A butterfly snaps its wings in Iran and a bomb falls in Libya… this is the ridiculous extent to which political issues of the Middle East (and North Africa) are intermingled and the extent of the ripple effect is felt across continents. In news that is causing raised eyebrows and shaking heads, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates secretly carried out airstrikes against militias inside Libya, that too without US knowledge. The US decried the intervention as an escalation of the North African country’s already debilitating turmoil. In a joint statement, the United States with Britain, France, Germany and Italy said that “outside interference in Libya exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition.” Typical; the US trying to wash its hands off trouble where once it was up to its neck.

The two countries with Saudi Arabia have been supporting a renegade general’s effort for months against Libyan militant groups. After Libya’s own uprising against General Gadhafi, it seems that there is a political movement to get back to the status quo. This is not surprising at all; societies after a revolution have changes in legislation and precedent, but often do move back to a more conservative type of government and social stance. This was true for the French revolution, for Germany after World War I, and for Egypt today. What is eye opening is the amount of intervention into each other’s affairs in the Middle East. Is this Saudi Arabia and co. getting its ducks in a row? Is this to quell the rise of more militants, like the birth of ISIS in Syria? Will this signal to ISIS that its caliphate is only a claim, and status quo still rests with Saudi Arabia, and its oiled and allied states?

UAE and Qatar played the most prominent Arab roles in the military intervention that helped oust Gadhafi, with warplanes, humanitarian aid, and weapons. UAE and Qatar are important US allies but are today on opposing sides, jostling for influence. Qatar is far more accommodating to the Brotherhood in Egypt and its allies, which include Islamist factions fighting for power in Libya. It was a major backer of Morsi’s government and is home to the leader of Hamas. Which leads one back to the issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict. From Qatar to Turkey, the security dilemma produced is unending and so is war in the region. Turkey is the only country accepting refugees from Iraq and sending aid to Gaza, while Egypt is getting a bad rap internationally for its pragmatism is the face of genocide.