November 2, 2011

GCC Forms Tip of Counter-Revolutionary Spear

“Strength in numbers.”

All participants of war - both superpowers and asymmetric actors - confront this ancient maxim, drawn directly from nature and the herd instinct. Conflicts are partially determined by numerical ratios and an opponent’s adaption to an unfavorable ratio. Being its own type of war, revolutionary war doesn’t get much more basic than mass strength, which is a prerequisite for asymmetric protesters.

As a natural principle, counter-revolutionary forces attempt to make equal use of numerical strength in order to overwhelm their opponents. Sufficient popular support is often unavailable, so the military gap between regime and revolutionary forces is exploited to close the distance. Threatened regimes rarely act in isolation, instead turning to their sympathetic allies abroad to out-mass a local uprising. This fundamental reaction is unfolding throughout the Arab revolutions, particularly beneath the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) expanding umbrella. GCC states would presumably beg to differ, but the political bloc only takes orders from one source: Riyadh.

The GCC’s corrupt decision-making has yielded numerous attempts to obstruct regime change in the Middle East. Now the bloc is engaging in retroactive regime alteration, moving into Egypt with a naked attempt to influence its uprising. On Monday Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa met with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussain Tantawi - a meeting surely opposed by Egypt and Bahrain’s oppositions - as Bahraini officials drummed up support in the Gulf media. Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, was quoted as saying, “Egypt should top the names of the countries keen on joining the GCC.”

Translation: Saudi Arabia is keen to politically interfere with Egypt’s ongoing revolution.

Al Khalifa added that his government “strongly” supports Egypt’s membership into the GCC, “especially after Jordan and Morocco said they wanted to join.” Over 3,000 miles away, Moroccans have engaged in their own demonstrations for greater representative and political freedoms, with negligible results. Security forces have persistently cracked down on the February 20th movement, and one Reuters reporter “saw dozens of riot police with truncheons beating and kicking protesters who had gathered in front of the parliament building” in Rabat. Protesters are calling for a boycott to the parliamentary election scheduled for November 25th, a scenario that mirrors the position of Bahrain’s opposition.

Egypt’s potential inclusion highlights the GCC’s monarchic structure just as Morocco and Jordan reinforce it. Monarchies tend to cooperate smoothly given their mutual interests and style of governance, and often lack the inhibitions of democratic states. The GCC’s influence in Jordan paid immediate dividends in Bahrain after King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein added troops to Riyadh’s “Peninsula Shield.”

Although the GCC has attempted to maintain stability inside and outside its own borders, counterproductive developments often follow its interference. Bahrain’s uprising intensified after Saudi troops deployed on March 15th and protesters show no sign of quiting; the GCC’s deployment to protect itself contributed to the opposition’s momentum and media campaign. The same pattern has unfolded in Yemen, where Riyadh and Washington are trying to manipulate the revolution’s outcome through the GCC’s dreaded initiative.

Due to the fact that Yemen isn’t an official member, the UN Security Council was eventually summoned to ratify the document under international law.

The majority of Yemen’s protesters reject the GCC initiative as a foreign usurpation of their cause. Not only does it grant Ali Saleh immunity for his countless human rights abuses, the GCC initiative would transfer power to his vice president and preserve his ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) for a future election. The Obama administration has teamed the Saudi-bankrolled GCC to smother Yemen’s revolutionaries, and all the State Department can do is repeat Saleh’s “promise” to sign the initiative - and urge greater coordination with the GCC. This disturbing development is under renewed focus as Washington plans to withdraw from Iraq in December.

The GPC has since floated Vice President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi as its candidate. Were he to actually run, the GCC would successfully oversee a flagrant hijacking of an Arab revolution.

U.S. officials, notably Secretaries Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta, make no attempt to hide the Obama administration's gung-ho attitude towards the GCC’s involvement. During the briefing for their mini-summit in September, U.S. officials spoke as though the GCC has contributed to stability throughout the region, when they are mostly thinking in terms of Iran. The GCC also followed the U.S. line on Libya, for which it was commended. One official opened by telling reporters, “The GCC is emerging as an increasingly critical partner to advancing our common interest, which include but also extend beyond this shared vision for regional security on issues from Libya to Yemen to Syria...”

U.S. officials sound no different from Russian officials who are busy cozying up to the GCC: “If I could sum up, I would just say that tomorrow’s meeting will be continuing to put the GCC at the heart of the regional – of the region’s security architecture, and in fact, starting to formalize how we work together between the United States and the GCC.”

Two can play any game and the first ministerial meeting of the GCC-Russian Strategic Dialogue is nearly complete. Among other developments, Bahraini Foreign Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa affirmed Russia’s support for the government's “dialogue.” UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan also rejected Western intervention in Syria by literally stating the GCC’s MO: “We want to help the Syrian brothers under the Arab umbrella." The GCC’s initiative in Yemen is so counter-revolutionary that Russia adopted some of its premise in Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Abu Dhabi, "The Russian position has been embodied in the Security Council resolution on Yemen adopted a few days ago unanimously. This resolution was based on the GCC initiative which provides for the need of the government and the opposition to sit down and agree upon a deal which would resolve the current crisis. It's a fair deal, it's a fair initiative, an initiative which is being implemented these days.”

Russia is now demanding a “Syrian-led inclusive dialogue in which all responsible Syrian groups must participate,” a process identical to Yemen and Bahrain’s sham dialogues. Whether the West rejects the exact terms it drew up for friendly regimes remains to be seen, but a potential conflict of interests is brewing between Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. Those who side with counter-revolutionary forces will eventually end up on the same side.

GCC states are nothing more than moons to Saudi Arabia’s planet. Its encroachment in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain is overtly designed to prevent regime change and control any ensuing political transitions. Combined with Washington’s hegemony, Saudi Arabia’s influence forms the main turbine of counter-revolutionary energy.

They see rain where many protesters see their first rays of sun, and are determined to cast their umbrella as far as possible.

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