By Fayyad, August 1, 2011
Saudi Arabia squashed the “Arab Spring” when it sent its military to quell the popular uprising in neighboring Bahrain earlier this year. The Saudi intervention was the first systemic use of uniformed, overwhelming force to suppress peaceful demonstrations in the wave of uprising that swept the Arab peoples yearning for freedom and democracy. It emboldened regimes like Yemen, Libya, and Syria to do the same and take it to farther brutal expands.
The Saudi intervention also shut up the west; primarily the United States, not that they were doing much for the “Arab Spring” beyond lip service and painting it in all sorts of pretty colors, but Saudi Arabia made it clear that this is a survival issue, if democracy comes to one nation in the Gulf, it will spread to others, and the Saudi royals will be out of job, out of wealth, and in jail in no time. So they went for broke, as a disgruntled West is the least of their worries, so the US took the default position of “to hell democracy then.”
Of course Saudi “sweetened the deal” for the US and its allies, in exchange for their silence on invading Bahrain on the side of the regime, Saudi gave its blessings to the NATO’s invasion of Libya on the side of the rebels, which in hind sight was a scheme to split the country and install a puppet regime in the oil-rich eastern half all along.
Make no mistake, the Arab Awakening spreading revolutions to overthrow tyranny is alive and well, just no longer a “spring” or “rosy” or “peachy” or whatever dumb label western media like to slap on it. For the record, the Arabic phrase العربي الربيع, meaning Arab Spring, was not used by any media outlet of record, even when it was used near unanimous in Western media as the names of the upheaval. The Arab Awakening is now bloody, and the turning point came on the hands of Saudi Arabia’s royal family. Many precious lives lost will be the norm as the price to pay for freedom from now on, as evident in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.
Not only did Bahrain, with the help of the Saudis put down the rebellion, but it continues its vengeful assault on those who partook or aided in any way, in order to put off its revival as much as possible. Not only is the government curbing expression and speak, and increasing censorship, but also putting on trial hundreds of doctors and nurses who treated protesters who arrived at their hospitals with injuries from the brutal crackdown.
Furthermore, the Bahraini government is aggressively recruiting mercenaries to beef up the ranks of its National Guard in Pakistan. The choice of the country is an interesting one, and goes beyond the cheap, available labor considerations. Pakistan is a very militarized country with its own fair share of sectarian tension with its Shiaa minority. So the recruits will not only have prior military experience and are fairly inexpensive, but also are susceptible to the sectarian, divisive rhetoric that has characterized the Bahraini government’s response to the uprising.
Which brings us to the next point, Arab despots have excelled at applying Machiavelli’s teachings; in many cases, they were successful at labeling their population as not one, often a sectarian split, political or ethnic in other: In Iraq and parts of the gulf, it’s Shias vs. Sunnis, in Syria, Sunnis vs. Aleweits, in Lebanon, one sect vs. your pick of the other ten, in Jordan, it’s Palestinians vs. Jordanians, in Palestine, it’s Fatah vs. Hamas, Egypt, Muslims vs. Copts, in Morocco and Algeria it’s Arabs vs. Berber. In any of these countries, should the “prince” to play up the Machiavelli reference, successfully label a revolution as the product of one sect, he immediately pits the other sect against it, and peaceful uprising turn more resembling of civil wars. The splits that were planted decades ago by despots and their western overlords are reaping reward in the first real challenge to the old ways of tyrant rule.
A successful revolution will come to fruition when the people reject these divisions, and see the despots as a common enemy.