This article from the Los Angeles Times discusses protests in Bahrain, the tiny island in the Persian Gulf that serves as the home of the US NAvy's Fifth Fleet and as an airfield for British and American aircraft operating in the region. The protestors are ignoring history:
During the Persian Gulf War, Iraq launched Scud missiles at Bahrain. Still, the protesters said the U.S. presence here is politically unacceptable and endangers Bahrain's sovereignty.
In what way is Bahraini sovereignty endangered?
"This is the new colonialism," said one protester, Suhyla Safqr, a dentist. "Americans are the new savages. We have so much anger at them. We will stop at nothing to stop them if they attack an Arab country."
Savages? We're not the ones who murdered 3000 innocents in one day, a move that certainly qualifies as "stopping at nothing". Apparently, Safqr prefers tyrants such as Hussein murdering their own countrymen to outside influence.
Mohammed Musfir, a political science lecturer, predicted an exponential growth in anti-U.S. sentiment and protests that could lead to governments asking the U.S. military to leave the bases it has used for decades.
"You will see demonstrations like never before in the Arab world," Musfir said. "The anger has built up because of U.S. support for Israel against the Palestinians. A war with Iraq will make the anger ignite."
But Hassan M. Saleh Ansari, director of the Gulf Studies Center at the University of Qatar, a regional think tank, said such predictions are exaggerated. He noted that the same sort of rhetoric was heard before a U.S.-led coalition forced Iraq to abandon Kuwait in 1991.
"We have heard this before," Ansari said. "If the war is quick, I do not think the reaction will be severe."
As in much of the Arabic world, there is a lot of anger at American support of Israel, and a belief (spread by some of the more virulent Anti-American fanatics and the Iraqi government) that this is an American war against Islam.
"First it was Afghanistan, now Iraq, soon Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. America will not be happy until it destroys all of Islam," said one protester, Sallah Salih, who works at a Chili's restaurant.
Obviously, Salih fails to graps the irony of the statement, coupled with his place of employment. How many of his coworkers would be unemployed if not for American corporations and the American military presence (which employs a significant number of locals)? Maybe he should look at the unemployment figures elsewhere in the Arab world.
posted on October 19, 2002 01:53 PM
Do you ever wonder how many of the protesters are on Bin Ladin's payroll?