ROVING EYE The counter-revolution
club By Pepe Escobar
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great
Arab Revolt, please click here.
They are a shish kebab of hereditary
monarchies, emirates and outright theocracies.
Most sit on oceans of oil (45% of the world's
reserves). They are addicted to the West's glitter
and glamour - from London to Monte Carlo, from the
delicacies of Paris to the weaponized delicacies
of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO.
They abhor democracy like they abhor poverty. Some
would be glad to topple their own people - as
indeed they do. And they view Shi'ite Iran as
worse than the anti-Christ.
Welcome to the
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), formed in 1981 by
top dog Saudi Arabia plus the United Arab Emirates
(UAE), Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. A more appropriate
denomination would be Gulf
Counter-Revolutionary Council - or club; a Gulf
club to end all golf clubs. As far as the GCC is
concerned, the great 2011 Arab revolt will triumph
over their (wealthy) dead bodies.
they be so sure? Republican dynasties as in
Tunisia or Egypt may be toppled; Libya may be
bombed to the Stone Age; Syria may be threatened.
But nothing will happen to the GCC because the
enlightened West - not Allah - is their supreme
New members welcome It's instructive to note that those 3,000-plus
bombing raids on Libya since NATO took over the
war on March 31 were conducted mostly by
monarchies (Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands,
Norway, Qatar and the UAE), apart from republican
France, and before that, via Africom, the United
Only a few hours before United
States President Barack Obama and British Prime
Minister David Cameron were enjoying a special
relationship barbecue this week, NATO was turning
19 Libyan civilians into, well, barbecue, and
slightly roasting at least 130 others. The GCC
The European Union (EU)
and the GCC have issued a joint declaration
forcing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to go, not before
handing over power to the Libyan Transitional
National Council - which happens to be financed
and armed exactly by NATO and the GCC.
the GCC has declared it would love the idea of
Jordan joining the club - and the same applies to
Morocco. As for Yemen - which has yearned to be a
member since 1999 - forget it; it's not a
monarchy, and "unstable" to boot, with al those
unruly people protesting. The best the GCC can do
is to allegedly "mediate" into what is in effect
regime change - fully supported by the US and the
Apart from tiny Oman, whose Sultan
Qabus follows the Ibadi school, all GCC members
are hardcore Sunnis. There are plenty of Jordanian
"advisers" among the Bahraini/Saudi repression
Jordan and Morocco may get to
become GCC members not only because they're
monarchies - but most of all because they hate
Iran like the plague (even though they are not
exactly located in the Persian Gulf.)
Jordan's King Playstation, sorry, Abdullah
II, invented the murky concept of the "Shi'ite
crescent" way back in 2004, a conspiracy according
to which Shi'ites from Iran and Iraq to Lebanon
and Syria would violently take over the Middle
East. Morocco's King Muhammad VI for his part cut
off diplomatic relations with Tehran in 2009.
The GCC's top moment of
counter-revolutionary glory, so far, happened less
than two days after US Defense Secretary Robert
Gates left Bahrain - when Saudi Arabia, with a
minor contribution from the UAE, invaded Bahrain
in support of their cousins, the Sunni al-Khalifa
dynasty, and against the overwhelming majority of
the peaceful, protesting Bahraini population. The
GCC's secretary general, Abdullatif al-Zayani,
happens to be an al-Khalifa-aligned Bahraini.
There were no US, United Nations or EU
sanctions, much less a NATO bombing spree to
"celebrate" this invasion. Instead, earlier this
week, EU foreign ministers slapped even more
sanctions against Belarus, Iran, Libya and Syria.
Not by accident all of them have been Washington
targets for regime change, since the time of the
Let us play in your
courtyard Neo-colonial NATO and
monarchic/theocratic GCC is a match made in
weapons contractor heaven. The GCC will be
incorporated into the global US missile shield
system. Soon, there'll be that juicy $60 billion
weapons deal with Saudi Arabia - the largest in
practitioners that they are, GCC members also
wanna have fun and be part of the real post-modern
action - neo-colonial war. After all, NATO itself
can be interpreted as a professional mercenary
neo-colonial army, ready to intervene anywhere
from Central Asia to Northern Africa.
Qatar. Qatar was the first country to recognize
that dodgy bunch, the Libyan "rebels"; the first
GCC member to supply NATO with French Mirage
fighter jets and American C-17 Globemasters; it
set up satellite Ahrar TV for the Transitional
Council; showered them with MILAN missile
launchers; and most of all immediately started to
"supervise" oil exports from Cyrenaica.
