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

Is the New Arab Dawn an Illusion?………….

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
      My BFF
The Arab Summit in Baghdad was canceled by the Saudis. The Arab League, the Club of Despots, claimed that unrest in the region requires a postponement. The truth is that the Saudis said that either the venue be moved from Baghdad or it be postponed. They did not want to be presided over by a Kurd (Iraqi president Talibani) and an Arab Shi’a (Iraqi prime minister al-Maliki). They got their wish.
The odd thing is that in this age of Arab revolutions against despotism and in favor of freedom the most despotic Arabs decide Arab League policy. A couple of absolute monarchs, actually one, have decided that the summit be moved or postponed. Saudi Arabia had to give the nod for NATO to intervene in Libya and to keep out in Yemen and to not say a word about the repression and its invasion of Bahrain. It may have a hand in what happens next in Yemen and Libya, and maybe even Syria, and it sure is trying to influence the course of the yet-unfinished Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions. The most undemocratic Arab regime is still calling the shots for the Arab world.
A new Arab dawn? It sure doesn’t look like it from where I am sitting at the window, watching my best friend obey a call of nature on the side of my rain-soaked lawn.
And that is when I decided to stop typing before I stepped deeper into it.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

La Marseillaise: A Love Song for Shaikh Khalifa………..

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
        
                          My BFF                        Shaikh Khalifa of YouTube
This is a love song to Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman, prime minister of Bahrain for forty years. The title on the reel says ”Khalifa, the Crown on the head of every Bahraini”. I don’t think he composed the music, even he can’t be that bad. But the lyrics, well, he may have. Nobody else could. Here is a sample:
 
He who filled all eyes with good deeds, he whose generosity……
You are our honor O Shaikh, You are the symbol and meaning…….
We love you big time………”

Okay, not exactly as rousing as Piaff singing La Marseillaise.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Health in Occupied Bahrain: Obamacare and Saudicare ………….

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
       
                                                    My BFF                    Khalifa
“Vengeance is mine……..” Shaikh Khalifa Al-Khalifa

At least 32 doctors, including surgeons, physicians, paediatricians and obstetricians, have been arrested and detained by Bahrain’s police in the last month in a campaign of intimidation that runs directly counter to the Geneva Convention guaranteeing medical care to people wounded in conflict. Doctors around the world have expressed their shock and outrage.
One doctor, an intensive care specialist, was held after she was photographed weeping over a dead protester. Another was arrested in the theatre room while operating on a patient…… Many of the doctors, aged from 33 to 65, have been “disappeared” – held incommunicado or at undisclosed locations. Their families do not know where they are. Nurses, paramedics and ambulance staff have also been detained. Emails between a Bahraini surgeon and a British colleague, seen by The Independent, describe in vivid detail the threat facing medical staff as they struggle to treat victims of the violence. They provide a glimpse of the terror and exhaustion suffered by the doctors and medical staff. Bahraini government forces backed by Saudi Arabian troops have cracked down hard on demonstrators since the unrest began on 15 February – and the harshness of their response has now been extended to those treating the injured…………The Independent

Okay, time for some medical care discourse. Americans get Obamacare, which they supported but then they opposed and may not be sure about now, depending on which television ad or sound bite they hear last. Bahrainis are now getting Saudi-care or Wahhabi-care in their hospitals and clinics, especially in the intensive care units (ICUs) and operations rooms. It is focused on patients already under treatment and especially on the doctors and nurses who treat them. These doctors and nurses end up becoming patients under the tender care of the regime and its Saudi masters, but what would happen to those who would treat them?
Even as they taste the hellish facts of Saudi Wahhabicare, the people of Bahrain are also getting a good taste of Obamacare and Clintoncare, Middle East style (or just Persian-American Gulf style). The Bahrain version of Obamacare translates into Obama-don’t-care. In more colorful language, if I were the sort that would us colorful language (which I am not), it would be called “you are on your own, boys and girls, sogofuck yourselves”.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Emirates Try Baby for Adultery, Shaikh Warns Girls about Fathers…….

