All posts by Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Dr. Mohammed Haider Ghuloum: trained as an economist, been called a few other names..... الشرقية للبنين- المتنبي- ثانوية الشويخ

Freedoms the GCC will Bring to Morocco and Jordan………….

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A pro-democracy activist in Bahrain appeared to have been beaten and possibly tortured before he appeared in court this week, according to the New York-based nonprofit Human Rights Watch. Abdulhadi Khawaja was one of 14 defendants, mostly opposition leaders in the Persian Gulf state, who were charged with seeking to “topple the regime forcibly in collaboration with a terrorist organization working for a foreign country,“ Human Rights Watch said in a statement Tuesday. Seven others were charged in absentia. When Khawaja’s wife and daughter spoke with him briefly after he appeared in court Sunday, the first time they had seen him since his arrest April 9, he told them he had suffered four fractures to his face, including one to his jaw that required four hours of surgery. Khawaja’s daughter Maryam told Human Rights Watch that her mother and sister met with him for 10 minutes after the initial hearing………The state-run Bahrian News Agency called the reports “fabricated, politically motivated news.”……..

Amnesty believes that many of the defendants in #Bahrain are likely to be prisoners of conscience detained simply 4 exercising their right
#AmnestyInternational on #Bahrain -At least two have said they were tortured, raising fears about their chances for a fair trial.


“#AmnestyInternational on #Bahrain – Bahraini authorities have already denied the defendants their basic legal rights

Bahrain oil company fires 300 workers over protests goo.gl/ENkSn #feb14 #bhn #feb14
University of #Bahrain turns to look like Guantánamo bit.ly/jlbG7P #feb14 #bnn…..

I know Jordan and Morocco are not exactly Jeffersonian democracies, not even Turkish democracies. But they are more democratic than the GCC countries. They certainly are more “democratic” than the tribal quasi-feudal fiefdoms that are Saudi Arabia and the UAE, or the tribal sectarian fiefdom that is Bahrain under al-Khalifa. I assume they don’t torture people like this in Morocco anymore. But rejoice, people of Morocco, you’ll get this as soon as you join the Gulf Tribal Monarchy Council. I know your regime is not nearly as vile as some in our region, but that is okay: no regime in the world is probably as vile as the al-Khalifa of Bahrain. As an added bonus, you ‘ll also get the benefits of Salafi sectarianism and maybe even Apartheid.

I am waiting for Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton to express their utter joy in this proposed expansion of the joys of tribal absolute monarchy freedom to Morocco and Jordan. While holding their noses, of course. Imagine, to the shores of the Atlantic, a stone’s throw away from Lexington (Mass.) and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. This march of royal liberty, will it cross the ocean westward?
Cheers
mhg




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Qatar and FIFA: Did They or Didn’t They?………

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And now, thanks to a few lingering sour grapes in England over their failed 2018 bid, we’re learning that it really was just the tip. Six more members of the 24-man FIFA executive committee have been implicated in a Parliamentary inquiry on evidence given by former FA chairman Lord Triesman and the Sunday Times. And among the allegations, there appears to be an answer to why Qatar was able to beat the U.S. by such a wide margin in the 2022 vote. From the AP: The Sunday Times sent further evidence—which it did not publish at the time for legal reasons—to the British committee on Monday to be made public using parliamentary privilege. Two of the paper’s investigative journalists told the committee in a letter that a whistleblower who had worked for the Qatari bid told them in December that the country “had paid $1.5 million to two FIFA ExCo members—Hayatou and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast—to secure their votes.” It’s kind of funny in an awful sort of way that Qatar (allegedly) used the U.S.’s own currency against them, rather than something more valuable like euros or Canadian dollars. But not nearly as funny/awful as the alleged bribe solicitations Triesman revealed.……

The Brits have been complaining about this from the gate. It is probably not just all sour grapes: I have had some suspicions, let’s say some wonderment about how they decided to have the World Cup in a place where the summer temperatures pass 120 F. I know: we grew up playing in the sun under those temperatures and more (my neck of the Gulf is hotter but drier). But those Europeans and East Asians and South Americans?
Sports selections can be notorious for corruption, but that is covered up with all the great athletic performance and goodwill they generate. I don’t know all the details, but I know that IT (with or without the SH) happens. Which may also mean that the Qataris won it fair and square, at least by ‘current’ FIFA standards.
Cheers
mhg




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Iran: Will Ahmadinejad Follow Bani-Sadr?………..

