Gulf GCC Opposition Hampered by Tribal and Sectarian Walls……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“Saudi security forces have killed four armed men in a clash in Awamiya region, the Interior Ministry said. The troops raided a hideout for fighters in the eastern Awamiya town and killed the four in an exchange of fire on Saturday, the ministry said. The dead, described the government as terrorists, were behind the killing of a member of the security forces and wounding of another last Sunday, a ministry spokesman quoted by the Saudi state news agency SPA, said on Saturday. Among the dead was the leader of that attack, it said. Awamiya has been the focal point of unrest among Saudi Shia since protests in early 2011 calling for an end to perceived discrimination against the minority sect and for democratic reforms…………”

Everybody who rises or publicly or privately criticizes the Saudi regime is either a terrorist or a foreign agent. It doesn’t matter if they are Shi’a or Sunni or Wahhabi. Other GCC media tend to go along with that or just ignore it. Of course, those who resist police attacks or fire on them are also called so.
Regardless of whether those killed are armed or not, the Saudi princes are in an unusually good position for a regime that is the most repressive in the Middle East and one of the most repressive in the world. Its opposition is severely divided. There is a Shi’a opposition, a Sunni opposition, and an extremist Wahhabi opposition. But like almost all opposition groups in the Persian Gulf GCC countries they are plagued by tribal and sectarian divisions.

The tribe and the sect create demarcation lines that these opposition groups rarely cross, if ever. These different groups work on separate planes, and do not cooperate with each other. Once I likened them to little children who play around each other but not with each other. The main Saudi Wahhabi opposition even accuses the ultra-sectarian regime of being ‘too soft‘ on Shi’as.
Advantage, the rulers. At least for the time being.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

What Qatar and North Korea Have in Common: the Crowd is Not Wild……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“The men grappled with each other to board the quickly filling bus. Others wriggled in through the windows, scaling the outside, using the large wheels as footholds and leaving scuff-marks on the white exterior with their shoes. These weren’t refugees fleeing disaster. They were migrant workers in 2022 World Cup host Qatar, fighting to earn a few dollars. The job: Pretend to be a sports fan. Qataris boast they’re mad for sports. The ruling emir of the oil-and-gas rich Gulf nation is so fond of football he bought Paris Saint-Germain, now France’s powerhouse team………. Thirty Qatar riyals – equivalent to $8 – won’t buy a beer in the luxury waterside hotel in Doha, the capital, where Qatari movers-and-shakers unwind. But for this pittance, workers from Africa and Asia sprint under blinding sun in the Doha industrial zone where they’re housed and surround a still-moving bus like bees on honey……………..”

During the FIFA World Cup games in South Africa, there were many groups, including families, rooting for the North Korean team. Which seemed odd, given that individuals in North Korea are not allowed to do any private travel overseas. If they could afford it. Then came reports, some of them credible, that these were Chinese crowds, including families with children, hired by the ruling dynasty in Pyongyang to pretend to be North Koreans.

Now we come to Qatar, where temporary foreign laborers are more than 87% of the population of about 2 million. Most of them are from South and Southeast Asia. There are just not enough people in Qatar to fill any stadium, even if expatriate laborers were willing to pay for tickets. Which they are not because they can’t afford it and most are not interested in football/soccer. Hence this practice of hiring foreign spectators. The ruling family of Qatar will spend billions for the privilege of being the only Middle East country to host the FIFA World Cup games in this century. Until somebody offers bigger bribes to FIFA officials.

This item was eagerly highlighted by Saudi semi-official Alarabiya, but only in its English edition. Gulf GCC media are rarely critical of other Gulf GCC countries and regimes. Which means tat Saudi-Qatari differences and tensions have not vanished, they were just swept under the rug for now. of course the fact that Qatar beat Saudi Arabia to win the Gulf Cup last month may also have something to do with this.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

From Stuxnet to Sony: CyberWar Chickens Coming Home to Roost?……….

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

There is a lot of media and official noise about the hacking of Sony documents. There are also threats of more damage to the company for producing a film spoof of Kim Jon Un of North Korea. There are claims that North Korea is responsible, being upset about the film. Maybe they didn’t get the famous haircut quite right in the film, or maybe it is the inevitable stupidity and silly thrust of the film.
Now there is much talk of the ‘terrible’ act of hacking and terrorism and how to respond. But wait: is hacking another country such a terrible act? A terrorist act? Weren’t the same media clinking glasses over the various cyber attacks on another country’s institutions only recently? Weren’t congressmen and women and senators going publicly orgasmic over the series of cyber attacks on official Iranian websites? Reportedly, strongly and deliberately and proudly disclosed by the usual unnamed sources to be the joint work of Israeli and American experts.

