Saudi Royal Family Organizes Fight against Arab Democracy
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Barack Obama with Saudi King Abdullah
Under the guise of combating instability in the Middle East and countering Iranian influence, the royal family of Saudi Arabia has taken military and diplomatic steps to reduce the likelihood of more democratic revolutions gaining power in the region.
Having observed the fall of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and threats to others in Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen, Saudi leaders are determined to limit the outbreak of more anti-monarchy revolutions in the region, for fear such developments might embolden political opponents at home to rise up.
To help secure the kingdoms of Jordan and Morocco, Saudi Arabia has invited these rulers to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a union of Persian Gulf monarchies. By doing so, Saudi leaders can send troops into Jordan or Morocco if those governments become threatened by democratic uprisings. Saudi Arabia did just that earlier this year when GCC member Bahrain faced heated internal protests, resulting in elite Saudi military units crossing the border in March to quell the trouble.
Saudi Arabia is receiving military assistance from the United Kingdom to help put down protests in the Gulf. The support has included British advisers training Saudi Arabia’s national guard, the same soldiers who were sent into Bahrain, on the use of sniper rifles.
The Saudis also have reached out to the ruling military council of Egypt, providing $4 billion in aid in an attempt blunt the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose view of Islamic law does not support absolute monarchies like the one operated by the Saudi royal family.
Saudi Arabia Scrambles to Limit Region’s Upheaval (by Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times)
The Counter-Revolution Club (by Pepe Escobar, Asia Times)
UK Training Saudi Forces Used to Crush Arab Spring (by Jamie Doward and Philippa Stewart, The Observer)
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