Tehran Holds Counter-Terrorism Conference: United States Unlikely to Attend……..

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      BFF
High-ranking officials from more than 60 countries, including several heads of state, have accepted Iran’s invitation to attend the Global Campaign against Terrorism Conference, conference secretary general Bahman Taherian-Mobarakeh stated at a press conference in Tehran on Monday. The conference is scheduled to be held in the Iranian capital from June 25 to 26. Taherian-Mobarakeh stated that the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Economic Cooperation Organization, and Interpol are among the international and regional organizations which have been officially invited to send representatives to the conference. He said that the list of officials who plan to participate in the conference will be released later. However, Taherian-Mobarakeh did not name the countries which have decided to send representatives to the conference. It is expected that more countries will announce their interest in attending the event ………Mehr News

Shouldn’t they know by now who or what and from where is attending ?
This whole thing is mysterious: nobody knows who will attend from where. I know one thing: the United States government will not be represented at this meeting. I also know at least one other country that will not be represented. But then it all depends on one’s definition of ‘terrorism’: the countries that claim to be the most concerned with ‘terrorism’ will not be attending. Most likely al-Qaeda will not attend, nor will George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.
I also suspect that most terrorists will not attend.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Mystery of the Missing Iraq Money: do I hear 6, do I Hear 18……..

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In 2004, the Bush administration flew twenty billion dollars of shrink-wrapped cash into Iraq on pallets. Now the bulk of that money has disappeared. The funds flown into the war zone were made up of surplus from the UN’s oil-for-food program, as well as money from sales of Iraqi oil and seized Iraqi assets. Recent estimates had the amount of missing money at about $6.6 billion, but according to Al Jazeera, Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi says the figure is closer to three times that amount. Officials were supposed to distribute the money to Iraqi government ministries and U.S. contractors tasked with the reconstruction of Iraq, but it now appears that the bulk of the cash was stolen in what may be one of the largest heists in history. The Iraqi government argues that U.S. forces were supposed to safeguard the cash under a 2004 agreement, making Washington responsible for the money’s disappearance. Pentagon officials claim that given time to track down the records they can account for all of the money, but the U.S. has already audited the money three times and no trace of what happened to it can be found……….

I would rather accept the US$ 6 billion figure and forget the US $ 18 billion. I wouldn’t take the word of Osama al-Nujaifi. Exaggeration as an ‘art’ was probably invented in the Middle East, most likely in Iraq, especially in Mosul which Mr. al-Nujaifi controls with his clan. Still, $ 6 billion is a lot of money. As to who took it all, I would say all of the above: Iraqis and Americans, possibly contractors from other countries as well. Many American officials and contractors probably got a good education in the Middle eastern ways of lining the pocket, some of them got very rich in the process.
Cheers
mhg




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Case of Egypt: Revolution or ‘la vache qui rit 2’……

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In Egypt the military junta appointed by Mubarak is walking a thin line. No doubt it does not believe in all this democracy and free speech stuff: it is as un-Egyptian as raising taxes or reducing corporate subsidies is un-American to some people in the USA. Marshal Tantawi keeps on grinning and, so far, playing the field with all sides. But the moment of truth is getting closer, when all Egyptians will have to decide. Still, Marshal Tantawi keeps on grinning his famous. Mubarak used to grin a lot before he became president; that was why he was known all over the Arab world as “la vache qui rit” (but maybe not in France). This does not suggest that the good Marshal could, maybe perhaps, be called “la vache qui rit 2”. No sir.
Cheers
mhg




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Case of Bahrain: Uprising or Reform, Poet Ayat on Television ……..

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The Bahrain regime of the al-Khalifa clan acts toward the people almost like a good Ba’athist regime (Iraqi or Syrian, they probably have hired thugs from both). It says it had already reformed and changed before the uprising. They also said that between 1975 and 2001 when they had stopped having elections, and after that when they started to pretend that they had free elections. Now the regime is saying that perhaps they can have talks on reform, hinting strongly through body language and extended middle fingers and other ways that these talks will not lead anywhere. Then there are the al-Saud overlords, who now have a veto power over any political “settlement”, which means no political settlement as long as Saudi forces are in the country.
They have, however, changed the name of one ministry to “Human Rights Ministry”. In this video here, shown today, they have the famous 20 year old female poet-student Ayat al-Qormezi, whom as arrested and tortured since last March, apologizing on state television, no doubt after another bout of torture. Very reminiscent of the Iraqi Ba’athist regime which used to torture people then display them confessing and/or apologizing on state television.
Cheers
mhg




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Saudi (Arabian Peninsula): Reform or Rebellion……..

