The Arab Spring Before the Arab Drought

People power is on the move in Arab lands. Iraq had its election in January and 8 million citizens voted. The Palestinian people voted in a moderate president, Mahmoud Abbas. One could hope that there too a seed of change has taken hold. One where moderate Arabs and Israelis can again find themselves back on the road map towards peace. In Lebanon, a former prime minister is assassinated triggering national outrage and action. Rather than curb the people of Lebanon”s enthusiasm for democracy, the assassins–either members of Hizbullah or their protectors, the Syrian dictatorship–have seen it backfire. Thousands of people marched in the streets of Beirut waving Lebanese national flags in what is now called the “Cedar” revolution. Pressure mounts for Syria to abandon its 25 year occupation of Lebanon, leaving terrorists training camps of Hizbullah in the Bekaa Valley exposed to the “forces of freedom.” Free and democratic elections will follow in Lebanon. Even in Syria the facade of dictatorship is cracking. Look also for signs of change in Saudi Arabia, where the first modest local elections were granted–to men only, at least–by the autocratic royal family. Egyptians lobby for free elections under dictatorial president Mubarak.

It would seem that President Bush has found the right excuse for going to war in Iraq, even if it was not the first excuse. Saddam Hussein harboring weapons of mass destruction proved to be either a bald faced lie, or an honest if hasty conclusion based on inept intelligence. But hey! Look at all the calls for Arab democracy it stirred across the region. Anyway, one can admire how hard the president tries to find better reasons “after” his actions. Even his greatest critics in the liberal press have to give him grudging respect for his invasion of Iraq becoming the catalyst (by accident or design) for a wave of democracy passing through the Middle East “because” he “liberated” more than oil from Saddam Hussein: the people of Iraq. Has the president stumbled upon a right course of action over there?

Charles Krauthammer in his recent viewpoint article for TIME magazine guardedly seems to think so. He closes his article “Three Cheers for the Bush Doctrine” (Time, March 14, 2005), saying, “It [the Bush doctrine] took this marriage of power, will and principle to produce the astonishing developments in the Middle East today. This is not to say that this spring cannot be extinguished. Of course it can. The dictators can strike back, and we may flinch in defense of those they strike. History has yet to yield a verdict on the final outcome. But it has yielded one unmistakable verdict thus far: the idea that Arabs are not fit for or inclined toward freedom–the underlying assumption of those who denounced riduculed and otherwise opposed the democracy project–is wrong. Embarrassingly, scandalously, blessedly wrong.”

There is a photograph dominating the page of Krauthammer’s article of an Iraqi citizen leaving the polls after voting. To me, this picture may reveal the seeds of obvious good, the bad and the potentially uglier side of people power that Krauthammer’s hopeful article overlooked. One’s eye naturally seeks the central theme of the photo taken by Franco Pagetti: a delicate woman’s hand with her index finger dyed purple indicating her vote had been cast. Her be-purpled hand proudly cradles a paper record of her ballot. This is the “good.” She walks down a peaceful street. US security though not shown in the picture has been there to see to it her chance to vote for self-government has happened. That she is a woman in an Islamic country who has voted is a sign of further “good” as is her proud smile.

What draws one’s eye first to purple feminine finger and clutched white ballot is the stark contrast of the woman’s costume. Except for her face, she is cloaked and hooded from head to toe in a black chador.

Is this a sign of the “bad” that could come from people power in the Middle East? It may very well be that an ugly outcome for the region will result “because” democracy and freedom to vote reigns. The woman wears the shador of the Shia sect of Islam. She represents 60 percent of the Iraqi population that could use their freedom of vote to choose a government rooted in an undemocratic understanding of Islamic Sharia law of the Iraqi Ayatollahs. Her vote in late January could be the first unintended step towards a “democratically” elected Iraq that eventually denies her vote and all women the vote.

