ROVING EYE What Obama could not possibly
say By Pepe Escobar
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great
Arab Revolt, please click here.
Facts on the ground will decide whether
the United States really "values the dignity of
the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw
power of the dictator".
So let's start
with a fact. For US President Barack Obama, Saudi
Arabia is not in the Middle East. Maybe the House
of Saud has relocated the deserts and the oil to
Oceania without telling anyone. In his major
speech on Thursday from where the opening quote
comes, and where, according to the Reuters gospel,
he would "lay out a new US strategy toward a
skeptical Arab world", the skeptical Arabs, and
the whole world for that matter, never
heard these fateful two words,
"Saudi" and "Arabia". Even India, Indonesia and
Brazil were mentioned.
That goes a long
way to explain how the US, once again according to
the Reuters gospel, plans to "shape the outcome of
popular uprisings"; by not even naming the Middle
Eastern power behind the ongoing
counter-revolution against the great 2011 Arab
Obama tried to shape what
Clintonites define as "ambitious realism". It was
more like ambitious fiction. By insisting on
America's set of "principles" and not so subtly
trying once again to monopolize the moral high
ground - issuing dispensations on regime change
from Muammar Gaddafi (already gone) to Syria's
Bashar al-Assad (reform or go), Obama tried to
rewrite history by inscribing Washington at the
heart of the Arab-wide push for democracy. It may
fool Americans. It didn't fool the Arab street.
It took three long months for Obama to
finally deal with the al-Khalifa dynasty in
Bahrain - without ever mentioning their masters
Saudi Arabia. He let the Bahraini rulers off the
hook with a State Department-issued velvet glove,
at the same time deviating into a Riyadh/Tel
Aviv-approved script blaming the evil of all evils
Iran; "We recognize that Iran has tried to take
advantage of the turmoil there, and that the
Bahraini government has a legitimate interest in
the rule of law. Nevertheless, we have insisted
publicly and privately that mass arrests and brute
force are at odds with the universal rights of
Bahrain's citizens, and will not make legitimate
calls for reform go away."
It's much more
Orwellian than mere "brute force"; it's the
University of Bahrain, for instance, forcing
students to sign a pledge of allegiance to the
government, promising not to defy the monarchy;
otherwise they'll be expelled.
So to make
a story short, here's a concise New Middle East
Obama policy. We support "our" bastards
(dictators) who are sophisticated enough to beat,
arrest and kill their own people in the low
hundreds (Bahrain). We get slightly annoyed by
"our" war on terror collaborators who crudely
beat, arrest and kill their own people also in the
low hundreds (Yemen). We're strongly inclined to
ditch our support for unreliable, Iran-aligned
dictators who beat, arrest and kill their own
people in the high hundreds (Syria).
unleash war - via the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization as a weaponized arm of the United
Nations - over unreliable oil-wealthy dictators
who beat, arrest and kill their own people in
alleged thousands (Libya). And we remain absolute
mute about "our" monarchical bastards who pre-empt
the possibility of democratic protests (Jordan,
Morocco, Saudi Arabia) or invade their neighbors
to smash ongoing peaceful protests (Saudi Arabia).
'Final solution' or bust On the
absolutely central issue for the Arab word, Obama
seemed to demonstrate sound judgment by supporting
a two-state solution for Israel/Palestine, based
on the 1967 borders, "with permanent Palestinian
borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and
permanent Israeli borders with Palestine". There's
the initial rub to end all rubs; no Israeli
government will ever accept this - provided, as
Obama hinted, it decides what percentage it wants
to keep from those stolen lands.
never defined its own borders. Since - and even
before - 1948 Zionists dream of an Eretz Israel
from the Nile to the Euphrates rivers. As the
Euphrates was, and now more than ever is not in
the market, Zionists settled for the whole, former
Palestine mandate. That's the (invisible) meaning
of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
insisting Palestinians must recognize Israel as
"the Jewish state".
If they did, 1.5
million Palestinians - already infra-citizens in
Israel - would be instantly denationalized and
expelled en masse to the Palestinian Bantustan
configured as the "final solution" to the Zionist
Obama's set of
conditions for the Palestinians sounded like a
press release from Tel Aviv; against the reunion
between Hamas and Fatah, against the planned
Palestinian bid for statehood during the UN
General Assembly in September. Nothing on
sprawling, already existing settlements in the
West Bank, just a call for Israel to cease
"settlement activity" (what's that? A cousin of
"kinetic military activity"?) No wonder Israeli
media is spinning all this as a Netanyahu victory.
And when Obama stressed that "endless
delay" won't "make the problem go away" he totally
missed the point; it's by employing "endless
delay" tactics that every Israeli government has
kept settlement-building on overdrive and totally
encircled East Jerusalem, while relentlessly
applying a "divide and rule" strategy (pitting
Fatah against Hamas) to crush Palestinian morale.
No flowery rhetoric can conceal that this
is all about - what else - "protecting" Israel
(mentioned 28 times in the speech). Further
factual confirmation this weekend, when Obama
addresses the annual American Israel Public
Affairs Committee bash, and next Monday, when
Netanyahu addresses that Tel Aviv talk shop known
as the US Congress.
For the moment, the
Arab street says he totally blew it. And a furious
Israel said no, no, no to any concession.
Blame the Shi'ite crescent How
could Obama's dodgy rhetoric possibly jeopardize
the oil-for-security US/Saudi pact with the devil?
(Which side the devil is on is open to debate).
Especially when the House of Saud - and US weapons
manufacturers - are smacking their lips about a
monster $60 billion deal involving dozens of F-15
jet fighters which will prevail against
"existential threat" Iran (oops, wasn't that an
Israeli excuse? Well, they're one and the same
How could Obama's leadership
possibly admit live, to the whole world, that a
US-Saudi-Israeli counter-revolution has been on
since late February to smash the great 2011 Arab
revolt - as Asia Times Online has been reporting?
How could Obama possibly admit that the
weapon of choice of the counter-revolution is the
anti-Shi'ite card - against Persian Shi'ites in
Iran as well as Arab Shi'ites in Bahrain, Saudi
Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Oman and Syria; and that
makes it, in a tragic but predictable sense, an
al-Qaeda strategy at heart?
Obama possibly admit that Abdullah II, the
Playstation King of Jordan, invented the idea of
the "Shi'ite crescent" way back in 2004, and now
it's been dusted off, hopefully with more success?
How could Obama possibly admit that
Washington's demented obsession with Iran - with
Tel Aviv adding fuel to the fire non-stop - is now
being graphically exposed as an US/Saudi/Israeli
sectarian prejudice against Shi'ism? (Quite a feat
for Shi'ites to be simultaneously discriminated
against by a Christian/Jewish/Wahhabi Muslim
"coalition of the willing").
Obama possibly admit, as professor of Arab
politics at Columbia Joseph Massad has been one of
a few to point out, that "the US-supported
repression in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen,
Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, and in the United Arab
Emirates goes hand in hand with the
Euro-American-Qatari intervention in Libya to
safeguard the oil wells for Western companies once
a new government is in place"?
could Obama possibly admit that the defining
struggle of these times is the great 2011 Arab
revolt against the US/Saudi/Israeli
The chattering classes
in Washington dubbed Obama's speech "Cairo II", a
reset of his original 2009 Cairo speech "selling"
democracy to the Arab world. They've bought it -
Cairo itself has much more to
say about it than Obama's rhetorical change we can
believe in. Watch out if Cairo and the rest of
Egypt elect a truly sovereign, truly independent
government. Only then the real Arab revolution
will start. We're all Egyptians now.