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Quick Facts: US Double Standards Haunt Obama

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TEHRAN, May 19 (ICANA) – The Obama administration, like most experts and Arab governments, were caught off guard by the upheaval and rapid fall of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. Huffington Post
Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:59:35 PM
Quick Facts: US Double Standards Haunt Obama

Writing in Lebanon's Daily Star, Rami Khouri said Washington's pick-and-choose approach was unacceptable to most Arabs, reflecting "the same old, ugly problem of double standards in western governments' treatment of Arab issues". Guardian

The results speak for themselves. The Arab spring has ended. After the euphoria of Egypt's revolution, protests have broken out in most Arab countries. They have been met with more, not less, force, as regimes-including close U.S. allies-wage war on their own people. Slate.com

Obama was criticized for taking too long to call for the resignation of Egypt's then president Hosni Mubarak, while he was swift to side with protesters in Tunisia, a country which holds little strategic value for America. news.sky.com

The truth is that the U.S. government loves dictatorships, especially military ones, at least when the dictator is considered a loyal member of the U.S. Empire. Whenever a dictator goes independent, he immediately becomes a target for regime change, one in which the recalcitrant dictator is replaced with a compliant dictator, one that maintains "order and stability" within his country, even if that means employing terror and torture to accomplish it. Mwcnews.net

 

U.S. & Egypt

 

In Egypt, an initial description by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of President Hosni Mubarak's regime as "stable" was superseded by calls for him to stand down as protests mounted -- but not before an administration envoy, Frank Wisner, called for him to be allowed to stay in office to supervise an "orderly transition." Rferl.org

Once it became clear that Egypt's dictator Hosni Mubarak was on the way out, U.S. officials quickly shifted gears and took the side of the demonstrators, the people who had suffered for 30 years under the brutal Mubarak dictatorship. Informationclearinghouse.info

American support for the Egyptian government -- to the tune of $60 billion in aid over the last 30 years -- garnered virtually no regular attention before the protests began. Salon.com

Now, officials say the U.S. would forgive up to $1 billion of Egypt's debt to the U.S. in a swap that would redirect those funds to projects to create infrastructure and jobs, particularly for the young. Politico.com

Obama also is expected to announce $1 billion in loan guarantees. But that totals up to $2 billion, plus perhaps a few billion more from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Politico.com

 

U.S. & Tunisia

 

Between 1987 and 2009, the U.S. military signed $349 million in military sales agreements with Ben Ali's government. Last year, the Obama administration asked Congress to approve a $282 million sale of 12 "excess" Sirkorsky military helicopters to Tunisia, with engines by General Electric. Warisbusiness.com

At that time, Tunisia stood at number 143 out of 179 countries when it came to freedom of the press. It's a place, where, according to a 2008 Amnesty International report, human rights abuses by its security forces "continue unabated and are committed with impunity." Asiantribune.com

A senior administration official who spoke to reporters during a conference call previewing Obama's speech provided few details on assistance for Tunisia but did say it would be included in a planned investment fund to finance projects in the region. Politico.com

It has been five months since Tunisians took to the streets to demand that their dictator of 27 years, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, cede power. Cfr.org

 

U.S. & Libya

 

In Libya, there appears to be a stalemate at the moment between the regime of Muammar Gaddafi and forces trying to oust him. Theroot.com

Another lever of U.S. influence, American military power, has proven disappointing so far to Libyan rebels, as Muammar Gaddafi continues to withstand military attacks and defy U.S. demands that he leave office. Bloomberg.com

Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi, continues to keep a low profile amid reports that his wife and daughter have fled to neighboring Tunisia. Guardian.co.uk

 

Rebels say they want Washington to recognize their Transitional National Council in Benghazi -- and to help enforce International Criminal Court arrest warrants for the Libyan leader, his son, and his intelligence chief if they are issued in the coming weeks. Csmonitor.com

With regard to the Libyan conflict the president of the Council on Foreign Relations said, "Right now, the administration faces a conundrum where there is a significant gap between U.S. policy objectives -- in this case the removal of Muammar Gaddafi from power -- and what the United States is willing to do to bring that about." Scrollpost.com

The president of Council on Foreign Relations said, "We should push hard for a ceasefire, and do what we can to save as many lives as possible, even if that means for the time being having Gaddafi remain in power and have the country effectively divided." Scrollpost.com

 

U.S. & Bahrain

 

While the U.S. and allies bombed Libya in what they said was to protect civilians from attacks by government forces, they have not been nearly as assertive about Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. Bloomberg.com

In the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, the United States has remained silent as its close ally Saudi Arabia has sent troops to help quell a rebellion among the Shia-majority population against the pro-Western Sunni monarchy. Rferl.org

 

