Baghdad’s Syrian Summit: an Absurd Qatari Message, Poised Saudi Tanks but no Huthis…………..


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Arab leaders on Thursday urged a swift and peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria at a landmark summit in Baghdad, with Iraq’s premier warning that arming rival camps there would lead to a “proxy war.” Nuri al-Maliki’s remarks highlighted the split in the Arab League, with hardliners Qatar and Saudi Arabia calling for Assad to step down and for rebels opposing his regime to be supplied with weapons, while others including Iraq are pushing for political reconciliation. Qatar and Saudi Arabia were among Gulf countries that largely snubbed the summit, with the two countries only sending envoys to the first Arab meet to be held in the Iraqi capital in more than 20 years. Doha said its decision was a “message” to Iraq………..”

Possibly the Iraqis and the real situation on the ground in Syria may have pushed the Arab League to come out against foreign intervention. The Syrian opposition, no matter how much of the population it represents, seems unable to coordinate let alone unify. The nominal leaders of the SNC are now purely symbolic ambassadors of anti-regime forces. It is the various armed groups that call the shots inside Syria and they are even more divided than ever.
Baghdad also represented its own message to the summit: where else are the consequences of Western intervention and liberation more dramatic than in Iraq? Then the leaders meeting in Western-liberated Iraq also had “Western-liberated” Libya in mind, where small battles rage every day between militias in different cities of the country. They know that Libya was liberated by NATO, not by the rebels nor by Qatar or the UAE who between them don’t have enough citizens to from a medium-sized army.
As for Qatar sending a “message to Iraq”: with all respect, some of our GCC regimes are silly, nearly absurd, in fact ridiculous (and I am not talking about Bahrain only although that regime is the mot ridiculous). Qatar probably has a couple of hundred thousand citizens (and a lot more temporary foreign laborers), and yet it is sending ‘messages’ right and left. The only country that the Qatar potentates have to truly fear is Saudi Arabia which tried at least once (late 1990s) to overthrow its current emir through yet another coup. Qatar probably needs to send a “message” toward Riyadh, if anywhere. Brotherly, or is it sisterly, Saudi Wahhabi tanks are as close to Doha as they were to Manama a year ago.
They may have been defeated by the Huthis in Yemen, but the road to Doha is smooth with no ragtag Huthis to stop them.

Le Pen and the Emir of Qatar……………


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PARIS – Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Friday lashed out at Qatar for investing in “Muslim” areas of French cities and for taking over Paris Saint-Germain football club. “The massive investments which it has made in suburbs are made because of the very high proportion of Muslims who are in the French suburbs,” she told reporters. “I think this situation could be very dangerous,” she said. “We are letting a foreign country choose its investments with regard to the religion of this or that part of the French population or of French territory.” The tiny but very wealthy Gulf state of Qatar late last year set up a 50-million-euro ($67-million) fund for entrepreneurs from France’s often-deprived suburbs to set up businesses………….

This extreme right wing lady pretends in public that she is pissed simply because the Qataris are investing in parts of France where French corporations (and government) refuse to invest. She would rather have the French Muslims live permanently under what conditions the right wing deems right for them. It is just election year garbage.

Then she added that in general Qatar was “playing a double game by presenting itself as an “enlightened” country while at the same time supporting Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa.” On that last paragraph, I have no comment today: it requires some pondering. Some Gulf potentates do dabble in fundamentalist politics, some of them more than others.

Israeli Intelligence Feeding the IAEA……..


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First, Iran was first accused of developing a nuclear weapon in 1982, when it was predicted to have a deliverable weapon by 1984. In 1984 Jane’s Defence Weekly announced that Iran would have a bomb by 1986. This pattern has been repeated many times since, until 2009 when the ‘bomb-in-two-years’ story flashed across everyone’s news screens again. The news narrative following the latest (8 Nov 2011) IAEA report reflected again this repeated accusation. However, the report itself in effect concurred with the USA’s 2007 and 2010 combined intel reports (NIEs), that the Iranians gave up their fledgling weaponisation programme in 2003. Second, the 8 November IAEA report referred to some additional concerns arising from new information about nuclear weapons development at the site where Iran develops its conventional longer range missiles – Parchin, a site visited by IAEA inspectors a number of times. This information (since ridiculed by US experts) was said to have originated from a laptop obtained by the IAEA via Israel – a laptop that was not available for independent verification………….…

the IAEA under Yukiya Amano is apparently depending on Israel to provide its “reliable” information about Iran’s nuclear intentions. This seems either stupid or just willful, probably a combination of both. The fox guarding the hen-house. As I suggested in my earlier post, why not have the IAEA also rely on the Saudi grand mufti Al Al as a source of nuclear intelligence? If Mr. Amano is, as reported, eager to please the powerful West, then as a corollary he ought to be eager to please the Wahhabi moneybags.