Western democratic leaders and journalists continue to harbor a historic and simplistic view of what Arab people desire. They praise the tens of thousands of Lebanese chanting for free elections and the end of Syrian occupation, but ignore the million pro-Syrian demonstrators in the same streets a few days later who want to vote for a continued presence of Syria in Lebanon. Give these people a free election, and you may see a return to the civil war that Syria exploited to occupy Lebanon–again. Back in the mid-1990s the Algerian military junta bent to pressure from the US and other Western leaders and granted their people free elections–this was the “good” of democracy in action. The party of the Islamic Fundamentalists won by a landslide–this was the “bad” side of people power. Then it got “ugly.” The junta declared the election illegal and triggered a bloody civil war that has seen over 100,000 killed to date.

Since the mid-1980s, I have been interpreting the prophecies of Nostradamus concerning a spread of radicalism from Iran westwards across the Middle East caused by a “black one”–a black robed Ayatollah of the Shia sect. It may very well be that the Bush Doctrine’s good but simplistic encouragement of democracy will cause this “bad.”

Now let’s consider the “ugly” aspects of people power. First off, if the people are not aware that they are programmed to behave and borrow belief systems from birth onwards as there own, then they tend to decide collectively as a mob rather than a group of conscious individuals. Democracy is not overtaking the Arab world. It is a variation of the same illusion harbored by people in the West–that we have attained to democracy, as such. What actually exists in our current era is “Mobocracy.” Rule by mob majority vote.

There is vast historical evidence that human misery is primarily caused by uninformed people surrendering their power to those who are the least emotionally and spiritually qualified to wield it. If you get the largest mob to vote a certain way, you win. The signs of living under Mobocracy rule are these: Any fool can propagate himself with simplistic bromides to obtain power. Any idiot has the right to vote if he reaches a specific age. In a Mobocracy, the candidates and those who vote them in need not prove their merit in wisdom or political literacy to either chose leaders or prove they have enough consciousness and wisdom to wield power over others.

The “good” in the democratic dream of freedom will continue to corrupt and darken into the “bad” reality of Mobocracy and bring about the “ugliness” of civil unrest and war as long as we keep denying that true democracy has yet appeared anywhere in this world–not even in the US. Much more work must be done, and much more history will pass before that day arrives.

Yet, for argument’s sake, let us pose today that democracy should spread across the Middle East and it succeeds in bringing peace to the region, even if it is Mob-ocratic. Let us even predict for argument’s sake that Arabs and Israelis can establish peaceful co-existence under beautiful and binding peace treaties. There are prophetic indications that all political and social good can be undermined by all that is bad and ugly about a people’s power to over drain the water tables of the Middle East with their runaway population explosion.

If we do not address this darker side of people power then the “good” of democracy unconsciously spreading over the Middle East will bring the “bad” of further population explosions and wasteful consumerism that will lead to an “ugly” Armageddon fought over water, and not religion or race.

I interpreted quotes and prophecies about this matter back in 1994 in “Millennium Book of Prophecy”:

BEGINNING OF QUOTE (from 1994)———–

“Before the twenty-first century, the struggle over limited and threatened water resources could sunder already fragile ties among regional states and lead to unprecedented upheaval within the [Middle East].” So says a report written in 1988 by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. In a projected greenhouse future, the Nile, Euphrates and Jordan rivers may dry up. Water disputes in the Middle East are as old as the pyramids, but the population explosion and the strain of ambitious agricultural and industrial projects are not. Neither is the growing nuclear and chemical weapons capability of Israel and its Arab neighbors.

American Professor Tom Naff, head of a recent study of Middle East river basins, believes Israel is using its might as “the local superpower” to draw “water as it needs and from wherever it can get it.” Naff discovered that Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank use four times as much water as the Palestinians. He warns that unless these well-armed and dangerous nations of a fragile desert ecosystem “act fairly quickly and get some [water] agreements in place, conflict will be the result. Crisis is [already] here.”

In his “State of the World 1989” report on enhancing global security, Michael Renner, a senior researcher for the Worldwatch Institute, said that current disputes over water resources are “rapidly becoming a prominent source of international tension.”

According to Renner, 40 percent of the world’s 5.8 billion people depend on 214 major river systems shared by two or more countries for irrigation, hydropower, or just a life-sustaining drink.

