Revolution is in the Air: 6/5/11: Was there a Yemeni Revolution?

INDEX (stories follow)

 EVENTS

Your war criminals in Southern Sudan (where are the Hollywood Darfur groupies when you need them)?

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)

Beirut: the last refuge of crooks; Saudi Arabia: the first and last refuge of dictators

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
IMPERIALISM IN WORD & DEED

Counter-revolution in Yemen

 

HISTORY & ANALYSIS

Headlines for June 3, 2011

EVENTS

Was there a Yemeni Revolution?

 from Informed Comment by Juan
 Aljazeera Arabic is reporting that later in the day Sunday, clashes between armed groups of pro-Saleh and anti-Saleh gunmen broke out in the capital, where the situation is “unstable,” after Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment late Saturday.

The Yemeni press says that most shops in the capital were closed out of fear of insecurity and lack of electricity. Gold and silver shops had hidden their merchandise, and where they opened (not only in Sanaa but also in some other cities), their shelves were empty and they were only taking orders. Used car dealerships also appear to have warehoused their cars, and their lots are empty.

Some small crowds of joyous protesters had braved the otherwise deserted streets of Sanaa and other cities on Sunday morning. The protesters, most from the youth movement that has spearheaded the attempt to overthrow Saleh’s regime, chanted “Liberty, liberty, this is the festival of liberty!” and “A New Yemen!” and “The Regime has fallen!”

Yemen is the poorest of 22 Arab League states, and sits astride the mouth of the Red Sea, through which about ten percent of world trade flows. Its port of Aden is also important to Arabian Sea trade. Yemeni instability that spilled over onto neighboring Saudi Arabia could have a significant impact on petroleum prices. A small al-Qaeda cell operates in Yemen, and Muslim radicals are said to have taken advantage of the instability to take control of the small city of Zinjibar, where 10 Yemeni troops were killed on Sunday.

Saleh had been wounded by shrapnel on Friday in a rocket attack on the mosque in his presidential palace where he was praying. Several of Saleh’s officials, including the prime minister, have also fled to Saudi Arabia.

Initial reports had claimed that Saleh’s wounds were light. Aljazeera points out that if they were in fact been light, he could have been treated in Saleh; his flight to Saudi Arabia must in that case have been political rather than medical. If the wounds were more serious than admitted, forcing him genuinely to seek the better facilities in Riyadh, then likely he would take some time to recuperate. (Some reports speak of burns to his face and chest). Since Yemen cannot afford to be without a leader in these tumultuous times, likely Saleh will be replaced before he can return.

In order to avoid being seen to take sides, the Saudis also offered medical treatment to injured members of the opposition al-Ahmar clan.

Saleh left his vice president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in charge, and the latter met with the US ambassador and top Yemeni military officials late Saturday. The regime maintains that Saleh will return in a few days, but many Yemenis are convinced that his rule is now over. If Saleh does not return within 60 days, according to the constitution, there must be new elections.

Hadi’s grip on power is likely insecure, and rebel forces are speaking of setting up a transitional council that would presumably include the ten-tribe coalition of Islah Party leader Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, who emerged in the past two months as Saleh’s major rival.

In the major southwestern city of Taizz, an armed group attacked the local presidential palace. The guerrillas organized themselves, they say, to avenge the deliberate killing of protesters by Saleh’s security forces. Some reports say 4 were killed in Taizz fighting on Sunday.

In the major southern port city of Aden, security forces withdrew from checkpoints.

Aljazeera English has a video report:

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Reuters reviews Saleh’s 33-year rule.

Yemen: endgame for strongman Saleh?

 from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report
 Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia imminently to receive treatment for wounds he suffered in an attack on the presidential palace, Saudi government sources said June 4. Saleh has been left with shrapnel near his heart and second-degree burns to his chest and face after the palace attack. Saudi Arabia has brokered a fresh truce between a tribal federation and Saleh-loyal forces. But a Saudi-brokered truce agreed to a week ago held for only a day before fresh street battles broke out in the capital Sanaa, leading to the most intense fighting there since the uprising against Saleh’s 32-year role began. On June 3, fighting engulfed Sanaa, where residents cowered in their homes as explosions rocked the city. More than 370 people have been killed, at least 155 of them in the last 10 days, since the popular uprising began in January. (ReutersReuetrsKhajeel Times, UAE, June 4; Reuters, June 3)

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`Ali `Abdullah Salih

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 I heard the audio tape he recorded.  He sounded drugged and not himself.  I think it was him: but his tone was different as if he was tired.  It is clear that he was hit: much more than the slight injuries that were mentioned.  There are reports that he has arrived to Saudi Arabia for hospitalization but Saudi media are frantic to deny fearing another fiasco about yet another hosting of a deposed dictator in Saudi Arabia.

