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MIDDLE EAST : Obama’s Counter-Revolution

Two operations have been set into motion simultaneously: the transfer of the U.S. military apparatus based in the Middle East to Africa, and the rescue of puppet Arab regimes.

by Thierry Meyssan

After some hesitation over how to respond to the Arab revolutions, the Obama administration has opted for the strong-arm solution as a means to rescue those vassals which can still be salvaged. As in the past, the task of leading the counter-revolution devolved upon Saudi Arabia. Riyad first succeeded in having its Libyan pawns recognized by the international community and later trampled over Bahrain, drowning the popular uprising in blood.

At the request of King Hamad ibn Isa Al-Khalifa and with the OK of the United States, Saudi troops roll into Bahrain to quell the revolt (14 March 2011).

On 10 March 2011, following a meeting at the Elysée palace with three rebellion leaders, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that France had suspended its recognition of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime as the legitimate representative of Libya in favour of the Libyan Transitional National Council (LTNC).

The move is contrary to the diplomatic tradition observed by France until recently, inasmuch as it never recognized governments but states. The decision matches the one taken by France on 4 December 2010, recognizing Alassane Ouattara as president of the Ivory Coast instead of the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo.

Having received widespread approval from the international community in the case of the Ivory Coast, Paris was hoping for a repeat performance in Libya. It should be obvious to everyone, however, that in neither case Nicolas Sarkozy’s decisions were made to promote the interests of France – whose companies were expelled from the Ivory Coast and it won’t be long before they will be kicked out of Libya too – but in response to the explicit request on the part of the Obama and Netanyahu administrations.

Two operations have been set into motion simultaneously: the transfer of the U.S. military apparatus based in the Middle East to Africa, and the rescue of puppet Arab regimes.

Slipping imperial troops into Africa

As I have not ceased to maintain for the past four and a half years, the triumph of the Lebanese Resistance over Israel, in the summer of 2006, put a damper on the U.S. strategy for remodeling the “Greater Middle East” [1]. Despite several attempts, including the “open hand” extended by Barack Obama to the Muslim world in his Cairo speech [2], Washington has failed to come up with a replacement strategy. On the surface it’s business as usual, but in reality the Unites States are slowly retreating from in that region. With stagnating Middle East oil reserves and a massive and costly military investment over the long haul, Washington has shifted its gaze toward other directions.

After contemplating the Caribbean region, the Empire set its sights on Africa. But it must hurry since, by 2013, one quarter of the oil and raw materials consumed by the United States will be coming from the Black continent. Irrevocably convinced by the conclusions of the Israeli Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies (IASPS), Washington decided to step up plans for the creation of AfriCom. Thus, the real power that has piloted the United States since 11 September 2001 hoisted Barack Obama to the White House and General William E. Ward to AfriCom.

It may be recalled that Senator Barack Obama, of Kenyan origin, worked indefatigably for the creation of that structure and went on a special tour of Africa, in August 2006, that ended in a debriefing at AfriCom headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. His main focus were the interests of pharmaceutical companies on the Black continent and setting the stage for the partition of Sudan [3]. As for General Ward, not only is he an African American, but he also previously served as US Security Coordinator for the Palestinian Authority, in other words the security coordinator between Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon. He was in charge of implementing the “Road map for peace” and the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, prior to the erection of the Separation Wall, the division of the Palestinian territories into two sectors (Gaza and the West Bank) and their fragmentation into different “bantustans“.

The conflict in the Ivory Coast, pitting Laurent Gbagbo (elected by the majoritity of Ivorians) to Alessane Ouattara (supported by a minority of Ivorians and by the Burkina Faso immigrant community), put the plan for the “remodeling of Africa” on track. But it was still necessary to find an entry gate for imperial forces, considering that all African states categorically refused to host AfriCom on their soil. This is where the Libyan rebellion comes in.

The wave of anti-imperialist revolts rocking the Arab world since 2010 has toppled the Saad Hariri government in Lebanon, precipitated Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s flight from Tunisia, generated the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the uprisings in Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, as well as the clashes in Libya. Here, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s main pillars of support are the Gaddafa and Makarha tribes from central and western Libya respectively. He is up against a vast coalition that, in addition to the eastern tribe of the Warfalla, comprises a mixed bag of pro-western royalists, Wahhabi fundamentalists, as well as both communist and Khomeinist revolutionaries.

Washington transformed the insurrection into a civil war: African mercenaries paid by the Israeli company CST Global were sent to Gaddafi’s rescue [4], whereas Afghan mercenaries under the aegis of Saudi secret services were deployed to provide backing for the royalists and the Islamist groups labeled “Al-Qaeda”.
As a result, an international humanitarian crisis broke out: in two weeks, 230 000 immigrants fled the country (118 000 went to Tunisia, 107 000 to Egypt, 2 000 to Niger and 4 300 headed for Algeria).

This tragic situation has provided the justification for a new “humanitarian war”, according to the threadbare cliché of western communication.

Mahmoud Jibril (Minister of planning and development) and Ali Essaoui (Ambassador to India) rallied the rebellion and were designated by the Western powers to represent post-Gaddafi Libya.

