Exclusive: President Obama seems so scared of offending the Saudis and their Israeli allies that he will tolerate almost any outrage, including Saudi Arabia’s mass beheadings and/or shootings of the regime’s enemies including a Shiite political leader who dared criticize the monarchy, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
As the New Year dawns, the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks remain firmly in control of Official Washington’s storylines on Syria, Russia and elsewhere even as their policies continue to wreak havoc across the Mideast and threaten the stability of Europe and indeed the future of civilization.
The latest proof of this dangerous reality came when Saudi Arabia’s repressive Sunni monarchy executed prominent Shiite political leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr for criticizing the nation’s kings and princes. Before the killing, the Obama administration held its tongue in public so as not to antagonize the Saudi royals. (Nimr’s nephew awaits Saudi “crucifixion” for his role as a teenager in Arab Spring protests.)
After the Nimr execution, the State Department issued a mild protest toward the Saudis while blurring the guilt by twinning it with criticism of Iran where outraged protesters damaged the Saudi embassy, which led to Saudi Arabia’s retaliatory breaking of relations with Iran.
“We believe that diplomatic engagement and direct conversations remain essential in working through differences,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said meekly on Sunday, while some senior U.S. officials reportedly seethed in private over the latest Saudi provocation.
“This is a dangerous game they are playing,” one official told The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung while insisting on anonymity to discuss U.S.-Saudi relations.
But the fact that the Obama administration could not voice its revulsion over the Saudi mass head-chopping (along with some firing squads) for 47 men, including Nimr, over the weekend speaks volumes. President Barack Obama and other insiders continue to tip-toe around the unsavory U.S. “alliances” in the Mideast.
Over the past several years, Saudi Arabia sealed its impervious protection from U.S. government criticism by forming an undeclared alliance with Israel around their mutual hatred of Shiite-ruled Iran and its Shiite allies, a cause picked up by American neocons and shared by the career-oriented liberal interventionists.
Some more “realist-oriented” U.S. officials, reportedly including Obama and some national security aides, recognize the havoc that neocon/liberal-hawk strategies continue to wreak across the region and now spreading into Europe, but they act powerless to do anything bold to stop it.
With Israel’s lobby siding with the Sunni states in their bloody rivalry with Shiite states, most U.S. politicians and pundits have scrambled to defend each recurring outrage by the Saudis, Qataris and Turks by trying to flip the script and somehow put the blame on Iran, Syria and Russia.
Getting a Pass
Thus, the Saudis, Qataris and Turks get mostly a pass for arming and enabling radical jihadists, including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Israel also provides assistance to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front along the Golan Heights and bombs allies of the Syrian government and, of course, faces no official U.S. criticism.
In 2014, when Vice President Joe Biden blurted out the truth about Saudi support for Islamic terrorism inside Syria, he was the one who had to apologize. [Quote at 53:20 of clip.] In 2015, when Saudi Arabia invaded and bombed Yemen after hyping Iran’s support for Houthi rebels, the Obama administration sided with the Saudis even as their wanton attacks on poverty-stricken Yemen killed thousands of civilians and created a humanitarian crisis.
For more than a year after President Obama announced his air war against the Islamic State in summer 2014, Turkey continued to let the terror group run an industrial-style oil smuggling operation from Syria and Iraq through Turkey. Only when Russia entered the conflict last fall was the U.S. government shamed into joining in bombing raids to destroy the truck convoys. Yet, Obama still defended Turkey and bought its promises about finally trying to seal a 100-kilometer gap in its border.
Then, when Turkey retaliated against the Russian anti-terrorist bombing raids inside Syria by willfully shooting down a Russian Su-24 plane whose pilot was murdered after bailing out, Obama again sided with the Turks even though their claim that the Russian plane had violated Turkish air space was dubious at best. By their account, the plane had intruded over a sliver of Turkish territory for 17 seconds.
In other words, whatever these U.S. “allies” do no matter how brutal and reckless the Obama administration at least publicly rushes to their defense. Otherwise, the neocon/liberal-hawk “group think” would be offended and many angry editorials and columns would follow.
While this strange reality may make sense inside Official Washington where careerism is intense and offending the Israel Lobby is a sure career killer this pusillanimous approach to these grave problems is endangering U.S. national interests as well as the world’s future.
Not only has the neocon/liberal-interventionist obsession with “regime change” turned the Middle East into a vast killing field but it has now spread instability into Europe, where the fabric of the European Union is being shredded by dissension over how to handle millions of Syrian refugees.
The United Kingdom may vote to leave the E.U., removing one of the original anchors of the European project which — for all its faults — has deservedly gotten credit for replacing a history of European blood-soaked conflicts with peaceful cooperation.
The spreading disorder has had political repercussions in the United States, too, where panic over terrorism is reshaping the presidential race.
