Category Archives: Bahrain

An Arab Human Rights Court in Bahrain? ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ in Arabic……..

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There are more recent reports of something called an Arab Human Rights Court, what I (and anybody with sense) would call Mother of All Contradictions. Reports that the Arab League’s current owners have chosen Bahrain as headquarters of the so-called Arab Human Rights Court are apparently not a joke or a prank.

There is or will be an entity called the Arab Human Rights Court. I am guessing, an expensively educated guess, that its specialty will be to prosecute human rights advocates in the Arab countries. And to try and bully foreign and international NGO’s who support them.

The report of its location in Bahrain? Just adding a bit of insult to injury, telling the Arab peoples what their rulers think of them and of their level of intelligence. But then they don’t care what their peoples think anyway.
It is aimed at the outside world. An Arab court can and will always issue verdicts in support of these despotic regimes. Friendly Western media from the Washington Post to CNN, and friendly Western regimes like the one in Britain can point to these verdicts and repeat them like mindless zombies, as alibis.

Terrible. Yet when I first read about this project months ago I could not help laughing. Imagine four terms: Human Rights, Justice, Arab League, Bahrain. How can they all fit in one sentence, one paragraph, or even one page without provoking frustrated mirthless laughter?
Frustrated mirthless laughter is supposed to be more seemly, for men at least, than frustrated weeping which would be the more honest relieving reaction.

This is the equivalent of having a huge sign hanging over the whole bloody Arab World:
Arbeit Macht Frei……..
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

In the Persian-American Gulf: a Tribal Sectarian Island of Mad Snakes……

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An island, or islands, in the sun.

The United States has its largest regional naval base on it.
Britain, its former colonial master and perennial enabler of its despots, is re-establishing a permanent military base on it.

Saudi Arabia has a military base since 2011 when it helped crush a democratic uprising.

Assorted imported foreign mercenaries, goon squads, are based on it: interrogators/torturers from the humorless Kingdom of Jordan, security forces recruited from Pakistan and Syria and other places.

An island of poverty and tear gas once one leaves the Potemkin facade glitter of the capital. A majority of its native people are being gradually ghettoized, terrorized, and disenfranchised by the ruling tribal oligarchy.
Pro-democracy advocates, original natives, and critics of the ruling family are rendered stateless and sent into exile. Often they are arrested on trumped up charges and imprisoned, tortured.
Western powers, especially the USA pay lip service to the need for freedom and equality. Others don’t even bother to pay lip service to the idea of freedom on the island.

The British establishment (government, royal family, and business) are part of the problem of the people of the island. They are the greatest enablers of repression on the island. The royal family of Britain goes out of its way to show its support of the despotic rulers of the island. Idle English princes and princesses of questionable character fly occasionally to show their support (and get Saudi contracts). The despots are often feted at Buckingham and other palaces.

You know which small captive island I am talking about. A small monarchy ruled by a nest of tribal sectarian snakes and thieves, it is very close to the southeastern shore of the Persian-American Gulf. Just across the waterway from the oil fields.

I have called it a Devil’s Island in the past, a slight exaggeration. I have also called it an Island of Tear Gas, a slight exaggeration.
Any exaggeration here about this island is bound to be “slight”.

I will not name names here, leaving it to your knowledge or imagination, although it is a very real island. In the Persian-American Gulf.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

From Europe to the Gulf: the Gruesome and Gentle Arts of Political Decapitation……….

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The UN’s special rapporteur on torture has accused Britain of playing Bahrain’s “game” by funding its human rights institutions while allowing it to act with “impunity” by not pressuring the kingdom to let him visit. Juan Méndez, whose 2013 visit was postponed by Bahrain, told BuzzFeed News the kingdom had “played the UK’s support to maximum effect”. While Méndez does not have legally binding, enforceable powers, the public nature of his reporting could potentially damage the kingdom’s standing on the world stage……..”

Historical reports of World War II tell us that whenever the invading German forces conquered a town in the Soviet Union (Russia), they started by killing off leaders of the Jewish community. They would call for all Rabbis and business and academic leaders to attend a meeting, where they would be either deported to camps or summarily shot over mass graves. The idea was to decapitate a community and render its members leaderless and lost.

Now I don’t want to exaggerate (although I will): there are no mass graves on the Gulf. The local culture does not allow for such historically-European practices. But in the British colony of Bahrain there is a milder gentler imitation of what the Nazi SS did during the war. The rulers and their imported mercenaries are slowly decapitating the troublesome Shi’as. They have been gradually persecuting and prosecuting the leaders of the majority Shi’a community (and some decent outspoken Sunnis like Ibrahim Al Sharif and others).

Clerics are being thrown in prison for speaking their minds, many mosques have been razed, and they are handing out long prison sentences for human rights activists. Many are having their citizenship, a birthright in all civilized countries, canceled arbitrarily by the ruling family and its tribal allies. New foreign people, mercenaries, are brought in who are deemed “loyal’ to the rulers. They tried that “loyalty” approach that in another Gulf GCC country decades ago, but it has backfired.

