Loyal, constant, and generous: David Cameron is continuously lavishing money, diplomatic support, arms and all sorts of obsequious praise on the most brutal Arab despots.

Glenn Greenwald

Selecting the year’s single most brazen example of political self-delusion is never easy, but if forced to choose for 2013, I’d pick British Prime Minister David Cameron’s public condemnation of George Galloway.

The Scottish MP had stood to question Cameron about the UK’s military support for Syrian rebels. As is typical for Western discourse, criticizing western government militarism was immediately equated with support for whatever tyrants those governments happened to be opposing at the time: “Some things come and go,” proclaimed the Prime Minister, “but there is one thing that is certain: wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator in the world, he will have the support of [Galloway].”

What made Cameron’s statement so notable wasn’t the trite tactic of depicting opposition to western intervention as tantamount to support for dictators. That’s far too common to be noteworthy (if you oppose the war in Iraq, you are pro-Saddam; if you oppose intervention in Libya, you love Ghaddafi, if you oppose US involvement in Ukraine, you’re a shill for Putin, etc. etc.).

What was so remarkable is that David Cameron – the person accusing Galloway of supporting every “brutal Arab dictator” he can find – is easily one of the world’s most loyal, constant, and generous supporters of the most brutal Arab despots. He has continuously lavished money, diplomatic support, arms and all sorts of obsequious praise on intensely repressive regimes in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Egypt.

That this steadfast supporter of the worst Arab dictators could parade around accusing others of supporting bad Arab regimes was about as stunning a display of western self-delusion as I could have imagined . . .

The Obama administration for which Vietor was a spokesman repeatedly supplied arms to the regime in Bahrain as they brutally crushed democratic protesters. They vigorously supported the repellent Mubarak regime, the long-time US ally, until his downfall became inevitable; Hillary Clinton, upon being named Secretary of State, gushed: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.” Obama has continually embraced the anti-democratic Gulf monarchs ruling Qatarthe United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. And all of that is independent of the unparalleled political, financial, diplomatic and military support which the US lavishes on Israel as it engaged in all sorts of decades-long occupation, repression and aggression.

And then there’s the closest US ally of them all, which also just happens to be one of the world’s most brutally repressive regimes: the House of Saud. In recent years, the administration revealed “plans to offer advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia worth up to $60 billion, the largest US arms deal ever, and is in talks with the kingdom about potential naval and missile-defense upgrades that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more.”

Five months ago, the Pentagon announced “plans to sell Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $10.8 billion in advanced weaponry, including air-launched cruise missiles and precision munitions,” a package that “includes the first US sales to Middle East allies of new Raytheon and Boeing weapons that can be launched at a distance from Saudi F-15 and UAE F-16 fighters.” The Obama White House has repeatedly affirmed its “strong partnership” with the Saudi tyranny.

Today, Obama arrives in Riyadh to assure the Saudi monarchs that the US is as committed as ever to its close partnership in the wake of Saudi anxiety. He’ll meet with King Abdullah, “the president’s third official meeting with the king in six years.” The purpose of this trip: “trying to smooth relations with Saudi Arabia without making the longtime US ally seem like an afterthought.” Indeed, “top presidential advisors say the visit is an ‘investment’ in one of the most important US relationships in the Middle East.”

If you want to justify all of this by cynically arguing that it benefits the US to support repressive and brutal tyrannies, go ahead. At least that’s an honest posture.

But don’t run around acting as though the US is some sort of stalwart opponent of political repression and human rights violations when the exact opposite is so plainly true.

Source: The Intercept. This is a shortened version of the original article. The full article is here…

30 Mar 2014

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