Category Archives: Britain

Cameron Steps Down: Inspires Several Arab Kings to Hara-Kiri……

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Hara -Kiri: “suicide by disembowelment,” 1856, from Japanese, literally “belly-cutting,” the colloquial word for what is formally called seppuku “cut open the stomach;” from hara “belly” + kiri “to cut.” Dictionary.com

“Britain’s David Cameron said he would resign as prime minister on Wednesday, paving the way for interior minister Theresa May to take over the job the same day. Cameron said he expected to chair his last cabinet meeting on Tuesday and then take questions in parliament on Wednesday………..”

Rulers in the Middle East, Arab and Muslim, are probably amused. That someone they think has power would give it up. Especially someone who has been their ally, their helper and supplier of weapons of war and repression.
In the Middle East, almost nobody ever resigns or steps down voluntarily. Not only leaders, even top bureaucrats, even lower bureaucrats hang on for decades. As for rulers, be they kings or dictators or other Muslim theocrats, blood can flow first: and I don’t mean Hara-kiri although it would be something to avoid beholding…..

Wouldn’t it be nice to read, for example, that a couple Arab kings of the kleptocratic sectarian despotic school of thought have decided to quit? Without giving the throne to their sons (well, maybe to a daughter for a change). They can take their loot and their brood, their leeches, with them to Europe, given safe passage from wherever they have been looting in a kingly fashion.
One can dream, even an impossible dream……

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Syria: Bringing the Terrorist Patriarchs In from the Cold…………

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“David Cameron was derided for claiming that there are “about 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters …who do not belong to extremist groups” and who might be potential allies of the coalition against IS. The Kurds are not included in that count………… In fact, most experts agree with the prime minister’s intelligence-derived assessment. Charles Lister of Brookings Doha Centre reckons that there are over 100 armed factions with a total of 75,000 fighters, many of whom operate under the Free Syrian Army umbrella, who could be considered “moderate” by Syrian standards. Even more problematic from a Western point of view is the idea of partnering with either Ahrar al-Sham or Jaish al-Islam, two big Salafist groups that have connections with Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN), al-Qaeda’s increasingly powerful Syrian affiliate………..”

Interesting but predictable. The Economist agrees with David Cameron about the 75 thousand “moderate” fighters in Syria, something  I doubt very much. It quotes the Brookings Doha Center (in Qatar, hardly a neutral party) as confirmation. Then it notes that more than 30, 000 of these are Al Qaeda affiliates (probably some 50 thousand in this case). So again they tag Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham cutthroats as “moderates”.
Remember when the Al Qaeda, the creator of Al Nusra and later ISIS, were considered the worst of the worst? Not anymore.

I wrote a couple of years ago that Al Qaeda may be invited to “come in from the cold“. I repeated last spring when the Nusra seemed the last great hope of the Arab oil potentates in Syria. Now it is being invited in from the cold. Not only in Syria: in devastated Yemen, the Saudi and allied mercenary bombings have allowed Al Qaeda to take over more towns in the south.
Will ISIS be too far behind? Perhaps with a little push from the moderate Wahhabi “allies”?
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Weapons Deals: Hollande and Cameron Grow Goatees……….

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In my earlier post I opined that if they, the Saudi princes, can get rid of the moustache, then they might have a slew of kings and princes who are as hairless as Francois Hollande or David Cameron or even Angela Merkel. On the other hand, there may be no need: Hollande and Cameron would be glad to grow goatees in their feverish no-holds-barred quest for more weapons contracts.

    

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

A Mysterious Qatari Death in London amid the Patek Philippe Culture……….

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“The former Qatari culture minister and cousin of the Arab state’s current ruler died suddenly in his London home last Monday at age 48 (the cause of death has not yet been revealed), leaving behind a controversial legacy as the world’s biggest art buyer who remains shrouded in scandal and debt. A day after Al-Thani mysteriously passed away, his watch sold at Sotheby’s Geneva for $24 million to an anonymous bidder, setting a new record for a timepiece sold at auction. Al-Thani reportedly gave his Henry Graves Supercomplication by Patek Philippe and some $70 million in other assets to Sotheby’s, according to the auction house’s financial statements, to help pay off debts from defaulting on payments for purchases. (Sotheby’s said it could not comment on “private business relations.”). Al-Thani began collecting on behalf of the Emir in the late ‘90s as part of an effort to transform Qatar into an international cultural hub………….”

