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

UAE: Smart Phones and Dumb Leaders………

     
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BlackBerry users in the United Arab Emirates will soon be unable to send emails and messages without fear of government snooping, under tighter restrictions on internet communication in the Gulf state. The UAE is to ban individuals and small businesses from using the most secure BlackBerry settings – for email, web browsing and BlackBerry Messenger – as part of security fears sweeping the Middle East. Only companies with more than 20 BlackBerry accounts will be able to access the encrypted BlackBerry service, which is favoured by corporate users and government agencies.………

TORONTO—The United Arab Emirates has said it will stop individuals and small businesses from using Research In Motion Ltd.’s highly secured BlackBerry corporate-email services. The restriction, effective May 1, applies only to individuals and businesses with fewer than 20 subscriptions to BlackBerry Enterprise Services accounts, said a spokeswoman for the U.A.E.’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The regulator didn’t give a reason for its decision.…………..

This is a case of dumb rulers facing down smart phones and winning: too much money at stake for RIMM. Besides, the UAE is the second biggest importer of weapons in the whole wide world, aspiring to become the first biggest importer of weapons in the whole wide wonderful world. Even though it probably has the 3rd or 4th smallest native population in the world. Would RIMM want to face that? A Canuck corporation against four million imported third world foreign laborers and housemaids with access to acres of weapons rusting in the desert? In Bahrain it is the other way around: it is the case of a smart people facing down dumb rulers (well, maybe dumb but greedy enough and with powerful friends). Where I am now, I use my Blackberry without fear of the al-Nahayan boys and their snoops reading my private email. Of course, someone else might, but I don’t know that.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi Plans for a Democratic Future in Egypt………..

     
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Realistically and constitutionally, a caretaker government does not have the right to formulate a new strategic policy that reverses the policy of the previous government. Political wisdom requires not adopting a policy……. In theory, and perhaps also in practice, there is a certain logic for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to adopt a long-term strategy towards Egypt, one aimed first at saving it from regression and perhaps deterioration during the transitional period; and secondly, enabling it to turn into a free market economy in a democratic environment……..

What kind of illogical logic is this? What kind of a constitutional expertise is this? The writer Raghida Dergham works for al-Hayat, the newspaper that is owned by Prince Khaled Bin Sultan al-Saud. That explains it all. And as for the absolute tribal serial-polygamous monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi guiding the new Egypt toward democracy, are you serious, I mean are you beeping serious? Then why can’t they establish democracy in the Arabian Peninsula (aka Saudi Arabia) or Qatar or the UAE? And why are they trying to kill the democracy movement in Bahrain (with cooperation from Mr. Obama and Mrs, Clinton)?
Cheers
mh
g

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Pictorial Orwellian Bahrain: Watermelon King, Wahhabi Masters……….

     
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His Majesty King Hamad Bin Issa al-Khalifa, (المفدى) for whom we would give our lives, expressed his happiness for the recovery of Bahrain and the return of life back to what it used to be. His majesty this would not have happened without the love of the ‘men’ of Bahrain and her sons of their ‘values’ and the teachings of their religion, adding that the future of Bahrain shall be blessful for everyone no doubt. All goodness comes from the unity of the people of Bahrain which is deep within their hearts……. All this occurred with the presence of his royal highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman al-Khalifa the prime minister……….Akhbar al-Khaleej

Their majesties must be out of their bigoted tribal polygamous heads. This guy is talking as if he is still the leader of an independent country, not a Saudi satrap. As if he is not head of a regime that is opposed by most of the people, that had to import mercenaries and foreign Wahhabi troops to put down protests. A truly watermelon state,  ديرة بطيخ as we say on my Gulf. And who would give their lives for this sorry excuse of a leader? The paid mercenaries imported from Pakistan and other parts?

         
Martyr                        Mercenaries             Murder                       
     
                                                                                  WTF
Tweets:
“Nabeelrajab. Bahrain hunger strikes spread amid crackdown at home and abroad gu.com/p/2zgd3/tw via @guardian #bahrain #bhn #feb14 #humanrights”

“Ppl of #bahrain are planning the biggest hunger strike starting tomorrow the 18th acc to this: hungerstrike4bh.tumblr.com/ #feb14”

“@Nabeelrajab: video:the ruins of Al-Sadiq Mosque April 17, bit.ly/gclZ5O In Salmabad / #Bahrain”
“Zainab Khawaja hospitalized on Sunday #Bahrain Activist on hunger strike.”

