By: Latheef Farook
Muslims worldwide were shocked and deeply frustrated at the role played by Saudi regime in plotting to overthrow President Muhammad Morsi’s elected government. However this is not something new as Saudi regime was responsible for crushing democracy in Algeria and Gaza too.
The North African country of Algeria, which was part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire from the 16th-century, was conquered and brought under the French colonial power in 1830.
In 1954 Algerians , known for their strict adherents to Islam, began their freedom struggle , under the leadership of the National Liberation Front-FLN.They gained independence in 1962, when the FLN formed the first ever government of Algerians after five centuries of freedom struggle.
The tremendous sacrifices and immense bravery displayed during this long heroic and bloody struggle for freedom against France still remain fresh, as a unique source of inspiration for liberation movements all over the world.
During the freedom struggle, French military and their allied militia killed up to one million Algerians. Assassinations, torture, rape and other such crimes against humanity were commonplace. A leading French general later boasted that:
“We were given a free hand to do what we considered necessary”.
Tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children were tortured, and in Algiers alone, more than 3,000 people arrested by French Forces “mysteriously disappeared”. French forced out two million Algerians from their homes, many into barbed-wire concentration camps, (reminiscent of the Nazi war camps) and saw the destruction of over 8,000 villages.
A year after gaining independence from France, the Algerians elected Ahmed Ben Bella as President. But, the military interfered and Ben Bella was overthrown in 1965 by Col. Houari Boumedienne
In June 1991, the Government announced Parliamentary elections and plans for electoral changes. In the first round of general elections in December 1991, the pro Islamic FIS won 188 seats outright, and, attracted by the policies of FIS, which mixed religion with politics and tired of corrupt regimes, the Algerians gave a massive mandate to the FIS in the second round of parliamentary polls.
But the Algerians, who dreamt of the democracy for centuries, could not enjoy the fruits of their struggle for freedom and democracy as the military leaders alarmed by the landslide victory of the FIS, were quick to interfere, stage a coup, install a military dictator and suppress the democracy movement.
This resembles the army coup which overthrew the democratically elected pro-Islamic President Mohammad Morsi’s government in Egypt.
Inevitably as it is happening in Egypt today, there were violent clashes all over Algeria between the people yearning for democracy, and the military hell bent on protecting its power and privileges they had been enjoying at any cost. The military banned street gatherings, declared a state of emergency, disbanded the FIS and dissolved all 411 FIS-controlled local and regional authorities and also the National People’s Assembly.
In the resultant chaos on 11 January 1992 Mohammed Boudief, one of Algeria’s extremely popular freedom fighters against France, was installed in power in the hope he would be an acceptable choice of the people as Chief Justice Adly Mansour was installed illegally in power in Egypt this month.
All that the Algerians wanted then, like the Egyptians today, was to establish their own government on the basis of Islamic principles which would accordingly shape their political, economic and social life and take the country ahead.
Saudi Arabia, claiming to be the guardian of Islam, was the first country in the region to recognise and fund the military regime to the shock of the bushking Algerian people and the Muslims worldwide. Throughout Algerians’ struggle to establish their pro-Islamic democratic government, Saudi regime did nothing to help them.
Certainly, one would expect the US and Europe to support the Algerian people and their democracy movement. But the so-called world community as a whole, including the champions of democracy, freedom and human rights, the US and Europe, were least concerned about supporting democracy in Algeria. They didn’t make a hue and cry, which they usually do when the military interferes to deprive the people of their democratic rights. Unfortunately for the poor Algerians, the US and Europe recognised the military regime and started dealing with the Generals in Algiers.
In the midst of this crisis, the new ruler Boudief was assassinated on 29 June 1992 by powerful military and intelligence personnel.
The frustrated Algerians continued to clash with the armed forces, and a new group known as the GIA, emerged in the Algerian political scene, with the demand that the people’s verdict in the free and fair elections be respected and the FIS be allowed to form its government and help promote democracy.
Two years later, a retired army Colonel, Liamine Zeroual, was appointed President. He later won a five-year term in an election marked with fraud and mass rigging. FIS and its supporters decried this “mock up” ignored the elections and continued their struggle.
