Russia, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have been accused of seeking to destabilise Sudan and Algeria as well as running troll factories for the two ruling regimes, this in order to squash the democratic hopes of the inhabitants.
Yemeni Tawakkol Karman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, openly accused the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia of being behind the “counter-revolution” in Arab countries, including Algeria. “These two countries fear revolutions even in Mozambique or in a state in South America” she stated during an iftar organized by her foundation in Turkey.
“The despots of our Arab world have bet on total destruction so that the people abandon all aspirations for a democratic future. At the very moment when they thought they were in control, a coup from Algeria and Sudan surprised them. Today, they are trying to interfere in the affairs of these two countries to turn their spring into autumn“, she added.
In Algeria and Sudan, peaceful popular protests forced presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Omar Al Bashir to step down after more than two decades of rule. “The battle of counter-revolutions against the Arab Spring, mobilizing Gulf money, Western complicity and local gangs, can only fail … When the youths of the Arab Spring expressed the need for real democratic change, some regimes and dictatorial states were activating, publicly and secretly, to go bring them down“.
The involvement of the Russian government has been highlighted through a Guardian investigation published earlier this week. According to the investigation, Russia has been advising the military junta in Sudan, even going as far as recommending “to find foreigners in the demonstrations” or to “eliminate the demonstrators“, as means to weaken the movement. A similar tactic was used in Algeria on numerous occasions when the authorities stated they have made arrests of foreigners taking part in the demonstrations, although without providing any evidence, raising the suspicions of the Algerian people.
Tawakkol Karman is not the only one to point fingers at Saudi and the Emirates. Last week, Sebastien Boussois, a researcher in political science at the Free University of Brussels, has, in an article published by the French weekly Le Point, also put forward the negative role of the United Arab Emirates in the Arab region:
“The United Arab Emirates is today an ideal mediator in crisis situations and applies the same remedy everywhere: democratic suffocation (…) The perception that we have the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a liberal island in the middle of the archipelago of conservative Gulf monarchies is a myth. In the shadows of flashy skyscrapers and a carefully crafted image, the UAE has in recent years been transformed into a police state – an authoritarian state that seeks not only to overthrow the achievements of the Arab revolutions, but even more: to impose its ideology in reality more intransigent and Machiavellian than that of the Saudi kingdom, on which we tend to focus“, he wrote.
He added: “The UAE is not only preparing to launch a probe on Mars, it is also striving to expand its influence around the world and lead an increasingly active and radical counterrevolutionary campaign. This is the plan put in place by Mohamed Bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, to outsource and ‘globalize’ his security doctrine in all countries that have hoped for democratization. This ‘MBZ doctrine’ has already partly transformed the country into a ‘small Sparta’ of the Gulf, certainly powerful in antiquity, but little known for its pacifism“.
In February 2018, several researchers and politicians highlighted the “harmful role” of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the “counter-revolution“, in a debate organized by the Center for Al Jazeera Studies and the Center for Asian Strategic Studies in Istanbul. “From the first day, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia wanted to” overthrow “the Arab Spring“, said Aymen Nour, leader of an Egyptian opposition party. Speakers cited as an example the violent developments in Libya, Syria and Yemen.
The real axis of evil?
Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and other despotic regimes fear the spread of democracy. A spread of democracy is often seen as an existential threat. The ruling families of these monarchies have no real legitimacy to speak of and therefore fear democratic revolts in their home countries, which could see them lose all their assets and prosecuted for the crimes they’ve committed for decades. Furthermore, the inhabitants of these countries do not benefit from the large oil & gas revenues, the royal families profiteer the most, flaunting their extravagant spending across the globe, at the expense of your average Saudi or Emirati.
On the other side of the globe, Vladimir Putin has become increasingly unpopular, many Russians estimate that Putin created a clan who effectively own Russia and all its wealth with it.
The Russian state is thought to have interfered in the past and continues to do so with a number of elections, notably in the the U.S and Europe.