I commented several times in my postings on this cyber aggression, from Stuxnet to Duque to Flame and other malware, allegedly targeting the Iranian nuclear program and possibly other infrastructure. I even opined that “Live by Cyber war, Die by Cyber War“. I even wrote something about “cyber chickens coming home to roost“. And apparently they are starting now. This alleged North Korean attack and other allegedly Iranian cyber attacks in the past year. I have also written that cyber battles and cyber wars are equalizers: they are relatively cheap and any nation can excel in waging them.
Cyber counterattacks can be understandable, for they are done in retaliation for other cyber attacks. It happens. What irks me is the fact that American theatres have caved in to blackmail and fear and decided not to show the stupid film, The Interview. As has Sony now in deciding to “withdraw” the film, which makes one wonder what more information did the hackers get their hands on.

That reaction is an even more serious development: it means other hackers will be able to blackmail publishers, film-makers, and other cultural parties. Thus curtailing the right of free expression. Thus imposing a piece of the ‘political ambience’ of North Korea or wherever the hell they are located into the United States and other countries.

Cyber Wars as Great Equalizers: Tit for Tat?………

Cyber Jingoism: CyberSecurity, Cyber Wars, and the New Cyber Powers………

Cyber Wars: Malware, Mahdi, and Hail Mary in Iran and Israel……

Israel and the West: only Arab and Muslim Hacking is Terrorism, Ours is Kosher……
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Russia: an Economic Barbarossa? Une Grande Armee économique?……….

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

Russia Reels” screams the headline in the Huffington Post. With similar headlines in other media. An old headline that goes back to another world…….
You’d think we were back to Barbarossa and June 22, 1941. But perhaps with expectations of different results this time…...

Or perhaps a financial version of La Grande Armee of Napoleon, an economic assault. Which might have better luck, better results this time around, given the interdependence of the world economies.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Of Moroccan Cinema and Sore Throat……….

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“Sail said he is proud that he has in the last 11 years increased the production of feature films from 70 films to 200 films a year, and of short films from seven films to 100 films a year. “Ours would only be a real international film festival if the state helped produce good films,” he said. He said that honoring the great actor Adel Imam is enough to make any festival successful. “No one can differ on what Adel Imam represents in Arab cinema,” . “The accent is the main obstacle to Moroccan cinema,”……………”

That is probably true, what he said about the Moroccan accent. It is fun to listen to it, but not to speak it. Every time I try to speak it, I get a sore throat. I need to drink a lot of water after that.
The same goes for other North African accents.

FYI: the Moroccan I have met, mostly in Europe, are humorous, though. Much better sense of humor than, say, Jordanians. I know, I set the bar too low here……….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi Justice: Chopping Hands for a Small Theft While Ignoring Billions Stolen……….

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“Saudi authorities on Monday severed the hand of a Yemeni national convicted of repeated theft, under the medieval interpretation of Islamic law enforced in Saudi Arabia. A court had ordered the amputation of Ibrahim Abdulrahman Hazbar’s right hand after convicting him of a “series of thefts,” the interior ministry said. The punishment was carried out in the western city of Mecca, home to the holiest sites in Islam. US-ally Saudi Arabia implements a wide range of brutal punishments, including flogging, hefty fines and exaggerated prison sentences, for minor crimes……………”

This sounds fair and square. You rob a few Rials, get your hand chopped, especially if you are a poor Yemeni or another foreigner. The princes and princelings steal and embezzle and expropriate billions of public property, and it is okay. It goes with the job of being a prince and a potentate.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Royal Fun and Intelligent Life in Bahrain……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

Bahrain News Agency- Dec. 15, 2014- The consecutive headlines:
“His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa today received a cable of congratulations from Parliament Speaker, Ahmed bin Ibrahim Al-Mulla, on Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s Accession ………..”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa today received cables of congratulations marking Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s Accession……………”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa today received cables of congratulations on Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s Accession………….”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa received a cable of congratulations from Parliament Chairman Ahmed bin Ibrahim Al-Mulla on Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s Accession…………….”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa issued a decree pardoning 105 convicts who served part of their prison terms. The royal pardon is part of festivities on Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s Accession…………..” (After which the convicts probably sent him congratulatory cables, no doubt).

Ad nauseam………..

