Interview with Kevin Barrett, an author and Islamic studies expert, from Madison
The prominent political analyst goes on to say that Saudi Arabia has been the prime character in crushing the Arab Spring in the Middle East as Muslims call for unity and the downfall of imperialism. This comes as Amnesty International has called on Saudi authorities to stop using excessive force against pro-democracy demonstrators.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Kevin Barrett, an author and Islamic studies expert, from Madison, to further discuss the issue. Barrett is joined by Mark Dankof, a political analyst from San Antonio, and Ali Al Ahmad, director of IGA, from Washington. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: It’s pretty – I’m not too sure what the word for it would be, maybe you can tell us what that word is, when we’re looking at this country, Saudi Arabia, you have questions of rights, rights abuses, there’s rampant corruption, there’s calls for reform, the thousands that are languishing in their jails – I think 30 thousand is the figure based on last count in the report that we just broadcast – and it continues with their arrests.
But yet they come out and they support, for example, regime change in Syria, they promoted that deal in Yemen – it was a one candidate presidency that occurred there – not to mention what they’re doing in Bahrain as our guest, Mark Dankof, mentioned. Why would Saudi Arabia think that it’s okay that it can do that?
Barrett: Saudi Arabia has been a very tight, strategic partner of the United States since President Roosevelt met with Ibn Saud and formalized a relationship in 1945 that has continued ever since.
“Saudi Arabia props up the US dollar by buying securities and so on. Basically, they are pumping oil into the American dollar and propping up American imperialism, and that means they’re making a huge compromise with Zionism because the pro-Israeli forces are so strong here in the US that by maintaining this alliance with the US, the Saudis have potentially betrayed the Arab and Palestinian cause and they’ve betrayed the Islamic world because, of course, Palestine has been an Islamically administered holy land ever since Islam existed.”
Historically, I think we have to recognize that it was the Saudis who killed the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring died in Bahrain when the Saudis crushed it by invading that country with the blessing of the United States.
The Saudis then used their fiscal might and their connections to push the Arab Spring towards civil wars rather than honest and peaceful protests, starting with Libya and then moving into Syria in an attempt to get rid of the leadership in countries in the region that are aspiring to be independent of this Saudi-American-Zionist – let’s call it what it is – axis of evil.
The Saudis are currently the main backers of the civil war in Syria and, perhaps worst of all, the Saudis are spreading sectarianism throughout the Islamic world by spending billions of dollars to whip up hatred against the Shia.
The Saudis have a brand of Islam that’s rather narrow minded, to say the least, and they’re exporting it all over the world. In many ways, the Saudi government is a perfect example of everything that’s bad in the Middle East today.
It’s just beyond hypocrisy for the Western so-called proponents of democracy to be constantly propping up this outrageously corrupt, vicious, brutal, undemocratic regime in Riyadh.
I hope that the people of Arabia would one of these days wake up and demand change. Once the Arab Spring finally reaches the Saudi Arabia, I think that’s when the Arab Spring will have actually arrived.
Press TV: Different dynamics going on in Saudi Arabia, Kevin Barrett, in terms of a breakdown that we can give of some of the weaknesses that exists there: we can talk about, for example, how two-thirds of the about 20 million residents or Saudis are under 30 – they’re educated, they’re outspoken, they’re aware of events abroad and around them; we could talk about the ailing monarchy – King Abdullah nearing 90, Crown Prince Salman is 76; also, the income gap disparity that exists there where there are people still in Saudi Arabia based on which province, in Jeddah, I believe, that they have to wait in line for water.
So, when you put all these together, it seems like a boiling pot of water that’s waiting to tip over. Your assessment and your gauge on when that might occur?
Barrett: You’re absolutely right. This has been the explosion that will rock the Middle East that’s been awaited for so many years and decades, and frankly I think the American policy makers are absolutely terrified because they realize that they’ve inherited an untenable situation in their relationship with the Saudis.
They realized that the deal they cut with the Saudis built by Roosevelt in 1945 and much, much earlier by the British who actually may have helped foster the Wahhabi movement which is a rather intolerant Islamic movement that had the unfortunate tendency to bring out Takfir out of their Muslims that have claimed that they’re not really Muslims, and in so doing spread strife among Muslims in the Islamic world.
This panicked relationship between the kind of extremist narrow-minded Takfiri movement out of Saudi Arabia and the West with the aim of dividing and conquering Islam, this has been going on for a long time.
But its days are numbered. As you said, the population of Saudi Arabia is very young and increasingly well-educated and increasingly aware of what’s really going on in the world, meaning increasingly aware that their own country is propping up Israel and propping up American imperialism.
If Saudi Arabia ever leaves the American orbit as was broached just one month before the September 11th attacks by the king of Saudi Arabia who said the time has come for parting of the ways, well, if that parting of the ways ever happened and the Saudis took their money out of the US dollar and started putting it into building infrastructure and education for people in the Arab world and the Muslim world, and put their money into uniting Muslims rather than dividing the Muslims, we would be in a whole new world, a world in which the people of Islam would have a much greater voice.
This is what the American policy makers and especially the Zionists are so terrified of. That’s why the future of Arabia is really at the heart of the future of the world in a sense because the American-Zionist empire really does rest on the total control of the oil resources in Saudi Arabia. If that changes, everything changes.