Iranians suffer as Tehran’s appetite for regional power grows

By Claude Salhani

It is a vicious circle. Iran continues to acquire sophisticated weapons. The supplier is usually one of the main weapon-producing countries of which there are only a handful: the United States, Russia and France.

Iran, like many other countries, is arming itself with sophisticated weaponry that will eventually strengthen its power, much to the pleasure of its leaders. With these weapons, the theocracy’s supreme leader and Iranian President Hassan Rohani can strut around like a couple of excited peacocks with their multicoloured tails fully deployed, along with their treasured state-of-the-art weapons systems.

Of course, as soon as they acquire new weapons along comes one of the aforementioned countries with a solution to counter whatever system was sold to Tehran, secretly or otherwise, offering weapon systems to counter other weapons systems. So a vicious cycle is entered and there is no choice but to keep upgrading and renewing the arsenal.

Tehran is proud and elated and the countries selling these systems are pleased because they have increased their revenues by several million dollars. Everybody’s happy. Or are they?

What about the people, the regular people? The majority of the population suffers more because their countries have entered a great game of geopolitics.

Tehran insists and, despite everything, is not deterred from pursuing its goal to acquire nuclear capability.

That is the end game. Between the nuclear power plant and the small arms, there is room for all sorts of weapon systems to be sold.

Yet the regime in Iran has been steadfast, intent on becoming a nuclear power. It is also intent on meddling in regional affairs, despite sanctions imposed by the international community.

Has Tehran ever stopped to wonder what people really want? Does the man or woman on the street care much about the country having the latest armaments at the cost of heavy sanctions imposed on the entire nation? How does a mother feel about having to pay five times the regular cost of nappies because her president thinks his country needs nuclear weapons?

Sure, the government organises demonstrations showing support for its policies but, once the cameras are out of the way, there is a different story. Iranians suffer from the continued role played by their country trying to emulate a superpower — at least in its own inflated importance, keeping the country abreast of advanced and sophisticated weaponry. Tehran has become addicted and weapon suppliers are there to remind Tehran of the latest models and systems, et cetera.

Those expenditures, compiled with sanctions on the country, may not affect a ruling class that has always managed to import whatever it needed to live comfortably but the compilation of money spent on the military and the sanctions will affect most citizens. They are the ones who will feel the crunch.

Iran is a rich country because of oil production but its desire to play in the major leagues has practically bankrupted it. Many Iranians survive today on the brink of poverty. To what end?

Iran’s leaders could invest in helping businessmen and women start small businesses. They could invest in education. They could invest in the arts and sciences. Instead, what we have is billions of dollars wasted on purchasing weapons systems that are soon obsolete.

Claude Salhani is a regular columnist for The Arab Weekly.

The lessons of Trump’s moves in Syria will not be forgotten

By Claude Salhani

US President Donald Trump treats foreign relations in the same manner he addresses his personal issues — very selfishly and narrow-mindedly.

Since he has been in the Oval Office, Trump has demonstrated time and again that his policy has been not to watch out for the country he has sworn to protect and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic, but for the greater benefit of Donald Trump. In Trump’s world, cheating, lying and distorting facts are permissible.

Now, as he meddles in foreign affairs, where Trump claims that, as in everything else — from labour unions to nuclear armament — there is no one who knows the issues, in this case the Kurdish one, better than he does.

Even career diplomats who have spent a lifetime in the Foreign Service don’t match up to the president — at least according to the ultra-inflated ego that Trump carries around with that giant chip on his shoulder.

So why bother to consult with the people who made a career studying diplomacy or who have served in the military what the domino effect of pulling US forces from Syria would create?

When told there would be chaos and mayhem in the region and that the fighting would create a new wave of refugees seeking to flee the bedlam caused by his thoughtless decision, Trump said there was no longer a reason to maintain US troops in Syria because “we” won and had defeated the Islamic State (ISIS).

It didn’t take long for Turkish forces to commence their offensive in northern Syria. No sooner had US forces been ordered out of their zone that the Turkish military opened an artillery barrage and aerial bombardment.

