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The West’s Faustian deal with Arab tyranny unravels

As Gadaffi totters and Saudi Arabia, the Big One, comes into the Arab revolution’s sights, the hypocrisy that has long held the Arab states in bondage is coming home to roost.   The West’s deal with the Arab dictators is coming unstuck, big time.

Despite all the Western pretensions about democracy, women’s rights, cracking down on corruption, and press freedom, the deal was:

Keep the oil flowing and the price down, don’t annoy the Israelis, and you can then do what the hell you like in your own backyard.   Nepotism, public executions, suppression of women, police state, soaring unemployment, illiteracy, an under-educated and under-trained youth – we won’t raise a murmur about it”.

That’s what kept the Arab states mired in a sclerotic economy, with 60 million illiterate adults, almost no civil society, and explosive inequality between kleptocratic rulers and half the population poverty-stricken.   Now the worm has turned.   The Great Awakening is freedom, throwing off the role allocated by the West as just a permanent oil and gas station.

The real test for the West is, now that freedom is inevitable, whether to embrace Arab democracy unreservedly whatever it may throw up, or even at this stage to try to subvert it by salvaging as much of the ancien regime that it can in order to retain as much direct and indirect control as possible of the oil, the fundamental driver of the global economy – specifically to keep it in Western hands, not the Chinese.   By overturning the result of free elections in Algeria in 1990, a Western-backed coup sparked a 20 year civil war; in Iran a CIA-MI5 backed coup against the democratically elected Mossadeq in 1953 and installing the Shah as Western puppet ignited hostility to the West that led ultimately to the 1979 revolution that bought Khomenei and now Ahmedinejad to power.   The blowback from Western meddling has been as damaging as it has been counter-productive.   Will the US-UK still try it again?

Where will it all end?   Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, possibly Jordan, Syria and Morocco….. and ultimately Saudi?   Saudi is held together by force, a deeply conservative religious establishment, and a ruthless security apparatus.   But rebellion is never far below the surface – 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, the burgeoning middle class is restive, royal corruption is rife, and youth unemployment high.   If Saudi falls, which is not inconceivable, the world’s oil economy could be permanently undermined.   The only real escape for the West is unequivocal embrace of Arab democracy and a renewables revolution to wean the developed economies off oil.

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