Yet, instead of practical solutions such as pressuring all rational sides in the Syrian conflict to engage in peace talks and hold free elections that give the Syrian people the power to decide who their future leaders will be, Official Washington instead generates “talking points,” such as calling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “magnet for terrorism” who “must go” although his forces have done the most to stop an outright victory by Al Qaeda and Islamic State.
If one buys this “magnet” theory, then you’d also have to seek “regime change” in every country that’s been attacked by terrorists, including the United States, France, United Kingdom, Spain, etc. In the case of Syria, what’s remarkable is that the sponsorship of terrorism by U.S. “allies” and indeed by the U.S. government itself has been so blatant. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into Bed with Al Qaeda.”]
However, as far as Official Washington is concerned, it doesn’t really matter what Assad has or hasn’t done. What’s important is that “regime change” in Syria has been on the neocons’ to-do list since at least the mid-1990s along with the brilliant idea of “regime change” in Iraq. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How Israel Out-Foxed US Presidents.”].
The Infallible Neocons
And since the neocons are infallible as far as they’re concerned the goal can’t be changed. The only option is to escalate the “regime change” planning to include other countries that get in the way, including Iran and now nuclear-armed Russia.
Yes, that’s the ultimate neocon idea make the Russian economy scream, overthrow the calculating Vladimir Putin and risk having him replaced by some extreme and unstable nationalist with his or her hand on the nuclear button. That may be how life on the planet ends but there will be evermore “group thinks” and “talking points” right up to the moment of Armageddon. The neocons can never stop generating false narratives.
Meanwhile, the “liberal interventionists” can boast of their own “regime change” in Libya, a policy promoted by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who delighted at the gruesome torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi “we came, we saw, he died,” she laughed after having ignored his warnings that the overthrow of his secular government would open the oil-rich country to chaos from radical jihadists, a prediction that has been fulfilled.
Yet, despite this record of spreading chaos and death around the world, the grip that the neocons and liberal hawks have on Official Washington remains almost absolute. They control most of the think tanks from the Brookings Institution to the American Enterprise Institute as well as the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times and pretty much the rest of the mainstream media.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Times’ “news” coverage of the Middle East and Russia has been consistently slanted to favor neocon/liberal-hawk positions. Just as the Times eagerly joined President George W. Bush’s bogus case for invading Iraq in 2003, “the newspaper of record” has peddled false and misleading articles about the crises in Syria and Ukraine as well as promoting anti-Russian propaganda.
In this climate of manufactured “reality,” any old-fashioned foreign policy “realist” especially one who has criticized Israel cannot expect to win Senate confirmation to any senior position, establishing what amounts to a blacklist against “realists,” such as happened to ex-U.S. Ambassador Chas Freeman whose intelligence appointment was dropped by Obama in his early days out of fear of offending the Israel Lobby and its many neocon backers.
As the rise of those neocons has played out since their emergence during the Reagan administration, the “realists” who were known for cold-hearted foreign policy calculations to protect American interests have aged, died out or otherwise disappeared. They have been largely replaced by ideologues, either neocons with their intense devotion to right-wing Israeli interests or liberal interventionists who almost invariably side with the neocons but cite “humanitarian” concerns to justify “regime change” wars.
No matter how foolhardy and deadly these policy prescriptions have been, there is almost no way to dislodge the neocons and liberal hawks inside Official Washington, since they monopolize almost all levers of political and media power.
Even when President Obama tried to collaborate under the table with President Putin to reduce tensions in Syria and Iran in 2013, Obama was quickly outmaneuvered by neocons and liberal hawks inside the State Department who pushed for the putsch in Ukraine in 2014 that effectively destroyed the Obama-Putin cooperation. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]
I have long argued that the only way to begin to challenge the neocon/liberal-hawk “group thinks” is to release facts about pivotal events, such as the 2013 Syria-sarin case, the 2014 sniper attacks at Kiev’s Maidan square, and the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine. The neocons/liberal hawks currently control all those narratives, using them as clubs to advance ideological agendas just as they did with the false claims about Iraq’s WMD. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Power of False Narrative.”]
But other evidence suggests very different scenarios. Obama and his national security team could either release evidence to confirm the accuracy of the “group thinks” or puncture that self-certainty. Instead Obama has chosen to withhold what the U.S. intelligence community knows about these events, all the better to protect the dominant propaganda narratives.
So, the Obama administration continues down a road of tolerating or condoning outrages by its Mideast “allies” as the President and his timid intelligence bureaucrats do nothing to empower the American people with the truth. It is a recipe for worldwide catastrophe.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
Obama commits atrocities all the time. There would be no reason he would want to stop others from committing them, unless it was more politically expedient to do so. For Parry to imply the Saudis commit atrocities but Obama doesn’t, or that the Saudis are somehow ‘worse’, or the US is wringing its hands but would want to stop so-called atrocities, which others commit but not ‘us’, is just ethnocentrism.
