The Death of DICTATORSHIP!!
5 years have passed since Saddam Hussein’s execution. During this time, the world witnessed Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now Syria erupt in revolutions and protest. Videos and photographs were released of Muammar Gaddafi dragged and held at gun point. This event like the rest, brought reality to the state of frustration Libyans and the rest of the region shared. What the revolutionists wanted was simple:
There has been a long, politically repressive reign of dictatorships that have swept the Middle East and North Africa. For so long, these dictators have oppressed and mistreated their people. It seemed like the execution of Saddam Hussein acted as a catalyst for change in this region. Ultimately these events were all connected.
The September 11 attacks in America had forever changed America’s foreign policy and security strategies. It was from this point forward that America began their ‘get them before they get us’ approach. This had unfortunately separated the word in two. It was ‘us’ and ‘them’-‘them’ being the ones ‘we’ need to fight against. This is the creation of the ‘other’. Creating groups and separating them from the rest of the world is a form of dehumanisation. By detaching them from the rest of the people, may cause feelings of indifference.
Whilst we witness the trials, the executions, the tribulations of these dictators, the questions remain:
Was the United States of America right about the ‘demonic’ nature of dictatorship?
Is there no longer a place for dictatorship in contemporary 21st century?
Is the Middle East and its surrounding regions better off as a democracy?
The fall of Hussein’s government was a step forward for the US government. Hussein had dominated America’s agenda since the Gulf war. When George W. Bush spoke to his nation in the 2003 Annual State of Union Address, he stated that Iraq along with Korea and Iran “Constitute an axis of evil”. This was one reason the US government felt that there needed to be a stronger American presence in the Middle East. Iraq was put as the main priority in the “War on Terror” initiative by America. The 2003 Invasion of Iraq by the US has faced many criticisms. The justifications and the length of the war are often left for scrutiny.
As most wars, it is clear the role the media plays is very important in gaining the support and moulding the outcomes of the war. Shlomo Shipiri states in his article: “Conflict Media Strategies and the Politics of Counter- terrorism” that in contemporary society, conflict is fought through media means just as importantly as it is fought on the battlefields. This is also known as conflict media policy. It is clear that through out the “War on Terror” and ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, there was a heavy input by the media to gain the support to go war. In many cases Saddam Hussein was demonised and perceived negatively in the media. This is evident through the accusations made of him that he was concealing weapons of mass destruction and his affiliation with terrorist groups.
The connection of Hussein to the 9/11 attacks by the media and the Bush Administration, had inevitably resulted in the misconception that Hussein was directly involved in the attacks. This like many of the accusations placed against Hussein, was there no clear evidence to support it. For this reason, the legitimacy of the war was questioned. At one point, Hussein had replaced Osama Bin Ladin as America’s number 1 public enemy. Even in headlines and news articles was there a shift from Osama Bin Ladin to Saddam Hussein.
Since the September 11 attacks, Al-Qaeda and terrorist groups had vowed the protection of ‘their’ people. The US connected Iraq to these terrorist groups, but at no point in the 2003 invasion of Iraq did they surface. Even in the protests and revolutions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt was there no sign of them. At no point did any terrorist organisation or fundamentalist claim any of the upheavals as their achievement. Part of the reason for the invasion was the belief Hussein was harbouring terrorist groups. But if there was no sign of Al-Qaeda or terrorists then who are the soldiers fighting against?
Ultimately it is the civilians who pay the price for the wrong doings of their leaders. This is an unfortunate circumstance of war.
Still today, the positive impact of the US invasion of Iraq for either side is yet to be revealed.