Category Archives: Food

Hungry Militias: Who is Backing Whom in the Middle East and Across the World………

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“The letter accused rebels and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh of “targeting anything that moves in the city of Aden, preventing medical teams and volunteers from reaching the injured and killing humanitarian agents.” Forces supporting President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, backed by airstrikes, battled Houthi fighters, who took control of the port, Yemeni officials said. The clashes are the latest in Yemen’s months of violence, which exploded before Hadi’s ouster from Yemen by the Iranian-backed Houthis………..”

(FYI: there are no forces supporting Hadi. Not even the Saudis. Only Hadi supports Hadi. Those fighting around Aden against Houthis-Saleh are fighters of Southern Independence or AQAP).

Media here in the United States have a way of describing certain Arab or Muslim political entities or groups by their perceived affiliations. Especially political or military groups that they dislike or disapprove of. For example, any Middle East group deemed friendly with the Iranian regime is described as Iranian-backed (or Iranian-supported) w.x.y.z, and I can almost read or hear a disapproving sniffle. I never read a description like Saudi-backed (or Saudi-supported) q.w.e.r.t.y. No mention of Saudi-backed or Qatari-backed or Turkish-backed Nusra Front. So, I have suggested a list of other potential backed-by list, just to even the playing field (or is it the killing field?):

  • Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi’a Militias; Iranian-backed Houthi Zaidi Shi’as; Iranian-backed Hezbollah; Iranian-backed Hamas; Iranian-backed Assad; Iranian-backed anyone who is not Saudi-backed; Iranian-backed Texas used-car Dealer Wannabe Assassin Arbabsiar (LOL);
  • Saudi-backed Wahhabis; Saudi-backed Hariri; Saudi-backed Hadi (actually nobody-backed Hadi); Saudi-funded Jihadis; Senegal-backed Saudis; French-backed Saudis; Saudi-Qatari-Turkish-backed Nusra Front; Saudi-Ignored AQAP in Yemen; Saudi-backed Likud;
  • Qatari-backed Ikhwan; Qatari-backed Hamas; Qatari-backed Jihadis; Qatari-funded FIFA officials; Emirati-backed Sisi; Emirati-backed Clinton Foundation; Saudi-backed Bush Library;
  • Turkish-backed Nusra Front; Salafi-backed Caliphate; American-backed FSA; American-backed Jihadis in Syria; British-backed Bahrain Rulers; 
  • Republican-backed Netanyahu; Netanyahu-backed GOP; Adelson-backed contenders; Caliphate-backed Naftali Bennett; PLO-backed Ayelet Shaked;
  • We can also extend this to other, er, interests: Honey-Baked Ham (something I wouldn’t eat); Chinese-style Beijing Duck and Chicken Kung-Pao; English-style Fish and Chips; Ballpark-style Hot Dogs; Arab-Style Fried Sheep Brain; Serbian-Style Fried Sheep Balls (a k a: fried sheep cojonesبيض غنم)……………

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Watermelon Country: Gulf Wahhabis Go Bananas over Iranian Shi’a Melons……..

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Some years ago a strange urban legend spread in Cairo. The media spread stories of Israeli girls, female tourists, who traveled to Egypt for the purpose of injecting Egyptian men with HIV-AIDS virus through sexual intercourse. Eventually the story died down.
Now a similar urban legend is spreading across some of the Persian Gulf social media. Iran is a major source of fruits and vegetables for the Gulf region. The story is that exported Iranian watermelon is ‘deliberately’ injected with chemicals that would make presumably everybody in the GCC states as smart (or as dumb) as Dhahi Khalfan (the clownish deputy head of the Dubai Police and a strong advocate of the theory). Or as Faisal Al Qassem, a loquacious Syrian opportunist who works for the media of Qatari potentates. Or as some Gulf Salafi activists who jumped at the chance with their own conspiracy theories.

Their worst fear is no doubt that the mullahs have developed a chemical that could convert anybody exposed to it into a Shi’a. Imagine, eat Iranian melon and risk becoming a Shi’a heretic.

Some Gulf tribal Salafis have gone literally bananas, gone almost ape, over this new Persian Safawi Magian Zoroastrian Rifidhi Heretic threat to regional security. Others have started to make fun of the whole thing.

This new bout of Iranophobia (or Shia-phobia) paranoia was activated by the discovery of some holes in the skin of imported melons. Some countries have withdrawn the melons from the market for testing, which is probably a reasonable thing to do.
But a conspiracy to inject chemicals in the melons? Is it possible that a chemical-injected watermelon can make us any dumber than we are? I doubt it………….

That is not why we sometimes fondly call our region: watermelon countries………..

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

What Next? Halal Whiskey and Kosher Pork……….

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“A halal version of an iconic alcoholic drink made by a U.S.-based company is expected to hit supermarket shelves in the UK this December, the Independent reported this week. An alcohol-free whiskey, produced by Florida-based ArKay will sell for a little less than $16 a bottle, much to the dismay of the Scotch Whisky Association, which labeled the product in a 2011 Daily Mail article as an effort to capitalize on the drink’s reputation………….”

Islamic halal whiskey. It was bound to happen.
It is the drink of royals (literally) in the Middle East: single malt, double malt, any malt. Westerners can buy it in hotels in a couple of countries, others can get flogged for trying. On the Persian Gulf, royals and oligarchs can fly it in by the crate, some others can buy it in the black market. Th desperate peons try distilling it, often to disastrous and tragic results.

So it is nice to see a cheaper and harmless and liver-friendly version of it available for the plebeians. And it is all probably kosher and halal.

But, some might say that: a pig with lipstick is still a pig. Even if we call it halal or kosher.

Cheers, as the heathens might say…..