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
      My BFF
A 14-YEAR-OLD Arab schoolgirl who has been detained in the United Arab Emirates on a charge of adultery will appear in court later this month. “The trial will start in spite of the age ceiling set for trials on sexual related crimes by the UAE law,” said the daily newspaper Gulf News today. “The law states that the minimum age of suspects in crimes related to sex must be 15 years. Such cases should be conducted in special juvenile courts. Otherwise, suspects are considered victims rather than suspects,” the daily quoted a “law expert” as saying. On April 5, Gulf News said police in the emirate of Ajman had arrested the teenager after she met up with her boyfriend on the roof of her family home. She has since been forced to undergo a gynaecological examination which “confirmed she was still a virgin”, the unnamed girl’s father was quoted as saying………

It is a sure sign of a somewhat fuckedup society when a 14 year old girl is tried for “adultery”, even though she is a virgin according to medical examination. It is also a bigger sign when a top Saudi cleric and televangelist (M. Alarefe) blames some young girls because their fathers sexually abused them. Then he suggests that girls and fathers should never be left alone. He issued something like a television fatwa that says fathers should be suspect with their own daughters. Now what kind of a fucked up pious society is this? The same al-Arefe had earlier described why and how a husband should beat up his wife.
And I had thought these things only happened in ‘certain’ parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Some of these judges and clerics in my Gulf are worse than those in parts of Texas and Oklahoma! I forgot to mention Belgium, which used to be, may still be, notorious for pedophilia rings.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

About Those Arab Revolutions……….

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
      My BFF
The unfolding Arab scene reads like this:


  • Libya is now effectively divided and may remain so for the near future. The US administration does not want to get involved in another ground war in the Middle East now. Certainly not as the 2012 campaign starts this summer. The Europeans do not have what it takes to do the job alone: Libya is not exactly Cote d’Ivoire. The US may still be forced to intervene if the rebels in Benghazi face serious trouble.

  • Yemen most likely, nay almost certainly, will end up divided back into two states, the way it used to be before 1990. That was the year the socialists of South Yemen decided to merge with the regime of Ali Saleh in one Yemeni state.

  • Syria is now the most important unknown variable in the regional equation. It is the prize. It is allied with Iran, but the Saudis have their own partisans among the Salafi fundamentalists who are part of the protesters, as well as among the former Ba’athist henchmen now in exile. The Syrian uprising is like the Egyptian one, it seems to be a broad mix of Islamist fundamentalists and secularists, of rightists and leftists. A weakened Assad may survive; at least it looks like it early today. But the jury is still out for Syria.

  • Bahrain will remain under the apartheid system enforced by Saudi troops (many more than the 1,500 they claim). The al-Saud show no inclination to pull their forces out any time soon, if ever. The al-Khalifa clan are too terrified of their own people after what they did to feel safe without the Saudi protection. The fear for Bahrain is that the situation is untenable: the Bahrain people and the Saudi-alKhalifa side have no basis for agreement. No political solution is possible now. The despotic side, with the Saudi gun now at it back, will not accept even a return to the phony parliament. Maybe in the longer run, after some dramatic events. I expect that as the oppression continues, we will see more confrontation. People will eventually do what they have to do to get their rights. Ergo: it will become harder for regime agents to stage midnight raids and daytime pogroms into the Shi’a villages. More Saudi troops will come in, more blood. Saudis in turn will be bloodied as they transform the peaceful Bahrainis into desperate fighters. The al-Saud and al-Khalifa will blame the Iranians, the Iranians will blame the West, the West will have no one but itself to blame for allowing the absolute Wahhabi monarchs to take control. The USA will be caught in the middle of a popular uprising and a nasty Wahhabi campaign to eradicate it. Who will win? It is possible that eventually the charismatically-challenged prime minister will be forced out by the Saudis as they lose more troops, and the idiotic king Hamad Bin Issa may be forced to abdicate in favor of his son Crown Prince Salman, who is not nearly half as idiotic as his father.
    A good solution for Bahrain: get rid of both Hamad and the extremely disliked uncle Khalifa, make the Crown Prince a constitutional monarch, have Saudis pull out to confront their own troubles with their people, hopefully. As for the Emiratis, they can help by carrying the Saudis’ luggage for them on the way out, just as they did on the way in. But there will be hell between now and then.
  • The UAE rulers may throw a wrench into all this by deciding to make use of their massive arsenal of weapons rusting in desert warehouses. As I keep telling you, they are the second biggest importers of weapons in the whole world, and are aspiring to become the first biggest importers of weapons in the whole world. They may just get fed up watching those billions of dollars worth of weapons rusting unused. The al-Nahyan brothers may just decide to storm across my Gulf and invade Iran. Then the US administration will truly have the mother of all Middle East problems on its hands.

Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Salafis for a Gulf Confederacy of Dunces…….

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
      My BFF
These days there are more examples of trashy Salafi analysis making a case for a GCC Gulf confederation under the control of the al-Saud brothers. There are other examples, most of them by the same writer whom I have linked here. He is almost obsessive-compulsive about it, the way Salafis are usually obsessive-compulsive about bodily functions.
There have been several others pieces, mainly from writers and a couple of academics who are more like fifth columnists in the smaller Gulf states. The analysis is shallow, the logic nonexistent, the writing at near high-school level, possibly even worse than my own writings in this blog. I never had much faith in most of our writers and so-called ‘opinion’ makers in the Gulf. These days whatever little faith I had has almost gone with the wind. Gulf media, especially in my hometown, has truly gone downhill in recent years. Saudi media, especially the offshore ones like Asharq Alawsat and Alhayat, I must admit, is better produced than some others and more slick, but it delivers merely the same trash in nicer packaging. A pig with lipstick still smells like a pig. And some of the writers tend to be better. They spend more money on it, but the smell seeps through the nice packaging. Don’t bother to read them, just take my word for it!
Not surprisingly the rump Bahrain “parliament”, after the resignation and/or arrest of representatives of most of the people of Bahrain, voted to approve a confederation with the al-Saud brothers. That so-called parliament, the ‘elected’ half, is composed of Salafis and fundamentalists and palace retainers who owe their seats not to the people but to the al-Khalifa clan. They won their seats to offset the vote of the majority of the people through gerrymandering and rigging the results. They are truly grateful to the al-Khalifa clan who ‘appointed’ them to this fake parliament, and to the al-Saud brothers who will keep them in office. In fact, I have no doubt they got their order for this vote from Riyadh, via the al-Khalifa viceroy.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Iranian Schizophrenia: Fars News Headlines in One Day………..

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
      My BFF
Iran’s official Fars News Agency had a group of interesting headlines about the Gulf today. They seem to be moving in different directions. I suspect it is because there are different centers of power with different views inside Iran. Oddly, there was nothing from Ahmadinejad. The only way to get one consistent point of view expressed is for Ayatollah Khamenei to issue them directly, a task which would probably give him an infarct:


  • Envoy: Tehran Resolved to Expand Ties with Islamic, Arab States: Expanding ties with Islamic and Arab states is among the Islamic Republic of Iran’s principal policies, a senior Iranian diplomat underlined on Wednesday.

  • Senior MP Blasts PGCC for Attempts to Promote Iranophobia: A senior Iranian legislator lambasted the attempts made by the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) to spread Iranophobia in the region, and said the move is part of the plots hatched to derail the world public opinion from the current developments and uprisings in the region.

  • Iran Renews Concerns about Riyadh, Manama’s Crimes against People: Head of the Iranian parliament’s Human Rights Committee Zohreh Elahian in a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced Iran’s deep concern about the crimes committed by Manama and its foreign military allies against the Bahraini people.

  • Iran Ready to Stage Joint Wargames with Regional Countries: Iran’s Armed Forces are prepared to stage joint military exercises with the regional countries in a bid to show that the regional states can restore peace and security.


Interesting, n’est-ce pas? But then again inconsistency is the case in the West as well. For example, the United States government and France want to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East but insist that it be done through the use of Saudi money and arms.
They may hope to get the Saudi type of democracy all over our region.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

American-Saudi Ties: Poisoning the Gulf, Trapping Washington………..

