Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?
“Top U.S. defense and military officials were given no indication during recent visits to the Middle East that Saudi forces would deploy to Bahrain, the Pentagon said on Monday. “We have communicated to all parties our concerns regarding actions that could be provocative or inflame sectarian tensions,” Colonel Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. The Pentagon said neither Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was in the region last week, nor Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had no prior knowledge of the deployment by close ally Saudi Arabia…….”
Okay, the US has its biggest naval base in the region in Bahrain, and the US secretary of defense visits Manama, and one day later the Saudis invade. Do you believe the US administration did not know? If you do, I still have that old lame camel that is in perfect condition for sale.
Target of Saudi tanks in Manama
“The council of ministers has confirmed that it has answered a request by Bahrain for support,” Riyadh said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency……
Sounds so much like the statement aired on Baghdad Radio when Kuwait was invaded……
“Gaddafi tanks reach centre of Zuwarah, west of Tripoli…..” Alarabiya (Saudi)
“Saudi tanks reach Manama, capital of Bahrain…” Me (and news agencies)
This CIA entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).
The UAE has been the second biggest importer of weapons since 2005. This means the al-Nahayan had the world “silver medal”. In the region, the UAE has been the first biggest importer of weapons, i.e. the gold medal. Not sure what they have been doing with all the hardware, since they don’t have enough citizens for all these arms (some 80-85% of the population is composed of Asian laborers and housemaids who are not eligible for military service).
Now there is a new shocker for the UAE, something they did not know: in terms of total defense spending as a percent of GDP they are way down the list. They are number 40! Well below lowly Oman and rival Qatar and the even lowlier Bahrain!
Now the rulers of Abu Dhabi have three choices to catch up: (1) Speed up the purchase of weapons, and that is okay, it means more
bribes commissions for the potentates. (2) Induct many thousands of expatriate workers into the armed forces which would push up military spending at the expense of civilian spending. (3) Find a way to reduce the GDP! I leave that last one to them to figure it out.
“Forces from neighboring Gulf Arab countries will help maintain order in Bahrain, Arabiya TV reported on Monday, and an adviser to Bahrain’s royal court said their forces were already on the strategic island. “Forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council have arrived in Bahrain to maintain order and security,” Nabeel al-Hamer, a former information minister and adviser to the royal court, said on his Twitter feed. Gulf Daily News, a newspaper close to Bahrain’s powerful prime minister, reported on Monday that forces from the GCC, a six-member regional bloc, would protect strategic facilities. A Saudi official said Monday that more than 1,000 Saudi troops, part of the Gulf countries’ Peninsula Shield Force, have entered Bahrain where anti-regime protests have raged for a month…….”
The lines have been drawn on the Gulf: which is what the worried al-Saud dynasty has wanted since they hosted Bin Ali and supported Mubarak last January. They, like other oligarchies on MY Gulf, have wanted a sectarian divide between the people of the region (I mean the Arab side of the Persian-American Gulf). It is the old policy of ‘divide and rule’.
The rapacious Bahrain oligarchy did a masterful job of terrifying a section of their population into throwing in their lot with the rulers and against their own self-interest. In this task, and as usual, the al-Khalifa have had the strong support of the Salafi movement, always the mercenary force willing to do the bidding of the despots in the Arab world these days. They usually do it for reasons to do with Salafi doctrine, or for sectarian reasons, or for material gain. All three of the above in the case of Bahrain (and Saudi Arabia).
This invasion of Bahrain is being advertised in Gulf semi-official media as a “police” force. They claim the GCC Peninsula Shield agreement allows it. In fact the GCC agreement allows helping a member against foreign invasion, not against popular uprisings. They certainly did not interfere to protect Kuwait in 1990: they chickened out against an outside invader (Iraq).
This is a Saudi invasion against the people of Bahrain. The talk of UAE participation probably means they may have sent a hundred or so people along with the Saudis. The UAE has very few natives to form a real army: its population consists mostly, nay overwhelmingly, of foreign expatriate laborers and housemaids.
