Monday, January 17, 2011

Tunisia's Place in the US Empire

The hypocrisy! Notice how, when one of the US gang gets his backside well and truly whipped by those whose faces he's been grinding in the dust, the US acts as if it had no idea what had gotten into him. If only he'd behaved himself, he wouldn't be in that Saudi guesthouse today:

"The United States has warned its Middle Eastern allies to reform or be overthrown, as youths protesting against Tunisia's 50-year dictatorship clashed with police in the country's capital. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, ended a tour of the Gulf with a warning that leaders who failed to carry out political and economic reform risked being cast aside." (Change or fall, Clinton warns Mid-East leaders, Richard Spencer, Telegraph/Sydney Morning Herald, 15/1/11)

The word ally, with its suggestion of independent, rational choice, masks a grubby reality of winks, nods, bribes, arm-twisting and other unsavoury backroom dealings. Allies, such as Ben Ali's Tunisia, are more correctly described as client states in a US imperial system, subordinate but vital cogs in the machinery of US global domination.

In his book Rulers & Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists, Militants (2007), James Petras refers to them specifically as Client Collaborator Regimes (CCR), and sums them up thus:

"At the bottom of the imperial hierarchy are the CCRs. These include Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf States, Cental American and Caribbean Island states, the Axis of Sub-Saharan States (ASSS), namely Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ghana, Columbia, Peru, Paraguay, Mexico, Eastern European states (in and out of the EU), former states of the USSR (Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia etc), the Philippines, Indonesia, North African states and Pakistan. These countries are governed by authoritarian political elites dependent on the imperial or Newly Emerging Imperial Powers (NEIP) states for arms, financing and political support. They provide vast opportunities for exploitation and export of raw materials. Unlike the Semi Autonomous Client Regimes (SACR), exports from client regimes have little value added, as industrial processing of raw materials takes place in the imperial countries, particularly in the NEIP. Predator, rentier, comprador and kleptocratic elites, who lack any entrepreneurial vocation, rule in the CCR. They frequently provide mercenary soldiers to service imperial countries intervening, conquering, occupying and imposing client regimes in imperial-targeted countries. The client regimes are thus subordinate collaborators of the imperial powers in the plunder of wealth, the displacement of peasants, the exploitations of billions of workers and the destruction of the environment." (p 62)*


a) "The Tunisian Government is an important ally for the US in its resource-driven colonial wars with Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. A United Nations report on secret detention practices lists Tunisia as having secret detention facilities where prisoners are held without International Red Cross access. Intelligence services in Tunisia are coordinated with US efforts in the War on Terror and have participated in interrogating prisoners at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan and in Tunisia. Recent WikiLeaks diplomatic cables reveal that the US not long ago was concerned about the growing anger on the streets and the corruption of Ben Ali and the Trabelsi family (his wife's family) who treat everything in the country as theirs. A list of WikiLeaks cables from the US Embassy in Tunisia posted on The Guardian newspaper website indicate that the US considers Tunisia as a police state 'with little freedom of expression or association, and serious human rights problems', and the Ben Ali family as 'quasi mafia'. Nevertheless, the State Department boasts about the active support the Tunisian security forces receive from the US in spite of Ben Ali's government record of serious human rights violations. According to the State Department website: 'The US and Tunisia have an active schedule of joint military exercises. US security assistance historically has played an important role in cementing relations. The US-Tunisian Joint Military Commission meets annually to discuss military cooperation, Tunisia's defense modernization program, and other security matters'." (Tunisia: IMF 'Economic Medicine' has resulted in mass poverty & unemployment, Basel Saleh,, 31/12/10)

b) "[T]he Obama administration tried last year to give [Ben Ali] what would amount to a parting gift: $282 million worth of upgrades to Ben Ali's helicopter fleet. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency - which handles military hardware sales to US allies - informed Congress on June 30 [last] that it wanted to send 'equipment, parts, training and logistical support' to Tunisia for 12 SH-60F Sikorsky-made multimission helicopters. It's a twin-engine 'copter used - as the name suggests - for attacking targets as well as airlift. The navy uses them as the Seahawk. Tunisia's military supposedly was to use the SH-60s for 'over-water search and rescue capabilities'. It's unclear if the deal ever went through. The DSCA didn't return a request for clarification. But our pals at War Is Business report that since Ben Ali came to power in 1987, US military assistance to him has totaled $349 million - meaning the SH-60 sale represented a massive escalation in aid." (US had helo deal with ousted Tunisian dictator, Spencer Ackerman,, 14/1/11)

1 comment:

brian said...

an alternative view of the revolution: