Qatar and Bahrain
Posted on Friday, August 26, 2011
My post yesterday about Qatar’s support for the crushing of popular demonstrations in Bahrain has occasioned a fair amount of angry comment (here and on Twitter). My point was that when Qatar supports the call for democracy and free elections in Libya but assists in the smashing of demonstrations in Bahrain it is pursuing a foreign policy detached from principle.
Second, Al Jazeera
owned by the prince of Qatar
has clearly been pulling its punches about events in Bahrain.
As Dear Kitty readers may guess, this is not my blog post. I have no connection to any United States Establishment organisation like the Council on Foreign Relations. I have just added some extra hyperlinks to the quote, like I often do on my blog.
However, the CFR post quote might almost have been written by me, as it points out the hypocrisy of the Qatari monarchy, which preaches democracy in Libya while practising autocracy at home and bloody anti-democratic foreign invasion in Bahrain. In fact, I had written a blog post about support for anti-Gadaffi rebellion in Libya by the autocrats of Qatar; one about support of that rebellion by the autocrats of the United Arab Emirates; and, more recently, one about “pro Libyan democracy” support by the autocrats of Bahrain.
Well, the Council on Foreign Relations quote might almost have been written by me. Not quite. The CFR post talks about Qatar supporting “democracy and free elections in Libya”. While no one can tell where the volatile situation in Libya may lead to in the near or far future, at the moment there is no democracy, but an unelected Transitional National Council in Libya. There is bloody war, civilians are caught between pro- and anti-Gadaffi violence. According to human rights organisations and Western media correspondents, NATO and Qatar-supported fighters are abusing and killing people in Tripoli because of the colour of their skin. So, the Qatari princely hypocrisy goes even deeper than the CFR post says; as in Libya, it preaches democracy while supporting a side violating human rights.
This video, recorded in Tripoli, Libya, says about itself:
Lynching of government soldiers and supporters (real or suspected) by rebels have happened throughout the war and have included racist lynching and beheadings of black Libyans and migrant workers. They are continuing now in Tripoli with NATO Special Forces on the ground just watching.
Human Rights Watch reported in July that rebel forces lynched many black migrant workers as suspected mercenaries and dragged 20 Gaddafi officials from their homes and hung them in Al Baida, a town near Misrata.
More recent reports from western journalists in Tripoli show the same is happening to black men found by rebel forces there, some of whom may have been fighting for Gaddafi, others probably just being migrant workers.
The ICRC reports that Libyan hospitals have been understaffed since the fighting broke out as they were mainly staffed by migrant workers, many of whom have since fled.
This video is called Libya: Bodies Raise Specter Of Mass Killings In Tripoli.
So now, after the parallels between my blog and the CFR blog, the difference. As the CFR blog which I quoted is by Elliott Abrams. Wikipedia writes about him:
Elliott Abrams (born January 24, 1948) is an American lawyer and policy analyst who served in foreign policy positions for two Republican U.S. Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He is currently a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
During the Reagan administration, Abrams gained notoriety for his involvement in controversial foreign policy decisions regarding Nicaragua and El Salvador. During Bush’s first term, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the National Security Council for Near East and North African Affairs. At the start of Bush’s second term, Abrams was promoted to be his Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy, in charge of promoting Bush’s strategy of advancing democracy abroad. His appointment by Bush was controversial due to his conviction in 1991 on two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra Affair investigation.
In Nicaragua and El Salvador, the US Reagan administration supported Rightist death squads.
By the way, the Bahrain dictatorship does not only have the support of Qatar, but also of a far bigger country: Elliott Abrams’ USA.
So, one should not just, like Abrams does, point out the hypocrisy of the government in Qatar, but also the hypocrisy of the establishment in Washington, DC.
British warplanes pounded Sirte today in support of rebels who are battling pro-Gadaffi tribal forces for control of the city: here.
The authorities in Bahrain are stepping up repression of the country’s trade union movement, with further suspensions and sackings of workers due to their actual or suspected participation in trade union and political actions earlier this year: here.
“By our silence we also incur a share in the guilt. This is why we have to support Bahrainis in their quest for freedom,” blogger Lina Ben Mhenni writes on A Tunisian Girl, reminding us of a forgotten and savagely repressed part of the Arab Spring: here.
The new air link between Manama and Rome will strengthen bilateral ties, the Italian ambassador to Bahrain has said: here.
Nokia Siemens maintained surveillance equipment linked to human rights abuses committed by the Bahraini regime: here.
This video is called The Disciplinary committee responsible for dismissal from work in Bahrain.
WikiLeaks: Saudi elite have “refined their methods of control over editors and journalists”: here.