Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bahrain, where fools rush in with might and armor, full of passionate but bigoted sectarian intensity....Iranians trust in "brain" .....

Washington and Tel Aviv preside over a violent roll-back of the Arab Revolution from Benghazi to Bahrain....

UN "No-fly Zone" appears to have been a diplomatic strawman to give Qaddafi cover to hit Benghazi hard as UN coalition bickers over details....

Bahrain, where fools rush in with might and armor, full of passionate and utterly bigoted sectarian intensity....Iranians trust in "brain" .....

The last President to change anything for the better in USA was John F. Kennedy and he got shot....
Can it get worse? Yes, of course. Incompetence in Washington has become like poverty in India.... Just when you think that you've seen the very worst, you discover yet a lower level of destitution....

Well- it would appear that the dictators and the USRAELI Empire are fighting back.... The Saudi King threatens, meanwhile 3 protesters are killed in Syria, 45 in Yemen. Brutality is unleashed in Bahrain – where they think that by bringing down a monument, they can bring down an idea – and many more fall at the hands of the Lunatic of Libya. The dictators are fighting back, unaware that the genie is out of the bottle....

Perhaps they think that the world is distracted by the disaster in Japan and that they can now do as they please.

I just hope beyond hope that they all live to see the day they are held accountable for their crimes....all of them....

The tussle between the brain and the brawn is a constant feature of international politics. The "Turkic" and "Persian" streams of consciousness on the Central Asian landscape provide a fine example. The tussle between USA/Israel and Iran has been no less cute... - or between the late Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Iranian leadership.

Bahrain developments bring to light all over again the Iranian trust in "brain" - how to optimally deploy intellectual resources in situations where fools rush in with might and armor, full of passionate intensity. If someone in Washington cares to watch, Tehran's moves since March 15 offer a case study for reaching some major conclusions about how Iran lives and works.

While other dictators are clueless... No wonder King Abdullah Al-Saud is reestablishing contacts with Bashar Assad. Crypto-Zionist Dictators have to stand together....with Kaddafi and Bahrain's thugs....

What a warped view of the world... Dissent, freedom of expression and diversity are viewed as destructive punishable activities in their book.... Do we really need to hold the believers in such views in anything besides derision? Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Morocco etc. are quickly becoming the last refuge of authoritarian dictators in the world....

But that is going too fast, too far. At the moment, what matters is Iran's stakes in Bahrain. Bahrain's population comprises a majority of Shi'ites - as much as 70% - and although they are drawn more toward Najaf in Iraq than to Qom in Iran for spiritual guidance, almost one-third of them are Arabs of Persian origin whose welfare is a matter of legitimate concern to Tehran.

Second, the United States Fifth Fleet is berthed in Bahrain and among its vital tasks, it "spies" on Iran. Indeed, a key vector of US-Bahrain strategic ties is also their intelligence tie-up over Iran. Naturally, the "liberation" of Bahrain from the clutches of US domination is a matter of national security priority for Tehran.

Overlapping this comes the broader question of US regional influence in the region. Moving on further are Iran's aspirations to be a regional power and Saudi Arabia's dogged refusal to accommodate Iran in the Persian Gulf region, of which the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a living embodiment.

Iran keeps pressing for habitation within a common Persian Gulf "home". In the Iranian perspective, a "regime change" in Saudi Arabia would make that country more "authentic" and far more amenable to accommodation with Iran. Indeed, any gravitation toward republicanism - away from archaic monarchies - on the part of regional states would make them more receptive to the Iranian ideologies of resistance, justice and freedom and Iran's regional role would thereby get a fillip.

But a break-up of Saudi Arabia - or any of Iran's neighbors - is not in Tehran's interest. No doubt, Tehran would be horrified if the forces of religious militancy or terrorism exploited the regional turmoil to gain ascendance.

These are traditional parameters of the Iranian approach to the Persian Gulf region. Thus, there is no question of an Iranian intervention in Bahrain strategically or tactically. (Bahrain used to belong to Iran.) Tehran has no problem anticipating that if it steps forward and does something on the ground by way of opposing the Saudi military presence in Bahrain, it would be walking into a trap. Riyadh and Washington are combing the Bahrain scene to spot even a trace of Iranian involvement.