“I am in hunger strike asking freedom to all arrested people &to #Bahrain #KAS army must go out they are not welcome! #14FebRevolution #14Feb”

“Starting 2morrow the ppl of #Bahrain hold the ‘biggest open hunger strike in the world’ via @AmberLyon”

“Photo: He was writing condolences for others, just before he was killed…..RIP

“Mhamaad: Ministry of Health: 30 Doctors/nurses stopped from job and going through investigations and the num will increase #bahrain #feb14”

“SAIDYOUSIF S.YOUSIF MOHAMED: by ArabiaDeserta: #Bahrain Funeral of hasan jassim now who died under torture تشييع الشهيد جاسم حسن من كرزكان الان الذي قتل بالتعذيب….. RIP

“WavesNews Waves News: Security forces, supported by Saudi troops, attack a (Shi’a) M’aatam in Manama, destroy it, and write derogatory sectarian racist slogans on its walls fb.me/UGpWzTnV” />
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Rumi: Iranian Cleric Mixes Bestiality with Politics……….

     
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A racy allusion in a Friday prayer sermon by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati has become the talk of Iran. He invoked a well-known poem about an intimate coupling between a maidservant and a donkey to issue a warning to opposition supporters. “The foe always try to use psychological warfare against the Islamic regime to tarnish the image of the system inside and outside the country,” he said (Persian link). “Therefore, I tell them, the enemies, to go and study the story of the pumpkin.” The “pumpkin” refers to a famous story by the 13th century mystical poet Rumi, “The Importance of Gourdcrafting,” in which a resourceful maidservant who sleeps with a donkey uses a pumpkin as a marital aid. When the lady of the house catches on, she decides to follow suit. But rather than consulting the maidservant she sends her away without obtaining the secret of the pumpkin, and is killed by the donkey. The story is intended as a parable about the dangers of immoderation……….”

Interesting. He seems to be comparing the Iranian regime to an ass without meaning to. Or am I wrong?
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Wael Ghonim to IMF & World Bank: J’accuse…………

     
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WASHINGTON — The Google executive who became the hero of the Egyptian revolution cropped up at the pinnacle of international finance Friday, chiding the elites for supporting strongman Hosni Mubarak. “I actually feel like Joe the Plumber,” said Wael Ghonim, drawing laughs after his introduction on a panel at the International Monetary Fund headquarters….. Dressed in faded Levis, an open-necked striped shirt and casual loafers, Ghonim, 30, filled his billing as “Internet activist” in the roundtable discussion notably featuring IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Ghonim, Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, became an Internet star after administering a Facebook page that helped spark the uprising that toppled Mubarak’s regime. “To me what was happening was a crime, not a mistake,” he said. He branded the international institutions and the “elites” of the world “partners in crime” in supporting Mubarak’s regime. “A lot of people knew that things were going wrong,” he added. Wearing a wristband with the date January 25, 2011, the first day of protests that swept Mubarak from power, Ghonim said: “We wanted our dignity back.” “Egypt has cancer” and what is needed is investment and entrepreneurship, and jobs that pay a decent wage, he said. Acknowledging a “radical view,” Ghonim welcomed outside expertise and support from the international community but rejected the idea of outsiders telling Egypt how to rebuild its society………..

Wael Ghomin was absolutely right. In fact he was a little too polite. The international bureaucrats all knew what was happening in Egypt and elsewhere. They accommodate the corrupt regimes of some countries too often. The designer-clad IBRD and IMF bureaucrats often listen to functionaries of the state, I know that firsthand, then they tailor a policy program that often is based on the input of the functionaries. They paper over flagrant corruption and policies that distort the economy and keep it stagnant. That is usually the case for countries with clout. Egypt was a country of ‘indirect’ clout because Mubarak had support on the IMF Executive Board from at least three representatives: his own (also the Gulf’s) member, the Saudi member, and often the American member. Not to mention the support of some other Executive Board members on the principle of “mutual back scratching”. Ditto for the World Bank (IBRD). They should just let the Egyptian people sort out their own problems as he said.
I recall traveling to Cairo some years ago with a potentate who told me during the flight that Egypt had changed, that I would be amazed by the ‘progress’. Needless to say, potentates don’t walk the streets of cities like Cairo the way I do. In Cairo, I saw that it had changed alright, but it had become shabbier, a much worse place than under either Nasser or Sadat. I saw many homeless people around the banks of the Nile, something that used to be rare in most of the city during my pre-Mubarak visits. The progress they were talking about was not that of the Egyptian people, but of the elite with whom the Arab potentates and the international financial organizations associated. The international bureaucrats, as I know firsthand, deal with numbers, data, not with human beings. IMF and IBRD functionaries should be made to go into town, walk the streets, see the millions living in old graveyards, without regime minders. And skip the incessant official wining and dining.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Breaking News: Prince Bandar Found Alive…………..

