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The US-GCC Fatal Attraction

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The invasion may have given the GCC the sweet taste of an actual physical expansion. Morocco and Jordan -- although not exactly in the Gulf as basic geography rules -- were "invited" to be part of the wealthy club; after all they are duly reactionary Sunni monarchies, not "decadent" secular Arab republics like Libya and Syria.

A fair question is why the Arab Spring has not touched Jordan -- since the same socioeconomic volcano that convulsed Tunisia and Egypt is also active. The key part of the answer is that the GCC -- even more than Washington, European capitals and Israel -- is terrified that the Hashemite throne might fall.

For immense GCC wealth it's a piece of cake to control Jordan -- a small country, where most of the population is actually Palestinian, with a tiny organized opposition (no wonder; Jordanian intelligence imprisoned or killed any dissidence). For the GCC that's pocket money compared to the billions of dollars earmarked for Egypt and Tunisia so they don't dare becoming "too" democratic.

There was no way for the GCC other than to become Counter-revolution Central after the initial democracy rush in North Africa. As Hanieh emphatically stresses, the ruling autocrats in the Gulf couldn't care less about the impoverished masses in MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa).

The culmination of this process has been the birth of a new geopolitical monster -- NATOGCC. That embodies the key role of Qatar and the UAE in the NATO invasion -- and destruction -- of Libya. Libya was an all-out GCC special -- from actual cash and weapons dispensed to the "rebels" to actual operatives, intelligence and last but not least, political legitimacy, via that fake Arab League vote legitimizing a no-fly zone vote at the United Nations (only nine out of 22 Arab League members voted yes, and six of them were GCC; the other three were bought, and Syria and Algeria were against it).

And now a tragic joke reigns supreme; the GCC trying to intervene and actually financing hardcore Sunni fundamentalists in Syria under the cover of helping pro-democracy protesters. When the meek UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon urges President Bashar al-Assad to stop the violence against Syrian protesters and says the time of dynasties and one-man rule in the Arab world is coming to an end, obviously he believes the GCC is a colony in one of Saturn's rings.

After the NATOGCC win in Libya, no wonder they are on a roll. The GCC strategy of regime change in Syria is the preferred way to weaken Iran and the so-called Shi'ite crescent -- a fiction jointly concocted during the George W Bush administration by the Playstation king of Jordan and the House of Saud.

And that leads to an inevitable question; what are two of the top BRICS -- Russia and China -- doing about all this?

Enter the dragon

The immensely powerful secretary of the National Security Council and former head of the FSB (the successor to the KGB), Nikolai Patrushev -- a frequent visitor to Iran -- has already warned of a "real danger" of a US strike on Iran; the US, he says, is "trying to turn Tehran from an enemy into a supportive partner, and to achieve this, to change the current regime by whatever means."
Yet for Russia, regime change in Iran is a no-no. Russia's deputy prime minister and former envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, has already stated, unequivocally, "Iran is our close neighbor, just south of the Caucasus. Should anything happen to Iran, should Iran get drawn into any political or military hardships, this will be a direct threat to our national security."

So on one side we have Washington, NATO, Israel and the GCC. Not exactly an "international community," as the spin goes. And on the other side, we have Iran, Syria, a fed-up-with-Washington Pakistan, Russia, China, and scores of countries linked to the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

It's China's position in relation to the GCC that is a source of endless fascination. China's Premier Wen Jiabao has just visited the three key GCC members -- Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar.

Imagine Wen Jiabao telling Crown Prince Nayef (King Abdullah's half-brother) in Riyadh that Beijing wants "strong and reputable" Chinese companies to invest fortunes in ports, railways and infrastructure development in Saudi Arabia -- part of their increased cooperation "in the face of changeable and complicated regional and international trends." Imagine Nayef salivating over his mighty moustache, stressing the House of Saud is indeed willing to "expand cooperation" in energy and infrastructure.

What adds spice to the mix is that Beijing also happens to hold a strategic relationship with Iran -- and enjoys a healthy trading relationship with Syria. So as far as the Middle East and Central Asia are concerned, Beijing is betting -- unlike the Pentagon -- on a true "arc of stability."

As Xinhua has put it in its unrivaled all-inclusive style, what matters for the Beijing leadership is for China and Southwest and Central Asia to take "full advantage of their respective strengths and jointly strive for common development." How come no one in Washington can ever come up with something as simple as this?

It's true that whoever dominates the GCC -- with weapons and political support -- projects power globally. The GCC has been absolutely key for US hegemony within what Immanuel Wallerstein defines as the world system.

Yet let's take a look at the numbers. Since last year Saudi Arabia is exporting more oil to China than to the US. This is part of an inexorable process of GCC energy and commodity exports moving to Asia.

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Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and (more...)

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it is inconceivable that other countries have nati... by Archie on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 at 11:53:27 PM