In the confusion that ensued, a US Special Forces position was hit by Turkish fire. The US military said the Turks were aware of the Americans’ position.

Ten of thousands of terrified civilians ran for cover, scurrying to find shelter wherever they could. Scores of women and children fled their homes, trying to find a safe place from the inferno that had descended upon them.

Most appeared lost, not knowing which way to find safety or if there even was such a place for them as the Turkish military set out to remove Kurdish forces, whom Turkey regards as terrorists, from land along the Turkish and Syrian borders.

Trump’s hasty decision to recall US forces in northern Syria unleashed a barrage of angry responses not only from Democrats but from prominent Republicans as well.

Liz Cheney, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives, tweeted: “News from Syria is sickening. Turkish troops preparing to invade Syria from the north, Russia-backed forces from the south, ISIS fighters attacking Raqqa. It is impossible to understand why Trump is leaving America’s allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS.”

It seems very likely that part of the price for Turkey to join the fight against the jihadists was to sell out the Kurds once more.

History has not been kind to the Kurds and neither has geography. The Kurds are scattered across Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. If Washington turned its back on them, it would have been a repetition of history.

US President Woodrow Wilson promised the Kurds a state at the close of World War I. The Kurds remained faithful to their word and supported the Allies in the conflict. Then again, in hopes of convincing the Western powers to grant them an independent state, they supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The conflict ripping through the Middle East today, if indeed it is a single conflict or rather numerous conflicts, is far from over. When the dust settles and the bullets stop flying, it will be interesting to see whether the map of the region changes.

One certainty is that the trust of the United States will come into question. The next time the US military seeks local allies they will learn the price of Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds.

In his great and infinite wisdom, which he claims to have, Trump brushes off worries that freed ISIS prisoners will be a threat: “They’re going to be escaping to Europe,” he said, speaking of ISIS prisoners and that, to the American president, seems OK.

Men and women, Americans as well as Europeans, as well as the Kurds, have died in battle in recent years fighting ISIS.

“These days will remain for the United States and Europe marked by shame and infamy. We have abandoned and betrayed the Kurds in Syria. We have delivered them to the barbarianism of Islamist Erdogan all while they were our allies fighting ISIS and have spilt their blood in so doing” said Claude Moniquet, a counterterrorism specialist in Brussels.

Remembering the October War, 46 years on

By Claude Salhani

This October 6 marks the 46th anniversary of the war between Egypt, Syria and Israel. Nothing in the Middle East is ever simple and even the name given to this conflict was disputed. In the Arab world, it became known as Harb Ramadan, after the holy Muslim month during which the war was launched or Harb Teshrin (the October War). In Israel it became known as the Yom Kippur War.
 
Egypt and Syria factored in their planning of the war that thousands of Israeli soldiers would be on leave to celebrate the holiest of Jewish holidays with their families.  
 
The Arab armies had the advantage of surprise and in the initial stages of the war it counted for much. Indeed the first few hours of the war the Arab armies had the advantage.
 
The Egyptians managed to cross the Suez Canal and capture Israel’s defensive position known as the Bar Lev Line, an intricate line of defensive positions consisting of interconnecting trenches, fox holes and reinforced machine gun positions.
 
But The Egyptians threw more men into the battle than the Israelis could kill as wave after wave of soldiers paddled across the narrow waterway and up the steep sand berms. Israelis machine guns jammed from continuous firing. Using water cannons to breach through the sand berms Egyptian soldiers eventually made it up the eastern bank of the Canal.
 
On the Golan Heights, the Syrians managed to make some advances and recaptured some ground previously occupied by the Israelis in June 1967.
 
It is often said that war is the failure of politics, indeed it is.
 
Of all the wars fought in the region between the Arabs and Israelis, none was more important than the October War.  Without it, peace would have never been possible.
 
The utter defeat of the Arabs in the June 1967 war shamed the Arab world. In that context the Arabs could never bring themselves to negotiate on an equal footing with Israel.
 
In 1967, Israel, then barely 20 years in existence managed to occupy the entire Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, at the same time the Jewish State captured the Golan Heights from Syria and took the entire West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem from Jordan.
 