Correction as to: ” EU/NATO formation replacing a history of European blood-soaked conflicts with peaceful cooperation”
Nonsense–look what happened to Afghanistan Libya and Ukraine +++
Sole reason both these freakish creations were tailored for future war with Russia and China by USA operatives. Please stop with the fake Neocon term–call a spade a spade.
“The United Kingdom may vote to leave the E.U., removing one of the original anchorsÂ of the European project which â€” for all its faults â€” has deservedly gotten credit for replacing a history of European blood-soaked conflicts with peaceful cooperation.”
Note to Mr Parry
The UK was not one of the founding members of the EU. In fact, one could consider the EU another Gladio type operation (albeit of the diplomatic or commercial sort) by the US in order to undermine independent, sovereign attempts of the major west European powers (or at the least, their populations) to put into practice the â€œNever again!â€ sentiment so prevalent at the end of WW II, as well as to complement the US efforts already underway to put an end to any experiments of a socialist/communist nature.
As the book Circus Politicus (Deloire and Dubois, Albin Michel, 2012) makes clear, the EU was formed in order to strip its member states of any true autonomy or any true democratic tendencies, and to make sure they embraced the neo-liberal program. Mission accomplished.
Former public services are being privatized, central banks have literally no say in economic affairs (see the PIIGS), the unnecessary bureaucratic redundancy and isolation of Brussels and Strasbourg have successfully aborted popular decision-making. The list of lost freedoms is a long one, thanks to the EU.
Talk about â€œreplacing historyâ€!
Thank you, Robert Parry, for being one of the very few American journalists willing to acknowledge the Saudi-Israeli alliance and its al-Qaeda mercenary terrorists agents currently rampaging in Syria.
The Saudis and Israelis have a shared affection for head-choppers and liver-eaters.
Some people make money off of war, lots of money. (See Prescott Bush, George H.W. Bush, George w. Bush for example) and can continue to buy politicians who will push for war ( See Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama for instance). The media is pushing Hillary to go against THE DONALD and ignoring Bernie Sanders in order to make Neocon Hillary “our” next President.
Yes, yes….we know. The Saudis are a wretched bunch of Wahabbist beduins, selling women as wives, had legal slavery until 1962, women can’t drive, etc. Yes, yes…we know. The USA enables despotic Saudi behavior and has for decades now. Need the oil ya know.
But what is to come of this endless stream of articles, week after week, month after month, year after year saying this same theme over and over and over again? Nothing. No gain.
My point is this: reading this endless stream of articles doesn’t help you. It’s merely a diversion and you know it. Really want to know what’s going on? Time to read a BOOK. Yes, a book! How about this? Read a book on the history of the land that is today ‘Saudi Arabia’. History of Palestine from 1930-1950 is an eye opener, many books focus on that time period.
I guess what I’m getting at is that news websites basically do not give the reader a deep understanding of world events. But good books do. And too many people (myself included) spend way too much time flitting about from one news article to another…never really getting a better understandingâ€“because that generally is not the intent of the article’s author (agenda driven these days, ya know).
….so do yerself some good: go get a good book to read and blow off the news webbies :-)
You must be a boater. Yes, agreed. A good historical book, floating through a wild, river canyon and becoming for a time part of all that we humans, collectively, are doing our best to destroy (either actively or passively). Best to you.
Thanks Skip! Actually you’re right: I am a boater! Nothing like floating down a favorite trout stream casting flies to likely spots. Pure heaven :-)))) Take care and all the best to you in 2016 :-)
No one seems to see that the Saudis and Israelis are in the drivers’ seat, as the US has all kinds of troops, bases, and ships in the area except in Iran, and if they provoke a war with Tehran, Washington will immediately be dragged into it on their side.
Little wonder that Obama puts up with any Saudi barbarism, and makes out that Tehran test firing missiles is provocative rather than a warning about what might happen, including exploding a nuclear bomb if the shooting starts.
I often wonder just how much this “selling Democracy” bullshit isn’t really about selling weapons. Clearly, the weapons makers, and sellers are the only ones who benefit.
Thank you Mr. Loeb. The buck indeed stops at Obama’s desk. I don’t think Obama knows what he is. Left, Center, Right depends upon what the situation requires. You are right that problem is the preservation of markets for the defense contractors. But the influence of the neocons cannot be minimized. I have never seen any president so weak as Obama. Whatever hold the neocons/Israel have on him must be really strong.
Mr. Nobel must be turning in his grave at the exploits of the Nobel Peace Prize winner. Nobel committee should show some guts and withdraw that prize. No person has been more undeserving than Barack Obama.
Mr. Obama knows full well what he is. As we called people like him in the 60’s-’70’s, a puppet for the status quo; the oligarchs.
A very interesting post and I must say the calibre of those replying is some of the best I’ve ever read. I would only like to add, that this upcoming election for president gives the American People little choice as Hillary is nothing more than a republican in drag. I can only hope for a Michael Bloomberg type to emerge to run the neocons and the wannabes out of town.
