Is Saudi Arabia Next?


Smoke_rising_from_the_Grand_Mosque,_Mecca,_1979.JPG

The Gulf countries, to some extent, initiated quick reforms to avoid the domino effect of the Arab Spring.

Reminiscent of the Age of Metternich in Europe, when serious efforts to revolutionize the continent were being suppressed.

Revolution often has little idea of the future, but this weakness is exploited by existing orders to maintain the “status quo”. The divisions between revolutionaries, usually ideologically, lead to fragmentation. Sometimes, revolutions become themselves suppressive, as with far left or far right ideologies in Europe, the Far East and Latin America.

Ironically, the Arab Spring affected only the nations with little economic influence in the region. If the Arab World has a list of grievances, it would be safe to assume that economic misery is atop the list, along with cultural and political factors. Involvement by foreign countries further complicates the dynamic.

How could the Arab Spring miss the Gulf countries? Why did it not sweep Lebanon? Why were the results overturned quickly in Egypt?

All of these are important questions. Many of the leaders that were overthrown in the Arab World over the last two decades, including Saddam, Gaddafi, Mubarak and Morsi deserved their fate, perhaps. But two forces plague the Middle East – robust capitalism in the Gulf and authoritarianism and sectarianism in the Levant and North Africa. This dynamic of persistent monarchism and militarized statism have together, produced disaster. But how can such polarized forces, like the two aforementioned, which are ideologically diametrically opposed, share the feature of tyranny? This forces analysis to focus on external factors.

The most crucial piece of the Arab political puzzle is the Gulf region, because economically, it preserves the economic capacity necessary for sustaining and developing the entire Middle East. Patronage and nepotism have disenfranchised the average person from the political and thus, economic processes. Religious and family bonds infiltrate policy, and result in corruption and economic misery.

The Gulf is aptly supported by America. Israel too.

Is it possible that both economic, social and political development are lagging then not only as a result of Arab tyranny, but the American involvement which secures it?

Placing the blame on external forces is an easy and common trend, particularly in the Middle East where a factual history of foreign conspiracies confirmed societal paranoias towards the US and Europe.

Both the conflicts in Iraq and Syria were US-led initiatives, really. But genuine reform in the Middle East cannot take place without reform in the crux of the puzzle – the Gulf. If violent insurgencies persist, will they eventually realize their greatest obstacle is not the enemy of the US, Assad and Iran, but rather, the enemy of the Arab World, which is the greediness which permeates the Gulf?

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Bernie Sanders, Israel & Palestine


I know the dude is doing his best to speak on almost all issues of popular will, would be admirable to see him challenge US foreign policy on Middle East, especially Palestinian human rights. I think that would help bridge the gap between minority groups and non-minorities on the left, that is, a shift in American foreign policy.

But still, there remains no mention of Palestinian human rights of self-determination. And we all know this issue is the crux of the ME political dynamic; as well as the primary cause of mistrust between the ME & the West. I still think Bernie’s agenda is incredible, but as an immigrant from the ME, I can’t help but see the interdependence between US domestic policy and our actions in the ME.

I’m not sure Hillary is a proponent of boots on the ground as much as the GOP. Nonetheless, my ideal stance would be to use our “exceptional” diplomatic leverage to pressure Israeli policy against suppression of Palestinian self-determination. Let the world discover how “democratic” Israel really is. But is that in U.S. imperial interests? Which is why is irks me when someone like Sanders defends Israel, a socio-economically exploitative entity; something he swears to defend against.

He addresses it here; goes far enough to assert Palestinian rights and need for Two-States. Does he acknowledge the possibility that Israeli expansionism is never-ending; that perhaps Israeli survival depends on it? Is he merely scapegoating so as to appease both Palestinians and Israelis without actually addressing the issue at hand? Or does Sanders actually believe that a two-state solution is possible? All questions that matter, because, in today’s world, as the West confronts “Islamism”, the roots of it lay at the trunk of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

On a light note, here’s a snippet from Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show featuring Mac Miller that captures the horrors of American electoral politics and the underlying conservative racism which is largely influential in the US political scene:

“New America”: Immigration, Freeloading & the Republican Propaganda Machine


http://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&byGuid=3000409658&size=530_298

Are Immigrants Freeloaders? GOP, Trump & Rubio answer.

