By Chris Floyd
September 21, 2013 “Information Clearing House – 1. – As I’ve said many times before, anyone who wants trenchant insights into the realities of the Middle East — including its ever-fraught interactions with the Potomac Imperium — should be reading “the Angry Arab,” As’ad AbuKhalil. Just today, AbuKhalil provides two telling examples of the Imperium’s arrogance, indifference and — in the case of John Kerry — murderous ignorance in its ham-handed and iron-fisted attempts to bend the region and its peoples to the Domination Agenda of our American elites.
First, AbuKhalil passes along a report from a correspondent on the latest manifestation of our noble Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s attempts to foster democracy and freedom in Bahrain. As you might recall, the noble laureate’s noble allies, the democratic, freedom-loving, head-chopping, woman-hating Saudi royals, sent troops into Bahrain in 2011 to help that nation’s royal ruler — a fellow sectarian — put down an outbreak of Arab Spring fever and violently crush a popular movement that was seeking, well, more freedom and democracy and opportunity.
Once this uppityness had been squelched — in the usual ham-handed, iron-fisted fashion — the United States brokered a “national dialogue” between opposition leaders and the regime, which many promises of “reform” coming from the latter. It goes without saying that there has been precious little “reform” produced by this process, which has dragged on month after month. It has however produced the inevitable radicalization among some opposition groups who, seeing the continuing ineffectiveness of “working within the system” have turned increasingly to violent protest.
(Of course, one of the main features of US foreign policy in our Age of Terror has been its remarkable ability to foment radical extremism and violent retaliation to the machinations of the Imperium and its satraps. One might be even be tempted to call this a feature, not a bug, of the Terror War system, producing as it does copious amounts of fear and chaos to “justify” an ever-increasing — and ever-more profitable — aggrandizement of elite power.)
This week, the Laureate’s friends in Bahrain arrested one of the leading opposition figures taking part in the “national dialogue,” Khalil Al Marzooq. The charges were specious, to say the least. As the Washington Post reports, Al Marzooq was charged with “inciting terrorism” for the heinous crime of waving the flag of a militant group — in order to outline the difference between their violence and the peaceful approach of his party, Al-Wefaq. As the Post notes, Al Marzooq called on the crowd attending his speech to “persist with your nonviolence.”
This then is the “terrorist” that Bahrain’s leaders have arrested. In response — as you might expect, if you were an ordinary person with common sense — Al-Wefaq and other opposition parties have withdrawn from the “national dialogue” in protest at this repression. How can you have a good-faith dialogue when one side is arresting the very people it is meant to be in dialogue with? You can’t, of course.
So who is to blame for stopping the “dialogue,” and what needs to be done to restart it? Well, if you were an ordinary person with common sense, the answer to these questions would be obvious. The Bahraini regime broke off the dialogue by arresting Al Marzooq on trumped-up charges; the way to resume the dialogue is to release him from prison.
But this has not been the response of the most enlightened and progressive Administration ever to grace the greensward of the White House. No, this is the response of Barack Obama (or rather, one of his mouthpieces): the Administration is “disappointed that opposition groups have suspended their involvement in the national dialogue” and urges them to sit back down with the regime that is arresting them. And in return … well, nothing.
AbuKhalil posts the long, surreal exchange between increasingly incredulous reporters and the Obama mouthpiece who adamantly refuses to express even the slightest tincture of disappointment with the Bahraini regime for arresting a non-violent opposition leader for advocating non-violence. Over and over, the reporters give her the opportunity to be “even-handed,” to claim the vaunted “center ground” that is the holy grail of Washington PR imagery. But she will have none of it. All she will say is that the Administration will “raise the case” with its pals in Bahrain.
But the reporters spot a flaw in this empty phraseology: “It’s important to know whether you’re going to call on the Bahrainis to release this guy, or whether you think that this arrest was justified. … You could just go and say, ‘Hey, good job, well done, we think that was a really good move.'”
But the mouthpiece will not be drawn. “I’m not going to preview that with you.”
AbuKhalil’s Bahraini correspondent sums it up well:
“The US strategy for dealing with Bahrain is quite clear: the goal is to keep the situation under control. So long as the opposition is taking part in some dialogue, it is under control. Withdrawing means that they are back on the streets. … Basically, as a people, we are not allowed to resist, in any way – whether it is by protesting, or boycotting a sham dialogue that is not even with the regime because of an arrest.”
