Remarking on Muammar Gadhafi’s death on Thursday, President Barack Obama hailed it as a warning to Middle Eastern dictatorships “the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end.” But he obscured his administration’s own commitment to authoritarianism in the region.
Without mentioning either, his warning is thought to have been directed at Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, two autocrats who have been brutally cracking down on peaceful antigovernment protests. “Across the Arab world,” he said, “citizens have stood up to claim their rights. Youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and those leaders that try to deny their dignity will not succeed.”
In Yemen though, Washington’s demonstrated preference has been for Saleh since the beginning. Obama continued his predecessor’s ramped up support of the dictator, aiding the regime with money and weapons while he implemented an intensified covert war in Yemen, using unmanned drone attacks as their primary weapon.
Blatant, horrendous atrocities against peaceful Yemeni protesters pushed the administration to call for Saleh to step down, adopting a Gulf state plan to give him immunity for his war crimes and form an opposition cabinet. Those calls were tempered ever since the successful assassination of US citizen Anwar al Awlaki by US-operated Predator drones. Obama administration officials heaped praise on the Yemeni government immediately following the Awlaki killing, knowing full well that a democratic change in Yemen’s leadership is likely to put checks on US domination of the Gulf country and restrictions on breaches of sovereignty like drone attacks.
Yemen is still set to receive $120.2 million in US aid in fiscal year 2012, the largest slice of which is in security and military assistance.
In Bahrain, Obama has been similarly on the side of the sort of “iron fist” he railed against on Thursday. In June, the Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa visited the White House to have Obama “reaffirm the strong US commitment to Bahrain,” even as the regime had been gunning down unarmed activists with live ammunition, unleashing “live rounds, metallic pellets, rubber bullets, and teargas” at protestors for months, and violently suppressing pro-democracy demonstrations at every turn.
The Bahrain dictatorship has long been an ally of Washington. The Pentagon recently sent dozens of American tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopter gunships, thousands of .38 caliber pistols and millions of rounds of ammunition, from .50 caliber rounds used in sniper rifles and machine guns to bullets for handguns.
International pressure and criticism of Obama’s partnership in suppressing democracy in Bahrain forced them this week to place a hold on an additional order of $53 million in arms and military equipment. Bahrain, too, is set to receive tens of millions of dollars in US aid and security assistance next year.
In Egypt, the Obama administration actively supported the long-time US ally and barbaric dictator Hosni Mubarak until the very end of his rule, which was brought about by embattled Egyptian protesters despite US backing of their dictator. Since Mubarak’s ouster, the Obama administration has been working hard to solidify the autocratic power structure and prevent authentic democracy.
The Obama administration’s support for the government of Iraq is also difficult to square with his professions of commitment to democracy. The leader of the puppet government we’ve set up there, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has circumvented Parliament, consolidated illegitimate power in a long trend of quasi-dictatorial behavior, harshly cracked down on peaceful activism, harassed and even attacked journalists that were critical of his regime, and has been accused of torturing prisoners in secret Iraqi jails.
In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, US envoy Ryan Crocker noted in 2009 that Maliki’s turn towards more centralized rule is “in US interest.” A deal is being finalized to send Iraq $82 million worth of military arms and equipment and it is set to receive $2.3 billion in US aid for 2012.
In Libya, Obama circumvented legal obligations to get Congressional approval for war in order to oust Gadhafi, who was indeed a dictator. But the US had supported Gadhafi up until the beginning of this year with both economic and military aid. In his place, Obama has helped put a questionable guild of tribal factions in power, whose commitment to democracy is nebulous at best and who committed serious crimes throughout their NATO-supported coup.
Syria’s Bashar al’ Assad, committing serious atrocities on activists for months, is perhaps the only dictatorship facing Arab Spring protests that Obama has not had a hand in supporting. Obama’s rhetorical pledges to support pro-democracy protests and be on the side of the people instead of the dictators are not enough to eclipse his administration’s enthusiastic commitment to tyranny throughout the region.
