Bahrain: The Rest Is Silence 25


The western media continue to scramble to re-heat stories of how terrible Gadaffi is. This is to set up a complete Aunt Sally – the vast majority of people in the UK and US who are against the Libyan war have no illusions about Gadaffi, who is indeed a brutal dictator. The questions are, is war for regime change legal? Will it make the situation in Libya better or worse? Will it cause blowback damage elsewhere? Is it a dangerous precedent?

You ought to be pretty sure of the answers to those questions before you attack another country, kill or wound thousands, and spend hundreds of millions of pounds you don’t actually have. War for regime change is certainly illegal – SCR 1973 specifically calls for a ceasefire and negotiations, which presupposes the existence of a Libyan government to negotiate. It specifically and deliberately does not call for a change of government by force. In fact anyone who tells you they are sure of the answers to the other three questions – either way – is a liar.

Meantime, the other side of the equation of death works its way through. I was the first to break the news that Clinton had done a deal with the Saudis and Emirates. In return for Arab League support for the attack on Libya, the US and its partners would turn a blind eye to the crushing by Saudi troops of pro-democracy protestors in the Gulf.

The blind eye has been duly turned. So effective is the de facto link between the Western political establishment and the mainstream media, that the killing of over 200 Bahraini pro-democracy and human rights campaigners since the Saudi Anschluss there has gone almost entirely unreported. The Guardian reports on disgraceful action against Bahraini students in the UK. Bahrain’s two largest political parties, both representing the majority population, have been outlawed.

William Hague is totally silent on the crushing of freedom in Bahrain, as is Jeremy Browne, the absolutely disgraceful Lib Dem MP who is supposedly minister for human rights in the FCO, evidently chosen because there is no evidence that he has now or has ever had the slightest interest in human rights.

Hague of course spends much time, in Doha and in London, in the company of the Emir of Qatar. Qatar is the base for the Libyan “transitional government” and the international “contact group”. It is an absolute monarchy where political parties are banned and executive power is reserved to members of the royal family. I think that tells us all we need to know about how genuine is the wsetern demand for Middle Eastern democracy.


25 thoughts on “Bahrain: The Rest Is Silence

  • somebody

    The boy Hague's latest little wheeze. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13132654

    British military officers to be sent to Libya Rebel fighters say they have made gains in Misrata Continue reading the main story
    Libya Crisis
    Misrata: City under siege
    Analysis: A new phase?
    Fearing massacre in Misrata
    Leaders' letter

    British military officers will be sent to Libya to advise rebels fighting Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces, the UK government has said.

    Foreign Secretary William Hague said the group would be deployed to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

    The BBC understands 10 officers will provide logistics and intelligence training in a UK and French operation.

    Mr Hague said it was compatible with the UN resolution on Libya, which ruled out foreign military ground action.

    He stressed that the officers would not be involved in any fighting and the move was needed to help protect civilians.

  • Ivan K.

    "I was the first to break the news that Clinton had done a deal with the Saudis and Emirates. In return for Arab League support for the attack on Libya, the US and its partners would turn a blind eye to the crushing by Saudi troops of pro-democracy protestors in the Gulf."

    It's plausible. But much as I try, I can't internalise this kind of stories.

    The Shlomo Ben Ami's article on Arab Spring http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011
    justifies (in a weaselling way) the Western indifference to the events in the Arab monarchies.

    "The western media continue to scramble to re-heat stories of how terrible Gadaffi is. This is to set up a complete Aunt Sally – the vast majority of people in the UK and US who are against the Libyan war have no illusions about Gadaffi, who is indeed a brutal dictator. "

    Well, if he's so bad, why the scramble?

    Here: I've just googled <gaddafi terrible torture>, which is my umpteenth time to try find some reasonable evidence of his misdeeds. But, I didn't notice anything of value in the first thirty results.

    Gaddafi has an enormous power in Libya. And Libya's security agencies are brutal and abuse their powers.

    But these two facts aren't necessarily connected.