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Government apologists and hired opinion-ators claim that the al-Saud rulers want to reform, that most people don’t want it. In Saudi Arabia the regime has managed to again do what it is good at doing, what all Arab despots are good at: change the subject again, divide the country again. They started by stressing last spring that public protests are the domain of disgruntled Shi’a in the Eastern Province: hinting that no good Wahhabi should protest at the same time as the Shi’as. At least have the decency to wait until the Shi’as are calm, which means never or until hell freezes over, whichever comes first. Besides, didn’t the good palace muftis and pliable Salafi shaikhs say that protests in the kingdom are un-Islamic? Then there is the more crucial issue of women drivers, or non-drivers, much more important than other freedoms. Women still can’t drive, but they did change the subject for a week or two.
Cheers
mhg




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Syria: Revolution or Reform……..

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The Syrian Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad says it wants to reform but the ‘opposition’ says it is not enough and anyway it might be too little too late. Arab regimes are divided: some want the Assad regime to remain because it is their ally (Iran, Hezbollah, possibly Iraq), others want the Assad regime to fall for the same reason the three mentioned earlier want it to remain in power, yet others reluctantly want it to remain because they fear the unknown alternative (Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey). Syria is potentially the most explosive case among Arab states facing revolt: it is almost impossible to predict what will replace the Assad regime, and the regional stakes for all concerned are far greater than in Libya or Tunisia. Assad is close to Iran but that does not mean the next regime will be closer to Saudi Arabia or to the West, or necessarily more hostile to Iran. Or less hostile, or more hostile, to Israel. The opposition itself is divided, depending on geography to some extent. They can’t seem to bring out the type of masses seen in Egypt and Tunisia.
Complicated, but the killings have to stop, for the Syrian people deserve to have their say and vote freely for their government. As should ALL Arab peoples have that right.
Cheers
mhg




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1984 in Occupied Bahrain: a Ministry of Human Rights? Expatriates and Lackeys and Abe Lincoln and Bob Marley…………

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You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time….” Abe Lincoln

You can fool some people sometimes,

But you can’t fool all the people all the time.

So now we see the light,

We gonna stand up for our rights!….
..” Bob Marley

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa today issued
decree 60 for 2011 renaming the Social Development Ministry as Human Rights and
Social Development Ministry. The Social Development Minister will also be known
as Human Rights and Social Development Minister. Under the same decree, the
ministry has been restructured to include an undersecretary for human rights, an
undersecretary for social affairs developments, a public and international
relations directorate and other affiliated departments. HM King Hamad also
issued decree 61 for 2011 appointing Os
ama Abdulla Al-Absi as Labour Market
Regulatory Authority Chief Executive Officer for a three-year term……Bahrain “News” Agency

King of Bahrain has now changed the name of one ministry to a “Ministry of Human Rights”. This is like Hitler establishing a ministry for Jewish Welfare, or Stalin establishing a ministry for prisoner rights. Or the American Republican Tea Party advocating for labor unions. Some slick, but not smart enough, publicists/lobbyists in Britain or the United States must be behind this desperate attempt at a face-lift for the al-Khalifa ruling clan. Transparently Orwellian.
It started with a call for a so-called “national dialog” to be headed by al-Dhahrani, a semi-educated Salafi-connected head of the mostly appointed legislature, and an al-Khalifa lackey. Then they called to include the “expatriate”, largely South Asian laborers and housemaids, community in the national dialog. On the face of it an admirable call, but a publicity window dressing aimed partly at watering down the majority of the Bahrainis. If they cared for the expatriate community they would allow them access to public education and other benefits, which they do not.
Bahrain’s rulers had become masters at deceiving the West, especially willing American officials, with their public relations stunts, including fake and meaningless elections and a few very public appointments (including one ambassadorial). This time the Arab Spring has caught up with them.
Cheers
mhg




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Palestinian Discord and Overflowing Peace: I Told You So……..