The morning after the Saudi military intervention in Bahrain on Monday, Tehran already had its script ready. It was almost as if a long-expected event happened, finally. Iran seems to have had no doubts that Saudi response to the Bahrain developments would be in terms of muscle power and Tehran's response needs to be "brainy" and political.

The following directions of the Iranian strategy emerged. One, the Bahrain crisis cannot be caricatured as sectarian Sunni-Shi'ite strife. Any such characterization would make Iran a partisan and isolate it from the Sunni Arab street, which would suit Iran's detractors very well. Iran's aspiration to identify (and even claim a degree of leadership) with the "Arab awakening" would be frustrated. Even more, the political thrust of the Middle East uprisings - "regime change" - might get obfuscated.

Two, following from the above, Iran's religious establishment refrained from commenting on the Bahrain developments. This is a smart thing for yet another reason that it is the Custodian of the Holy Places who has opted for muscle play and Iran would prefer to let time take its toll and allow the Bahrain developments to evolve into an acute "Muslim issue". The Custodian shot his own foot and can only bring ridicule upon himself over time when his troopers are seen on TV screens slaughtering Muslims in a foreign country - no matter his weak plea that he has a GCC mandate to do so.

Three, Iran's main focus is on "internationalizing" the issue. This is not to be branded as an Iran-Saudi bilateral issue. Thus, Iran's Foreign Ministry is in charge. Foreign Minister Ali Salehi is constantly on the phone. Iran has formally approached the United Nations (UN) and Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) - and, interestingly, the Arab League (AL) where Iran is not a member country. AL secretary general Amr Moussa finds himself in a fix after having taken a strident stance over Muammar Gaddafi's use of violence in Libya. Tehran knows Moussa won't have the courage to lift his little finger against Riyadh, but it is nonetheless keen to introduce the Bahrain issue into the pan-Arab agenda.

In communications to the UN, the OIC and the AL, Salehi asked rhetorically: "How can one accept [this] that a government has proceeded to invite foreign military forces for the crackdown of its own citizens?" He pointed out that the "military invasion" of Bahrain was not in accord with international law - no matter which country undertakes it and on what specious plea. He said the UN was obliged to take immediate decisions to end the incursion to defend its charter and the basic rights of the Bahraini people.

Tehran has also recalled its ambassador to Bahrain "to discuss the latest developments" and the Foreign Ministry called in the heads of missions of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in Tehran.

Four, Tehran will do it utmost to stir up the Arab street against the Saudi military intervention in Bahrain. Iranian media coverage of daily events is extensive and is widely disseminating it in the Arab world. There have been public demonstrations in Lebanon, Iraq and in the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia.

It is a big embarrassment to Riyadh that the leading Saudi Shi'ite cleric, Sheikh Hassan al-Saffar, voiced "dismay" over the Bahrain situation - "bloodshed, violation of sanctities and intimidation of people" - and called for dialogue and a political solution.

Tehran got a huge boost in its political campaign on Wednesday when Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who rarely intervenes publicly in politics, called on the Bahrain regime to stop the suppression of unarmed civilians. Sistani said problems should be solved through peaceful means. Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki also stepped in to criticize the Saudi intervention. Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's followers have taken to the streets in large numbers.

Maliki's statement merits attention in having a hidden warning also to Washington. He said the Saudi intervention "will contribute toward complicating the situation in the region, in a way that instead of resolving issues could led to inflaming sectarian tensions".

Significantly, the same warning has been sounded by Iran's Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who said the Saudi "invasion" of Bahrain would heighten tensions and adversely affect regional security and stability. "If such miscalculated and legally unjustified actions become a norm, the region could turn into a center for incendiarism [sic], hostility and conflict." The message seems to be addressed to Washington.

Tehran appears encouraged by the regional mood. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad spoke out for the first time on Wednesday, 48 hours after the Saudi intervention: "This military invasion is a foul and doomed enterprise ... Regional nations will hold the US government liable for such an atrocious behavior. The US is suffocating the world nations to rescue the Zionist regime."

