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16 March 2011


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27min ‘we can not afford to have an Iranian dominated regime of any kind take power in the Gulf, it is just not possible for us’ PL

I wondered why?
My understanding is there is a balance with three components Ethnic (Arab/non-Arab with ethnically Persian being the counter weight), Religious (Sunni/Shia) and pro/anti US. If Bahrain’s Shia majority get a measure of power the State shifts camp on the Religious and US camp I am not clear why it would be particularly significant. What could Iran plus Bahrain do that Iran could not achieve on its own? Even if it was Iran, Iraq and Bahrain I see that is a shift in the balance of power/influence in the area but do not see a binary distinction, what am I missing? Is this not just a righting of forced skewing by a Sunni elite in a couple of Shia majority countries and more generally the democratic movements a realignment of the elites from a pro-US stance to something closer to what an opinion poll of attitudes to the US might give.
I had assumed the real danger, for the US and Western allies, was a fall of the House of Saud and its replacement by a Wahhabist Sunni Theocracy – Iran’s Sunni twin. Of all the players in the region is not the most radical difference, in the pro/anti US stance, between the elites and their people is in KSA?

Any help in clarifying the situation would be greatly appreciated.

Patrick Lang


Saudi arabia IS a Wahhabi Sunni theocracy.

You are interested in social justice in the Gulf. I am also but not at the expense of the strategic interest of the US.

IMO a 12er Shia dominated Bahrain is an inherent threat of subversion in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Such a Bahrain will inevitably be in the orbit of Iran just as is Maliki's Iraq.

Perhaps in Britian you live in a post strategy world but we do not in the US. pl


To sum up the show and the last couple of months that have clarified so many issues:

The Saudis have decided that we are just feckless and we cannot be depended on to help with their survival and from now on they will establish their own, independent course, probably joining with the other Shia kings and tyrants in the region to gird themselves against the congealing opposition movement. The opposition movement will go underground and become more radical and vicious.

The Saudis and others in the MENA have learned that the US has no secret plan to handle the situation and that the reality is that the US does not have any plan. Moreover, the Sunni kings and tyrants have learned that we don't have a vision, that we are just spectating, and that Obama [i.e., US government] is ideologically and economically bankrupt and is not capable of anything except dithering.

The Saudis need some sort of sponsor. The Chinese would love to assert themselves here, but there is the problem that the Chinese are communists and the Shia are not. The Chinese will continue to expand their economic ties with Africa and ME without any real opposition or competition from the US.

The betrayal of Mubarek was the real politick moment. Libya is the proof we will not act on our ideals. The ultimate result is that we have alienated our friends and assured the victory of our enemy and no one can possibly believe we can ever be a reliable ally.

So, in the last few years, we have created a Shia Iraq dominated by Iran, have betrayed our relationship with the Egypt and the Saudis, and have proven that our ideals are merely Pablum.
Now, the youth in Egypt have dissed US by refusing to meet with Hillary, the suppression of Bahrain and the MQ victory will kill or imprison thousands of youth, and all of our credibility in the region is shot. One can now expect that the Sunni Army remaining in Egypt will heed our inaction and will soon silence the youth to nullify the Egyptian revolution and perpetuate the corruption of the economy and the police state.

From other reports, just like in Iraq, "[T]he West won't even get the oil in the end. Gaddafi has just told German TV that Western corporations - unless they are German (because the country was against a no-fly zone) - can kiss goodbye to Libya's energy bonanza; "We do not trust their firms, they have conspired against us ... Our oil contracts are going to Russian, Chinese and Indian firms." In other words: BRICS members. http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC17Ak01.html

It seems that the most likely thing that will be happening in the next few months is a huge bloodbath and a further perfection of secret police effectiveness and further strengthening of the authoritarian states and mounting loss of freedom among the people of the MENA.

Continuing our crusade to save the region for “freedom and democracy” now seems as pointless. We have abandoned our national trust when we stood and continue to stand silent against the kings and tyrants. Since we have totally destroyed most all of our prospects in MENA, that we might as well just leave Afghanistan and Iraq. The upcoming, tripartite Sunni Kings-Iranian Shia-Arab Freedom movement war is now going to enter a new, more violent phase and we will only screw ourselves if we join in.

Perhaps, now that all is FUBAR, Obama is right that choosing which basketball team to bet on may be the most practical and reasonable way to spend the days ahead since nothing he can do now will improve things very much.

Does the emerging Arab Youth movement have any chance left or are these ultimately radicalizing events that can only result in huge chaos in the region for the foreseeable future. Have we have just experienced our own 1956 Suez Crisis? Is our "Super Power" status is finished? Now that we have squandered our wealth in Iraq and Afghanistan, are we now just a paper tiger?

Of special note, does this all make Israel simply irrelevant to our interests now? Will everyone in MENA start a nuclear arms race?

Patrick Lang


Pretty close. Does your head hurt? You left out the part about "consistency being a virtue of small minds." In addition, I should say that democracy (elections)is not always an unalloyed good. Look at the mess in Iraq. Do you really think that the US should support the accession to power of people who will be hostile to the US? The rebels in Libya? We don't know what they might have become but I was willing to take a chance in order to get rid of MQ. The king of Bahrain is nothing like MQ. BTW, WP, if you think you were being cleverly sarcastic you know what you can do. BTW, you have your Shias ans Sunnis mixed up in a few places. pl



I was not trying to be cleverly sarcastic. I respect your forum too much for that. I just spoke the truth as I see it.