     
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An unprecedented power struggle at the heart of the Iranian regime has intensified after it emerged that the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, had given an ultimatum to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to accept his intervention in a cabinet appointment or resign…… The extraordinary confrontation came to light after Ahmadinejad declined to officially support Khamenei’s reinstatement of a minister whom the president had initially asked to resign. The rift between the two men grew when the president staged an 11-day walkout in an apparent protest at Khamenei’s decision. In the first cabinet meeting since ending his protest, the intelligence minister at the centre of the row, Heydar Moslehi, was absent and in the second one on Wednesday, he was reportedly asked by Ahmadinejad to leave…….

In 1981, Iran’s first elected president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr fled the country after disagreements with the powerful ayatollahs. Now Ahmadinejad may face the same fate. He has been asked by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to re-instate the minister of intelligence (a cleric) or resign. He seems reluctant to cede on this issue, and may resign. He is a stubborn person and may just defy the Ayatollah and refuse to resign. That is why some clerics are threatening charges of ‘heresy’ if he disagrees: an elected president openly defying the unelected Ayatollah can be a thorny issue for the regime. It may focus more attention of the unelected post of “Supreme Leader”. It may re-invigorate the silenced opposition.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Death in Texas, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea………

     
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Texas put to death a man convicted of a 2001 rape and murder by using a sedative that has often served to euthanize animals, becoming the third state to do so. The southern state administered pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental, which is no longer manufactured in the United States, along with two other drugs as the lethal cocktail to execute Cary Kerr, 46. It was the first time Texas had used the drug. Ohio and Oklahoma have previously used pentobarbital for lethal injections due to the nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental. South Carolina plans to use pentobarbital for an execution on Friday. Kerr, who was convicted by a jury and sentenced to death in 2003 for assaulting and strangling 34-year-old Pamela Horton, had claimed his court-appointed lawyer did not represent him properly when appealing his conviction……..

I shouldn’t be, but I am always surprised and fascinated by the way Texans love to execute people. As do other Red States, but none of them as often and as eagerly as Texas. Especially people who cannot afford good private lawyers, or people whom the governor deems unfit for DNA tests. That also includes mentally handicapped people. There are people in Texas whom the use of DNA has exonerated: I know of two or three who spent twenty years or so in prison before they were found innocent.
Anyway, Texas loves to execute people: it must be something from the days of the Texas Rangers and their special brand of justice for Mexicans and Indians- and horse thieves, let’s not forget the horse thieves who blazed the trails from Tennessee to Texas (FYI: Sam Houston was no horse thief). So the Texans keep on executing, but the homicides keep in increasing.
Texas has some good company in its love for “creative” ways of executions. Iran hangs them, often from cranes. Saudi Arabia beheads then in public squares, in that witching hour between Friday noon prayers and the dinner time: what else is there to do in Riyadh in that desolate hour? The Chinese reportedly shoot them without ceremony. As for the North Koreans, who knows wtf method they use: maybe they either bore them to death or starve them to death.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

On My Gulf: Brave Women and Cowardly Princes………..

     
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          Missing poet Ayat
In Bahrain, human-rights workers say at least 50 medical staff are still missing after a crackdown on hospital care for injured anti-government demonstrators. There are fears that some of the detained staff could face stiff sentences for treating protesters. Among them is Dr al-Dallal, a prominent physician arrested on March 17 during a military raid at Salmaniyah hospital in Manama. His wife, Fareeda al-Dallal, was also arrested and beaten under custody last Tuesday. Al Jazeera spoke to her about her arrest and the fears she has about the safety of her husband……

Dr. Fareeda was interrogated for some time then released. Marks on her face clearly show the results of beatings she endured by the imported mercenary interrogators of the al-Khalifa clan. Dr. Fareeda faces more trouble: she is being called for more interrogation after talking on Aljazeera of her torture. They will likely charge her with “slandering the state” and torture her some more, possibly sentence her.

In my Gulf region, which seems suddenly empty of men, except for some in Bahrain, she stands tall. There are many other women of Bahrain who have stood up for their rights and are enduring the wrath of the despots and invaders: they are doctors, nurses, students, teachers, reporters, and others. She, like the poet-student Ayat al-Qormezi, are a thousand times better than the fat corrupt strutting princes, mentally flatulent potentates and their retainers on my Gulf. Ayat was arrested several weeks ago for reciting one of her poems (video) at Lulu (Pearl) Square: she was arrested after the Saudi invasion. Her whereabouts are unknown. They are both, they all are, certainly braver than all the men in my Gulf, braver than Hillary Clinton and Mr. Obama and European leaders who have gone silent about the torment of Bahrain even as they make the right noises about Libya and Syria. (I do not mention Arab leaders here because it is given that they are “what” they are).
Cheers
mhg




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Slumdogs of Dubai: Not Your Father’s Dubai………….