Yemen’s Saleh Narrowly Avoids Death, Civil war Looms

 from Informed Comment by Juan
 Yemeni president for life Ali Abdullah Saleh nearly reached the end of his term on Friday, when rockets slammed into the mosque where he was praying in congregation. His prime minister was wounded and 4 others were killed, and he suffered some flesh wounds, later coming on t.v. to deny rumors that he had been killed. The rockets may have been fired by members of the Hashed tribe loyal to Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, whose compound has itself come under government attack. Friday’s events may have been retaliation. There are fears that those tribes loyal to Saleh and those loyal to al-Ahmar are increasingly falling into civil war.

Tim Lister at CNN explains why Yemen’s fate matters to Americans.

Here’s a simpler way to do it. Google around and find out what comes to Europe and the US through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Then imagine trying to live without it, or with 10% less of it.

Eurovision reports on Saleh’s near death experience.

Aljazeera English also reports:

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And here for an interview with a Yemeni opposition leaders:

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Seymour Hersh on the Arab Spring, “Disaster” U.S. Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Looming Crisis in Iraq

Hersh_mideastVeteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh assesses the popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa amidst ongoing U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Despite touted gains and an upcoming U.S. military withdrawal deadline in Iraq, Hersh says: “Whatever you’re hearing, Iraq is going bad … It’s sectarian war, and the big question will be whether we pull out or not.” On the uprisings, Hersh says Saudi Arabia—fearing an overthrow of the regional order—is driving the embattled regimes’ attempts to crush the protests.

Seymour Hersh: Despite Intelligence Rejecting Iran as Nuclear Threat, U.S. Could Be Headed for Iraq Redux

 Hersh_iran

In his latest article for the New Yorker magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says the United States might attack Iran based on distorted estimates of Iran’s nuclear and military threat – just like it did with Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq. Hersh reveals that despite using Iranian informants and cutting edge surveillance technology, U.S. officials have been unable to find decisive evidence that Iran has been moving enriched uranium to an underground weapon-making center.

Stand by our potentate

 “Saudi Arabia granted $400 million to support Jordan’s economy and ease its budget deficit, the Jordanian state-run news agency Petra said, citing Finance Minister Mohamed Abu Hammour.”

Saudi government explains (yet again) its hosting of another Arab dictator

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 A Saudi official explains the decision (that will reinforce the image of Saudi Arabia as the asylum and refuge of Arab dictators) to host `Ali `Abdullah Salih.  He said that hosting “Yemenis who were hit in the clashes in Yemen” was due to “humanitarian motives.”  The official added that funding Al-Qa`idah and chopping of heads in public squares were decisions that are also due to humanitarian motives.

Oil and tribe in Yemen

“It also put at risk an alliance between Arcadia and its “local agent” in Yemen, tribal leader Hamid al-Ahmar, the cable says. Arcadia, in an interview, denied the allegations in the cable, saying it did not employ al-Ahmar as an agent, although it did work with some of his companies in the oil trading business. The company said it always paid official market prices for Yemen’s export oil.”

Tantawi and the siege of Gaza:

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“NO SOONER had Egypt lowered the drawbridge at Rafah, letting the people of the Gaza Strip cross into Egypt and from there to the rest of the world, than its ruling military council began winding it up again. On May 31st Egypt’s transitional government imposed a quota of no more than 400 passengers a day, insisted that they register the day before they cross, and declared that it was reinstating a blacklist of 5,000 Gazans who would not, for security reasons, be allowed to come over. This cut the flow to little more than when Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted as president in February, co-operated with Israel to keep Gaza under siege.  After a brief bout of jubilation at the restoration of the freedom to travel, the cutback brought back the Gazans’ old sense of imprisonment. Busloads of passengers who had waited all day to cross into Egypt trundled back, defeated, their bags in tow. Among them was a couple in their 60s trying to get medical treatment in Egypt; a 40-year-old who had waited 16 years to see his mother in Cairo; and a Palestinian in a brown Islamic robe trying to return to his home in Libya’s eastern town, Darna, which has a reputation as a jihadist haunt. To his fury, the Egyptian authorities let his brother with a shorter beard enter.”

