“Indications of Qatar’s influence continued to surface after the fall of the regime. In March 2011, Khairat al-Shater—then the Muslim Brotherhood’s nominee for president—visited Qatar for several days to discuss “coordination between the Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party, and Qatar in the upcoming period,” according to the Egyptian Independent, implying that Doha had vested interests in the outcome of Egypt’s democratic elections. Additionally, a popular Al Jazeera television host—Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatari national of Egyptian origin—is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood……….. In Tunisia, too—the birthplace of the Arab Awakening—many have attributed the Islamist Ennahda party’s success to an infusion of Qatari petro-dollars. The fact that Prime Minister Rashid al-Ghannouchi’s first post-election international visit was to Qatar—and that his son-in-law, formerly a researcher for Al Jazeera in Doha, became his Foreign Minister—has further stoked suspicions about ties between the Gulf emirate and the Ennahda party. The speculation has even led to protests in Tunisia against Qatari interference in Tunisia’s affairs. By contrast, Ghannouchi is not even allowed in Saudi Arabia………..”
The Qatari rulers can finance all the Muslim Brotherhood movements they want: they have a lot of money and only a few hundred thousand people who never question them. Financially, Qatar is the super-power on the Arab side of the Gulf now.
Qatar is like Kuwait used to promise to be a few decades ago, but never delivered. Except much more so. The Kuwaiti elite (both the political elite and economic elite, both private and public sectors) were always “small” and “petty” and have always thought small and petty. They were never generous with ideas, never bold and never visionary and were stingy with development projects. The local term for this ubiquitous “smallness and pettiness” is “Nahasa“. The political classes are still short on vision and boldness: in fact it may be worse now than decades ago. To this day Kuwait City, my birthplace, is full of huge vacant tracts of undeveloped land and hardly anyone lives in the center. Unfortunate for a country with financial resources and a large educated class.
Saudi Arabia has the size and the population but Qatar has a huge money advantage over Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are hard pressed to meet the needs of their 14-15 million citizens (the rest of the 24 million are temporary expatriates). The Saudis have too many princes, thousands of them, who have first call on the country’s resources, whether oil revenues or land. There is little left to save for the post-oil era and to satisfy the people’s needs and satisfy the greed of the many princes. (Do I need to refer you to my post on the example of the fortune left by the late Prince Sultan Bin Self-Made?). Hence the Saudi hands in spending money abroad are restricted by their fear of domestic unrest. They need to spend more on the people and less on the princes, but who is brave enough to propose that to the elderly king? Who will “bell the cat”? Personne! They keep spending on the increasing number of princes and princesses and they keep spending on their Salafi outposts in the Middle East and around the world. At some point things will boil over, the people will explode. There are already signs of rebellion, and not just in the Eastern Province (Qatif, Awamiya). It is a matter of time: the fear is receding in the Arabian Peninsula. People will feel free to speak again, just as Arabs were for thousands of years in the Peninsula before this theocratic monarchy took over less than a century ago.
Both the Qataris and Emiratis are claimed by some Arab autocrats have one “advantage” over a place like Kuwait (it is also a disadvantage): the Saudi king and the Qatari Emir are truly absolute monarchs. They can decide whatever they please. They can vote on their own projects and approve them. They can also screw up royally and steal (which they do) without anyone questioning them. Nice racket, no?
“According to the results of a Gallup poll released Monday, the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama. “I like him better,” said West Virginia resident Dale Swiderski, who, along with 77 percent of rural Caucasian voters, confirmed he would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad, a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed, than spend time with Obama. “He takes national defense seriously, and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.” According to the same Gallup poll, 60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s Muslim………….”
My source tells me that The Onion is sticking by its story, in spite of the controversy and some ridicule by Democrat lefties and even a few Republican righties. My source also reiterates that Iran’s Fars News Agency sticks by its “seconding” this item, although they have withdrawn it from their website. Mr. Ahmadinejad for his part, has discreetly asked the Swiss Embassy in Washington to investigate if they serve any O’Dool’s or St Puali Girl brew in the rural parts of Red State America. Meanwhile, there is one report of the formation of a “Rednecks for Chugalugging with Ahmadinejad” (affectionately called “A-Jad”). There is also a report of a “Rednecks for Pub-Crawling with Ahmadinejad” being formed in rural Tennessee.
“Members of Congress and supporters of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran(MEK) are to press the Obama administration to recognise it as the “legitimate opposition” to the Iranian government after the group is removed from the US list of banned terrorist organisations in the coming days.
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, delisted the MEK as a terrorist group on Friday following a well funded campaign to change the image of the group – which was banned in 1997 because of a history of killing Americans, assassinating Iranian politicians and violent support for Saddam Hussein – and portray it as Washington’s ally in confronting Tehran.
The state department said it is not overlooking “the MEK’s past acts of terrorism” and that it has “serious concerns about the MEK as an organisation, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members”. But the group’s renunciation of violence and “the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade” had led to it being unbanned…………..”
The US Senate passed an unusual resolution, effectively declaring war on Iran last week. I correctly called it the U.S. Knesset, because it was acting as an AIPAC agent when it voted nearly unanimously (with one dissenting vote). Even the real Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem would not vote unanimously on waging such a war of aggression. Now the Congress, its members flush with money from Mujahideen Khalq (MEK, MKO) and its financial supporters, are pushing to recognize this arm of the Israeli Mossad as a legitimate Iranian opposition movement. As I mentioned once before, this group has less chance of ever ruling Iran as the late shah’s son. Cheers
“Canadian and US authorities have busted a cross-border cheese smuggling ring that brought Can$200,000 worth of mozzarella into Canada undeclared and without paying duties. Four men, including two Canadian policemen, were foiled in the caper to also distribute the dairy products — as well as chicken wings and pickles — to pizzerias and other restaurants in southern Ontario for an estimated profit of Can$165,000, Niagara Regional Police said. They each face several charges including conspiracy, smuggling and breach of trust. A conviction carries fines and possible jail time. Constable Derek Watson told AFP: “Most people have been chuckling about the arrests (in online postings), but the (police) chief is taking these crimes very seriously.”………..”
I have been told that it was Bibi Netantyahu who turned them onto Iran as the possible culprit, the possible mastermind behind this. Bibi, as usual, shot from the hip, before aiming. It was a Hail Mary aimed at Ahmadinejad and it was caught: a lucky Hail Mary thrown by a Jew toward a Muslim. It was all logic, he told the Americans and the Canadians. The Iranians have been behind so many plots, so many disasters, that this one must be of their making. Anyone who hires Mexican drug cartels and a troubled Texas car salesman to blow up a crowded Georgetown restaurant just to kill one unimportant Saudi ambassador would stoop to anything. Bad food, Bibi intoned to Canada’s Stephen Harper, is no justification for murder and terrorism. Harper nodded emphatic agreement as his eyes scanned the photo of his wife on his desk, and Bibi immediately uttered a hearty “I hear, ya“. Relations between the two right-wing leaders, Bibi and “Steve”, have been quite cozy ever since earlier this year Harper called Iran the greatest threat to peace ever, in world history. Cheers
The cartoon speech Mr. Netanyahu gave at the UN General Assembly, to the adulation of the anchorwomen of Fox, MSNBC, and CNN, and Piers Morgan, still reverberates. I hear from an unreliable IAEA source that Yukia Amano, chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, will suggest to his board that the IAEA henceforth use the Bibi method. All reference to the Iranian nuclear program will henceforth be expressed in colorful images of the Road Runner and Wile E Coyote and Elmer Fudd, et al. Yukiya added that “it humanizes our reports“. Early Saturday morning now. I plan to turn on my television onto a channel that plays Looney Tunes (I assume they still do on Saturday morning). After breakfast, before hiking, before college football. I hope to see Bibi and the Bomb and Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig and Wile E Coyote duking it out. Oh, and Ahmadinejad, of course. Cheers
“Why zebras evolved their characteristic black-and-white stripes has been the subject of decades of debate among scientists. Now researchers from Hungary and Sweden claim to have solved the mystery. The stripes, they say, came about to keep away blood-sucking flies. They report in the Journal of Experimental Biology that this pattern of narrow stripes makes zebras “unattractive” to the flies. They key to this effect is in how the striped patterns reflect light……………..”