The GOP is conflicted.

They are ashamed that their disdain for genuine democracy is unfolding.

They scurry to relinquish themselves of associations with one another, and they are desperate to convince the world that their views are not as outrageous as their party platform.

A recipe for failure, it seems.

While Rubio & Bush might seem like the most poise of the candidates; their ideology resonates only with the same constituency amassed by other GOP candidates. Their platform is not only fundamentalistic and hawkish; it lacks the basis it needs for legitimacy. These guys are entertainers!

There is too much shame in the Republican Party.

Rubio goes far enough to humanize illegal immigrants; but his inability to translate that into a viable political position and a platform for efficient reform as well as what seems to be his inner desire to maintain a system that disenfranchises immigrants from integration makes it all too apparent that Rubio falls in line with the rest of his party on the issue of immigration, which is ironic because, while a vast number of Cuban & Latin-Americans identify with conservative politics, the majority tends to side with the Democrats, which is the more ethnically diverse and responsive party in the American political landscape today.

America is the greatest country on earth, without a shadow of a doubt. Even Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, vilified by US media outlets as an America-Hating tyrant, shared the sentiment, “America is the greatest country in the world”, during one of his more recent interviews with Charlie Rose. That being said, America is not perfect. Much like the countries from where most of these immigrants fled, America suffers from drawbacks. These drawbacks are reflections of the stubbornness of the elite to recognize the need for cultural integration. A more clear example of this stubbornness is the unwillingness of “White America” to acknowledge the dues it owes to the Black population. America tends to view itself as so exceptional that it excuses its own double-dealings. But that has bitten it in the foot. And the mass influx of illegal immigrants in modern times is just one among many symptoms of those decisions.

In an interview with Senator Rubio before announcing his candidacy in the 2016 race, Mexican-American journalist Jorge Ramos lambasts Rubio’s hypocrisy on the issue of immigration:

Your father was an illegal immigrant living in the US illegally until 1967. He eventually obtained status. Why did your grandfather receive the generosity and support of this country? Why don’t you do the same?

The realities Republicans ignore:

  1. America is not perfect and is largely responsible for supporting the tyrannical policies and despots around the world which have robbed citizens of decent ways of life, thereby pressuring immigrants to leave their homes in search of a better place.
  2. Immigrants are not free-loaders. I am an example. I’ve received no federal financial aid; have a working father (God Bless Him); and attend school by paying out of pocket.
  3. The majority of Americans on welfare are White (a lot of them are conservatives who complain that socialism is taking over the country; the irony).
  4. America double-deals with non-democratic nations, monarchs, statists, autocrats and theocrats.
  5. American exclusivism and austerity (when it comes to accessibility to public services) is incompatible with the founding American doctrines of liberalism, secularism & tolerance.
  6. America remains a republic, and not a democracy; that is a representation of a minority (essentially apartheid) ideology so long as it rejects doctrine of universal humanism.

The GOP tactic is not new. It is a smear-tactic. Dehumanize the subject and justify exclusivism and social disenfranchisement. It is the face of old America, but if this is the “New World”, then perhaps we also need to make calls for a “New America”.

Democracy?


Marble statue of  the ancient greek philosopher Plato. Image shot 03/2009. Exact date unknown.

As a deist who recognizes the existence of an eternal Supreme deity, I take issue with the reality that much spirituality and religion is held hostage to the dogmas of compulsion, strict adherence & fanaticism. While not all religions espouse this, as an Arab-Armenian, I am forced to witness the consequences of religious fanaticism everyday.

The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ which was apparently intended to usher in democracy into the Middle East proved to produce negative results. In Egypt the fanaticism of the Muslim Brotherhood took hold. The majority in this case was not tolerant of social liberalism and therein caused a religious mess. A military coup followed resulting in the restoration of the non-democratic tradition of Middle Eastern political culture.

