April 04, 2011
The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said,
"This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner."
Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.
Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution.
Whatever they say won't alter the facts on the ground ~ the graphic results of the US-Saudi dirty dancing. Asia Times Online has already reported on who profits from the foreign intervention in Libya (see There's no business like war business, March 30).
There's been wide speculation in both the US and across the Middle East that considering the military stalemate ~ and short of the "coalition of the willing" bombing the Gaddafi family to oblivion ~ Washington, London and Paris might settle for the control of eastern Libya; a northern African version of an oil-rich Gulf Emirate. Gaddafi would be left with a starving North Korea-style Tripolitania.
But considering the latest high-value defections from the regime, plus the desired endgame ("Gaddafi must go", in President Obama's own words), Washington, London, Paris and Riyadh won't settle for nothin’ but the whole kebab ~ including a strategic base for both Africom and NATO.
ROUND UP THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
"They would like that one [Bahrain] to go away because there's no real upside for them in supporting the rebellion by the Shi'ites."
The al-Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain is essentially a bunch of Sunni settlers who took over 230 years ago. For a great deal of the 20th century they were obliging slaves of the British Empire. Modern Bahrain does not live under the specter of a push from Iran; that's an al-Khalifa (and House of Saud) myth.
Bahrainis, historically, have always rejected being part of a sort of Shi'ite nation led by Iran. The protests come a long way, and are part of a true national movement ~ way beyond sectarianism. No wonder the slogan in the iconic Pearl roundabout ~ smashed by the fearful al-Khalifa police state - was "neither Sunni nor Shi'ite; Bahraini".
What the protesters wanted was essentially a constitutional monarchy; a legitimate parliament; free and fair elections; and no more corruption. What they got instead was "bullet-friendly Bahrain" replacing "business-friendly Bahrain", and an invasion sponsored by the House of Saud.
And the repression goes on ~ invisible to US corporate media. Tweeters scream that everybody and his neighbor are being arrested. According to Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, over 400 people are either missing or in custody, some of them
"arrested at checkpoints controlled by thugs brought in from other Arab and Asian countries ~ they wear black masks in the streets."
GLOBOCOP IS ON A ROLL
The NATO show will include air and cruise missile strikes; a naval blockade of Libya; and shady, unspecified ground operations to help the "rebels". Hardcore helicopter gunship raids a la AfPak - with attached "collateral damage" ~ should be expected.
A curious development is already visible. NATO is deliberately allowing Gaddafi forces to advance along the Mediterranean coast and repel the "rebels". There have been no surgical air strikes for quite a while.
The objective is possibly to extract political and economic concessions from the defector and Libyan exile-infested Interim National Council (INC) ~ a dodgy cast of characters including former Justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, US-educated former secretary of planning Mahmoud Jibril, and former Virginia resident, new "military commander" and CIA asset Khalifa Hifter. The laudable, indigenous February 17 Youth movement ~ which was in the forefront of the Benghazi uprising ~ has been completely sidelined.
This is NATO's first African war, as Afghanistan is NATO's first Central/South Asian war. Now firmly configured as the UN's weaponized arm, Globocop NATO is on a roll implementing its "strategic concept" approved at the Lisbon summit last November (see Welcome to NATOstan, Asia Times Online, November 20, 2010).
Gaddafi's Libya must be taken out so the Mediterranean ~ the mare nostrum of ancient Rome ~ becomes a NATO lake. Libya is the only nation in northern Africa not subordinated to Africom or Centcom or any one of the myriad NATO "partnerships". The other non-NATO-related African nations are Eritrea, Sawahiri Arab Democratic Republic, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Moreover, two members of NATO's "Istanbul Cooperation Initiative" ~ Qatar and the United Arab Emirates ~ are now fighting alongside Africom/NATO for the first time. Translation: NATO and Persian Gulf partners are fighting a war in Africa. Europe?
According to the Obama administration's own official doublespeak, dictators who are eligible for "US outreach" ~ such as in Bahrain and Yemen ~ may relax, and get away with virtually anything. As for those eligible for "regime alteration", from Africa to the Middle East and Asia, watch out.
(Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd.