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

Satrapy of Bahrain: who Rules in Manama?………..

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
  Can the Saudi army crush her spirit?
American officials want Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to allow political reforms that could lead to more representation for Shiites under Sunni rule. During his telephone conversation with the Saudi king, Mr. Obama called for an end to the violence that has accelerated in Bahrain over the last few days. He asked for a “political process as the only way to peacefully address the legitimate grievances of Bahrainis and to lead to a Bahrain that is stable, just, more unified and responsive to its people,”……..”

So Obama is discussing the future of Bahrain with Kin Abdullah, a foreigner to Bahrain.
So tell me again: who did you say rules in Bahrain?………..
It is clear to me that the king of Bahrain is now a satrap (wali in Arabic, which is worse) of the Saudi monarchy. His avaricious clan are now allowed to continue their plunder of Bahrain, but its politics are left to the big boys across the causeway. The shots now are called from Riyadh not Manama.
Let this be a lesson for other states on my Gulf: never invite Saudi (or Iranian or Iraqi) troops to prop up your regime. If you have to do that, then it is time to do a Bin Ali or a Mubarak and get the hell out of Dodge.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Saudi King’s Clueless Offer: More Money, More State Security, Forget Politics………

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
 


“You say you want a revolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

You tell me that it’s evolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world
….”
The Beatles, sans King Abdullah

The Saudi King spoke today. He did not disappoint me in his speech today. I had made some predictions yesterday about what he will not offer, what he will not say:


  • He anno
    unced salary raises for state employees.
  • He announced an immediate bonus of two months’ pay for everyone.
  • He raised the minimum wage for state employees (including his own and all those thousands of princes?).
  • He announced a monthly stipend to every unemployed Saudi (again: thousands of princes).
  • He ordered creation of a Commission to Combat Corruption. He did not appoint Prince Bandar to be its chief, which can be good or bad.
  • He ordered the creation of
    60 thousand new jobs “in the security services”. He is telling the
    people: you get some more money, you also get thousands more security
    agents to make sure you don’t ask for more.
  • He assumed his people are happy about their politics and decided not to change anything there. The increased state secret agents are just one more step to make sure of that.


No apology for invading the people of Bahrain. Basically he offered them a few more crumbs from the royal table, in exchange for no politics and he expanded the state security to keep the people subdued. These people, whether they are named al-Saud or al-Khalifa or al-Nahayan, are a hopeless case. It is time to rise in the Arabian Peninsula from Qatif to Jeddah, and passing through Riyadh and al-Qassim. I am not talking revolution here, of course not: I am talking sending a message to these clueless potentates who live inside their own watermelon states.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Saudi King’s Speech: Shocking or Funny or Usual Blah?………….

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
  Bahrain facing the tanks

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world….”
Beatles


A royal website
has been notifying Saudi citizens, tweeting, that King Abdullah will deliver a speech to his loyal subjects (no mention of any disloyal subjects). It also said the speech will be followed by a series of royal “orders” (maybe be the English translation is “royal decrees”). Speculation has been rife among Saudis on the web about what he will say. I tried to speculate about what he will NOT say and do: 

  • Announce his abdication (retirement) and appoint his loyal nephew Bandar Bin Sultan as heir.
  • Announce that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be henceforth be known as the Republic of Saudi Arabia.

  • Announce his “conversion” to Shi’ism and that he considers Ayatollah Ali Sistani as his marj’e (religious guide), until further notice.

  • Announce that he has been dabbling in the writings of Hegel, Marx and Lenin, in that order, in recent years. That he has become a Marxist, but an Islamic one.
  • Announce that he is coming out of the closet: that he had been a secret revolutionary for some time now. He starts humming to the tune of Lennon’s (not Lenin’s) “Revolution”

  • Do a mea culpa, apologize to the people of Bahrain for invading their country and help shooting them down along with al-Khalifa and Abu Dhabi foreign mercenaries.

  • Announce that he is taking a cut in his salary, and that other princes have agreed to do the same.

  • Announce that every Saudi citizen shall get 1,000 riyal bonus (for being there).
  • Announce that the government will pay the salary of one Asian or African housemaid for each Saudi family for a period of five years. Claim that he can get a better deal through ‘buying” bulk.

  • Announce that he is going on a long vacation to the Appalachian Trail (the one in Argentina).
  • Announce that his maternal great-grand mother was half Jewish.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi Medical Breakthrough, Emulating Amsterdam…….

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
 


Islamic holy scripture is now among a patient’s legally sanctioned therapeutic options as a clinic gets a permit to offer treatment with Koranic incantation. For some people, alternative medicine means acupuncture, for others it’s macrobiotics. But now, in Saudi Arabia, Islamic holy scripture is now among a patient’s legally sanctioned therapeutic options. This week, the government awarded a license to a clinic treating the ill with Koranic incantations. The permit for The Center for Treatment through Ruqiya (Incantation) in the coastal city of Jedda was given by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which also oversees the center’s activities……Until now, regulations have been designed to eliminate the practice of sorcery, which is illegal in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death. Two men were sentenced to death last October following charges of practicing witchcraft in the kingdom. But Saudi practitioners insisted that ruqiya should not be confused with sorcery. Al-Hashimi told A-Sharq Al-Awsat that half of all diseases are treatable by using the Koran because they are “Satanic afflictions” that disappear following prolonged verse incantation. Al-Hashimi added that 80% of cancer cases in the kingdom are caused by the evil eye, which is treatable by the Koran as well……”

There are at least two people awaiting the executioner’s sword for the crime of sorcery. There most likely are others on the way in the court system. Then there is the poor Lebanese television magician, who was ambushed during a pilgrimage (umarh) by the Commission for the Propagation of Vice (religious police) and sentenced to beheading. They decided not to behead him, or maybe postponed it, after international publicity. I am looking to the day when magic, witchcraft, and sorcery become as legal in the Kingdom without Magic as toking is in most of California or Seattle (well, effectively), as legal as another “profession” is in Amsterdam.
I think the Saudis have decided to do as the Dutch did to another ancient “industry”: if you can’t fight it, legalize it and organize it. Yet I doubt that the Saudis will establish the equivalent of Amsterdam’s “Red Light” district for these Salafi shamans.

He said:Half of all diseases are treatable by using the Koran because they are “Satanic afflictions”…..”. Okay, what about corruption? It can be cured by the Quran and the Shari’a: the Second Caliph Omar (the Just) did it effectively. Why can’t the Saudi dynasty cure their own kelptocrats through the use of the Holy Quran? I forgot: Omar himself was neither corrupt nor a thief. Omar was incorruptible, these guys are incorrigible.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Heroes Fighting the Scourge of Corruption: My Nominees…..

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
 
Corruption continues to rob the poorest of this world of hope and opportunities, and to undermine even long-established democracies. Join us in giving the deserving individuals, who fight this scourge, due recognition for their determination and bravery. Nominate someone today…….

Transparency International asked me, and many millions of others, to nominate someone to receive the 2011 Integrity Award (honoring the unsung heroes of the fight against corruption). I have decided to nominate His Royal Highness prince Bandar Bin Sultan al-Saud and His Royal Highness Shaikh Whatishisface of Bahrain. I also thought of nominating His Dubious Highness Khalifa al-Khalifa, the prime minister of Bahrain, but then I remembered I just had my lunch only 30 minutes ago.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Freed Bahrainis, Beached Saudis, Abu Dhabi Waterboys, Horny Mermaids ……

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

     
                           Some Saudi and UAE forces           One of their Bahrain victims

Things are looking up on my side of my Gulf. I won’t call it the Persian-American Gulf this time, but only this time. After the Saudis take over Abu Dhabi, or will it be Qatar, I’ll call it the Persian-Wahhabi Gulf, although Wahhabis are desert people and not true Gulf people. They fear turning into mud and dissolving into the sea, as the old poet said so long ago. That old poet was right: all fishermen who sail from Saudi Arabia are Indians or Pakistanis. Salafis are also reported to fear the sea, for they may believe that either some Jinn or some horny mermaids may pop out and assault them (they’ll opt for the mermaids anytime, these bearded goats).

Back to my main entrée: Saudi forces, with their Abu Dhabi water boys, have finally brought justice and democracy to the people of Bahrain. Now the people of Bahrain can be as free as the people of the Arabian Peninsula. More important: now the little king of Bahrain can be as free as the Saudi king. What is even more important: now all these shaikhs, these little khalifas of Bahrain can feel as free as the al-Saud princes, and like them they can do whatever they want, take whatever they want. Nobody there to argue, is there? Isn’t freedom great?
Now I expect Hillary Clinton to pay a visit to Manama, walk around Lulu Square, amazed at the site of the victory of the al-Khalifa, al-Saud (and their Abu Dhabi water boys).
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Real and Political Massacres in Manama: the Division of Bahrain………

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
  Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?

