In These New Times

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‘West to sow constant chaos in PG’

Posted by seumasach on March 20, 2011


19th March, 2011
To discuss the future of regional uprisings and revolutions, Press TV has conducted an interview with Kevin Ovendun, an author and political analyst in London.

The following is the rough transcription of what the political analyst had to say.

Press TV: When US President Barack Obama says [the Libyan ruler] Muammar Gaddafi has for decades sponsored terrorism against the American people, we have to say that at least for a good part of ten years you had good very relations with him.

Kevin Ovenden: The long history of bloody intervention and bloody relations between the West and the Middle East and north Africa today and President Obama’s speech has to go down as one of the most shameful episodes. You have the rankest hypocrisy. Also what Obama said was that Gaddafi was somebody who was opening fire on hospital, who was using troops against his own people, and refusing humanitarian aid to come to various, different areas in the country. This is exactly what’s taking place in Yemen and in Bahrain where in Bahrain the government which is also just like Gaddafi lost confidence with his people and has opened the doors to foreign intervention by the Saudis. You’re absolutely right. Gaddafi for 15 years has been leaning closer towards the West. He may have been an unreliable and capricious ally but nevertheless he was an ally. Saudi Arabia is the longest standing ally of the United States in the region. Bahrain is a longstanding US and British ally. And Yemen, the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been in the Western camp since the epoch of the Cold War because he and his troop were hailed from north Yemen.

So what they are saying appears to be contradictory but the common word is this: they are trying to put the genie back into the bottle, to destroy the revolutions and uprising in the Arab world, they’re going about one way in Libya and their allies are going the other in the Persian Gulf.

Press TV: Mr. Ovendun where then countries like the US, the UK lie? Are they on the side of democratic protests or are they on the side of these allies?

Kevin Ovenden: Well, they are desperately trying to formulate a way to defend the interests which they have. One mechanism of doing that is solely to rely on autocratic rulers for the past 60 years. Now they want a combination of masters. They want to pretend to be on the side of revolutionary uprisings which are taking place mostly in the Arab world. If you remember they were backing [Tunisia’s] Ben Ali and [Egypt’s Hosni] Mubarak all the way up to the point when they fell and then Hillary Clinton toured Tunis and Cairo, pretending to be the god-parent of the revolutions herself. So they’re attempting to do that. At the same time they are absolutely determine to ensure that there’s no instability in the Persian Gulf from their point of view and that means backing Saudi Arabia, backing Bahrain and backing all the other prince-lings and backing all Saleh in Yemen.

The problem the US faces is that it prefers that it allies make some cosmetic changes, some palliatives some small reforms to better stabilize their regimes. But the Saudis have made it very clear, they aren’t prepared to tolerate any form of reform whatsoever which is in a democratic direction.

The Saudis have said they will not allow a “Shia” Bahrain, that’s the way they put it.

The problem is that the majority of people in Bahrain are Shias so what the Saudis are saying is they will not tolerate democracy and that’s why they’re gunning people down.

Press TV: With all these protests going on, the US has already has its hands full in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries like Yemen. Where are we headed in all of this?

Kevin Ovenden: It’s important to remember the war on terror for two reasons. One is if you look at Iraq and Afghanistan, these are two countries that the West so-called liberated earlier. And we find ongoing attacks against civilians backed by occupation forces and also we find in the form of Hamid Karzai, a kleptocrat, every bit of undemocratic as those in the Middle East propped up by the West propped up by NATO forces. I should say in the course of this as they are bogged down across more and more fronts in Afghanistan, in Iraq., now I believe the intervention, whatever form it takes now in Libya it’s going to bog them down even further. They will turn to more and more ruthless methods.

One of those would be to increase sectarianism. I think …it’s certainly not me to describe the uprising in Bahrain as the Shia uprising. This is what the Saudi’s are falsely claiming. It’s now the last desperate gamble in the attempt to play ‘divide and rule.’ An attempt to create a civil war dynamic in Saudi Arabia. Ali Abdullah Saleh may try to do the same thing in Yemen.

So what we are seeing on the one hand is a descent into chaos pushed by the US. On the other, I believe we are going to continue to see the rising of the Arab masses from the Atlantic to the [Persian Gulf] on the common program of democracy, dignity, freedom and justice-the same demands that topple Ben Ali and Mubarak. It may be complicated by the US intervention but I believe that the power of the Arab masses is going to be demonstrated of the coming months and days.

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