Author: As-Safir (Lebanon) Posted April 5, 2012
The following lines are excerpts from a text which readers seem to have missed, or failed to comprehend:
On Saturday, March 31, 2012, the Saudi capital witnessed the birth of a new institution called the Strategic Cooperation Forum, initiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the United States. The forum opened with a lengthy meeting between the GCC’s foreign ministers and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The facts that the meeting was held at the GCC headquarters and that such a forum has been established are two important indicators that major developments and new challenges are emerging in the region. The region has proven able to convince the United States of the benefits of working with the GCC as a regional organization in an integrated fashion instead of as individual states, as was the case previously.
These excerpts are taken verbatim from the Saudi Al-Watan newspaper from the Monday, April 2 issue. We are republishing them because news about the formation of the Strategic Cooperation Forum seems to have passed by with suspicious tranquility at a time when the entire Arab world — both the Levant and the Maghreb — is bursting with popular uprisings and constant threats of devolving into situations that completely contradict the goals of the revolutions. The revolutionaries poured into the squares across the Arab world, raising their voices and fists and sacrificing their lives and livelihoods in the quest for freedom and the right to a stake in their own countries. They sought to do so in a way that preserves their lands’ sovereignty, dignity and welfare, with the hope of advancing toward a better tomorrow.
The news about the new forum only reinforces what Arab citizens already know: that those who own the oil have drifted far away from their Arabism and its obligations. They have built for themselves a council for the wealthy, which they will use to rule the Arab League and control its decisions, or solicit US protection, politically, militarily and economically speaking.
Indeed, the details within the justifications for this forum’s establishment need no comment: “It reflects the GCC’s growing role in regional issues, such as in Yemen, Libya and now in Syria.” The justifications also include “the need for the United States and the world to address the threats facing the Gulf region.” Economic factors only come in later on.
This is not to explicitly declare that the GCC has departed from or turned against the Arab League. Rather this move confirms that these states, with all their potential and capabilities, have shifted away from their original identity and reneged on the present and future obligations that this identity entails.
If we remember the roles that the GCC states have played (and are playing) in containing the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria — albeit all from completely different positions — it becomes clear that these were but attempts to accommodate the uprisings. The GCC attempted to give the insurrections sectarian dimensions, painting them with Salafist or fundamentalist shades. If the revolutionaries failed to comply with these directives, those owners of the oil would move to impose a blockade to starve “rebel communities.” This was the case with the revolution in Egypt.
In other words, the GCC states will either constrain the Arab uprisings and belittle their goals, replacing the dictators with authoritarian organizations that hide behind religious slogans — and which will push their respective countries to regress from the current era — or punish them by cutting off their aid to them, even aid in the form of loans.
This only means that the rebel communities, who want the revolutions to run their courses so that they can build a modern state that respects human dignity and the right to justice, freedom and advancement, will be pushed to the brink of civil war. This civil war may take on a sectarian, factional or ethnic nature (as is happening in Libya). Another alternative is comprehensive chaos that will destroy the pillars and fabric of society and eliminate or postpone the establishment of a fair state indefinitely.
How could these revolutions possibly have been launched without the permission of those moneyed regimes?
And how could the squares be filled with millions of angry young men refusing the injustices of tyranny at home and their authorities' compliance with foreign powers such as the United States and Israel, at the expense of their national dignity as well as the right of the Palestinian people to their land?
And how could anybody object to replacing the old “civil” despotic regimes — including those of military origin — to tyranny under religious slogans?
In brief, this new forum, which exposes the extent of the US’ hegemony over the entire Gulf region, is not purely an assembly of those who have accumulated massive fortunes in their lands to protect themselves from their "poor brothers” or the Persians who are after their riches. It is a confirmation that a counter-attack is underway in the name of religion, as well as of the influence of gold (and iron and fire, where required) on the Arab revolutions, which could have achieved the goals of their peoples and liberated them from the shackles of their tyrannical regimes.
Indeed, this forum and its far-removed leadership are likely to play the role of organizer of the Arab civil wars. The ongoing revolutions are expected to achieve victory by liberating societies and states from backwardness, oppression and subordination to foreign actors and their proxies at home.
The formation of this forum is tantamount to a declaration of the GCC’s willingness to blow up the uprisings and their participants. It will enable those who are more dictatorial and backward than the forces of past to appropriate the future, even if it must take place through an endless series of sectarian, confessional, factional and ethnic wars that will destroy the states and their futures.
It has declared its intent, which cannot be concealed through an exaggeration of the “Iranian threat.” If this does not work, the forum's proponents will strive to “discover” this threat in the non-Muslim communities, which, throughout history, have lived and continue to live in their lands and among their people, during times good and bad.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/business/2012/04/the-forum-of-the-counter-revolut.html
Talal Salman founded As-Safir daily, which would reach the second largest circulation of Lebanese newspapers after An-Nahar. He was the spokesman of the "Islamo-progressive" left wing during the Lebanese civil war.
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