Category Archives: Africa

The GCC Game of Musical Alliances: from the Gulf through Africa and Beyond………

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Something strange has been going on recently among member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
They had their summit in Manama a couple of weeks ago, which ended with nothing spectacular to announce. The Salafis of the Persian-American Gulf and the usual Bahrain potentates (both fiercely Saudi proxies) have tried, again, to create some excitement about a possible “union” based on the European model. But it would be a union of ruling families, not based on the popular will, since Kuwait is the only GCC country that has free popular elections. But Kuwait has the misfortune of being stuck between three large and menacing neighboring countries: Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia (the country was invaded by both Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the last century).

The idea of a Gulf union was a no-go, and DOA at the summit: it was not even discussed publicly. Some others within the GCC saw it as a way to formalize a fearsome Saudi attempt at hegemony. They/we all know how the Saudi Kingdom was formed during the last century by swallowing smaller neighboring emirates in the Arabian Peninsula.

After the summit, Saudi King Salman visited every member country except for Oman. Certainly because Oman is the least likely member to follow Saudi policies and wishes. It is odd for the ruler of a member of GCC to start visiting other member states immediately after the summit ends. Why not meet them individually during the summit? They apparently want to send a message to other members and to some Arab counties.

Soon after all that, a Saudi delegation last week visited Ethiopia, a country with which Egypt has serious disputes over the Nile waters. The delegation also pointedly visited a new Ethiopian dam that Egypt claims seriously reduces its share of the Nile waters. That visit created an uproar within Arab media and social media.
But wait, that is not all, there is more (as the TV ads say)…..

Now there is an announcement that the foreign minister of Qatar is visiting, you guessed it, landlocked Ethiopia. Almost certainly just to bother the hell out of the Egyptians.

Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar (and Turkey as well) have just suffered an immense strategic defeat in Syria, when their Jihadist surrogates were forced out of the eastern part of Aleppo. Egypt has been moving towards siding with the Assad regime (and hence by association with Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Russia) in the Syrian war. This has clearly angered some of the Gulf allies who either support the Jihadis in Syria or need to show that they do so for domestic political reasons.

That leaves out the UAE, the third major partner in the Saudi regional alliance. The UAE shares one very important thing with the current government of Egypt: they both hate and fear the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile Qatar is practically a Muslim Brotherhood monarchy (and so close to the Turkish Islamist regime that they have agreed to have a Turkish military base in their country). The Saudis have warmed up to the Brotherhood recently because they are their allies in the Yemen War (through the corrupt Islah Party).
These are fascinating developments that are now unfolding in the Middle East.

As I said: wait, there will be more, and soon. The GCC states, especially Saudi Arabia, have been playing a game of “musical alliances’ in recent years. Since 2011 they have allied on and off with Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Eritrea, Djibouti, Mauritania, Sudan, and now Ethiopia, among others. A list of mainly countries with deep economic problems. And the game of Musical Alliances goes on.

As I said: but wait, there will be more, and soon………..
Cheers

M Haider Ghuloum

Muslims and the West: Nigeria’s Other Sectarian Terrorist Army……..

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Another mass atrocity was committed in Nigeria last week. But it did not get much world media coverage. No, it was not committed by Boko Haram gangs, but by the Nigerian Army. Hundreds of Muslim Shi’as were killed and wounded during a religious ceremony by the army. Two days later the Saudi King cabled the Nigerian regime expressing his support of its “war against terrorism”. Hard to believe the Wahhabi king was congratulating the Nigerian army on the massacre of civilians. So, it must have been a strange coincidence. Did I tell you I don’t believe in strange coincidences?

This no doubt means that the Wahhabi sectarian message has reached Nigeria in West Africa. That it is not only limited to bands of Salafi killers like the Boko Haram, but that it has infiltrated the corrupt and possibly Wahhabi-ized halls of government and army.

So, Wahhabis (who claim to be Muslims) are busy killing and massacring thousands of other Muslims in the Middle East and across the world. Wahhabis are also known to turn away other Muslims from mosques in Europe and America and to fight tooth and nail against the establishment of “other” mosques in Europe. Even as many Muslims demand understanding and equality in the West.
Shouldn’t the Muslim house be put in order first, before whining about the Western bigotry?
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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War on Yemen: Assault by Rich Arab Princes and Poor African Rapists……

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Yemen has been under severe assault for almost eight months now. From the air, warplanes of Arab princes, the best machinery of war that the West can sell, are raining death and destruction on the poorest of Arabs. Now the princes have also bought or rented thousands of African/Arab mercenaries to do the ground fighting for them. Apparently too many casualties among the Gulf coalition soldiers (Saudi, UAE) in Aden have raised ‘concern’ among the peoples of these two countries.