Foreign policy and Egyptian uprising

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)

Regarding those like Thomas Friedman who want to reassure Zionists that the Egyptian uprising had no foreign policy goals, I have to report about a presidential candidates’ debate in Cairo yesterday.  During the debate (reported on Al-Arabiyyah–the news station of King Fahd’s brother-in-law), all candidates agreed that Camp David accords can’t be preserved as they are; that they either have to be canceled or amended.

So Bahrain dictatorship also oppresses Sunnis?

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)

US media wanted so bad to promote the notion that opposition in Bahrain is purely sectarian–very much like the notions spread in vulgar Saudi media.  This may be the first one that argues otherwise.  “Emergency law was lifted Wednesday in Bahrain but Mohamed Albuflasa remains in jail. Albuflasa Imprisoned the first week of Bahrain’s demonstrations when the protest movement believed it might extract reforms from the island’s monarchy.  What makes him different from the other imprisoned demonstrators is his unique status as a conservative religious Sunni Muslim. Most of those detained as a result of the recent demonstrations are Shiites along with some secular Sunni politicians. Albuflasa is a follower of the fundamentalist Salafist school in Islam.

Your war criminals in Southern Sudan (where are the Hollywood Darfur groupies when you need them)?

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“On Wednesday 18 May Mayom Commissioner Charles Machieng Kuol told Sudan Tribune that 7,800 homes had been burnt down by the SPLA in fighting with militias in the area.”

Beirut: the last refuge of crooks; Saudi Arabia: the first and last refuge of dictators

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“Iraqi authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the head of one of the nation’s biggest banks, which is under investigation for alleged irregularities, a government source and the bank’s lawyer said on Sunday.
An Iraqi government source said Hussein al-Uzri, president and chairman of the state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI), had fled to Lebanon. He did not answer calls to his mobile phone.”

African migrants die amid Euro-backlash

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report

Authorities in Tunisia have recovered some 150 bodies of more than 250 African migrants who went missing after their over-crowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean earlier this week, the International Organization for Migration said in Geneva on June 4. The migrants were reportedly on their way to the Italian island of Lampedusafrom Libya when their vessel ran aground and capsized some 19 nautical miles off Tunisia’s Kerkennah islands. Survivors say there were more than 800 people on board when the accident occurred. Tunisia’s coast guard and army managed to rescue about 570 from the ill-fated vessel. (RTT, June 3)

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Syria: political vultures circle in

 from World War 4 Report blogs by Bill Weinberg
 Deadly repression is unabated in Syria, where security forces killed at least 70 demonstrators during Friday protests on June 3, according to activists’ accounts. This was one of the highest single-day death tolls in the course of the uprising, and some activists said the day’s final toll could be 100. Rami Abdulrahman, head of theSyrian Observatory for Human Rights, said at least 60 people were killed in Hama, where President Bashir al-Assad’s father Hafez crushed an armed revolt 29 years ago by killing up to 30,000 people and razing parts of the city. (Reuters, June 4)

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Can you imagine if Palestinian rebels were to do this?

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“He has established himself as a pragmatic, and occasionally audacious, leader, who in the early days of the uprising ordered the rebels to rob a branch of the central bank in Bengazi where they found the equivalent of more than $320 million.  “Basically, we drilled holes,” Mr. Tarhouni said, explaining how they opened the safe.

The democracy that you established for us in the Middle East

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)

“Families of four young pro-democracy protesters jailed in Baghdad said Thursday that their loved ones continued to be denied access to lawyers or relatives despite repeated requests.  The four men, who had played a major role in recent weekly demonstrations for better governance, were detained last Friday as they gathered for their regular protest in central Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. Three of the men were shoved at gunpoint into the back of an ambulance, a witness said. Authorities did not acknowledge the detentions for several days.”

