Illusion of Gulf Arab Reform, the Lethal Price of Petroleum, Qaddafi the Good Repentant Leader …….

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When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a statement about the need to speed up political reform in the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, did she really think that is possible under these two regimes? There is no way the answer to that can be in the affirmative, unless “reform” means some cosmetic marginal plans and some practices like symbolic elections and “consultative councils” that the state media use……… These day of domination of oil money, such terms are meaningless, especially when large Western public relations firms are available to polish the images of despotic regimes that have unlimited financial liquidity. When the price of crude petroleum exceeds $110 per barrel, the weapon of money in the hands of these repressive regimes becomes an even more effective weapon than torture and other means of repression. I recall meetings between op Western officials, among them Tony Blair, and the now-murdered Colonel Qaddafi when he was an absolute dictator. Yet the same media quickly changed the image of that “repentant leader” back to the “dictator that must be overthrown………..”

This is my translation of a brief excerpt of a column by exiled Bahraini academic and activist, Dr. Saied al-Shihabi who lives in London. Arab columns are often long, some are way too long, most should not even be written. This was a good one, I enjoyed reading it.