     
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Prince Bander Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud briefed the Prime Minister on the Saudi perception of the situation in the Gulf and Middle East and their stance on the current political developments in the region. The socio-economic difficulties in some areas of the Gulf and Middle East affected the political environment, he added. The process of dialogue started in some Gulf countries had helped to understanding the problems of the people, he said, adding dialogue and reconciliation is the only mean to move forward. He expressed confidence that the economic packages announced during the recent GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) meeting would help to bring about peace, prosperity and economic development of the entire region…….. Saudi Arabia, he reaffirmed, will always stand with Pakistan to confront any challenge and support any initiative to further expand the bilateral ties. Our thinking and approach on international issues have remained the same and would continue in future as well, he added……..

Breaking news!
Prince Bandar found alive! Alive but not sure how well.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Fifth Columns in the Gulf: Iranian Threat, Saudi Threat……….

     
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For some years now, it has been perceived by many that the only threat to the Gulf states, the GCC, came from Iran. Iran is a large strong country that is quite militarized and it has been expanding its sphere of influence well beyond the Gulf and the Shatt al-Arab in recent years. It also has an ancient history of domination of the region up to the Mediterranean Sea and into Egypt. Political changes in Iraq after the fall of the Ba’ath regime amplified the notion of a modern Iranian threat. The defeat of the Israeli invasions of Lebanon by Hezbollah in 2000 and 2006 also amplified this Iranian threat around the Gulf, given that Hezbollah depends on Iranian money and weapons.
The Saudi government has focused on the Iranian threat since at least 2005. By that time the Saudis had acquired and built the largest media empire anywhere in Europe and the Middle East: newspapers, satellite television channels, magazines, and general entertainment outlets, Only Aljazeera stood as the competition to Saudi domination of Arab media. Alarabiya, Asharq Alawsat, al-Hayat, ART, LBC, MBC, Rotana, etc, etc: these are all Saudi owned, either by princes or their relatives, and hence they are all official or semi-official media.

In the past few years the vast Saudi media started to amplify the “Iranian threat”. So far so good: that is fair enough among governments and nations. It also started to do some serious sectarian “Shi’a-baiting”, slowly at first but gathering speed after 2006. Soon they were all but accusing the local native Shi’as of their Eastern Province of being a fifth column (in their own native territory that preceded the arrival of the Saudi invaders from Najd). They were joined in that by allies from among the Arab despots such as Mubarak and King Abdul of Jordan. Mubarak’s state security started to uncover “Shi’a cells” dedicated to converting Egyptians. King Abdul of Jordan reportedly established a special branch of his security services dedicated to hunting down Shi’as bent on spreading their “faith”. I suspect all this was to keep the al-Saud and their Wahhabi clerics happy.
Not that the Iranians could not have been a threat. A huge militarized country like Iran can always pose a threat to its smaller “neighbors” under certain circumstances. If one chooses to disregard the huge American navy and other Western forces controlling the Gulf.

Then came the Arab revolutions which spread eastward and into Bahrain, an island that practices its own version of Apartheid. Before Bahrain, the al-Saud and their fundamentalist Salafi agents have been for some years trying to disrupt and sabotage the political process in another member country of the GCC. There is no political process in Saudi Arabia. The Bahrain uprising and the Saudi incursion divided the Gulf region deeper along sectarian lines, and much of the blame for that goes to the Saudi and official Bahraini media and their agents in another Gulf state. The goal has been to scare people and throw them into the lap of the Saudis: an old game often played by nations. And to kill the Arab Spring on the shores of the Gulf, in the bloodied streets of Manama and the villages of Bahrain.

