Royal Fun and Intelligent Life in Bahrain……..

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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

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Will the Next Knesset be Arabfrei?……..

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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Censoring the Exodus: Big Moses and Little Yahweh…………

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

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

Yesterday I saw the new Exodus film (Exodus: Gods and Kings) at the local complex. I saw the Imax 3D version. Quite different from the two older versions of the story of Moses, including the second Cecil B. DeMille one with Charlton Heston. The basic outlines of the story are the same; that we’ve all read in the Quran and the Bible. The special effects were superior, of course, but probably not superior to the, er, real ancient exodus? The main ‘Egyptian’ characters in the film did not look very ancient-Egyptian, most of them looked more ancient Jewish or Italian. The masses of Jewish slaves in the film looked more Mexican or Yemeni.

One more interesting aspect of the film. God, or Yahweh, is depicted as a little boy. He looks a lot like The Boy in Striped Pajamas, but cleaner and healthier.

I am certain this film will not be seen in theatres in Egypt or in any other Arab country. Once there may have been a remote possibility such film might be seen in parts of Beirut and Tunis, but that is not possible now. The older DeMille version was never allowed in any theatre in the region. Partly because in most Arab countries impersonating a prophet is not allowed: Salafis severely frown upon even the impersonation of people close to the Prophet (the Sahaba who were just ordinary folks with no holiness about them). Another important reason has to do with perceived modern political implications for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although every Muslim school kid reads the story of Moses and the Exodus in the Quran.

Besides, we can’t have a film showing a bunch of Jewish slaves beating Egyptians, although the Egyptians of those times were pagan king-worshiping sister-marrying types, and were not even Arabs. Bad enough they have been beating on Egyptians and other Arabs, and handily, for sixty-six years now (with one exception in Lebanon and we know who that exception is).

Ours is an extremely sensitive region. Sensitive in some respects but not towards repression and official violence, from Bahrain to Egypt. Other films deemed “sensitive” have been banned in the past, even some that were reportedly filmed in Arab countries. Like Lawrence of Arabia and Cleopatra. Cleopatra? WTF……………..
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Comparative Torture in a Global Gulag: Islamic House of Glass, Western House of Glass……..

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

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

“The CIA paid torture teachers James Mitchell and Bruce Jesser more than $80 million. As they now live out their wildest dreams, their barbarity has cost the U.S. far more. Call them the houses that torture built: Two sprawling luxury homes purchased by the CIA-contracted psychologists at the center of the scathing Senate report. James Elmer Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen are not the first Americans to employ waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” against our enemies. But they are almost certainly the only ones to get rich doing it. They did so by employing what is widely dismissed as “voodoo science”…………..”

And I had almost come to think that we are among the last barbarians left. Some of us, a few actually, behead others, a few slit throats, some blow themselves up among others (mostly the victims are of us) and kill hundreds, some sentence dissidents to public flogging. All rather primitive methods of inflicting death and/or pain by both Jihadi terrorists and repressive regimes. But these are old tried and true methods dating back deep into history, to long before Rome, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Islam. The cruel but unimaginative methods of execution and inflicting pain of the Muslim and Arab worlds.
Then we have the more imaginative, or more scientific methods of inflicting pain and causing death. That is the more civilized method. From the Nazis of Germany/Austria to the French in Algeria to Abu Ghraib and to the alleged CIA and the private contractor Gulag that spreads across the globe. From rectal (or anal) feeding to waterboarding to lengthy sleep deprivation to psychological torture to gas chambers to forced starvation, all the way back to the burning of people alive and to the fires and knives of the Inquisition. The more civilized methods of the non-Muslim West. I should not mention the odd questionable prison injections that cause convicts to die slowly and unusually painfully in some God-fearing states. But I just did.
Houses of glass are everywhere………..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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From FIFA to FIBA: Qatar Seeking to Buy the Rest of World Sports………..

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

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

“Qatar is among six bidders to host basketball’s World Cup in 2019 or 2023. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) says China, Germany, the Philippines and Turkey also want to host one of the next two tournaments. FIBA says Germany may bid alone or with France. The FIBA ruling board will choose the 2019 host in June, and may pick the 2023 host from the remaining bidders………. Qatar will host football’s World Cup in 2022……………”

I wonder how much they are going to pay to get this basketball event? Are world basketball officials more or less greedy than FIFA soccer officials?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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More Speaking of Christmas: Rabbi Jesus and Jamón……….

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

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

More on this Jesus trajectory in this Holiday season.
I recall at a catered meal in a church. It was an ethnic funeral service that was followed by a meal. I opted for the chicken, steering away from the jambon (or Jamón). Then someone at the table asked me: but why don’t you people (meaning Muslims) eat pork?
Somehow inspired, I answered uncharacteristically quickly: I would never eat something that the Rabbi Jesus would not eat.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                   Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Speaking of Christmas: Rabbi Jesus Goes to Church……..

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

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

Speaking of Christmas…………
Remember an incident a couple of years ago in a large church (a mega-buck church) in one of the Red states. This man apparently got into the holiday spirit (not the liquid kind, and no pun intended). On a Sunday he wore the kind of attire that the Rabbi Jesus had worn, according to the drawings he had seen around all churches and in films and seeing what people in the Middle East, the homeland of Jesus, wear. (No, Jesus was not from Texas or Tennessee or some other Red or Blue state). I imagine this happens occasionally. Anyway, this man was thrown out of the church. The declared reason for his ejection: improper attire……

Which makes you wonder what would they do to the real Jesus should he show up and teach what he really would teach, unadulterated by the filter of centuries of self-serving church bureaucracy and money.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Torture for Dummies: the Twilight Era of Hired Private Sector Contractors…….

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KuwaitCox2    ChristmasPeanuts

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

Could it be this new uber-capitalist approach of hiring paid private contractors to do “jobs” that used to be done by officials? Could this have tipped the balance and made it a situation where anything goes? Where this mix of exotic torture techniques were introduced (or borrowed from the Gestapo playbook)? Can we call it the new private sector private contractor approach of “Torture for Dummies”?…………..

Yes, we can…………..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                   Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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