  • Björn Blomberg

    Quatar's engagement with the Suseini klan goes long back in history. King Idris I, the big hero of the Benghazi rebells was from this klan and he made ties with Saudiarabia and other countries following the wahhabist movement. And of course he did his best to satisfy western interests letting them have bases in Libya.

    Talking of human rights hundreds of black people have been slaughtered in rebel held Libya. Wahhabism distrutst mixtures of cultures and to these profoundly religious fighters letting 100 of thousands of black people come to Libya is sth they will never forgive Ghadafi. And of course they will never forgive him for having overthrown Idris I.

    Negotiations in Turkey that is the only solution I can see to this mess, give Cyrenaica the right to rule themselves within a federation.

  • Duncan_McFarlan

    While I don't trust NATO governments' motives, nor their methods, given what they're doing in Afghanistan, I still think it was probably right to stop Gaddafi's forces over-running Benghazi. I really don't know what the right thing to do beyond that is – leave Gaddafi in power and his forces may well kill and torture a lot of civilians (though even there some of it may be propaganda); arm the rebels and support them with bombing and you likely kill a lot of civilians as collateral damage and have no idea who all the rebels are or what they may do with the arms given to them – they may target civilians suspected of supporting Gaddafi and establish their own rule of terror, or they may genuninely be democrats – no-one knows.

    I agree completely though that these same governments are trying to focus all attention on Libya in order to distract attention from the fact that they're still supporting dictatorships in Bahrain, Yemen, Oman and Egypt which are killing their own people – and doing pretty much nothing to protect those people.

    • Ivan K.

      Libya was under a variety of economic sanctions for well over a decade, until 2003. It took a long time of careful action to move from being a pariah to a partner.

      That's why no "killing and torturing a lot of civilians" was ever remotely likely. Virtually every Libyan saw the threat of consequent international sanctions like a Damocles' sword over his/her country, (insofar he/she didn't mean to topple its government).

      For the past eight years the Libyan state complied with everything the international community demanded of it. The evidence for this is ample and straight from the horse's mouth: http://bit.ly/enbeXN

      So: Can I ask you on what grounds do you believe in the possibility of Libyan government forces killing and torturing civilians in Benghazi?

    • Ivan K.

      Until eight years ago, Libya was under a variety of economic sanctions for well over a decade. It took years of careful action at all levels for Libya to move from being a pariah to a partner.

      That's why no "massacre" was ever remotely likely. The threats of international sanctions was seen as a Damocles' sword over their country by all Libyans except those who want to topple their government.

      For the past eight years the Libyan state complied with everything the international community demanded of it. The evidence is ample and coming straight from the horse's mouth: http://bit.ly/enbeXN

      So: Can you say why do you believe that the Libyan government forces would massacre or torture civilians in Benghazi?

  • Paul Johnston

    If the reports of Saudi troops destroying Shia religious sites are correct it seems to have moved up from Anschluss. I do wonder how much worse the Shia-Sunni conflict can get and if Iran wants/can keep itself outside of this conflict.

  • medic

    Do you mean sanusi?
    Don't play the racism card. There have been black libyans for ever. I know of libyans who ar eblond haired blue eyed, and libyans who are black. This is not something gadaffi made up and has nothing to do with wahhabis (whatever that means); for all their vices, they didn't invent racism. If anything, the jihadists (which i assume you mean by wahhabism and not the extreme saudi salafi pro-western and arab government kind who are indeed racist against anyone who is not saudi) are open to anyone who joins their cause, and you will find places like afghanistan, bosnia etc. complete melting pots for people of all ethnicities. The problem which some commentators have mentioned is that gaddafi has brought in african mercernries, and people are naturally distrustful of them, some have said black people are being targeted. But is it because there are black (one would presume black libyans wouldn't be targeted) or because they are thought to be mercenaries (incidentally, while i don't condone this, it makes it more understandable why people would behave this way).

    • Björn Blomberg

      Thanks Medic for a highly informative comment. Of course i meant the Sanusi klan, i am sorry about my mistake.

