Category Archives: Kuwait

GCC Opposition and Yemen and a Me-Too State………..

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All is fair in war, nothing is fair in love   Unsaid Wahhabi saying

War is Deception   Hadith

The GCC opposition groups of the Gulf states, such as they are, have reacted in interesting ways to the war on Yemen:

  • The Saudis have different group that can fall under opposition or reformist categories. The extreme Wahhabi opposition, those who support Al Qaeda and ISIS, have the attitude that “better late than never”. They are strongly for the attack on Yemen, just as they pray for an Israeli or American or Vulcan attack on Iran (to them all is fair in war, if not in love). Others of the opposition who are not so-extreme-Wahhabi are apparently also for the attack. Or most of them like being silent.
  • The same seems to be the case with the Kuwaiti opposition, many of whose factions are under control or Salafi, Muslim Brotherhood, and reactionary tribal elements. Even the more quasi-liberal wing of it is Wahhabi-ized to the extent that they strongly hint at support for the attack on Yemen. They also try to deceptively and hypocritically fudge the issue, deliberately calling it the “Houthi war” rather than the “Yemen war“. Which falls within the Saudi narrative, which is how they look at almost all regional and international issues. They are also strongly against the Bahrain uprising. It is largely sectarian, but then the Shi’as are the same but on the other side. The Shi’as are mostly against this war on Yemen and the Houthis.
  • The UAE doesn’t have any opposition, as far as the Ruling Brothers can tell us. Nor does Qatar. As for Bahrain, well, it is the ultimate Me-TOO state. Whatever the Saudis do is fine by them.
  • Oman seems to be the sanest GCC country these days, and the most independent in decision-making. They would have nothing to do with this war on Yemen.

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

Egypt and the Gulf: Myth of Egyptian Role in the Persian Gulf War…….

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“Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Al Sissi has reportedly launched a damage control operation to ensure that his country’s relations are not affected by the alleged audio recording suggesting that Egyptian officials close to him viewed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with disdain. The conversation between Al Sissi who was then minister of defence and two aides, released on Saturday, includes remarks that some Gulf countries were half states, that they had more money than they needed and that Egypt should adopt a strict policy of give-and-take with them. It also includes verbal personal abuse of the Emir of Qatar…………..”

More about the Sisi Tapes. Sisi and his aides said the Egyptians should be tougher with countries ‘we liberated or helped liberate’ from Iraq. This is a misconception (actually almost a lie) that Egyptians keep repeating and now they may believe it. The Kuwaiti and Gulf media are too polite or timid to deny it directly. Egypt was very helpful but it did not actually liberate, nor did any other Arab country or army liberate Kuwait. Nor were they capable then, nor are they capable now of liberating anyone. The sheer logistics would have paralyzed them. It is the “Piss-up in a Brewery” syndrome that I am fond of referring to occasionally here.

Don’t get me wrong. Egyptian was very helpful and Egyptian public opinion was overwhelmingly against the Iraqi invasion and occupation in 1990-91. That enabled the Mubarak regime to send forces. Egyptians, unlike Jordanians for example, were never admirers of Saddam Hussein. I was in Cairo right after the war, and public opinion seemed strongly supportive of their ‘participation’.

Kuwait was mainly liberated by the Americans (boys and girls and Christians and Jews and Muslims and Vegans and Agnostics, among others). With some help from other European allies, especially the British. The Arab contingents that were sent to Saudi Arabia were just for window-dressing: the Americans thought it would help with Arab public opinion.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Sisi Tapes: Sisterly Talk, Brotherly Gibberish……..

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“Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Al Sissi has reportedly launched a damage control operation to ensure that his country’s relations are not affected by the alleged audio recording suggesting that Egyptian officials close to him viewed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with disdain. The conversation between Al Sissi who was then minister of defence and two aides, released on Saturday, includes remarks that some Gulf countries were half states, that they had more money than they needed and that Egypt should adopt a strict policy of give-and-take with them. It also includes verbal personal abuse of the Emir of Qatar…………..”

“The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received a telephone call today from Egyptian President Abdulfattah Al-Sisi. During the conversation, they reviewed bilateral relations between the two sisterly countries as well as the developments of situations at the regional and international arenas. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques confirmed to the President the stand of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the side of the government and people of Egypt, and that the Kingdom’s position towards Egypt’s stability and security is firm and never changes, adding that the ties binding the two sisterly countries are an example to be followed in the strategic relations and common cause. He also indicated that the relation between the Kingdom and Egypt is beyond any attempt to disrupt the distinguished and firm relations between them……….”

