Many people hold that the ongoing political turmoil in Middle East is occurring because authoritarian governments pushed people to the point of revolt. Is that really the case? The answer lies in the constantly changing attitudes of some Western countries.
The Western coalition, led by the United States, United Kingdom and France, jointly launched military assaults against Libya on March 19 under the pretext of the deteriorating situation, escalating violence and massive civilian casualties.
Elsewhere in Bahrain, where the conditions contrasted sharply with the situation Libya, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced on March 14 to offer military support to the Bahrain government. One day later, Bahrain declared a state of emergency and used force against those staging protests in Pearl Square. Over the past week, 15 protestors were killed and dozens were missing. The situation is as grave as what is happening in Libya given the fact Bahrain is merely a small country with a population of 600,000.
Western countries usually turn a blind eye to what has been going on in Bahrain. When asked about the heavy military presence in Libya while Bahrain is being ignored, a U.S. national security expert noted that the ruling classes of these countries were with the United States, though they were not exactly good. While another scholar with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said that the double standard did exist, but it was a rational act.
Such straightforward statements still did not reveal the real intentions of the United States. As a matter of fact, Gaddafi has been cooperative with the United States in recent years since 2003, when he gave up the nuclear program at the behest of the United States. He also joined the U.S.-led war on terror and compensated 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to the United States for past terrorist acts, including the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.
The two countries restored full diplomatic relations in 2006, and the United States supported Libya’s bid join the nonpermanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Libya once became a good partner in all kinds of U.S.-initiated cooperation, but that did not spare the North Africa nation the tragic lot of being a target of Western coalition. Why? The United States wanted to change, and Gaddafi did not keep up with its pace.
The United States implemented a triple-standard measure to make full use of the changing Middle East situation and consolidate its own strategic goal. For the pro-America republics, such as Egypt, the United States hoped the authorities would answer the people’s call to end Mubarak’s long-time rule. For the pro-America monarchies, the United States needed to maintain the status quo because of oil interests and the potentially volatile situation in Iran. In those anti-U.S. countries, such as Iran and Syria, the United States would definitely agitate anti-government protests to trigger change.
The United States launched a propaganda campaign. the Persian service of Voice and America (VOA), “Tomorrow Radio” and “Free Radio” have done whatever they can to advocate mass protests in Iran. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton literally sits on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees all these anti-Iran Persian radio programs. In the similar case, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also started their campaign with Persian-language programs.
Bahrain is a country that the United States cannot afford to target because it is crucial to forging an alliance with Saudi Arabia and attacking Iran. If no substantial changes happened in Bahrain, the United States’ posture of supporting democracy is merely a pretext to act in its own interests.