      Turkish oil workers told that all of their 70-80 co-workers who were black were slaughtered in the rebellion. So how are we to explain all this phobia about blacks in a society where it is not normal? Paranoia about black mercenaries? Yes, surely. But probably also similar to the racism in western countries during economic crises.
      Sanusi are not wahhabist but I do think that various kinds of fundamentalist readings of the Koran are likely to flourish in times of insecurity. I noticed this when visiting Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan a few yars after the Soviets had left Afghanistan.
      Extremism of this kind should not be fanned by arming the people who endorse it. But nor can it be fought by drone strikes that to some 95 % kill civilians. The only way to fight it is to remove the underlying causes for hatred. In Libya to support the right of the Sanusi klan and Cyrenaica to rule themselves but not to impose their rule on all of Libya.

    • Ivan K.

      "The problem which some commentators have mentioned is that gaddafi has brought in african mercernries,"

      Maybe he HAS brought African mercenaries. There isn't any proof of that, though, considering that:

      1) many black Libyans have dual citizenship : Libyan and that of some neighboring African country

      2) I've read that just before the No-Fly-No-Zone decision, "the Libyan Meghara tribe offered the government to join the fight with 50.000 tribesmen" who were with a strong warrior culture. Now, why would the Libyan government refuse them, but immediately make a deal with, and bring in some foreigners?

      3) a quote: "Over the past two decades, thousands of Africans from all over the continent were provided with education, work, and military training…. As a result of Libya’s support for liberation movements throughout Africa and the world, international battalions were formed. "
      http://sfbayview.com/2011/libya-getting-it-right-

    • Ivan K.

      "The problem which some commentators have mentioned is that gaddafi has brought in african mercernries,"

      Maybe he HAS brought African mercenaries, but there is no any proof of that and it is highly unlikely, considering that:

      1) many black Libyans have dual citizenship : Libyan and that of Chad, or some neighboring country

      2) just before the resolution 1973, "the Libyan Meghara tribe offered the government to join the fight with 50.000 tribesmen" who were with a strong warrior culture. Now, how likely it is that the Libyan government would refuse them, but pay foreign fighters?

      3) a quote: "Over the past two decades, thousands of Africans from all over the continent were provided with education, work, and military training…. As a result of Libya’s support for liberation movements throughout Africa and the world, international battalions were formed. "
      http://sfbayview.com/2011/libya-getting-it-right-

  • mark_golding

    A tentative link with Royalty – sorry this post is really out of context but important.

    I have reasons to believe that the web-site http://www.muslimsagainstcrusades.com is a false-flag operation and will report back here when I have acquired more information.

    The domain has been registered in America and a 'whois' reveals:

    Abdullah Muhammad c/o Dynadot Privacy
    PO Box 701
    San Mateo, CA 94401
    United States

    as the registrant. Any more information please?

  • evgueni

    Never mind illegal. Real people are being killed and maimed in Libya, this justified by a virtual body count – one that never happened, the "prevented massacre" of Benghazi. Get your head around that.. The same trick that was used on Serbia and everybody cheered then. Also, the distinction between civilians and combatants is artificial if many are conscripts. Aggressive foreign intervention is guaranteed to inflame a bad situation. Illegal and immoral are not always one and the same. So why focus on the narrow issues of legality?

    Is it OK to kill an unknown number of people in order to prevent an unknown number of people from being killed? What kind of sense does this make – none, unless it is intended as a red herring.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    You would have to be naïve in the extreme not to discern the thinly disguised Western advance of its interests in Libya under some form of palatable pretext – call it “humanitarian” interventionist concerns.

  • somebody

    Look at the membership of the International Advisory Council here. All the usual suspects esp from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE. http://www.ipinst.org/about/board.html

    Edward Luck of this same outfit was on the BBC News Channel last night, billed as Ban Ki Moon's spokesman. Demonisation of Gaddafi followed his statement that the presence of UK military 'advisors' in Libya did not breach Res 1973, Then followed a discussion with the hard faced female presenter that Gaddafi must go and how that could be achieved,

Comments are closed.