On 17 December 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian man set himself on fire in protest at a police beating after he resisted attempts to confiscate the cart that he used to sell vegetables and fruit. His desperate action prompted a wave of protests - first in Tunisia and then across the whole of the Middle East - as public anger at pervasive corruption, police brutality, unemployment, neoliberal economic policies, rising inequality and persistent human rights abuses exploded to the fore.
This section explores the underlying causes of the uprisings, debates the military intervention in Libya, examines the ongoing constraints on democratic movements, and looks to highlight the implications of changes in the Middle East for Western powers and their main ally, Israel who have supported autocratic dictatorships to facilitate ready access to oil, support the 'War on Terror' and act as a repressive buffer for migration into Europe.
Interviews conducted with European NATO delegations and NATO staffers concerned with nuclear planning and deployment reveal that there is sufficient political will to end the deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.
The continuing expansion of NATO's intervention in Libya has less to do with oil as in Iraq and is more a reactive response to the wider uprising across the Middle East which threatens US / Western hegemony.
Dealings with Libya in recent years by Europe have been dictated by unprincipled politics and naked profiteering. The sudden discovery of a humanitarian imperative is not only deeply hypocritical, but also duplicitous.
Despite evidence that torture was used to extract false confessions in the lead up to the war in Iraq, the Obama administration continues to block efforts to abolish torture and restore justice and the rule of law.
India should not use the Mazen-Beilin understandings of October 1995 as a base for foreign policy regarding the Israel - Palestine conflict. Any outline of parameters based on this document endorses brutality, illegality and voraciousness of colonial rule.