These Sisi Tapes have gone viral on Arab social media, even as most controlled Gulf GCC and Egyptian media ignore them. Al-Jazeera, being a Qatari network, was quick to publicize and publish the tapes. Among what Generalissimo Al Sisi and his top aides said according to the tapes:

– “these are ‘half-states’, or half-countries”

– “Some of their (GCC) rulers have more money than their countries have”

– “billions to dollars that to them (to the rulers) are like grains of rice, they have so much”.

– “Egypt will ask for payments of $10 billion each from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait”. In addition to deposits at the Egyptian Central Bank.

– “The billions of demanded payments will be deposited in the accounts of the Egyptian army“.

– Sisi said they should be tougher with these countries after “we helped ‘liberate’ them from Iraq”. This is a misconception (actually a lie) that Egyptians keep repeating and now they may believe it. It is true what Sisi and aides mentioned about Syria: that the Syrians who also sent a symbolic brigade were more aggressive in asking for money in 1991. They certainly were. I will have more on this later.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Gulf Creative Thinkers and Oligarchs Hail Field Marshal Al Sisi……..

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Egyptian official daily Al Ahram quotes a Kuwait newspaper that Generalisimo Field Marshal El Presidente Al Sisi met in Cairo with a delegation of businessmen and “thinkers” from Kuwait.

Now I know we have some “thinkers” back home, but I never knew we had dedicated full-time, 24/7 thinkers who did nothing but think. And what better topic to think of than the greatness of Generalisimo Field Marshal El Presidente Al Sisi?

Mr. A. Al Babtain, a big businessman and president of Al Babtain Institute for “Creativity”, of course led the delegation of businessmen and, er, full-time “thinkers” who like to tag along with businessmen on travels to visit Al Sisi in Egypt.

He, Al the businessman, reportedly did not surprise Generalisimo Field Marshal El Presidente Al Sisi by telling him that the great trust the Egyptian people have shown Generalisimo Field Marshal El Presidente Al Sisi extends to the whole wide wonderful Arab world (although it may not sell in Peoria). That he is universally admired and loved, even if he can’t sing worth a lick. No opinion polls needed, no free and fair elections necessary.

In the spirit of meeting these “thinkers”, Al Sisi must also be thinking something like: “Wow, being president is neat. How else could I get to meet full-time 24/7 Gulf ‘thinkers’ and oligarchs in one meeting“.


Odd, though this Insitute of Creativity. I had thought “thinkers” only thought and never created anything besides thoughts (and maybe a couple of mundane regular everyday things that I should not mention here).

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Genius of Generalisimo Al Sisi…………

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The Kuwait daily Al-Rai quotes Generalisimo Field Marshal President Al Sisi of Egypt talking about unusual Muslim Brotherhood plots. In a speech, Al Sisi claimed that the ruling Muslim Brotherhood planned to change the Sinai Peninsula into an Islamist Emirate and separate it from Egypt.
This can be funny under other circumstances, just the usual Arab leader abusing what he believes is the utter stupidity of his people. It would be funny, if there were not so many people inside Egypt and outside who actually believe this ‘stuff’.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum


m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Kingdom of Beheading and Crucifixion: Wahhabi ‘Justice’ Rides a Tiger in Qatif………

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“A well-known Shiite cleric was sentenced to death Wednesday by a court in Saudi Arabia, sparking fears of renewed unrest from his supporters in the kingdom and neighboring Bahrain……….. Al-Nimr had faced charges that include disobeying the ruler, firing on security forces, sowing discord, undermining national unity and interfering in the affairs of a sisterly nation. A statement by the cleric’s family described the verdict as discretionary, saying the judge had the option of ordering a lighter sentence. The family said the verdict sets a “dangerous precedent for decades to come. Prosecutors asked for execution followed by crucifixion…………”

Mr. Obama famously claimed last month that he was “proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, etc, etc……….” That is what we can politely call doublespeak: I doubt that privately he is really proud of it: no American can or should be.


