February 5, 2016

"The Arab Spring Must Go Through Riyadh"

The regime's days are numbered.

An excerpt from, "The Arab Spring Must Go Through Riyadh" by Vijay Prashad, Discover Society, February 2, 2016:
The Arab Spring was defeated neither in the byways of Tahrir Square nor in the souk of Aleppo. It was defeated roundly in the palaces of Riyadh. From there came the petro-dollars to scuttle the ambitions of the people. Tunisia was saved because it has a strong trade union – this is what has thus far held off the interventions of the Saudis. Otherwise the Saudis have laid waste across the Arab world. What began as great hope has now ended with disappointment.

Nothing can come for the Arab world as long as the long arm of Saudi Arabia and its allies rest firmly on the aspirations of the Arab people. The tension with Iran has only closed the space for any alternative to emerge. What is necessary in the short term – because the expectations of a new upsurge in the short-run are minimal – is to fight for a drawdown of tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran. An Arab Spring worth its salt will have to break through the pillars of stability that benefit the West and the Gulf monarchies at the expense of the vast mass of the people. Embers of this remain burning – but only here and there.
An excerpt from, "Is it time for the United States to dump Saudi Arabia?" by Josh Cohen, Reuters, February 3, 2016:
Finally — and most importantly — the United States must accept the fact that Saudi Arabia is a major contributor to worldwide Islamic extremism. Washington policymakers clearly understand this. In a leaked Wikileaks cable, former Secretary of State — and now presidential aspirant — Hillary Clinton stated “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

In a 2014 speech at Harvard, Vice President Joseph Biden called out Saudi Arabia and others for contributing to the rise of Islamic State, saying “those allies’ policies wound up helping to arm and build allies of al Qaeda and eventually the terrorist Islamic State.”

In a highly unusual public rebuke in December, Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel accused the Saudis of funding extremism in the West. “Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany. We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over,” Gabriel said.