There was a massacre on Wednesday morning by the joint operations of Bahraini regime forces and Saudi occupation forces. Several were reported dead, but the toll will rise, many more were wounded.
A political massacre followed: the impartial Bahraini alwasat daily and the opposition have been reporting that members of the toothless appointed Shura Council have been announcing their resignations throughout the day. Members of the Bahrain judiciary have also been announcing their resignations throughout the day. At least one newly-appointed minister announced his resignation (not many more will, since almost all ministers are either al-Khalifa members or their tribal retainers). Alarabiya network (owned by an in-law of the royal family and operated by a nephew of King Abdullah) tried to put the usual Saudi propaganda face on it. It claimed on its website that those Shi’as who resigned did so because they were threatened.

In effect the al-Khalifa and their al-Saud lords have split Bahrain into two. They have finally given up on the fake all-inclusive government they tried to present to the world, especially to the West. This has always been a sectarian regime in Manama, but in the past it could not be a 100% sectarian regime like the Saudi one. Now the regime in Manama is just like the Saudi one, representing the al-Khalifa family and a few families of their retainers and royal groupies. Reports also filtered throughout the day that leading opposition figures have been arrested, presumably by joint al-Khalifa and Saudi forces. Some right-wing daily rags in Kuwait, which unfortunately seems to spawn some of the worst Arab media and “crappiest” writers in recent years, have even started talking about a Bahrain Khalifiyya, البحرين الخليفية, meaning an al-Khalifa Bahrain. Sort of like “Saudi” Arabia.
Now the Saudi forces will probably remain in Bahrain forever, unless forced to leave by the people of Bahrain. And they can force them to leave, now that the fear is gone.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Saudi Cause Célèbre: a Policy of Apartheid, a Media Empire……..

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
  Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?

The chief editor of

Asharq Alawsat, the Saudi daily owned by prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz and run by his son, is here telling the United States administration to stop issuing statements about Bahrain and the Saudi invasion of the island. When this guy writes like this, it can only mean that he got his orders from his lords and masters to say so.

Its title in Arabic is a tough sounding “America Must Control These Statements!”. He is referring to US concern about Bahrain and the killings of civilians by regime security mercenaries. The headline is translated by the newspaper to a milder “America’s inconsistent statements”. He is also saying that allowing free elections in Bahrain would “hand the island to Iran”, a typical Wahhabi refrain against free elections anywhere, even in the oppressed Arabian Peninsula which is about 90% of the “right sect”. He, a foreigner to Bahrain, is also casting suspicions of disloyalty on a majority of the people of Bahrain. Even though it was the ruling oligarchy that betrayed the country by inviting foreign forces to invade.

They have mobilized their vast media (all owned or controlled by Saudi princes), their hired Salafi shaikhs, and their paid ghost newspapers in some states of the Persian-American Gulf (the worst two dailies in my hometown, the worst two in the Middle East, with suspicious financing, fall in that category). They focus now on Bahrain more than anything else, having made the al-Khalifa Apartheid policy against the people of Bahrain their cause célèbre.

They will lose in the end because they are on the wrong side of the move of history. They have no cause beyond keeping in power a grasping and corrupt regime that is a smaller version of their own. Besides, the fear that kept these twits in control is gone. I am not talking about just Bahrain. There is no fear…….
Cheers
mhg

mailto: m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com”>m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Bahrain: the Economics of Corruption 101……….

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
   Spirit of Bahrain



Bahrain’s Shi’a are also under-represented in the bureaucracy, which is increasingly staffed by puritanical Salafists hostile to Bahrain’s majority on theological grounds. Perhaps most irritating of all, the monarchy is believed to have extended citizenship to as many as 100,000 Sunnis Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Pakistan, who form the backbone of the security services. Foreign Sunnis get a government-built house after five years of military service – but Shi’as say they have to wait 15 or even 20 years………. Even though Bahrain’s king would like to see military action against Iran, he has refrained from saying so in public, for fear of sparking of a rebellion by his subjects. Following independence in 1971, Bahrain established a parliament and a constitution which guaranteed basic rights for all citizens. But in 1975, the monarchy promulgated a new security law, which allowed for the detention of political prisoners for up to three years without trial. Bahrain’s parliament protested – and was promptly dissolved…….. For several years, Bahrain was characterised by brutal authoritarianism: through the 1990s, Saudi troops repeatedly quelled riot
ing by the emirate’s Shi’as, and memories of those dark years have been revived by recent events…………..”