Sounds complex and mysterious. Miss Marple in almost certainly dead, deader than a doornail. So, time to call in Hercule Poirot. If he, Poirot the greasy weird Belgian, is discovered to be dead, there is always Benedict Cumberbatch………

It shouldn’t be hard to determine the cause of death.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

From the Gulf to London to Paris, Corruption Inc Rules……….

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“The problem is that Sir John failed to reach the conclusion that the Prime Minister, Prince Charles and their vociferous Middle Eastern allies wanted. They had hoped for confirmation that the Saudis had been correct in their assessment of the Brotherhood. Sir John Jenkins’s exculpation has caused grave affront to powerful interests, and has led to a long, vicious Whitehall battle that began over the summer, persisted throughout the autumn and shows no signs of ending. Publication of the Jenkins report as originally written would infuriate the Prime Minister’s Saudi allies – and not just them. The United Arab Emirates have long been agitating for the defenestration of the Brothers. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed has the Prime Minister’s personal telephone number, and does not hesitate to use it to voice the UAE’s anxiety that Britain is not taking a firm enough line. The former prime minister, Tony Blair, is another who has been agitating on behalf of the UAE against the Brotherhood………..”

The Saudi monarchy is hopelessly corrupt, that is a given, a fixed variable here. The British establishment of most stripes desperately wants to get its hands on some of the billions the Saudi (and Emirati) princes and potentates can spend on anything they want, another given. There you have the makings of a perfect marriage.
Funny that this article should mention BEA Systems and Tony (the Poodle) Blair. These two names and the word corruption seem to go together well. Have been for some years.


No need to rehash the French efforts to get their hands on some of the Saudi loot. I have posted on that a few times earlier.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum


m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Caledonia and Yemen and GCC: Of Petroleum and That Other Amber Liquid……….

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Scotland voted last month to remain within the United Kingdom. Financial markets and governments sighed of relief. President Obama and European leaders sighed of relief. Imagine the demands and pressures Catalonia and Corsica and Texas and possibly Mississippi would have made and escalated in order not to secede? Think of Texas applying to rejoin Mexico and Mississippi reviving some old, er, local ad hoc non-laws.

But the most affected potentates were not in Europe. They were disappointed in the Middle East. The Saudi princes were hoping that an oil-rich independent Scotland would make a good replacement to reinvigorate the failed projects of joining improbable states like Morocco and the Humorless Kingdom of Jordan to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

My unstable Riyadh reporter claims the king was ready to dispatch a gaggle of princes, led by the trio of Saud and Turki and Bandar to meet with Mr. Salmond. She claims they were to extend an invitation for the new State of Caledonia to join the Saudi club, after appointing an appropriate monarch from among the right tribe, of course. And they would have to settle a thorny issue of a certain amber liquid product that Scotland is famous for. The good news is that many of the princes and potentates are closet fans of the same amber liquid, even if they flog citizens who are caught with it.

For some reason they never think of Yemen, right next door, now dubbed a failed country in which they have invested millions in aid and other types of expenses. Not when they seek marriage partners, or maybe it is just domestic partners. It is now debatable whether Yemen is now a failed state in spite of the money the princes and potentates poured into it, or because of it. Did they pour in too little too late? Was the money too little for the people of Yemen but too much for the tribal elders like the Al Ahmar and others to ignore?

How about extending royal invitations to Malaysia or Maldives or Vanuatu? I mean, with these new additions, who needs the troublesome Qatari upstarts and their Muslim Brotherhood appendix?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Globalized Thieves of London………

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“UAE risk map calls Oxford Street, Soho and Piccadilly districts ‘dangerous’ after recent attacks but police insist crime has fallen. Scotland Yard insisted on Wednesday that there was “absolutely nowhere” in London that should be avoided after the United Arab Emirates advised its citizens against visiting certain “hazardous” and “less secure” parts of the city centre, including some of its most popular tourist destinations.……….. Using Google maps, areas identified as dangerous under the UAE guidance were Marble Arch tube station, running north to Edgware Road and beyond the Metropole Hotel, as well as an area including Piccadilly, Bond Street, Soho, Leicester Square, Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road……………“

Bustling West London has been a notorious place for robbing Arab and Middle East tourists. Especially for Gulfies who are seen as rich (not all are) and hence easy prey. London is the only Western capital I was ever robbed in: in fact it is the only city anywhere I was ever robbed in, and I have been to many cities and towns around the world. Mainly pickpockets and credit card fraud in my case: they see the name and bingo, easy prey. Not anymore, that was two decades ago.

