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Libya vs. Bahrain: danger of the West's double standard

The hypocrisy of the West's intervention on behalf of Libyan rebels in the face of its implicit endorsement of the repressive leadership in Yemen and Bahrain is stark. For the sake of Arab freedom and its own interests, the West must take sides against the Saudi-led counter-revolution.

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The first wave of the Arab awakening, which led to the euphoric overthrow of autocracy in Tunisia and Egypt and then the uprising in Libya, is giving way to the next turn of events: the emergence of the counter-revolution led by Saudi Arabia.

The brutal military suppression of protest in Bahrain as well as Yemeni President Saleh’s massacre of 50 protestors by sniper fire reflect the urgings of the al-Saud family and the line taken by King Abdullah that he will “never accept a Shia government in Bahrain – never.” Bahrain is 70 percent Shiite, and most have family and tribal links with the Shiites of eastern Saudi Arabia (who are linked more closely to Ayatollah Sistani and the “quietists” in Najaf than to emulation of the theocratic mullahs in Qom. Unlike the theocrats of Qom in Iran, the quietists of Najaf in Iraq eschew political power).

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