Saudi Arabia sends counterrevolutionary goons to Bahrain

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13 Responses to “Saudi Arabia sends counterrevolutionary goons to Bahrain”

  1. Neon Tooth says:

    Can we pull a 9/11 and blame this latest Saudi business on another country we’d like to invade?

  2. Hans says:

    This is quite a serious development. In the immediate term, there are few options for lessening of violence and success. However the effect this will have on the governmental popularity will last a generation, at least. Calling in foreign troops to suppress local insurrection is not likely to be forgotten by the people of Bahrain.

    The US would not intervene in this case because we support both Saudi and Bahrain governments. There was lots of talk of intervening in Libya, but only because we opposed Gaddafi’s government already. International politics is still naked self-interest, with only the slightest of lip-service paid to supporting democracy and self-determination.

    The principle we should be following is non-intervention except in cases of genocide or other mass killings. Otherwise we should support (i) education and media from allied countries and exchange programs, (ii) carefully constructed trade sanctions, where effective, on regimes which do not support democracy, and (iii) supporting democracy, transparency, and civic life here at home, to be a city upon a hill.

    Increased exchange of people means allowing immigration from other countries and supporting educational opportunities for foreign nationals in the US. While it is a mistake to think that somehow we need to teach the world, however it is also the case that people who have an international perspective are key reformers.

    Trade sanctions are tricky, of course, since they often hurt people living in the country as much as those outside. However when trade in certain goods vastly and disproportionately benefits the undemocratic leadership, it can be useful to limit those goods. That does mean, for example, perhaps paying more for gas. However if we, as a country, are not willing to sacrifice some higher gas prices, we should not be considering military intervention.

    Finally we do need to continue to support democracy here at home. We can not condemn the Soviet-influenced Polish breaking of labor unions while breaking our own labor unions at home. Either we hold rights for all or the world will call us hypocritical, and rightly so.

    • Nadreck says:

      The way to implement effective economic sanctions is to target high-end luxury goods and combine that with travel restrictions on the super-rich of the targeted country. If you can’t get your caviar and the Rolls is down due to a lack of spare parts what’s the point of a dictatorship. Such blockades put pressure on the people at the top, via their relatives and so on, as nothing that affects the general population will. Shortages of Prada handbags are especially vexing.

      Of course, every time this is done the extensive public relations network* of the dictators conflates this with little children allegedly dying in the streets of hunger.

      *The old Iraqi regime famously had a $50-million a year budget for influencing (buying) the press and foreign politicians. Good thing that everyone was so moral that it had no effect. ;-)

  3. Destronok says:

    Guys,
    let’s do some research. The protests turned violent. The clashes in the university were the result of a large truck of anti-government protestors crashing through the gates, wrecking the university, setting it on fire, and injuring students who didn’t agree with them. The aim was to shut down the university. It worked.

    In the capital city of Manama, vigilante groups were grabbing Indian expatriate workers and beating them to a pulp.

    This is not a peaceful protest, and you’d be wrong to think that there aren’t Bahrainis that are against the anti-government protestors, but they’ve been intimidated with fear and violence. A simple search using Google Realtime unearths a wealth of data about what exactly is going on.

  4. Anonymous says:

    People should treat the Saudi royalty like pariah if this true. No admission to restaurants, clubs, actually, anywhere in a free country.

  5. Cochituate says:

    Sounds like the perfect time for a demonstration in Saudi Arabia.

    • daev says:

      It sure would be nice to see all of the mideast theocratic dictatorships fall. And it makes me think: if the US no longer had a need to prop up countries in that region to keep them at odds with each other, would we begin to wean ourselves from fossil fuels?

  6. mentsaortae says:

    If (as is widely supposed) Iran has some influence on the Shia protestors in Manama then who do you suppose we should be cheering for?

  7. manicbassman says:

    Obama is strangely silent on current issues… the US is desperately trying not to be drawn in to supporting dissent in Libya because it would then be completely hypocritical in failing to support dissenters in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain etc.

    Obama’s been forked, to put it politely… damned is he does, and damned if he doesn’t… which is why he’s gone silent hoping no-one notices the current US government’s schizophrenic stance on middle east uprisings…

  8. Major Variola (ret) says:

    Isn’t sending troops into another country invasion or war?

    Or wasn’t it, until Bush?

  9. dainel says:

    Not if they’re invited in by the home government.

    Dictators need to stick together and prop each other out. Pretty understandable. But why is the US standing on that side?

  10. Harrkev says:

    Umm. Aren’t they supporting the wrong side?

    I heard on the radio (NPR) this morning a guy in Bahrain asking the west for help. Hmmm. Every time we go into an Arab country, we immediately become very unpopular with the rest of them. Anti-American sentiment is very high over there. Going into Libya with guns blazing sure could not help our reputation.

    If the protesters need help, why don’t some other Arab countries step in. The Egyptian military generally sided with the protesters in their own country. We have also sold them some of the “good stuff” weapons, so they could march into Libya if they wanted to.

    I certainly hope the protesters prevail, but that seems to be to me more of a regional crisis, and is it not the job of Americans to put our soldiers under fire to help a bunch of people who, in general, really do not seem to like us in the first place.

    • Nadreck says:

      But of course, we really don’t know what the citizens of these tin-pot dictatorships think about anything. No one’s ever asked them or even had the opportunity to ask them. Does the “Arab Street” like or dislike the US? Does the average Palestinian give a crap about having their own nation? For that matter, where do the Palestinians rank on anyone’s list of priorities? Women’s rights?

      We await the first survey.

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