Middle East Turmoil Could Mean An New World Order Nightmare


By Dominic Sandbrook


Even by the repressive standards of Middle Eastern autocrats, Colonel Gaddafi has long cut a brutally capricious figure.

But while nobody who remembers the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher or the appalling slaughter at Lockerbie will mourn Gaddafi’s downfall, this year’s tumultuous events in North Africa could mark a shocking and seismic shift in the balance of power.

We are at a hinge moment in world history. As the Arab revolutions have shown, the old certainties are cracking apart.

People power: Libyans shout anti-Gaddafi slogans during demonstrations in the town of Derna yesterday. But while many look forward to the dictator being overthrown, his demise could lead to uncertainty across the globe

And despite the naive predictions of a new liberal order, the  future might well prove a very dangerous place indeed — with potentially devastating economic repercussions for millions of  British families.

Indeed, in all the excitement at the fall of the Arab autocracies, it is hard to miss the whiff of Western hubris.

Like the arrogant neo-conservatives who thought it would be child’s play to export democracy to Iraq, many of the idealists exulting in the giddy triumphs of street politics believe history is on their side.

Sadly, history has a habit of kicking idealists in the teeth. The revolutions in the Arab world are far from over.And when events have played themselves out, there is a good chance the results will be very different from the utopian fantasies of the armchair pundits.As a student of history, David Cameron will recall that revolutions rarely turn out as their architects intend. And as the great Whig thinker Edmund Burke pointed out at the time of the French Revolution, rebellions rapidly develop their own uncontrollable momentum.

Bloody revolution: The overthrow of the Russian monarchy in 1917 resulted in widespread bloodshedBloody revolution: The overthrow of the Russian monarchy in 1917 resulted in widespread bloodshed

In France, the utopian dreams of 1789 soon turned into the horrific bloodshed of the Reign of Terror.

The ballot box gave way to the guillotine; the committees and conventions were ultimately replaced by the rapacious megalomania of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Far from emerging into the sunshine of democracy, Europe was plunged into one of its bloodiest wars, with some four million people losing their lives.

Of course, not all revolutions turn out quite like that. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 is rightly remembered as the high point of People Power, bringing freedom, democracy and capitalism to the enslaved nations of Eastern Europe.

Even then, though, we should recall that in the former Yugoslavia, the end of Communist rule unleashed an orgy of ethnic bloodletting at the cost of some 200,000 lives.

But what the idealists often forget is that not all uprisings, like the peaceful transition in the former Czechoslovakia, come cloaked in velvet.

All too often, as in Mexico in 1910 or Russia in 1917, violence begets violence.

And eventually, as the French politician Pierre Vergniaud — who ended up on the guillotine — famously put it, the revolution devours its own children.

History student: David Cameron is welcomed by Qatari Prime Minister His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Althani in the Royal Palace in Doha, Qatar earlier todayHistory student: David Cameron is welcomed by Qatari Prime Minister His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Althani in the Royal Palace in Doha, Qatar earlier today

Of course, we should applaud the men and women in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Their courage has inspired the world; their defiance is a reminder of the unquenchable reserves of the human spirit.

As Mr Cameron noted this week, it is grotesquely patronising to imagine that ‘Arabs or Muslims can’t do democracy’. And given our historic associations with the region — Egypt was an informal British protectorate until the Fifties — our leaders must do  their best to support the  new governments.

All the same, we must tread carefully. The West’s long-standing support for the Arab dictators, from Tony Blair’s distasteful rapprochement with Colonel Gaddafi to the Americans’ $1.5 billion (£930 million) annual subsidy to the former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, means we are far from being flavour of the month on the streets of Tripoli and Cairo.

Tear down that wall: The collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989 was a rare watershed moment that concluded peacefully, with little recriminationTear down that wall: The collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989 was a rare watershed moment that concluded peacefully, with little recrimination

And if Washington and Whitehall are in danger of slipping into romantic giddiness, they should take a long, hard look at recent history in the region.