The reward was inevitable; on April 14,
Obama hosted the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin
Khalifa al-Thani, at the White House, and lavishly
praised him for his "leadership" in promoting
"democracy in the Middle East" - a reference to
Qatar's role in Libya.
As for Salman
al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, on May 19
he glowingly posed for a photo-op on the steps of
10 Downing Street in London with Prime Minister
Cameron, proving that slaughtering civilian,
unarmed protesters and giving a green light for
the House of Saud to invade his country was
definitely good for business.
But no one
beats the UAE in the deadly toy realm. President
Nicolas Sarkozy opened France's first military
base in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi. The UAE has
sent fighter jets to NATO in Libya. They are a
"troop-contributing nation" for NATO in
Afghanistan. And they will be the first GCC and
Arab nation to send an ambassador to NATO
headquarters in Brussels.
Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, the UAE is a member of
one of NATO's myriad "partnerships" - the Istanbul
Cooperation Initiative military partnership.
Translation: NATO encroaching on the Persian Gulf,
positioning itself to raise any amount of hell
And then there's Zayed
Military City; a secluded training camp in the
desert for a secret army of mercenaries, to be
deployed not only in the UAE but throughout the
Middle East and Northern Africa.
with their heads! Milking the GCC's
burning desire to outsource mercenaries; that's
the latest high-value-added scam of former Navy
SEALS and former Blackwater supremo Erik Prince
(in 2009 Blackwater was rebranded Xe Services.)
It was in Abu Dhabi that Prince - through
a joint venture called Reflex Responses - signed a
first contract of $529 million on July 13, 2010,
to deliver his services to "progressive" Sheik
Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. The idea was Zayed's.
The New York Times may have had its kicks
depicting, in a May 14 story, Colombians entering
the UAE posing as construction workers, with
special visas stamped by the UAE's military
intelligence branch, so they could clear customs
and immigration with no questions asked; yes,
Prince wants battalions of Colombian and Central
American mercenaries; he won't recruit Muslims to
kill their own cousins and be faced with
At least the paper
pointed that Prince "is hoping to build an empire
in the desert, far from the trial lawyers,
congressional investigators and Justice Department
officials" - without asking any hard questions
The mercenary army's agenda
contains everything one needs to know; they will
be involved in special ops inside and outside the
UAE; "urban combat"; the "securing of nuclear and
radioactive materials"; "humanitarian missions"
(?); the defense of oil pipelines and sleek glass
towers from "terrorist attacks"; and most
significant of all, "crowd-control operations",
where the crowd "is not armed with firearms but
does pose a risk using improvised weapons [clubs
There it is, spelled out;
internal repression all across the Persian Gulf,
as against the sprawling labor camps housing tens
of thousands of South Asian workers; or in case
citizens of the UAE get the Bahrain pro-democracy
fever. The excuse for all these ops could not be
less original: the Iranian bogeyman, or
Prince had always wanted
Blackwater to be a mercenary army deployable
anywhere in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He
even wanted the US Central Intelligence Agency to
use it for global special ops - before the CIA
decided to laser on drones as a more
cost-effective method. Now Prince has a wealthy
Sheikh - a Pentagon fan who's in favor of bombing
Iran - to bankroll his ''vision''.
first battalion boasts 580 mercenaries. Zayed's
men have promised that if they prove themselves in
a "real-world mission", the Emirate will pay
Prince for a whole brigade of several thousand
men, to the tune of billions of dollars. Prince
could then move to his dream of a desert mercenary
training complex modeled after Blackwater's
compound in Moyock, North Carolina.
expect another "House of Saud does Bahrain"
scenario. Like the mercenary army beating to death
Pakistanis, Nepalis, Bangladeshis and Filipinos
who want better working conditions in the UAE.
Or expect covert special ops in Egypt and
Tunisia to ensure their next governments align
themselves with the US and the EU. Or expect boots
on the ground in Libya to "provide humanitarian
aid to civilians" (oops, that was two months ago;
even Obama now says it's all about regime change).
Still, all those Libyan "oil facilities"
must be in the safe hands of US and EU
multinationals (and not Russian, Indian and
Chinese). Still, Gaddafi's inner circle must be
"neutralized". And still Libya must be kept
subdued, according to the age-old imperial tenets
of divide and rule.
So when the goin' gets
tough, who you're gonna call? Definitely Xe
Services' "innovative solutions", brought to you
by Sheikh Zayed. No wonder the GCC club is the
talk of the (counter-revolutionary) town.