The Saudis have already handed parts of Aden in Southern Yemen to mercenary Sudanese soldiers. These soldiers have been rented from the wanted international criminal Omar Al-Bashir, military dictator of Sudan for almost 27 years. Al-Bashir was convicted by the International Criminal Court years ago, but he keeps traveling at will across the Arab world. He met the Saudi king in recent days. His army excels in and is famous for rape and murder of unarmed civilians. Now he is being paid by the Saudi princes so that his army of rapists and killers can help control the city of Aden. These Sudanese soldiers are now technically allies of American and British forces that are involved over Yemen.
Arab media report that more Sudanese soldiers, a third wave, are heading to Aden. Saudi daily al-Hayat (owned by Prince Khalid Bin Sultan) quotes a senior adviser to the deposed Yemeni president General Hadi that mercenary Egyptian soldiers hired out from Al Sisi are also on their way.

I have some doubts about the veracity claim of this Egyptian role. Unless the price was raised to an offer that the ruling military could not refuse.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Tale of Two Invasions: Threat to Texas, Assault on Yemen……….

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“Amid unfounded, Internet-fueled rumors that U.S. Special Operations Forces might be trying to take over parts of the southwest, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas State Guard forces under his control to keep an eye on the U.S. military during a large upcoming training exercise. The exercise is called Jade Helm 15…………..”

Texas has gone xenophobic. No, not towards Mexicans or even Muslims. Like Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Texans now worry about a foreign invasion, but not by Saudis and their African mercenaries. Its worst nightmare comes from Washington, DC. 

The U.S. military plans some exercises in Texas. Normally that would not cause any consternation in Tejas. Except that now the commander in chief is a blackish man who is a Democrat from Hawaii (by way of Illinois and possibly some distant shores as well).

Texas politicians, from governor on down, are making a lot of noise about a possible U.S. invasion of Texas. You’d think it is Mr. Putin marching into Ukraine. Imagine Mr. Obama as General Santa Ana, leading an army to reclaim Texas. But this is not new for embattled Texas: when they are not busy executing poorer convicts or keeping Mexicans out, Tejas officials are often concerned about a Yankee invasion from the north. It would be the third invasion from the North: the first one was by the immigrants of the Mexican province of Tejas before 1836, the second during the Civil War.

The previous governor even hinted at possible secession from the Union, now that Abe Lincoln is dead and buried for good by his own Republican Party. The party that has switched places with the Old Democrat Party of the CSA and Jim Crow and Dixiecrats.


Now about the assault and possible invasion of Yemen by a bought and fully-paid African-Saudi coalition………..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Season of the Caliphate: ISIS Goes Global, IPO Expected Next Year……

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“Teaming up with Boko Haram was just the start. ISIS is extending its reach around the planet. Here’s how they’re doing it. Boko Haram isn’t about to become a mere extension of ISIS, despite a purported pledge allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State this weekend. Instead, ISIS is likely to offer resources, training, and its brand so the Nigerian terror group can create a distinct province within an Islamic caliphate, experts and U.S. officials told The Daily Beast. It’s a model that ISIS is increasingly adopting as it attempts to spread its reach around the planet………….”

It is the ISIS or DAESH bandwagon these days. Every statement by support or allegiance from any outhouse (American not English outhouse) in any corner of the planet is headlined and echoed. We’ve been told the momentum is with the cutthroats, that the Middle East is quaking. From princes and potentates in their palaces to the political prisoners they throw in dungeons.
ISIS is more of a celebrity now than Hillary Clinton and Oprah and Bibi Netanyahu (in Washington and Las Vegas) combined.

Wait, there is more now. Apparently they are learning about the joy of globalization. From Iraq and Syria to Libya, Sinai, African Sahel, and Pakistan. Oh, and cities of Europe. The Hollywood-esque Caliphate of ISIS is going global. It is only a matter of time before they go public, schedule an initial public offering, an IPO, be listed on either NYSE or NASDAQ. The Caliph Ibrahim Al Samarrai could make a killing (no pun, honestly) from his share of the stock. If it can last this year or next, which now seems doubtful. They are finding out that globalism can also be not-so-joyful. They will learn more about that once financial sanctions are imposed on them……….

