I suspect there is some substance in this. Jim.

The Clamor of the Jamahiriya

Hassan Haidar     Al-Hayat     - 13/08/07//

Barely out of an international crisis, Libya goes back into a new one, as if its regime purposefully chooses to be the subject of open-ended controversial crises in the international community, like someone who breathes from an external lung. The scandal of torture that the Palestinian doctor and Bulgarian nurses endured is threatening to become, after Lockerbie, the French plane, the coffee shop, nuclear weapons and others, an international issue that forces Tripoli into legal battles that may compel it to pay unspecified amounts in damages, especially after a senior Libyan official and the president's son confessed to the torture and blackmail endured by the prisoners for eight years. It would seem however, that the main point is having Libya's name continuously repeated on TV screens.
 
  An Arab politician had said of the Jamahiriya in the early years, when it suddenly let hundreds of thousands of Egyptian, Sudanese, Tunisian, Moroccan or Palestinian workers in, before suddenly deciding to drive them away, that it has all the elements of a State except for the people, which is absent. For this reason, it always needs to "rent" an outside troop but it soon lets it drop and replaces it with another because of the constant commotion in its relations with neighboring states, and because it seeks to exploit this crowd in imposing its conditions and "ideas" on its original country.

The confused relationship that the Jamahiriya has with the world creates a constant commotion that aims to hide the total neglect in which the Libyan people has lived since the colonel orchestrated his revolution on a royal regime that most Libyans today miss. The vast oil fortune is being spent on foreign affairs, like the scandals of arming and funding the "Irish Republican Army" and rebel fronts in Chad, Darfur and the Philippines, as well as local projects that only intend to please unreal ambitions like the Great Industrial River project which had cost an enormous 30 billion dollars by early 2006, but to no clear end.

It may happen, as indeed it did, that colonel Gaddafi gets angry with Arabs, all Arabs, for a reason unknown to any but he, and decides to stop caring for any matter related to them, as if he was not a part of them. Long gone are the years when he fed them slogan after slogan and lecture after lecture on being an Arab, committing, being a revolutionary, ruling well, and enforcing a green democracy; when he filled their book exhibitions with his written production, with his thoughts on managing states and peoples. He may decide to transfer his interest to poor African countries that will not cost him much. He would then distribute to its poor who do not have enough to buy a shirt, millions of cotton shirts with his picture on them, which they will be compelled to wear for lack of others, and give speeches in its stadiums to the biggest crowds possible, and put his tent up in the yards of its presidential palaces, raising even more clamor in the media.
 
A few days ago, when his likely heir Saif al Islam announced that he will give his father a painting of the long Libyan coast, and tell him that his opponents could go and drink sea water if they are not pleased with his rule, Libyans realized that their hopes of change are far fetched. Some of them said that Gaddafi could have desalinated seawater to irrigate the coast with little cost, since oil and gas already exist in the country, instead of wasting billions on bringing water from the desert just to score an achievement on the lines of the Egyptian dam.

 

Dr Jim Swire (jim@swirefamily.net)