Of course this does not mean the thieves are necessarily ‘English’, very likely not. I also get funny emails offering to share millions with me, mostly from London, but the offered easy money is usually Nigerian. Thievery, like its corporatist sister, has been globalized.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Duke of York in Bahrain: No Tower of London Option for the Former Randy Andy…………

      


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“The Duke of York is due to start an official visit to the Middle Eastern state of Bahrain to promote the UK. The UK government asked Prince Andrew to make the trip, which begins on Tuesday, as part of Britain’s “Great” campaign to boost business and tourism…………..”

“HRH the Duke of York presented an Honorary OBE to Mr Khalid Al Zayani, Chairman of the Bahrain British Business Forum and Chairman of the GREAT British Week Steering Group. Mr Al Zayani was awarded an Honorary OBE in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to UK business overseas and UK/Bahraini relations. Her Majesty The Queen gave permission for the honour to be presented to Mr Al Zayani during the Duke of York’s visit. The ceremony was attended by members of Mr Al Zayani’s family. British Ambassador Iain Lindsay congratulated Mr Al Zayani on receiving his honour, saying “I am delighted that HRH the Duke of York was able to present Khalid Al Zayani with his Honorary OBE.………….”

Prince Andrew, formerly dubbed Randy Andy (but that is okay: who of us wasn’t randy at that age?). Now edified as the Duke of York, he has been a regular visitor to the post-uprising occupied Bahrain, the Bahrain of home raids, mass arrests, torture, foreign mercenaries, and daily tear gas. Of course, like all visiting potentates he doesn’t see all that.
What else is there to do for some of these marginal but bored and possibly still greedy royals? They can’t lock them up in the Tower of London anymore, can they? Those were the days.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


The Economist Goes to War, Miss Universe between Syria and Geneva……

      


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“To see why, consider the lessons of other civil wars, which we assess in this week’s briefing. Syria is bogged down in endless killing. Early in the uprising, Western support might have ousted Mr Assad and preserved Syria’s sectarian harmony. That was what this newspaper at first recommended, but the West—and Barack Obama in particular—held back. Now, after more than 110,000 people have died during 30 months of violence, it is too late. Not only have many rebels fallen under the spell of Sunni fanaticism, but history suggests that, unless civil wars end in victory after 12 months or so, they tend to drag on for years. Like many civil-war leaders Mr Assad may prefer to prolong the fighting rather than risk compromise. The rebels, too, will battle on in the knowledge that surrender is likely to mean death. Hence the argument for a negotiated settlement that might bring forward an end to the fighting and spare Syrian lives. The effort is worth it—about 40% of civil wars end through negotiation. But the odds on success are already long. It makes no sense to insist on conditions that would make the talks still more likely to fail……………” The Economist

The Economist has moved back to the right over the past years. They are now more often eager for new Western wars in the Middle East. And by the way, their predictions are often wrong, have been for a few decades. The Economist has somewhat dumbed down over the years, but it is still better than most of its English language rivals.
The problem with the Syrian opposition groups is that they believed what they read in Western and Arab potentates media throughout 2011-12. They believed that Bashar al-Assad’s days were numbered. Hell, even some of Bashar’s subordinates and minions believed that and defected to the opposition fighting hard in five-star hotels in Turkey or Jordan or Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Even Bashar’s best childhood friend Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass got a haircut and defected to the free democratic ambiance of Saudi Arabia.
So, it is easy to see why it is hard for the opposition groups to accept that Bashar might be around for some time. I mean if you’ve been promised by ‘the powers that be’ to be crowned Miss Universe, it is hard to accept being the runner-up. If beauty contests are your thing.


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Bygone Wars: Washington Protecting Tony Blair’s Nuts, For Now……

      


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“Washington is playing the lead role in delaying the publication of the long-awaited report into how Britain went to war with Iraq, The Independent has learnt. Although the Cabinet Office has been under fire for stalling the progress of the four-year Iraq Inquiry by Sir John Chilcot, senior diplomatic sources in the US and Whitehall indicated that it is officials in the White House and the US Department of State who have refused to sanction any declassification of critical pre- and post-war communications between George W Bush and Tony Blair……………… Without permission from the US government, David Cameron faces the politically embarrassing situation of having to block evidence, on Washington’s orders, from being included in the report of an expensive and lengthy British inquiry..………”

Mr. Obama, in other words, is trying to save Tony (the Poodle) Blair’s nuts for now (for the war that I supported). But not for long.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com