Category Archives: Egypt

An Iranian Exorcist, Saudi Muftis, Egyptian Abdelwahhab…………….

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Twenty-five close collaborators and supporters of Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his influential Chief of Staff, Esfandyar Rahim Mashai, have been arrested, allegedly including “exorcist” or “djinn catcher” Abbas Ghaffari. Many speculate this is due to a quarrel between Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei over the resignation of Iran’s minister of intelligence. Last week, Morteza Nabavi, a conservative politician, accused [fa] team Ahmadinejad of thinking they were being empowered by djinns or genies. In a cabinet meeting on Sunday 8 May, 2011, Ahmadinejad responded by dismissing [fa] the notion that he has exorcists in his government as a joke. You can watch the video here [fa]……..

As if he has not had enough quarrels, Ahamadinejad is reported to have lost other allies, including his indispensable Jinn catcher. Many of us think, erroneously, that only Catholics have Jinn catchers, or exorcists. We all do. What do you think all these official Muftis are? Egypt’s al-Azhar Mufti was appointed by Hosni Mubarak from within his own ruling party, and his job was to chase away any notion that the rule of a dictator may be un-Islamic. He tried to do his job, condemning the revolutionaries before and after January 25. But he has seen the light, apparently. Then there is that other great palace exorcist, the Saudi Mufti Shaikh Al Al Shaikh. He did his best to exorcise the Jinns of revolution and protest from the streets of Riyadh and Jeddah, and he succeeded. Shaikh Al Al Shaikh failed in the Eastern Province, but then these guys (and gals) in Qatif and Dhahran are not supposed to be true Muslims anyway, according the the not-s-secret teachings of Al and his ilk.
One advantage of an exorcist being part of the regimes: he won’t go to prison and get flogged in Iran and he won’t get flogged and beheaded in Saudi Arabia.
(FYI, only for those who are new to my blog: Shaikh Al Al-Shaikh is a direct descendant of Shaikh (a k a Imam) Mohammed Bin Abdulwahhab after whom the term “Wahhabi” was named. He was from the Najd area and should not be confused with the late great Egyptian musician and singer Mohammed Abdelwahhab who was not a Salafi (nor a Shi’a nor a Mthodist). Did I write that there are many Al Al-Shaikhs in various high positions in the Saudi state? Did I also write that I enjoyed the songs of Abdelwahhab, including al-Gondool, Cleopatra, al-Nahr al-Khaled, etc)
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi Plans for a Democratic Future in Egypt………..

     
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Realistically and constitutionally, a caretaker government does not have the right to formulate a new strategic policy that reverses the policy of the previous government. Political wisdom requires not adopting a policy……. In theory, and perhaps also in practice, there is a certain logic for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to adopt a long-term strategy towards Egypt, one aimed first at saving it from regression and perhaps deterioration during the transitional period; and secondly, enabling it to turn into a free market economy in a democratic environment……..

What kind of illogical logic is this? What kind of a constitutional expertise is this? The writer Raghida Dergham works for al-Hayat, the newspaper that is owned by Prince Khaled Bin Sultan al-Saud. That explains it all. And as for the absolute tribal serial-polygamous monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi guiding the new Egypt toward democracy, are you serious, I mean are you beeping serious? Then why can’t they establish democracy in the Arabian Peninsula (aka Saudi Arabia) or Qatar or the UAE? And why are they trying to kill the democracy movement in Bahrain (with cooperation from Mr. Obama and Mrs, Clinton)?
Cheers
mh
g

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Wael Ghonim to IMF & World Bank: J’accuse…………

     
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WASHINGTON — The Google executive who became the hero of the Egyptian revolution cropped up at the pinnacle of international finance Friday, chiding the elites for supporting strongman Hosni Mubarak. “I actually feel like Joe the Plumber,” said Wael Ghonim, drawing laughs after his introduction on a panel at the International Monetary Fund headquarters….. Dressed in faded Levis, an open-necked striped shirt and casual loafers, Ghonim, 30, filled his billing as “Internet activist” in the roundtable discussion notably featuring IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Ghonim, Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, became an Internet star after administering a Facebook page that helped spark the uprising that toppled Mubarak’s regime. “To me what was happening was a crime, not a mistake,” he said. He branded the international institutions and the “elites” of the world “partners in crime” in supporting Mubarak’s regime. “A lot of people knew that things were going wrong,” he added. Wearing a wristband with the date January 25, 2011, the first day of protests that swept Mubarak from power, Ghonim said: “We wanted our dignity back.” “Egypt has cancer” and what is needed is investment and entrepreneurship, and jobs that pay a decent wage, he said. Acknowledging a “radical view,” Ghonim welcomed outside expertise and support from the international community but rejected the idea of outsiders telling Egypt how to rebuild its society………..