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In a blow to Palestinian unity efforts, a meeting in Cairo planned for this week so that the leaders of the two main factions could announce a new government has been called off for lack of agreement on a prime minister, Palestinian officials said Sunday. The meeting had been set for Tuesday with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Khaled Meshal of Hamas. Mr. Abbas’s Fatah faction announced the cancellation in the West Bank, and Hamas officials here confirmed it……Mr. Abbas has been pushing hard to keep in place Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is widely admired in the United States and Europe……… Mr. Salam Fayyadh (his name means Overflowing Peace in English) may be “widely admired in the USA and Europe”, but he is not widely admired where it counts, among the Palestinian people. Nor was he elected to any position. Should the Palestinians give a “fick” who admires whom in the “international community”? Absolutely not. The “international community” also professed admiration for Mubarak and Bin Ali and Saleh until the end, as they have for the absolute tribal despots in Riyadh and Manama.
I wrote here at the time that the Palestinian “unity” deal will most likely not last. It will not happen until there are new elections and all parties abide by the results: that means whoever wins the elections, Hamas or Fatah or Likud or Shas, will form the Palestinian “government”. Like all Arab parties and regimes, whoever loses the election will not accept the results. Haven’t we seen this Palestinian film before?
Cheers
mhg



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Fighting for Jordan: the GCC and America and Compelling Economics……

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Senior U.S. diplomats have been dropping by the royal palace in Amman almost every week this spring to convince Jordanian King Abdullah II that democratic reform is the best way to quell the protests against his rule. But another powerful ally also has been lobbying Abdullah — and wants him to ignore the Americans. Saudi Arabia is urging the Hashemite kingdom to stick to the kind of autocratic traditions that have kept the House of Saud secure for centuries, and Riyadh has been piling up gifts at Abdullah’s door to sell its point of view…….The quiet contest for Jordan is one sign of the rivalry that has erupted across the Middle East this year between Saudi Arabia and the United States, longtime allies that have been put on a collision course by the popular uprisings that have swept the region……..”

The King of Jordan may have no choice than to move toward a constitutional monarchy. The Arab Spring has touched Jordan, but not as much as many other Arab states. As I commented a few months ago: Jordan differs from, say, Syria in that it (Jordan) is a police state that does not look like a police state (Syria is a police state that does look like one). The Saudis will have to fully integrate Jordan into the GCC, allowing Jordanians full free access to Gulf employment, something that would greatly reduce economic and political pressure on the regime. But that may create problems with other source countries of labor: Pakistan, India, Egypt, etc. Besides, Gulf potentates usually prefer non-Arab labor because the Asians are not interested in regional politics. (Unemployment among native citizens is extremely high by any standards in several GCC countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain: all double digit).
The truth is that Riyadh depends, will continue to depend, heavily on the USA, on American power and, especially, American weapons in its attempt to contain Iranian influence. Saudi hegemony in the GCC region is at least partly based on the sophisticated American weapons to which the massive Iranian military has no access. Instead, the Iranians rely heavily on their own arms industry.
Cheers
mhg




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Salafis of the Gulf: Saudi Paymasters, and a Kosher Homey in Abbottabad……..

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Note that these villages are not engaging in any criminal activities. They are unarmed civilians who are being wantonly attacked by state security forces simply on the basis that the people are Shia and therefore deemed by the Sunni elite rulers to be supportive of anti-government (pro-democracy) movement, which in itself is not illegal and is supposedly a right that is permitted by Bahrain’s signatory to international laws, that is, the right to have political opinions. Note also that, according to my contacts, the security personnel are mainly Saudi or from Yemen, Syria, Jordan. These personnel are predominantly Sunni and loyal to the regime. That is why they have been recruited by the regime. The police and army personnel are extremely hostile to Shia people out of deep sectarian phobia. This is especially true of the Saudis who are typically Wahhabis, the kind of extreme Islamism that Saudi rulers and Al Qaeda espouses. Wahhabis see it almost as a religious duty to crush Shias. We saw the same phobia in Iraq where Shia mosques were mostly attacked by bombers. The effective consent that the West has given the Bahraini rulers to crackdown on their people means the West is colluding with some of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East to crush pro-democracy people in Bahrain……

Salafis have been the strongest supporters of the campaign to crush the uprising for equality and democracy in Bahrain. They are strong supporters of any campaign by regimes in the Gulf GCC, or other countries, against any true democratic movement that supports free speech. Even as they themselves are often used by their Saudi paymasters to disrupt other regimes in their home Gulf countries, like in my own hometown, under the pretense of demanding more democracy. Salafis never ever believe in democracy and free speech: sometimes they use the others’ demands for freedom but only to serve their and their masters’ purposes.
Salafis all across the Gulf and indeed across the Middle East, are coreligionists and ideological mates of al-Qaeda. They consider the al-Qaeda people basically ‘kosher’ homeys who may have erred and gone astray against the ruling al-Saud dynasty (apparently no too astray: they still get all the money they need for their terrorist activities). Some of these Salafis in the Gulf, including in my hometown, have penned articles beseeching Bin Laden to return to the fold, come in from the cold, enjoy the joys of the absolute tribal monarchy which spawned him and his movement. That was before Abbottabad (for some reason Abbottabad always reminds me of Lou Costello).
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com