Ahmadinejad's criticism of the US is noticeably restrained under the circumstances and is more in the nature of an appeal. Curiously, one of the first things the Iranian Foreign Ministry did was to call in the Swiss ambassador who takes care of the "Iran Section" in the embassy in Tehran.

Anyway, US President Barack Obama, too, voiced an opinion within hours of Ahmadinejad's remarks. White House spokesman Jay Carney revealed that Obama spoke by phone to Abdullah and King Hamad of Bahrain and "expressed his deep concern over the violence ... and stressed the need for maximum force....oops ....restraint".

Carney added: "The president also stressed the importance of a political process as the only way to peacefully address the legitimate grievance of the Bahrainis and to lead to a Bahrain that is stable, just, more unified and responsive to its people. The president reiterated his support for the national dialogue initiative led by Bahraini crown Prince Salman."

Obama's predicament is cute but acute.... The "Wailing Wall Street Journal" reported on Wednesday that Abdullah accepted US advice and sent in the troops to Bahrain.... Reading very carefully between the lines, Tehran senses Obama's hypocrisy.....
Rhetoric is one thing and Tehran will make the most of it, but it cannot be lost on the Iranian "brains" that for the fourth time in a row within the past six weeks, Iran and the US are finding themselves on the same side of the fence - on Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and now Bahrain. The big question is whether Obama notices it....and finally makes it public at last....

“Holy smokes!”

If Bahrain is now the latest active battlefield of ideological and ethnic conflict, the military gesture by Saudi Arabia and the Emirates on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council is likely to have exactly the opposite effect of its intended calming goal. It will stoke resentment and active opposition by many in Bahrain and around the region, who will see this move as an “occupation,” as some Bahrainis already said Monday.

The lesson that many will draw is that two different standards apply to Arab citizen rights. In countries like Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, the world will accept or actively support constitutional changes that citizens of those countries demand. In other Arab countries like Bahrain, the rights of citizens are secondary to wider energy and security needs, which is one reason that protests by citizens of some Gulf states are increasing.

Sending in Saudi-U.A.E. troops is probably a counterproductive overreaction because tensions in Bahrain are purely political and local. They can be resolved through national negotiations that reconfigure the system in a manner that affirms the equal rights of all citizens and subjects the power elite and national decisions to credible mechanisms of accountability and participation — which is what Arabs are demanding across the region....

There is no better sign of the reality that Washington has become a marginal player in much of the Middle East, largely as a consequence of its own incompetence, inconsistency, bias and weakness in allowing its policies to be shaped by neoconservative fanatics, pro-Israeli zealots, anti-Islamic demagogues, Christian fundamentalist extremists, and assorted other folks who trample American principles and generate foreign policies that marginalize the United States abroad.....

UNSC 1973 is fully Open to interpretation...

Indeed, US intentions are quite opaque.... Clinton told reporters in Tunisia on Thursday that a no-fly zone over Libya would require action to protect the planes and pilots, "including bombing targets like the Libyan defense systems." But R-1973 says no such thing.

Again, once it became clear Russia and China wouldn't go to the extent of vetoing the resolution, the US raised the ante by suggesting that beyond creating a no-fly zone, the international community should also have authorization the use of planes, troops or ships to stop Gaddafi's forces. The US amendment proposed that UN should authorize the international community to "protect civilians and civilian objects from the Qaddafi regime, including halting attacks by air, land and sea forces under the control of the Gaddafi regime".

This proposal, however, seems to have met with resistance from Russia and the final text of 1973 instead authorizes "all necessary measures" to protect civilians. The compromise formula, actually, opens up all sorts of dangerous possibilities to stretch the type and scope of military operations.

On the one hand, 1973 expressly forbids any boots on the ground - "excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory". On the other hand, it gives authorization "to take all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi". [Emphasis added.]

Again, regarding the no-fly zone, 1973 authorizes states "to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights". [Emphasis added.] The likelihood is that once the implementation gets under way, exigencies will arise to undertake ground operations to neutralize Qaddafi's forces. These could be special forces operations, which are deniable and do not constitute "foreign occupation" of Libyan territory.