Libyan opposition “leader”: Mustafa `Abdul-NATO

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)

I just watched a clip from a press conference by the Libyan “leader” of the Transitional Council (a man who only realized that Qadhdhafi is a dictator weeks ago, literally).  He heaped praised on Saudi Arabia and spoke how he is looking forward to receiving Saudi cash (he expressed it a bit obliquely by referring to his eagerness for “ties with Saudi Arabia”).  Maybe he meant neckties as gifts from Saudi king.  With Mustafa `Abdul-Jalil (I nickname him Mustafa `Abdul-NATO) as the leader of the new Libya, you can expect that a new opposition in Libya will be forming against a new repressive and lousy regime.

Somalia: thousands displaced as Shabab battle Sufis

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report

Somalia’s Sufi group, the Ahlu Sunna Waljama (ASWJ), on June 2 announced it is boycotting a “consultative meeting” with the transitional government in Mogadishu next week. In an interview with Somalia’s independent Shabelle Media Network, Sheikh Omar Sheikh Abdulkadir, a spokesman for the group, said they would not attend the meeting because they were not invited, and predicted it would be fruitless. The consultative meeting is intended to broker peace among Somalia’s political and regional factions. Thousands of families have been displaced in recent weeks of fighting between the Ahlu Sunna and the fundamentalist Shabab insurgents in the central Galgadud region (see map). Dusamareb, the regional capital, has changed hands repeatedly in the fighting, prompting an exodus of the town’s residents. Drought conditions in the countryside have worsened the plight of the displaced.

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IMPERIALISM IN WORD & DEED

Salih flees and Washington nervous (have we not seen this film before?)

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 “Mr. Saleh’s sudden departure stunned Yemenis and could pose a serious challenge for the United States, which has been deeply concerned about Yemen’s rising chaos, analysts say.”

Counter-revolution in Yemen

 “”What you need to do is get beyond this impasse and get to a post-Saleh era in Yemen,” Hull said. “I hope it happens sooner [rather] than later because time is not an ally here. The longer it takes to do that, the more ungoverned space Al Qaeda will have occupied.””

The White Man (the Washington Post) issues commands to the Natives: go easy on Mubarak

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 “But the approach of the interim regime, which has jailed dozens of former officials and two of Mr. Mubarak’s sons, is deeply flawed.”

NATO attack helicopters used in Libya

It’s great that the defense contractors are getting another joy ride but are the NATO countries all facing economic challenges? Age of austerity and all of that? It’s incredible to think that it’s so easy to round up cash for military interventions yet so hard to help our own people during tough times. Al Jazeera:

NATO has for the first time used attack helicopters in Libya, striking military vehicles, military equipment and forces backing embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi, the military alliance has announced.

“Attack helicopters under NATO command were used for the first time on 4 June 2011 in military operations over Libya as part of Operation Unified Protector,” NATO said in a statement on Saturday.

“The targets struck included military vehicles, military equipment and fielded forces” of the Gaddafi regime, said the statement, without detailing exactly where the strikes had taken place.

“This successful engagement demonstrates the unique capabilities brought to bear by attack helicopters,” Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, commander in chief of the NATO mission in Libya, said.

On Israeli role among the Libyan “rebels”

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 This one sheds more light on the matter. (thanks “Ibn Rushd”)

Revolution of IMF and World Bank (from Jadaliyya)

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 “In the case of Egypt, the discourse of institutional reform has allowed neoliberal structural adjustment to be presented not just as a technocratic necessity – but as the actual fulfillment of the demands innervating the uprisings. In this sense, neoliberal ideology attempts to reabsorb and fashion dissent in its own image, through rendering Egypt’s uprisings within a pro-market discourse. This fundamental message has been repeatedly emphasized by US and European spokespeople over the last weeks: this was not a revolt against several decades of neoliberalism – but rather a movement against an intrusive state that had obstructed the pursuit of individual self-interest through the market.  Perhaps the starkest example of this discursive shift was the statement made by World Bank President Robert Zoellick at the opening of a World Bank meeting on the Middle East in mid-April. Referring to Mohammed Bouazizi, the young peddler from a Tunisian market place who set himself on fire and became the catalyst for the uprising in Tunisia, Zoellick remarked “the key point I have also been emphasizing and I emphasized in this speech is that it is not just a question of money. It is a question of policy … keep in mind, the late Mr. Bouazizi was basically driven to burn himself alive because he was harassed with red tape … one starting point is to quit harassing those people and let them have a chance to start some small businesses.” “

How dumb is it to expect Hillary Clinton to take up the cause of Saudi women? How dumb?

