Saturday, March 19, 2011

Libya and Bahrain

A vicious authoritarian regime responding to protestors with murderous repression, deadly snipers and bringing in foreign troops to crush dissent.

An equally apt description of both Libya and Bahrain, except one is a country that has been a thorn in the west's side and the other an important ally, sea port and military outpost.  Hence explaining why one is being hit with UN sanctions, no-fly zones and a probable invasion while the other gets mild criticism and calls for restraint.  Ah realpolitik...
The helpful thing, if you're overwhelmed by so much news going on at once, is that Bahrain is roughly the same story as Libya—only instead of pro-democracy protesters being murdered by a terrorist-sponsoring monster of a dictator who has been on America's enemies list for ages, the pro-democracy protesters are being murdered by a government that is America's very own dear ally. And where Qaddafi brought in foreign mercenaries for support, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain brought in troops from our even more vital ally, Saudi Arabia.

So basically, take all those proud feelings about the United States standing up for freedom and human rights in Libya and turn them inside out, and vomit into them. That's Bahrain.

Nicholas Kristof, in a column deploring the violence, wrote:
Today the United States is in a vise — caught between our allies and our values.
Are we? Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are the same rotten royalist dictatorships they've always been. And they've been on our side. The helicopters over the square were reportedly American-made Cobras, because the Royal Bahraini Air Force flies what we sell them; the rifles on the ground are American M16s. Freedom and democracy are what we talk about. Values are what we do.
UPDATE: And the Yanks come marching in, certainly the rebels can expect them to march right out again once Gaddafi is overthrown right?  Right?

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