Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Arab Spring: Revolutions, Lies, and Intervention

Arab Spring: Revolutions, Lies, and Intervention

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In 2011, the United States had its dominance of the Middle East seriously threatened due to massive peaceful protests that were sweeping the Arab world. No longer were people going to put up with corrupt and oppressive regimes that were backed by Washington. No longer would they put up with horrid dictatorships in which the only freedom they had was to obey. In 2011 began what would be known as the Arab Spring.

Tunisia

On December 17th, 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi was selling fruit without a license and when the authorities confiscated his scale, he became enraged. When Bouazizi confronted the police, he was slapped in the face. This led him to plead his case in the town’s government office, but when it was rebuffed, he went and lit himself aflame. This small act became noticed by the populace at large and the anger “spread to other towns in the interior of the country, where unemployment among university graduates was approaching 50 percent.” [1] Mass protests soon began with calls to end dictator Ben Ali’s rule and democratic elections, however, Ali turned to the police and the slaughtering of protesters began in earnest.

The organization Wikileaks also played a role in starting up the protests, as files were released just days before Bouazizi lit himself aflame, which confirmed suspicions that many Tunisians already had: that Ben Ali was a corrupt dictator, that his family was extremely corrupt, and that life was incredibly difficult for the Tunisian poor and unemployed.

When this occurred, the US was deeply worried as Tunisia had significant military ties to the US. Tunisia cooperated “in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, which provides counter-terrorism surveillance in the Mediterranean,” participated in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, “and allow[ed] NATO ships to make port calls at Tunis.” [2] Every now and then the US would criticize Tunisia for its record on political rights and freedom of expression, yet “In parallel with these expressions of concern, the United States continued to provide military and economic assistance to the Tunisian government.” [3] Thus, the US began to play both sides. About two weeks after Ben Ali had fled the nation, America sent their top Middle East envoy to Tunisia and tried “to press its advantage to push for democratic reforms in the country and further afield.” [4] While it may have appeared that the US was quickly trying to position itself on Tunisia’s good side, they may have had a hand in Ali’s ousting as “According to some rumors in Tunis, the country's army chief consulted with Washington before withdrawing his support from Ben Ali -- a move which sealed the ousted president's fate.” [5]

Almost as soon as the US was finished in Tunisia, they had even bigger problems on their hands with the protests in Egypt.

Egypt

Due to being inspired by the success of the Tunisian protests, the Egyptian people launched their own protest movement, calling for the overthrow of US puppet Hosni Mubarak. However, the US was busy co-opting the protest movement.

The US used the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a cover to help co-opt the protest movement. Ironically, the NED is not used for the spreading of democracy, rather it was established by the Reagan administration to aid in the overthrow of foreign governments, after the CIA’s covert operations were revealed. The NED was supported “As a bipartisan endowment, with participation from the two major parties, as well as the AFL-CIO and US Chamber of Commerce, the NED took over the financing of foreign overthrow movements, but overtly and under the rubric of ‘democracy promotion.’” [6] Thus, the US supported both Mubarak and the protesters, in a bid to make sure that no matter what occurred, America would still get its way.

The civil society groups had a major influence on Egyptian activists as in May 2009 the activists

"spent a week in Washington receiving training in advocacy and getting an inside look at the way U.S. democracy works. After their training, the fellows were matched with civil society organizations throughout the country where they shared experiences with U.S. counterparts. The activists [wrapped] up their program this week by visiting U.S. government officials, members of Congress, media outlets and think tanks." [7] (emphasis added)

Thus, due to the US aiding the activists, the Americans ensured that the protesters owed them a debt and that US interests would be secure even if Mubarak was ousted.

The US also had deep military ties to Egypt, seeing as how they were the largest recipient of US foreign aid next to Israel. Also, the US wanted to make sure that Israel wasn’t threatened, as both nations were worried that a new government in Egypt might cancel the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

While the Egyptian military is currently in control until elections, no matter what occurs, America will still have its way.

Bahrain

Protests also began taking place in Bahrain. The people were tired of a government which “ failed to abide by their own constitution, refused to investigate the crimes of torture and continued to expropriate more than half of the land of the country.” [8] The Bahrani government was controlled by the Al Khalifa family, which has ruled Bahrain for over 300 years and has created an economy where there is a powerful and wealthy Sunni minority while the Shiite majority constantly faces discrimination in jobs and education, has little political representation, and are barred from many government and military positions.