10 thoughts on “Gadhafi’s Death Prompts Pro-Arab Spring Lie From Obama”
How events would have unfolded in Libya sans a Western intervention, we'll never know. It doesn't matter, as now we are witnessing the recolonization of Libya by the West. This is NOT a victory for the Arab Spring. Using the Arab Spring as cover for an imperialist intervention to topple the long hated Gadhafi is just blatant opportunism.
Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy are responsible for the deaths in Libya since they rejected the African Union's attempt at negotiation.
A free and democratic middle east is not in the national interest of the U.S and especially Israel. It will bankrupt America's powerful war machine, and with it, the rest of the ailing economy that is hardly standing on it's feet at the moment.
While the Swedish social Democrats are divided by decpetions from high ranking individuals to baselment or if you will a social economic coruptions which has become a daily matter.., other social democrats defusing their anger at Swedish imigration laws wanting it to be changed totaly. While in general the left in Sweden is divided on almost all social economic and social political issues where the right religious liberals.., if you could call them that.., hand in hand with present US falisifid democrats and neo religious or otherwise growing neo fascism celeberating their victory in libya and perhaps their victory in next election in Sweden and other part of Europe.., the fact is that Kingdoms families in Sweden and other part of EU been in power for hundred of years rulling these countries..,
Lets dream impossible. One fine morning Isreal will call Iran and say, go ahead and get Neuclear power we do not have objection, call Abbas and ask you want Jerusalem, take it, call Asad, you want golan height ? Take it back. Whatever the arab world wants Israel will agree to it from A-Z on one condition only. Israel wil propose, lets create United States of Middle East and Africa and manage it like the EU is doing. Ceiling Imagination, lets say, all agree and they do it and decide its ok, good enough now we will sell oil US$ 500 per barrel. What happens to the USA. Well I don't think that will happen as I started with " Lets dream impossible". Who knows, it may one day.
The "iron fist inevitably coming to an end" is such (BS) bovine skatology. This (Libyan) "iron fist" came to an end not over human rights violations as stated by the administration but due to Khadaffi's decision to honor the Euro as the 'reserve currency' and a plan to nationalize oil production. As with Afghanistan's Taliban, deposed over al-Qaeda afilliation, while in reality deposed due to their decision to award Bridas of Argentina the Trans-Afghan-Pipeline development contract rather than UNOCAL. We now know that months prior to 9/11, a US State Department (Christina Rocca) official threatened Taliban during June of 2001 with these infamous words: "you either accept our carpet of gold or we we bury you in a carpet of bombs." A not so subtle reference to the failing TAP contract negotiations.
We must be suspicious of so-called humanitarion intervention that results in the deaths of large numbers of civilians.
The last thing the corrupt American government wants is real democracy in the Mid East.Like said we will never no what the Lybian people really wanted in the civil war NATO illegaly got involved in.It sickens me the way Obama and others act like they care.All they care about is doing what there bosses want.Ron Paul will change this and do his best to get rid of the coruption in the government.America would have been real friendly with anyone of these governments hade they been puppets.I and millions of people see right through the lies Obama and othewrs through at there people.America has drifted away from the free country it once was and its influence be it criminal is rubbing of on other governments.I'm Canadian I love my country but belive we need to stay out of Americas never ending wars.Canada was always liked by the rest of the world and we should not allow are actions to change that.I bet the people in the countrys stating the wars would vote against them.
One does not make an omelet without breaking any eggs. There is no perfect world out there, if you want to get rid of a terrorist who killed number of innocent people outside of his country and was ready to slaughter his own people as he had started to do so, no one will seat there to watch or imagine what if… If that happened between neighbors, authorities can charge anyone with non assistance to people. So why wouldn't other countries be charged for not assisting when we know the precedents of this killer as well as so many others still in power. So let's not go to easy judgments, we have our butts in comfort and don't know what it is to live in fear, poverty, without any liberty… in such case it's way too easy to blame whether we do or we don't. This blaming of governments, institutions is sickening because we are the government and institutions – we elect them???!!! So, the countries and the rebels who have the gots to do this dirty job, WELL DONE!!!
If you trust Obama you had to have trusted Bush II. I never trusted either one of them. I will harshly judge each one of them by their actions — each one of them has instigated reckless and deadly foreign adventurism.
The world would be a more peaceful place if the US wasn't sending so much war material abroad.
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