Category Archives: Arabian Peninsula

Saudi Pussycat that Got Clinton’s Tongue………….

     
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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 nor Robert Gates publicly commented on the kingdom’s human rights violations. “The EU’s silence on the brazen arrest of a peaceful dissident on the first day of its chief foreign policy representative’s visit looks like a pat on the back for an authoritarian state,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Silence when more than 160 peaceful dissidents are locked up should not be an option for Brussels or Washington.”………. In 2009, Saudi Arabia acceded to the Arab Charter for Human Rights, which guarantees in article 32 the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The kingdom is one of few countries that have not yet signed the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. “As the list of Saudi political prisoners grows longer, the silence of the US and the EU becomes more deafening,”…..”

Susan Rice today brazenly, and rightly, condemned human rights abuses in Syria and Libya and a few other Middle East countries. She waxed indignant. What was most noticeable were the countries she did not mention. Two of these countries are the worst abusers of human rights now: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Even as Rice was speaking, these two regimes were rounding up people in both countries and torturing them in Bahrain. Not only do they suppress freedoms and dissent, they also practice a form of apartheid discrimination, in the Saudi case against anybody of a different sect or faith, in the Bahrain case against the majority of the people (a la South Africa). Rice did not say boo about them. Nor did Secretary Clinton recently when she lambasted other governments this week. The Saudi pussycat has got all their tongue. No profiles of courage when elected American and European officials are terrified of offending offensive tribal absolute serial-polygamous monarchs.
I knew that deep bow Mr. Obama made in from of King Abdullah in 2009 was the beginning of something.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

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

     
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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

Arabian Peninsula: She Said Kings, When they Enter a Land…….

     
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“She said: Kings, when they enter a land, they ruin it, and make its noble people its meanest, thus do they behave…….”  Holy Quran (Saurat al-Naml)

The Arabian Peninsula is now the home of tribalism and sectarianism. One goes back to long before Islam, the other sprung from Islamic history and goes back to the early decades of Islam. Some things have not changed in 14 centuries. This has been a signature characteristic of the region from the Persian-American Gulf to the Red Sea, especially along the Gulf. While tribalism has always been part of life, Gulf sectarianism has in recent years, nay in recent weeks, acquired a venomous quality that is almost breath-taking:


Yemen. Abdullah Ali Saleh blamed his earlier troubles in 2009 on Iran and al-Qaeda (that was during the last Huthi War, maybe the fifth one). He has multiple foes. The Huthis are only in the far north. The people of the south, Aden and Hadramout and others, want to regain their independence that they gave up in 1990. Al-Qaeda wants to keep on using Yemen as a training ground as well as a safe haven and launching pad on the Arabia Peninsula. They are not welcome in Saudi Arabia anymore, although they apparently get all the money they want from “someone” in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Saleh has not resorted to the “drugs” charge because almost everybody in Yemen chews “qat” and effectively gets stoned at least once a day.

Bahrain. The oligarchy in Bahrain, always sectarian and tribal, has blamed its troubles with the people on Iran mostly. If there is Iranian interference, they certainly provided the climate for it. Only recently have its propagandists started to blame drugs as well. Bahrain officialdom has been rife with corruption and sectarianism since the early 1970s when the al-Khalifa suspended the constitution and ended politics. The period since then has been one of theft and robbery of public property and of enshrining the sectarian Apartheid system. The regime even resorted to importing mercenary thugs from Pakistan and Jordan and other places to fill the security ranks because it does not want to hire Shi’as. They have now resorted to inviting foreign forces (Saudis) to crush the people for demanding their rights. In recent days the regime has started, as Time Magazine reports, a reign of terror against the people. Bahrain is becoming a carbon copy of the absolute tribal family monarchy that is Saudi Arabia: they both follow a policy of Apartheid, except in Bahrain it applies against a majority of the people.
 
Saudi Arabia. The long alliance between the al-Saud princes and the fundamentalist Wahhabi clerics endures. Note how many ministers and clerics are named Al Al-Shaikh, descendants of Mohammed Bin Abdulwahhab (the Najdi shaikh and not Mohammed Abdelwahab the late great Egyptian musician and singer). Saudis pretend there are no such earthly problems in their Kingdom without Magic. Unemployment is in double digits (up to 40% among the young reported ), and the king recently announced opening tens of thousands of new jobs, all of them in the security services! They hint at some Iranian interference in the Eastern Province (largely Shi’a), but they have not blamed it on drugs yet. They certainly can’t blame it on Islamic fundamentalists, because the whole kingdom is one fundamentalist hotbed of a kingdom. Maybe the al-Saud will use the ‘drug’ card if (nay, when) the people rise in Najd or Hijaz to demand their God-given rights.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com