Via IPS News
Analysis by Jim Lobe*
WASHINGTON, Apr 23, 2011 (IPS) – As the so-called Arab Spring enters its sixth month, it appears to have run into seriously wintry headwinds.
While some observers here have blamed Saudi Arabia and its neighbouring Sunni-led sheikhdoms as a major source of the icy winds that are blasting through the Gulf, the growing contradictions between the U.S. and Western “values” and their interests are adding to the unseasonable weather.
Thus, while Washington has privately expressed strong doubts about the wisdom of the increasingly brutal and indiscriminate crackdown against the majority Shia population in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, its failure to clearly and publicly denounce the Saudi-backed repression is only the most blatant example of this trend.
Far less noticed – let alone condemned – are actions such as Thursday’s dissolution by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of the board of directors of the Jurist Association, one of the country’s most prominent civil society organisations, which earlier this month had the temerity to sign a petition seeking political reform.
Human Rights Watch said the move was part of a “broader crackdown on peaceful dissent” by the government, whose de facto defence minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will meet with President Barack Obama here next week, the White House announced Friday.
Indeed, despite his growing – if reluctant – military investment in “regime change” in Libya, Obama’s avowed efforts to put Washington “on the right side of history” in the Arab world appear increasingly lame and hypocritical. — Which should surprise no one who is familiar with the history of US imperialism. –WG