So
, maybe he will get an invitation to attend this execution of Al Nimr, this beheading and crucifixion, in a public square. It is, after all, a moderate Arab execution, carried on by a tolerant freedom-loving, democracy-seeking family oligarchy that is trying hard to liberate Syria (and probably Iraq) for the joys of Wahhabism. And, more important in this case, it is tinged with the aroma of petroleum and lucrative weapons deals and not an insubstantial dose of the odor of corruption.

Al-Nimr was arrested under suspicious and almost certainly phony pretexts, a common practice of Saudi internal security services. His will be only the latest of many executions by beheading and crucifixion in the Kingdom Without Magic. Yet his case sets a terrible precedent: he is an activist cleric who avoided violence and is very popular with the native Shi’as of the Eastern Province. I have heard and watched him in action: he may be the best and most-stirring Arab orator of recent times. Perhaps that dangerous charisma, so different from the distinctly un-charismatic and uninspiring Al Saud, is what made him such a target of their malevolence. No doubt his harsh sentence also somehow fits into the power struggle raging between Saudi princelings over who will inherit the throne and the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula from the current elderly rulers.

Al Nimr‘s name means Tiger in Arabic. It could be an omen: the princes could be riding a wilder tiger than they think.

(FYI: Death by beheading is the method used in the Wahhabi kingdom. This year so far more than 50 people have been reported beheaded by the sword. Sometimes the convict is also crucified, depending on the crime. So the regime must be truly angry with cleric Al-Nimr. The biggest one-day ‘batch’ of Saudi executions by beheading that I know of occurred in September of 1989. That was when 16 young Kuwaiti Shi’as were executed by beheading in the kingdom. Probably all in one day. It was done North Korean style: there was no prior media report of a trial or an appeal. They were accused of plotting bombings in Mecca, a strange and blasphemous thing for any Muslim to plot. Nobody knows what happened to them after that. To this day the Saudis insist on keeping their remains. They refuse to send the bodies, the remains, back home to their families. The dead remain in forced exile among their executioners).

Cheers
MHG

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Hypocrisy and Chutzpah on the Gulf: Sectarian Opposition Tokers of the GCC………

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“Bahrain witnessed mass pro-democracy protests against the royal family of King Hamad Al-Khalifa in February 2011 before authorities, backed by neighboring countries, crushed the uprising. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf neighbors sent troops into Bahrain in March, reinforcing a crackdown that led to accusations of serious human rights violations…………….”

The Bahrain uprising of 2011-14 and its suppression continue to create tensions among the GCC countries and around the Gulf region. Initially, only the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to a lesser extent Qatar joined the Saudis in sending forces to crush the uprising in 2011. Kuwait, given her own recent experience of foreign invasion and occupation, declined that invitation. That has created a certain amount of tension between certain elements within the two countries.

A certain section of the population in Kuwait, mainly but not exclusively the Shi’as, sympathized with the Bahrain uprising, but the so-called main opposition forces sided firmly with the regime and with the Saudi intervention. By the end of 2011 support for regime or opposition in both Bahrain and Syria were firmly largely based on sectarian factors. This is probably not so surprising, given the strong tribal and Wahhabi and sectarian factors at work.

Now a Shi’a member of the Kuwait parliament has drawn the ire of the Bahrain authorities for making critical statements on the social media. The same assembly member was also reported to support the Syrian Al Assad regime even before the Wahhabis took over the Syrian opposition. Which makes him also somewhat hypocritical. He sparred briefly on Twitter with the corpulent foreign minister of Bahrain (another of the Al Khalifa), and this has displeased the Bahrain potentates. So they reportedly complained to the local authorities about this parliamentarian. The local authorities are making the right polite noises about respecting the brotherly and sisterly and neighborly state and by implication its brotherly and sisterly and neighborly little potentates.

So far, so good. Kuwait is one rare Gulf state were political debate and controversy have been usually a guaranteed part of public life since before independence. So far without much sisterly or brotherly or neighborly interference. But another interesting factor has been the position of the Kuwaiti ‘opposition’. What I would call the tribal Islamist Wahhabi-liberal opposition, because these three strains dominate and lead it.
They have been noisily demanding more rights of free speech in front of the world media, right? No, not so fast. Many of their more prominent members have always supported the repression in Bahrain and the absolute Saudi oligarchy. Now they have sprung again on social media to demand that the government crack down on those who criticize these foreign governments. (Some but not all of their influential members are also sympathizers and supporters of such humanitarian groups as Al-Nusra and ISIS and other assorted cutthroats in Iraq and Syria. But that is another issue).