Western press agencies have been trying hard to portray Mahmoud Jibril as a “democratic intellectual”, concerned for a long time about the evolution of his country, who has drawn up a project known as Libyan Vision. The fact is he occupied a seat next to his friend al-Djeleil within the Gaddafi government as Minister of Planning and Development.

Similarly to what occurred during the first days of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, high-ranking members of the regime broke away from the Libyan dictator in order to remain in power. They believe their objective can be best achieved by hijacking the revolutionary process and bowing to imperial interests.

They can now be seen waving the red-black-and-green flag emblazoned with the King Idriss crescent [5], while Mohammed al-Hassan al-Reda al-Senoussi, the exiled Crown Prince, can be heard spouting from London through Saudi television channels that “He is ready to serve His people”.

On March 7th, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), composed of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, “demand[ed] that the UN Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya”. This absurd declaration derailed the debate at the Security Council which, since resolution 1970 [6], had been striving to prevail on Gaddafi by restricting his movements and freezing his assets. Thus, the GCC took up at the state level the same proposal already formulated by the former Libyan Ambassador to the United Nations, now aligned with the LTNC.

Allegedly on the initiative of a group of European MP’s, Mahmoud Jibril headed for Strasbourg to inform the European Parliament on the situation in his country. His travel arrangements were handled by the French military. At the instigation of Belgian liberal Guy Verhofsdat and Franco-German Green Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the Parliament adopted a resolution appealing for an international intervention [7].

On 9 March 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy adressed a seven-point letter to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Union [8]. Therein, they requested the Extraordinary European Council to recognize the LTNC, to endorse an International Criminal Court indictment against Gaddafi and to approve an international military intervention. However, their initiative failed to go through [9]. Germany refused to embark on another adventure, while Bulgaria repudiated the LTNC, accusing its president, Abud Al-Jeleil, of being implicated in the torture of a group of Bulgarian nurses who had been subjected to a prolonged detention in Libya.

At the same time, NATO Defense ministers were meeting in Brussels to plan for the implementation of a possible no-fly zone  [10].

Recognized by France on 10 March, two days later the LTNC approached Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League. Their letter, which reflects the Saudi position, called for a stop to the bloodshed through the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya and the recognition of the LTNC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Meeting in Cairo behind closed doors, the Foreign Ministers of the Arab League immediately rejected the official Libyan delegation accepting the LTNC in its place; acquiescing to the latter’s request, the AL then seized the Security Council to establish the “no-fly zone”.

This decision must be appreciated for what it is: puppet Arab states, put in power by the United States and Israel, were turning to their masters to ensure they would be kept there. The Security Council can decree a no-fly zone but lacks the means to enforce it. The implementation will therefore become NATO’s responsibility. Thus, imperial forces disguised in blue helmets will be nailing Libya’s airplanes to the ground by bombing its airports as well as both fixed and mobile surface-to-air missile systems, and perhaps even shoot down its aircraft in flight.

The Arab League omitted to indicate the vote details. Out of 22 States, only two voted against: Algeria, who doesn’t like the idea of a NATO presence on its eastern border, and Syria, who continues to stand alone against US dominance and Zionism. Lebanon as well as others most probably abstained.

Regardless of insinuations by western leaders, the African Union has never been in favor of a foreign military intervention. On the contrary, the AU explicitly rejected it on 10 March [11]. And for a good reason: each of its members is aware that the Libyan tragedy is deliberately being magnified to serve as a pretext for the massive penetration of US forces in Africa.

Saving the Gulf monarchies

Saudi Arabia is the mainstay of the imperial device in the Gulf region. The State was founded at the beginning of the 20th century by the Saud family with British support, after years of extremely murderous wars of conquest. With the largest oil reserves in the world, Saudi Arabia gravitated into the orbit of the US at the end of the Second World War. By virtue of the Quincy agreement, concluded between King Ibn Saud and President Roosevelt, Saudi Arabia is under the obligation to supply the United States with oil, while the latter is bound to provide protection to the royal family (and not the country).

Saudi Arabia is not strictly speaking a country and has no name; it is simply the part of Arabia that belongs to the Saud family, which it administers first and foremost with its personal interests (and those of the United States) in mind. The royal family leads a life of debauchery, far removed from the wahhabite austerity it claims to identify with. With King Ibn Saud’s 32 spouses and 53 children, as a measure to prevent family conflicts it was decided that the crown would not be transmitted from father to son, but from brother to brother. After the King’s eldest son died of illness, the successor was his youngest son, who was 51 at the time. In 1964, his third, 60-year-old, son acceded to the throne, and so on. The current 87 year-old king recently underwent major surgery and probably does have much longer to live. His brother, Sultan, is next in line but is suffering from Alzheimer.

Torturer at the service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Ian Henderson maintained order in Bahrain for 40 years.

This makes for a very unpopular and fragile regime, which already nearly came down in 1979. Understandably, both Riyad and Washington are watching nervously the Arab revolts unfolding in neighboring Yemen and Bahrain.

