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Report on March 18th, 2017 conference
Heritage of Colonialism in the Arabian Peninsula: Past and Present  

The whole oppressed should unite and stand together against the oppressors

As Mohammad al-Nimer, the son of the martyred Sheikh, recites his father’s words at the conference.

Roots Of Conflict (ROC) came together via November 19th 2016, Roots of Terrorism Conference.  There, a group of us decided that the focus should not be on ideology of terrorism and instead to explore the entities and histories behind the phenomenon.

Thus, ROC was formed and as a first project, the March 18th 2017 conference was launched: Heritage of Colonialism in the Arabian Peninsula. Here, the focus was on the Saudi regime rather than ideology, whose presence is questionable. Besides, trying to fight notions is like shadow boxing; As, we believe, ideas are in a realm beyond space and time.

While this conference has barely scratched the surface, of over a century in Western imperialist and colonialist meddling in the region, we hope to educate and inspire enough folks in the West, in solidarity, to stop this unjust interferences, interventions, and wars. This is not to say that everything was perfect before the arrival of Western imperialism in the region, as the first speaker pointed out.  

The conference was kicked off with a speech by Catherine Shakdam, who addressed the universal struggle for freedom and justice, referencing regional struggle, from a woman’s point of view that of Lady Zainab, in first Hijri century (7th century CE); centuries before one could claim a Western civilization had encompassed the whole of Europe.

The next speaker (Imam) Mohammad Al-Asi, brought the discourse to the present time, by citing the fact that a long list of injustices can be compiled from U.S., U.K., and Israel. Nevertheless, he focused on Britain, with longest history of colonialism across the world, and with greatest expertise in divide & conquer and divide & rule policies.

As the third speaker, Mohammad al-Nimr reminded us of the responsibility to stand together, in peace, against injustice of Saudis, who operate on the dual policies of spreading: fear and ignorance. A tendency that seems to be plaguing the U.S. as well, e.g. via its wars. Nevertheless, al-Nimr sounded hopeful that the people living under Saudi tyranny are waking up from their ignorance to face their fears.

Before introducing the next speaker, the host, Robert Carter, announced that we are moving from the topic of Saudi Arabia to the victims of Saudi regime, namely Bahrain, Syria and Yemen. And, a segment of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s interview with CNN was shown.

The fourth speaker, Dr. Scott Bennett, as whistleblower, gave a brief account of his book “Shell Game,” which provides a detailed account of how, under Obama and Hillary, Daesh was created for the purpose of regime change in Syria. Mr. Bennett has walked in some of highest echelons of the State and seems to have a lot more to say than he was allotted for, at the conference, or allowed to say.  

His book was typed with regular typewriter, in prison and under supervision of the authorities, making it a hard read as far as fonts and formatting goes.  And, is the basis upon which Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has formulated her anti-terror financing bill, which is intended to stop the U.S. government from further financing of terrorism in Syria, if not the world.

The fifth speaker, Dr. Kevin Barrett, is a renowned author, radio-show host, and scholar of the Truth movement.  Academically, Mr. Barrett is a specialist in North Africa, a career that was unjustly truncated, for having woken up to the lies of war, under Bush.

Kevin Barrett said that Wahhabism had become weaponized, by the British, against the Muslims. Interestingly enough, with this religious extremism, he drew a parallel with extremism of secular Turkey, as both being extremist and weaponized attacks on Muslims and Islam, whose essence is diversity and unity.

This paradigm, has created a crisis of identity for the Muslims, leaving Turkey at the crossroads, not only of geography (Eurasia), but also of time: past and present. Thus, we should be more tolerant of the regime in Turkey, as it seems to be trying to recover from this crisis.

However, the same cannot be said for the tyrannical Saudi regime that sits at no crossroads, but between Saudis and Americans who think they own the place and the people of Arabian Peninsula, who have serious problems with the very name of being called, “Saudis.”

In the end, though, Scott Bennett’s data was overwhelming for the allotted time, and Kevin Barrett’s short speech, though, very thought provoking, all seemed to fall short in untangling the Syrian war and Saudi role in it. We hope to make up for this lack, at the next forum, as a supplement to this conference.

The sixth speaker was Matar Matar a former Bahraini MP, now in exile, who spoke on Bahrain from a descriptive point of view, failing to go into the Saudi role and occupation of Bahrain. In short the parliament, judiciary, and executive branches of government in Bahrain are all for show and vassals of the monarchy.

Fortunately, the speaker did not ask for American support, as seems to know better, but for them and their 5th fleet to stop supporting the dictator and his kleptocratic regime. The Bahraini revolution continues to remain peaceful and alive.

The seventh speaker, Aisha Jumaan, works as a health expert on projects in Yemen. Obviously, when it comes to Yemen, it is hard to avoid the Saudi atrocities, war crimes, and gross human rights violations that have pushed the country on the verge of a human catastrophe.  Nevertheless, the people of Yemen remain resilient and continue their defense against blatant Saudi aggressing, backed by the U.S. and U.K.

Although, Ms. Jumaan’s presentation was more fit for an hour long classroom lecture, with slides and lots of lists and items to explore, the highlight was when she pointed out “Leahy Law,” a U.S. law, according to which United States and United Kingdom officials can be held accountable by, for war crimes.  However, so far U.S. and U.K. have committed a lot of war crimes and crimes against humanity for which they have not been held accountable.  Thus, it is doubtful that Leahy’s Law could be used for accountability.  But, there is a first for everything; or at least the possibility of using it against Saudi regime does exist.

So, this brings us to the last and final speaker of the Conference, Kshama Sawant, who in light of the odds, offered the best course of action: activism.  She pointed out that these wars are imposed on people by the Capitalist system and that if the people had the choice or the power, they would not select any of these wars.

She pointed out that there is no shortage of resources for people to have a decent life, bereft of misery. And, the solution is to empower the people. She invited the community to enjoin the mass movement that is mobilizing for a big May Day, international labor day, demonstrations.

Thus, insofar, as these imperialist backed Saudi wars of aggression go, the only way we, as concerned Muslims and human beings, can be effective is to join the movement and build awareness that these neocolonial regimes in the Arabian Peninsula could not stand on their own nor continue the tyranny they met out, if it was not for U.S. and U.K. backing.

Through the democratic process and mass movements, we can effectively loosen the backing these neocolonial regimes receive from Western imperialism. And, as these neocolonial dictatorial regimes have no right of sovereignty over the people, we need to demand the freedom of all prisoners in the Arabian Peninsula, both from the regimes and their imperialist masters.

Furthermore, this oil for weapons exchange that is designed to transfer the wealth of the people of the Arabian Peninsula to their imperialist masters in West, must stop. Furthermore, slave labor in the Arabian Peninsula must be stopped.    

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