Violence continued, and killed more than 150,000 people since 1992. Human rights organisations accused the Algerian Government and armed forces of brutality, abductions, and torture and held them responsible for many of these deaths. Throughout this crisis, since 1992, the French government had supported successive Algerian regimes in their efforts to suppress the democratic will of the people.
Meanwhile Saudi Arabia, claiming to be the guardian of Islam, never did anything to help the Muslim forces’ struggle to establish their legitimate rights. Instead supported the military that committed all the genocides.
Breaking the long silence the Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia admitted for the first time in March 2006 of government forces killing 17,000 activists during the 1990s though he did not say who was responsible for the killing of more than 180,000 civilians in the conflict.
The struggle against these Generals to restore democracy has virtually brought economic calamity to Algeria which today remains a nation yet to reach economic and social stability.
Crushing Muslims and democracy in Gaza and West Bank
In a spotless democratic election, held in Gaza and the West Bank in January 2006 under the supervision of former US President Jimmy Carter who described it as free and fair, Hamas, known for its pursuit of peace with dignity with Israel, was elected with an overwhelming majority.
However Israel and its western collaborators were alarmed. They wanted Palestinian stooges, Palestine Authority, who would carry out their instructions as PLO did, after the Oslo Treaty, when Hamas freedom fighters were arrested, tortured and killed.
Thus Israel and its Western allies decided to eliminate Hamas. Saudi Arabia, hand in glove with Israel, was all out to prevent Hamas from forming a government and crush the rise of democracy in the Palestinian territories.
To eliminate Hamas, Israel, United States and Europe stopped all donations and cut off the flow of all money to starve Palestinian into submission. The Arab regimes, including Saudi Arabia, too joined this Zionist sponsored financial blockade knowing very well the misery they were causing to the besieged Palestinians.
However, the Hamas controlled Palestinian Authority – both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip – needed this money to keep body and soul together. The task of overthrowing the Hamas government was entrusted to Palestine Authority President Mahmud Abbas who was bribed and armed.
He was given arms by Israel and US$42 million by President George Bush, accused of war crimes, to precipitate a civil war, shed more Palestinian blood and crush Palestinian democracy. To achieve this end the US began establishing a secret military camp in Jericho at a cost of US$20 million – part of the cost was met by Saudi Arabia and some other Arab regimes.
President Abbas held secret talks with Israeli intelligence Chief Yuval Diskin in Jordan. The meeting was attended by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia demanding that Hamas government be toppled at any cost to ensure democracy does not flourish in Gaza and West Bank as it would give food for thought to their own people and threaten their oppressive regimes.
The tragedy of starving Palestinians worsened since June 2006 when Israel, under the pretext of responding to the alleged kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, bombed and destroyed roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, water and electricity plants, killing 275 Palestinians including 46 children in the process.
Israel closed its border with Gaza at Erez while the modern pharaoh and Zionist stooge Hosni Mubarak closed the Egyptian-Gaza border crossing at Rafah since 9 June 2007 turning Gaza with a population of more than 1.8 million, into a virtual open air prison.
Unable to put up anymore with President Mahmoud Abbas’ collaboration with Israel and compromising Palestinians rights he was overthrown by the Hamas. Responding promptly Israel and the Bush Administration picked up President Abbas, provided political, diplomatic, military and financial support and imposed a puppet Palestinian Authority to crush the Hamas administration causing immense hardships to people in Gaza for supporting Hamas.
As a result Palestinians in Gaza, and even in the West Bank, remained virtual prisoners in their own homes. Israel often cut off air, sea and land routes to the Gaza Strip preventing basic requirements like medicine and food from getting in. Supplies of electricity and water remained irregular and insignificant. This is grave war crime and Nazi leaders were sentenced to death for lesser crimes.
Ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was hand in glove with Israel and Saudi Arabia and other dictators in the region in suffocating the Palestinians by depriving them food, medicine, electricity, water and almost everything.
This situation eased after President Morsi’s government assuming office. However with the Saudi-Israeli-American backed military coup overthrowing President Morsi’s government the Palestinians have entered and unknown future especially with the new military regime started demolishing tunnels which remained the lifeline for Palestinians in Gaza.
This is the track record of Saudi Arabia’s hostility towards Muslims and democracy.