“A team of Washington University Sscientists have reached an explanation for why a Zebra is born with black stripes. They have managed to identify the gene responsible for it. They claim it is the same reason that some panthers have brown and gray spots on their skin……………..”
The Zebra is called “Humar al-Wahsh” in Arabic, meaning Wild Ass or, si vous préférez, Wild Donkey. Humar means ass or donkey, ‘wahsh’ means beast, and ‘wahshi’ means wild or untamed. The Arabic name makes sense, since the usual ass is not wild and free, unlike the zebra which is not domesticated but is wild and free (certainly wilder and freer than the ass). Apparently African cultures, where the zebra has chosen to live, did not require beasts of burden. Otherwise the zebra would have become as domesticated as the asses of the Middle East. I have written in the past about the donkey and why it is a fascinating animal with a long glorious history in our region. The donkey, the ass, the jackass (in Americanese) has not done so badly either in our region. In many places, the asses not only thrive, they also rule. If you are interested in this fascinating animal, friend, and leader that often affects our lives, then I would recommend some of my posts on this topic:
The Natanyahu cartoon show is over at the UN, but the gushing continues in U.S. media. He wowed much of the American media: most of them thought his silly little cartoon of a nuclear program was the best thing since, oh, the iPod. The chicks on MSNBC and Fox both thought he was the most divine thing since Justin Bieber, albeit a bit long in the teeth. The chicks on CNN News were especially reduced to jelly by the graph and especially by the red magic-market line around the “head” (I didn’t see Wolf Blitzer at that moment). Let’s don’t forget the fat symbolism of the war-head with the red curve around the “head”. Nobody seemed to understand that the hustler of Tel Aviv was disrespecting them with his silly cartoon, insulting their intelligence. But that is okay: he was aiming at the American public and its penchant for momentary symbolism. I didn’t
see an “ACME” logo on the device, but I almost expected one. As I watched him deliver his silly cartoon explanation, and I expected any moment to hear “beep, beep” and Ahmadinejad zooming by as the Road Runner, upending his graph, spilling a lot of snake oil. Now that calls for war: a cartoon war.
One thing about Netanyahu: he has been prime minister of Israel for several years. In the 1990s, then in the 2000s. Israel has waged two wars since the late 1990s (2006, 2009/10), yet none of them involved Netanyahu as leader. He has never waged a major war in his years as leader. That is a good sign.
“Slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was blind in one eye after an accident during his youth and was a one-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood, his successor has claimed in a new video tribute to the terror mastermind. Ayman al-Zawahiri, made the claim in an hour-long account . of the
life of bin Laden, who was killed in a US Navy Seal raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, last year ………… He also claimed that the terrorist mastermind was expelled from the Saudi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood for insisting on waging jihad, holy war, against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the Daily Mail reported. It is claimed that bin Laden travelled to the Pakistani city of Peshawar, near the border with Afghanistan, to deliver cash to the Taliban, but then defied the Brotherhood’s orders to join the armed struggle………….”
Many of these fundamentalists graduated from the Muslim Brotherhood. The MB was established sometime in the early 20th century, almost ninety years ago. At that time the Salafis, the Wahhabis, were contained in their own small area of Najd in Central Arabia. The Wahhabis gradually expanded their realm around the edges of the Arabian Peninsula in the next two decades. But the real outflow, the busting out of Wahhabism, started with the early 1970s. For the past forty years the Salafi/Wahhabi message has spread, financed by petro-money and pushed by Saudi clerics deep into the Arab world and beyond into south and east Asia. All oiled with oil money. That was also when this sectarian poison started to take hold, first among Arabs, then among all Muslims. Before that sectarianism was confined to Saudi Arabia. As for Bin Laden. Maybe he was one-eyed, but he sure took care of his third eye, if you get my drift. The man was always busy, always with at least a couple of wives on hand, always a younger one added to the ‘herd’, in the Salafi Wahhabi tradition.
