Washington embraces Bahrain tyranny

This video is called Bahrain’s army deliberately kills peaceful protesters with live rounds (automatic weapon).

The item below here is not on this blog because of any agreement with the (palaeo-)conservatism of the author quoted. It is here to show that not just the Conservative government in Britain, not just the “realist” conservative Kissinger in the USA, not just the neoconservatives in the USA, but also the Democratic Party administration in the USA are allies of the bloody absolute monarchy in Bahrain.

By John Glaser (an “isolationist palaeoconservative”) in the USA:

Obama Praises Bahrain Tyrant on Visit, Dims Awakening’s Prospects

June 08, 2011

There have been various moments since the start of the Arab Spring where the level of blatant, outright support for Middle Eastern dictatorship on display should have embarrassed Obama and his team, but yesterday was a highlight.

The Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa visited the White House, meeting with Obama and his National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. The President “reaffirmed the strong US commitment to Bahrain,” praised the King’s supposed “efforts to initiate the national dialogue” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), and looked forward to (some fictional) “compromise to forge a just future for all Bahrainis.”

This reaffirmation of support on behalf of the American people to a Bahraini government brutalizing its own citizens who are fighting for their own dignity should warrant terrified gasps and accusing disbelief. But no, not in the Imperial City. This is protocol.

This is the same Bahraini government who has been gunning down unarmed activists with live ammunition, unleashing “live rounds, metallic pellets, rubber bullets, and teargas” at protestors for months, and violently supressing this eruption of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations at every turn. This government, Obama’s close friend and ally, arrested and sentenced doctors and nurses who treated protesters injured by the horrible repression, and followed up by declaring martial law and stepping up unprovoked attacks on civilians. Protests have still not moved the country toward more freedom and democracy and thus the Bahraini people remain enslaved under a harsh criminal regime.

All this, and the only thing the Hope & Change Candidate can say is that his support is strong and reaffirmed, and that the regime’s perfunctory lifting of martial law and entirely rhetorical credence to “national dialogue” is a positive step in the right direction.

Centrists and establishment types try to justify this as necessary for long term stability and in the best interests of America – those code words for empire – while simultaneously sympathizing with poor Obama and how hard it must be for him to have to be diplomatic with Bahrain. But the truth is that so long as the U.S. continues to meddle in the affairs of every single Middle Eastern country experiencing these revolutionary changes, the prospects for positive change for the millions of people living there are dim. The truth is, this kind of support for repression and tyranny needs to start eliciting the gasps and condemnation it warrants.

Tony Blair worries about Arab spring: here.

3 thoughts on “Washington embraces Bahrain tyranny

  1. http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/05/201152984825613403.html

    Arab nations: New governments, same story

    While slow to react to the Arab Spring, US diplomats are working to make sure the region remains under US hegemony.

    Soumaya Ghannoushi Last Modified: 29 May 2011 16:17

    “In vain, the US tries to reconcile the irreconcilable and preach democracy, while occupying and aiding in occupation. But in a region that forms one interconnected geographic, cultural, and political sphere, you cannot liberate Egyptians, Syrians, or Tunisians, without liberating Palestinians.”

    While initially mum during Egypt’s revolution, the US is now looking to find a means of transitioning the new government into the US-led international order [GALLO/GETTY]

    The first wave of Arab revolutions is entering its second phase. Along with dismantling the structures of political despotism, they have embarked on the arduous journey toward genuine change and democratisation.

    On the opposite side, the US is seeking to recover from the initial state of disarray and confusion generated by its loss of key allies, and to define a roadmap for the new age of Arab revolutions. It had been thrust aside by a roaring Arab street that struck a deadly blow to its doctrine of stability. After watching the pitch helplessly, it is now determined to force its way back in to dictate its course and outcome. Finally, Washington has come to swallow the bitter fact that the world has changed, and that its old friends and partners are no more. What had been a challenge to its power and authority is now “an historic opportunity”, as Obama put it in his speech last week.

    Yet this is not an opportunity for the people who have risen up, but for the force that has aided and abetted their jailers, and ensured they were kept in shackles for decades in the name of political realism. It is its “opportunity”, the chance for its decision makers and bureaucrats sitting in their Washington boardrooms to fashion the region’s present and future, just as they did its past. In Obama’s words, “to pursue the world as it should be” – not according to the yearnings and aspirations of its people – but to America’s cold calculations.

    American interests

    And how is this new world to be built? The guiding model is to be found in Eastern Europe and the colour revolutions. In short, by using American soft power and public diplomacy to reshape the socio-political scene in the region, the aim is to transform the people’s revolutions into America’s revolutions.

    The centre of gravity has shifted from the streets – with its uncontrollable, unpredictable, and dangerous rhythm – to the hands of the powerful elites. So, back we are to the old game of engineered elites: docile, domesticated, at the service of American strategies (consciously and sub-consciously).

    But, this is being stretched to new fronts: the strategy is to not only confined to the classical friends left over from the old era, but to also contain new forces produced by the revolution, which had long been marginalised and rejected by the US.

    “We must… broaden our engagement… so that we reach the people who will shape the future – particularly young people… [and] provide assistance to civil society, including those that may not be officially sanctioned,” said President Obama. To this end the US has doubled its fund aimed at “protecting civil society groups”, raising its budget from $1.5m, to 3.4m.