Cables? Whothefuck sends cables these days, other than Arab princes and potentates? They might as well use running messengers or pigeons. It gets even better: some of the princes are fond of sending handwritten missives. Which the others pretend to read slowly while the television cameras scan their faces for any signs of intelligent life. Alas…………
I noticed no congratulatory cable from the obese foreign minister of Bahrain. Not even a hand-written missive. What gives? Maybe his pen ran out of ink………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Will the Next Knesset be Arabfrei?……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

Judenfrei: “free of Jews” (German term used by Nazis)

“The fate of Israel’s embattled Arab parties is in the balance as Israel’s next parliamentary elections approach. The election season officially started last week when Knesset formally dissolved itself, setting an unconfirmed date at the polls of March 17, 2015. Yet as campaigns take off, the question of Israel’s smaller parties and the survival of Arab political groups in particular is in the background. Presently there are 12 Arab members of Knesset (one from the far right group Yisrael Beiteinu, four from mixed Arab-Jewish parties, and seven far Arab-identified parties), yet next year’s early elections will be the first since Israel raised the voter threshold to require 3.25-percent of the popular vote in order for a party to secure a seat in Knesset, which will impact the number of representatives from smaller factions. None of the Arab parties has reached this threshold on its own…………”

I was shocked to read that there is an Arab member of the Knesset from Yisrael Beiteinu, the strongly anti-Arab party of foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. I mean the guy is reputed to prefer to send all Israeli Arabs to humorless Jordan or to somewhere farther but as humorless like Abu Dhabi.

The Haneen Zoabi affair and its noisy aftermath must have rattled the right-wing Israeli establishment. Another defected former Arab Knesset member has been ensconced in Qatar for a few years, from which he hits the Aljazeera TV circuit, also owned by the rulers of Qatar.

Will the next Knesset be Arabfrei? I doubt it: the Israelis are quite aware of the importance of having Arab members. Even the most right-wing rabidly anti-Arab among them.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Crude Oil Price as a Two-Edged Sword for the GCC……….

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“Additionally, the Saudis get a chance to deal Russia, Bashar al-Assad’s stalwart ally, a bloody nose, by driving down the cost of oil and hurting Moscow’s hydrocarbon revenue streams, which prop up a shaky domestic economy. As oil prices have fallen so has the value of Russia’s Rouble, plummeting 35% since June. Killing two birds with one stone would seem a smart policy, especially since it is highly unlikely to result in the sort of military escalation the Saudis wish to avoid. How long can the Saudis keep this game up? Realistically a few months, but if the price of oil keeps falling the Saudis may have to rethink their strategy……………”

Oil prices normally rise during times of economic growth in the USA and especially during periods of geopolitical turmoil as is happening in Eastern Europe and across the Middle East and Libya. But oil prices have been going down for some time now in spite of speeding US growth and turmoil in producing regions.

Some have predicted that the oil price decline may come to bite those who engineered them for political reasons, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It was also argued that the Persian Gulf Arab producers have huge sovereign funds that can cushion the domestic economic impact.
Fine and dandy, but we must consider the impact on the sovereign funds and on local GCC Gulf financial markets and on the public finances: (a) The Gulf sovereign funds are invested mainly in the world markets and are losing value as American and other markets decline with the price of crude; (b) Domestic GCC markets are now also tanking, from Saudi Arabia to Dubai, which will bring political pressure on the princes, shaikhs and potentates to support the stock markets. Many middle class families in the GCC are suffering huge market losses, estimated in many billions of dollars. In the Gulf, princes and potentates from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh rely on patronage as well as a ruthless mercenary security apparatus to keep absolute political power. Now there will be clamor for some more patronage to help market investors: you want to keep absolute political power, you gotta pay for it (from the people’s money, of course). Which in turn will create more pressure on the domestic budgets and on the value of sovereign funds.

In addition, now the oil price decline is beginning to be seen as a negative for the US economy. Odd, after decades of blaming the rise of the same variable for slow growth.
Given the shale fuel industry and the huge investments in it, as well as the importance of the major oil companies and their credit standing, the US economy now shares one thing with the Iranian and Russian economies. Some market ‘analysts’ now stress that the U.S. financial markets need oil prices to move up for the markets to rebound from recent losses. But does Main Street America need high oil prices back? That is unlikely.

Interesting: the USA, Iran, and Russia all ‘need’ higher oil and gas prices now. 
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

American Christian Terrorist Wingnuts Hit Jerusalem?………..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“Adam Everett Livvix may or may not be a Christian Zionist from Texas, or he may be a fugitive from Illinois, or both. He also has claimed he was a U.S. Navy SEAL. And he was indicted in Israel last week on charges he plotted to blow up sites holy to Islam. Livvix, 30, is now in solitary confinement in the maximum-security Ayalon prison in Ramla, a city near Tel Aviv. According to the prosecutor’s submission to the court outlining reasons for the indictment, which was obtained by The Daily Beast, there would seem to be ample incriminating evidence, but there also remain quite a few mysteries. Much of the material in the dossier was gathered by the Shin Bet………..”
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

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