Now a combination of seeing the tanks rolling easily into Bahrain and calls by Saudi Salafi surrogates for a Gulf “confederation” under Saudi control is giving some Gulf people second thoughts. Some people, hopefully enough people. The tanks rolled into Bahrain, and I don’t expect them to leave any time soon, if ever. These two factors have also reminded some people of just how the Arabian Peninsula came to be named after a family, Saudi Arabia. Old Ibn Saud started by re-entering Najd, in central Arabia, with money from a smaller Gulf state in the north, took Riyadh, then continued to conquer Hijaz and al-Hasa and Aseer, etc, etc. They even tried at one point to conquer the country that provided them with seed money to start with, using the Ikhan “militia”.

These recent events and the not too distant history have awakened some Gulf people to one important fact: it is much easier and faster for a land neighbor to send in the tanks than for a force to cross the Gulf. It has also made others aware of another likely fact: if there is a Gulf fifth column with divided loyalties, it is most likely not the Shi’as looking toward Iran, but the Salafis and their “allies” looking back toward Saudi Arabia. Maybe the al-Saud have overplayed their hand again.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Sorority of Arab Leaders: Tea & Scones & Suppression………….

     
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Egypt has today stressed Bahrain’s Arab identity and national unity, rejecting any blatant foreign interference in its internal affairs. Egypt’s head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi voiced the strong supportive stance during a phone conversation with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. Field Marshall Tantawi stressed his country’s firm support for all the measures taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain to protect its security and stability and safeguard national unity and the safety of all citizens and expatriates, wishing Bahrain continuous security and stability under HM King Hamad’s wise leadership. The two leaders also discussed strong brotherly relations……..

Thus claims the Bahrain News Agency. Arab despots, even temporary ones like Tantawi, always love to exchange “strong brotherly” feelings of appreciation of each other. The Saudis and Qataris no doubt did that just before the coup the Saudis attempted against the Qatari emir in the late 1990s. SaddamFuckingHussein probably did that before he invaded in 1990 (in fact I know he did just that weeks before at the last Baghdad Arab Summit). I swear; if they were chicks, they could all join the same sorority and exchange “sisterly” feelings of appreciation over tea and fattening scones. No, the Arab League is not there yet, although it could be converted to a sorority as easily as in Salafi club or wtf they call it.

The Bahrain Agency did not report that Tantawi asked king Hamad al-Saud for pointers on how to put down and reverse the revolution in Egypt. At which point Hamad would have been tempted to guffaw disdainfully and retort “Tanti, You are as old as my uncle the prime minister who still resents being born too late to be king”. But no, being the polite king that he is, although lately not very kingly, he replied “Pick up the phone, call King Abdullah. Use Skype or Magic Jack. Better yet, if you’ve got an iPhone…..
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Iran Noruz Summit Includes Qatar and Oman, No Assad or Abdullah……….

     
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Mehr News reports that Iran on Sunday hosted a Noruz (Persian New Year) summit attended by the presidents of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, and Iraq. The summit entitled the International Noruz Festival was attended by other foreign guests including Pakistan’s parliament speaker, Oman’s foreign minister, Lebanon’s foreign minister, Qatar’s crown prince, Kyrgyzstan’s culture and information minister, Azerbaijan’s deputy prime minister, India’s union health minister, Zanzibar’s vice president, and the ECO secretary general. The festival was held at Saadabad Palace where Persian artifacts and customs were on display. Four Arab states participated, but no mention of Saudi King Abdullah or Prince Saud al-Faisal attending. Nor did the king or prime minister of Bahrain. Come to think of it, neither did Bashar Assad attend; he must be at least as busy as the leaders of Bahrain. Too bad, Ahmadinejad could have benefited from some pointers on crowd-control by these tow worthies.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Secretary Clinton and Middle East Women and Costco……….

     
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US State Dept tweet:Secretary Clinton: women must participate in all aspects of political and institutional reforms….” I agree with her, although she did not specify if all the wives of the potentates are allowed to engage in such activity. I mean the king of Bahrain had three wives at last count. The potentates of Abu Dhabi keep it under wraps (one of them in Dubai is married to a Jordanian princess). As for the Saudi princes, oh boy, some of them probably don’t know the answer……. Can be costly, too bad Costco doesn’t carry wives……

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com