Remember, this is an exaggeration by me, a gross exaggeration on my part. Consider it like an artistic exaggeration or artistic license that is used to to make a point. But the idea is the same, even if the method is not nearly as gruesome.


Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

GPS Dilemma On the Gulf: Street Name Thrilla in Manama…….

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KuwaitCox2    Me1 (2)

These quaint tweets from the Bahrain Ministry of Interior yesterday (@moi_bhrain) on street traffic in the capital, Manama. Just a sample of many:

Close the left lane on Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman (al Khalifa) in both directions on Friday and Saturday from 6 am to 12 noon.

Close the left lane of Shaikh Salman Ahmed (al Khalifa) the Conqueror industrial vest region after 109 road intersection towards the industrial area on Friday and Saturday.

Close almsaralaimn of Shaikh Isa Bin Salman (al Khalifa) (UM Al Hassam tunnel) towards almnamhmn at 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. next Saturday.

PT: left lane of both sides of Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman (al Khalifa) highway will be closed on Fri and Sat from 6am to 12noon

Now do you know why sometimes it is so hard to find your way around if you are an outsider? Even with a GPS?

Street names like: Khalifa Bin Issa, Khalifa Bin Salman, Salman Bin Hamad, Hamad Bin Issa, Issa Bin Salman, Salman Bin Khaifa, ad nauseam. Most street names evolve around  a handful of repeated ruling family names (dead, alive, and almost there) over and over and over. Sort of rubbing salt into the wounds already suffered by ‘most’ of the people. Every little shaikh-let probably aspires to have his own street name someday, before he grows up into a full-fledged avaricious potentate and aspires to amass his own loot. Just like his daddy and uncles and elder brothers did.

So how could one solve this? KBS and KBI and SBK, and HBI and NBH, and KKK and SOB and ABC and XYZ?

It is a family affair…….. but gets kind of monotonous and boring after a while. Just like the honorees.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Inspiring Pearl Square became an Uninspiring GCC Square, Could Tahrir become Salman Square?……

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When the Bahrain uprising was frustrated with help from foreign mercenaries and Saudi forces, the ruling family decided to erase the memory of it. Or so they thought. The heart and symbol of the February 14, 2011 uprising was renamed from Pearl Square to GCC Square (actually renamed Al Farooq Square, a sort of historical slap at the Shi’as). Its structure was also changed so that people cannot gather in it anymore.

Now to Egypt: the historic true mother of the Arab world. General Al Sisi has agreed to sell two strategic islands in the Red Sea to the Saudi ruling family. Basically the sisterly (or brotherly) Saudis caught him at a tough time for the Egyptian economy. The islands were sold for an unspecified billions of dollars in aid and loans. That is apparently the Sisi plan to revive the Egyptian economy: borrow and beg dollars from the Saudis (and some from the UAE Emirates who suffer from severe Muslim Brotherhood Phobia). Egyptians on the street are outraged, but Sisi pretends he is deaf.

Is it possible that the Egyptian military will imitate the Baharin rulers and change Tahrir Square to, say, King Salman Square? That should lead the millions of Egyptians back to the “square’, I would think.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Freedom of Speech on the Gulf, Salafi Style……..

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قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ “
سورة الحجرات
(ديمقراطية)

Remember when I penned a post here in February on Internal Exile used by Arab regimes to punish those who displease them? I called it an Arabian Gulag here.
Yesterday I read a tweet from back home. Two Salafi leaders of the so-called political opposition were tweeting. They have been making noisy allegations for a couple of years about their “lack of freedom” of speech. Even as they insist that others should be denied the freedom of expression. Even as their goal is to establish a Wahhabi type of government: they almost did it in 2012 but it was vetoed by the Emir. Even as they praise serious violent repression in neighboring states.
What these two Salafist former parliamentarians were demanding in their tweets was that the government should ban another parliamentarian, one who is from another sect, from travel abroad. They said he might feel free to ‘speak freely’ outside the country, which they clearly think is a bad idea: he might criticize the dismal human rights situation in neighboring Gulf states.
@Altabtabie

What this Salafi former parliamentarian is saying in Arabic is that: “This D—- should be immediately banned from foreign travel so he will not use his being a member of the Assembly to besmirch the brothers in Saudi and Bahrain abroad….”
The other one, his comrade in Wahhabi Salafism, absolutely agrees with him. They are both asking the government (which they claim to oppose for allegedly restricting their freedom) to restrict someone else’s freedom of travel and speech. A kind of repression they always support when applied by regimes in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, but not at home.

Now I don’t know this man they are targeting, and I most likely disagree on at least some things he espouses (FYI: I disagree with almost everybody back home on the Gulf on most political, social and economic and any other subject or matter). But this falls within the usual pattern reflecting the fact that loud talk of freedom of speech by most Islamists, especially Salafis, is for media consumption, especially for foreign media. They do not believe in freedom of anything: speech, religion, expression, and even thought.

Long live freedom of speech, Wahhabi style, with a dash of Salafi hypocrisy.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Prince Al-Waleed Suspended in Bahrain……….

