Category Archives: Human Right

Egypt On the Rocks under Sisi: the Thrill is Gone, but Princes and Jihadis Both Love Him…..

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Alexandria crash: One of the trains was traveling from Cairo,the other was heading from Port Said, et voila!……..
A train crashed, again, near Alexandria Egypt just this week. Tens were killed, over a hundred wounded. Not the first one, will not be the last one.

A jetliner full of European and other tourists is blown up by terrorists over Sinai after take-off from a resort. Clearly an insider job at the Egyptian airport. All on board die.
Residential buildings collapse in Cairo neighborhood. Tens die, many more wounded. Not the first time, nor the last time.
Terrorism activity has spread from the lawless Sinai Peninsula to Cairo and rural southern Egypt. Coptic Churches, security forces, and soldiers represent popular targets for the Wahhabi Jihadis.
Civilian protesters are called “terrorists” and tried in military courts, illogical but maybe that is why it is has now become a habit among some Arab regimes from Egypt to Bahrain. If you protest or tweet, you are a terrorist.
People, mostly young people of both sexes, vanish without a trace.
And so the beat goes on……

There are discredited rumors that Supreme Leader Generalissimo Al Sisi has offered to commit Hara-Kiri, also known as Seppuku, but nobody dares wield the ceremonial sword and swing it at the neck. Besides, more credible rumors also abound that several princes and potentates from the Persian Gulf are offering him a few more billions of rice (Egyptian for dollar) to remain alive and well and in power.

Besides, the Jihadi terrorists also love for him to stay, although they can’t afford to pay him for it. Egypt has never been such fertile ground for terrorism as she is now…..

Even Donald Trump seems enthusiastic for him to stay and keep the military regime in power. They did, after all share a large strange white ball of magic with the king of Saudi Arabia last May.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The Body Snatchers of Arabia: It Is Not Just ISIS……

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“The families of 14 Saudi Arabian men sentenced to death fear that they are at risk of execution after they were transferred to Riyadh on 15 July. The men were sentenced to death on 1 June 2016 after a grossly unfair trial based on “confessions” they said were obtained under torture


I have been reading Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and other reports that Saudi Arabia plans to execute 14 young Saudi (Shi’a) men by beheading and/or crucifixion. Any day now. The princes have accelerated the rate of executions of Shi’a men specifically as a political tool to stifle protests, and there is fear that other Persian Gulf states may follow their example.

Saudi Arabia has a peculiar way of dealing with those it executes. Especially if they are Shi’a. In fairness, others get executed as well, and not only for staging public protests. Some are considered sorcerers or users of magic and witchcraft. Some of them are even convicted killers, although the method of obtaining confessions is not considered up to acceptable humane standards.

Wahhabis who plan to join terrorist groups are often sent to re-education schools. They are allowed to pretend that they have reformed, given jobs, and even encouraged to take appropriate Wahhabi wives. Their weddings are financed by the regime. But not the Shi’as.

Execution for men is done in public squares, by beheading and/or crucifixion. Nobody knows when someone will be executed, they announce it after the fact. And the Shi’a bodies are never returned to their loved ones.
All civilized regimes announce the date of execution. Even not so-civilized regimes usually return the bodies of those executed to their families. That is a human right.


Saudi Arabia often returns most bodies of those executed, unless they are Shi’a. This has been a consistent policy. Shaikh Nimr Al Nimr, the Shi’a dissident cleric was executed by beheading in January 2016, but his body was never returned to his family. Other Shi’a, Saudi or foreigner, faced the same fate. Years ago about 16 Kuwait Shi’as were beheaded on charges of plotting. Their bodies were never returned to their country or to their families. There have been other cases. And I know the Saudis do not use these bodies as (practice) cadavers for their medical students.

They usually just announce that so many were executed, a day after the fact. The bodies are presumably thrown in some hole in the desert.

The Caliphate of ISIS also does that sort of body snatching…..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Image Problem of Arab Regimes: from Incredibly Mediocre to Incredibly Criminal……..

