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Sunday, June 12, 2011
U.S. trying to manipulate Arab uprising
By Afshin Davarpanah
Unlike what many analysts thought, the United States is making serious efforts to depose the government of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
This change of strategy first became apparent in U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on May 19, 2011, in which he said that some regional allies were not responding to the U.S. calls for change and this was now the case in Yemen. He asked Saleh to fulfill his commitments and asked him to resign.
This 180-degree reversal of strategy on recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa is not so strange and unexpected. In fact, after months of daily protests, of course the U.S. and Saudi Arabia welcome regime change in Yemen. However, the U.S. is trying to control the situation in order to better serve its interests.
The collapse of Saleh’s regime is inevitable, whether he returns to the country or not, and his time as president is finally over, even for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which supported the Yemeni dictator until a few months ago, even long after the protests began.
The question is whether the U.S. stopped supporting dictators like Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Egypt’s Mubarak, and Yemen’s Saleh because they did not respond to the popular demands for change or because they stopped obeying the U.S. and stopped following its policies.
Now, almost everywhere, Saleh is called a dictator who led his country to despotism and corruption. However, until several months ago, the West regarded him as a friend. Ben Ali and Mubarak were in a similar situation. They were all regarded as the most important allies of the U.S. over the past few decades, and thus Washington remained silent and did nothing to hinder these authoritarian regimes.
Issues such as human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, civil and political liberties (such as the right to establish non-governmental organizations, political groups, parties, etc.), and minority and women's rights have been the main pretexts for interventions by the U.S. and Europe in various countries. In fact, these issues are frequently used as tools to interfere in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern states. The method used by the U.S. and its allies in dealing with the Arab uprising provides an example of this approach.
For example, many Arab countries that have a bad record in the area of human rights and related issues have been supported by Washington for decades, but all of a sudden, when there is no longer any chance for the Westerners to continue their support, they resort to the issue of human rights to justify their interference.
On the one hand, the West’s support for despotic regimes always created anti-Western sentiment in the region. Thus, by helping popular movements, the U.S. is trying to prevent more Islamic extremist ideologies and groups like Al-Qaeda from arising in the region.
On the other hand, the governments of the region are all facing a domestic and international crisis of legitimacy. The U.S. policy is to support change in order to respond to these crises and to better serve its interests.
To summarize all this, it can be said that the U.S. and its allies are only pursuing their national, regional, and international interests, and issues such as human rights and political and civil liberties are only used as pretexts to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. And thus, the United States is encouraging the popular movements of the Arab world, even though they are anti-U.S. in nature, in order to manipulate the situation in its favor so that it will be able to install new rulers who also will be subservient to the U.S. and follow its policies. This is the most efficient way to promote U.S. cultural and political hegemony in the future.