But to suggest that democracy is a perfect concept is not only irrational — it is by definition, un-American. In today’s world, the so-called global police of all democracies, isn’t even, by definition, a democracy. America is a federal republic. The founding fathers often held democracy in disdain because it allowed for the possibility of instability.

The idea that democracy is an end would suggest that it is universal, absolute & self-sufficient. But just as China’s shift from robust communism to mixed economics proved the inefficiency & inhumane nature of adherence to absolute communism, so to has the US, since FDR really, drifted further away from robust democratic-capitalism to leftist-inspired mixed economics. Never has the US, or any major western hegemony for that matter, exhibited a state of pure democracy, precisely because of the power and influence of religious fundamentalism on the political process and on society altogether.

Is Democracy just?

It is rationalism which manifested the philosophy of democracy, the idea that the majority should rule and that order would ensue. But choice is an enigma, as is human nature, and reducing humanity to statistics results in collective totalitarianism. Who is to say that the majority of human beings would choose what is right or moral? The assumption that numbers do the talking may work for basic creatures of animalistic instinct but the complexity of human nature requires that we consider the possibility that individual rights, self-reliance, experience & self-determination are often compromised by democracy and ensuing collective ideological movements.

Are there limits to how much democracy should be exhibited?

If the majority of a country consistently elects leaders who legislate unjust policies, doesn’t this suggest a flaw in relying strictly on majoritarian politics? Is majoritarian democracy the problem? Switzerland exhibits what is called proportional-representation; that way minority groups aren’t disenfranchised from the conversation of representation. In the US however it seems democracy has been a tool in rallying support for non-democratic policies, from tax breaks for the 1% to full-fledged arbitrary invasions of foreign countries.

What is holding America hostage is the elitist mentality of the 1%. But does democracy encourage this? The free market exists, but is it stifled by elitism & industrial monopoly?

There is an association between free markets and democracy, what we call here in the West, democratic-capitalism. How much do these values really ensure individual & collective rights?

Realistically I would argue that every nation will realize its need for mixed economics in order for survival. Empires which have relied on dogmatic-ideologies have eventually run themselves dry, from ancient pagan empires to modern twentieth-century totalitarianism.

So perhaps the problem in the international community is not the absence of democracy or republicanism but rather an absence of ‘moderate’ forces which do not threaten national sovereignty and do not enable colonialism.

The Democratic Index of 2012 compiled by the Economic Intelligence Unit lists the US 21st on the list. Israel, supposedly the Middle East’s only democracy, is not included. This isn’t to suggest that these countries are not democracies, but rather, that the level of democratic rights which are instituted are relatively low compared to the ideal of democratic representation.

Poverty and ego are the main causes of ideological fundamentalism. The solution to the Middle East is not democracy. It is the opposite. It is the end of foreign dogma in the region. Neither democracy, capitalism, communism or Islam are going to solve the socio-economic crises of the Middle East; and in reality, the push for democracy by the West during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ had neither democratic values nor the interests of the Middle Eastern people in mind, but rather, another pseudo-revolution aimed at distracting the world from the behind-the-scenes oil-for-weapons trades going on.

Measuring a country’s morality or integrity based on its level of democracy is one thing; but to suggest that a country IS NOT A DEMOCRACY, is foolish — because no country ever has or currently exhibits pure democracy. The idea that the majority is infallible is foolish and arrogant. Furthermore, the idea that West understands more than the East what constitutes an acceptable level of democracy is self-righteous and hypocritical, given statistical data from the Economic Intelligence Unit which suggests that democratic values are not upheld completely by any western hegemony.

That brings me to Israel. It was, on the contrary, included on the list of flawed democracies, with India, Brazil, Russia & Argentina beside it.

Israel claims to be “A” democracy. It couldn’t be further from the truth on two notes: firstly, that no country has ever exhibited absolute democracy; and secondly, in that it is a ethno-religious entity…by nature it cannot be egalitarian. Furthermore, Israel represents a minority in the Middle East. Still, it maintains close ties with dictatorial regimes in order to ensure its control over the media, because facts are on the side of the Arabs, which show that the Arab & Muslim world are completely disenfranchised from the conversation of justice and values of democracy. Israel is not infallible; it is not secular; it is not egalitarian; and it is essentially a product of classic gerrymandering. Israel, like the Republican Party in the US, is perpetually in a race against time, desperate for occupation, constantly propagating dogma & hypocrisy.