The US was deeply troubled because of the protests as the Al Khalifa regime allowed for the Americans to station their Fifth Fleet in the country, which allows the US to patrol “the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the east coast of Africa,” “keep an eye on – and, if necessary, rattle sabers – close to oil shipping lanes, Iran, and the increasing activity of pirates,” and “ [provide] basing and overflight clearances for US aircraft engaged in Afghanistan and [help] cut off money supplies to suspected Islamic terrorists.” [9] Thus, the Bahraini regime was of major importance to US regional interests.

The US showed that it would do anything to make sure that its puppet stayed in power when they backed the Saudi military intervention in Bahrain. The Saudis intervened on the behalf of the Bahraini government and began shooting into crowds of Bahraini protesters. [10] However, even though the protesters were being gunned down, they still were determined to fight for their rights against America’s puppets.

Libya

The Arab Spring movement also reached all the way to Libya, however, things were quite different as instead of having peaceful protests, opposition forces were picking up arms and fighting the Libyan military. Due to the then-leader of Libya, Col. Mummar Gaddafi, having never truly been a Western puppet, America launched a propaganda war to allow the US-NATO war machine to intervene in Libya on the grounds of “humanitarian intervention.”

The question that must first be asked is why the West even wanted to intervene in Libya. The answer is because Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves and Western oil companies wanted access to them. However, there are also larger economic reasons. Months prior to the intervention, Gaddafi had called upon African and Muslims nations to adopt a single currency: the gold dinar. This would have excluded the dollar as the gold dinar would have been used to purchase goods, thus threatening the economies of Western nations. However, the creation of a gold dinar may have also
empowered the people of Africa, something black activists say the US wants to avoid at all costs.

“The US have denied self-determination to Africans inside the US, so we are not surprised by anything the US would do to hinder the self-determination of Africans on the continent,” says Cynthia Ann McKinney, a former US Congresswoman. [11]

There was also geopolitics at work as during the war, Gaddafi “vowed to expel Western energy companies from the country and replace them with oil firms from China, India, and Russia.” [12] This would have effectively excluded the West from ever getting at Libya’s oil. By ousting Gaddafi, the West would be able to have a puppet regime to counter Chinese and Russian moves in North Africa as well as access to Libyan oil.

What many of the media never asked until the conflict was nearing its end was who exactly were the rebels. In the Iraq war, most of the foreign fighters came from Libya and in that,“almost all of them came from eastern Libya, the center of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion.” [13] (emphasis added) A Libyan rebel commander even admitted that some of his soldiers had links to Al Qaeda:

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya".

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,"but added that the "members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader". [14] (emphasis added)

Thus, the US and NATO were backing terrorists, yet they may have known seeing as how a 2007 West Point Study revealed that the Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk area was a world leader in Al Qaeda suicide bomber recruitment. [15]

Due to the US and its NATO allies not wanting to look like the imperialists they truly were, Obama pressured the UN to pass a resolution allowing for the establishment of a no fly zone over Libya and an arms embargo on the nation. However, both were broken quite soon. The UN resolution clearly allowed all member states “acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” [16] However, the imperialists admitted that they wanted to overthrow Gaddafi in an op-ed piece, when Cameron, Sarkozy, and Obama stated: “Our duty and our mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove [G]addafi by force. But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with [G]addafi in power.” [17] (emphasis added)The US and NATO clearly stated that their main goal was to overthrow Gaddafi.

The hypocrisy of the West ran deep as they found an excuse to intervene in Libya, but not in Egypt, Bahrain, Palestine, or any other location where people were being oppressed by local regimes. However, Western hypocrisy was shown near the outset of the conflict when it was reported that Egypt’s military had begun to ship arms to the rebels with Washington’s knowledge. [18] This clearly shows that supposed arms embargo on Libya was in reality, an embargo on Gaddafi’s forces.