I was always wondering myself if Mayor Bloomberg would throw his hat in the ring….he has so many of the characteristics that would make an outstanding president.
I think he would run a tight ship…he would not be on the take…and he would make very smart decisions for us, going forward…decisions that could help lead us out of the mess we are in.
Unfortunately, i have heard through the rumor mill…that he is not going to run….so that is that.
I’ve been getting emails from various Democrat organizations asking me for my opinion as to what Democrats should do. From now on, I’m just going to refer them to Robert Parry and consortiumnews.com.
What an excellent article , Mr Parry, truly first rate.
Might I add that all these dubious “regime change” policies do not just occur in a financial vacuum….That they have drained our treasury of tens of trillions of dollars we simply do not have.
With our National Debt fast approaching the “20 trillion dollar” mark, this Neocon recklessness is sending our nation over the precipice into insolvency.
All this” regime change”…over there….has left Uncle Sam….with “chump change” in his pocket.
I imagine dealing with the” Neocons” is like dealing with a heroin addict…only the addiction is not to heroin….but to “war”….They don’t care how much it costs us to keep their wars going…they just want more and more and more of it.
I hope our President, with what time he has left…can make inroads into derailing these juggernauts of conflict…and stem the tide of absolute havoc they are raining down, not only on our balance sheet, but the tens of millions of innocent people made victim by it..
Good until the last part. “I hope our President, with what time he has leftâ€¦can make inroads into derailing these juggernauts of conflictâ€¦and stem the tide of absolute havoc they are raining down, not only on our balance sheet, but the tens of millions of innocent people made victim by it..”
7 years wasted so far as the vast majority is concerned. What makes you think things will change now that Obama is within a year of making the BIG BUCKS from ‘what-if’ speeches to the BIG CORPORATIONS (most will be banks, tech, pharmacy and, I almost forgot, war corps!) Has “Hope” numbed your brain? I think not, if you would just think about it.
No Skip, ” hope ” has not numbed my brain..
.Its just that there is only one person, that I know of…with the “power”…..the sweeping authority….to make a difference in that arena…and it is the President of the United States….aside from the President…there is not much ….anyone else can do.
At least not at this time.
“The United Kingdom may vote to leave the E.U., removing one of the original anchors of the European project which â€” for all its faults â€” has deservedly gotten credit for replacing a history of European blood-soaked conflicts with peaceful cooperation”
Although I applaud your hard work Mr. Parry, I have to disagree with this point.
Regulations about the height of tractor seats and milk quotas do not prevent wars. And when talking about potential wars, we have to be precise: if a risk of war existed after WWII, it wasn’t between France and Germany, but between Europe and the Soviet Union.
The EU-bringing-peace myth is also a generally accepted idea here in France, but if a war was avoided, it was thanks to NATO and the Warsaw pact, each side having a sufficient amount of thermonuclear ICBMs to blow up the planet several times over, reaching a terror equilibrium: a mutually assured destruction.
The European construction has nothing to do with peace. In fact, the situation didn’t escalate to war despite the Berlin blockade in 1948, the East-Berlin in in 1953, while the Treaty of Rome creating the European Economic Community would be signed several years later in 1957. And even then, we didn’t see any Western intervention to support the 1968 uprising in Prague.
It doesn’t mean there are no wars, but they’re not military wars. Here’s what FranÃ§ois Mitterrand, the longest standing French president (14 years) said to his biographer, a few months before dying of cancer:
“France doesn’t know it, but she’s at war with America. Yes, a permanent war, a vital war, an economic war, a war without deaths. Yes, the Americans are very tough, they’re voracious, they want unchallenged power over the world. This is an unknown war, a permanent war, without deaths apparently but a war to the death”.
It is a fact that the American planners were big proponents of a supranational Europe. The Union of European federalists was secretly financed by the OSS via the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Spy chiefs like William J. Donovan became the chairman of the American Committee on United Europe, the vice chairman was none other than Allen Dulles.
The head of the Ford Foundation, ex-OSS officer Paul Hoffman, doubled as head of ACUE in the late Fifties. The State Department also played a role. A memo from the European section, dated June 11, 1965, advises the vice-president of the European Economic Community, Robert Marjolin, to pursue monetary union by stealth.
It recommends suppressing debate until the point at which “adoption of such proposals would become virtually inescapable”.
Churchill was set aside from his Council of Europe project when the US understood he just wanted a Europe of international cooperation, not a supranational Europe.
One could say the European integration is something good based on the ‘strength through unity’ motto that everyone knows. But the same cannot be said for the 35th of the 36 Chinese Stratagems.
This is exactly what De Gaulle warned against in 1962 when there were only six member-states.
Amongst those six, none was sufficiently powerful to impose a policy to the other 5 if said policy was against their vital interests. In such a situation, there would be no politics, and the six would have to turn to an external federating power, a non-European ‘referee’ i,.e. the US and lose their independence in the process.
