The people’s revolutions of The Middle East (and who knows where next?) continue as March 2011 approaches. They not only persist, they grow. If you listen to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and/or President Obama or VP Joe Biden, one would think that the U.S. government is a strong supporter of these massive, spreading, roiling rebellions and that their call for “human rights” and “democracy” are exactly congruent with American governmental, energy and business aims in that region and in each of those countries.
So, take a look at how The Boston Globe described this outbreak on February 26, 2011 ~ Protesters march in Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, and Egypt
Have you noticed what’s happening in Egypt since the huge crowds dispersed? The military junta that replaced its leader, Hosni Mubarak, has broken all its major promises to revoke the Emergency Law under which their leader ruled autocratically for over 30 years and has not released “all” (or any?) “political prisoners”. In other words, one man stepped aside and his military cronies are still in The Catbird Seat. Add to that their demand that all unions must stop meetings and there must be no more strikes. We didn’t know the Governor of Wisconsin was an Egyptian general.
Does this make Clinton and Obama unhappy? If so, they haven’t said boo about it.
Let’s take a look at Tunisia, the first of these “revolutions”—where another “dictator” abdicated power only to be replaced by a military junta. Here’s the Associate Press article from February 25, 2011 ~ 4 dead in Tunisia after renewed violence
Hmmm. Again, no change. The military giving orders to fire upon and kill protesters. The countless numbers of unemployed and desperate young who fueled the protests fear that their “revolution has been hijacked.” Much the same thing is happening in Bahrain. Cosmetic promises are made by the hereditary Sunni rulers over the impoverished masses of Shiites of that land. No one has “stepped down” and nothing tangible in terms of “regime change” are even hinted. Why would its huge neighbor, Saudi Arabia, want a democracy where the Shiite majority might gain power—especially since a large part of Saudi’s oil reserves are in that part of the country which holds a huge supply of its oil?
Again, we can find no words of encouragement from any U.S. official backing the “people’s revolution” in Bahrain, which yearns for a fair share of the economic gains hoarded by their oligarchs and a desire to have individual freedoms and “democracy.”
So, it seems fair to ask the question: Does the U.S. government—and its former European imperial allies in that region (UK, France, Italy) actually want these people to have democracy and human rights and a fair share of their country’s wealth?
Perhaps we can get a pretty good idea of the answer from how the United States government has actually responded to successful “democratic” changes in the Middle East in the past few years.
Iraq: Do you think the U.S. government is pleased that Prime Minister Maliki and his Iran friendly Dawa Party is now allied with Muqtada al Sadr and his Anti-American party as the dominant political force in Iraq for the next four years? See my blog on Ali Sistani a few months ago and watch the video. Real democracy in Iraq means rule by religious Shiite parties who were born in Iran and who have crucial ideological and cultural ties with the Iranian people and its government. This is definitely not what the American Neo-Cons had in mind as a consequence of removing Saddam Hussein—and arch enemy of Iran—from power.
Palestine: An actual election in Palestine found Hamas winning over a far more US-Israeli compliant Palestinian political party called “Fatah.”. What was the U.S. and Israeli response to that? Turn up the repression in Gaza and ignore Hamas. Also, as Bill Clinton said in April 2009, in analyzing this stunning victory by such an Anti-American and Anti-Israeli political party, the U.S. government has to be very careful about backing democratic elections in the Middle East so as to make sure it gets friendly governments to its political, economic and military interests there. It underestimated Hamas in Gaza. Here is a YouTube with Bill Clinton laying it on the line for you.
So what is the U.S. government doing with these new “caretaking” military governments in Tunisia and Egypt (and next Libya?) to make sure that these new “people’s democracies” are America and Israel friendly? The last thing they want is a repeat of Iran, Iraq and Palestine.
Lebanon: Just a few months ago, the “Unites States backed” government of Lebanon—which had begrudgingly agreed in a mediated settlement in Qatar to allow Hezbollah into the Cabinet with a veto over any legislation of which they did not approve—were about to accept an indictment of Hezbollah leadership in the assassination of the former Prime Minister. This angered Hezbollah so much, that they pulled out of the government and brought it crashing down. Now, thanks to their electoral and military power, it is Hezbollah who is the leading party in Beirut in collaboration with some other parties. Do you think this Lebanese democracy has given the U.S. government and Israel what they want there? Listen to how Hillary Clinton reacts in this short video.
Yet another Middle East democracy has been won by “militants” and “terrorists.” Hmmm. Middle East and democracy may not be such a good idea to the Washington power elite anymore. But if the people can be roused against an “Islamic Republic” that is opposed to American and Israeli interests…well….hooray for Facebook and Twitter after all.
Iran: Rigged elections and a twisted clerical leadership that presently controls the Iranian “Islamic Republic” in power since 1979, is giving the U.S. and Israel fits of apprehension to this day. A series of large street protests from citizens who want individual freedom and political reform are crushed by an inner elite and secret police.
The Facebook and Twitter rebels are harassed and arrested and imprisoned—and have not shown themselves in force since the beginning of the present day Middle East “people’s revolutions.” So democracy is not working for US/Israeli interests there either.
Here is a great cartoon out of the New Orleans Times-Picayune by Steve Kelly that makes the point about how one Islamic Republic/democracy deals with peaceful protests and human rights.
Why then would the present day United States government want to risk an elected democracy in Egypt—where the major party there now is The Muslim Brotherhood and where labor unions are in a general strike so as to force the ruling oligarchy to share the wealth (as in Wisconsin and many U.S. states to come)?
Why would they want them in Jordan, where the major opposition party to the former dictatorial regime is stacked with a huge majority of expatriate Palestinians and a key organizing force is The Muslim Brotherhood?
Why would it want regime change in Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based and a Shiite majority might arouse the Shiites in Saudi Arabia?
As these articles and many more make it CRYSTAL CLEAR: Arab public opinion (also known as “The Arab Street”) in Libya, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East—and even to Pakistan–is strongly opposed to U.S. policy there, especially regarding Israel. Any semblance of democracy which empowered the people, or major Islamist parties there, would threaten the American/Israeli strategic status quo in that part of the world.
Thus, we ask the reader to keep all this in mind as s/he reads and hears all the American political leaders and establishment punditry gush their undying love of “the people’s revolutions” in the Middle East. Then compare that with how they have handled successful “people’s revolutions” there in recent times and what the U.S. and its oil hungry European allies are actually doing to “empower” those protesters and strikers.
Our Smell Indicator’s arrow right now is on “Fishy.”
We wish it wasn’t.