Category Archives: Libya

BHL of Arabia and Kurdistan: From Syrian Jihadis to Peshmerga Beaujolais…….

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French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy has something for the Arab and Muslim worlds. He has been actively seeking to liberate the Arab peoples, which is an admirable thing, but only selectively, and only in the countries whose regimes have not been allies of the West. He has been at it since at least 2011.


He started with Libya, joining the likes of John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Hillary Clinton. They succeeded in getting NATO to bomb the Gaddafi regime into extinction. The West’s newest Arab friend and business partner, the dictator Colonel Gaddafi himself was tortured by the rebels to death (we saw some of their knife-play against the captive leader on TV). Those were heady exciting days, in the autumn of 2011. The colonel, a new friend of Tony Blair and Clinton and other Western leaders was dead. But he had already paid up billions of dollars to the West for the Pan-Am airliner explosion over Lockerbie.

Libya was free: we were told by tribal Arab autocrats and their media like AlJazeera.
So what did the new “and better” regime in liberated Libya do? Their very first measure was to rescinded (cancel) the Gaddafi law restricting polygamy. Some of the Salafi and Wahhabi rebels even started talking wistfully about “slave women” and concubines. Now of course Libya is well on its way into failed-state status.
One strike for Levy and his eager Western fellow liberators.

But Bernard-Henri Levy would not be discouraged. Being French, he wanted to liberate Syria for the joys of a French-style life combined, unknown to him, with a dose of Saudi-Qatari Islamism. We can call it Wahhabi Beaujolais. As it turned out, the early Syrian protests were soon bought and subverted by absolute tribal Arab princes and their tribal Salafist Jihadis. With a lot of help from the Islamist regime in Turkey. The Syrian opposition morphed into groups of anti-democratic terrorists and cutthroats like DAESH, Al Nusra, Jaish Al Islam, Al Farooq, Al Abbatoir, etc, etc. Bernard-Henri was thwarted, and he remained silent about Syria for a couple of years.
Strike two for Bernard-Henri Levy (and John McCain and Lindsey Graham, et al).


Now he is being a bit more focused, perhaps more realistic. He is now into Kurds and the Peshmerga. But the Kurds, militarily speaking, are more than the Peshmerga. They deserve autonomy, and maybe even more, but it is complicated by several countries, including one ornery member of NATO with a humorless fundamentalist leader in Ankara. But I look forward to seeing the new film about the Kurds and Peshmerga.

Odd that Levy ignores that other Arab war, in Yemen. I suppose bringing that up would be embarrassing for friend Francois Hollande.

There is money to be made in some of them wars….
Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

A Dummy’s Guide to Managing Arab Turmoil: from Iraq to Libya and Syria and Yemen………

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A few Arab governments, and their controlled media, spent several years criticizing the way the United States handled Iraq. The Saudi and Qatari potentates especially seemed to think they could have done better.
They dabbled in Iraq, but got their real chance, both of them and others, in places like Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Yemen.