“The next war in our region will be over the waters of the Nile, not politics,” warned Butros Butros-Ghali (the former Secretary General of the United Nations) in 1985 when he was Egypt’s Foreign Minister.

In nearly a dozen river regions of the Earth, nations disputing water diversion or reduced water flow, or suffering the salinization of streams and industrial pollution by their neighbors, could go to war. The most sensitive of these regions being the political and religious tinderbox of the Middle East.

— Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi has begun a $24-billion project of man-made rivers to pump deep ground water beneath the Sahara desert for his desiccating croplands on the Mediterranean. This water resource is unreplenishable and will most likely run out shortly after the project is finished early in the twenty-first century.

— Both Israel and Jordan use their known water reserves 15 percent faster every year. Forty percent of Israel’s water supply comes from underground aquifers beneath the occupied West Bank. Amman is pessimistic about the outcome of negotiations with Jerusalem over the Jordan River. A Western diplomat in the regions says, “Water is like a gun to the Israelis’ heads, and this particular problem may be unsolvable.”

— Ethiopia is studying ways to harness the headwaters of the Blue Nile. Egyptian politicians break out in a cold sweat about it. Already, Ethiopia and the Sudan are demanding greater volume from the only life-giving river that irrigates the crops and quenches the thirst of over sixty million Egyptians. Egypt nearly shut down the Aswan High Dam in the late 1980s because of low water levels. If the Nile is tapped the Ethiopians will draw 20 percent of Egypt’s water supply. “Egypt will go to war to protect its Nile waters, if it has to. There’s absolutely no doubt about it,” declares a Western diplomat in Cairo.

— Turkey’s ambitious Ataturk dam project might greatly diminish water flow down the Euphrates. Syrian cotton farmers could see their ration cut by 40 percent, and the rice, wheat and fruit crops of Iraq could experience a cut of 80 to 90 percent. In 1990 a Syrian farmer standing before a string of stagnant pools – all that remained of the Euphrates – said, [the Turks] have told us the water will come back. But maybe it won’t. We are desperate and angry.”

“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East [those destined to fight Israel in the battle of Armageddon]. “

St. John of Patmos ( a.d. 81-96), Rev 16:12

“Mars, Mercury and the Moon in conjunction [on 29 March 1998, and again at the turn of the millennium around 2 July and 1 August 2000]. Toward the South [the Southern bloc?], there will be great drought….Both Corinth [Greece] and Ephesus [Turkey] will then be in a troubled state.”

Nostradamus (1555), C3 Q3

“In the year Saturn and Mars are equally fiery [1997 or 1998 and several more times between 2000 and 2030], the air is very dry, a long meteor [missile?]. From hidden fires a great place burns with heat. Little rain, hot wind, wars and raids.”

Nostradamus (1555), C4 Q 67

“Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.”

St. John of Patmos ( a.d. 81-96), Rev 9:14-15

————END OF QUOTE (from 1994)

Little has changed in water use in the Middle Eastern region in 11 years. Qaddafi continues to drain off an unreplenishable water source in Libya. The stress on the Nile has doubled. There is still no clear plan proffered by Israelis and Arabs to solve the water rights issue of the West Bank. The good news is, that Syrian farmer and his family did see the Euphrates River fill again with water. However, the danger remains ever more possible that it will run dry again in the near future. A critical mass of overpopulation and overuse added to climate change all conspire to create a mega-drought that turns off the water tap of the Euphrates, the Nile and the River Jordan. When that happens, all the best democracy and peace treaties in the world will not stop Armageddon waged over water rights. That is why the Bush Doctrine must augment its strategic and political vision for the Middle East with more than mere bromides of freedom being a good thing solely by itself. Freedom, if spread unwisely and unconsciously, could trigger unplanned for disasters. If the Bush Doctrine promotes democracy it should also promote population control and a long-term policy of intelligent and sustainable economic growth. Good people of a long and suffering region, like that woman with her ballot record clutched in purple fingered and hopeful hand, ought to enjoy the good, and not the bad and apocalyptically ugly potentials of democracy.

John Hogue
(30 March 2005)

 Read my Predictions for 2012:

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