The self-righteous attitudes of Republicans, pro-Israelis & neo-conservatives only exposes their hypocrisy. They rely on forces of religious fundamentalism, usury & imperialism in order to protect themselves from criticism and being brought to justice.

Whether democracy is the moral or best form of government, I cannot say for sure. I will say however, that if by democracy we mean the assurance of human rights, I am not exactly sure how well the US fares in that regard; neither the US, nor any of its supposedly democratic allies.

I recently came across a comment by a pro-Israeli which read that Palestine was a roman creation. So too, was Israel. The idea that the Roman Empire & the Jewish Kingdom were never in agreement is at odds with history. Furthermore, was it not the pagan emperor Darius & the following Persian emperors who helped rebuild the Second Temple? The ties between Israel, imperialism & global empires goes back quite far. Today, instead of Rome we’ve got the UK & the US. Quite appropriate, given the greco-roman cultural foundations of both societies. Perhaps this is what Nietzsche was referring to when he mentioned the political order of the Judeo-Christian monopolization of monotheism & socio-economics. Before we deem critics of western society as atheists or fanatics, let us apply the same criticalness to ourselves. How moral are we, really, America?

Communism, fascism, democracy, republicanism, ultra-nationalism, theocracy all serve the agenda of Imperialism and work coercively against national sovereignty and human rights. An article recently published by Business Insider received insight on Middle East politics through the eyes of an Arab billionaire who requested that his identity remain anonymous to protect his name and family from danger. In the article, he made many interesting points, one of which caught my eye the most. The following is a quote from the article:

Israel doesn’t want peace because Russian immigrants have taken over its political system and moved it rightward.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/an-interview-with-an-arab-billionaire-2015-2#ixzz3RxpZsE00

This shows the close association between the state of Israel and imperialism. The vast immigration of Russian jews to the Middle East largely makes up the majority of Israel’s population. Imperialism & elitism have a longstanding tradition in Russian history. It was the Bolshevik communist revolution which brought the tradition to a sudden halt, thereby pinning Russia and the USSR against the West in a global conflict for the balance of power in a bi-polar stand-off called the Cold War, which lasted nearly half a century. Israel was largely the product of an agreement between various imperial forces. The Bolshevik revolution, like the Nazi movement, appeared to have been anti-semitic and violently hostile to Judaism on the surface; but in reality, both of these forces served as catalysts for the creation of Israel in 1948.

The point here is that Israel’s history and its policies are reflective of its practically absent democratic attributes. In the 21st century it is looking more and more like the apartheid regime which ruled South Africa from 1948 (the irony) till the end of the millennium.

The engine of industrialization and capitalism is often understood as freedom and individual innovation, but never as a product of government nepotism and imperial exploitation versus genuine free trade. Israel & Saudi Arabia are products of this reality. It is not the free-market culture but rather the culture of American Exceptionalism which has contributed to the successes of Zionism & global imperialism.

I would argue that free-markets and capitalism are completely different and in fact mutually antithetical. Capitalism is an attitude of supremacy, where as free markets are a philosophy of openness, self-reliance and innovation. Capitalism requires forced labor, slavery, ownership of natural resources, and enables oligarchy. Imperialism is an extension of capitalism, both of which are rooted deeply in white supremacy, orientalism and colonial exploitation.

The reveals the culpability of Israel and western neo-cons in the occupation of palestine and the propagation of nazi-esque white supremacy. It is this culture of racism which is responsible for the trans-atlantic slave system which practically built the United States. It is this culture of racism which enslaved South Africa, and continues to oppress Palestinians. It is this racism which ethnically cleansed the Armenians in a still unrecognized genocide by the Turkish government in the early twentieth century, paving the way for future genocides to be unheard of.