For many years
, the average people of Bahrain lived in sectarian peace. When they voted for independence in 1970, it passed because they all voted for it. The real troubles started with the ruling oligarchy, the al-Khalifa and a few families who hang around them, their tribal allies. Bahrain is a resource-poor country, with a large ruling family, many shaikhs, and a hungry group of elite retainers and hangers-on of the rulers. The current king has at least three wives and more than two dozen children. The limited resources could not keep all these shaikhs of the ruling family, and their tribal retainer families, in the style of their richer neighbors, the true petroleum princes. Yet the al-Khalifa had to live in the expected style of Arab oil shaikhs. They could see the Saudi princes treat the country and its resources as their own private feudal fiefdom (they still do, more now than ever). They could see the ruling family of Abu Dhabi treat the country’s resources as their own private wealth, throwing occasional crumbs at the people.


The easiest
, the only, way was to apportion more of the country’s meager resources to the elite and less to the rest, to most of the people. That became easier to do after the constitution was suspended and the real parliament dissolved by force in 1975. Then some quarter of a century later they established a fake electoral system where they always had a majority, and they made sure the security forces and the military were composed of the “right sort” of people. But there aren’t enough Bahrainis of the “right sort” to police the country. Besides, Bahrainis of any religion or sect were unlikely to abuse and torture their own compatriots no matter of what faith or sect. So, what to do? They started importing mercenaries from other countries. They also started encouraging the growth of a nasty Salafi contingent (Salafi as in Islamic Heritage groups and Wahhabism and Bin Laden and all that).


The ruling
family has had 35 years to divide the people and plunder the island(s) of Bahrain. Plunder through abusing the revenues or stealing (I know: it ain’t polite, but it is the only way of putting it succinctly) public land which was blatantly expropriated, actually privatized, for the members of the ruling family and their retainers and their families.

This is the story, more or less. The rest is fear-mongering among the eternally sectarian-conscious people of my Gulf (I know we are), and fear-mongering among foreign policy makers and some idiotic advisers who are made to believe that the ayatollahs will be strolling around Lulu Square and to the gates of the headquarters of the Fifth Fleet. 

End of the story, more or less (more less than more).
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi Arabia to Give Up Corruption, Prince Bandar to Enter Rehab Center……..

        
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

 

 
  Defiant spirit of Bahrain

Saudi Arabia participated in the International Conference against Corruption that was held in Almaty in the Republic of Kazakhstan this past week. The conference was held as part of the international efforts to combat corruption…. .. The Saudi delegation presented a paper at the conference on the kingdom’s relentless efforts to protect honesty and combat corruption, guided in these efforts by the Islamic Shari’a whch banned corruption……..Okaz Daily (Saudi)

It would have been a masterstroke to have appointed Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to lead the Saudi delegation to the anti-corruption conference. In fact, it would highlight a new Saudi stance against corruption to appoint Prince Bandar as the kingdom’s ambassador to the world at large against corruption. They might also want to add the potentates responsible for the housing development projects in Jeddah that were swept away by rain floods in recent years, killing many ordinary Arab folks. They might also want to add a few of the avaricious potentates who are behind erasing all the historic monuments of early Islam, like the homes of the Prophet’s family and his sahaba. Those historic monuments have been replaced with Las Vegas-style five-star hotels and shopping malls that now crowd the Holy Shrines in Mecca and Madinah. They can also add a couple of Salafi shaikhs, since the Salafis are always eager to tear down historic monuments and, more important, they are always eager to defend autocracy and royal corruption and greed, for a nominal fee.
One caveat: Bandar may decide to pay back to the people of Arabia the US$2 billion he got in bribes commissions form the BAE Systems for an arms deal, and he may also want to pay back interest earned on the amount.
PS: imagine having an anti-corruption conference in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstanforfuckssake! What is next? An international conference on human rights in Manama or Tehran or Riyadh?
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com