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
      My BFF
Saudi Arabia is pursuing a combination of domestic and regional policies that risk destabilizing
the Persian Gulf and that risk undermining the United States interests there. Amid calls for political change, Saudi Arabia is failing to address pressing concerns about its political system and the need for political reform. Instead of responding favorably to calls for more political openness, the Kingdom is pursuing a risky domestic agenda, which ignores the social, economic, and political grievances that might fuel popular mobilization. Saudi Arabia’s military intervention into Bahrain has escalated sectarian tensions in the Gulf. The crackdown in Bahrain is not only provoking Iran and creating the conditions for a regional crisis, but it is also creating new opportunities for Iran to expand its sphere of influence. The United States has reasons to maintain a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia. It also has the leverage to encourage the Kingdom to refrain from escalating tensions in the Gulf and further inflaming sectarian anxieties………USIP

It is true: the al-Saud brothers, like the al-Khalifa clan, have used sectarian divisions effectively. They have created a poisonous atmosphere of divisions on the Gulf unseen in modern times. In that task they have had help from their Salafi followers. That is how despots and absolute tribal Arab monarchs stay in power, by dividing the people: Sunni vs. Shi’a, Muslim vs. Christian (not many Jews left in the region). They have even managed to carry their sectarian poison to Lebanon where there are actually Salafis allied with their man Saad Hariri around Tripoli. They are still trying disruptions in Iraq.
They are also trapping the United States into an odd position: there are many people now in the Gulf region who believe that the U.S government is behind the divisive sectarian campaign of the al-Saud and al-Khalifa.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Gulf Baltagiya to Train in the U.S. ……

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
      My BFF
Last but not least, we would welcome a joint U.S.-GCC effort to fund and implement a training program in the United States for new recruits to the Bahraini police force and army………”

Also sprach self-promoted king of occupied Bahrain Hamad Bin Issa Bin Salman al-Khalifa. The piece was written for him by some slick PR firm in the West. It was appropriately published in the neoconservative Washington Times. It is not clear if the training in the United States will include his foreign thugs imported from as far away as Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, and other places.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Brave New Saudi-Israeli World of the West, Royal Red Eyes……..

     
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
      My BFF
Saudi authorities have arrested over 160 peaceful dissidents in violation of international human rights law since February 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch urged the interior minister, Prince Nayef bin Abd al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud, to order the immediate release of peaceful dissidents, including Nadhir al-Majid, a writer and teacher arrested on April 17. Allies of Saudi Arabia have not publicly protested these serious and systematic violations. The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said on April 18 that she had been “very pleased” with her two-day visit to Riyadh and made no public comments about the political prisoners. Neither Tom Donilon, the US national security adviser who visited Riyadh on April 13, nor Robert Gates, US defense secretary who visited on April 6, publicly commented on the kingdom’s human rights violations………

Of course Western dignitaries will not bring up the issue of human rights violations and abuses in Riyadh. Already the aging al-Saud brothers have given Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton what is called the ‘red eye’ in the Gulf, in what the Saudis call the Persian-American Gulf. The red eye is our Gulf term for a serious scowl, where the eyebrows drop to somewhere between the nose and the shoe-polished dyed mustache of a potentate. Neither of these two leaders, nor their functionaries, would dare criticize the al-Saud brothers in public anymore. Now the new “third rail” of U.S politics consists of two: Israel and the al-Saud. Criticize the first at your own risk: every other politician will come after your hide. Criticize the second publicly and the aging despotic petroleum brothers will have a collective hissy fit, sending their septuagenarian offspring menacingly to China and Russia, threatening to replace American Kool-Aid with Tsigntao or Stoly.
Somehow, silently, by stealth, criticism of the al-Saud have become taboo in Western capitals. With all the Saudi abuses of human rights, much more flagrant than in Iran or Syria or Egypt under Mubarak, when was the last time anyone heard a US president or cabinet member, or a French president or a British prime minister publicly mention the issue? Silently and by stealth, even some members of Congress have added the al-Saud dynasty to the ‘third rail of politics. Soon the old king or one of his brothers will be invited to address a joint session of Congress. I suppose he can talk about the joys of absolute tribal monarchy. Or maybe he can spend his ten minutes on the joys of polygamy and how it can keep some senators out of those famous black books that can get them in trouble.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com