Wael Ghomin was absolutely right. In fact he was a little too polite. The international bureaucrats all knew what was happening in Egypt and elsewhere. They accommodate the corrupt regimes of some countries too often. The designer-clad IBRD and IMF bureaucrats often listen to functionaries of the state, I know that firsthand, then they tailor a policy program that often is based on the input of the functionaries. They paper over flagrant corruption and policies that distort the economy and keep it stagnant. That is usually the case for countries with clout. Egypt was a country of ‘indirect’ clout because Mubarak had support on the IMF Executive Board from at least three representatives: his own (also the Gulf’s) member, the Saudi member, and often the American member. Not to mention the support of some other Executive Board members on the principle of “mutual back scratching”. Ditto for the World Bank (IBRD). They should just let the Egyptian people sort out their own problems as he said.
I recall traveling to Cairo some years ago with a potentate who told me during the flight that Egypt had changed, that I would be amazed by the ‘progress’. Needless to say, potentates don’t walk the streets of cities like Cairo the way I do. In Cairo, I saw that it had changed alright, but it had become shabbier, a much worse place than under either Nasser or Sadat. I saw many homeless people around the banks of the Nile, something that used to be rare in most of the city during my pre-Mubarak visits. The progress they were talking about was not that of the Egyptian people, but of the elite with whom the Arab potentates and the international financial organizations associated. The international bureaucrats, as I know firsthand, deal with numbers, data, not with human beings. IMF and IBRD functionaries should be made to go into town, walk the streets, see the millions living in old graveyards, without regime minders. And skip the incessant official wining and dining.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Sorority of Arab Leaders: Tea & Scones & Suppression………….

     
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Egypt has today stressed Bahrain’s Arab identity and national unity, rejecting any blatant foreign interference in its internal affairs. Egypt’s head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi voiced the strong supportive stance during a phone conversation with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. Field Marshall Tantawi stressed his country’s firm support for all the measures taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain to protect its security and stability and safeguard national unity and the safety of all citizens and expatriates, wishing Bahrain continuous security and stability under HM King Hamad’s wise leadership. The two leaders also discussed strong brotherly relations……..

Thus claims the Bahrain News Agency. Arab despots, even temporary ones like Tantawi, always love to exchange “strong brotherly” feelings of appreciation of each other. The Saudis and Qataris no doubt did that just before the coup the Saudis attempted against the Qatari emir in the late 1990s. SaddamFuckingHussein probably did that before he invaded in 1990 (in fact I know he did just that weeks before at the last Baghdad Arab Summit). I swear; if they were chicks, they could all join the same sorority and exchange “sisterly” feelings of appreciation over tea and fattening scones. No, the Arab League is not there yet, although it could be converted to a sorority as easily as in Salafi club or wtf they call it.

The Bahrain Agency did not report that Tantawi asked king Hamad al-Saud for pointers on how to put down and reverse the revolution in Egypt. At which point Hamad would have been tempted to guffaw disdainfully and retort “Tanti, You are as old as my uncle the prime minister who still resents being born too late to be king”. But no, being the polite king that he is, although lately not very kingly, he replied “Pick up the phone, call King Abdullah. Use Skype or Magic Jack. Better yet, if you’ve got an iPhone…..
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Egypt’s Revolution and a Kingdom without Magic…………

        
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Now the country is trying to establish Mubarakism without Mubarak and it is determined to put an end to the “Middle East Spring” with petrodollars, terrorism and military intervention. It has been said: “The destiny of this pageant lies in the Kingdom of Oil…”…… After stifling protests within its own borders, Saudi Arabian intervention in Bahrain means that it is perpetuating its obscurantist message using terror. This policy of terror is due to the nature of how the power structure was formed in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is used to interpreting any kind of diversity “as an affront to Islam”. This has been the approach since 1744, the establishment of the pact between “the puritanical religious revivalist Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and a group of desert warriors known as the Ikhwan, who had embraced the call to arms of al-Sa’ud. The same pact governing this alliance between religious and temporal powers persists to this day through the clerical legitimization of the rule of the House of al-Sa’ud, and the reciprocal guarantee of the Islamic character of the state………..

He saysand guarantee the Islamic character of the state”. I beg to differ about this. He is talking about the ‘apparent’ Islamic character: the ubiquitous mosques, the shaggy Wahhabi shaikhs issuing fatwas-com-alibis, women not allowed to drive cars (although they rode whatever men rode at the time of the Prophet), etc. True Islamic character probably does not exist in most, nay any, countries, certainly including the Kingdom without Magic. It has to do with a core of values: justice, equality, not allowing corruption. Islamic character also does not mean these hairy Salafis, the enablers and cheerleaders of corrupt potentates. In the early days of true Islam most of these avaricious potentates would have met the same fate their own judges pass on poorer people these days: their hands chopped off, then flogged in public. That would be a switch, n’est-ce pas?
In early Islamic days, something like the BAE Systems scandal would not have happened (look it up under that or under: al-Yamama, or Tony Blair & SFO, or Prince Bandar), nor would many more we probably never read about. In this new age of ‘professed’ Western transparency and humongous arms deals by some of our states that barely have enough people to fill a football stadium. It has more to do with preserving the grip of dynasties on absolute power than Islamic character.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Egyptian Army and Female Virginity………

        
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  Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?

“Amnesty International
has today called on the Egyptian authorities to investigate serious allegations of torture, including forced ‘virginity tests’, inflicted by the army on women protesters arrested in Tahrir Square earlier this month.
After army officers violently cleared the square of protesters on 9 March, at least 18 women were held in military detention. Amnesty International has been told by women protesters that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges. ‘Virginity tests’ are a form of torture when they are forced or coerced…..


Does this mean all the Egyptian army officers, from NCOs to generals are all virgins? Do they test all their soldiers for virginity, and how is that done? Or were they just ‘probing’ the national mood in this new age of quasi-military quasi-Arab League type of democracy?
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