The Best Foreign Policy Saudi Money Can Buy (FrontPageMagazine.com) by Daniel Greenfield 05/31/12)
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Let’s say that there are three Muslim countries in the Middle East,
which, facing a domestic insurgency, use ruthless tactics to suppress
it. Which one gets a pass?
The answer is easy. The Saudi ally gets the pass; the others get
invaded. But “pass” is too mild a word, because after bombing Libya
into submission, while preparing to do the same thing to Syria, the
Obama administration has actually resumed arms sales to Bahrain. And
the only real reason those arms sales were originally halted, was
because of objections from Congress.
What’s the difference between Libya, Syria and Bahrain? Not all that
much. All three had rulers widely hated by the people for being
unrepresentative tyrants. All three responded to domestic protests
with armed force. In Syria, there is a Sunni majority being ruled
over by a Shiite splinter group minority, while in Bahrain, there is
a Shiite majority being ruled over by a Sunni minority. Why pick one
over the other? Because Saudi Arabia is the big brother of the
Bahraini monarchy, and so a Sunni tyranny over a Shiite population is
legitimized, while a Shiite tyranny over a Sunni population is
While the Obama administration is dancing around the edges of arming
the Syrian rebels, it is also arming the Bahraini government. While
the United States participates in the Friends of Syria group, whose
goal is to overthrow the Syrian government and replace it with the
Muslim Brotherhood, it has renewed security cooperation with Bahrain.
While Syrian diplomats were being expelled from Washington, the
Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa came to Washington
and met with Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta—nearly every
important foreign policy figure in the administration with the
exception of Obama.
The optics of having Obama shake hands with a tyrant while handing
out Medals of Freedom might have come off as a little tacky, even
from an administration that jumps when the House of Saud tells it to,
without asking how high. But while the Crown Prince may not have left
with Obama’s fingerprints on his palm, he is leaving with Seahawk
helicopters, AMRAAM missiles, F-16 parts, a frigate and an option on
some armored personnel carriers, for the next time things get hot
down in Manama.
What’s even more extraordinary is that the State Department’s press
statement on the renewal of arms sales to Bahrain appeared to blame
both protesters and Bahraini authorities for the violence, and even
teetered on the brink of placing the weight of the blame on the
“We are concerned about excessive use of force and tear gas by
police. At the same time, we are concerned by the almost daily use of
violence by some protestors,” the statement reads. “We urge all sides
to work together to end the violence and refrain from incitement of
any kind, including attacks on peaceful protestors or on the Bahraini
The statement could hardly have had more wriggle room or a softer
condemnation of the regime, if it had actually been written by the
Crown Prince or one of his flunkies. It is all the more startling to
compare this to State Department bulletins on Libya and Syria, which
lack any such moral ambiguity or strained refusal to take sides in
the conflict between government and anti-government forces.
The deciding factor isn’t Bahrain’s reliability as a regional ally or
base space. If that was the issue then Mubarak wouldn’t have been
sold out to the Muslim Brotherhood and Yemen’s President Ali Saleh
would have enjoyed the same backing as the Crown Prince of Bahrain.
Not to mention lesser allies like Tunisia’s President Ben Ali, whom
the Obama administration triumphantly jeered to the exit only to see
him replaced by Islamist Al-Nahda terrorists. It’s not about how good
an ally of America a given country is, but how good an ally of Saudi
Arabia it is.
The only Arab Spring resister to earn a shrug from the Obama
administration was Bahrain. When Saudi tanks rolled into Manama,
there were a few uncomfortable shrugs in Washington D.C., but no
fiery speeches or demands for action. Obama did not take to the
airwaves to announce that he would be violating the War Powers Act,
with a sustained bombardment of the Saudi Peninsula Shield Force,
which was doing the killing. It would have been far easier for Obama
to force the Saudis to take their tanks and go home, than it was to
bring down Gaddafi or than it will be to bring down Assad. And the
fact that it was not done reveals who really pulls the strings on
foreign policy in the White House.
The limited suspension of arms shipments to Bahrain was not met with
an equivalent suspension of arms shipments to Saudi Arabia, because
the United States is not allowed to tell the Saudis what to do.
Instead it’s the Saudis who slapped Uncle Sam around by suspending
their arms purchases as a sign of displeasure. The myth that Saudi
weapons are defensive is used to give the regime a blank check in
Washington D.C., but it’s so much nonsense. Saudi Arabia’s military
is there to expand its territory, whether in Bahrain or Yemen, with
timely interventions from a military machine supplied and trained by
the United States. The House of Saud has always been imperialistic
and it has never had a problem with killing civilians.
Bahrain is the first country on the menu for inclusion into a Saudi
super-state. The tanks in Manama were the leverage to push Bahrain
into that union. A union that is the dawn of a planned Caliphate,
carried out with American weaponry. The United States has counted on
the Saudis to secure the region, but the House of Saud is only
interested in securing the region for itself. It has always been
imperialistic, but its most reliable tool of empire building has not
been military, but political. The local monarchies have ably bought
or co-opted a sizable percentage of Western political, diplomatic and
military elites into building their empire for them.
The Arab League, Saudi Arabia’s puppet, backed the invasion of Libya
and is championing regime change in Syria. If the Obama
administration goes along with this latest war cooked up in Riyadh,
that will be the fourth war that the United States has fought for
Saudi interests. And the wars never seem to end. While the great
hypocritical cry of the humanitarian interventionists in Washington
and London goes up over Syria, no sanctions are leveled against the
Saudis, and no matter how many people end up under the treads of
Saudi tanks, no arms shipments are interrupted.
Truly the Obama administration has the best foreign policy… that
Saudi money can buy. (Copyright © 2012 FrontPageMagazine.com 05/31/12)
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