Bahrainis in particular have become embittered by Washington's failure to condemn their government's violent crackdown on demonstrations and subsequent campaign of intimidation and retribution against all dissent. Csmonitor.com

The tiny kingdom is home to a key U.S. naval base and several citizens said Thursday they did not expect Obama to pressure Bahrain's rulers. Csmonitor.com

Obama will not announce plans for the withdrawal of the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet from Bahrain, whose Al Khalifa dynasty now make for an embarrassing ally. almasryalyoum.com

 

U.S. & Saudi Arabia

 

The U.S. has had a good relationship with Saudi Arabia since 1974, when Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit the country. The ties strengthened during George W. Bush's tenure -- Saudi Arabia was certified as an anti-terrorism ally in 2007 -- and King Abdullah maintains a good relationship with President Obama. Theweek.com

The Obama administration announced last November that it was seeking a massive $60 billion, 20-year weapons sale to the Saudis, which would reportedly include 84 F-15 fighter aircraft and almost 200 helicopters. Salon.com

And yet Saudi Arabia is indisputably an authoritarian regime. There is no elected parliament, public protests are banned, and the media is controlled by the state. Theweek.com

 

The United States' support of Abdullah may one day backfire, says Alex Welch at The Daily Campus. "On the day the Saudi monarchy collapses, the United States may find itself powerless to defeat any anti-American sentiment that may foster as a result." Theweek.com

The Saudi government has maintained an abysmal human rights record. Human Rights Watch summarized the situation in its annual report: "Authorities continue to systematically suppress or fail to protect the rights of nine million Saudi women and girls, eight million foreign workers, and some two million Shia citizens. Salon.com

This is while; longtime ally Saudi Arabia recently signaled its intent to pursue foreign policy goals that at times will go against U.S. interests in the region. Bloomberg.com

In a May 15 opinion article in the Washington Post, former Saudi adviser Nawaf Obaid wrote that the oil-rich kingdom is breaking its lockstep with "misguided" U.S. policy in the region, including its "unconscionable refusal to hold Israel accountable for its illegal settlement building." Bloomberg.com

 

U.S. & Jordan

 

In response to recent protests in Jordan, King Abdullah II dismissed his cabinet and appointed a new prime minister. News/politics/war_room

The United States gave Jordan, another Middle Eastern monarchy, $300 million in military aid in 2010. Salon.com

 

Recently, Obama met in the Oval Office with Jordan's King Abdullah II, who is pursuing economic reforms in his country but still governs as a hereditary monarch. Obama pledged $1 billion in financing for Jordan, along with 50,000 tons of wheat. Politico.com

Meanwhile, according to Human Rights Watch, violations of basic freedoms are not uncommon in Jordan. News/politics/war_room

Human Rights Watch said in its annual report: "Torture, routine and widespread in recent years, continues, in particular at police stations, where complaints about ill-treatment increased in 2009 and again in 2010." There is also no freedom of speech in Jordan, with steep penalties for criticizing the king or the government. News/politics/war_room

 

U.S. & Yemen

 

In the case of Yemen, Washington has called for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after three decades of tyranny, but has done nothing to back up those words while youthful protesters continue to be killed. Theglobeandmail.com

Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh still appears to be playing for time. A last minute hitch has stalled a Persian Gulf council deal for him to step down. guardian.co.uk

Leaked WikiLeaks cables described how Saleh had covered up U.S. military strikes in the country and offered American forces an "open door" to execute more attacks. Theweek.com

 

When WikiLeaks began releasing State Department cables, it proved particularly embarrassing for Saleh. In December 2009, U.S. forces bombed al-Qaeda camps inside Yemen. In order to avoid anti-American protests, Saleh told visiting U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours." Allgov.com

This is while American military advisers were expected to launch a new training program with Yemen's counterterrorism unit so it can thwart any terrorist plots aimed at the U.S. Allgov.com

The $75-million plan calls for doubling the size of the 300-member Yemeni anti-terror force and reorienting its mission, which until now has been to protect the capital, including President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power since 1978. Allgov.com

Three American Presidents have done everything in their power to keep Saleh propped up in his rotten regime. All three of them making every excuse they could for his support of al-Qaeda, his blatant lies, and his brutal treatment of his own people. Terrorismpolitician.blogspot.com

 

U.S. & Syria

 

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad faces U.S. sanctions for human rights abuses -- the first time he has been personally targeted by the international community. Guardian

The move comes after Assad acknowledged that his security forces had made mistakes during the uprising against his regime, blaming poorly trained police officers at least in part for a crackdown that has killed more than 850 people over the past two months. Guardian

The truth is the United States has little leverage over the Assad regime. Neither the engagement with which the Obama administration tried to woo Assad with nor the threat of sanctions has worked. Clickondetroit.com

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