Yes, that is pretty much the point of the Imperium’s policies across the board: “You are not allowed to resist.” Even non-violently. Even in the name of freedom. “You are not allowed to resist.”
2. – But for a chilling glimpse of the mindset of these Masters of the Universe, the dominance junkies who direct the affairs of the world’s most armed and dangerous state, AbuKhalil points us to an overlooked remark buried deep beneath the slabs of dross dumped by John Kerry during a press appearance this week in Paris.
Kerry is asked by a French questioner about the risk to religious minorities — particularly Christians — from the American-backed rebels in Syria. The questioner notes that “two bishops of Aleppo … were kidnapped today [by a sectarian rebel group]” and “Maaoula, an all-Christian city without any strategic interest, has been invaded by Islamist rebels.” The questioner then provides a striking larger context to the question, saying that “one of the main results, unfortunately, of seven years of American and English occupation of Iraq is the decimation and exile of most Christians in Iraq.” Given all this, Kerry is asked what “strategic plan” the United States has for protecting religious minorities from the wrath of sectarian extremists it is now supporting in Syria.
Kerry unlimbers his lantern jaw to deny the undeniable historical fact that the American-led invasion of Iraq led directly to the near-total destruction of Iraq’s Christian community. This is simply a plain, easily proven piece of objective data. There was a substantial Christian community before the war; there is not one now. Many Christians were killed by sectarian violence; many, many more have fled. But Kerry was long ago lost to truth and honor in his decades-long climb up the greasy pole, where he now wriggles, grease-smeared, regurgitating imperial spin. He replies: “I don’t agree with your premise that the Christian – what has happened to the Christians is the consequence of what happened by the events in Iraq.”
This is as asinine and ignorant as declaring that the sun did not rise in the east this morning, or that, in fact, two and two do not make four. But this is the kind of witless drivel that our most honored and august leaders are forced to spew out when they are out on the circuit, peddling the lies of empire.
But Kerry is trying to make a larger point. He then launches what is in effect a defense of the Terror War in general, whose ‘justification,’ as we noted, is the threat of radical Islam (which, as noted, the Terror War itself foments with marvellous potency). The threat is not just to Christians in Syria, says Kerry — burying in a blizzard of generality the specific question about specific people in a specific place; all religious minorities are being threatened by the rise of radical Islam, he says, with a shout-out to Afghanistan, where the noble Nobelist and his righteous forces are still fighting the good fight.
Kerry then goes on to say: “It is not just the Christians who have been impacted. It is the Druze, it is the Ismaili, it is all of the minorities. And the irony is the Alawi themselves are a minority doing this to these other people for control, for Assad’s control.”
Here Kerry speaks precisely in the language used by the most radical Sunni extremists in the Syrian civil war — extremists who are murdering people simply because they are Alawites, who continually call for the eradication of the Alawite ‘infidels.’ Here, Kerry identifies every Alawite in Syria as a brutal persecutor of religious minorities — they are all evil, all supporting the evil Assad, all of them are “doing it” to other religious minorities, “for Assad’s control”
What is the difference in this statement and that of some slobbering anti-Semite who points to some action by the Israeli government and condemns all Jews as evil? The violent extremists in Syria equate all Alawites with the regime, thereby justifying violence against them. And Kerry here aligns himself completely with this mindset.
It is of course a brazen, vicious, demonstrable lie to say that all Alawites are persecuting other religious minorities “for Assad’s control.” It is just as false as saying all Jews support the actions of the Israeli government — or indeed, that all Christians supported the invasion of Iraq, because the regime that launched the regime was led and dominated by Christians. It’s just as demonstrably false as denying that two plus two equals for, or that the American invasion of Iraq did not lead directly to the decimation of that country’s Christian population.
But such is the quality of mind required to reach the top rungs of the Imperium: brutal, witless, dishonest, ignorant, lacking all nuance, all common sense, all human feeling. A mind that mindlessly disgorges murderous tropes and blatant nonsense in order to obscure, frantically, at any cost, the cynical intentions and the monstrous effects of the Imperium’s Domination Machine.
Chris Floyd is an American journalist. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including the Nation, CounterPunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the “Empire Burlesque” political blog. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.