Humorously, the Obama Administration
is reportedly spearheading a global effort to deploy “shadow”
Internet and mobile phone systems that allow dissidents to undermine
“repressive” regimes. Could there be a bigger and more hilarious joke than that,
when the U.S. has been such a staunch patron of the most tyrannical rulers and autocracies
whenever it suited its interests? One needn't go back very far in history to
know this. Even now, its selective support of the indigenous Arab spring should
be enough to demonstrate its perfidy. For its loathing of Libya's Muammar Qaddafi and Syria's Bashar al-Assad over
their refusal to be U.S. puppets, America has daggers drawn to dethrone them.
But for Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh,
thanks to his role as an obeisant vassal fighting the battles of his American
lords on his territory, the U.S. has only kid gloves. The same can be said of
Bahrain's rulers, who for decades have lovingly hosted America's Fifth Fleet.
In fact, in the face of a
tidal wave of public revulsion over his almost four decades of repressive rule,
the U.S. has gone all out to save Saleh’s wobbly presidency. And when that
failed, it roped in the Arab Gulf monarchs to secure him a safe exit. If he's not
prepared to step down and wants to hold on to his shaky throne, when he's
finished recuperating in Saudi Arabia from an injury he suffered in a rebel
attack on his palace, who knows what will happen. In the meantime, his son,
who's holding the fort even though the vice president is supposed to run the
country in Saleh's absence, is on command of Yemen's crack Republican Guards. And
if it wasn't for American prodding of Saudi and UAE militaries, Bahrain's monarchy
would have already collapsed. In these cases, the Americans had no compunction
at all about foreign military intervention. Rather than making an issue of it,
the U.S. maintained a deafening, calculated and collusive muteness.
As a matter of fact, in Egypt
they cleaved to Hosni
Mubarak, their favorite Man
Friday in the Middle East, until it became obvious that his wobbling and repressive
autocracy would be swept away by an unrelenting public uprising. To stay on the
right side of this public fury, which they have since been trying to take
charge of by devious means, they had to change, albeit grudgingly.
Ironically enough, while
making much of an Arab
League resolution supporting their military campaign in Libya, not even a
single member of the League is a functioning democracy. All are appalling
tyrannical autocracies and despotic regimes. Congenitally intolerant of even a
speck of dissent and opposition, they are compulsive violators of human rights
and brutal repressors of civil liberties and political freedom. Yet as they
obediently play ball with them and follow U.S. dictates, the American overlords
are quite indulgent toward them.
So this shadow deployment of
communication systems is a huge charade. It is a huge trick by Washington and likely
its conspirator-allied Western capitals. It isn't what it is being touted to
be. But the intent goes deeper.
After discovering how social
networking is such an effective tool for mobilizing Arab youth in the ongoing
Arab spring, the Western adventurists, led by the Americans, have wistfully
latched on to this instrument in order to wield it for their own political purposes.
In the past, they would
surreptitiously set up dissident groups, incite exiles and mount inflammatory
broadcast networks to spur revolts against foreign governments they found
uncomfortable and too difficult to put up with. Now they seek to use social
But the times and conditions and
even peoples’ mindsets have changed. The new generation may not be as
subservient and as easily pliable as were their elders, as the U.S.-led West
learned to their great discomfort in Tunis and Egypt. Hence the unease with
which the Americans must be watching Yemen and Bahrain. In the long run, Syria
and Libya will be no different. So much is certain.
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