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“DUBAI: An Arab News panel discussion held on Tuesday proposed solutions to the Middle East’s image problem in the West, as new research emerged illustrating the severity of the US “knowledge gap” about the region. The panel, held at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai, detailed the importance of cultural diplomacy, effective government communication and the importance of student exchange programs in boosting awareness…….” Arab News (Saudi)

Sometimes I suspect that the ruling Arab oligarchs can never learn. In fact I am convinced that they can never learn about some issues. So many of these media events are staged, all blaming outsiders (the West) for the lousy image Arabs have.
I’ve got news for them, but I suspect they already know: the blame lies squarely with the Arab ruling classes. They are almost uniformly oppressive. At best these ruling classes are incredibly mediocre, at worst they are incredibly criminal (including many regimes perceived as being allies of the West).

So this panel, and many other events before it and after it, all seek ways to to improve the “image” of Arabs in the world. Meaning to improve the image of Arab regimes: the potentates, princes, and dictators. Arab regimes, mostly corrupt and repressive, confuse the image of their countries with their own image.
Such staged media events are part of a “real” and not just perceived Arab problem. The “image” is bad because the “reality” as imposed by the ruling oligarchs is bad. Staged media events or highly-paid lobbyists in Washington and London cannot hide the reality.
Arab regimes and their controlled media want to change the image without changing the reality. Getting rid of the symptom will not cure the illness. Morphine makes the pain go away but only for a while. The disease outlasts the patient if a serious “cure” is not applied.


How about ending the wold-class repression and corruption: that should go a long way towards improving the “image” of Arab oligarchs.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A Farce is Not a Joke: Saudi Arabia ‘Elected’ to UN Commission on Women…….

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“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” Hillel Neuer said.


Saudi Arabia was elected to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The addition of the Gulf nation was first flagged by UN Watch, a nongovernmental body that monitors the United Nations. The Commission on the Status of Women’s main mission is to assess the challenges to reaching gender inequality, according to the U.N. website. The organization’s executive director slammed the election, which occurred in a secret vote during the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council. Neuer called the election “absurd,”……..

This is a serious news item, it is not a joke. It is a farce, like everything involving Saudi Arabia and the United Nations and its Human Rights Council. But it is not a joke: done in the dark of the night, in a secret vote, no doubt a Fatwa engineered by a shameless Nikki Haley and the humorous British ambassador to the UN.
It is getting even better: the Misogynous Humorless Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a top U.S. ally, is also on the U.N. Human Rights Council.


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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

Arabian Gulag: the Cruel but Overlooked Punishment of Internal Exile……

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“Prominent Egyptian activist and lawyer Gamal Eid has said that security officials prevented him from travelling from Cairo to Athens early Thursday morning amid what he describes as a campaign against rights campaigners critical of authorities. “A late decision was issued. I’ve been prevented from travelling and I’m returning from the airport! What a law-respecting country,” Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights, wrote on Facebook early Thursday. Eid was barred from leaving on a dawn flight bound to Athens after his name was found on a no-fly list, airport officials told Aswat Masriya news website. Eid said that he was not provided with a reason for the ban.…………”

This is not new. Across the Arab world and the rest of the Middle East tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands are banned from travel abroad for political reasons.  It is not called Internal Exile, but that is exactly what it is, a form of forced exile within a country. What Arab officialdom and media term as “man’a min al-safar“, Banned from Travel (Abroad). It is done to punish people who criticize a regime or displease it.

Every Arab country has tens of thousands of these Internal Exiles, and so do non-Arab Middle East countries as well. The computer age has made this cruel form of punishment easier to enforce and expand and monitor. From Bahrain to Riyadh to Cairo and beyond, those whom the regime deems loudly unfriendly to it are “Banned from Travel Abroad”.
No, it has nothing to do with terrorism, this form of punishment preceded the age of Wahhabi terrorism, but it has expanded now and “terrorism” is occasionally attached to placate some Western governments and NGOs.

Mostly it is below the international radar, this huge Arabian Gulag of internal exile. An internal prison. If they are not in an actual brick and mortar prison, then they probably do not exist to the outside world. Most are not charged with any crime. But there are probably as many or maybe more of these forced internal exiles as there are political prisoners kept in cells.
Other advantages to the regimes: these forced internal exiles, the “banned from travel abroad” are cheaper to maintain than formal prisoners and not as ‘obvious’, and they are below the international radar. A cruel Arabian Gulag that is ignored by most of the world.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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The Fourth Rail of the West: Saudi Regime as the World’s Third Superpower………

