Monday, February 13, 2012

Arab Dictatorships Want To Kill Syrian Revolution

The first thing that has to be said is that the Syrian people are bravely resisting and suffering under - first and foremost - the brutal Syrian regime. But the second thing that must be added is that they are suffering a second misery, which is to be the pawns of a cynical maneuvering by rival empires and Arab dictatorships.

On the looming anniversary of the Bahraini democratic uprising, which was crushed by Saudi tanks, it is more than a little rich for the Saudi foreign minister at the United Nations to be bemoaning the lack of support for the Syrian people to resist the government.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal conveyed the 22-nation league's deep frustration with Syria, telling delegates that it was no longer appropriate to stand by and watch the bloodshed.
"Until when will we remain spectators?" he said. The bloodshed in Syria "is a disgrace for us as Muslims and Arabs to accept."
In fact, as these miserable dictators are shedding crocodile tears for the Syrians they are cheering on the repression that continues apace in Bahrain with life sentences for activists, blacklists and purges of people from their jobs. And today as Bahrainis attempt to mark the anniversary of the start of the pro-democracy movement are they faced with Saudi flowers? Not likely:
Monday's march by thousands of opposition supporters to Manama's Pearl Square is the largest attempt in months to retake the central roundabout that served as the epicenter of weeks of protests last year by Bahrain's Shiite majority against the ruling Sunni dynasty.
The government has deployed thousands of security forces to prevent the opposition from staging a mass rally to mark Tuesday's one-year of the revolt.
Bahrain imposed martial law in March to quell the protests. Emergency rule was lifted in June, but clashes still occur on an almost daily basis.
No, this proposal for a UN-backed, Arab League peacekeeping force is nothing more than the most cynical maneuverings to remove a regime that has not only been a thorn in the side of the Saudis and the lunatic sectarian dictatorships that dominate the Gulf. It is also about the rabid sectarianism of the Saudi (and Bahraini) regimes, who are Sunni Muslim and not only oppress their indigenous Shi'ite populations (in Bahrain's case, they are the majority of the population in a Sunni kingdom), but see Shi'ite Iran as the enemy. Allowing the troops of Gulf dictatorships to intervene in the Syrian revolution would be a disaster and a death blow for the revolution as surely as inviting Russia to send peacekeeping troops.

Of course the United States says nothing about the repression in Bahrain for the exact same reason that Russia continues to back the Syrian regime. In neither case does it have anything to do with fears of civil war, human rights, sovereignty or any of the other flowery language they employ to dress up their evil intentions. It is quite simple. The United States fifth fleet is stationed in Bahrain and Russia's only Mediterranean naval base is located in Syria. It is entirely about imperial jockeying for position in a strategically important region.

In the end, this jockeying is hurting the Syrian people (and the Bahraini people). Russia continues to back a bloody Syrian dictatorship as it bombs its own people. America, Europe and the Saudis look for the most retrograde sections of the movement, preferably Sunni regime defectors, the Muslim Brotherhood - who are proving reliably moderate in Egypt - or even Salafists, to back or to intervene directly to shape any new regime. This is the Libyan model mark 2: intervene in a popular revolt to steer it in the direction of benefiting American imperialism. The result, if they are successful is a lost revolution and dashed aspirations for true democracy and social justice, just as in Libya. In that country it has led to growing anger and protests against the west's favourite neo-liberal revolutionaries, including the storming and destruction of NTC offices last month.
Behind these protests, and mounting discontent, is growing disillusion with the NTC and its attempts to limit and stunt expectations that emerged during last year's uprising. The NTC is seen as corrupt and riddled with nepotism, and is widely perceived as trying to create a new patronage system based on regional and tribal interests.
The only hope that exists for the Syrian revolt is the continued disintegration of the Syrian regime under pressure of the movement, the army defections, etc. That process seems to be continuing apace - though it is difficult to tell outside of the country with the clampdown on media and the conditions of near civil war. In this sense the division and lack of consensus between the imperial powers - divided as they are between mutually conflicting strategic interests - may serve not only to give the Syrian regime time to crush the revolt (something that Russia would like to see and may yet offer peacekeepers to aid) but also to buy time for the movement to deepen and degrade the ability of the state to implement its murderous policies.

Russia 'to consider' Syria peacekeeping plan - Middle East - Al Jazeera English:

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