Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Paying Homage to the King



  • I've said this many times... look how far the US has fallen since its revolution against the British monarchy.  The US is engaged in a love fest with the head-choppin, money wasting, war-making monarchy in Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis make war on Yemen and Obama steps up and says, "Yes sir, what can we do to help!"

  • One commentator recently wrote about Saudi Arabia for Sputnik:
The reality is that the real threats to the monarchy, domestic in nature and beyond Washington's reach, include the kingdom's general repression and particular mistreatment of its Shia minority. This was demonstrated the recent execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who urged nonviolent opposition to the monarchy.
  • In a statement released by the State Department last weekend US Secretary of State John Kerry had this to say about the Saudis:  "We have as solid a relationship, as clear an alliance, and as strong a friendship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we ever had, and nothing has changed."

  • Ultimately, Cato Institute Senior Fellow Doug Bandow writes, "whatever the alleged benefits of the Saudi alliance, America pays a high price."

"First is the cost of providing free bodyguards for the royals. For this reason the United States initiated the first Gulf War and left a garrison on Saudi soil. The inconclusive end of that conflict led to continual bombing of Iraq even during 'peacetime' and ultimately the Iraq invasion. At the Saudis’ behest, Washington backs their misbegotten war in Yemen and remains formally committed to the overthrow of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the strongest force opposing the far more dangerous Islamic State."

  • Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, wrote the following for Consortium News:

Saudi Arabia has engaged in war crimes, and the United States is aiding and abetting them by providing the Saudis with military assistance. In September 2015, Saudi aircraft killed 135 wedding celebrants in Yemen. The air strikes have killed 2,800 civilians, including 500 children. Human Rights Watch charges that these bombings “have indiscriminately killed and injured civilians.”

This conflict is part of a regional power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are bombing Yemen in order to defeat the Houthi rebels, who have been resisting government repression for a long time. Iran has been accused of supporting the Houthis, although Iran denies this. Yemen is strategically located on a narrow waterway that links the Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea. Much of the world’s oil passes through this waterway.

The U.S. government should immediately halt arms transfers and military support to Saudi Arabia and support an independent investigation into U.S. arms transfers and war crimes in Yemen. The United States must stop participating in and call for an end to the de facto blockade so that humanitarian assistance can reach those in need, engage in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.

In an interesting twist, the Saudis contributed $10 million to the Clinton Foundation before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. In 2011, the year after the State Department had documented myriad serious human rights violations by Saudi Arabia, Hillary Clinton oversaw a $29 billion sale of advanced fighter jets to the Saudis, declaring it was in our national interest.

The deal was “a top priority” for Secretary Clinton, according to Andrew Shapiro, an assistant secretary of state. Two months before the deal was clinched, Boeing, manufacturer of one of the fighter jets the Saudis sought to acquire, contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary Clinton now says the U.S should pursue “closer strategic cooperation” with Saudi Arabia.
  • Democratic party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has repeatedly called on the US to get Saudi Arabia to do more of the killing of ISIS throughout the Middle East.  It is true that Saudi Arabia has not been engaged in the anti-ISIS coalition.  But the reason primarily is that Saudi Arabia is a major funder of ISIS which has been the shock troops for the Gulf monarchies in their dirty effort to take down Syria and destabilize Iran. Does Bernie Sanders not know this?  Seems unlikely to me.

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