    The targets are not only the usual neoliberal elements, but include the activists who spearheaded the protest movements, and mainstream Islamists. For example, the last few months have seen an escalation of American public diplomacy efforts in Egypt and Tunisia by the US government and institutions close to it. This has included programmes aimed at Arab youth leaders such as the Leaders for Arab Democracy programme sponsored by the Middle East Partnership Initiative, as well as many conferences and seminars such as the one hosted by the Project on Middle East Democracy at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington last month.

    A number of Arab activists were invited to the Project, including prominent Egyptian democracy and human rights activist Esraa Abdel Fattah. Meetings have also been held between high ranking US officials and the Muslim Brotherhood last month in Cairo, while Ennahda’s deputy chairman has recently returned from a visit to Washington to “discuss democratic transition in Tunisia”.

    Washington hopes that these rising forces may be stripped of their ideological opposition to American hegemony and turned into pragmatists fully integrated into the existing US-led international order. Dogma is not a problem, as long as they agree to operate within parameters delineated for them, if they play the game without questioning its rules.

    Economic containment

    But containment and integration are not only political but economic, too. They are to be pursued through free markets and trade partnerships in the name of economic reform. Plans “to stabilise and modernise” the Tunisian and Egyptian economies were announced at this week’s G8 summit. These include a $40bn dollar aid package that would drown these economies deeper in debt, a two million dollar facility to support private investment “modeled on funds that supported the transitions in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall”, the “Deauville Partnership” to expand political and economic ties with North Africa and the Middle East, and an extension of the mandate of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to cover the nations of the southern Mediterranean. As usual, investment and aid are conditional on adoption of the American neoliberal economic model in the name of reform and modernisation, and on further binding economies to US and European markets under the banner of “trade integration”.

    One wonders what would be left of the Arab revolutions amidst infiltrated civil societies, domesticated political parties, and dependent economies. That is precisely the post-revolution Middle East being concocted by the White House today, carved up with the chisel of the economy, money, and public diplomacy – not to mention its firepower and military bases scattered across the region and at its borders.

    The Obama administration may succeed in infiltrating Arab organisations, but its bid to reproduce the Eastern European scenario in the region is little more than wishful thinking. While Prague and Warsaw looked to the US for inspiration in its liberation struggle, Cairo, Tunis, and Sana’a see the US as the problem and chief impediment to their emancipation and progress. To Arabs, the US is a force of occupation draped in a thin cloak of democracy and human rights.

    No one could have offered stronger evidence of such a view than Obama himself. He began his Middle East speech with eulogies to freedom and the equality of all men, and ended it with talk of the “Jewishness of Israel”. Effectively, Israel has been denying the citizenship rights of 20 per cent of its Arab inhabitants and right of return of six million Palestinian refugees.

    In vain, the US tries to reconcile the irreconcilable and preach democracy, while occupying and aiding in occupation. But in a region that forms one interconnected geographic, cultural, and political sphere, you cannot liberate Egyptians, Syrians, or Tunisians, without liberating Palestinians.

    Soumaya Ghannoushi is a freelance writer specialising in the history of European Perceptions of Islam. Her work has appeared in a number of leading British papers including the Guardian and the Independent.


  2. F1 teams harden stance against Bahrain GP

    by Gordon Howard – 2 hrs 16 mins ago

    MONTREAL (AFP) – Formula One teams, drivers and paddock insiders hardened their positions against the prospect of a reinstated Bahrain Grand Prix on Thursday by making it clear that they have no intention of racing in the Gulf state this year.

    Twenty-four hours after F1 commercial ring-master Bernie Ecclestone completed a u-turn by telling the BBC in London that a race in Bahrain this year “was unlikely” team chiefs backed him up saying it was out of the question.

    And they, in turn, received further clear support from the drivers when Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello, in his role as chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, spoke against reinstating the race.

    Ecclestone on Wednesday had said that the race could not be reinstated without written agreement from the teams, who in turn needed their drivers’ support to go to the troubled kingdom where violent civil unrest led to the original scheduled season-opening race being postponed in March.

    It was reinstated controversially for October 30 by a meeting of the International Motoring Federation (FIA)’s world council last Friday.

    Former driver Martin Brundle, now the lead commentator for BBC’s F1 coverage, on Thursday said: “I think it’s a grave error to reintroduce the race for a number of reasons.

    “They really should have kept it off this year’s calendar. A lot of people would be happy to accept it on the calendar for 2012 provided they have sorted out the problems there.”

    “The logistics are quite tough for all the teams,” Barrichello said. “I think we’re in good hands. The teams have forwarded what they think to the FIA and to Bernie and whatever the outcome is I’ll be happy.”

    The chief executive of Barrichello’s Williams team Adam Parr added: “It’s not about whether the race goes ahead, it’s about whether we change the calendar at this stage of the season — and that’s what we’ve written.

    “The issue that we’re concerned about is that fans, sponsors, teams, have made logistic arrangements to be in India for a particular weekend, 30 October, and we’ve been presented with a calendar where it’s on 11 December.

    “How do you say to people who have booked a two-week holiday in India to take in the Grand Prix, ‘sorry you’ll be in India, but we won’t’?”

    “We’ve explained our position … and there’s nothing more to talk about. It’s just too late to change it.”

    Parr’s explanation supported the views of Mercedes team chief Ross Brawn who said it was asking too much of the teams to extend the season into December.

    A final announcment confirming the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix is expected from the FIA this weekend during the Candian Grand Prix which starts on Friday.


  3. Pingback: Free Bahraini prisoners of conscience | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.