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“Saudi Arabia enjoys a spectacular level of impunity from international accountability. This is not only because it has the world’s richest and largest royal family with influence spread far and wide. And it is not even just about oil, although having a quarter of the world’s pre-fracking energy reserves still engenders utmost deference from those many modern economies that will depend on Gulf oil and gas for as long as the precious black stuff lasts. However, the recent election of Saudi Arabia to the UN Human Rights Council, partly due to a secret vote swap with the UK, seems to have crossed a line. Mainstream eyebrows that have usually looked the other way when it came to the Saudi record on human rights have now been raised. And if that was not enough of an affront, the Saudi UN ambassador has just been selected to chair the influential Human Rights Council “consultative panel” that recommends to the president of the council a short-list of whom shall be appointed as Special Rapporteurs, including on such issues as rights of women, freedom of expression and religious freedom…………..”

When we were kids on the Gulf, a joke was making the rounds back home and in some foreign media. It quoted the late humorless Saudi King Faisal Al Saud that the world was not bi-polar, that there were in fact three superpowers: USA, USSR, and Kuwait. The king was quoted as making an uncharacteristic joke here, perhaps with a tinge of jealousy. At that time Saudi Arabia was not ‘rich’ yet, and Kuwait was the major oil producer and most advanced state on the Arab side of the Persian Gulf.

Now it almost seems that the new uni-polar world has several superpowers. That the Al Saud are often being treated by Western salesmen-leaders as one of them. If not, then they are at least considered untouchable by Western governments. In America they would be one addition to the untouchable issues of politics in Washington: perhaps a ‘fourth rail’ added to the ‘three rails’ of politics. Just look at the record:

  • They behead and crucify people in public, including common criminals, hapless foreign laborers, witches, warlocks, magicians, as well as members of the political opposition who are not of the Wahhabi faith. The only regime that does so with impunity. ISIS (DAESH) cutthroats are correctly criticized by official Western hypocrites when they do that. The Iranian regime is also rightly criticized by official Western hypocrites when it hangs people in groups, including drug dealers and others. But no official criticism is heard anymore, especially from the US, British, and French governments, of the more barbaric Saudi practices.
  • They ban all other religions and religious practices except Wahhabism. The Muslim Shi’a minority are third-class citizens at best, but they are barely tolerated and only because they were in the Eastern Province long before the Wahhabis conquered it during the last century. Only ISIS (DAESH) is more intolerant.
  • For months they have been bombing the poorest Arab country, Yemen, with the latest lethal weapons the Western governments can sell, including cluster bombs. They and their fellow tribal potentates and hired Afro-Arab mercenary regimes. No complaint or criticism is heard from Washington, London, or Paris. In fact I suspect that the targets (the victims) are often picked and located for them by Western intelligence and satellite technology.
  • This least democratic, most repressive and backward tribal regime is allowed the chutzpah of claiming to be working to bring democracy and free speech to other countries, especially Syria and Yemen.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Marine Le Pen Meets Egyptian Islamic Hypocrisy at Al Azhar: J’Accuse au Caire……..

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“French far-right leader Marine Le Pen held talks in Egypt with Al-Azhar that broached the top Sunni Muslim body’s “serious concerns” over her party’s stance on Islam, it said. National Front president Le Pen met late Thursday with Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar, at its Cairo headquarters during which he questioned her organisation’s “hostile opinions towards Islam and Muslims”, an Al-Azhar statement said. Tayeb added that the National Front’s “opinions must be reviewed and corrected”. The National Front, which had a strong showing in local elections in March, has campaigned on politically explosive issues of immigration and the integration of Islam into French society after the Paris Islamist attacks……………..”

“For decades, Egyptian regimes have robbed the Shiite Muslim minority of their right to practice their religion freely and publicly. Egyptian Shiites have been subject to persecution, detention and imprisonment. On May 18, the prosecution accused Shiite leader Al-Taher al-Hashimy of attempting to spread Shiism, disturbing social peace and conducting covert activities………..  On May 12, a physician was sentenced to six months in prison for practicing Shiism, according to a statement released by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). He was found guilty of blasphemy, attempting to cause sectarian strife, as well as threatening national security by attempting to spread Shiite ideology…………..”

J’accuse au Caire……….

Interesting to see the self righteous shaikh (now Imam) of Al-Azhar exuding hypocritic piety. From the picture of the meeting (above) it is easy to spot the more honest and more intelligent person at that meeting: she is wearing high-heels, not a turban.