In the days and weeks that followed the June 67 war the entire region fell into a state of anaemic depression where particularly youth felt a sense of guilt and shame. Under such circumstances, the Arabs could never bring themselves to sit at the same negotiating table with the Israelis. Something had to be done first.
 
That’s when the planning for the 6 October war began.
 
The October War has been the costliest in armament since World War II. The Arabs lost nearly 2,000 tanks and approximately 500 warplanes. Israel’s lost 804 tanks and 114 warplanes. And 407 vehicles destroyed. Human casualties were high. Egypt lost between 5,000 and 15,000 dead; and 8,372 captured.
 
Syria lost 3,000 and 3,500 killed and 392 captured. Israel lost 2,520-2,800 dead; 7,250 wounded
 
The monetary cost exceeded $20 billion.

The paradox of this war was that’s both sides claimed victory. In Egypt and Syria avenues and bridges, as well as newspapers were named after 6 October. The date was made a national holiday.

To some extent both sides won while to some degree they both lost.
 
The war served as wakeup call to both sides. The Arabs who long believed that Israel was invincible, impenetrable and impregnable realised that the Israelis were just as vulnerable as they were.
 
The Israeli intelligence, the Mossad, thought to be the most efficient intelligence gathering organisation in the region failed to detect Arab preparations for the war.  The Israeli intelligence service, reputed to have penetrated the highest level of Syrian and Egyptian military circles, just drew a blank on this war.
 
For the first time since the creation of the state of Israel the Arabs had successfully planned, prepared and executed an offensive on such a large scale without alerting the Israelis.
 
The crossing of the Suez Canal and the taking of the Bar Lev Line, thought to be impregnable was a major victory for the Egyptian army, and a fantastic morale booster for the Egyptian people. In fact it was a great morale booster in all of the Arab world.

For the Syrians the initial stages of the war was great success and fierce fighting on the Heights helped erase the bitter memories of ‘67.
 
Even when Israeli warplanes bombed Damascus the mood in the Syrian capital remained jubilant.

In Israel the mood in Israel was reversed. People started to question the leadership. How could they allow t he enemy to come so close to defeating Israel?
 
It was largely the bittersweet victories and defeats that helped pave the way towards peace. The October War helped both sides accept the fact that there could be no alternative to peace through negotiations.
 


Claude Salhani is a regular columnist with The Arab Weekly.
 
He covered the October War from the Syrian front.

By Claude Salhani

Trump’s ‘great and unmatched wisdom’ is neither

by Claude Salhani

US President Donald Trump spoke of his “great and unmatched wisdom” in a posting on Twitter shortly after conversing with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Soon after that telephone call, the US president, in his “great and unmatched wisdom,” released a tweet that brought instant chaos, fear and uncertainty to the political community in Washington and to the Kurds in the Middle East.

In his “great and unmatched wisdom,” Trump had just condemned hundreds, if not thousands, of Kurds to death. It’s as good as though he personally signed their death certificates or as though he pulled the trigger.

In his infinitely “great and unmatched wisdom,” Trump said he would pull out US forces from northern Syria and once again friends and foes are wondering if the United States can be trusted as an ally.

In his “great and unmatched wisdom,” Trump, on a whim, decided, without consulting the State or Defence departments, on a major political decision that would have grave consequences on US foreign policy.

In his infinite wisdom, Trump has undone several decades of efforts by US diplomats to convince the people of the region that the United States can be their friend.

In Washington, the news was received with as much reservation from Republicans as Democrats.

Even long-time staunch supporters of the president, such as US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, voiced concern. McConnell  called into “Fox and Friends,” one of the US president’s favourite television programmes, to urge Trump to reverse his move. “A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran and the Assad regime,” McConnell said.

Officials at the US State Department and the Pentagon said Trump’s latest deed caused consternation in Washington. There was even more consternation and fear in the Middle East where the US withdrawal places the Kurds, who have long been the staunchest of allies of the United States, at great risk.

Kurdish forces fought alongside US troops against the Islamic State. They paid a heavy price in casualties.