In sum, we are standing somewhere at a similar threshold to the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, which began as aerial operations to back up Northern Alliance [NA] militia, supplemented by special forces operations, and was later legitimized as a ground presence.

Don't watch from the sidelines...

What is the US strategy? Most significantly, on the eve of the Security Council vote, Senator John Kerry, chairman of the senate foreign affairs committee, and a pillar of the foreign policy establishment, made a major speech at the Carnegie in Washington. His main points:
  • The Arab awakening is as profound as the collapse of the Berlin Wall and, equally, Washington's approach should be to turn the challenge into an opportunity by identifying with democratic forces.
  • The Middle East order cannot be restored. The revolution is deep-rooted in popular discontent. Therefore, America's relationship with the region requires a "broader adjustment to reflect the new realities". Relationships focused on leaders are not sustainable.
  • The US can learn to live with religious parties and engage them so long as they "reject radicalism and anti-Semitism" and "embrace moderation".
  • Some leaderships are "responding to the imperative of reform" but "no country in the region will escape the populist wave".
  • Israel faces isolation and the "status quo with its neighbors is now unsustainable"; however, Israel's long-term security needs to be ensured.

    Kerry taunted Obama to be proactive like Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush, who committed resources to usher in governments in central Europe that today remain staunchly pro-West and are NATO members. Kerry dictated to Obama: "We must recognize the extraordinary opportunity before us - and the danger of failing to seize it ... The international community cannot simply watch from the sidelines ... Time is running out for the Libyan people. The world needs to respond immediately ... The Security Council should act now."

    Israel remains pivotal to Kerry's thinking.... He pointedly singled out senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, two staunch supporters of Israel, as collaborators in his Middle East project. Kerry, McCain, Lieberman - now, doesn't that make a formidable line-up? Obama had no choice but to see the writing on the wall....

  • Why is US backing force in Libya but not Bahrain or Yemen?

    If Col. Qaddafi had simply declared himself a king like other Arabian monarchies, would bombing his people then have been ok...?
    British Portray Middle Eastern Saudi/Iranian Battle for Strategic Dominance As Ancient Religious Feud....
    Another attempt by City of London and friends to revive an ancient bone of contention, in order to ignite sectarian "Holy War" within Islam itself.....

    The ancient loathing between Sunnis and Shi’ites is threatening to tear apart the Muslim world....

    "Saudi king disappoints reformists" Funny how he was too ill for Hillary Clinton....: "Saudi king “too ill” to meet Hillary" The Saudis are still mad about the American approach to Egypt....LOL

    The U. S. celebrated the 'Raymond Davis' settlement by starting the drone war again: "U.S.
    Kills as many as 80 people in Pakistan" This is an obvious intentional attack against civilians, and constitutes a big 'fuck you' from the CIA to Pakistan for daring to make an issue out of 'Davis'. It looks like the settlement was a pure bribe, with the pay-off money going directly into the pockets of the generals. The outrageousness of the deal will further weaken the government.

    More on Libya later, but you can't help but notice how the U. S. dragged things out until Gaddafi had retaken control of all the oil fields and installations. In fact, the much discussed international action comes exactly at the time when it is moot. This is a big win for everybody (Jews, U. S. government, Gaddafi, Arab despots, European governments, big oil) except, of course, the revolutionaries, who are completely screwed...
  • Listening to the rhetoric coming out of Tehran, one might assume that Bahrain’s Shia opposition is relying on help from its co-religionists next door. But, in fact, the opposite is true: the Shia opposition wants nothing more than for Tehran to stay out of the sectarian dispute unfolding in the tiny kingdom.

    The major demand of the mainstream opposition is to turn the country into a constitutional monarchy, much like those in Europe. Other selected goals include: an elected government; a free press; an unrestricted civil society; and an end to discriminatory practices against religions other than the Sunni minority, such as unequal employment practices, unfair distribution of wealth, and the elimination of all forms of administrative and financial malpractice.

    As the world’s attention has focused on Libya, Bahrain’s mainstream opposition has made every attempt to distance itself from Tehran’s rulers.

    Sheikh Ali, secretary general of Al-Wefaq, the main Shia opposition group, publicly announced in March that his organisation had no desire to implement Iranian-style Vilayat-e Faqih, the concept of supreme clerical rule.

