by Patrick Cockburn
Is a counter-revolutionary tide beginning to favour the "strongmen" of the
Arab world, whose regimes appeared a couple of months ago to be faltering
under the impact of the Arab Awakening?
From Libya to Bahrain and Syria to Yemen, leaders are clinging on to power
despite intense pressure from pro-democracy protesters. And the
counter-revolution has so far had one undoubted success: the Bahraini
monarchy, backed by troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, has
brutally but effectively crushed the protesters in the island kingdom.
Pro-democracy leaders are in jail or have fled abroad. The majority Shia
population is being terrorised by arbitrary arrests, torture, killings,
disappearances, sackings, and the destruction of its mosques and religious
In three other countries despots under heavy assault have varying chances of
survival. A month ago in Yemen it seemed likely that President Ali Abdullah
Saleh was on his way out, but he still has not gone and has mobilised his
own demonstrators, gunmen and security forces. Nevertheless the army has
publicly split and the probability is that he will finally depart.
In Syria protests are continuing across the country despite frequent
shootings, but President Bashar al-Assad will take a lot of displacing
because of his determination to stay, the strength of his security apparatus
and the tight grip on power of the minority Allawi community.
In Libya Muammar Gaddafi teetered on the verge of defeat two months ago when
rebels had seized the east of the country and there were demonstrations in
Tripoli. Since then he has rallied a core of support and the rebels in
Benghazi would collapse if they did not have the backing of Nato airpower.
Nevertheless he is likely to go simply because Britain, France and the US
are committed to his departure. . . .
Pepe Escobar, "Egypt's Nationalists At Odds
With Vested Interests," Asia Times, February 8, 2011
"Protests Spread to Bahrain, Iraq, Libya,
Saudi Arabia, Yemen," The Wisdom Fund, February 17, 2011
"The Attack on Libya is Illegal,
Unjust," The Wisdom Fund, March 28, 2011
"Brutal Repression in Bahrain, U.S.
Objections Muted," The Wisdom Fund, April 16, 2011
Jason Ditz, "US Secretly Funding Syrian Dissidents, Cables
Show," antiwar.com, April 18, 2011
[Libyan rebels will be betrayed just as quickly as Qaddafi was.
. . . The oil money that once built water ways, public housing, and
farms from Benghazi to Tripoli, will be funneled directly out of the country
and into the corporate-financier's accounts.--Tony Cartalucci, "Libyan Rebels Fighting the Globalists' War,"
landdestroyer.blogspot.com, April 20, 2011]
"Syria braces for more protests after bloody
Friday: Activists say army and gunman loyal to Al Assad shot dead at least 88
civilians on Friday," gulfnews.com, April 23, 2011
[Thus, while Washington has privately expressed strong doubts about the
wisdom of the increasingly brutal and indiscriminate crackdown against the
majority Shia population in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet,
its failure to clearly and publicly denounce the Saudi-backed repression is
only the most blatant example of this trend.
Far less noticed - let alone condemned - are actions such as Thursday's
dissolution by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of the board
of directors of the Jurist Association, one of the country's most prominent
civil society organizations, which earlier this month had the temerity to
sign a petition seeking political reform.--Jim Lobe, "Arab Spring Stalls as U.S. Defers to
Saudi 'Counter-Revolution'," antiwar.com, April 24, 2011]
Khalid Ali and Rupert Cornwell, "Secret
police detain more than 500 as Syria defies Western threats,"
Independent, April 27, 2011
Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt, "Hueys
Over Yemen: Is U.S. Aid Suppressing Another Mideast Freedom
Struggle?," antiwar.com, April 29, 2011
[Mr. Prince, who resettled here
last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the
United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an
800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E. . . .
People involved in the project and American officials said that the Emiratis
were interested in deploying the battalion to respond to terrorist attacks
and put down uprisings inside the country's sprawling labor camps, which
house the Pakistanis, Filipinos and other foreigners who make up the bulk of
the country's work force. The foreign military force was planned months
before the so-called Arab Spring revolts that many experts believe are
unlikely to spread to the U.A.E. Iran was a particular concern.--Mark
Mazzetti and Emily B. Hager, "Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater's Founder," nytimes.com,
May 14, 2011]
Brian Becker and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, "Reality Check: The Profound Hypocrisy of President
Obama's Speech on the Middle East," answercoalition.org, May 19,
[A new imperial phase is unfolding in direct response to the Arab uprising
that began in January and has shocked Washington and Europe, causing an
Eden-style panic. The loss of the Egyptian tyrant Mubarak was grievous,
though not irretrievable; an American-backed counter-revolution is under way
as the military regime in Cairo is seduced with new bribes and power
shifting from the street to political groups that did not initiate the
revolution. The western aim, as ever, is to stop authentic democracy and
reclaim control.--John Pilger, "Welcome to the Violent World of Mr. Hopey
Changey," antiwar.com, May 28, 2011]
[To lead the counter-revolution in this region, Washington and Tel Aviv have
relied on their best support: the Sudairi clan, which embodies despotism at
the service of imperialism unlike any other.
You have probably never heard of them, but for decades the Sudairi have been
the world's richest political organization.--Thierry Meyssan, "The Middle East
counter-revolution," voltairenet.org, May 26, 2011]
"Seymour Hersh on the Arab Spring, "Disaster" U.S. Wars in Afghanistan
and Pakistan, and the Looming Crisis in Iraq," democracynow.org,
June 3, 2011
[The House of Saud has just given Supreme Military Council leader Field
Marshall Tantawi US$4 billion in cold hard cash - although not even the
Sphinx knows for sure how much power Tantawi, 75, deposed tyrant Hosni
Mubarak's former minister of defense, really wields.
Washington extended Cairo $1 billion in "debt forgiveness" and another $1
billion in loan guarantees. Not much - compared to what Washington extends
to Israel, but still a signal. And then the
International Monetary Fund extended an extra $3 billion in loans. The "new"
Egypt will start to do business already bound in unforgiving chains.--Pepe
Escobar, "The cold hard cash counter-revolution," atimes.com, June 8,
[The kingdom is spending $130 billion to pump up salaries, build housing and
finance religious organizations, among other outlays, effectively
neutralizing most opposition.--Neil Macfarquhar, "In Saudi Arabia, Royal Funds Buy Peace for Now," nytimes.com,
June 8, 2011]
David Edwards, "U.S. conducting 'mass surveillance' against
Arab world: report," rawstory.com, June 22, 2011