This is not, after all, the first time that the people of the Middle East have risen against a corrupt autocrat.

You do not need a long memory to find the scenes on the streets of Cairo irresistibly reminiscent of a similar uprising 30 years ago, when the downtrodden people of Iran poured into the streets to celebrate the overthrow of the Shah, another Western-funded tyrant.

Like today’s Arab revolutions, the Iranian revolution of 1978-9 seemed an intoxicating moment of hope. But we all know how that turned out.

As the revolutionary momentum built to a climax, democratic ambitions yielded to religious despotism.

Three decades on, the ayatollahs are still in power, basking in their enormous oil revenues, their nuclear ambitions a chilling reminder that the real world can be a very dangerous place indeed.

Few experts think there is any serious possibility of Islamic fundamentalists taking over in Tunisia or Egypt. Still, the road ahead is paved with dangers, and a smooth transition to democratic prosperity, as in parts of Eastern Europe after 1989, seems highly unlikely.

These are, after all, some of the most combustible nations in the world, with poor, frustrated and very young populations. In Morocco and Algeria, more than 17 per cent of young people are unemployed.

In Egypt, where the median age is just 24, a staggering 43 per cent of young people are currently out of work. And in the repressive, impoverished state of Yemen, some 42 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, with most scratching a living on less than two dollars a day.

The potential for resentment and rage, in other words, could hardly be greater. It is less than ten years since the end of the Algerian Civil War, when some 200,000 people lost their lives.

And when you throw ethnic and religious tensions into the mix — between Berbers and Arabs in Morocco, for example, or Muslims and Coptic Christians in Egypt — then it is not hard to imagine frustration turning into violence.

If that apocalyptic scenario came to pass, then we in the West would not escape the consequences.

For should unrest spread to the autocratic oil monarchies of the Gulf, as has already happened in the tiny kingdom of Bahrain, then we would soon see the catastrophic results at the petrol pumps.

Indeed, if you ever doubted that what happens in the Middle East can have seismic repercussions in the British household, then you need only think back to the nightmare-ish events of the Seventies, from the Arab-Israeli war of 1973 to the revolution in Iran six years later.

Many older readers will shudder at the thought of what happened next: the queues outside petrol stations, the shortages of candles and oil lamps, the chaos of the three-day week, the soaring interest rates, the plunging stock market and the terrifying news that inflation had hit 26 per cent.

And beneath all the headlines there runs a deeper historical fault-line. Only last week, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest economy.

And only this week, in a dramatic indication of the shifting balance of power, two Iranian warships sailed through the Suez Canal for the first time since 1979.

Globalisation has thrown the world into flux. With American power in palpable retreat, it would not be surprising if the new Arab governments ended up looking east, not west.

And it is surely not too fanciful to imagine that one day, future generations will see 2011 as a turning point in modern history, marking the death of Western dominance, the end of an era of cheap oil-fuelled growth and the onset of a new age of uncertainty.



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8 Responses

  1. Asif Ali says:

    The plane at Lockerbie was blown up by Mossad and Western arrogance extracted a huge sum from Gaddafi but the dual standard is when American missile hit and destroyed an Iranian Airliner, the West “denied” compensation to Iran.

    Can we call it “Freedom” to Kill anyone they want???

  2. Maccy says:

    These are strange days, I often wondered how could the world could be altered from relative refrain from execution, and in the main western nations, to possibly becoming a “prophesied standard”.. Uprisings another great disorderly excuse for unprecedented change.. what with the culling at source of the rise in terror “chestnut” I expect more “ops” to convince us we have no choice but to accept enforced policies..now would that not be a great progressive excuse to turn on those left.. their true intended prey, “those that expose evil rule, and endeavoured in peace to keep neutral from the world, and speak the truth” I mean if these uprisings do spread west “What kind of an Iron Rod would it take to drag some kind of Order back again””.. because already the social reducer of poverty, hunger, is being practiced in the west so that wont work, and people are sick of promises of reform, a bit like telling a child he can have his toys back or promise a treat if he behaves, but people are sick and tired of being treated like easily bought children, they are wising up to empty promises and little bribes, enter the iron rod? I hope not..you sure wonder though..