    Yet, even given these facts, the grand promises from Tehran – which now include sending young Iranian boys to Bahrain to protest, if not fight, alongside the opposition – show that Iran continues to manipulate the crisis in its favour by trying to persuade the world that the Shia in Bahrain are one with those in Iran.

    In reality, Bahrain stands as one of the most politically- aware states in the region. Demands for reform did not emerge only a few weeks ago when the unrest started, but date back to the years before the kingdom’s independence from Britain in 1971.

    In the view of many Shia, the arrival of Saudi troops weeks ago is merely a ploy by Bahrain’s rulers to quell calls by the opposition for a Western-style democracy in favour of the status quo. For the Saudis, a crackdown on the Shia protesters in Bahrain sends a message to their own restive Shia citizens in the eastern part of the country who also demand democratic rule.

    The Saudi military presence has produced two negative results: First, Saudi Arabia is pressing Bahrain’s rulers to use violence against its own people in order for the Saudis to minimise any potential Iranian intervention and to intimidate its own Shia citizens. Second, Iran is now using the Saudi invasion to threaten Bahrain’s government and pretend to be protecting its Shia brethren next door in a neighbouring state.

    The sad truth is that there is now a significant escalation of tension in the Gulf which has not been seen in years. The stakes are high for Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but certainly not for Iran at present.

    Consequently, expect Iran to exploit the situation in the days and weeks ahead, attempting to exert the maximum pressure on Bahrain’s government while stopping just short of provoking an armed confrontation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.

    And tougher steps by Bahraini officials toward Iran cannot be ruled out in the days to come. Future moves could include the censure of Iran by the GCC comprising of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.

    What can be done? Rightly or wrongly, many political activists in Bahrain look to the United States to help promote democracy in their country. But what is most troubling is that high-ranking U.S. officials and retired military generals seem to think that because the violence in Libya is worse, the Bahraini opposition should be left to fend for itself.

    Recently, retired General Wesley Clark argued that the situations in Libya and Bahrain "are not comparable". This might be true, but the United States has far more to lose in Bahrain if Iran is able to use the crisis to gain more influence in the country. Many Shia believe the United States has decided that some Arab dictatorships are worth saving, and fearing a Bahraini Shia alliance with Iran, Washington actually gave the Saudis the green light to send in troops. If this indeed was one reason for the Saudi invasion, Washington should know that Iran’s actions and words are based upon its own interests, not those of the opposition in Bahrain.

    Certainly, it is in Washington’s interest to see stability take hold in Bahrain, if only because Manama is home to the United States’ Fifth Fleet.

    The crisis will only end if Saudi Arabia and Iran stay out of the internal crisis, Bahrain’s rulers are pressured to make compromises with the opposition, and the United States makes known that it will not tolerate a proxy war in which Iran stands to gain more than any other player.


  • Note
    1. These are key points of the resolution authorizing action to protect Libyan civilians from Muammar Gaddafi:
  • It expresses the UN's grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence, and the heavy civilian casualties, condemns the gross and systematic violation of human rights, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and summary executions and says that the attacks against civilians may amount to crimes against humanity and poses a threat to international peace and security.
  • A no-fly zone is an important element for the protection of civilians as well as the safety of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and a decisive step for the cessation of hostilities in Libya, it says.
  • It demands the immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians and that the Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law...and take all measures to protect civilians and meet their basic needs, and to ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance.
  • It authorizes UN member states to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding the previous arms embargo, to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.
  • Requests the co-operation of the Arab League member states in that.
  • Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians exempting humanitarian flights and authorizes member states and Arab League nations acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights.
  • Calls on member states to intercept boats and aircraft it believes may be taking arms and other items banned under the previously passed UN embargo and includes armed mercenary personnel in that category - telling members states to comply strictly with their prevent the provision of armed mercenary personnel to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
  • Member states should ensure domestic businesses exercise vigilance when doing business with entities incorporated in Libya if the States have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that such business could contribute to violence and use of force against civilians.
  • Requests that the UN Secretary General creates a group of up to eight experts to oversee the implementation of the Resolution.