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 “Saudi activists have written an open letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a champion of women’s rights around the world, urging her to publicly press Saudi Arabia to let women drive.”

The New York Times has vomited an editorial

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 I would not even link to the smug and repugnant editorial in the New York Times about the Syrian situation.  As if the paper does not know that readers around the world know full well that nothing is published in the paper about the Middle East (or beyond sometimes) that does not reflect the interests of Israeli occupation and war crimes.  Nothing.  The paper vomited salutations to the Syrian people.  You think that you are fooling somebody among the Syrian people (other than that guy in Washington, DC that you take as the overwhelming leader of the Syrian people just as you treated Ahmed Chalabi for decades as the ultimate leader of all Iraqis) when you salute the courage of the Syrian people? Did you salute the courage of Palestinians who stand up to Israeli occupation? Did you ever salute the courage of the Syrian people when they stand up to Israeli occupation?  This is a propaganda sheet for US Zionism that takes itself way too seriously.  Just reviewing the record of the paper prior to the war on Iraq in 2003 is sufficient to discredit the paper for decades to come.  This is a paper in which Thomas Friedman is a foreign affairs columnist, for potato’s sake.  I never thought that I would miss William Safie–at least the latter was an interesting writer who did not labor to sound funny.
HISTORY & ANALYSIS

Future of Arab uprisings

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 The future of Arab uprisings hinges on what happens in Egypt.  If Egyptian rebels push forward against the Military Council they will surely inspire half uprisings or quarter uprisings to progress.  As things stand now, it does not look pretty as the Saudi-Qatari Counter-revolutionary council mange the Yemeni and Libyan uprising, and Saudi Arabia seems to have purchased Tantawi’s lousy junta.

The Belgium Conference

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
1 person liked this
 The Muslim Brotherhood funded the Syrian opposition conference in Belgium.  Like the conference in Antalya, Christians, `Alawites, and leftists were not invited.  There was a clear attempt to include the dreadful reactionary elements of the tribal elders, and the pro-Saudi Salafites of course who run the show but who hide their influence from the final communique (just as Ahmad Chalabi–one of the most sectarian Shi`ites in Iraq today–used to pose as secular in pre-2003 Western capitals).  When I see tribal elders, I get a strong physical reaction.  These have always been tool of colonialism: witness their revival in Iraq under American occupation.  And now, the tribal elders are being revived by Saudi-US plots for the region.  Those of us who support the downfall of the Syrian regime, should be mindful that there should be an instant struggle to rescue the affairs of the Syrian state from the most reactionary forces represented by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (one of the most opportunist and corrupt organizations in Arab opposition movements).

Antalia conference

 from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by noreply@blogger.com (As’ad AbuKhalil)
 So Syrian opposition groups met in Antalia.  I closely followed that conference and read about their deliberations and received reports about it.  There are Syrian leftists who argue with me constantly that I should not reduce Syrian opposition to lousy Khaddam or lousy Ma’mun Humsi (a tool of Hariri Inc) or lousy war criminal, Rif`at Asad (a tool of House of Saud), or even Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.  I argue I can accept the first three quibbles but not the fourth.  It can not be denied that the Muslim Brotherhood commands the support of a big section of Syrian public opinion.  This does not mean that leftists should support the Syrian regime–of course.  No, but I feel that we are obligated to express opposition to the repressive Syrian regime while criticizing disturbing trends among the Syrian opposition.  The Muslim Brotherhood ran the conference in Antalia and the statement that spoke about the “civil state” is not going to fool me because US representatives in Antalia (yes they were there) pressed for an inclusive statement.  This is exactly what US tried to do in conferences by Iraqi exile opposition before the Ayatullah Sistani republic was set up in Iraq.  One should not make his/her opposition to a particular regime (Arab or Iranian) a blanket endorsement for the dominant opposition movement.  Instead, we should be criticizing those opposition movements that try to hijack a popular uprising.  The branches of the Muslim Brotherhood are all bad: but the Syrian branch is one of the worst, by far.  It is the most opportunist of them all.
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This entry was posted in Background & Analysis, Bahrain, Counterinsurgency, Egypt, Events, Human Rights, Imperialism, Imperialist Interference & Views, Libya, Obama, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, US Foreign Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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