The Hypocrisy of Arab League and the West

After the Arab League hypocritically suspended the membership of Syria amid the mounting pressures of NATO and the United States, the resurgence of violence in Egypt and the increasing use of excessive force in Bahrain and Yemen, and the unrelenting massacre of innocent civilians by the barbaric regime of Al Khalifa and Ali Abdullah Saleh once again attracted the attention of conscientious observers in the international community.

According to official figures released by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights website, so far 44 Bahraini citizens were killed at the hands of the mercenaries of Al Khalifa regime. The Bahraini martyrs include the 6-year-old Mohammed Farhan, 14-year-old Ali Jawad Alshaikh and 15-year-old Sayed Ahmad Saeed Shams. The Bahraini organization has reported that many of these martyrs were killed while in custody. The Center has also published documents indicating that more than 1,500 Bahrainis, including about 100 women, were incarcerated since the eruption of turmoil in the Persian Gulf country on February 14, 2011 and that more that 90 journalists face life threat.

It’s also said that the Bahraini government has blocked the citizens’ access to more than 1000 opposition websites which are mainly used to organize and plan protests and mass demonstrations.

The Bahraini regime commits all of these aggressive and brutal actions with the direct involvement of Saudi Arabia and the implicit support and backing of NATO and the United States. The author of the Hidden Harmonies China blog in a March 14, 2011 post referred to the abuses of human rights in Bahrain with the flagrant, duplicitous support of the White House: “the Entry of Saudi security forces to crack down on the protesters with deadly force is a complication for U.S. policies, to say the least, since U.S. is reluctant to criticize its oil ally dictators in the region.”

He also called Bahrain the “Las Vegas” of the Middle East, host to the U.S. 5th Fleet and a haunt for the rich Saudis who are forbidden by Islamic laws at home from indulging in alcohol and other immoral enjoyments, “but who often vacation in Bahrain for these reasons.”

Bahraini citizens have uploaded several video files on the internet, showing the cruel and ruthless torturing and persecuting of the protesters by the Al Khalifa lackeys. These videos depict the Bahraini forces using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters and killing many of them straight away. Some of these videos also show the Saudi and Bahraini cars nonchalantly running over Bahraini children and women, killing them at once.

The U.S.-Saudi project of crackdown on the Bahraini people was also empowered by many of the European cronies of Washington. In July 2011, Germany sold a set of 200 62-ton Leopard tanks to Saudi Arabia which sparked a huge controversy among the German parliamentarians and anti-war activists. According to the Daily Telegraph, Wolfgang Gerhardt, former leader of the Free Democrats, the junior collation member to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said it was “unacceptable” the deal went through without the knowledge of his party’s MPs. However, the agreement which was worth around USD 1,252 million was concluded and the Saudi government dispatched many of these newly-bought tanks to Bahrain to accelerate and facilitate the bloody clampdown on the protesters.

The situation in Yemen, however, is far more deplorable and appalling. Allvoices.com has reported that as of September 25, 1,870 Yemenis were killed in the revolution and the majority of the martyrs were unarmed civilians taking part in anti-government demonstrations.

The Yemeni dictator who has remained defiant in the face of frequent calls by the tribal leaders, opposition groups and demonstrators to step down and give up power has turned his country into a bloodbath and made the Yemeni uprising the longest, most devastative revolution in the revolutionary wave of protests in the Middle East. The protests in Yemen started on February 3, 2011 and have continued so far. The only reaction of the international community to the brutality in Yemen was an indecisive and faltering resolution by the UNSC which called for “an end to violence” and asked President Ali Abdullah Saleh to accept a peace deal brokered by the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council. However, Abdullah Saleh, who is tacitly supported by the U.S., kept up with the brutalities and according to Yemen Times, 94 protesters were killed after the Security Council adopted the resolution 2014.

In a report published on Yemen Times on November 17, it was revealed that “ninety-four Yemenis were killed and over 800 injured since UN Resolution 2014 was issued on October 21.”

“Tentative reports show that over the last three weeks in Yemen, 124 homes, seven mosques, six public institutions including one hospital, two community wells, and 17 vehicles were effectively destroyed,” Yemen Times reported.

In the days leading to the detainment and death of Moammar Gaddafi, the Western mainstream media were only talking about the Libyan civil war, and the reason was clear: NATO had secured a UNSC resolution to enact a no-fly zone over Libya and it was in the interests of the U.S. and its European partners to give coverage to the tumultuous situation in the North African country. However, the reports and news regarding the carnage in Bahrain and Yemen were predominantly shunned and boycotted, simply because these two despotic regimes were close allies of the U.S. in the Middle East.

In a report published on Independent Australia, Zaid Jiani alluded to the violent crackdown on the protesters in Bahrain and Yemen and posed the question: “is the media downplaying these events because the two dictatorships are firm allies of the West?”

A Think Progress analysis of press coverage by the three major U.S. cable news networks – CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News – from March 14 to March 18 finds that Bahrain received only slightly more than ten percent as many mentions as Libya and that Yemen received only six percent as many mentions as Libya.

Now what concerns the independent thinkers, scholars, university professors, journalists and peace activists is that Syria has become the target of international pressure, simply because it has strong ties with Iran and resistant groups in Lebanon and Palestine, while the reactionary regimes of Bahrain and Yemen are getting away with the felonies which they commit by the virtue of their alliance with the United States.

The Arab League has vindictively suspended the participation of Syria while it has taken no practical step to normalize the situation in the turbulent and chaotic Yemen and Bahrain in which innocent people are being killed on a daily basis by their tyrannical rulers and their loyalists.

All that can be said is that the performance of the Arab League in neglecting the situation in Yemen and Bahrain and exaggerating the unrest in Syria, which is mainly caused by the foreign intervention and the West’s indifference toward the plight of the suppressed nations in Yemen and Bahrain, is an all-out hypocrisy and a clear, undeniable exercise of double standards. Who can really devise a clear-cut solution for this unsolvable dilemma?

Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian freelance journalist and media correspondent. His articles have appeared on a number of media outlets and newspapers. He is a member of Tlaxcala Translators Network for Linguistic Diversity. Read other articles by Kourosh.