Pulling out US forces from northern Syria leaves Kurdish fighters at the mercy of Turkish troops, which are waiting near the Syrian-Turkish border. Turkey has long considered the Kurdish fighters “terrorists” and is just itching to cross the frontier and neutralise that force.

Asking Trump to remove US troops from the area paves the way for Turkey to order its troops south to engage with the Kurds. These were the very force that, at great personal risk, supported the US deployment in Syria.

Politicians in Washington are particularly worried that this puts the credibility of the United States in play and will affect policy down the road.

This also plays in favour of Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Russians have wasted no time in replacing, or at least trying hard to replace the role that the United States used to play in the Arab world. Putin has dispatched thousands of troops to Syria to support of the Assad regime. The removal of US forces leaves even more room for the Russians.

Yet, as soon as US president was off the phone with Erdogan, he decided to bully his Turkish counterpart.

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey,” Trump said on Twitter.

This “great wisdom” plays into the hands of the regime in Damascus, which recently asked all foreign forces to withdraw from Syria. Of course, that request did not include the Russians or the Iranians who have been helping the regime stay in place.

If you had any doubts as to why Putin would have preferred Trump to be elected president of the United States this should rest your mind. You do not need “great and unmatched wisdom” to figure this one out. Certainly, Trump is the better president – for the Russians, that is.

Furthermore, departure of the US forces and the void that it will create will leave a gap for the Islamic State to return, which is what they are doing

Qaddafi as controversial in life as in death

by Claude Salhani

Long-time Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi was a controversial character throughout his long rule of the oil-rich North African country.

Like many dictators, he managed his country’s revenues erratically while the economy and many of his people struggled to get by. Personal whim and illusions of imperial grandeur determined his major foreign policy decisions.

He had particular ambitions in Africa where he anointed himself “King of Kings.” Bribes to African leaders helped him get his way in the continent. At home, no dissent was tolerated and Libyan prisons were packed with political opponents and anyone even hinting at disagreement with the dictator.

During his reign, Qaddafi alienated friends and foes alike. His far more powerful next-door neighbour, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, referred to Qaddafi as “That mad boy from Libya.”

Eight years after his death, Qaddafi continues to be controversial. The reason for his brutal ousting from power remains as controversial as anything related to Qaddafi while he was alive.

In this era of so-called “fake news” that has become a favourite tool of people trying to discredit their political opponents, one must tread carefully.

With that in mind, consider a report stating that Qaddafi was killed at the behest of Western countries because he was planning to supplant France as the dominant power in the Francophone Africa region.

I don’t buy into this argument for two reasons: First, to be a leader in Francophone Africa one needs to be capable of conversing in French. That is hardly the case with Libya. Second, quite a few African countries had experience dealing with Qaddafi and, to put it mildly, they did not cherish the experience.

Now, declassified e-mails claim Qaddafi was killed because France wanted to maintain its financial stranglehold on African Nations.

NATO forces participated in Qaddafi’s overthrow, that is clear enough. What is cloudy, however, is why Western European powers were so eager to remove the Libyan leader from power.

The overthrow was seemingly not for the protection of the Libyan people but, allegedly, to thwart Qaddafi’s attempt to create a gold-backed African currency to compete with the Western central banking monopoly.

The report states that an e-mail sent in April 2011 to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by long-time Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal with the subject line “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold” reveals predatory Western intentions.

The message indicates the French-led NATO military initiative in Libya was driven by a desire to gain access to a greater share of Libyan oil production and to undermine a long-term plan by Qaddafi to supplant France as the dominant power in the Francophone Africa region.

Foreign Policy reports that the e-mail identified French President Nicolas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with specific purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power and prevent Qaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”

Most astounding is a lengthy section delineating the threat that Qaddafi’s precious metal reserves, estimated at “143 tonnes of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” posed to the French franc circulating as a prime African currency.

The e-mail makes clear that intelligence sources indicate the impetus behind the French attack on Libya was a calculated move to consolidate power, using NATO as a tool for imperialist conquest, not a humanitarian intervention as had been publicly stated.

