Short ‘n’ Stubby: Ms. Manx’s MidEast roundup

Meowy Thursday, everyone! The Stumpy Cat has been bugging me all week to get this out to you, so let’s not waste any time. There’s a lot of ground to cover here, and a lot of countries…

First up: Iraq! Have you forgotten about it? Ms. Manx hasn’t…especially not after learning that it is an oil war after all. The dead giveaway? Documents, baby, oily-smelling documents. Top secret, oo-ee-oo. Just as in Iran in 1953, the oil companies have pretty much divvied up the country between them. Which may be why it has no government worth speaking of. And why the US (and to a lesser extent, Britain, on behalf of BP) is still the one really running the show.

Ms. Manx hasn’t forgotten the abuses at Abu Ghraib, either. Which is why this shocker–a video taken by British troops, of their own men abusing Iraqis in what’s being billed as a “revenge” assault–doesn’t surprise her as much as it might you…that is, if you were stupid enough to believe that the British army was any more gentlemanly than its US counterpart.

But if you think that’s bad, then follow the Stumpie on over to Libya and see what those cuddly anti-Gaddafi rebels are up to. There are several videos showing a side of them that they didn’t invite western journalists along to see. Torture, mutilation and execution of pro-Gaddafi soldiers surrendering to them, for one. (I could only watch the first two of these four videos; they were horrific.) Not all, it seems, are as caring as the ones who made a point of saving a pro-Gaddafi soldier’s life the other week. Does this taint their revolutionary efforts? I should say so. It’s just as ugly when they do it as when western imperialists do it in Iraq.

Louis Proyect also has videos, these from The Real News, at his site. These aren’t graphic, but they also reveal a lot about the Libyan rebels from a different angle, apparently showing the more benign face of the rebellion. Paul Jay talks with Jihan Hafiz about what she witnessed in Benghazi, the scene of a lot of rebel fighting lately (including the awfulness apparently seen in the videos at the earlier link.) The rebels there have made one thing clear: they don’t want outside military intervention. Which begs the question: Why, then, the no-fly zone? And why the strange footage I’ve seen all over the mainstream news, in which French flags were hung from buildings in Tripoli and banners in English invited foreign intervention? Apparently, there are rebels and there are rebels in Libya, and they are far from a unified force. Will the US try to co-opt them as it has done with some Egyptian revolutionary groups? Well, given that the usual USAID/NED suspects–the IRI, the NDI, etc.–have their boots on the ground in neighboring Egypt, it wouldn’t surprise me. Or Ms. Manx, either.

But in case that benign face strikes you as not the whole story, you’re right. How about this piece–about how the rebels managed to set up their own central bank? Such a disparate and confusing bunch, they are! The Stumpie doesn’t know what to make of them, but she smells a rat.

And for a little historic perspective, Ms. Manx recommends this Salon piece. Seems that the current “humanitarian intervention” isn’t the first “well-meaning” quagmire the US has bogged down in, in Libya…in fact, their history of interference dates back to before Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, however, takes the biscuit here, since he decided to try to fight the Gaddafi of his day–Pasha Yusuf Karamanli, the tyrant of Tripoli. A foolish move, considering that the revolution at home was only newly won. And, worse–no international allies, not even for the charismatic Jefferson! But it was historic first nonetheless–it was the first instance of US foreign interference ever. And now the wheel has come full circle after more than 200 years.

And finally, on a lighter note, the Manx heads over to Egypt…and giggles into her paw about those funny Egyptian tweeters. And also the arrogance and idiocy behind the notion–popular only in the US, of course–that they needed Gene Sharp, “expert” in “non-violent” US-backed “revolutions” abroad, to teach them anything. Yeah, says the Stumpie–Gene Sharp taught me to make baba ganoosh!

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