Cheeky monkeys: they want the same government that they complain is stifling their own right of dissent to ban criticism of foreign governments, albeit sisterly and brotherly and neighborly governments. Can it be the tribal factor? Can it be the Wahhabi factor? Can it be the sectarian factor? Can it be all of the above? Yes, it can………….
It could be hypocrisy and chutzpah, probably on both sides, rolled in one joint and smoked with regional prejudice……….
Cheers
MHG

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Kuwait Parliament: Going from Dumb to Dumber?……..

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“Kuwaiti lawmakers have announced proposals to withdraw passports from any Kuwaiti citizen who harms their country’s reputation abroad. According to Gulf News, Nabeel Al Fadhel, member of the parliament said “We would like also the health minister to suspend the right for treatment trips abroad for any patients or their relatives who misbehaves abroad. The situation has gone beyond the point of resentment among Europeans who are now calling for the expulsion of all Arabs.” MP Abdul Hameed Dashti said he would call for a debate on the issue of Kuwaiti acts abroad that affect their country’s reputation………….”

Pretty dumb, if this is taken seriously, but what should we expect? Actually perhaps getting dumber if they take this proposal seriously and act upon it. Still, probably not as dumb as when the tribal and Islamist Wahhabi opposition controlled it in 2012, and voted to convert the country into a Wahhabi theocracy, but the Emir used his veto power to block them.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

So What is the Best Use for Pressure Cookers in Manhattan?……….

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“Two vacationing Kuwaitis were still simmering Saturday after cops questioned them for hours about a pair of pressure cookers spotted in the trunk of their car at a fancy Midtown hotel. The men were not arrested, but police sources said they remain under investigation. The questioning was “disgusting” and “weird,” said Ayoub Alawadhi — who insisted that he and his pal, Mohammad Alotaibi, will use the cookers to prepare rice, chicken and meat………….. Alotaibi, 20, and Alawadhi, 21, who are studying mechanical engineering at Boise State University in Idaho, drove up to the InterContinental Hotel on East 48th Street on Friday evening…………………..”


Sort of reminds me of my days as an undergraduate foreign student years ago. I traveled a lot around the USA, crisscrossing the beautiful country during vacations. But I never, ever carried pressure cookers in the trunk of my car, or in the trunk of anyone else’s car. In fact I never carried pressure cookers, and I would never take one into a hotel room or into the student hostels I stayed in. I guess I was not in as much of a hurry to eat ‘the right kind of food’ as the newer generation (pizza or pasta or burgers were fine, kosher/halal or otherwise: no questions asked).

Apparently I was also more aware of WTF was happening in the country and around the world.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Gulf SDGT: New Sanctions on Some Al Qaeda Moneybags………

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August 6, 2014: “The U.S. Department of the Treasury today imposed sanctions on three key terrorist financiers under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. Two of the individuals designated today, Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi and Hajjaj Fahd Hajjaj Muhammad Sahib al-‘Ajmi, are Kuwait-based and support the Syria-based, al-Qaida-linked terrorist organization Al Nusrah Front (ANF); one individual, ‘Abd al-Rahman Khalaf ‘Ubayd Juday’ al-‘Anizi, is a financier and facilitator of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), previously known as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). Each has been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). ANF and ISIL continue to receive donations from private citizens located predominantly in the Arabian Peninsula to fund their operations. Today’s actions target individuals who play key roles in the external financing and facilitation of terrorists in Syria and Iraq, including particularly dangerous foreign fighters……… said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen……………”

June 13, 2008: “The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) for providing financial and material support to al Qaida and al Qaida affiliates, including Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Jemaah Islamiyah, and Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya. RIHS has also provided financial support for acts of terrorism. The RIHS offices in Afghanistan (RIHS-Afghanistan) and Pakistan (RIHS-Pakistan) were designated by the U.S. Government and the United Nations 1267 Committee in January 2002 based on evidence of their support for al Qaida. At that time, there was no evidence that the Kuwait-based RIHS headquarters (RIHS-HQ) knew that RIHS-Afghanistan and RIHS-Pakistan were financing al Qaida………………”

In other words: not only funding and encouraging sectarian takfiri volunteers to massacre civilian citizens of Iraq (and Syria and Lebanon), but also ally with remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Baath henchmen.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com