Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wikileaks lifts fig leaves

The sub rosa quid pro quo character that marks the relationships between MENA monarchies and the succession of the colonial British and imperialist US hegemons is in massive flux currently, thanks to that darn pesky civil society uprising that barely notices borders in the Middle East and North Africa. All parties are in Full Scramble mode, looking for duct tape to fix broken axles and aspirin for organ failure. Deals are proposed and rejected, made and reviewed, and nothing is steady. For the people who have suffered under these nested layers of robber barons, only major reform will prevent more revolutions, and the faces of despots will almost certainly be removed. The very same is true for the outliers who have been hostile to the US but oppressive to their own people. The Arab world is rightfully rejecting the likes of US puppet Hosni Mubarak as it also shakes off fake freedom fighters like Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Those band aid bargains, thrown like golden apples at the justifiably enraged crowds, may produce momentary hesitation in reform and revolution, but a great deal will be required to produce eventual stability.

An agreement to settle a conflict may put the fire out for good, but too often it only suppresses the flames and leaves smoldering ashes that later burst into flames. An agreement may contribute to the conflict’s gradual constructive transformation, resulting in a stable and equitable relationship between former enemies. On the other hand, the settlement may turn out to be only a pause in a protracted destructive struggle (Kriesberg, 2007, p. 294).

To begin to understand the long overlord relationships in the region, and thus the long simmering and deepening resentments of the people, we can look to the contrails of the British dominance and then the replacement of American influence saturation. In Bahrain, for instance, the intelligence services were run for decades by a Brit, Col. Ian Henderson, a former British colonial police officer. Of course, Bahrainis knew this, and they knew in principle that the US had effectively taken over that role, but when Wikileaks revealed US diplomatic cables that proved that the current Bahraini head of intelligence, "Khalifa bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, another member of the ruling Sunni royal family, 'unabashedly positions his relationship with the U.S. intelligence community above all others,'" the Shia majority knows by the proven evidence that the oppression they experience is a product of the US. The US 5th Fleet bases in Bahrain and the Pentagon has been the military provider and supplier to the royal Sunni family's military.

These long standing relationships have essentially funded state terror against civil society in all the leftover monarchies propped up by the US. Monarchies are easier to corrupt and control than are messy and shifting democracies, so the US, seeking control over the oil region, has always favored monarchies over democracies in the MENA, whether Arab or Persian, all the while trumpeting the false message that we are everywhere with our military to defend and promote democracy. Democracy is the last thing the US has wanted in that region and is now what the people will finally take, using the only power the militaries cannot defeat, civil society that is determined to be free.

Kriesberg, L. (2007). Constructive conflicts: From escalation to resolution. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

1 comment:

Brynn said...

I chuckled to myself when I read the quote you included in this posting, as part of this same quote stuck out to me when reading Ch. 10. It's a great quote.

I get a little disheartened whenever I learn that the US had such a hand in all the social dis-ease in other parts of the world. We US citizens sit over here, many of us being brainwashed to think that our government wants what is best for us, all the while they are profiting off of others' misfortune by working with the powers that be, no matter how evil they may seem to their own citizens.

Now, because I'm a stickler for grammar, and in the name of clearer communication, I wanted to point out to you that the sentence
"These long standing relationships...our military to defend and promote democracy," is two or three sentences the way you wrote it. At "are easier to corrupt.." you should start a new sentence. It's a long sentence too, so it's a little hard to get your whole meaning by the time to reach the end of it.

Thanks for referencing your blog to the class, Brynn