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“Alarab, the pan-Arab news channel, was suspended from broadcasting from its home in Bahrain on Monday, just hours after it went on air.
The station said on its official Twitter feed that coverage was halted for “technical and administrative reasons,” and that it hopes to be back on the air soon. It went live on Sunday afternoon……….”

It is located in Bahrain, although like other Saudi networks it is owned by a prince, Prince Al-Waleed. Bahrain is now a Saudi appendix, and the new King Salman may not be finished with his palace coup against his relatives. So you can reach your own conclusions……
This AlArab network is/was supposed to compete with Alarabiya (also Saudi semi-official network) and Al-Jazeera (Qatari official).
Stay tuned….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Gulf of Mercenaries: OMG, the British are Coming Back……….

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Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seem to be in a race to see which one can establish more foreign military bases and which one can hire more foreign mercenaries. I once suggested that the Persian-American Gulf should be renamed the Gulf of Mercenaries, mainly because of these two countries’ penchant for importing foreign mercenaries to crush dissent and help stifle reform.

The British were in Bahrain for a long time as colonial masters. They had military bases on the island, and they helped the Al Khalifa ruling family and their tribal allies keep absolute political control and enabled them to continue looting the country. They left at the beginning of the 1970s although their bureaucrats continued to call the shots in many local institutions.

The U.S. naval base is a more recent development in Manama and it is largely considered a ‘non-political’ presence. It is a port of convenience and has no internal role. The Saudi military presence is an even more recent development, and it is a totally political and domestic security presence. The Saudi forces entered the country to help the Al Khalifa crush the “Arab Spring” popular uprising of 2011. They are now in the country as a permanent presence.

Then there is the huge contingent of foreign mercenaries imported from such humorless places as Pakistan and Jordan and Syria. They are definitely a political presence.

The British government has done its best to support the repression in Bahrain, it has even sent its unemployed princes and princesses on occasional visits to Bahrain. Just to enhance the ‘legitimacy’ of the ruling sectarian elites. Even as it has called for sanctions, nay even war, against the Syrian regime.
Now the British are reported to be in the process of re-establishing a new foreign military base on the island. That seems like a purely political presence, since Bahrain does not face any external threat other than from the foreign mercenaries imported by its regime.

Sovereign countries have the right to allow foreign bases on their soil: nothing unusual about that. Especially if they face external threats. Provided these bases do not interfere in domestic politics. But will the small island sink under the weight of all these foreign bases and imported mercenaries?………
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Decapitations in Bahrain: a Policy of Political Castration………

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“The State Department has expressed deep concern over the detention of the Bahraini opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, warning the arrest could lead to more tensions in the island kingdom. Sheikh Salman, head of the al-Wefaq Islamic Society, was arrested on Sunday after leading a protest rally against elections in November which his party boycotted. He was remanded in custody for a further week on Tuesday. “Opposition parties that peacefully voice criticism of the government play a vital role in inclusive, pluralistic states and societies,” the State Department said………….”

The Al Khalifa family that rule and loot Bahrain have ushered in this new year predictably. They have arrested more opposition leaders and other dissidents. This time they arrested Shaikh Ali Salman, leader of the largest peaceful opposition Al Wefaq Society (Shi’a). The ruling gangsters have been focusing on arresting leaders of various opposition and reform groups, a clear policy of decapitating all sources of opposition and independence on the captive island nation of Bahrain. They have failed to completely crush the uprising that started in 2011, even with thousands of Saudi occupation forces and imported Asian and Arab mercenaries.

Like their Saudi masters across the Persian Gulf, these rulers are deep into a policy of decapitation as well. But unlike the Saudis, they do not chop human heads, they mostly chop political heads, with the goal of a politically castrated country composed of yes-men and yes-women.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Royal Fun and Intelligent Life in Bahrain……..

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Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

Bahrain News Agency– Dec. 15, 2014- The consecutive headlines:
“His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa today received a cable of congratulations from Parliament Speaker, Ahmed bin Ibrahim Al-Mulla, on Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s Accession ………..”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa today received cables of congratulations marking Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s Accession……………”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa today received cables of congratulations on Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s Accession………….”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa received a cable of congratulations from Parliament Chairman Ahmed bin Ibrahim Al-Mulla on Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s Accession…………….”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa issued a decree pardoning 105 convicts who served part of their prison terms. The royal pardon is part of festivities on Bahrain’s celebrations of its National Days on December 16 and 17, marking the anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Bahrain as an Arab and Muslim country in 1783 by its founder Ahmed Al-Fateh, the 43rd Anniversary of its accession to the UN as a full member and the 15th Anniversary of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s Accession…………..” (After which the convicts probably sent him congratulatory cables, no doubt).

Ad nauseam………..

Cables? Whothefuck sends cables these days, other than Arab princes and potentates? They might as well use running messengers or pigeons. It gets even better: some of the princes are fond of sending handwritten missives. Which the others pretend to read slowly while the television cameras scan their faces for any signs of intelligent life. Alas…………
I noticed no congratulatory cable from the obese foreign minister of Bahrain. Not even a hand-written missive. What gives? Maybe his pen ran out of ink………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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