This is a Saudi invasion to save the nuts of the al-Khalifa from the fires of their own greed and corruption and their insistence on their Apartheid policy. Just as the 1968 Soviet invasion was against the people of Prague and the Ba’athist 1990 invasion was against the people of Kuwait. Anybody who was against those invasions has to be against this one. After all, a pig with lipstick, even a brotherly or sisterly pig, is still a pig. The pig has just strolled into Manama inside a tank.
The good news for the people of Bahrain and other Arab states is: the fear is gone. It may be zenga zenga in Manama………..
Media now confirm that Saudi National Guard forces have crossed into Bahrain. Gulf media claim the forces are from the GCC, but they are in fact Saudi forces bent on subjugating the people of Bahrain and effectively annexing their country in everything but name.
What is the difference between the Iraqi Ba’athist invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and this Saudi invasion of Bahrain in 2011?
- Both invasions were acts of aggression against the peoples of the two countries.
- In both cases the aggressor uses force to crush any opposition by the people.
- In both invasions the invaders are there to impose a regime against the will of the people.
- The people of Kuwait faced the soldiers of the dynastic Ba’athist regime, and the people of Bahrain are now facing the Wahhabi troops of the absolute tribal polygamous monarchy across the Gulf.
- There is nothing that a regime can do that is lower than invite foreign troops to enter the country to act against its own people. The al-Khalifa have just done that.
Can we say that our cause was better than your cause, and our resistance was better than yours? That would be hypocritical.
“French President Nicolas Sarkozy fired an adviser he had hired to promote “diversity” after the appointee attacked his allies’ approach to Islam and secularism, the former aide told AFP on Friday. “He has just set me free. I am going to campaign to defend the dignity of Muslims in this country,” said Abderrahmane Dahmane, who had served as Sarkozy’s adviser on “diversity.” The sacking came after Dahmane spoke out against a plan by Sarkozy’s UMP party to hold a “debate” on secularism and Islam, at a time of sensitivities over the government’s treatment of France’s six million Muslims. “I have no intention of being fodder for Sarkozy and Cope,” he said, referring to Jean-Francois Cope, the leader of the right-wing ruling UMP party and a strong backer of policies that Muslims have said stigmatise them…………”
Hey, Sarko: you can always hire Peter King or Newt Gingrich as you “diversity” adviser to Muslims. They have some experience in dealing with us. The kind of experience you may prefer while you are looking for a way to weasel your way into another term at the Élysée Palace.
Then there is Brigitte Bardot……..
“Thousands of protesters blocked King Faisal Highway, a four-lane road leading to the financial district of the capital, Manama. Security forces dispersed about 350 by using teargas, the government said. Police moved in on Pearl Square, occupied by members of the Shiite majority calling for an elected government and equality with Sunnis. Witnesses said security forces surrounded the tents, shooting teargas and rubber bullets at activists……..”
They never learn, these potentates. This is the same old Arab story, especially in Bahrain, but with a new twist this year. People rise demanding their rights to democracy and equality and justice; the rulers refuse and crack down; with time the protesters lose heart and go home. It happened several times in Bahrain over the past couple of decades.
This time there is one big difference, a decisive difference: there is no fear! The people are not afraid anymore, and this is why they have been threatening the people with foreign intervention: it worked before, but it will not work this time around. This may explain the “rumor” that they spread today about Saudi military intervention. A possible trial balloon? The oligarchs are reminding the people of Bahrain that they, the rulers, have fellow despots across the bridge with well-armed troops, and that these foreign troops may not be as “merciful”. But the problem the al-Khalifa face is what all Arab despots have been facing in this beautiful year of Arab revolutions: there is no fear! The fear that the despots relied on so much is gone from the Bahraini hearts, just it is gone from most Arab hearts.
“ABU DHABI // The Gulf states last night threw their weight behind the idea of a no-fly zone over Libya, as they took a tougher line against what they termed human rights violations by Col Muammar Qaddafi’s regime. “The ministerial council demands that the Security Council take the steps necessary to protect civilians, including a no-fly zone in Libya,” the Gulf’s foreign ministers said in a joint statement late last night after a meeting at the Emirates Palace hotel. Calls for the imposition of a no-fly zone to protect rebels from bombing raids by Col Qaddafi’s military have been gathering pace in recent days. Gulf officials expressed growing frustration with Col Qaddafi’s violent repression of rebels calling for an end to his four decades of rule, saying Libyan authorities have rejected humanitarian aid from the Gulf and refused to distribute it to its citizens…….”