The more member-states you add, the more you have conflicting, irreducible interests at play, the situation worsens.
Despite knowing this, every US president has called for continued European integration: Bush Jr. said that all ex-USSR country had to have the chance to join NATO and the EU (apparently, this isn’t contradictory), Clinton and Obama asked for Turkey to join the EU, Obama asked Cameron not to hold the Brexit referendum.
Considerable sums were spent to “save” the euro, and not without US pressure. The common currency unit is structurally flawed and urgently needs the EU to transform itself into a federal state to survive. One cannot coherently support the euro without supporting a federal Europe, which Eisenhower called for already in 1953.
Interestingly enough, this is a direct contradiction with the arguments of the French left presented to ask the French to votes ‘yes’ for the Maastricht treaty 1992.
The arguments were that it wad absolutely had to have a united Europe, less we be outclassed by the US and the emerging Asia.
Considering the EU was never capable of opposing itself to Washington, on the contrary, this makes it pretty much a Judeo-Christian alliance against the Muslim world, the Chinese..and Russia since Putin refuses the country to be plundered by the Harvard boys.
The EU and NATO is two sides of the same coin.
We here in Europe must urgently abandon this racialist alliance for the sake of peace. We already have a taste of what’s to come with the Ukraine dossier.
By belonging to the EU and NATO, we’re supposed to have a shared foreign policy with the Baltics who have a notorious hardline against Russia, despite the fact the Russians suffered too under the Soviets.
If you look at discussion boards focusing on Europe/the UE, you would be surprised by the number of forum-goers who see in Islam and Muslims the biggest threat against humanity.
They’re all in favor of dropping more bombs on the Middle-East and removing dictators allied to Putin, it doesn’t matter if this causes untold tragedies and waves of refugees.
If the UK liberates itself from the EU and this kind of thinking, I’m all for it.
TÃ©hÃ¨f >> “If the UK liberates itself from the EU and this kind of thinking, Iâ€™m all for it.”
â€œTwo centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensionsâ€
â€• Frantz Fanon
Yes, so it is.
And on top of all that “we” – that is Germany’s elites – profit from what used to be called mercantilism against the rest of the union. The best example being “our” abysmal dealings with the Greek crisis.
The whole economy was trimmed to export, export, export under SchrÃ¶der, while social services and wages were eroded, regular jobs transformed into precarious ones and voilÃ – we out-compete the rest of the union – exporting our unemployment, mainly to the south, where whole industries die off as a consequence. Now their populations are still and increasingly burdened with the fall-out from reckless banking endeavours from the last crisis, the austerity measures making it all infinitely worse and their governments have no sovereignty left to do something about it.
The German population is being manipulated into believing they would be profiting from the injustice, the less sharp even into seeing Germany as the the benevolent and blameless saviour of the lazy and corrupt.
Meanwhile Merkel-posters decorated with Hitler moustache are being carried through Greek streets – well done on creating a peaceful atmosphere…
And it was the supposed left (social democrats/green party) who did the groundwork for it, same “paradoxon” as SchrÃ¶der/Fischer driving us into our first post-WWII illegal war of aggression against former Yugoslavia. Now we’re active in ten theatres and proud of it – disgusting!
I’m quite convinced that the population would have protested (much, much more), had it been the conservatives trying to sell all that.
I just forgot to say in regard to the title of this article, that producing weapons and sending weapons to war zones, where they are distributed to criminals and religious fanatics, is a much more significant enabler of atrocities than any petty political scheming and diplomatic maneuvering.
Yes, weaponizing ethno-religious disputes can never lead to democracy or justice, because it desertifies the very soil needed by democracy, amplifying tensions so that generations without tension must pass before democracy could begin. The US reliance upon military adventurism in foreign policy proves the abject hypocrisy and dishonesty of all its foreign policy propaganda. Its motives could not be more foul, its dishonesty could not be greater.
Why should the USA alienate its most important customer? The US economy is depending on weapons sales and most of the weapons go to the Middle East. In 2015 US companies secured deals worth 36.2 billion US$, more than half of global weapons deals. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE are the main buyers, Lockheed Martin, Boing, and Raytheon the main suppliers.
Raytheon provides the insane amount of 13,000 TOW missiles to Saudi Arabia — one can easily guess where the TOWâ€™s will be used. Saudi Arabia spends 80 billion US$ (a quarter of the budget and double the expenditures on health care and social programs) for the military. It has bought F-15s (156 and another 84 ordered)0 , 442 M1A2 Abrams tanks, 82 AH64D Apache helicopters, and just signed an 11.25 billion US$ deal about four state-of-the-art Lockheed Martin multimission warships.
One has to say it clearly: The wars in the Middle East and elsewhere are desperately needed to keep the US economy going. Criticizing the US policy of inciting wars and spreading chaos is a stab in the back of the weapons industry, which is the main pillar of US American prosperity!