So who do you think has more freedom, Muslims of France or Muslims of Egypt (especially Shi’a Muslims)? And where do Muslims have more freedom of religion especially: in France or in Egypt?
No, let me rephrase this: who has no freedom to worship at all, Muslims of France or Shi’a Muslims of Egypt?
Let me rephrase it again: who is more hypocritical and repressive, the government and religious establishment in Egypt or the French far right like Front National?
Let me phrase it differently: which country is more repressive of other sects and religions, including other Muslims: Egypt or Israel?

In which city is a taxi driver very likely to tell you to get out of his car if you tell him you’re a Shi’a: in Cairo or in Tel Aviv?

This is not to deny the existence of Islamophobia and bigotry in Europe. But why ignore and deny the worse cases of inter-Islamic bigotry and repression of religious freedom at home?
Now try to be honest about your answers, if you can………….

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

On the Gulf: Westerners Confusing Luxury Hotels with Human Rights……..

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“I had been looking forward to this year’s International Human Rights Rank Indicator (IHRRI) which was due to be issued tomorrow but – alas – it has suddenly, and without explanation, been postponed for several months. The IHRRI is (or perhaps was) an international league table of human rights, covering 216 countries. Last year, unbelievably, it placed the United Arab Emirates in 12th position worldwide – between New Zealand and Iceland. No other Arab country came anywhere close to the UAE in terms of human rights performance; Morocco was nearest, in 67th position. When this claim about the Emirates was noted (and ridiculed) on social media, IHRRI deleted the entire league table from its website – again, suddenly and without explanation…………….”

It is not the first time Western experts, pundits, journalists, even some politicians, have confused luxury accommodation and wining and dining with human rights. Especially in the Persian Gulf states. It is the traditional Arab hospitality of the Gulf, misunderstood in the West. This often happens for visitors to the United Arab Emirates-UAE. I have in the past commented on articles by Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen (I usually enjoy reading Cohen) and possibly David Ignatius (Washington Post) and how they confuse things like luxurious 6-star hosting and accessibility to ‘human rights’ and ‘credibility of leaked information’.

Of course the overwhelming majority of residents of the UAE and other places on the Gulf (95% of them) cannot afford the luxury of these 6-star hotels. So they probably don’t merit human rights.

It is usually hard to be critical of those who offer you 6-star hospitality. Although I recall that Nicholas Kristof (N Y Times) visited Iran a year or two ago and came back to write in favor of tougher economic sanctions against Iran. I am assuming Kristof did not get 6-star or 7-star hospitality from the mullahs in Iran. I doubt that they have it in Tehran now. I blame the Western blockade……..
So maybe the folks at IHRRI are waiting for the UAE to mend its ways so that it can merit being placed next to Iceland on human rights. Perhaps in a year or two, or maybe when hell freezes over……….

    

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Saudis Reject Swedish Monkeys, Recall Their Own………

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“Saudi Arabia has refused to accept four tiny Amazonian monkeys from a Swedish zoo because of a diplomatic row, Swedish media report. The pygmy marmosets at Skansen zoo in Stockholm had been destined for a Riyadh zoo. “They didn’t want the monkeys anymore because of the political situation,” said Skansen zoo boss Jonas Wahlstrom. Last month the Saudi ambassador to Sweden was recalled, after Sweden ended an arms deal in a human rights dispute. Weighing just over 100 grams (3.5 oz) each pygmy marmosets are the smallest primates in the world. “It’s a little comical. I’ll just have to wait until they grant visas to Swedish businessmen again. Maybe monkeys will get visas then too,” said Mr Wahlstrom………….”

It started when the Saudis vetoed a scheduled speech by the Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström to an Arab League meeting. The princes, who fancy they own the Arab League (they do), feared that the female minister would remind the Arab potentates and their minions of the HR words, Human Rights. So the dispute started and escalated.
The Saudis have not only refused to grant visas to the Swedish pygmy monkeys as well as to Swedes in general, they have also recalled their own marmoset ambassador from Stockholm, who is not a pygmy. Besides, my incredible source report that one famously loquacious traveling prince snorted, tongue-in-cheek, that “We don’t need them and their f–king monkeys. We have thousands of our own within the family”.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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