Cinquante ans plus tard: how France Dodged an Algerian Bullet …………


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If they lacked reasonable arguments, the French Parliament has just provided them with another argument by passing the law penalising any remark undermining the Harkis , the Algerian auxiliaries of the French army during the occupation. Moreover, in December, the French Right-wing had attempted to deposit the ashes of General Bigeard, former torturer during the Battle of Algiers at the Musée des Invalides in Paris. For their part, the Algerians have refused an entry visa to the pieds noirs , the former French colonial settlers in Algeria, who wanted to make a pilgrimage to their birthplace. These are small spikes to remind each other that one can be moderate but not amnesiac. Whether we like it or not, the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Algeria will not fail to crystallize all resentments and unspoken terms of the common history of the two countries that still continue to modulate memory 
according to politic issues

Until 1962 many Frenchmen insisted that Algeria was part of France, that Algerians were French. They also thought that some Algerians, the non-Muslim whites, were more French than others, with more ‘French’ rights than other Algerians. Just imagine how things would be now, if the Algerian revolution had failed. If France had won, it would have been a classic pyrrhic victory. Imagine how things would be now:

France would have a population of about 100 million, of which about 40 million would be Muslims of Algerian (and other African descent). Forty percent of all French would be Muslim, with the percentage growing. Just think of the possibilities. From a certain French point of view, they truly dodged a Muslim bullet, and they have Charles de Gaulle to thank for that. This is of course based on certain undeniable assumptions on how the French feel about Muslims in their country.
These French right-wingers who still admire the hardline colonialists of old Algeria would feel differently about them now had Algeria remained French. Wouldn’t you say?


Honest Netanyahu in 2009: “Iran has Two Nukes on Missiles Ready to go”……….


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Continuing the release of the US Stratfor research site’s e-mails, Wikileaks Wednesday, March 28 issued a batch of mails which indicated that Binyamin Netanyahu may have been a source of the site’s Vice President for intelligence Fred Burton (a former Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security) from at least May 2007 up until 2010 after he became Prime Minister of Israel. The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem has not commented on the publication. According to one e-mail from Burton, Netanyahu is said to have revealed in Dec. 2009 that “Iran has two nukes on missiles ready to go.” Burton went on to report that the White House (Barack Obama) was “doing everything possible to block Israel’s next steps. He added the view that “Israel will go it alone. Israeli subs are off Iran’s coast.” In answer to a question, Burton replied: “My source is bb (eyes only).”…………….

If this
report that originated through Wikileaks is true, it confirms many suspicions about the role of Israeli intelligence regarding the Iranian nuclear program. At this rate, why not rely on the Saudi grand mufti as a source of intelligence? He may be as reliable as Netanyahu about the Iranian nuclear program (but not an iota more reliable). The Salafi Mufti also has as much interest and eagerness for an Israeli or American (or both) attack on Iran as the best Likudnik.


Ring of Fire on the Persian Gulf: Salafi Six-Pack and Burning an Iranian Allah………..


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                           Partying Wahhabis set Allah on Fire

          Ring of Fire
Love is a burning thing
And it makes a fiery ring
Bound by wild desire
I fell into a ring of fire

I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down and the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire
The ring of fire………..
Johnny Cash (not a Salafi)

Someone in Kuwait allegedly tweeted what was considered insults against the prophet Mohammed (I haven’t read them). He allegedly did it on Twitter, on the world wide web, not within any country’s borders. He was arrested and a high official announced to a fundamentalist tribal mob facing him that “He is a scum and is under arrest“.
Local Wahhabi types, mainly Salafis and Muslim Brothers and members of certain border tribes were not satisfied, they knew there was some political mileage to be gained from this. They staged a public rally where Wahhabi politicians and the usual climbers called for the man to be executed forthwith. (I bet most of them haven’t even read what this tweeter allegedly tweeted). Then they called for more restrictions on the freedom of expression (especially expressions that don’t fit the Wahhabi line). After that they decided they might as well put the occasion to some more use and spent some time insulting and attacking the country’s Shi’as. After that they got in a Taliban mood and burned the Iranian flag.
Nobody could explain what the Iranian flag has to do with the incident, but apparently these guys love to party with a bonfire. What is a rally or beach party without a nice bonfire? It’s a good thing these Salafis aren’t fond of beer, at least not in public (I don’t know what they do in private but several wives ought o keep them busy). With some beer it would have gotten out of hand. Salafi Six-Pack ain’t no Joe Six-Pack, not a good idea at all, can’t hold their liquor.

