Category Archives: Human Right

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

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“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……..

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

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……

Shuwaikh-school1 Hiking Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 ا

“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
Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

The Fourth Rail of the West: Saudi Regime as the World’s Third Superpower………

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

“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……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 LePenAlAzhar

“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……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

“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
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudis Reject Swedish Monkeys, Recall Their Own………

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

“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
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Potentates of the Gulf Unite! (Against Human Rights)………

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recalled the UAE ambassador to Sweden in wake of comments the country’s foreign minister made about Saudi Arabia. In addition to recalling the ambassador, Sultan Rashid Al Kaitoob, the ministry also summoned the Swedish ambassador to the UAE, Jan Thesleff, and delivered a formal memorandum of protest over Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom’s remarks, state news agency Wam reported. Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, highlighted the “condemnation by the UAE of strong statements made by the Foreign Minister of Sweden to the Swedish Parliament against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its judicial system”. Dr Gargash stressed that these statements violate the principle of sovereignty……………..”

This show of outrage by the princes and potentates and their minions. Supposedly ‘sisterly or brotherly’ outrage as Gulf media and officials like to call it. This outrage would be funny if it were not outrageous. Coming from Persian Gulf potentates who meddle in Libya and Syria and Iraq and Lebanon and Bahrain and Egypt, among other places. Who paid billions to crush the Tahrir Uprising by the military and help repress Bahrain even as they claim to seek to liberate Syria and steer it towards the joys of Wahhabism.

So why would the Abu Dhabi potentates protest a diplomatic issue between two other countries? Maybe it is a case of “If the shoe fits, wear it“. In Arabic it would be “He who has a bump on his head will reach and touch it” (اللي على راسه بطحة يتحسسها).

Likely it has to do with a (non-mathematical) principle of transfer. They also do it, so maybe they expect the Swedish diplomats to mention them as well at some point. They feel entitled to certain consideration and accommodation, because they can threaten to block lucrative contracts (some may consider it a sort of blackmail). You never see the British or French governments talk about human rights in these countries. Why do you suppose that is so? Certainly it has nothing to do with principles: both these European governments leave their principles on the other side of the Mediterranean before they hit our shores. They always have.

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

Swedish-Saudi Wars: Arab League as Chopped Liver……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

Sweden is one of a few ‘Western’ nations that has had good relations with almost all Muslim or Arab countries. They even recently recognized “a” palestinian state, whatever that may happen to be. That is not to say that I like all their successive governments. Sweden has even started dabbling in arms-for-money deals with despotic absolute Arab regime, including Saudi Arabia, in recent years.

The foreign minister of Sweden was invited to speak to a meeting of the Arab League (actually it is a Saudi-UAE League) a few days ago. The Saudis decided to prevent her from speaking, and they did. Shows you who “owns” the Arab League. The rest of the Arab delegates were as silent as chopped liver. They were afraid that, being a Suédoise, she would mention the unmentionable: “human rights”, “corruption”, and maybe even worse. The shaikhs may have fatwa-edd that uttering some of these words would send anyone straight to the fires of hell.
Now Sweden has decided to review its policy of supplying arms to the Saudi regime. Which pissed off the Saudi princes, who usually feel entitled because they believe their money makes them entitled to a lot of special European ‘consideration’. The princes have recalled their ambassador to Stockholm. Which has depressed the ambassador, since he will have to spend not only St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, but also the coming beautiful Swedish summer in the arguably the most boring capital in the whole wide world, Riyadh.
That is where things stand now…..

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

Arabian Reich: Arbeit Macht Frei, Public Flogging Macht Frei, Tear Gas Macht Frei………

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2

It is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Nazi concentration-death camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army as it swept across Poland toward Germany in January 1945.

Sometimes I think the 1960s terms used by JFK “Let them come to Berlin“, “Ich bin ein ‘Berliner'(?)” must have sounded naive and absurd to an average Russian in Leningrad or Stalingrad or to anyone in any Soviet village east of Poland. Barely 15 years after WWII and the horrors of Operation Barbarossa. By the 1980s, however, Reagan’s “Tear down this wall…..” sounded more reasonable and plausible.

Anyway, my focus is the Middle East. The Nazis posted a cruel slogan at the entrance to their concentration camps, which housed mostly Jews but also dissidents, leftists, and other undesirables. The absurd slogan was “Arbeit Macht Frei“, something the cotton plantation owners never thought of in Old Dixie. In the Middle East, one can imagine new slogans based on that one. The Saudi princes can erect “Public Flogging Macht Frei“, or “Absolute monarchy Macht Frei“. The Egyptian regime can erect “Bullets Macht Frei“. The Bahrain rulers can erect “Tear Gas Macht Frei“, or “Kleptocrats Macht Frei“. They and the rulers of UAE can both quite reasonably erect “Foreign Mercenaries Macht Frei“. The caliphate of ISIS might put up “Concubines Macht Frei”. Tony Blair might add to his letterhead “Oil Oligarchs Macht Frei”. No irony intended………..

BTW: did you read that the British Ministry of Justice “is hoping to profit from selling its expertise to the prison service in Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for public beheadings, floggings, amputations and courts that regularly violate human rights.…………”?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com