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Jordan’s King Abdullah to Vanquish Boko Haram, Make it Halal, Star in Rawhide…….

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Now my reliable African source reports that the mythical King Abdullah of Jordan is slated to embark on another mission in the near future. He is being approached by U.S. officials to lead a new campaign in West Africa. The goal? To defeat Boko Haram terrorists and change their name into Boko Halal.

All that will come after his current missions are accomplished. After he defeats the Caliphate of ISIS and pacifies the rugged land of Afghanistan.

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Who is Bruce Willis?……….

The king is reported to hope that when it is all over he will have time to fulfill one of his life-long dreams. After he comes out of Africa. To star in a western directed by Rowdy Yates Clint Eastwood.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Petroleum Safaris: from South Asia to Africa to Yellowstone………..

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“You only hear stories of Saudi hunters camped out in the wilderness, having brought the entire infrastructure and staff of the hunt with them, including cooks, food, beaters and handlers. They shoot desert species of gazelle, oryx and Nubian ibex, and take them home as trophies. There are reports that sometimes they don’t even bother to fly through Khartoum airport, choosing instead to construct makeshift landing strips in the middle of the wilderness that are dismantled after they depart, sometimes apparently in massive military C-130 planes. While some of the more outlandish stories of playground hunting might be apocryphal, the latest reports from Tanzania are not. In one of the most dramatic cases of large-scale hunting in Africa by Gulf tourists, the Tanzanian government has reneged on a promise not to dedicate 1,500 sq km of Masai land to a Dubai company that arranges hunting trips for members of the Dubai royal family………..”

These potentates care about the environment and African tribal rights about as much as a majority of the U.S. Senate and Congress. But these Petroleum Safaris go on in South Asia (Pakistan) and North Africa as well.
I doubt that the princes and potentates will ever be able to bribe their way into a place like, say, Yellowstone. Or can they? It is scarey what can be bought these days. Just imagine Old Faithful renamed Shaikh Zayed Fountain, or New Burj Khalifa.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Now I Have Seen It All: Sudan Saving Libya………..

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“Sudan said Thursday it is organizing a December 4 meeting of Libya’s neighbors, as the North African country continues to be plagued by lawlessness and violence. The foreign ministers of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger and Tunisia have been invited to the meeting in Khartoum, the foreign ministry said. Arab League secretary general Nabil al-Arabi and the organisation’s envoy to Libya, Nasser al-Qidwa, were also invited………….”

Now I have seen it all, und warum nicht? Everything is topsy turvy in the region now. If absolute tribal princes and potentates can claim to bring freedom and democracy to Syria, why can’t Sudan bring stability to Libya? Anything is possible these days.

Go for it, Omar. You must be serious: you have no more sense of humor than your ancient namesake did.

I have some concern about the list of invitees. I don’t mean to show any disrespect, but Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Tunisia and the Arab League don’t cut it. Not alone. Didn’t Qatar and the UAE join Bernard-Henri Levy and Senator McCain in bombing Libya and overthrowing Qaddafi? Why not invite them too?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Life Terms: from Algiers to Cairo and Damascus and on to Pakalingding……….

      


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Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika appeared set to win re-election for another five years on Friday after a vote opponents dismissed as a stage-managed fraud to keep the ailing leader in power. Sitting a wheelchair, Bouteflika cast his vote on Thursday in a rare public appearance since suffering a stroke last year that has raised doubts about whether, after 15 years in power, he is fit enough to govern the North African oil state. Official results were scheduled to be released later on Friday by the interior ministry, but Bouteflika’s allies on Thursday were already claiming a landslide victory……………………”

 

So, it has been three plus years on since the Arab uprisings started in Tunisia in December of 2010 and spread eastward. Let us look at the situation now:

  • In Algeria, president Bouteflika (father of teflika, wtf that be) ‘wins’ a fourth or fifth term of presidency today. At this rate he will be in power when he becomes eligible for a place in the Egyptian Museum at Cairo or in a basement corner of the Louvre where the mummies are kept.
  • Abd Rabbuh Hadi bin Zombie of Yemen won 98% of the vote last time in an election that the GCC potentates declared was clean and free and democratic. He may be getting ready to run again, unless a U.S. drone mistakes him for an Al Aqaeda zombie. Meanwhile the allegedly deposed Ali Abdallah Saleh is not far from the center of power, very likely plotting something or another.
  • Egypt is getting ready to “elect”, by the usual landslide, Generalisimo Field Marshal Sisi bin Mubarak Al Saud. Interim non-leader Adly Mansour Al Zombie will vanish; he will go back into the vast caverns of Mr. Mubarak’s everlasting bureaucracy.
  • Bashar Al Assad will apparently ‘win’ another term later this year in Syria. Before you start guffawing think of this: given the sorry state of the opposition Jihadis and the divisive fear they have sown inside Syria he actually might win an election by a plurality (probably not by a majority). Quite a feat given the bloody mess his country is in.
  • Nouri Al Maliki of Iraq may win yet another term as prime minister, unfortunately. That depends on parliamentary election results and how the leaders of the various factions and the Kurds feel. Ayad Allawi will again be the favorite candidate of the Baathists and the neighboring Arab potentates. But as I have fawtad years ago: he will never become prime minister of Iraq.
  • A gaggle of Lebanese right-wing generals and warlords are fighting for the ceremonial presidency of that country. What is at stake? The figurehead president gets to name a couple of minor cabinet members and he gets a fat Saudi check to help him pick sides. 
  • On the Gulf. The would-be tribal liberators and bearers of democracy to Syria hold tight to absolute power at home, with a little help from their oligarch friends. From Riyadh to Abu Dhabi and Manama, they cling to every morsel of power. Even the unloved prime minister of Bahrain who has been in power for some 42 years. One of my suspect sources tells me he has vowed to leave office the old fashioned way: feet first and straight to Boot Hill
  • No need to go over the besotted Sudan, whose president of some 27 years in power is usually wanted by some international criminal court or another but is traveling across the Middle East quite freely. 
  • Then there are the other two bulwarks of the Arab League, Mauretania and Somalia. Frankly I have no idea WTF is going on over there. I assume each of these two countries has a president or a wazir or sublime port or someone like that who rules or pretends to. 
  • I forgot about the Comoros, but maybe next year, after I pay a visit to Moroni. 
  • On the bright side, there are rumors that Gambia may be the next country to join the Arab League and the Gulf GCC. They would need a Saudi invitation for both (even the French would need a Saudi invitation for that). Which has me wondering what is happening in Banjul or even in Pakalinding nowadays. 

Netanyahu Skips South Africa, Puts ‘Both’ His Eggs in U.S. Congressional Basket…………

      


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A Kenny G Holiday

“Mandela, in both life and death, symbolized the idea of equality among all human beings and opposition to the apartheid regime, which subjected people to different laws based on race or ethnicity. Israel under Netanyahu’s leadership, in which segregation, racist legislation and discrimination on the basis of nationality are flourishing virtually undisturbed, cannot say it respects Mandela’s heritage, nor can it join the family of nations whose flagship values are the striving for civil equality and the fight against racism. Mandela spoke out in the past in favor of the Palestinian struggle – something that earned him no points with Netanyahu, who sees the Palestinians as demonic enemies with whom there is no possibility of dialogue. It’s also possible to infer that the core of Mandela’s struggle – the war on racism against blacks – doesn’t burn in the Israeli prime minister’s bones, since just this week Netanyahu and his coalition partners were busy passing the so-called Infiltration Law, which allows people to be jailed for up to a year without trial, and is aimed primarily at African migrants………………..”

Also sprach Israel daily Haaretz.
Netanyahu is increasingly depending on two kinds of allies: his own domestic extreme rights wing supporters and the U.S. Congress (both houses, both parties). He probably feels that he needs no one else: he can get elected and he can outmaneuver President Obama with his own houses of Congress, including the Democrat-controlled Senate. It is true: both houses of the U.S. Congress are now more likely to do Netanyahu’s bidding than that of Obama. After all, when Netanyahu spoke to a joint session of Congress, his old tired predictable rhetoric got many more standing ovations than Obama’s State of the Union addresses.

In fact, even as I write this post, Congressmen and senators facing elections next year are pushing through new Iran resolutions that would derail Mr. Obama’s peace attempts. They are doing the bidding of a foreign leader who is no doubt lobbying and campaigning by phone against the policies of the president of the United States. Some Arab media have reported that the White House is allegedly reduced to sending emissaries to Tel Aviv to help moderate a U.S. Congress that is eager for war (both houses, both parties) on behalf of the Israeli right wing.

We can say Mr. Netanyahu is putting both his eggs in the Congressional basket. Congress, of course, has fewer eggs than it used to, or maybe just has smaller ‘eggs’ than before, but that probably has nothing to do with taking any testosterone.
FYI: I was translating literally from Arabic in the last paragraph.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com