As “they” allegedly say: gotta keep one’s facilities busy and occupied. Cheers
“The supreme administrative court in Bavaria state argues that Press TV must not use satellite services for broadcast in Germany. The surprising ruling comes just months after a Munich court ruled twice that Press TV can broadcast on SES Astra platform in the country. The Munich media regulatory body, BLM, had taken Press TV off the satellite platform in April. It said Press TV lacked the necessary license. Press TV lawyers subsequently took legal action against the BLM and won the case. BLM appealed but its plea was rejected by the Munich administrative court. The issue was then referred to the state court in Bavaria that ruled in favor of taking Press TV off the air. Press TV says the German government seeks to silence the alternative channel’s voice. It says the ban was meant to stop the channel’s extensive coverage of Germany’s social and economic issues. The channel has also covered the growing public anger in Germany over that country’s military involvement in Afghanistan. …………….”
Press TV is the main Iranian English-language television news network. It gives out the Iranian government position on regional and world events. It is in the same position as, say, Alarabiya which gives the Saudi government position on regional and world events. In some ways it is like the BBC or VOA, certainly a bit less independent. Last January the British government banned Iran’s Press TV, a surprising thing since the network’s programming is relatively mild. Perhaps the network was banned because its programs seemed too reasonable, not the usual expected rabble-rousing that would turn off people. Soon later, the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in a show of supreme chutzpah, complained loudly when the Iranians in March blocked a British propaganda program aimed at Iran. The Iranian regime normally blocks many foreign networks and websites: they certainly are not strong believers in free speech. But the British are ‘supposed’ to be. At the time I called it in one of my posts here Mutual Hypocrisy.
Now the Germans are becoming too sensitive when someone else criticizes them, although again it is the Iranians who don’t allow free speech in their own country. Yet this is the West, that is the East, and the twain are not supposed to meet in censorship. And I had thought that free speech in Europe covers all sources of speech. What a silly notion.
Remember the long ago old days, until a few weeks ago, when Myanmar (actually Burma) was on the “dreaded list”? Not as dreaded as the Cuban or Iranian or the Sudanese list, but dreaded nevertheless. Wait: did I add “Sudan” to the list? Isn’t that the Arab African country whose president has an arrest warrant for him since March 2009? An arrest warrant by the International CourtOfSomethingOrAnother. Yet he is selling oil as freely as, say, Saudi Arabia or Texas or Alaska. I need to research this some more, the legal aspects of it. The sale of oil and the import of weapons. Then the way he travels freely around the Middle East. You’d think Interpol, which is always eager to arrest Saudi dissidents and send them back home to be flogged and beheaded (Kashghari, et al), would act against al-Bashir as soon as his sorry arse lands in Cairo or Tehran or other places. Back to Burma. Weren’t the ruling military junta accused of smuggling everything under the sun only a few weeks ago? Precious stones, rubies, drugs, possibly people including trafficking in “mothers”? And committing “small” genocides here and there? Doesn’t this sound a little like the Qaddafi deal with the West in Libya a couple of years before the Arab uprising? Would Tony Blair again show up and kiss the cheeks (both cheeks) of the junta leader? One difference: Libya did not have someone like Aung San Suu Kyi. That would be funny: a Libyan or Syrian or Egyptian Aung San Suu Kyi. If there was some Arab woman like her, she can’t be a Muslim Brother. Would she be a Muslim Sister or a Muslim Mother? Maybe the next time some Saudi woman gets behind the wheels and drives a car the West would declare her an Arabian Jeanne d’Arc, Maid of Hijaz (sorry, Najdis). The Scandinavians would quickly give her a Nobel Prize for driving under duress for fifteen minutes. Some may claim that she would probably deserve it as much as that Yemeni lady, certainly as much as Arafat. Cheers