Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Benghazi as the new Barcelona

Pepe Escobar is without doubt the best columnist of Asia Times Online, the eclectic Hong Kong e-magazine. He's also the only one which can be considered a leftist. His articles are quite a good read and are often informally translated to Spanish in sites like Rebelión. 

Today he discusses the two hotter processes of the Arab Revolution, Bahrain and Libya, in an article entitled The house of Saud 'liberates' Bahrain.

Some excerpts:

These two paragons of equanimity - the House of Saud and the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty - have just helped to reconfigure a peaceful mass movement towards a constitutional monarchy in Bahrain into a full-fledged revolution. 

Saudi Arabia could not have invaded Bahrain without Washington's assent...

Western elites are staging just an illusion of action in Libya.

The West really doesn't care much about a bunch of kids with guns in Libya, those that have been grabbing a Kalashnikov and wrapping a keffiyah (checkered scarf) around their heads, rushing to the front in sports utility vehicles to fight for a better life. Yet this is Homage to Catalonia revisited, George Orwell on the Spanish Civil War, with Benghazi as the new Barcelona - an outburst of revolutionary fervor that may be crushed by the heavy weaponry of a northern African neo-fascist army. 

Ah, and, if you are a Pakistani mercenary measuring above 1.75 m., the House of Khalifa wants you... to kill, beat and torture the citizens of Bahrain. 


  1. "Saudi Arabia could not have invaded Bahrain without Washington's assent..."

    For the U.S. to say no to Saudi Arabian troop entry into Bahrain at the behest of and with the consent of the Bahraini monarch would have required the U.S. to personally depose Bahrain's monarch and quite possibly require it to start a regional war with Saudi Arabia and its emirate neighbors, in addition to rendering its military base in Bahrain useless for its intended purposes in support of Iraq and Afghan operations indefinitely.

    If there was assent, it was certainly not freely given.

  2. I disagree. The USA has major bases in Bahrein and nearby cities in Saudi Arabia, unlike in Libya (but like in Egypt), they have an interest in keeping the status quo. This is also true for Israel, which at times seems to even dictate US foreign policy in the region.

    The USA and specially Israel, can only lose with the current revolutions (except arguably in Libya and Syria and surely in Iran). In the best case, they gain nothing and is an uncertain scenario.

    But the most clear evidence is that Robert Gates just left Riyadh before SA intervened in Bahrein. They definitely must have discussed the matter and Gates must have quite explicitly approved the move. Then comes Hillary pretending that it's "bad" but we (and the Gulf's tyrants) know it's mere rhetoric to save face.

  3. It is also possible, and more plausible to me, that Robert Gates was pleading to Saudi Arabia to stay out of Bahrain and left because negotiations failed.

  4. Wishful thinking. Saudi Arabia hardly moves a finger without Washington approval, specially one that implies invading another "sovereign state".

    Washington discourse in Bahrain is clearly the same as in Egypt initially: "we deplore violence, we wash our hands".

    I bet that the nickname they have for this in the White House is "the discourse of Pilate".

    While Egypt was too big to intervene in any way, even from inside (the Egyptian Army), Bahrein is more like Grenada.

    Obviously the USA prefers that it is Saudia who takes the repressive role than themselves.

    But the Saudi approach has failed before: look at Yemen. Not long ago the USA was pondering more direct intervention against the Houtis (Shias too) and Saudia did actually invade. And now there is a full fledged revolution and Yemen is as strategic as Bahrain (just much bigger and poorer).


Please, be reasonably respectful when making comments. I do not tolerate in particular sexism, racism nor homophobia. The author reserves the right to delete any abusive comment.

Comment moderation before publishing is... ON