Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Summer of Muslim Discontent 6: Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan

Continuing an Arab Spring update from James Petras' latest (21/9/12) essay...

"Massive and violent protests against the US embassy have taken place in Somalia and Sudan. Washington has been heavily involved, militarily, in Somalia for over 2 decades, moving from an initial failed military occupation to the financing of African military surrogates, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. It has also engaged in drone warfare. As a result of this intervention, Somalia is a divided, destroyed and destitute country, where piracy flourishes and three quarters of the population are refugees. The 'film protests' are merely the tip of an ongoing war of national liberation pitting radical Islamists against Western-backed surrogates and the 'moderate' Muslim puppet regime of Sharif Sheik Ahmad.

"Sudan was the site of a massive protest and violent attacks on the US and European embassies. The ruling elite, subjected to US and EU sanctions and a Washington/Tel Aviv-funded armed separatist movement in the oil-rich south, was forced to sign off on an accord which cut its oil revenues by 80%. As a result of its appeasement of the Western-backed separatist surrogate, living standards in Khartoum have plunged, inflation is rife, unemployment is on the rise and the regime has turned its guns from the separatists to its own people. The attacks on the US embassy, therefore, have more to do with the division of the country and its impoverishment than with 'the film' itself. At most the latter served as a trigger igniting a profound frustration with a regime which had once upheld the national integrity of the country but of late has sacrificed its natural wealth to curry favour with Washington.

"Pakistan was the site of mass popular protests in both its urban centres and in its north-western periphery. Embassy attacks and flag-burnings reflected an ongoing and deepening resentment against over a decade of US ground and aerial intrusions, violating Pakistani sovereignty. The drone bombing of dozens of 'tribal villages' has aroused the rage of millions. The US war against Islamic strongholds, its armed intrusion to capture bin Laden and its billion dollar funding of massive Pakistani military sweeps has led to thousands of deaths and millions of refugees. Pakistan is a country seething with anger and deep hostility to anything associated with the US. The film merely fed into this cauldron of growing militant, religious and nationalist discontent. For the convicted felon, pro-US President Asif Ali Zardari, the protests have no credibility whatever: he is simply marking time before he is ousted. 

"Lesser protests against 'the film' took place in Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria and elsewhere where the US has been less ubiquitous in its interference in the political and military order.

"The size, scope and violence of the 'film protests' correlate highly with the depth of destruction and destitution brought about by direct US military and political intervention."

Next post in the series: Conclusion...

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