Libya, Bahrain: Does The Empire Want The Arab Revolt To Be Crushed?
Bahrain: Violent Crackdown On Protest With Help From Saudi Arabia and UAE’s Forces
On Tuesday the king of Bahrain imposed a three-month state of emergency, as the crackdown on the protesters is getting more violent. Two men were killed, and at least 200 people were shot by Bahrain security forces. A doctor, in a hospital located in Sitra, told the Agence France Presse that “more than 200 people we received today had been shot with buckshot.” In the capital Manama, the protesters carried banners with statement against the king. The demonstrators are also calling for unity between Sunnis and Shia Muslims in the mainly Shia country (75 percent of the population), which has been ruled by a Sunni dynasty for more than 200 years.
On Monday, tanks and armed security forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates rolled into Bahrain to help the Sunni king “deal” with the pro-democracy protest. The United States, which is a close ally of both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s ruling autocratic dynasties, said it was “concerned” and called for “calm and restraint on all sides”.
“The use of force and violence from any source will only worsen the situation. A political solution is necessary, and all sides must now work together to produce a dialogue that addresses the needs of all of Bahrain’s citizens,” said Tommy Vietor, the spokesman for the National Security Council. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while visiting Egypt after attending a G8 summit, reiterated this point by stating that “the only durable solution is a credible political process, not a military one”. The European Union also came up with the same semi-empty rhetoric calling on Bahrain’s security forces to respect “fundamental freedoms including the right to assemble freely and peacefully.”
Libya: France Is Losing The Battle For A No-Fly Zone As Gaddafi Moves To Crush The Rebels
On Tuesday, Gaddafi’s armed forces announced that they were starting to move on Benghazi. As Gaddafi forces are gaining grounds, the battle for Benghazi could mark the imminent end for the dream of a new Libya. Meanwhile, on the diplomatic front, France failed to convince the other members of the G8 to reach an accord on a no-fly zone to be imposed on Libya. G8 members didn’t give in to French pressure for establishing an immediate no-fly zone which entails military action through targeted air strikes. The United States is hiding behind the UN Security Council knowing all too well that the no-fly zone will be blocked; Russia and Germany using the pretext of “caution”, are dragging their feet even more; Britain has flip-flopped from the French position to the other camp.
A resolution pushed by France is expected to reach the UN Security Council late on Tuesday. However, it is unlikely to go anywhere with veto power holders China, Russia and the United States lukewarm about a no-fly zone for Libya. France’s ambassador at the UN, Gerard Araud said the Sarkozy administration was “deeply distressed by the UN Security Council failure to act”. Araud said France wanted the council to act “as quickly as possible”. “We are deeply distressed by the fact that things are worsening on the ground, that Gaddafi’s forces are moving forward, and the council has not yet reacted,” Araud told reporters before going into a closed-door session.
On the ground, time is now on the side of Gaddafi as the international community is failing to act. And despite the good talks about freedom and democracy, the financial sanctions, and the diplomatic runaround, the United States with the help of Russia and China is clearly running the clock. The EU, an economic giant but a political draft, is fearful to make a stand except France. Neither Germany nor Britain have the stamina to challenge the will of the empire, its surrogates and its associates. As far as President Obama, he has switched hats constantly back and forth for the last four weeks. The “leader of the free world” has condemned Gaddfi and praised freedom and democracy, while his alter-ego, the current CEO of US empire Inc. is pushing a pragmatic agenda where real value do not reside in freedom and democracy, but in tangible goods such as oil.
Editors’ Note: All photographs of Bahrain’s protests courtesy of Al Jazeera English’s photo stream