  3. JURMBenISman says:


    IL sito è posto sotto il profilo Filosofico – Spirituale – Religioso e sarà attivo fino a metà Marzo 2011 dato gli eventi che ritengo pressochè sicuro siano in arrivo, a tale motivo ho ritenuto in conseguenza darne disdetta almeno momentaneamente fino a nuova visione dell’Umanità dei Figli di DIO e del Mondo Rigenerati, per il dopo, chi vivrà vedrà.

    Prima che il caos sopraggiunga, metto da parte il ragiona-mento e la costruzione intellettuale per ritrovare e riconoscere definitivamente casa esteriore e interiore nel Tempio Tabernacolo del mio cuore, dove ritrovo pace, dove ritrovo silenzio, dove ritrovo Amore Infinito Avvolgente, dove ritrovo DIO UNO IN SPIRITO, QUALE UNICO NOSTRO CREATORE.

    Mi con-cedo e abban-dono a DIO UNO, QUALE NOSTRO UNICO CREATORE, che possa essere eternamente suo strumento Terreno e Celeste.

    AMATI FIGLI DI DIO, SI PRENDA ATTO. (messaggio sublime e conforto totale)

    Dell’Imminente Ascensione nei Cieli in Corpo, Mente, Anima e Spirito per i Figli di DIO ad opera di Gesù Cristo che ci Salverà dall’annientamento per poi essere Reinseriti sulla Terra una volta Purificati e Rigenerati, noi saremo tramite la Divina Discensione di nuovo posti SOPRA la SUPERFICE della Nostra Meravigliosa Nuova Terra Rigenerata e in un Nuovo Cielo Inseriti sempre ad opera di Jesus Cristus nostro Signore.

    Si Preghi con Fervida Fede in DIO UNO ONNIPOTENTE in attesa del Ritorno della Venuta del Signore Jesus Cristus nostro Salvatore.

    IN NOME DEL PADRE, DEL FIGLIO E DELLO SPIRITO SANTO GENERATORE DI MARIA MADRE DI DIO, COSI’ SIA, ( dove nella Tradizione più antica implica che lo Spirito Santo possa coincidere con il principio Generatore Femminile. )


    Brevissima Riflessione di Monsignor Antonio Riboldi : DIO è davvero un grande Oceano di Amore che a parole è impossibile conoscere. Ma a noi Lui chiede di avere Fiducia nel suo Amore e di Amarlo con tutte le forze. Ed è quello che conta più che le nostre parole sempre tanto povere. ( Fede e fiducia, non affanniamoci per il domani )
    ========================================================================================Benedetto e felice è colui che si leva a promuovere i migliori interessi dei popoli e delle tribù della terra, ancora: Ci si deve gloriare di amare il Mondo intero quale unico Paese e L’Umanità quale suoi cittadini”. Bahà’ù’llàh

  4. Right is might! He that owns the gold makes the rules. He that has the biggest stick makes the rules. In the beginnings of the structure of society they were subjected to brutal and blind force, afterwards to law which the same force only disguised. I draw the conclusion by the law of nature, right lies in force. Right is an abstract thought and means no more than give me what I want in order that I may prove myself stronger than you. A new right emerges that of the strong. Freedom is the right to do that which the law allows. The political has nothing in common with the moral. A ruler who is governed by the moral is not a skillful politician, therefore unstable upon his thrown. He must have recourse to both cunning and make believe. Only force conquers in political affairs, not academic discussions. All governments stay in power by control of the monetary system and the military, unless their is a military coup and they take these corrupt politician out by the seat of their pants. When you have a wealth disparity of over 50% of the people living in poverty, the scales of economic justice are tilted in favor the elite 1%, it is ripe for a revolution.The principle factor involved in the political is the secrecy of it’s undertakings. The word shall not agree with the deeds of the diplomat.

  5. Abaddon says:

    Global disorder is the reality, not a New World Order. This continous propagating of some orchestrated “New World Order,” that somehow out of chaos “order” will prevail. All of this is just a facade to hide the fact that what we are “really” seeing is a world in terminal decline.
    The above article says we are heading toward an age of uncertainty. I ask; When have we lived with certainty? The past century alone is evidence of huge heaving masses of humanity killing each other in two world wars, countless minor and civl wars which has not left one part of the earth untouched. Even so called tropical islands have suffered greatly from discord from within and without. Add to the aforementioned, the spread of nuclear weapons, global drug and people trafficking, corruption in every avenue of life, never more so as among those who rule over us. Global hunger, pandemics, oil crisis, financial crisis, terrorism, global pollution, global organized crime, unemployment, health care, decent water to drink. Half the population of the world suffer from lack of, and the poor quality of water, food, and health care. One could list a telephone directory of the problems facing ALL nations which are now being exacerbated by the very things just mentioned. Greed alone is having devastating effects on the whole planet as those in charge of the money supply are pillaging and raping a world, creating huge problems for billions of people. Then there are the nuclear fears, as they become more available, and the world becomes ever more “uncertain.” The clashes of cultures, the racial hatreds, and religious bigotries are spreading just like a plague. We have seen what has happened in those North African countries where people have been killing mainly their own kind, can one imagine what will happen in those countrie which have a huge racial mix when they go into internal meltdown through food shotages etc?
    People ignore the reality of human nature, and human history, which is unfailing in its historical record of human behaviour, those who hang onto some dream of a multi-racial world when history and all around them tells them otherwise. Those misleading political Judas’ pushing ahead with a multi-racial agenda, yet send their warships to North Africa to get “Their People” out for fear of reprisals from the indigenous people of that land. Even though many of them are Arabs themselves, but from another part of the Arab world i.e. Turkey. So much for their dreams.
    The divisions are enormous and without number and are growing by the day and being intensified as global breakdown increases. The future has only one outcome, the decimation of the human family on a scale never before known is about to take place. Those that think there are those in control who can navigate man through the coming chaos are deceiving themselves. It will come down to every man for himself. How many will be left, as the proverb says, “Man will become as rare as refined Gold.” I can see that coming as never before, and we have the means to do it.

    • D MacDonald says:

      We can see the plot being laid by governments within their own populations for the breakdown of society eg in Europe financial breakdown, the introduction of Muslim populations within western countries ( I have nothing against Muslims but I know this has been done with future conflict in mind, in fact the demonisation of Muslims has been going on ever since 9/11 and if I were a Muslim i would get out of Europe NOW) the state sponsorship of homosexuality, the refusal to prosecute those that need to be prosecuted for heinous crimes, the robbing of the national exchequers through war,the burden placed upon the populations to repay debt which was not theirs and the encouragement of the young to live a godless, bland, ignorant life devoid of manners, thought , knowledge, or respect for anything or anyone. I despair for the future of western society. Here is a quote from the most famous Mason in the USA Albert Pike, I don’t know much about them but I believe most politicians in the west are adherents to “Mystery Babylon” as described in the Bible.
      “ We shall unleash the Nihilists and Atheists and shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilisation, and the multitude disillusioned with Christianity,whose deistic spirits will be from that moment without compass anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render it’s adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out in the public view, a manifestation which will result from the general reactionary movement, which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time.”
      This my friends (Christian,Muslim and all other world religions) is the NWO the antichrist if you will and I want no part of it.


      Donald MacDonald

      • D MacDonald says:

        Abaddon, why do you use the name of Lucifer? I agree with your comments and despite your nom de guerre would like to correspond with you can email me on caroline268@btinternet.com for a cultural exchange, you sound like my kind of man/woman.

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