservations expressed by several international agencies that the defendant would not receive a fair trial and in the early stages of the proceedings there was an undue representation of American interest but having neutralised much of the interference the Iraqi legal system preceded to trial. The trial has lasted nearly two years amid many developments that might have been regarded as theatrical elsewhere. In November 2006 Saddam Hussain was found guilty of his crimes against 148 Shiites and subsequently sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence had to be carried out within thirty days according to Iraqi law but the festival of Eid was less than thirty days away. It was perhaps predictable that the sentence would be executed before the holy festival and equally predictable that it would be carried out whilst most of Iraq slept to avoid any repercussions that might follow.

The sentence was carried out on the morning after the last holy day but before Eid had started. Within hours pictures taken of the dead body of Saddam Hussain were posted upon the Internet, international news agencies carried footage of the execution, newspapers carried photo’s and it was said that Saddam Hussain went to the gallows with the sound of the taunts of his executioners ringing in his ears. The very people that craved his death in vengeance for his crimes have turned his death by its “Stage management” into the spectacle that creates martyrs.

The mobile phones carried by two of the witnesses to the execution were responsible for the pictures but the security measures at the place of execution were so lax that the conclusion has to be drawn that it was intentional. It is rare that the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK gains the acceptance of the people but this week he finally found favour when he said that “The UK had expressed its opposition to any sentence of death that might be passed and the pictures of the body of Saddam Hussain on the Internet were reprehensible and contemptible to the point of revulsion”.

JP.


Posted: January 3, 2007 



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