Saudi and Qatari Monarchs Meet to Push for Democracy……….

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Saudi media report the Emir of Qatar Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani flew to Jeddah and met with Saudi King Dr. Servant of the Two Holy Shrines Abdullah.

I will guess why such a sudden meeting: they met to discuss how best to introduce electoral democracy into Syria AND how to improve the state of electoral democracy in Iraq. With the help of their Wahhabi elves and helpers who had snuck into these tow countries uninvited.

Speaking of democracy, agencies report the meeting was attended as follows:

  • On the Saudi side those attended were: the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – and Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef Al Saud
  • On the Qatari side: Shaikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani (prime minister & minister of interior) – Shaikh Ju’an (Hungry in Arabic) Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani – Shaikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani – Shaikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Bin Abdulaziz Al Thani – Shaikh Abdullah Bin Thamer Bin Moahmmed Al Thani (Qatari ambassador in Saudi Arabia).

But it couldn’t just be about Syria and Iraq and Lebanon and other hard to deal with Arab countries. Not even just Gaza and Hamas. Prince Mohammed is the Saudi minister of interior, the man in charge of police, internal security, religious police, prisons, arrests, interrogations, enhanced interrogation, and all the interesting things that happen to those convicted (and even some who are never convicted).


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Two-Front War on the Gaza Ghetto: Role of the Bloody Arab Hands ………

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Gaza is facing a two-front war, and the people of Gaza are facing two determined enemies. This has been the case for years. World media is pre-occupied with only one front of this newest Gaza-Israeli war. But this has always been a two-front war, with the people of Gaza and their Hamas fundamentalist rulers facing two hostile enemy fronts. We all know about the northern-eastern front with Israel, but the other front helps weaken the Gazans and directly helps the Israeli assault. 

The second front, the southern front with Egypt should be considered worse from an Arab point of view. Egypt has always been part of the strategy to defeat Hamas by starving out the people of Gaza in their ghetto, a ghetto created largely by Arab regimes collaborating with the Israeli government blockade. Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi, new Mubarakist leader of Egypt, is tightening the screws on Gaza even as his Israeli allies are bombing and shelling the hell out of them. Even as much of Arab media, mostly controlled by Persian Gulf princes and potentates, focus on the northern front with Israel, preferring not to shed any light on the role of the Likudnik Egyptian regime in the Israeli strategy.

When it comes to the suffering of the Palestinian people of Gaza and shedding their blood, the culprits with bloody hands are not only Israeli forces, but Arab dictators and tribal princes from Cairo to Riyadh.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The Angry Euro-Centric International Community: Torn Between Ukraine and Gaza…….

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Headline today in the Huffington Post: “Global” anger at Russia grows……..

Odd: I look around the globe, the media in several languages, and I don’t see worldwide intense anger. There is sympathy and a desire to uncover the culprit(s), but no anger. I see some regional real anger and some regional pretend anger, and I see mostly some politics mixed with anger, and it is focused on a particular part of the globe. In recent years, it seems that the world has gone back to the old Euro-centric order, just as it did during the eighteenth and nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Apparently when the angry “international community” or “the world” is mentioned the acronyms that matter are NATO and EU. Forget about UNO and BRICS and PIGS and TRICKS and SCO and WTF and the rest.

No wonder the angry “international community” is never angry when third world airlines are shot down, especially when shot down by NATO missiles (Iran Air 655, Libyan Air).

I guess “global” here means the West: “European Union” or “North American”. The Rest Of the World, almost 85% of it,  are just that, ROW, and not part of the “global community”, since we don’t see much if any of the same “outrage” across Asia (outside Malaysia) or Africa or Latin America, or the Middle East. The same applies to “The International Community” that we often see in Western headlines. The Int’l Community is often angry at someone or the other (Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Freedonia, etc). The “Int’l Community” is never ever angry at the European Union or the USA or Canada. And why should they?

Now speaking of “global” outrage, and speaking of Gaza……….


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Are All Airliner Shootings Deliberate Massacres? It Depends on Who Shoots and Who Gets Shot Down……

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Poor Malaysians, they seem so unlucky with their airline this year. Still, if it had not been for the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the struggle for Eastern Europe, this disaster would not have been so important. Still, not all airline disasters are equal. Let us look at a few cases when commercial civilian airliners have been shot down by military forces of governments:

1973: A Libyan Airlines Boeing 727-200 plane was shot down by Israeli fighters in Egypt’s Sinai Desert on 21 February, 1973. It was believed that the pilots got lost due to bad weather and equipment failure over northern Egypt, resulting in the plane entering Israeli-controlled airspace over the Sinai desert. Israeli fighter jets shot down the plane. Out of 113 people on board, only five, including the co-pilot, survived.
So, an Arab airliner shot down by Israel over occupied Arab land.