Missing from VOA and the rest of the Western mediaâ€™s coverage of the mass executions was any of the indignation that usually accompanies articles on Wall Street, Washington, London, and Brusselsâ€™ enemies when they carry out acts of perceived reprisals against mostly Western-backed political opponents â€“ reprisals that usually include sentences much less severe than execution, for crimes usually much more severe than political activism.
Also missing from Western reports was any attempt to analyze or question reports coming out of Saudi Arabia â€“ such as claims that most of those executed were â€œSunni militantsâ€ or â€œhad ties to Al Qaeda,â€ a terrorist organization whose affiliates were just invited to Riyadh to consort with the Saudi government regarding ongoing militant operations Riyadh is underwriting in Syria, Iraq, and beyond â€“ Al Qaeda itself being a gestation of joint US-Saudi conspiring beginning as early as the 1980s.
Executing Political Opponents
Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr may or may not have been receiving foreign backing to help undermine the Saudi regime. He clearly represented regional aspirations to check and balance US hegemony and the regimes the US has used to maintain, expand, or claw back that hegemony â€“ including Saudi Arabia.
However, his execution, had it been a prominent political leader in Syria, or Russia, would have resulted in widespread, coordinated condemnation across the West among political circles, throughout the media, and among alleged â€œhuman rights advocacyâ€ groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Instead, for Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, there was only complicit silence. And while Western â€œhuman rights advocacyâ€ groups like Amnesty International did indeed point out that Saudi Arabia was putting to death a political prisoner, such reports were selectively glossed over, rendered as minor footnotes in Western reports, or ignored altogether, and the usual threats, sanctions, and direct action wielded by Western politicians against nations like Syria, Russia, Iran, or China, utterly absent before and after Saudi Arabiaâ€™s mass executions […]
That the Western political establishment and the media monopolies that serve as its voice, selectively report on and exploit perceived human rights abuses in some nations, while intentionally muting, spinning, or otherwise covering up very real abuses by other nations, illustrates perfectly the West’s selective enforcement of what it claims are its central organizing principles – democracy, freedom, and the defense of human rights.
Saudi Arabia’s Growing Body Count
By Tony Cartalucci
Robert Parry’s article “How Obama Enables Atrocities”
(above) places recent events in context.
The unity (or disunity) of an Administration’s
policies are not underscored. From all appearances,
there just “happen” to be powerful “neocons” now
expanded to include “liberal warhawks” just running
around and controlling the world. As Gabriel
Kolko argued in 1969 in THE ROOTS OF AMERICAN
FOREIGN POLICY… this is legislatively and structurally
an impossible. (The previous name of the “Defense
Department—- “The War Department— was more
appropriate…) The buck does indeed stop
with the President. All US Presidents seem to have
had different personalities but the end is the same.
FDR made everyone feel that he was really on their
side, Truman on being made aware that the USSR
was sending its US Ambassador to the 1945
San Francisco Conference to set up the UN instead
of the Foreign Minister (Molotov) remarked to his cabinet
“If the USSR doesn’t want to come and join us, they
can go to hell!”…It must clear that the responsibility
is with the Chief Executive. It must also be
clear that Barack Obama is more at the center than
than the “liberal” that he would like some to believe .
(Note also the Epilogue in the same Kolko work cited warning
against “accidental” tranformations and result specious
Add to Parry’s article the comments of “Abe” as well
as its link to an article by Tony Cartalucci and
the reader approaches a more profound understanding.
The issue is not only “oil” but the preservation of markets
for defence contractors. These are Israel, Saudi Arabia,
Egypt. Although “regime change” is indeed the popularized
slogan, weapons sales may be closer to the truth.
None of the Shi’ite nations or their partners is a recipient
of weapons from the US and none will be.
—-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
Well, let’s be fair. David Cameron did say he was “disappointed” with His Majesty King Salman. Strong words indeed.
Just look at the US history of involvement in Central and South America. So what’s new?
I have long wondered what the Neocon “endgame” is in promoting chaos in a chaotic area of the world. Do they have some ludicrous notion that they can control and contain these multiple and enlarging conflicts? Africa, the Middle East–and now Europe is feeling the effects of this disastrous policy. Are they just going to throw up their hands and say, “Oh, well, whatever,” as this becomes a worldwide conflict?
Kristin, The book THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: THE RISE OF DISASTER CAPITALISM, by Naomi Klein provides the answer/explanation. It was published in 2007, and available in paperback 2008. That may seem like a long time ago, but her analysis up to that point fits well with what has happened since.
This is â€œDisaster Capitalism,â€ as described by Naomi Klein (Shock Doctrine). The US empire has vassals and colonies, called allies and friends. Everyone else is a competitor who has to be destroyed by destabilization or military intervention. In addition to that, the US empire needs to expand constantly, because without expansion it would collapse due to the inherent inefficiencies and contradictions. The US economy is a pyramid (Ponzi) scheme and without new input it is doomed.
