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Point of order

March 30, 2009

It’s Arab League summit in Doha, and the Qatari Emir is just finishing his opening address when – khhzzzrrk, Brother Leader Qadhafi grabs the mike. As the assembled stare in wonder, he goes off on a long garbled rant (video) accusing the king of Saudi Arabia of being a British-American puppet on his way to the grave, as a belated follow-up to a public spat they had six years ago. Then in the next second he changes his mind and declares that, well, that’s all in the past and he’s now ready to make up. During the whole monologue, the Qatari chairman can be heard chirping in the background: “Oh, Brother Mouammar? Brother Mouammar! Brother Mouammar, a point of order please? A point of order!”

Since Brother Mouammar clearly isn’t listening, the organizers resort to cutting his mike instead. Qadhafi angrily remarks that this is no way to treat the foremost Arab leader, the King of Kings of Africa and Imam of the Muslims; he then storms out of the meeting, and apparently somehow ends up spending his afternoon at the Islamic Art Museum of Qatar. All in a good day’s work.

People sometimes ask, is Qadhafi crazy or is he just acting? There’s something to be said for the theory that he is playing up his eccentricity for political purposes — that he must be, considering how long he’s been in power and how much influence he still has in the neighbourhood. But moments such as these lead me to believe that, granting a certain ruthless instinct of self-preservation, he’s just mad as a hatter.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Justin Anthony Knapp permalink
    March 30, 2009 20:39

    In my completely amateur assessment, he has to be some part disconnected from reality and some part agent provocateur. I don’t know that anything can rationally explain his self-contradictory policies of courting and alienating Africa, the greater Middle East, and the West – oftentimes within the same breath.

    -JAK

  2. March 30, 2009 21:53

    He may be mad but is he wrong in his statement about the king of Saudi Arabia as being a British-American puppet? And what other opportunity may he get to visit the museum of Qatar?

    • Justin Anthony Knapp permalink
      March 30, 2009 21:56

      Van Kaas,

      Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. Whether or not he is correct is alarmingly immaterial to how lucid he is. This is doubly so when you contradict yourself – you are inevitably right then. Clearly, the Saudis have thrown in their lot with the United States (and vice versa) and that is probably a wiser decision economically and strategically than being aligned with Libya.

      -JAK

    • April 7, 2009 20:44

      Yeah he’s wrong. RSA does banging business selling hydrocarbons to the world, hardly a puppet at all. Unless you’re speaking of some magical world where no country makes compromises.

  3. Zeus the real roler permalink
    April 4, 2009 19:44

    “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.”

    That’s a funny phrase with a double negation. Shouldn’t it rather be “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are out to get you”???

    >when you correct someone, try to get it right<
    old pre-historic proverb

  4. April 7, 2009 20:42

    Mate, having followed The Guide for a good 30 years now – and being a connaisseur of watching Libyan TV (helps to be a bit bored in a 5star and drunk), I have no bloody doubt he is indeed quite mad.

    But uniquely entertaining.

    I am sure his de-evolution of economic ownership to ill-defined popular bodies will be a brilliant success.

    • April 7, 2009 20:53

      You know, by the way, I thought you were kidding about the king of kings (of Africa) reference. That was priceless!

      I love the man. Pure entertainment. Of course dealing with any of his banks is a nightmare.

  5. alle permalink*
    April 15, 2009 16:17

    The LounsburyMate, having followed The Guide for a good 30 years now – and being a connaisseur of watching Libyan TV (helps to be a bit bored in a 5star and drunk), I have no bloody doubt he is indeed quite mad.

    Haven’t tried it in a five-star hotel, but being drunk tends to help, yes… I especially enjoy the Green Book excerpts displayed across the screen and read in a thundering voice à la Quran.

Trackbacks

  1. Libya: where even censorship is pan-Arab « Maghreb Politics Review

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