     
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Dubai: A man masturbating on a public street; a woman waking up to an intruder in her bedroom; a peeping Tom spying through women’s bathroom windows… life in Mirdif isn’t what it used to be. The once-sleepy suburb of families has attracted residents of various moralities, due to the downward spiral in rents………”On weekends I’ve seen mid-teens sitting on the steps with bottles of vodka in their hands,” says a 21-year-old Sudanese. XPRESS has also witnessed teenagers making out on the steps of the back entrance, as well as groups of underage boys leering at women. A drive around the area reveals an increasing number of obscene graffiti on walls and teenagers sitting on street corners smoking. “Mirdif was never like this,” says 34 year-old Rainn Walker. “Now, everyone who’s of the wrong kind is in Mirdif. Two months ago, a boy who looked to be no older than 13 grabbed my behind as he walked past me on street 37. Last week I read about a woman who was kidnapped and held in Mirdif. Who knows what I’ll hear next. I’m having second thoughts about living here, ” she says……..

It ain’t your father’s, or your mother’s, Dubai these days. It ain’t my father’s Dubai either (he made sorties there in the old pre-oil days, along with many others). These symptoms have always existed in the backstreets of Dubai, as they have in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh and, dare I say it, Mecca. There was so much going on in Dubai for the media in the boom years that these things were overlooked: nobody wanted to cover the slums with open sewers and Kabul-quality electricity and water services. Just like nobody ever covers the truly seamy side of Las Vegas. Now with the bust and the departure of many European and Gulf investors, the owners of these formerly exclusive developments have had to lower their sights. And their rents. The slums of Dubai have begun to move into the formerly exclusive parts of Dubai. The slumdogs of Dubai are moving in.
Cheers
mhg

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Iran’s Political Wars: an Epiphany for Ahmadinejad?………

     
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Although it was predictable that the Moslehi affair would be costly for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his camp, the extent of the toll for his defiance of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is only now becoming clear. According to the Etedaal newspaper and website, several people close to Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested by security services. (Etedaal originally reported that 25 people were arrested in the sweep, but later issued a correction indicating that the actual total was substantially lower…….)

The arrests come amid a growing rift between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei which has prompted several MPs to call for the president to be impeached. On Sunday, Ahmadinejad returned to his office after an 11-day walkout in an apparent protest over Khamenei’s reinstatement of the intelligence minister, who the president had initially asked to resign. Ahmadinejad’s unprecedented disobedience prompted harsh criticism from conservatives who warned that he might face the fate of Abdulhassan Banisadr, Iran’s first post-revolution president who was impeached and exiled for allegedly attempting to undermine clerical power……

Did Ahmadinejad have an epiphany?
It looks like
Ahmadinejad has been trying to undermine the rule of the mullahs, his former allies. This was bound to happen with someone of Ahamadinejad’s aggressive personality. It is the eternal struggle between the theocrats who want to keep power and the ‘elected’ civilians who decide that they want to push them back into the mosques and seminaries. Apparently at some point in his second and last term in office Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come to see the necessity of reducing the power of all these mullahs in government. He seems to have reached the inevitable conclusion all civilian presidents reach: the clergy should stick to their mosques and seminaries and leave the government to the ‘elected’ civilians. That is how I see it, although Ahmadinejad and his allies are not saying so openly. Possibly the mismanagement of the economy and foreign affairs were the last straw. The next few months should be very interesting in Iranian politics, as both sides maneuver for the elections of 2013. It will possibly be a power struggle unseen in Iran since the early 1980s.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Qatar and Oman: Is Iran Cracking the GCC Front?………….

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Sultan Qaboos said that regional states should keep vigilant toward the plots of sowing discord in the region. Referring to the latest developments in the region, he called for an urgent settlement to the problems and heed the demands of the people. Iran-Oman excellent ties will ensure interests of the two countries and the entire regional nations, he said. Salehi arrived in the Omani capital city of Muscat on Wednesday morning. He was warmly welcomed by his Omani Counterpart Youssef bin Alawi. “Without doubt, Salehi’s first visit to Oman would be constructive,” bin Alawi said. Bin Alawi added the visit is the best opportunity to foster mutual ties. Omani government is keen to enhance Tehran-Muscat cooperation, he noted. Iran and Oman have expanded cooperation in a variety of areas such as economy and defense since Iran’s President Ahmadinejad took office in 2005. The two countries signed a security agreement in August 2009….Fars News (Iran)

Just before this Salehi visit to Oman, he had been in Qatar. Even during the peak of the Arab revolutions and the Bahraini regime crackdown on the people’s uprising last March, high Omani officials and the Qatari crown prince were in Tehran for the celebration of Nouruz, the Iranian New Year. As I have posted before here, Oman has always marched to its own music, paying lip service to the Saudi-driven GCC band. Oman has always looked across the seas, even long after its territorial interests in East Africa were gone.
Qatar has been an active thorn in the Saudi side, although the Qatari regime has moved closer to the Saudi position as the Arab revolution moved closer to the Persian-American Gulf. But there is serious bad blood between Doha and Riyadh, ever since the 1990s when Saudi Arabia was involved in a plot to overthrow the Emir of Qatar. Several high ranking Saudi security officers were sentenced to prison in Qatar for their role and were only released a year or so ago. They returned to a heroes’ welcome by the al-Saud princes in Riyadh.
Cheers
mhg




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Incomplete Iranian View of Bin Laden and his Genesis…………

     
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The death of Osama bin Laden brought closure to many people around the world, especially those who lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks or other terrorist acts that were conducted or inspired by Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network. Bin Laden is associated with murder and terror. Bin Laden claimed that his war was against those he called “infidels” but the victims of his shadowy Al-Qaeda network were mostly Muslims, and thus he and his death machine did the greatest injustice and harm to Islam and Muslims. Thousands of children have been orphaned in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan just because Al-Qaeda decided to use these countries as battlefields for taking revenge against the United States. Despotic Arab rulers and Western countries, especially the United States, are responsible for the emergence of people like Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Bin Laden and his Arab comrades were supported by the United States and certain European and Arab countries in the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. To counter the Soviets in Afghanistan, the CIA provoked the people’s religious sentiments and used religious fanaticism as the strongest tool against forces that the CIA and other intelligence agencies called kafirs (unbelievers), and thus planted the seeds of extremism in the region…….Mehr News (Iran)

On the face of it, nothing seems new here: it is the usual Western view of the emergence of the Salafi terrorist group under Bin Laden. Yet oddly this Iranian view completely ignores the deeper genesis of Bin Ladenism and the al-Qaeda: the Salafi educational system and the Wahhabi religious teachings in Saudi Arabia. This Salafi teaching of the exclusion and hatred of the “other” has spread to other places, especially in poverty-stricken regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan and Indonesia through Saudi schools and clerics. I know firsthand that it has also spread to some GCC Gulf states through Saudi-trained Salafi clerics and activists.
An interesting reluctance on the part of the Iranians; even as senior state-sponsored Saudi clerics wage a vicious media and mosque and fatwa war against “other” Islamic sects, unjustly tying them to the Iranian mullahs.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Thrilla of Apartheid in Manama……

     
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MANAMA, Bahrain — Hassan Mohamed ran his finger over bumps of birdshot beneath his skin. He is nearly blind in his left eye, but is scared to go to the emergency room. The wounds would betray him as a protester. His sister arranged to sneak him into a hospital to visit a doctor she trusts. Mohamed was worried. “The police are watching,” he said. “I don’t want them to take me.” Helicopters hover over this island kingdom as doctors are rounded up, university students expelled, teachers fired, houses bombed, mosques destroyed and political opponents silenced. What began as a crackdown on a Shiite Muslim population that rose in protest against the Sunni royal family two months ago has become something more pervasive and sinister….. Much of the strategy is driven by Bahrain’s dominant ally, Saudi Arabia, which fears pro-democracy movements will upset the balance of power in the Persian Gulf……….. “It’s apartheid,” said Mansoor Jamri, who was forced to resign as editor of the independent Al Wasat newspaper. “They’ve made a decision that half the population is not wanted and they want to instill fear in this population and dehumanize them.”………..”

These al-Khalifa are acting like a band of thugs rather than the ruling family of a state. That is the image I get, and I believe it is the right image. What they are doing is an organized state-executed pogrom against most of the people of Bahrain, with the goal of enforcing acceptance of their Apartheid policy. Today the Washington Post wrote an editorial urging US military action to “take out” Gaddafi. Maybe Obama ought to send the Navy Seals to get that despotic thrilla of Manama, aka Khalifa al-Khalifa.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com