(PS: Oddly, the Iranian flag has the word “Allah” designed in calligraphy at the center. These Salafi and MB and Wahhabi types are not supposed to burn anything with the name of Allah on it. They tell everybody that you can go to hell for doing that. I hope they are right this time; that way they can all go to hell. One of my most ardent wishes my come true after all.)


Dual Obsessions: Americans and Gas Prices, Saudis and Foreign Housemaid Prices………


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No, no es amor, lo que tu sientes, se llama obsecion,
una ilusion en tu pensamiento, que te hace hacer cosas, asi
funciona el corazon…………
  Obsession (Aventura)

The chairman of the National Recruitment Committee of the Saudi Council of Chambers expects the recruitment of housemaids from foreign countries to cost between SR15,000 and SR17,000 when the new recruitment companies start working, Al-Hayat newspaper reported yesterday. Saad Al-Baddah said this figure would include the cost of recruitment and travel, but not the salaries, which would be fixed later. Al-Baddah said the Saudi Recruitment Company, which was established by a number of investors, would commence operations in June. “Procedures of its establishment are currently being completed,” he said. Al-Baddah said the company had received a number of applications for recruitment due to the current market for housemaids. “The company, however, will not commit to any of these requests until it starts operations,” he explained. He said so far, there were no new developments in the stoppage of recruitment of housemaids from Indonesia and the Philippines, but he expected recruitment from these two Southeast Asian countries………...”

People are really the same all over the world. They may dress differently, talk differently, even eat differently, but when it comes to basics they are all the same. Take the American gasoline obsession and the Saudi (and Gulfie) obsession with cheap housemaids. There are  lot of similarities there.
Saudi Arabia has been having serious trouble recruiting Asian or African housemaids to come and work in the kingdom. There have been many reported cases of abuse, and some of these countries have at times cut off the ‘traffic’ (the pun was just too good to miss). Several of these women have been executed by beheading, others are on death row. The government had sent official missions around looking for new and cheap sources of housemaids. With the emphasis on cheap. Now it looks like they have agreed to raise the wages. A serious shortage of maids would be the last straw for the people: they may decide that they will join the rest of the Arab world in rebellion after all.
This is no different from the dilemma of the American government with the price of gasoline (benzene). A per-gallon price of gasoline over $5 may doom Mr. Obama to a one-term presidency. I know, I know, the Republicans are ‘influential’ in keeping gasoline prices high, but that is just politics. Yet the USA depends on foreign oil just as the Saudis depend on foreign housemaids. Actually, Americans dependence on foreign oil is less, it is not as total a dependence as the Saudi (or Gulf) dependence on Asian and African housemaids.

Just as Obama may lose the election if the price of gas exceeds $5, the Saudi king may lose his election if the price of housemaids exceeds so many riyals.  Still, I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton’s visit to Riyadh is for doing the ‘umrah‘ pilgrimage. I doubt that it has to do with gasoline prices either but I can be wrong.

Fundamentalists of North Africa on the Rise………….


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Yesterday, the Islamist party Ennahda declared on national evening television that it would keep intact Article 1 of the 1959 Tunisian Constitution. Article 1 of Tunisia’s first constitution explicitly states that Tunisia is a free, sovereign, and independent state, whose “religion is Islam, language is Arabic, and regime is republic.”………. This decision came in a very delicate political context, as an ongoing debate over the place of religion in post-revolutionary Tunisian society and government continues to evolve. The past two weeks alone have seen several demonstrations, some calling for the implementation of Shariaa, law based on the Koran and other Muslim holy writings, in the constitution, and others calling for a civil state……………

