Saudi Arabia Makes Biden’s Democracy Summit A Joke…

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a while. Heck, and one point, I thought I might make a multi-video series covering all the ways the Gulf Monarchies worked to destroy the Arab Spring. It’s a vital point that gets over-looked. Yes, as my “Everybody’s Lying About Islam” series documented at length, Saudi Arabia’s century of power and wealth has been terrible for world Islam. The Saudi Wahhabi project has been a sort of cultural genocide against what was a much more diverse body of Islamic practices half a century ago. That matters. But beyond the religious aspects there is the fact that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are proselytizing monarchists as well. They have extraordinary wealth and influence in Washington, DC, and for the past 10 years they have used it to crush democracy across their region. This is the real tragedy of declining democracy this century. The Arab Spring could have made 2011 a new 1776, or 1989. Instead Arab Democracy was strangled in the cradle by a set of absolute monarchies that simply would not exist without the United States.

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Video Transcript after the jump…

So last Thursday Joe Biden launched the centerpiece of his foreign policy, a Summit of Democracies. He gathered almost 100 leaders from all over the world for a glorified zoom call. There are many reasons why this supposedly anti-authoritarian gathering was a joke, but first and foremost would be US support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait weren’t invited to the summit, of course, but it’s really important to emphasize that these countries only exist because of US support. Qatar, Kuwait, and the Emirates are all tiny. They would have been swallowed up long ago if it weren’t for US protection. Saudi Arabia is a more viable territorial unit, but it’s absurd political system would not exist if it weren’t set up by the British, and maintained by the US over the past 100 years. These countries are all Monarchies . Some have different layers of BS legislatures involved, but in practice they are all countries owned and run by single families. This is not constitutional monarchy, like the UK or Japan, it is absolute monarchy, and it’s a form of government that probably wouldn’t exist anymore if it wasn’t for US support.

We do not talk about this enough. I have covered UAE and Saudi crimes in Yemen for years. The Saudi murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 became a world wide cause celebre. But we almost never mention how fundamentally discrediting it is that the United States, the world leading democracy, is the biggest supporter of absolute monarchy. Even the US’s slave-holding founding fathers would have found Biden’s Summit for Democracies contemptible.

Have you ever read the US declaration of independence? It is a ringing condemnation of British monarchy. It’s mostly just an itemized list of why it is evil and wrong to have a king. This is our country’s DNA. Long before the US was opposed to Communism or totalitarianism, we were opposed to the idea that any person had any rights against any other person just because they were born into it. Opposition to aristocracy and monarchy is one of our country’s highest ideals, if not the highest ideal. And honestly, George III, the guy the Declaration of Independence is angry at? The Saudis make him look like Ghandi by comparison. It’s 240 years later, and we are supporting worse systems than the one we rebelled against. These guys owned slaves, and they would look down on our modern day commitment to freedom. And in this respect, they would be right to.

It would be one thing if all the gulf monarchies were just vestigial historical weirdness like the Vatican or Eswatini. But the UAE and Saudi Arabia have used US protection to set themselves up as power players across the Middle East and Africa. And they use that power to crush democratic aspirations everywhere they can.

In 2011, the world witnessed the outbreak of the Arab Spring. Starting in Tunisia, protests quickly spread across the Arab world, filling the world with hope, and filling Arab monarchs and dictators with horror. Elections and democratic governments spread across the region, contradicting decades of propaganda put out by Arab Kings, that had claimed that their people just weren’t interested in things like Democracy.

Ten years later, it’s quite common to lament the Arab Spring as a failure, and claim that it was all a waste, and destined to end horribly. This is exactly what Saudi Arabia and the UAE want you to think. Because they don’t want you to look into the details of what actually happened. Their fingerprints are everywhere on the corpse of the Arab Spring. Arab Democracy didn’t die a natural death, it was killed by the Gulf monarchies protected and armed by the United States.

I talk about Yemen on this channel a lot. Saudi Arabia has been intimately involved in the country for decades. After their puppet dictator Saleh fell, the Saudis manipulated a new one into power. Hadi, the new guy, was so inept he was chased out of power by not one, but two different militia movements in different parts of the country. The Saudis have kept a savage war going in Saudi Arabia to this day.. Things in tiny Bahrain were much more simple. An uprising looked like it might topple its leader, so in March 2011 the Saudis and Emiratis simply invaded to crush that uprising. That crackdown, combined with generous increases in social spending were sufficient to keep the rest of the gulf monarchies quiet.