I just read an interesting comparison of government debts. In 2016 the USA has to face 3,451 billion US$ bond/bill redemptions and 236 billion US$ coupon payments (+14 percent). The respective numbers for Russia are 8 and 9 billion US$ (-38 percent).
US foreign policy is very logical and a perfect reflection of how the system works.
I understand the concept of disaster capitalism, but even that has to face at some point that the situation quickly escalates out of control. We seem to be looking at a massive escalation of blowback, and yet these Masters of the Universe are clamoring for more. Historically these interventions continue reverberating for decades and even centuries. At some point even capitalism can’t control the chaos. Or do they think about that?
The “elites” economic policy is aimed at reducing world population. Only reversing that will remove the inevitability of WWIII.
Capitalism does not intend to control the chaos, it is the chaos. It is in essence the freedom to grab as much as one can get by whatever means. No need to abide laws, the lawyers and pro-business Supreme Court justices will make everything right in the end.
These “Masters of the Universe,â€œ which you mentioned, are high risk players who donâ€™t mind the occasional adrenalin kick. They live in their exclusive world of smugness, pomposity, insolence, narcissism and one cannot compare them to normal people. Obama is a relatively restraint exemplar of this subspecies and one gets the impression that he just want to get it over and done with, to have an easy life from then on as an ex-president.
The “Masters of the Universe” are deeply immoral and donâ€™t care about the fallout from their plots though they probably have organized their personal escape routes just in case….
Neoconservative and neoliberal and Republican and Democrat and whatever. Our country is a nation of war whose goal is world domination and total control of the Earth’s resources run by rich bankers and rich corporations who control a facade of government passed off as a democracy.
I voted for President Obama twice since he was the lesser of the two evils. It’s disappointing that he’s really a just right of center republican. In 2008 what we needed was another Franklin Roosevelt but Obama fell far, far short of this. The only hope we have in 2016 is Bernie. I’ll happily vote for him. If Hillary gets the nomination I’ll sadly vote against her opponent.
“… In the end, Bernie Sanders will play the lesser-evil card and plea for us all to hold our noses and vote for Hillary Clinton, who guarantees a future of more war and economic inequality….”
Why Bernie Sanders is a Dead End
Heâ€™s a Loser, Baby
I can’t get over the fact that Bernie Sanders said we should give more responsibility for ME security to the Saudis. If he were elected, his presence would completely shut down dissent from the left (as Obama’s presence in office has) while he’s locked in battle with a resentful Congress and the ME wars are exacerbated by the barbaric Saudi and Israeli operations. He would be a complete disaster for this country.
Unfortunately, his candidacy has some legs for that reason. If no viable Republican candidate emerges, Bernie just might get to run and to win.
The lesser of two evils is still evil.
That is why I never voted for Obama.
Right on. Obama is just plain evil. I voted Green rather than for the double talking crook Obama. Bernie Sanders will get the White House, not the wicked witch Billery.
I don’t get your logic for rejecting lesser evil voting. Assume you are offered a choice of either being shot by a shotgun or punched in the face. Then told that if you refuse to choose, a cointoss decides. Your lesser evil is still evil thinking means you can’t choose either the gun or the fist, leading to a coin toss giving you a 50% chance of dying. A death easily avoided.
You want this, really? Cause that’s just sick. Or maybe a few more words could make your thinking rational?
Your thinking of holding your nose and voting for what you describe as the best of the worst is precisely what has put our country where it is today. Do the math. Continuing to add negative numbers will never bring you to the positive side of the equation. You just go ahead and vote for “we came, we saw, he died Hillary. But you will need to hold your nose as the stink of murder and torture will be all over that vote. But please while you are making your decision just ask yourself what in Hillary’s public record deserves your vote?
At least the NYT ran this quite accurate editorial today: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/opinion/saudi-arabias-barbaric-executions.html?_r=0 and there are indications that European sympathies now are more with Iran than Syria: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/world/europe/europe-saudi-arabia-iran.html .
Frantz Fanon (1925â€”1961)
Frantz Fanon was one of a few extraordinary thinkers supporting the decolonization struggles occurring after World War II, and he remains among the most widely read and influential of these voices. His brief life was notable both for his whole-hearted engagement in the independence struggle the Algerian people waged against France and for his astute, passionate analyses of the human impulse towards freedom in the colonial context.
Tracing the development of his writings helps explain how and why he has become an inspirational figure firing the moral imagination of people who continue to work for social justice for the marginalized and the oppressed.