1983: A Korean Air flight was brought down by the USSR on 1 September 1983. The Boeing 747 civilian airliner from New York to Seoul was shot down by a Soviet jet just west of the Russian island of Sakhalin killing all 269 passengers and crew, including US congressman Larry McDonald. The Russians believed it was a US military surveillance plane and fired tracer rockets as a warning but it did not respond, the Soviet fighter pilot later said. US president, Ronald Reagan called the shoot down “a massacre“.
So, shot down over Soviet/Russian territory.

1988: On 3 July 1988 the US warship USS Vincennes, in the Persian Gulf, fired a surface-to-air missile to shoot down Iran Air flight 655 travelling from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Dubai. All 290 passengers, mostly Iranians on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and all the crew were killed. US Navy officials later said the Vincennes’ crew believed they were firing at an Iranian F14 jet fighter, claiming the plane was off the ‘usual’ commercial route and did not respond to requests to change course. Iran, perhaps echoing Ronald Reagan, called it “a barbaric massacre“.
So, an Iranian airliner shot down by a U.S. navy ship. Not over the Gulf of Mexico, nor within sight of Manhattan. In the ‘Persian’ Gulf, right in Iran’s own backyard. 

2001: Ukrainian military shot down a Russian passenger jet containing 78 people on 4 October 2001 as it flew over the Black Sea travelling from Tel Aviv in Israel to Novosibirsk in Russia. Russian crash investigators concluded the Tu-154 was hit by a Ukrainian ground-to-air missile despite the fact it was on its flight plan on an international airway which did not fall under any restrictions imposed by Ukraine. It exploded in mid-air, sparking speculation it was downed accidentally by Ukranian military on exercises in Crimea.

So is it a crime to shoot down a civilian airliner? You may be shocked to find out that it depends, but you shouldn’t. Apparently it mainly all depends on two factors: (1) Who does the shooting; (2) Who is shot down.

Generally third world airliners, when shot down by anyone but especially by Western missiles, are not much lamented or compensated. The Iran Air 655 victims were ignored in the West. If it had been an Iranian missile shooting down a Western airliners, Tehran would have been invaded, with full UN approval. Iran would have been blackmailed and forced to pay extortion in billions of dollars in compensation for the Western victims, who tend to be much more valuable as victims than others are. No such compensation was offered or paid, as far as I know, for Iran Air 655 victims or the Libyan victims.

Third world victims are always deemed to be worth less than Western victims. That is a fact; too bad you can’t take it to the bank, though. But I admit it is sometimes a self-made valuation suggested by unrepresentative and repressive governments.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Liberated Mosul Going Christian-Frei and Shi’a-Rein……..

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“Christians were fleeing Iraq’s jihadist-held city of Mosul en masse Friday after mosques relayed an ultimatum giving them a few hours to leave, the country’s Chaldean patriarch and witnesses said. “Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil,” in the neighbouring autonomous region of Kurdistan, Patriarch Louis Sako told AFP. “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.” Witnesses said messages telling Christians to leave the city by Saturday were blared through loudspeakers from the city’s mosques Friday……….The patriarch, who is one of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq, and residents contacted by AFP said Islamic State militants had in recent days been tagging Christian houses with the letter N for “Nassarah”, the term by which the Koran refers to Christians………”

Arab supporters of the terrorist marauders in Iraq, including Salafis and Wahhabi liberals are claiming that Mosul and other towns were liberated by ‘revolutionary’ Iraqis seeking justice. Yet the same ‘liberators’ of Mosul and other Al-Anbar towns have issued Nazi-like warnings for ‘others’, especially Christians, to convert or leave town, forfeiting their property, or die. The Shi’as who did not leave were massacred and ended up in mass graves, as we saw in photos and films distributed by the Terrorists.

In recent week some Arab media had been minimizing the role of ISIS a (ISIL) in the war in Iraq and stressing the role of ‘angry’ Sunni tribes. Part of the regional strategy of the petroleum princes. Some went so far as to suggest that the ISIS Wahhabis are leaving Mosul to be run by the Iraqi Sunnis. I was skeptic of that claim, nay I was sure it was not true. It was not true.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Grand Ayatollah of Al Azhar Gets His Just Reward on the Gulf………

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Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that His Excellency the ‘Great Imam’ shaikh of Al-Azhar went to Dubai last week by private plane. He was to receive the Dubai Holy Quran International Prize (WTF that be). He is reported to have received the award as “Islamic Personality of the Year” as a reward for his efforts in the service of Islam (WTF they be). It does not say if he is rewarded for siding with the military coup that overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood presidency of Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, nor if he was awarded for siding with Hosni Mubarak during the uprising of 2011. As I noted in a recent post here, he was bound to win the prize.