Not included in the report is a rumour circulated at the time indicating that Sarkozy wanted Qaddafi because he did not want the Libyan leader standing trial in The Hague and revealing how much money he had contributed to Sarkozy’s re-election campaign.

He upset Libya’s Arab neighbours and US and Western European powers who tried to maintain good relations in order to access Libya’s oil. Also, like other dictators, he had a hard time realising that the people did not like him the way he imagined they did.

When the end came, Qaddafi had a hard time believing that a crowd gathered outside his palace was there to kill him.

Qaddafi was controversial in life and continues to be controversial in death. There have been many stories about how and why he was killed. As it was the case with his life, elements of truth in his death might remain shrouded forever in myth and fake news.

How deep is your hate?

by Claude Salhani

There is a recurring question that arises in the minds of many people concerned about and by the violence that perpetuates in the Middle East. This concern revolves around extremist thinking found among actors in the unfolding drama in which violence, hate and ignorance are the principal actors.

Are those fanatics calling for the destruction of Israel really aiming for the complete destruction of the Jewish state or are they playing it up for the benefit of Western television cameras?

Why do protesters from Sana’a to Peshawar have their banners written in — often poor — English? It is no secret they crave the attention of the Western world.

Calling for the destruction of one’s perceived enemy is a psychological weapon. It is the radicals’ way to pressure their nemesis by ratcheting up the anger of their public.

Such radical discourse may find acceptance in the minds of the rank and file and the undereducated who may see the situation and its resolution in simplistic terms. The reality reflects a very different image.

In ensuring that a continuous posture of enmity towards the other is relentlessly fed by professional hate-mongers, they bank on their ability to make sure the next generation will provide cannon fodder for the forthcoming conflicts. Happy thoughts.

Tehran openly supports anti-Israeli armed groups, including the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, but it is the Palestinians and the Lebanese who have sustained the most losses as a result of the wars of Hamas and Hezbollah.

In June 2018, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed Tehran’s long-held position that Israel is “a malignant cancerous tumour that must be removed and eradicated.” Iranian generals routinely express the desire to destroy Israel or claim to be able to wipe out Tel Aviv.

When the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) says “wiping out Israel from the face of the Earth” is an “achievable goal,” does he really mean it? Does he believe it when he says Tehran has “obtain[ed] the capacity to destroy the imposter Zionist regime”?

In both cases, the answer is likely “No.”

Much like its proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and other places who clamour in their rallies for the destruction of the “Zionist enemy,” Iranian military and political establishment’s eradication discourse is more a legitimising cry of war and a mobilising slogan for their supporters.

For Iran and its surrogates, enmity towards Israel and the United States provides justification for amassing weapons and militarising their societies.

“This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer… a dream (but) it is an achievable goal,” Iranian Major-General Hossein Salami was quoted by the IRGC’s Sepah News as saying.

Four decades on from Iran’s Islamic Revolution, “we have managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the imposter Zionist regime,” he said.

Salami’s comments, while not unusual for Iranian officials, were made amid particularly heightened international tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme and incidents that raised fears of a confrontation between Tehran and its main regional rival, Riyadh.

The United States, which withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018, has imposed a campaign of “maximum pressure” — with vocal support from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Salami’s comments were given prominent coverage by the Tasnim and Fars news agencies, close to ultra-conservative political factions.

The rhetoric of eradication of the other is unrealistic the other way around. Iran cannot uproot Israel and Israel will not wipe out Hezbollah or Hamas. These organisations provide extreme expressions of anger and hate but also social services to impoverished populations.

At a conference at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, a panellist explained there are three branches of Hezbollah. There is the political party, which is represented in parliament by elected deputies, including Christian deputies. Hezbollah also has had, at various times, one or more ministers in the Lebanese government.

The social branches of Hezbollah act in the absence of the Lebanese state, providing health care, education and social services.

Then there is the armed group, which is considered by many in the West to be a terrorist organisation.

The conundrum is that if the social services were removed, thousands of children would be taken out of school and deprived of many basic services. Social services may provide the radical group with human shields for its messages of hate and armed organisation but what is the alternative for poor children?

