[News] The fast and furious Sunni revenge

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 18 14:28:33 EDT 2012

The fast and furious Sunni revenge
By Pepe Escobar
April 19, 2012


And the winner is ... the Gulf Counter-revolution Club (GCC), also 
known as Gulf Cooperation Council.

Their collective celebration party is this weekend's Bahrain Formula 
1 Grand Prix - complete with buckets of Moet and Ferraris oozing by. 
See it as a coterie of Sunni sheikhs telling the "international 
community" - we won; it's our way or the (boiling hot) desert highway.

How could they not gloat? The unruly waves of that noxious Arab 
Spring never had a chance of disturbing the placid waters of the 
Gulf. The arrival of the Fast White Man Formula 1 circus - a 
spectacular public relations operation - proves that the GCC is as 
"normal" as an Arab prince swinging through Monte Carlo with a blonde 
babe in a Ferrari 458.

Who cares that Bahrain activists sent a letter to Formula 1 emperor 
Bernie Ecclestone denouncing the state of siege in the placid 
al-Khalifa dynasty realm, the killing and torture of pro-democracy 
protesters, the thousands still in jail and the lack of the most 
basic human rights? This does not concern The Fast White Man.

Strategically, the GCC was invented - with essential American input - 
to defend those poor Gulf petromonarchies from the evils of Saddam 
Hussein and the Iranian Khomeinists, with its members comprising 
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. 
But when the 2011 Arab revolt exploded in Northern Africa - and then 
reached the Gulf, in Bahrain, and even generated protests in Oman and 
Saudi Arabia - the petromonarchies faced a larger evil that simply 
petrified them: democracy. The status quo had to be protected at all costs.

King Hamad al-Khalifa, technically, asked the GCC for "help" into 
smashing the Bahrain pro-democracy movement. The fact is the House of 
Saud already had masterminded an invasion across the causeway linking 
the capital Manama with Saudi Arabia. The Pearl roundabout in Manama 
- Bahrain's Tahrir Square - had to be literally razed to the ground 
by the al-Khalifa dictatorship to erase any physical memory of the protests.

For the GCC and its top dog the House of Saud, not only Bahrain was 
"contained", Saudi subjects were placated with billionaire bribes. 
Ample possibilities of profiting from the geopolitical black hole in 
northern Africa were also opened.

Ever since the House of Saud and the emir of Qatar, Hamad al-Thani, 
got their act together, they have been on a roll - recent rumors of a 
military coup against the emir notwithstanding. The "humanitarian" 
bombing of Libya represented the apex of the NATOGCC embrace - with 
Qatar in the forefront and the House of Saud sort of leading from behind.

Fabulous dividends ensued. Abdel Hakim Belhaj is now Tripoli's 
military commander; he's not only a former al-Qaeda-linked jihadi, 
but he's also very close to Qatari intelligence.

Now Qatar and Saudi Arabia replicate their geopolitical acumen in 
Syria: in the absence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
(NATO), they weaponize mercenaries - including jihadis and 
transplanted Libyan NATO rebels - forcing a civil war. Both the House 
of Saud and Qatar know that betting on inflaming sectarian 
Sunni-Shi'ite divisions always goes down well in Washington.

And there's also the extra bonus of further Wahhabi penetration in 
northern Africa - via the funding of Islamists in both Tunisia and 
Egypt. Qatar has offered $10 billion of investment in Egypt to the 
Muslim Brotherhood. And Qatar is now in fact controlling a great deal 
of Libya's energy resources - which means it will profit handsomely 
from gas exports to Europe.

Doha can be seen as a vastly more palatable version of Medieval 
Riyadh - complete with cutting-edge architecture and the Qatar 
Foundation imprinted on FC Barcelona's jerseys. The cunning emir is 
more than happy to play to the Anglo-French-American gallery and use 
all manner of Western trappings in the larger plot of a Gulf cover 
story for the Western redesign of Middle East geopolitics.

Essentially, call it the Fast and Furious Sunni Revenge. As the 
sheikhs see it, they are winning a sectarian war against Shi'ites in 
Iran; Shi'ites in Bahrain; Hezbollah in Lebanon; the Alawites in 
Syria; and they are on the offensive against the Shi'ite majority 
government in Baghdad.

For The Fast White Man, these are only distant rumblings in barbarous 
lands. What if anybody who buys a ticket to the Bahrain Grand Prix is 
supporting a murderous, regressive and locally unpopular Sunni 
dynasty? The sheikhs themselves couldn't care less either. So let's 
all have fun with the drenched-in-blood-and-champagne Arab Spring Grand Prix.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World 
is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone 
Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, 
just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com

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