Building an Empire in the 21st Century
By Ann-Marie de Veer
Saturday 28 March 2015
On 15 March 2011 Syria became the tenth country out of a total of seventeen nations and other regions in the area to succumb to the revolutionary wave of protests, riots and civil wars, aka. the Arab Spring, that had rapidly swept throughout the Middle East from its genesis in Tunisia on 18 December 2010 following the self-immolation of a humble street trader named Mohamed Bouazizi. The initial wave of revolutions started by Bouazizi's defiant sacrificial act raged for nearly two years until late 2012 by which time most protesters had either been appeased or elected to office while the less fortunate found themselves arrested, imprisoned, tortured or even murdered.
To be precise: what had started as a solitary protest, an act of defiance and eventual self-sacrifice in the face of harassment, humiliation and the subsequent confiscation of a street traders livelihood had morphed into a transnational uprising encompassing a disparate range of grievances both social and political. Bouazizi's defiance had somehow magically empowered millions of people throughout the whole region into becoming advocates for freedom, social justice and democracy.
However, while the Tunisian uprising is considered primarily a spontaneous outpouring of dissatisfaction and disaffection towards the status quo, what followed, including the events in the other nation states and regions of the Middle East who were engulfed in the Arab Spring, says much more about their economic, military and strategic geo-political significance to the US Empire and its subservient vassals around the globe.
As the litany of events portray:
- Tunisia: Its first free elections were held and a new constitution was adopted. Status: Relatively Stable
- Algeria: Its 19-year-old state of emergency was lifted. Status: Relatively Stable
- Lebanon: Internecine war fueled by the US, Israel and Turkey. Status: Ongoing
- Jordan: The King dismisses the government and two successive Prime Ministers resign. Status: Relatively Stable
- Oman: The Sultan dismisses a group of ministers. Status: Relatively Stable
- Mauritania: Government reforms were implemented. Status: Relatively Stable
- Yemen: Internecine war fueled by the US, the UK, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Status: Ongoing.
- Saudi Arabia: The King gave cash handouts, funded housing projects, created new jobs and gave women the right to vote. Status: Relatively Stable
- Egypt: Its military dictator resigned and was replaced by the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood who was then ousted in a military coup d'état by another dictator. Status: Relatively Stable
- Syria: Internecine war fueled by the US, the UK, Israel and Turkey. Status: Ongoing
- Djibouti: Most protesters were arrested and imprisoned. Status: Relatively Stable
- Monoco: Its King promised and then enacted a reformed constitution. Status: Relatively Stable
- Sudan: South Sudan secedes from Sudan followed by North/South border wars. Status: Ongoing
- Palestine: Israel continues to regularly provoke and fuel conflict in the Palestinian territories. Status: Ongoing
- Iraq: Internecine war fueled by the US, the UK, Israel and Turkey. Status: Ongoing
- Bahrain: A state of emergency was declared and Ministers were dismissed. When the state of emergency was lifted the protests continued. The protest were subsequently banned but activists continue to be arrested, tortured and imprisoned. Status: Ongoing
- Libya: Internecine war fueled by the US, the UK, France and other minor participants from NATO. Status: Ongoing
- Kuwait: The prime minister resigned and the parliament was dissolved. Status: Relatively Stable
While it is true that Lebanon and the Palestinian regions did experience increased activity among their protesters and freedom fighters during the first two years of the Arab Spring, their conflicts are fundamentally a legacy project. Israel, the US and the UK are engaged in all manner of nefarious practices, including mounting false flag operations to provoke a response from those they have oppressed to justify draconian security measures and the complete militarisation of the Israeli security forces to counter a non-existent threat. The Arab Spring simply offered them an opportunity to increase these programs to further entrench the current status quo.
Unlike Lebanon and Palestine, the ongoing activities of the Arab Spring in Bahrain are an unwelcome diversion for both the US, who have maintained a military base on the island since 1948, and the UK, who are in the process of re-establishing a naval base there. Clearly the geo-political and military strategic importance of this tiny island nation in the Persian Gulf is to protect the flow of oil from the Middle East to the West. Similarly, Yemen, a nation at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula have endured a military presence on their soil for decades: a UK military garrison was based in Aden until they gained full independence and more recently both the US and the UK had a small detachment of forces in the capital Sana'a until their hasty withdrawal. Nonetheless, the US has dispatched one of its vassals in the region, Saudi Arabia, to look after its interests for the time being. That Yemen, akin to Bahrain, is of vital importance in ensuring the safe passage of oil to the West is not in question.
The fact that oil is such an essential commodity is also the key reason for the conflicts that continue to rage in Libya and Sudan as they both have considerable reserves of the resource. However, the West are not the main customer this time, it is China who is in constant need of ever increasing energy supplies to fuel its developing economy. That Sudan, in particular, and Libya, more recently, were both supplying China oil denominated in Gold, Euro's, the Chinese Yuan or direct currency swaps instead of the petro-dollar (US$) irked the US Empire. Thus, not long after the Arab Spring arrived in Sudan an internecine war broke out and the country split into two separate nations, North and South Sudan. Naturally, the flow of oil stopped for some time and to this day only a fraction of its former output is exported. In Libya, the US Empire had other plans: the US and the UK launched a coup d'état to oust the Gadaffi government and in doing so it not only destroyed most of the nations infrastructure but also brought oil production to a halt. The threat of an expanding trade in oil without using the US petro-dollar had been seriously compromised.
Of course, Iraq was not immune to the Arab Spring as protests by the ethnic Kurds spread throughout the north of the country and were not subdued until the end of the year when the US occupying force finally withdrew. Thereafter, peace reigned for less than a year as the power vacuum the US Empire had intentionally left behind created the perfect conditions for another insurgency to arise, aka. the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The subsequent invasion of northern Iraq by ISIL came as no surprise to the Empire who were keen to exploit the situation after failing to secure the military bases it sought for geo-political and military strategic reasons before its departure in December 2011. Not unexpectedly, the US and its subservient vassals are back in Iraq.
Thus, when it comes to Syria, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the US Empire considers the nation to be not so much as unfinished business but business that has barely started.
At first, the effects of the Arab Spring in Syria appeared to be minor, not least because it has been a relatively stable country for decades. Then, as the Syrian police and military forces began to restore public order after the protests had escalated into a serious issue, fractures appeared in the command and control structures of the military and defections to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) began. Of course, the FSA is a construct of the CIA, MI6 and the Israeli Mossad who are courting an illegal alternative to the democratically constituted government of al-Assad. The focus of the Empires wrath this time is not oil, of which Syria has limited supplies, but its free association with the Russian Federation. The reduction of Russian influence in the region, by whatever means, is yet another objective.
The notion that these ongoing conflicts were somehow inspired by a Tunisian street trader is patently absurd. The truth is the US Empire and its vassal states have sought to capitalise on these crises to further their geo-political and military strategic agenda.
- An unexploited crisis is an opportunity missed.