The Company We Keep (part 2)

Security forces cleared Pearl Square of protesters on Wednesday in Manama, Bahrain. (via The New York Times)

Two-thousand Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) troops, most of them from Saudi Arabia, entered Bahrain on Monday — ostensibly to provide security to government installations “threatened” by protestors. In fact, such a show of force, with more troops on the way, is an attempt by the Saudi-led GCC to stiffen the resolve of the ruling house in Bahrain to put down the democracy protests if need be with force….

The real reason for the establishment of the GCC in 1981 was not defense against external enemies threatening the security of GCC states but cooperation against domestic challenges to authoritarian regimes. Its main task was and continues to be coordination of internal security measures, including sharing of intelligence, aimed at controlling and suppressing the populations of member states in order to provide security to the autocratic monarchies of the Persian Gulf. The establishment of the GCC was in large measure a reaction on the part of the Gulf monarchies to the Iranian revolution of 1979 in which people’s power toppled the strongest autocracy in the neighborhood. The Arab autocracies of the Gulf did not want to share the Shah’s fate.

The members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In related news: Last year in the United Arab Emirates, National Geographic celebrated the launch of a new Arabic edition, which will be available in 15 countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. (Photo: AFP)

The Powers That Be in the GCC (and most other Arabic-speaking countries) would not have applauded or approved what you might call Geographic Classic. After all, authoritarian bullies may care about the planet, but they don’t care about human rights and democracy. Question is:

Does our Society care?

NO NEW POSTS will be published here after February 6, 2014. THIS IS WHY.