To whip up support for their “intervention,” a massive media propaganda campaign was conducted against Gaddafi. The mainstream media were reporting things such as Gaddafi gave his troops Viagra to rape women, bombed civilians, and that Libyan troops gunned down civilians. Despite these claims being false, the mainstream media still reported it. However, what many people ignored was the fact that the rebel and NATO war crimes. In mid-August, “a NATO bombing campaign near the Libyan city of Zlitan earlier this month reportedly killed almost 100 civilians — more than half of them women and children.” [19] However, NATO denied all claims arguing that they had struck legitimate targets. This is just one example of many NATO war crimes in Libya, ranging from killing civilians to bombing the rebels themselves. There were also reports that Libyan rebels were targeting and killing black Africans. All across eastern Libya the rebels “and their supporters [were] detaining, intimidating and frequently beating African immigrants and black Libyans, accusing them of fighting as mercenaries on behalf of [Gaddafi],” in some cases “executed suspected mercenaries captured in battle, according to Human Rights Watch and local Libyans,” and “arbitrarily killed some mercenaries and in others cases failed to distinguish between them and non-combatants.” [20] Yet, despite these and other numerous reports, the Libyan rebels excused their war crimes, saying that they didn’t have the structures in place to deal with matters such as these.

What was also somewhat ignored was the fact that the rebels were extremely fractured, only united in their goal to overthrow Gaddafi. This was clearly seen after the assassination ofGeneral Al-Younes and two top military commanders aides. Their deaths “resulted in internal fighting within the Transitional Council” with “Factional divisions [developing] within rebel forces.” [21] This factional divide may soon play itself out in the creation of a new Libyan government.
Finally, there was the fact that Western special forces were on the ground. The initial appearance of Western special forces was when British SAS troops were captured near Benghazi in March. However, US CIA agents were in Libya [22] and there may have been French and US special forces in Libya aiding the rebels. In a March interview on the O’Reilly Show, retired Colonel David Hunt of the US Army and Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a former Army intelligence officer were interviewed about the situation in Libya. Hunt stated the following when asked about special forces being in Libya:

Yes, absolutely. You've got British service been in there about three weeks ago and actually got captured and released. The French GIGN have been in there and our special forces and our U.S. intelligence operatives and their assets. We do not conduct operations like this, large scale air operations, without people on the ground. They have been very successful, very good, not a lot of contact with the rebels because you don't know who to talk to. But, yes, we have got intel gathering and rescue guys and special operations guys on the ground, have had them for about 12 days. [23] (emphasis added)

Shaffer agreed, saying:


Yes, I have heard from my sources -- I got a call from one of my key sources on Monday and that's exactly what's going on. Let's be really clear here. You have got to have these individuals doing what Dave just said, especially when you are talking about trying to protect, and the stated goal here, Bill, is humanitarian support. So you don't want to have weapons hitting the wrong targets. So, Dave is very good on the fact that we have special operations guys sitting there with laser designators. Bill, you saw… [24] (emphasis added)

The Americans constantly denied that they had boots on the ground, yet, as usual, they were lying.

The imperialists already had plans for a post-Gaddafi Libya, which consisted of "proposals for a 10,000-15,000 strong 'Tripoli task force', resourced and supported by the United Arab Emirates, to take over the Libyan capital, secure key sites and arrest high-level Gaddafi supporters.” [62] However, the plan may be problematic as it is “highly reliant on the defection of parts of the Gaddafi security apparatus to the rebels after his overthrow.” [25] There were far reaching economic consequences as it was reported that the new government would favor Western oil companies at the expense of Russian, Chinese, and Brazilian firms. [26]

Due to the imperialists succeeding in Libya, many are worried that the US-NATO war machine may set its sights on a new target: Syria.

Syria


Protests in Syria began in earnest in May and have not let up since then. While there are calls for intervention into Syria, there is much at stake for America in terms of Syria’s relationship with Iran.

The Americans are quite interested in the link between Iran and Syria, noting that there have been several joint ventures between the two nations in the financial and manufacturing sectors, as it was noted that “there have been several reports of increased Iranian investment and trade with Syria,” “Iran has stated its intention to establish a joint Iranian-Syrian bank, possibly involving Bank Saderat and the Commercial Bank of Syria,” and “the Iran Khodro Industrial Group has established a car assembly plant in Syria through a joint venture known as the Syrian-Iranian Motor Company.” [27] There are also military links as Iran supplies weapons to Syria which, from the US perspective, pose a threat to its ally Israel. “In June 2010, Iran reportedly sent Syria an air defense radar system designed to detect Israeli aircraft or possibly increase the accuracy of Syrian and Hezbollah missile strikes against Israel in the event of a regional war.” [28] Thus, the US was deeply worried about the link between two anti-American nations and the growing friendship between them.