This is news to most people, the fact that now Shaikh Dr. Al Tayeb calls himself the “Great Imam”, or is it the “Grand Imam”? Apparently the Al Azhar bureaucracy and its hierarchy are now copying some of the Shi’a (Shi’ite if you prefer) titles like Grand Ayatollah, etc. It is now not too fat-fetched that Dr. Shaikh Al Tayeb will pop out some day with the title “Grand Ayatollah” of Al Azhar, possibly earned from one of them ubiquitous online for-profit theology colleges.

Now what would their Wahhabi allies and financiers in Riyadh think of all this? A Grand Ayatollah leading Al Azhar, just as its original creators of the Fatimid Dynasty had intended? Thus undoing the military coup of Salah El Din Al Ayyoubi (Saladin) who overthrew his Fatimids bosses and benefactors long before Al Sisi overthrew his Morsi boss and benefactor. Saladin did atone for it later by liberating Jerusalem from the European barbarians. No wonder there are complaints, warnings, and fears about the spread of Shi’ism in Egypt. No wonder the military regime and its Salafi and Wahhabi-Liberal allies ban Bahrain activists and Iranian tourists from coming to Egypt. It can be risky. Look, even the recently Wahhabi-ized Al Azhar shaikhs are adopting Shi’a titles now. Soon they might start allowing Shi’a mosques and Husseiniyyas all over Cairo. Who knows, some day we might see Al Sisi playing Shimr, or maybe even Al-Hurr, in a re-enactment a Shi’a passion play about the Battle of Karbala.

And our princes and pals on the Persian-American Gulf had thought their man Al Sisi had come to power and was generously rewarded in order to stop all that.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Cinematic Political History of the Middle East………

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Some film titles and what they might mean in the Middle East:

American Dream: peace in the Middle East

The King and I: Al Sisi after his visit to the  Saudi king on his plane.

The Hustler: Netanyahu visits with Obama.

The Count of Monte Cristo: Morsi dreaming of escape from his military prison at Chateau d’If.

Slumdog Millionaire: the nightly dream of every South Asian laborer working on Qatar’s World Cup projects.

Dangerous Liaisons: arming the Syrian opposition militias.

Return of the Mummy: Hosni Mubarak visits Al Sisi at Qubba Palace.

The 300: Iranian embassy in Baghdad.

The 3000: Iranian embassy in Damascus.

The 30,000: political prisoners in Egypt.

Lonely are the Brave: Iranian embassy in Riyadh

Lonely are the Brave: Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Ali Baba and the Forty-plus Thieves: a history of Bahrain (or some other Gulf country).

King Lear: Prince Bandar wandering between projects destabilizing Syria and Iraq and Lebanon.

The Sheik: anyone who has any influence in the UAE.

The Wild Bunch: ISIS, ISIL, Al Nusra,  Al WTF

All That Money Can Buy: Saudi foreign policy

The Prince and the Paupers: Saudi Prince (any prince) walking down certain Riyadh streets he usually avoids, runs into people he usually does not see.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: take your pick……..

The Idiot: no comment.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Mr. Obama’s Ramadan Iftar Political Rally for Israel………

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“During his address (at the Iftar dinner) , U.S. President Barack Obama said, “No country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens,” Obama said. “And so we’ve been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas.”………”We knew it was all bad when we saw this tweet surface a few minutes into the iftar by none other than Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer,” one website, The Thrival Room, wrote. Meanwhile, scholar Tariq Ramadan published a statement describing this year’s dinner as “political instrumentalisation of (voluntarily) trapped Muslim leaders listening to President Obama justify the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians, declaring Israel has the right to defend itself. One wonders what is the relationship between the Iftar celebration and Israel?………”

There was no reason at all to politicize this Ramadan Iftar by focusing on Israel or its Gaza targets. No reason to make it into an almost ‘Israeli’ political rally. But Mr. Obama’s advisers are creatures of habit. Maybe it was force of habit: every time a US politician sees a bunch of Muslim faces he claims that he thinks of a ‘threatened’ Israel. But the Saudi ambassador Mr. Adle Al-Jubair, was there resplendent in his native attire, and he is hardly a threat: he is the envoy of the Likud’s best Arab ally. On the other hand, some of the Muslims attending are also reported to have complained about surveillance of their communities. Funny, I don’t feel ‘surveilled’, but maybe that is the point.