The more ‘moderate’ Tunisian Islamists of Ennahda have decided to keep their promise and not try and transform the country into a theocracy. Not yet. Media reports indicate that a few thousand, no doubt mostly Salafis, have demonstrated for a full application of the Shari’a. That would have transformed Tunisia into a Saudi-style Salafi regime. In that case, Tunisia would be transformed into the Democratic People’s Salafi Republic of Tunisia, just as the Arabian Peninsula is now the Democratic People’s Salafi Kingdom of Arabia. That would have been a disaster for the country, given the strong secular streak among many of its people, and given the heavy economic reliance on tourism, and given the proximity to Europe.
Even some of the Gulf GCC countries that apply strict Islamic rules at home would not want that to happen in Tunisia, for two reasons: (1) They have invested heavily in the Tunisian tourist industry (hotels, resorts, etc), and (2) Where else would the potentates go for their long peaceful (and I might add ‘fun-filled’) holidays? You never read about any Saudi princes and other Gulf potentate vacationing in Afghanistan, do you? Not even during the rule of the Taliban. Come to think of it, you never read of any of these potentates ever vacationing in Saudi Arabia either. Maybe it has to do with the ambiance, or maybe it is that “whatever happens in Tunisia and Morocco stays in Tunisia and Morocco’.
Most of it, from what I hear.

Salafi Party Time: Tunisia’s Minority Communities not Imperiled, Yet………


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The President of the Tunisian Jewish Community Roger Bismuth has expressed deep concern over the security of Tunisia’s Jewish Community, and has called on the government to take immediate action against those who incite hatred against others. During Sunday’s Salafist demonstration on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, one Salafist preacher shouted “young people rise up, let’s wage a war against the Jews,” to a cheering crowd chanting “God is great.” Bismuth announced that he will be taking legal action against the Salafist preacher. “We can’t have this violent speech in our country… it is not the first time this has happened… it is totally unacceptable and I am going to take him to court,” said Bismuth. While Bismuth told Tunisia Live he has been unable to meet today with Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, he paid a visit to the President of the Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jaafar, who strongly condemned the Salafist preacher……….

These f—cking Salafists, all they talk about is destroying the ‘other’, killing the ‘other’. They are mostly probably fifth column agents of despotic absolute monarchs, yet they are superb at taking advantage of situations. Just as they did after the Arab uprisings.
Their aim wherever they are in the Middle East is to create a totally homogeneous Salafi society where everyone looks alike, talks alike, thinks alike, prays together, and grows their dyed beards to the same shaggy length (using the same brand of Islamic black dye or Henna). Possibly even marry the same regulation four wives (appetizers until the end of time, what the Christian Evangelicals await as the Rapture and the Salafis see as ‘party time’). A society where everyone is as ignorant and stupid as everyone else. They will continue to agitate in Tunisia, as they are doing all over, especially on the Persian Gulf, until they either get their way or are sent to the Ile du Diable in the desert where they belong. Over there, they can worship absolute kings and polygamous robber princes to their hearts’ content.
Without bothering decent folks.

Of course once the Salafis are in control, everybody else will be in danger, not just minorities. Many Muslims and Arabs will be in danger as well.


Gulf Hypocrisy: on the Arab Identity of Iraq and the GCC……………


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On the eve of the Baghdad Arab summit, much of Gulf media have taken to questioning the identity of the new Iraq. Actually that is something they have been doing since 2006. They talk of Iraq being under a dual occupation (meaning American and Iranian). They talk of such an Iranian influence that the Arab identity of Iraq is in question. Even the lousy Salafists have joined this chorus. So, I sat and went over some statistics, not all 100% accurate but at least reasonable “ballpark” figures. Just to see in what country is the “Arab” identity threatened:

In Iraq, almost 100% of the population speak Arabic as a first (or strong fluent second) language. That includes Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, and others.
In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, at least one third of the population does not speak Arabic (these are imported laborers and housemaids imported from South and Southeast Asia and Africa).
In Bahrain, more than 40% of the population does not speak Arabic (these include laborers, housemaids and security mercenaries imported by the regime).
In Qatar, something like 80% are foreigners, mostly non-Arabs. That means that more than a majority of the population does not speak Arabic. In London, a Qatari academic has taken to writing articles lamenting the loss of the Arab identity of Iraq.
In the United Arab Emirates, something like 80% (probably more) of the population are imported foreign laborers and housemaids. These people speak no Arabic. About two weeks ago one UAE academic wrote in al-Quds al-Arabi about the “occupation” of Iraq by Americans and Iranians. Has he looked at his own country? The UAE has American, British, French and until recently Canadian military bases. Hell, they’d offer bases to Monaco and Bruni if these principalities would only accept.
Oman may have the least population ‘imbalance’, but I am not sure of the figure, yet. (This is a quickie posting)
End of the story, for now.