Not only does my head hurt, my heart hurts also. The last few weeks are the deneumont of a terrible tragedy.

Certainly, we should not support the accession to power of people who will be hostile to the us. Likewise, we should not support the supporting of people like MQ who are hostile to the US and who are hostile to justice and humanity.

I have more faith in the effects of the combination of education and technology on the possible development of liberal and humane culture than many do. I have some hope that the young people of MENA do not want to live under the threats of a police state and live powerless over their own lives in authoritarian nations. My posts speak of my observations of the the evolving language of an emerging new paradigm for the region. Like you, I was willing to give the Libyan rebels a chance. I think many very good people in MENA are trying very hard to create a new model of humane and just Islamic modernism and they need to be suppported and protected by the West.

We, as a nation, have just reached a dead-end in the MENA. Our current activities there have become counterproductive and destructive of our position as a beacon in the world. We need to step back, take a deep breath, repent, study our successes and mistakes, and try to find a better approach to the region.

We have stood as a beacon of hope, freedom, and liberty for nearly 400 years, but we have stumbled badly here in our hubris that we could direct and make history. We have forgotten how good we really are and have stooped to some pretty awful behavior.

Our current methods have failed and our eyes need to be clear to see our failure.

We should not just give up and turn off our light. We need to press on, striving to make the world a better place for all of its inhabitnts.


Sir, respectfully, wouldn't a Shia massacre serve Iranian interest better than a win?

During the Iran-Iraq War, the Shia fought the Iranians regardless of of religion that changed after what we did the the Marsh Arabs.

Wouldn't the Eastern Provence Shia regard Saudi actions as a call the help fellow Shia just like all Iraqi Shia turned to Iran after we "liberated" them from Saddam?

This is a "chicken or egg" question, but it was FoolBama that called for Arabs to be on the right side of history regardless of our strategic interests.

Similarly, MQ coming slaughter will only serve AQ interest as Arabs will finally get the message that you can not depend on the U.S.A. and Islam is the only way.

I wish you could have serve in this administration because adult guidance was really needed.

Patrick Lang


As a participant in the Iran-Iraq War I must correct your history. SOME of the Iraqi Shia fought the Iranians in the Iraqi Army including the the Republican Guard. hey were maybe 50% of the Iraqi Shia population. The rest openly favored Iran throughout the war in every way that they could manage. These are the people who revolted under IRGC guidance when Iraq was defeated by us. They were then put down by reconstituted Iraqi Army units that contained many of the same Shia soldiers that had been serving in those units in combat for years. The insurgents who fought us for years in Iraq after 2003 were SUNNI who felt they had been screwed by us as well as a certain number of secular Shia who were probably Baathis.

As to winning and losing, I will quote Douglas Macarthur "There is no substitute for victory." The Saudi Sunni and all the other Sunnis in the Gulf know that. pl



"...after what we did the the Marsh Arabs."

I'd appreciate clarification:
Who's "we" and what did "we" do to the Marsh Arabs?

Patrick Lang


You are absolutely right. We did nothing to the Marsh Arabs. Saddam drained their swamps. We had nothing to do with that. We have been working on restoring their marshes since'03. pl


Sir, the Iraqi Shia that fought with Iran were the Dawa Party which are currently running Iraq thanks to our efforts.

If I am correct, Papa Bush encouraged the Shia to rise against Saddam, yet never provided any support while they we slaughtered. So this was a deliberate way to end IRGC influence over the Shia?

When we invaded why fight us, since we were going to hand over the country over to them.

Remember, Saddam and our inaction drove them to marshes or Iran
and look at the result we have gotten since.

Please correct me if I am wrong because you know more than me about the subject matter.

Also, was it Hizhbollah or Dawa that attack our Marines in Beirut.

Thank you

 Charles I

Rory Stewart, former CPA provisional govenor of Maysan wrote a nice little book The Prince of the Marshes and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year In Iraq, 2006, touted it here before.

Wasn't the Americans according to the Prince or Stewart or wiki.


and more specifically see:


But we did a big crime of omission in Libya.

Patrick Lang


There were Dawa people actually fighting on the Iranian side. that is not what I was talking about. I was referring to all those Shia (about half) who were more or less passively hostile to the Iraqi cause in the war and who rose against the government after its defeat and GHW Bush's appeal to them to rise. Wise men in the USG advised bush not to do that, but... And then, in our best tradition we let them fall flat on thair faces when the whole thing began to look HAARD. It was hard because as DIA had flrecast the Iraqi Army quickly reconstituted its units after their defeat in Kuwait. This was not anything but massive ineptitude. I was in those meetings. Were you? "Saddam and our inaction drove them to marshes or Iran" What he hell are you talking about? They inhabited the whole southern half of the country throughout our occupation. It was either Hizbullah or IRGC controlled Lebanese who attacked our marine force in Beirut. pl


Thank you, Sit, I stand corrected.

William R. Cumming

Never confuse popular will with democracy! Check on the Napoleanic efforts to dominate Europe, e.g.!

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