Syria was much more complicated. For a moment there, there was a peaceful, liberal opposition that wanted to depose Assad. The Gulf Monarchies didn’t like Assad either, but they weren’t interested in a liberal peaceful Syria, so they backed the nastiest Jihadis they could find, mutating the Syrian uprising into the Horrors of Al Nusra and the Islamic State. Iraq and Syria are still struggling with the aftermath of this conflict today.

In 2012 Egypt elected its first democratically elected president in its 5,000 year history. The UAE and Saudi Arabia did everything they could to bring him down. Mohamed Morsi wasn’t very good at being President, but he didn’t deserve to die in prison after watching his supporters get Slaughtered in the streets. Sisi, Egypt’s dictator was heavily supported by the UAE and Saudi Arabia before, during and after his 2013 coup.

In 2019, in what some have called the Arab Spring’s second wave, Sudan’s longtime dictator fell, leading to the establishment of a very uneasy transitional government where the military shared power with civilians. In October 2021 the military kicked out the civilian elements of the government in yet another coup. Once again, who are the biggest sponsors of the anti-democratic military in Sudan? It’s Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Biden admin did force the gulf monarchs to say some discouraging words about this latest coup, but it’s not like their funding relationships are changing.

Libya is probably the country most abused by the Gulf. The story since NATO overthrew Gadaffi in 2011 is very sad and very long, and I have a bunch of other videos covering it. The Saudis and Emiratis are most famous for supporting Khalifa Haftar, a wanna be strong man who spent a couple years attempting to conquer the UN approved consensus government in Tripoli. Haftar appears to have lost for now, and Libya is attempting to move towards democracy. But it’s a long journey, and we can rest assured that the Gulf will be there to be unhelpful, every step of the way.

Which finally brings us to Tunisia, the first Arab Spring country, and the one that was known for most of the past 10 years as the most successful one. Tunisia got a Constitution, and a series of peaceful transfers of power. But the Gulf countries didn’t like the parties that were doing well in this sole Arab Democracy. There are many reasons why Tunisia’s Democracy experiment ended in a coup this past July 25th,, but Gulf Hostility is definitely in the top 5. Tunisia’s main failing was economic, and while it seems like every Arab dictatorship has a line of credit in the gulf, the Arab world’s only democracy got pennies if it got anything at all.

The 2010s could have been a miraculous decade for Democracy. Instead we got the gulf monarchy sponsored disaster that we can all see today. All this democracy-crushing was justified by fears of the Muslim Brotherhood. A lot of Gulf-owned Washington, DC think tanks like to back up this concern, but as I pointed out at length three years ago, I’m not sure I really believe that this concept of a unified Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy is a real thing.

Clip 3:00-5:00
“This is a complicated topic. I have avoided talking about it on this channel because I don’t really know what the Muslim Brotherhood is. There are a lot of people who will confidently tell you exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood is. I am pretty sure they don’t have any idea what they are talking about either.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been around for 90 years now, and it has meant very different things from decade to decade. For most of its lifetime the brotherhood was heavily supported by Saudi Arabia. Now Qatar and maybe Turkey support some elements of the brotherhood against Saudi Arabia. That’s the story Washington DC’s been selling us anyway. The brotherhood was first condemned in Egypt, then accepted as a normal political party and now its ferociously persecuted again. Conflicting offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood, and diverse political outcomes in multiple countries have led to a movement that is impossible to characterize as any one thing.

Yet Commentators in the US take these diverse groups with widely divergent goals from at least a dozen different countries and multiple different historical eras and try to jam them into one unified framework. This makes very little sense. But we have seen this before.

A couple hundred years back the countries that made up “the West” were subject to waves of revolution. The hereditary aristocrats who ran Europe back then thought they knew exactly what was going on. There was a sinister international network of revolutionaries that controlling everything. This super clear picture was incorrect. There were secret networks, and there were affinities between revolutionaries in different countries, but nothing was as tightly controlled or well organized as those conspiracy minded aristocrats imagined. The priorities and goals of the revolutionaries varied from country to country and even from town to town.”

It’s the same deal in the Arab World 200 years later. The people are ready for democracy, but the monarchs want to convince everybody that it’s a nasty conspiracy. The kings and queens of Europe eventually failed. The kings of the Arab world will fail too. The price of oil will see to that. But these absolute monarchs would have failed already if it weren’t for the United States propping them up. And that’s how much my country’s commitment to Democracy is worth in the 21st century.