Category Archives: Arab Revolutions

A Prince Opines on Lulu Square, the Warsaw Uprising, and Uncle Adolph……..

        
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Prince ALWALEED: Let me tell you, the so-called day of rage should be changed to some other word, please. Should call it day of allegiance and love to the King Abdullah. Today if you’re on the streets, people have the flags up, they were just themselves and say, `We will not tolerate and accept any sort of demonstration here. We’re happy with our king, we love our king, and we will not accept any outside interference at all,’….. You know, we have issues, sure, internally, like any other country, and we had some demonstrations in the Shiite province in the east coast. And we had maybe around 40, 50 demonstrators yesterday. And the whole thing, you know, just faded away after they had discussion with the authorities over there. We had issues in the past, we resolved them internally and amicably. …….. So really, this whole thing should be changed from day of rage to day of allegiance to the king……Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, look, having said all that. King Abdullah is not going to take this for granted at all. King Abdullah is a reformer. King Abdullah is a reformer since he became the king almost five years ago. And it’s a process, it’s an ongoing process, you know.…….. I mean, this show, for ladies driving, yes, I’m for it. And listen, the fact that I would publicly and openly, this shows that in Saudi Arabia there’s an open debate….. So really, we are heading in the right direction. Maybe not the same speed that you’d like us to, but each country has to move at the speed that it needs. And exactly that’s what President Obama said today, that each country should change in the Middle East at its own speed, its own pace, and without outside interference……

So Prince al-Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdelaziz al-Saud thinks the term “day of rage” should be changed to “day of allegiance” or “day of love for the king”. He may be right to pile
praise on King Abdullah. Compared to who is lining up too replace him, he is not bad. They better pray that Abdullah lives a few more years, pray that a couple of the other princes pass away before him (you know the two I’m referring to).

Now, assuming he means changing the term across the Arab world: in Libya it would be “a day of love for Mu’ammar”, in Bahrain it would be a “day of love for Hamad and Khalifa” (okay the uncle is a bit too much to stomach). Imagine if he lived in 1943: what he would say about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? “Let’s not get carried away, let us not call it a ‘Warsaw Uprising’, no, let us call it a ‘day of love for uncle Adolph and uncle Hermann‘ or, better yet ‘a day of bonding with the SS'”.

“Without outside interference” indeed! They are shooting protesters in Qatif as I type right now. What was going on in the head of Maria Bartiromo during all this? I would not want to guess, not publicly.

(He may be right to pile praise on King Abdullah. Compared to who is lining up too replace him, they better pray that he lasts a few more years).
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Destroying Pearl: a Gulf “Mission Accomplished” Moment under Apartheid……..

        
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                             Defiance                             Destroying Lulua
“MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain on Friday tore down the protest movement’s defining monument, the pearl at the center of Pearl Square, a symbolic strike that carried a sense of finality. The official news agency described the razing as a facelift. “We did it to remove a bad memory,” Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, said at a news conference. “The whole thing caused our society to be polarized. We don’t want a monument to a bad memory.” …..”

Silly al-Khalifa: they think by tearing down a monument that they themselves had erected will mean “mission accomplished”. The real monument will outlast them. The Bahraini minister, who styles himself a “bon vivant”, talks about “erasing a bad memory”. I imagine that to most of Bahrain’s people he and his family and their corrupt retainers and their Apartheid policy and their invited foreign invaders are the “bad memory”.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Can Saudi Money and Western Arms Kill the Arab Spring?…………

        
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  Can the Saudi army crush her spirit?
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

Mr. Maskati is a 24-year-old human rights activist who not long ago felt so close to achieving Egypt’s kind of peaceful revolution, through a dogged commitment to nonviolence. Then the Saudi tanks rolled into Bahrain, and protesters came under attack, the full might of the state hammering at unarmed civilians. “We thought it would work,” Mr. Maskati said, his voice soft with depression, yet edged with anger. “But now, the aggression is too much. Now it’s not about the protest anymore, it’s about self-defense.” The Arab Spring is not necessarily over, but it has run up against dictators willing to use lethal force to preserve their power……At first, they seemed an unstoppable force, driven by the power of demographics — about 60 percent of the population across the Arab world is under the age of 30………

It is now clear that the forces of Arab despotism and reaction have recovered from the initial shock of the revolution and have regrouped. The revolution seemed to cut through the decrepit old Arab system like a knife through rancid butter, moving from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen to Bahrain to Libya and beyond (perhaps to Saudi Arabia). Now the revolution has stalled in the desert of Libya and in the burned and bloody streets of occupied Bahrain. In Libya, Qaddafi has redeployed his oil money and his Western weapons and may have bought himself a reprieve. In Bahrain the people were on the verge of defeating their despotic rulers, when U.S officials started visiting with more frequency just before Saudi arms intervened by invading the country and occupying it.

The Saudi strategy for defeating the Arab spring is simple: to co-opt it in North Africa (Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya) with money and through Western allies, and to crush it by force and genocide in Bahrain and the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is getting bloodier as the dictator clings to his capital city.
The Saudi invasion of Bahrain, aided by the United Arab Emirates as a baggage carrier, came only a few hours after the US Defense Secretary left Bahrain, possibly with Jeffrey Feltman still in Manama. Or maybe not: Feltman has visited the island several times in only a few weeks and is becoming gradually known in our region as a Shi’a-baiter to a Wahhabi degree (you’d think he is running the al-Khalifa campaign the way he runs the right-wing March 14 campaign in Lebanon, or that he is running for office over there).

In any case, Saudi money has bought the king (formerly emir) of Bahrain to such a degree that he has invited them in to occupy the country and subjugate its people. A king inviting a Wahhabi force to subjugate his largely Shi’a people: it is like inviting Nazis into a Jewish neighborhood. But Saudi money will not subjugate a country like Egypt the way it did under the stagnant Mubarak. It may rob the revolution of some of its gains if the Egyptian people are not careful. Saudi money and force will not subjugate the people of Bahrain for long either; they barely escaped their last intervention in Yemen. Besides, they will probably have more fires to put out at home in the coming months.

As for the West: well, how many ways can one spell ‘hypocrisy’? The West was eager to keep the old order in North Africa until it was too late. Now they are eager to take on Qaddafi. In Bahrain, where people are being killed and displaced by a corrupt kleptocratic regime, the West is largely turning a blind eye with a soft unconvincing “Oh, you shouldn’t!” No doubt dreaming of huge weapons deal from the al-Saud and al-Nahayan clans.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

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

        
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  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………

        
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“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?………….

        
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  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

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

        
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                           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………

        
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  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……..

        
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  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……….

        
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   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