Daily archives: March 14, 2011

The Invasion of Bahrain

A senior diplomat in a western mission to the UN in New York, who I have known over ten years and trust, has told me for sure that Hillary Clinton agreed to the cross-border use of troops to crush democracy in the Gulf, as a quid pro quo for the Arab League calling for Western intervention in Libya.

The hideous King of Bahrain has called in troops from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait to attack pro-democracy protestors in Bahrain.

Can you imagine the outrage if Gadaffi now called in the armies of Chad. Mali and Burkina Faso to attack the rebels in Ben Ghazi?

But do you think that those in power, who rightly condemn Gadaffi’s apparent use of foreign mercenaries, will condemn this use of foreign military power by oil sheiks to crush majority protestors in Bahrain? Of course they won’t. We just had Sky News rationalising it by telling us that the Gulf Cooperation Council have a military alliance that a state can call in help if attacked. But that does not mean attacked by its own, incidentally unarmed, people. NATO is a military alliance. It does not mean Cameron could call in US troops to gun down tuition fees protestors in Parliament Square.

This dreadful outrage by the Arab sheikhs will be swallowed silently by the West because they are “our” bastards, they host our troops and they buy our weapons.

I do hope this latest development will open the eyes of those duped into supporting western intervention in Libya, who believe those who control the western armies are motivated by humanitarian concern. Bahrain already had foreign forces in it – notably the US fifth fleet. Do you think that Clinton and Obama will threaten that they will intervene if foreign armies are let loose on pro-democracy demonstrators? No they won’t.

Whether this will have any effect on the railroading of public opinion behind military intervention in Libya remains to be seen. I am fascinated to hear, for example, whether Ming Campbell and Phillippe Sands, who wrote of Our Duty To Protect The Libyan People , also believe we have a duty to pro-democracy demonstrators in Bahrain to protect them from attack by foreign forces.

We know from Iraq and Afghanistan, Serbia, Lebanon and Gaza that the “collateral damage” from the initial bombing of Libyan air defences will kill more people than are dying already in the terrible situation in Libya. While a no-fly zone would help rebel morale, most of the actual damage rebels are sustaining is from heavy artillery; without a no tank, no artillery and no gunboat zone, a no-fly zone will not in itself tip the military balance.

It appears that getting rid of Gadaffi may be a longer slog than we would like, but an attempt at a quick fix will lead to another Iraq, and give him an undeserved patriotic mantle. It was former UK Ambassador to Libya, Oliver Miles who said western military intervention in Libya should be avoided above all because of the law of unintended consequences. One consequence has happened already, unintended by the liberals who fell in behind the calls for military attacks on Gadaffi. They helped cause the foreign military suppression of democracy in Bahrain. For Clinton and Obama, it is a win-win forwarding US foreign policy on both Libya and the Gulf, where they don’t want democracy.

People of good heart should weep.

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Edge of Darkness

I had a few articles in mind for the weekend, but the vivid horror of the Japanes tsunami gave me pause. Anything I might say seemd trite, and the tune, or rather chant, of this kept running through my head insistently:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,

The terrible events in the earth remind us of the frailty of human existence and the power of the Earth. Of course, there have been worse disasters – it is only two years since an earthquake in China killed perhaps ten times as many. But the technological capacity of Japan to capture and broadcast its own disaster gave it an immediacy to us that forces us to confront and absorb the fact of massive individual human suffering.

I have however been conscious of an undertow of anger at the continual stream of nuclear industry dependents and lobbyists brought on to every Western network to assure us there is no real danger from the nuclear plants and that a meltdown is most improbable.

When the second reactor house blew off last night at least eight people were injured, some seriously. If there were not a serious possibility of major disaster, then they would have not had those workers on site, desperately trying to cool the core with sea water, when it has been fully understood that the hydrogen explosion they were caught up in was likely to happen. They were working desperately and presuming knowingly on what might easily have proved a suicide mission.

Like Three Mile Island, the nuclear industry is hoping they will get away with it on a wing and a prayer (and, in this case, millions of gallons of sea water and boric acid). I certainly hope they do avert disaster. But to pretend everything is fine, and propagandise that to the Western world throughout which the nuclear industry is urgently seeking to regenerate itself, is both sickening an an insult to our intelligence. One of many reasons I am against nuclear power is that in practice it always brings with it government lies, secrecy and corruption.

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