>Yearning To Breathe Free

>Apparently the Middle East is exploding, as people who have been oppressed for generations take to the streets. What started in Tunisia has spread to Egypt and now, Yemen:

Thousands of Yemenis are demonstrating in the capital Sanaa, calling on Ali Abdullah Saleh, president for more than 30 years, to step down.

This comes after mass protests in Egypt and a popular uprising in Tunisia that ousted its long-time leader.

Yemeni opposition members and youth activists gathered in four parts of the city, including Sanaa University, chanting anti-government slogans.

This is exciting to watch and also a little frightening. The U.S. government has always supported dictatorships around the world, and this region is no exception. I get it: we prefer to work with totalitarian regimes, because from our point of view they create stability, albeit by oppressive means. As far as American interests are concerned — and the interests of our multinationals like ExxonMobil and Chevron — the ends justify the means. We need strong, authoritarian leaders who can keep a lid on things so we can go about our resource plundering, and we will intervene to make sure it happens (Shah of Iran, anyone?)

The results of our efforts have been predictable: hatred for our meddling. Hijackings in the ‘70s, terror attacks on our overseas installations in the ‘80s and ’90s, and finally, the 9/11 attacks at home in 2001.

They didn’t hate us for our freedom. They hated us for standing in the way of theirs.

It’s been really hard to find news about what’s happening now, save a one or two minute sound-bite. I found the most extensive coverage on the BBC and DemocracyNow! That just figures: perhaps the most important event in the world is taking place while our news media still rehashes the State of the Union address. Clueless, as always.

This region of the world has always been a powder keg. But the Saudis have got to be quaking in their $17,000 boots. The hypocritical Saudi princes, presiding over the austere, puritanical branch of Islam called Wahhabism while living a lavish, jet-setting life that includes flying palaces, diamond-encrusted Mercedes, and hand-holding with the infidel American president, an old family friend. The entire Arabian peninsula is a powder keg and it’s shamefully irresponsible that our news media gives these events little more than a passing mention.

If a popular uprising does overtake the Arabian peninsula I wonder what this means for our energy supply (remember 1973 and 1979)? We have over 100,000 troops in the region, still: we still have troops in Iraq and we still have troops in Afghanistan. Will we get dragged into this? How involved are we already? What’s going on?

Anyone?

8 Comments

Filed under Middle East, Saudi Arabia

8 responses to “>Yearning To Breathe Free

  1. >For a look at American Involvement with Saudi in particular, see SLEEPING WITH THE DEVIL by Robert Baer.They didn’t hate us for our freedom. They hated us for standing in the way of theirs.BRILLIANT!I wonder if a popular uprising in Saudi would be in search of "freedom" or inspired by reactionary wahabiism. What does "freedom" mean in the context of Islam?If anything exciting happens over there, you can bet we'll be involved. We and/or the Brits have been up to our eyeballs in this shit since WW I.I see no reason to be optimistic about anything, anywhere.JzB

  2. >What does "freedom" mean in the context of Islam?Well and not just Islam but the radicalism that has taken root there, and the anti-American, anti-Western feeling which has taken root there, and Israel and Iran … all of that plays into this big mix that can really be quite frightening. So many players trying to move the chess pieces around.I just read that Mubarak's son has fled to London.

  3. >Wait, the Yemenis have nearly as many guns per capita as the US. Wouldn't their "Second Amendment" solution have prevented any tyranny?Wasn't that the same way all those armed Afghand and Iraqis were kept free?The problem is that the British were involved in Yemen back in the 60s (It was called Aden then).It's amusing how the US likes to stumble into the messes others have left behind (Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and now Yemen).

  4. >What’s going on?Anyone? There you go again. Blaming America first. Exceptionalism! It's not torture when we do it!/wingnutsYou sound very shrill. The sensible thing to do is compromise with our fiends on the other side of the aisle (i.e. keep doing the same things that keeps ours paychecks coming)./sensible centrists~

  5. >(i.e. keep doing the same things that keeps ours paychecks coming).Paychecks? What is this thing you call "paychecks"? I have not heard of this strange thing.

  6. >Great post (and great minds think alike!) I hit on this earlier today because I believe what's happening in the Arabic peninsula could ultimately spread to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Pakistan is the rosetta stone for our undoing, in my opinion.A nuclear armed regime in league with terrorists, then falling to militants who hand those nukes OVER to said terrorists, that would make our concerns about Iran a moot case."They hate us for standing in the way of theirs" is absolutely gold!Dammit! Why didn't I think of that!

  7. >Great Post. As with Tunisia, America has a chance to do something different in Egypt, but I am afraid that the Saudis and the Israelis both see the status quo of Mubarak as the keystone their interests.We shall see, but historically, the pursuit of folly has always been the easiest policy. I hope this isn't the future here.

  8. > Pakistan is the rosetta stone for our undoing, in my opinion.You could be right. I forgot about Pakistan and its nukes.