As The Independent reported today, the brutal regimes in Bahrain and Yemen have declared war against democratic protesters. More Yemenis have been killed in the last three days than in all of the previous weeks of demonstrations. And last Monday forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the sovereign country of Bahrain—and I say invasion because I still have not read any report where the Khalifah regime openly admitted to extending the invitation, only suggesting that the decision was accepted. Subsequently opposition leaders in Bahrain have been arrested while unarmed protesters were fired upon, sprayed with tear gas, and forcibly removed from the streets. Tanks and helicopters terrorized the countryside. Doctors and humanitarian aid workers repeatedly described ambulances being shot at and clinics coming under siege. Only on Wednesday did President Obama phone the kings of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to urge them both to show “maximum restraint”.
After these events unfolded, the United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton also finally offered that the situation in Bahrain was “alarming”. However yesterday her public comments were anything but representative of a diplomat who truly cares about what is happening to the people of Bahrain. Indeed her words are sympathetic only to the dictators oppressing the Arab peoples, Israel and her hawkish friends in Washington. Instead of slamming the repressive Saudi military action, Clinton declared that “the United States has an abiding commitment to Gulf security and a top priority is working together with our partners on our shared concerns about Iranian behavior in the region. We share the view that Iran's activities in the Gulf, including its efforts to advance its agenda in the neighboring countries undermines peace and stability.”
Whatever in the world is she referring to? How can Saudi Arabia militarily invade another country, shoot unarmed civilians and not be criticized, whereas the Islamic Republic merely blinks and is at fault? Especially considering that recently released WikiLeaks cables reveal how Washington is fully aware that Iran has not been interfering in the internal politics of Bahrain. Since the revolutionary unrest in Arab countries began Iran has done absolutely nothing to threaten Gulf security. Instead, the Islamic Republic has been very diplomatic in its reaction by making official statements critical of the oppression, recalling its ambassador to Bahrain and pledging to support the Red Crescent Society in dealing with the humanitarian crisis there. Indeed it is likely that the government in Tehran is showing considerable restraint because of its own recent crackdowns against internal opposition. Alas at times hypocrisy is a characteristic that both Tehran and Washington share.
Over the last few weeks the terrible dictators in the Gulf have demonstrated to the world that they are perfectly capable of killing their people completely on their own, regardless of outside interference. Nevertheless the Americans have continued to keep their eyes closed to the atrocities of friends while remaining bellicose in rhetoric against enemies who are merely on the sidelines. Despite the remarkably peaceful protests of the dignified and inspirational people of Bahrain, Secretary Clinton's remarks illustrate that Washington has not been able to escape a colonial outlook which refuses to acknowledge that Arabs are more than capable of managing their own destinies without interference from the West, Israel or even Iran. Her comments show that today, we are the ones who are backward.