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The Sum of All Fears

: Michael Scheuer , 17 2011 18:34

(The National Interest, March 17, 2011)

With the West focused on Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, it may be in tiny Bahrain where Washington pays the piper for 35 years of intervention in the Arab world. A prolonged Sunni-Shia shooting war in Bahrain would make other regional events pale in importance to the United States and the West. Bahrain could well be the place where the world as we know it ends.

Since 1945, Washington has championed, funded (through oil purchases), and defended the Arab Peninsulas tyrannies. It has backed the Sunni regimes suppression of Islamist firebrands, and those governments, in turn, defused some anti-regime ire among their senior clerics and militant Islamists by suppressing the hated Shia minority even more brutally.

The 2009-10 slaughter of Shia Huthi tribesmen in Yemen by the U.S.-trained and/or -armed forces of Riyadh and Sanna reveals the Sunni regimes attitude toward Shia. In effect, Saudi Arabia and Yemen did to the Huthis what Gaddafi today is doing to Libyan rebels, though the Libyans are better armed.

-- Question: Why the differing U.S. and Western reactions to the two events?

-- Answer: (a) Washington needs Saudi oil and Riyadhs purchases of U.S. debt, and (b) Washington and its allies need Salih's regime to fight al-Qaeda in Yemen. In short, A + B = Destruction of the Huthi minority with the silent acquiescence -- nay, silent approval -- of the virtuous Western advocates of freedom strugglers in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.

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The Sum of All Fears


: Michael Scheuer , 17 2011 18:34

There Huthis. was But almost in Bahrain, no regional the Shias impact are the from long-oppressed the Sunnis' vicious and discriminated-against hunting of Yemens minority majority. Having Sunni March allies monarchy, -will seen have not, Shia cheered indeed, Western Bahrainis on cannot the journalists in Shia, Manamas tolerate apparently and the streets politicians creation not for realizing of -more a most Shia than recently, the regime a Wests month on Secretary Arab the trying peninsula. Peninsula to Clinton overthrow on Sunni 15 a of seems After politicians Gulf their already Cooperation security. watching ready broken gain to Riyadh Washington power up kill Council Shia as and in many demonstrations, Lebanon; (GCC) the and Bahraini UAE its partners and allies sent Shia encourage about give killing decided as Iraq needed 2,000 several to Bahraini to the troops try to and to Shia; maintain stop wounding Shia to stand Bahrain the to Bahrains revolt, Washington-led aside many. this the as week. Sunni The Shia Saudis Saudi-led They regime. and wrecking and pro-Shia have their GCC What Western is it democracy that motivates cheerleaders? Riyadh and Well, its GCC try these sidekicks for starters: but seems to escape the U.S. and 1. Many Killing Pakistan, Sunni-Shia untrue. heretics This Sunnis This rivalry is Yemen, is is clear literally seen an as intense, similar and as hate the Afghanistan. duty to Shia. thousand-year-old, by regularity many that They between Sunni consider with Many which Muslims, Rotarians Western and them Shia violent heretics; reporters are and including hatred. indiscriminately Kiwanis. in have fact, influential Nothing as described killed non-Muslims. senior could the in Saudi Iraq, be more 2. GCC with the unleash scholars. name steadily the leaders of pent-up the increasing alien, -especially Shia unIslamic thirst fervor in for Riyadh concept for power fifty years. of and -"secular know They revenge, they democracy," know have and that oppressed would to lift would this alienate their coercive be Shia GCC suicidal. lid minorities religious now, It would in 3. The at secure least base Sunni de facto, states for protection, know a Shia thereby Bahraini giving regime Hizballah would and ally with Iran's its intelligence coreligionists services in Iran, a on the peninsula probably revolt against would the inspire al-Sauds the large police . They Shia state. also population know in that Riyadhs a Shia-ruled oil-rich Bahrain Eastern Province could and to These, to and commitment return because arms, stymied Bahrain the Bahraini stop Sunnis their are for a to or would terrorists." Saudi Shia partners easy, say near-to even -Washington whom takeover prompt armed inexpensive beaten hapless. least, may they Israel forces, well of are by hate, gave Bahrain. There Bahraini drag compelling access and though but Riyadh the its is less If every to U.S.-citizen Shia United the armed oil. long than motivations GCC fighters. chance U.S. ago States Iran with undertakes military when lobby -hundreds the And, against into for Saudis, it to the involvement the as decided press icing Saudi-led lengthy those conflict of without billions Obamas on to they military via the protect in GCC of U.S. will Bahrain the Saudis' dollars administration call blank-check action, to the help, use "Iran-backed Saudi cake, also of could military the U.S.-made is violence tyranny Saudis likely be war to forces help Shia in in

Some lose believed interventionism tyrant-based be save sky-rocketing yet the the may to Afghan al-Qaeda weak come. think strategy oil Saudi is A and prices this self-defeating, Sunni-Shia and Iraq scenario army in its and the wars; allies and damaged Arab civil far-fetched, thought secure would but world, war as production in be the Mubarak Washington and Bahrain a but 5th threat a who growing Fleet's and facilities. could ten would presides other base; years domestic well have: Arab a yield: after over Sunni-U.S. expected tyrants Islamist 9/11. U.S. lost wars, As military would threat, the war always, a U.S. with be crumbling, operations the overthrown; military U.S. Iran; worst and, may to or Compared simmering amounting in to Bahrain these what Tom potentialities, is capable Clancy once of Gaddafi's repaying called survival "the Washingtons sum in of Libya all interventionism fears." is small beer. What with a is disaster now Michael Scheuer spent twenty-two years in the CIA and is the author of the West is Losing the War on Terrorism Imperial Hubris: Why 2004) and Through States Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama Bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of the United (Potomac Books, 2002). His latest book is Osama Bin Laden (Oxford University Press, February 2011).

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