That is a good precedent. A no-fly zone may be just what the doctor ordered for Eastern Libya. But what about a similar zone for our Gulf? Like a zone of exclusion where no military forces can cross, like across the bridge-to-Bahrain zone? That would keep certain foreign troops from entering Bahrain to help shoot down its people, if it comes to that again. There have been some reliable reports that Saudi forces helped the al-Khalifa put down the protests of the 1990s. There have also been some reports that Saudi ‘assets’ tried to help during the current uprising. Hopefully it won’t come to that. But would the potentates of the Gulf agree to that kind of ‘zone of exclusion’? Would Western powers agree to it?
“The other reason is the length of the individual rule. While the Saudi regime renewed its popularity through new leaders taking turning ruling, the regimes in Egypt or Tunisia were not renewed, nor was the regime in Libya or Yemen. All these years that Qaddafi ruled all by himself, Saudi Arabia saw several kings: King Faisal, then King Khalid, then King Fahd, then King Abdullah….. Four kings changed while Qaddafi remained in power…….”
This regular columnist for the Saudi semi-official daily Asharq Alawsat (owned by Prince Salman) is obviously saying that individual Saudi kings did not rule for that long, and that this is a good thing. He says that Mubarak (who he used to praise before last February, and they all wanted his son to inherit the throne) and Qaddafi lasted too long, did not allow others to take their turn.
This writer has one or two problems, or maybe both: (1) either he does not realize that Saudi kings give up power not willingly but because they die! The only Saudi king to give up power before he died was Saud who was overthrown by his brother Faisal and some of his other brothers in a palace coup. (2) He is just being cute here with us readers, thinking us too stupid to get point (1). That is: he is trying to pull a fast one.
The point he is making is that leaders, including kings, should not last long (although Saudi King Fahd ruled for about a quarter of a century). Now this is something the Saudi princes may not look kindly on. I mean King Hussein of Jordan ruled for over forty years, and his son may rule for forty more. King Faisal may have ruled for almost that long had he not been shot by a nephew. If the al-Saud dynasty lasts, some young king will come to power who may rule for forty years. Is he saying they should be overthrown after, say, ten years? Interesting concept.
“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived Friday on an unannounced visit to offer American support to the royal family and prod the king and the crown prince toward talks with protesters ……. Here in this tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, security forces firing what protesters said were rubber bullets and pro-government Sunni vigilantes wielding sticks and swords beat back a rump group of several hundred protesters who were among the tens of thousands of Shiite demonstrators who were planning to march toward a particularly sensitive area: the Royal Court in Riffa, the preferred residential neighborhood for the ruling family and the Sunni Muslim elite. Its manicured lawns and wide streets contrast sharply with the narrow alleyways and raw cinder-block houses where many of the majority Shiite Muslims live…….In his Friday sermon, Sheik Isa Qassim, the most senior Shiite cleric, said the king was falsely depicting the demand for basic rights as a rift between sects. “Our demands are political ones, and have nothing to do with demands for a sect or segment of society,” he said at Friday Prayer, “We are demanding democracy.” ……..”
“One protester, a teacher who identified himself only as Nabil, says he is not interested in any dialogue with the royal family. “Our grandfathers tried them in [the] 20s and 50s and 60s and 70s, we had a problem with them. And in 80s, 90s and now as well. They say, ‘OK, let’s sit at a table and see what you want.’ And we believe them every time. And every time they lie. So no trust for this family now,” said Nabil…….”
“And we believe them every time. And every time they lie….” This is about right. This succinctly (succinctly: I have loved this term since graduate school days) tells the story of the people of Bahrain with their rulers. It is a tough problem for Mr. Gates to solve, which means it is an even tougher problem for Jeffrey Feltman to solve. Besides, Mr. Feltman is busy elsewhere: most Lebanese believe that he is already the shadow prime minister of Lebanon, no matter which side is ‘officially’ in power. Most Arabs believe that as well. Actually the daily al-Akhbar (Beirut), admittedly no friend of Mr. Feltman, claims that he is running the Hariri (the right-wing March 14) political operation.