Due to these worries, the US became involved in Syria’s protest movement, using methods that are similar to the ones the Americans used in the Egyptian revolution and in the Libya conflict..

For the past five to six years, the US policy toward Syria has used what could be called a two-pronged strategy to push for regime change. The US has supported “civil society” activists or external opposition organizations. It has also worked to delegitimize, destabilize and isolate the country through the application of sanctions and various other measures, which could be applied to exploit vulnerabilities. [29] (emphasis added)

One “civil society” organization that is being used by the US is the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD), which is “closely affiliated with the London-based satellite channel Barada TV, which started broadcasting in April 2009 but ‘ramped up operations to cover the mass protests in Syria.’” [30] The Americans may have wanted to work with MJD due to the fact that they are a moderate Islamic group which wants to end the Assad regime via democratic reform. This democratic reform may very well play right into America’s hands if the US does intervene in Syria, they can back the MJD and argue that they are the same as Libya’s rebels: people who want to end their oppressive regime and replace it with a democracy.

The US is using US organizations such as “Freedom House, American Bar Association, American University, Internews and work done by MEPI with the Aspen Strategic Initiative Institute, Democracy Council of California, Regents of the University of New Mexico and the International Republican Institute” [31] to aid in fomenting regime change in Syria by working with and funding Syrian “civil society” groups.

There have been many reports of the Syrian regime attacking unarmed protesters, however, one should be quite skeptical of these reports. The US media has reported that there are violent Syrian protesters [32], which should make one question the official narrative that the protesters are peaceful. One must also include the fact that there are absolutely no outside media sources in Syria whatsoever. Journalists have contacts whom they can get information from, but who says that these sources are being objective, much less telling the truth? All the reports that are being shown in the mainstream media may very well be half-truths, if not outright fabrications.

The US may very well plan to attack Syria if manipulating civil societies does not work.

The Arab Spring, while an overall movement to overthrow oppressive regimes, has too many times been co-opted by foreign powers who seek only their personal gain. Due to this, the Arab people may never experience true freedom.

Devon DB is 19 years old and studies political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. In addition to contributing to Global Research, he has recently become a staff member at The Progresssive Playbook

Notes

1: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/20/60minutes/main20033404.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody
2: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS21666.pdf
3: Ibid
4:http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hDbfg1WFaPPd7sbU5Ghogi4YHQ2w?docId=CNG.148a6c382024ebbebe64021de441dac9.b91
5: Ibid
6: http://gowans.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/the-ned-tibet-north-korea-and-zimbabwe/
7: http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=70&release=989
8: http://www.ihrc.org.uk/activities/press-releases/9568-bahrains-revolution-underway-as-the-day-of-rage-announced
9: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2011/0219/US-faces-difficult-situation-in-Bahrain-home-to-US-Fifth-Fleet
10: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnwCHs_a9cs&feature=player_embedded&skipcontrinter=1
11: http://rt.com/news/economy-oil-gold-libya/
12: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/gadhafi-west-oilcompanies-conflict/2011/03/17/id/389809
13: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/19/extremists-among-libya-rebels_n_837894.html
14:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8407047/Libyan-rebel-commander-admits-his-fighters-have-al-Qaeda-links.html
15: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23949
16: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10200.doc.htm#Resolution
17: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/opinion/15iht-edlibya15.html
18: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704360404576206992835270906.html
19:
http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-mainmenu-26/africa-mainmenu-27/8651-nato-rebels-accused-of-war-crimes-in-libya
20: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/04/world/la-fg-libya-mercenaries-20110305
21: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25827
22: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/world/africa/31intel.html?_r=1
23: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/transcript/are-us-troops-already-ground-libya
24: Ibid
25:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/iraq-haunts-plans-for-post-gaddafi-libya/story-e6frg6so-1226111211251
26: Ibid
27: http://www.euronews.net/2011/08/22/libya-end-game-pulls-down-oil-prices/
28: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33487.pdf
29: Ibid
30:
http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2011/08/05/wikileaks-cables-the-us-strategy-to-push-for-regime-change-in-syria/
31: Ibid
32: Ibid
33: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/30/501364/main20067379.shtml

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