While the attention to oppression of colonized peoples that was to dominate his later works was present in this first book, its call for a new understanding of humanity was undertaken from the subject-position of a relatively privileged Martinican citizen of France, in search of his own place in the world as a black man from the French Caribbean, living in France. His later works, notably Lâ€™An Cinq, de la RÃ©volution AlgÃ©rienne (A Dying Colonialism) and the much more well-known Les DamnÃ©s de la Terre (The Wretched of the Earth), go beyond a preoccupation with Europeâ€™s pretensions to being a universal standard of culture and civilization, in order to take on the struggles and take up the consciousness of the colonized â€œnativesâ€ as they rise up and reclaim simultaneously their lands and their human dignity. It is Fanonâ€™s expansive conception of humanity and his decision to craft the moral core of decolonization theory as a commitment to the individual human dignity of each member of populations typically dismissed as â€œthe massesâ€ that stands as his enduring legacy.
Fanon dissects in all of his major works the racist and colonizing project of white European culture, that is, the totalizing, hierarchical worldview that needs to set up the black human being as â€œnegroâ€ so it has an â€œotherâ€ against which to define itself. Both the Algerian and Haitian declarations are powerful decolonizing moves because they undermine the very Manichean structure that Fanon identifies as the foundation of the colonial world.
While Lâ€™An Cinq offers the kinds of insights one might hope for from a historical document, Les DamnÃ©s de la Terre is a more abstract analysis of colonialism and revolution. It has been described as a handbook for black revolution. The book ranges over the necessary role Fanon thinks violence must play in decolonization struggles, the false paths decolonizing nations take when they entrust their eventual freedom to negotiations between a native elite class and the formers colonizers instead of mobilizing the masses as a popular fighting force, the need to recreate a national culture through a revolutionary arts and literature movement, and an inventory of the psychiatric disorders that colonial repression unleashes. Part of its shocking quality, from a philosophical perspective, is alluded to in the preface that Jean-Paul Sartre wrote for the book: it speaks the language of philosophy and deploys the kind of Marxist and Hegelian arguments one might expect in a philosophy of liberation, but it does not speak to the West. It is Fanon conversing with, advising, his fellow Third-World revolutionaries.
In Paris, the heart of the former empire that Fanon opposed so vigorously in his short life, his philosophy of humanist liberation and his commitment to the moral relevance of all people everywhere have been taken up by his daughter Mireille Fanon. She heads the Fondation Frantz Fanon and follows in her fatherâ€™s footsteps with her work on questions of international law and human rights, supporting the rights of migrants, and championing struggles against the impunity of the powerful and all forms of racism.
6. References and Further Reading
a. Primary Sources
Fanon, Frantz. Lâ€™An Cinq, de la RÃ©volution AlgÃ©rienne. Paris: FranÃ§ois Maspero, 1959. [Published in English as A Dying Colonialism, trans. Haakon Chevalier (New York: Grove Press, 1965).]
Fanon, Frantz. Les DamnÃ©s de la Terre. Paris: FranÃ§ois Maspero, 1961. [Published in English as The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Constance Farrington (New York: Grove Press, 1965).]
Fanon, Frantz. Peau Noire, Masques Blancs. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1952. [Published in English as Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles Lam Markmann (New York: Grove Press, 1967).]
Fanon, Frantz. Pour la RÃ©volution Africaine. Paris: FranÃ§ois Maspero, 1964. [Published in English as Toward the African Revolution, trans. Haakon Chevalier (New York: Grove Press, 1967).]
b. Secondary Sources
Cherki, Alice. Frantz Fanon: A Portrait. Trans. Nadia Benabid. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006.
A biography of Fanon by one of his co-workers at the Blida-Joinville hospital in Algeria and fellow activists for Algerian liberation.
Gibson, Nigel C. Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2003.
An introduction to Fanonâ€™s ideas with emphasis on the role that dialectic played in his development of a philosophy of liberation.
Gibson, Nigel C. (ed.). Rethinking Fanon: The Continuing Dialogue. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 1999.
A collection of some of the enduring essays on Fanon, with attention to his continuing relevance.
Gordon, Lewis R. Fanon and the Crisis of European Man: An Essay on Philosophy and the Human Sciences. New York: Routledge, 1995.
An argument in the Fanonian vein that bad faith in European practice of the human sciences has impeded the inclusive humanism Fanon called for.
Gordon, Lewis R., T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, and RenÃ©e T. White (eds.). Fanon: A Critical Reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1996.
Essays on Africana philosophy, neocolonial and postcolonial studies, human sciences, and other academic discourses that place Fanonâ€™s work in its appropriate and illuminating contexts.
Hoppe, Elizabeth A. and Tracey Nicholls (eds.). Fanon and the Decolonization of Philosophy. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010.
Essays by contemporary Fanon scholars exploring the enduring relevance to philosophy of Fanonâ€™s thought.
Sekyi-Out, Ato. Fanonâ€™s Dialectic of Experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.
A hermeneutic reading of all of Fanonâ€™s texts as a single dialectical narrative.
Zahar, Renate. Frantz Fanon: Colonialism and Alienation. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974.
An analysis of Fanonâ€™s writings through the concept of alienation.