zaterdag 22 december 2012

Exchanging one risk for another

   My attention was drawn towards this article http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/dec/21/britain-deploy-troops-gulf-cameron.
It all sounds very attractive: troops withdrawn faster from dangerous Afghanistan. The Afghan troops can handle things themselves, they will be able to fight off the Taliban/Al Qaida.
   Being a bit older it has a very familiar ring to it: things went like that in Vietnam too. And half a year later the so called very able troops were smashed by the Vietcong.



   Next interesting thing is the 2.5 Billion deal: selling Typhoon jets and stationing more military in the Gulf, the states of the UAE. It sounds very attractive, too good to be true. A nice flow of income and a nice friendship with the UAE.

   The reality is a bit different. The jets and the troops are meant to give protection against a big neighbour. I don't mean Saudi Arabia but Iran. In the states of the UAE is a lot of unrest you hardly hear about in the UK and other western countries. The states are ruled by wealthy and powerful families, their heads - the emirs - are in fact no more than dictators. And the people want more democracy.


                                          
   The problems are enlarged by the fact that the ruling families are sunnis while an overwhelming majority of the people are shiites. The shiites not only want more democracy - like I mentioned before - but even more freedom for celebrating their own holy days and holding their processions like they have done for centuries. The ruling families fear these celebrations because they often lead to riots and more demands for freedom and democracy.

   Because the ruling families lack enough protecting forces often the Saudi army is called for help and they have employed an official militia with arabs from other countries. The militia is very provocative and has caused riots by itself. It has led to bloodshedding and even imprisonment of doctors and nurses who dared to treat the wounded. The story that has been made up is that the medics were hiding criminal looters and telling lies to the international press about was what going on.

                                               5th fleet

   The interests of the western countries here is a bit different than in the cases of the revolutions in Egypt, Lybia, Tunisia and Syria. Because all eyes are on big bad Iran. Everything is about protecting the region against this country. Because of that there is the American 5th Fleet in Bahrain. So it is important to keep the situation stable (like it is).

  I see a big risk in this. The Americans and soon the British will be considered by the people as an occupying force with all the risks involved. As military who help to keep the ruling families in their power. So the people will go to to the streets to have demonstrations and even riots. Knowing that Al Qaida was born in this region (NOT in Afghanistan and certainly not in Iraq) I'm afraid that this will cause reactions from people who are related to Al Qaida too. We have seen what these reactions can be: bombs in western capitals.

So this nice article about a 2.5 Billion deal makes me worried.

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