Getting rid of hate speech would be the first step of the de-escalation process in conflict-plagued regions.

Calling for the destruction of one’s perceived enemy is a psychological weapon. It is the radicals’ way to pressure their nemesis by ratcheting up the anger of their public.

Such radical discourse may find acceptance in the minds of the rank and file and the undereducated who may see the situation and its resolution in simplistic terms. The reality reflects a very different image.

In ensuring that a continuous posture of enmity towards the other is relentlessly fed by professional hate-mongers, they bank on their ability to make sure the next generation will provide cannon fodder for the forthcoming conflicts. Happy thoughts.

Tehran openly supports anti-Israeli armed groups, including the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, but it is the Palestinians and the Lebanese who have sustained the most losses as a result of the wars of Hamas and Hezbollah.

In June 2018, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed Tehran’s long-held position that Israel is “a malignant cancerous tumour that must be removed and eradicated.” Iranian generals routinely express the desire to destroy Israel or claim to be able to wipe out Tel Aviv.

When the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) says “wiping out Israel from the face of the Earth” is an “achievable goal,” does he really mean it? Does he believe it when he says Tehran has “obtain[ed] the capacity to destroy the imposter Zionist regime”?

In both cases, the answer is likely “No.”

Much like its proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and other places who clamour in their rallies for the destruction of the “Zionist enemy,” Iranian military and political establishment’s eradication discourse is more a legitimising cry of war and a mobilising slogan for their supporters.

For Iran and its surrogates, enmity towards Israel and the United States provides justification for amassing weapons and militarising their societies.

“This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer… a dream (but) it is an achievable goal,” Iranian Major-General Hossein Salami was quoted by the IRGC’s Sepah News as saying.

Four decades on from Iran’s Islamic Revolution, “we have managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the imposter Zionist regime,” he said.

Salami’s comments, while not unusual for Iranian officials, were made amid particularly heightened international tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme and incidents that raised fears of a confrontation between Tehran and its main regional rival, Riyadh.

The United States, which withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018, has imposed a campaign of “maximum pressure” — with vocal support from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Salami’s comments were given prominent coverage by the Tasnim and Fars news agencies, close to ultra-conservative political factions.

The rhetoric of eradication of the other is unrealistic the other way around. Iran cannot uproot Israel and Israel will not wipe out Hezbollah or Hamas. These organisations provide extreme expressions of anger and hate but also social services to impoverished populations.

At a conference at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, a panellist explained there are three branches of Hezbollah. There is the political party, which is represented in parliament by elected deputies, including Christian deputies. Hezbollah also has had, at various times, one or more ministers in the Lebanese government.

The social branches of Hezbollah act in the absence of the Lebanese state, providing health care, education and social services.

Then there is the armed group, which is considered by many in the West to be a terrorist organisation.

The conundrum is that if the social services were removed, thousands of children would be taken out of school and deprived of many basic services. Social services may provide the radical group with human shields for its messages of hate and armed organisation but what is the alternative for poor children?

Getting rid of hate speech would be the first step of the de-escalation process in conflict-plagued regions.

For hate-driven regimes, such as the one in Tehran and other extremist systems, it would be utterly de-legitimising. So don’t expect a hate-free environment to emerge by tomorrow. /

Claude Salhani is a regular columnist for The Arab Weekly.

Claude Salhani is a regular columnist for The Arab Weekly.

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He managed to upset  both of his Arab neighbors, and the US and Western European powers who tried  to maintain good relations in order to access Libya’s oil.
 
Also like other dictators he had a hard time realizing that the people did not like him the way he  imagined they did.
And when the end came, he had a hard time believing that’s crowd gathered outside his palace where there to kill him. Which they did.
 
Qaddafi was controversial in life and continues to be controversial in death as well. There have been many stories circulating regarding who how and why he was killed. Some of the stories our rumors  and just that’s. Rumors.
 
Other stories how have some truth while others are what has become a catchy phrase. Fake news.
 
One of the latest such stories is in fact not new and periodically opponents of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continuously resurface these stories in an effort   to further discredit the person, the party or yet the country.  This is after all an election year.
 
ENDS
.