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

New Age Conspiracies? Bilderbergers, Schmilderbergers, Cheeseburgers in Paradise………


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Video:  Cheeseburger in Paradise (Jimmy Buffett)

“About two thirds of the participants come from Europe and the rest from North America; one third from politics and government and the rest from other fields. The conference is a forum for informal discussions about megatrends and major issues facing the world. The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any participant may be revealed………..”

“The Bilderbergers’ first concern… is the rise of Iran, Russia and China,” Kevin Barrett wrote in an article for the Press TV website referring to this year’s Bilderberg conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which ended on June 1. He highlighted a significant gas deal recently signed between Russia and China and “Iran and Russia’s successful defense of Syria against NATO-led aggression” as factors having “raised grave questions about whether the Bilderberg-led West can continue its world-domination scheme.”………….Press TV (Iran)

“The Bilderbergers ostensibly meet each year to brainstorm about the day’s great international issues. Their discussions remain off the record so that politicians and others in sensitive roles can speak candidly without risking “gotcha” exposés. Conspiracy theorists believe the Bilderbergers control the course of world events. That through crisis and uncertainty they steer society’s great developments with an ultimate goal of establishing a New World Order……………….”
Forbes Magazine

At least I learned something about Bilderbergers, wtf that be, but I still prefer cheeseburgers (grilled with onions and jalapeno, summer is almost upon us). What would life be without conspiracies and paranoia? 

  • Protocols of the Elders of Zion (still going strong in the Arab world)
  • Illuminatti (it says they’ve lost influence in Washington but take a look at the back of your Greenbacks)
  • Free Masons
  • Obamacare Death Squads (alive and well in Alaska at least) 
  • Muslim Brotherhood Agents in the White House (alive and well before elections)
  • Communists in the U.S. Congress (can never get rid of those, broke old Joe’s and J Edgar’s hearts)
  • WEF- Davos (they still shy away from anointing Goldman Sachs chief as newest prophet)
  • Iranian-Mexican Cartels-FARC Alliance (greatest threat since Twinkies and Ding-Dongs)………. 


Hooters of Arabia: Cleric Bans Buffet, Can Happy Hours be Far Behind?……….


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“A fatwa (religious edict) against “all you can eat” buffets by a Saudi cleric has stirred debate among users of social networking site Twitter. The cleric, Saleh al-Fawzan, recently issued a fatwa through a kingdom-based Quranic TV station prohibiting open buffets, saying that the value and quantity of what is sold should be pre-determined before it is purchased. “Whoever enters the buffet and eats for 10 or 50 riyals without deciding the quantity they will eat is violating Sharia (Islamic) law,” said Fawzan on al-Atheer channel. Using the Twitter hashtag prohibiting-open-buffet” …………”

Shaikh Saleh al-Fawzan is usually an outspoken cleric. It was a matter of time before he came up with a new doozy

No more buffet. The Wahhabi cleric bases his ban fatwa on a technical point. It is purely scientific but in a Wahhabi way, perhaps based on old usury laws. I imagine the Mufti, the chief mufti Shaikh Al Shaikh, is royally pissed, in a Wahhabi sort of way. Doing a V-8: slapping his forehead with the heel of his hand: “Now why didn’t I think of that?” If this stands: no more all you can eat in Riyadh and Burayda and even in Mecca where the more privileged five-star and seven-star pilgrims like to tuck it in between bouts of spiritual piety. No more shoveling it in, even if you are at a 7-star hotel and hence closer to God than others. Which can be a good healthy thing. Of course some rude glutton might complain that ‘it is none of his fucking business‘, but not me. Freedom of Fatwa is guaranteed in the kingdom, even if nothing else is.

the other hand, and more ominously, expect more. Expect the unexpected. Next to be fatwa-d into oblivion are the famous happy hours of Riyadh. Without the money-making Happy Hours, the famous watering holes from Najd to Hijaz to the Empty Quarter will go out of business. It is a good thing they don’t have any Hooters other than owls and some local singers in the kingdom……….


For Those of you Who Love Halal and Kosher Calamari…………


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“A friend told me the other day that she’d heard a horrifying report on public radio: You know those deep-fried, chewy rings of calamari? Sure. Well, they’re sometimes served in imitation form, made from slices of a pig’s rectum. Wait … what?! And so it happened second-hand, as these things almost always do: An urban legend hatched and spread its wings……… There were no eyewitnesses at all, in fact, and all the other evidence was circumstantial: A recent activist report found signs of modest seafood fraud—one kind of fish mislabeled as another—and a taste test showed that switching rectums for calamari might indeed go undetected. Calhoun did not try to hide the weakness of his case: “Just to repeat one last time,” he said at the close of his radio script, “I have no proof that anyone, anywhere, has ever tried to pass off pork bung as calamari in a restaurant…. …”…………..”

The no-no part is the pork. Otherwise most cultures have a dish that includes the basic, er, alimentary parts of an animal. They have it in the Middle East, in Latin America and elsewhere. Usually it is included within a soup or stew: the Gulf and Iraq Pacha (lamb) or Hispanic Menudo (beef), among others. Of course the squid (khithag in my hometown), from whence the Calamari comes, also has ‘organs’, both for input and output (among other things). I think I shall list this under “Culture”. Still, consuming the tail end of a pig is a tough one to swallow (I will not be rude enough to call it pork rectum rinds). Even if one is a non-halal non-kosher ‘heathen’.
Perhaps the next link may help in this matter:

“A South Korean woman was enjoying a plate of calamari when she suddenly felt a painful “pricking, foreign-body sensation” in her mouth. It was later revealed that twelve squid spermatophores had embedded themselves in her “tongue, cheek, and gums.” Squid A Day at Science 2.0 describes spermatophores as “cups of semen”……..”