Even the Israeli daily Haaretz has more sense than the groupies and advisers at the White House who put Mr. Obama in this silly position of using an Islamic occasion to justify the Netanyahu war tactics.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The Arab King and the Functionary: Cultural Personalities of the Solar System including Uranus……..

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“King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has been chosen as the cultural personality of the year by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award team. Dr Ali bin Tamim, secretary general of the awards, said the decision to choose King Abdullah came as a result of his many cultural achievements…………..”

“Last year, Dr Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar mosque in Egypt, was recognised as the cultural personality of the year. An academic and researcher, he was praised for his role in adopting the moderate path and encouraging a culture of tolerance, dialogue and protection of the civil society. Dr Al Tayyeb…………”

Honorable Dr. King Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines has been chosen by Shaikhs Bin Al-Nahayan as the Cultural Personality of the year 2014. It doesn’t say if he is the cultural personality of Abu Dhabi only or of the whole United Arab Emirates (plus Saudi Arabia of course). Or maybe the cultural personality of the Gulf GCC. I suspect he was chosen as cultural personality not only of the Arab World, but of the whole wide wonderful world. To wit, the cultural personality of our planet (that would include our moon as well). Could be the cultural personality of our solar system, unless someone discovers intelligent life on one of our neighbors, possibly Uranus and preferably NOT pronounced the two syllable American way.

As for last year’s winner, Dr. Shaikh Ahmad Al Tayeb of the once venerable Al-Azhar, he was bound to win the prize, given his services to Hosni Mubarak as a functionary of his National Party. And given his political sectarian services to the petroleum princes and potentates in the past two years.

Fasten your seat belts, folks. The fun has just begun. Next year’s almost certain winner will be El Presidente Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi. Surely he has earned it in both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh………..


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Oh oh, Qassem Suleimani is Back Stalking Your Dreams………

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‘“Suleimani’s orchestration of brutal military campaigns in both Syria and Iraq set the stage for the Sunni Arab response turning to extremism,” explains Derek Harvey, a longtime Iraq intelligence analyst who now teaches at the University of South Florida. Harvey lists some of Suleimani’s mistakes: “He missed opportunities for moderation while still protecting Iranian interests. His partnership with extremism in Syria resulted in the threat growing in Syria and rebounding to Iraq. His refusal to counsel some moderation and inclusion by [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-]Maliki developed a fertile environment for [the Islamic State] and others to exploit.” Suleimani’s reversals are significant because he has become something of a cult figure among those who follow the paramilitary Quds Force he directs. I have likened him in past columns to John le Carré’s fabled spymaster, Karla. The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins chronicled what Arabs call Suleimani’s “khilib, or understated charisma,” in a memorable profile in September. Suleimani seemed a man who could run circles around rival commanders.……………”

Also sprach David Ignatius who has access not only to reliable unnamed high U.S. intelligence officials, but also to highly unreliable unnamed Arab Wahhabi princes and high officials. What is almost endearing about these relationships is that he believes everything that they tell him and tries to sell it to us. Occasionally I think he has converted to Wahhabism (which is neither Sunni nor Shi’a, but wayyyy out there).

If this Qassem Suleimani were head of government he would be labeled public enemy number one in Western media. In the same way that Ahmadinejad was, except that Ahmadinejad often asked for it with his big mouth. Or Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez or many others of the Third World.

But no need to worry: his organization, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), I believe, is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government while the U.S. Knesset Congress considers it Satan’s twin, even though it is an official military organization of a sovereign country (the North Korean or French or Ukrainian equivalents are NOT listed as a terrorist organizations). Oddly, the IRGC have never shot in anger at any American (well, not directly), unlike the Israeli IDF (remember the USS Liberty?), or the German Wehrmacht many of whose officers served along Americans later on, or the Viet Cong some of whom….. you get the point. Not only that: anyone who deals with them is also listed as terrorist. The bank where IRGC commanders deposit their pay and finance their homes, the baker who sells them hot oven-baked Iranian bread in the morning, the butcher who provides them with lamb for the chelo kebab, and the Afghani barber who trims their beards (he is also probably a Taliban agent). Anyway, it has become hard to separate fact from fiction when we read about him. More on this Suleimani later…….

Qassem Suleimani: Plotter with Morsi, Drug Smuggler to GCC, Election Manager in Iraq …….

More on Iran’s Qassem Suleimani: Solving the Mystery………


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Multidisciplinary: Middle East, North Africa, Gulf, GCC, World, Cosmos…..