The Saudi army is already inside Yemen. With the help of the CIA, it will give President Ali Abdullah Saleh a hand to quell the insurrection. That leaves Bahrain.

Bahrain is a small island, comparable in size to Micronesia or the Isle of Man. During the 18th Century, it was taken from Persia by the Al-Khalifa (cousins of the ruling royal family of Kuwait). Thus, the monarchy is Sunni, while the population is of Arab Shia origin. Unlike the other Gulf monarchies, its economy is not based on oil. It nevertheless hosts a significant immigrant population (approximately 40 % of the total population), mainly originating from Iran and India.

In 1923, Bahrain fell under the British sphere of influence. London deposed the Emir and put his more compliant son on the throne. During the 1950’s and 60’s, nationalist Arabs and communists struggled to free the country. The United Kingdom responded by deploying its top specialists in repressive methods, including Ian Henderson, famously known as the “Butcher of Bahrain”. The country ultimately recovered its independence in 1971, but only to find itself under the sphere of influence of the US which set up its regional military naval base to house the Fifth Fleet. The 1980’s witnessed new riots, inspired by the example of the Iranian Revolution. In the 1990’s, a prolonged intifada resulted in the unification of all opposition forces, comprising Marxists, Arab nationalists and Khomeinists.

Alain Bauer, security adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy, has been put in charge of reorganizing the police of Bahrain.

Calm eventually returned in 1999 with King Ahmad’s accession to the throne. An enlightened despot, he instituted an elected Consultative Assembly and promoted the access of women to positions of responsibility, which reconciled him with his historical opposition but alienated him from the Sunni minority, his chief support.

Since 14 February 2011, demonstrations have escalated on the Island. Organized at first by the Wefaq Khomeinist party, the protests denounced the system of corruption and repression. They aimed to reform the monarchy but not to abolish it. However, the resonating popular impact of the movement and the brutality of the repression quickly led to its radicalization, notwithstanding a lukewarm attempt on the part of the Crown Prince towards dialogue [12].

The monarchy lost its legitimacy following revelations of its increasingly close ties with the Zionist movement. Since 2007, the Khalifas established connections with the American Jewish Committee. According to the Bahraini opposition, they were consolidated thanks to Alain Bauer, French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s adviser who has been tasked with revamping the police system in Bahrain.

Prince Khalil bin Ahmad bin Muhammad Al Khalifa, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain (center) with his friends from the American Jewish Committee.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Manama on 13 March 2011 to pledge his country’s support to the King of Bahrain. On the following day, the Saudi army swept through the Kingdom to crush the rebellion.

The majority of demonstrators are now struggling to overthrow the monarchy, which constitutes the red line not to be crossed in the eyes of the rest of the Gulf monarchies and of their US patron. Hence US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ visit to Manama on 13 March, officially made to advise the King to pay heed to the grievances of his people and to seek a peaceful outcome to the conflict. This is obviously the type of advice that would normally be dispensed by a Secretary of State, not a Secretary of Defense. In fact, Mr. Gates was in Manama to seal the political chapter of a military operation which was already waiting in the wings.

The following day, 14 March, the other five monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council gave their green light for “Peninsula Shield” to enter into action, a joint military force originally created to contain any spillover from the Khomeini Revolution. That same evening, 1 000 Saudi soldiers on armored vehicles and a 500-strong police force from the Emirates crossed into Bahrain.

A state of emergency has been decreed for three months. The few liberties that were still tolerated have been suspended. On 16 March at dawn, joint royal forces, armed and supervised by the United States, evicted the protestors from their camp, firing combat gas instead of tear gas and rounds of live bullets. The authorities have acknowledged more than 1 000 serious casualties – including people wounded by bullets – but only 5 killed, which is an implausible ratio.

The Obama doctrine

The issue has been settled. After a pacifying discourse on human rights and its enthusiastic acclaim of the “Arab Spring”, the Obama administration has chosen the strong-arm solution to save what can still be salvaged.

As in the case of the Communists and their overthrow of the monarchy in Afghanistan, Washington has picked its Saudi client to lead the counter-revolutionary charge. It armed a faction of the Libyan opposition, and hijacked the UN debate over sanctions against Libya by imposing the debate over the no-fly zone, tantamount to a military intervention. It organized a military intervention in Bahrain.

Nothing distinguishes the “Obama doctrine” from the “Brezhnev doctrine”. In 1968, Warsaw Pact tanks squashed the “Prague Spring” to preserve the hobbling Soviet Empire. In 2011, Saudi armored-vehicles crushed the people of Bahrain to preserve the Anglo-American Empire.

The operation was conducted amidst the deafening silence of Western media, mesmerized by the natural and nuclear catastrophe which struck Japan at the same time.

The French Revolution had to face the onslaught of a coalition of monarchies. For the Russian Revolution it was the white armies. The Iranian Revolution had to resist the Iraqi invasion. The Arab Revolution will now have to defeat the Saudi army.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thierry Meyssan is a French political analyst, founder and chairman of the Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace conference. He publishes columns dealing with international relations in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. Last books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.

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