As I've said many times before, anyone who wants trenchant insights into the realities of the Middle East -- including its ever-fraught interactions with the Potomac Imperium -- should be reading "the Angry Arab," As'ad AbuKhalil. Just today, AbuKhalil provides two telling examples of the Imperium's arrogance, indifference and -- in the case of John Kerry -- murderous ignorance in its ham-handed and iron-fisted attempts to bend the region and its peoples to the Domination Agenda of our American elites.
Once this uppityness had been squelched -- in the usual ham-handed, iron-fisted fashion -- the United States brokered a "national dialogue" between opposition leaders and the regime, with many promises of "reform" coming from the latter. It goes without saying that there has been precious little "reform" produced by this process, which has dragged on month after month. It has however produced the inevitable radicalization among some opposition groups who, seeing the continuing ineffectiveness of "working within the system" have turned increasingly to violent protest.
(Of course, one of the main features of US foreign policy in our Age of Terror has been its remarkable ability to foment radical extremism and violent retaliation to the machinations of the Imperium and its satraps. One might be even be tempted to call this a feature, not a bug, of the Terror War system, producing as it does copious amounts of fear and chaos to "justify" an ever-increasing -- and ever-more profitable -- aggrandizement of elite power.)
This then is the "terrorist" that Bahrain's leaders have arrested. In response -- as you might expect, if you were an ordinary person with common sense -- Al-Wefaq and other opposition parties have withdrawn from the "national dialogue" in protest at this repression. How can you have a good-faith dialogue when one side is arresting the very people it is meant to be in dialogue with? You can't, of course.
So who is to blame for stopping the "dialogue," and what needs to be done to restart it? Well, if you were an ordinary person with common sense, the answer to these questions would be obvious. The Bahraini regime broke off the dialogue by arresting Al Marzooq on trumped-up charges; the way to resume the dialogue is to release him from prison.
But this has not been the response of the most enlightened and progressive Administration ever to grace the greensward of the White House. No, this is the response of Barack Obama (or rather, one of his mouthpieces): the Administration is "disappointed that opposition groups have suspended their involvement in the national dialogue" and urges them to sit back down with the regime that is arresting them. And in return ... well, nothing.
AbuKhalil posts the long, surreal exchange between increasingly incredulous reporters and the Obama mouthpiece who adamantly refuses to express even the slightest tincture of disappointment with the Bahraini regime for arresting a non-violent opposition leader for advocating non-violence. Over and over, the reporters give her the opportunity to be "even-handed," to claim the vaunted "center ground" that is the holy grail of Washington PR imagery. But she will have none of it. All she will say is that the Administration will "raise the case" with its pals in Bahrain.
But the reporters spot a flaw in this empty phraseology: "It's important to know whether you're going to call on the Bahrainis to release this guy, or whether you think that this arrest was justified. ... You could just go and say, 'Hey, good job, well done, we think that was a really good move.'"
But the mouthpiece will not be drawn. "I'm not going to preview that with you."
AbuKhalil's Bahraini correspondent sums it up well:
"The US strategy for dealing with Bahrain is quite clear: the goal is to keep the situation under control. So long as the opposition is taking part in some dialogue, it is under control. Withdrawing means that they are back on the streets. ... Basically, as a people, we are not allowed to resist, in any way -- whether it is by protesting, or boycotting a sham dialogue that is not even with the regime because of an arrest."
Yes, that is pretty much the point of the Imperium's policies across the board: "You are not allowed to resist." Even non-violently. Even in the name of freedom. "You are not allowed to resist."
But for a chilling glimpse of the mindset of these Masters of the Universe, the dominance junkies who direct the affairs of the world's most armed and dangerous state, AbuKhalil points us to an overlooked remark buried deep beneath the slabs of dross dumped by John Kerry during a press appearance this week in Paris.
Kerry is asked by a French questioner about the risk to religious minorities -- particularly Christians -- from the American-backed rebels in Syria. The questioner notes that "two bishops of Aleppo ... were kidnapped today [by a sectarian rebel group]" and "Maaoula, an all-Christian city without any strategic interest, has been invaded by Islamist rebels." The questioner then provides a striking larger context to the question, saying that "one of the main results, unfortunately, of seven years of American and English occupation of Iraq is the decimation and exile of most Christians in Iraq." Given all this, Kerry is asked what "strategic plan" the United States has for protecting religious minorities from the wrath of sectarian extremists it is now supporting in Syria.