  • In Libya they talked the Western powers through NATO into bombing the installations controlled by the Gaddafi regime. The West essentially won the civil war in Libya for “the opposition”. People like Senator McCain, Hillary Clinton and French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy thumbed their chests (and breasts) and declared a victory in Libya for democracy and tolerance. Allegedly with some Arab help, no doubt token help. It turns out the Libyan opposition was not what they thought it was. Libya is now divided among tribal elements and Jihadist terrorists. It is suffering from Al Qaeda affiliates as well as ISIS (DAESH) branches.
  • These two Persian Gulf , er, “powers”, ruled by absolute tribal Wahhabi potentates, also thought they could do better in Syria than the West did in Iraq. Of course they had a strong hand in the failure of Western intervention in Iraq and the growth of Wahhabi terrorist enclaves in that country.
  • Having messed up Libya, the Saudis and Qataris started, along with Senator McCain and, yes, French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy to push for the Western powers to follow their same advise in Syria. From the spring of 2011 they flooded Syria with money, weapons, and Salafi Jihadists. With logistic and trafficking help from the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Caliph Erdogan of Turkey. That was when the non-sectarian original Syrian uprising ended and was replaced with sectarian Salafi Jihadist groups many of whom eventually joined ISIS or Al Nusra. Close to a quarter million Syrians from both sides have died, millions are roaming the shores of Europe seeking refuge. Meanwhile, the Arab potentates who started it all refuse to take in the refugees they helped create.
  • Now the current options for the West in Syria range between accepting Al Assad or one of his allies in power or allowing the intolerant sectarian Wahhabis to take over. There might be a quasi-Wahhabi option somewhere in between, but that may have been co-opted by the new Russian intervention.
  • In Yemen, the Gulf potentates allowed former vice president Generalissimo Abd Rabuh Hadi to win a rigged election with 99.8% of the vote in 2012. Not a very subtle form of democracy is it? Hadi allied himself with the corrupt quasi-Islamist Muslim Brotherhood-ish Islah (ironically Islah means Reform in Arabic). He lost out in Sanaa to an alliance of tribal Houthis and former dictator Ali A Saleh supporters in the army. He fled to Aden, but he was chased out to a hotel in that other bastion of Arab democracy and freedom, Riyadh. The war in Yemen became a struggle between the Houthi-army alliance and Southern secessionists and Al Qaeda. And American drones.
  • Now the Saudis have managed to hire, rent, and buy a bunch of Arab and impoverished African allies ranging from Jordan to Sudan and possibly Mauritania and others. There are unconfirmed reports that the UAE is also sending its mercenary army of hired Colombians to Aden. Yemen is now a war among various groups and proxies. The Saudis and their allies are bombing the country indiscriminately, as do some of their local enemies. Thousands have died, and many displaced in the second poorest Arab country after Somalia. Speaking of which, many Yemenis have fled to Somalia, which tells you how bad things are in that country.

Together, these princes and potentates can write a best-seller: A Dummy’s Guide to Managing Arab Turmoil………
So much for an ‘Arab solution‘. I had thought the idea of an ‘Arab solution’ for any regional problem was laid to rest in 1990/91. Apparently not yet, but no doubt soon enough.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Libya Massacre: Hezbollah Blasts ISIS and Others…….

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“Hezbollah denounced the new crime that was committed by the terrorist group of ISIL in Libya and that claimed dozens of innocent Ethiopian citizens, offering condolences to the families of the victims and those who experienced the agonies of that horrible massacre. In a statement, Hezbollah considered that the crime complements the series of tarnishing the image of Islam and the Muslims and persists on seeking the religious and the sectarian wars in order to serve the malicious plots of the intelligence services in a number of Arab and Western countries………….”

This is a common and now-increasing allegation among various Arab groups that Western powers are behind the growth of ISIS/ISIL. Many Arab opinionators, from a rainbow of ideologies, easily claim that ISIS was a creation of Western powers, or Israel, or even Iran. Some paranoid types on the Persian Gulf even claim the group was created by all of the above.
They overlook the simple fact that this murderous Caliphate emerged and was nurtured by Wahhabi ideology, Wahhabi volunteers, and Wahhabi oil money. And we all know where those three factors meet.

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

Jihadists and Hashish? ISIS in Libya, Shabby Caliph in Raqqa…….

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“Attempt to smuggle hashish to Libya foiled. The Lebanese security forces stopped a drug-smuggling operation destined for Libya Monday. The Anti-Drug Unit of the Judicial Police thwarted an attempt to smuggle drugs out of Lebanon after being tipped off about the operation, the Internal Security Forces said in a statement. The police cooperated with Egyptian authorities to halt an illicit shipment of 3.5 tons of hashish from Lebanon to Libya transported on the ship “Mare Ta Queen.” The ship left Lebanese waters for Tobruk’s marina in Libya but was stopped by the Egyptians near the coast of Damietta. Egyptian authorities confiscated the illicit items……………”

Ironically, that illegal “stuff” might help them stop killing each other. I hear that you can’t be stoned and high AND angry at the same time. Even in Libya, even in Syria, and in the Caliphate.

The shabby Caliph Al (Samarrai) of ISIS would probably mellow down (or maybe ‘up’) if he and his cutthroats were stoned more often, and not just “high” on the sight of blood. All these uptight Wahhabi youth streaming through the Erdogan Kingdom of Turkey into Syria and Iraq. All these madenned Salafi Jihadis in Libya. All the rest of them, need behavior modification, something to cool them down and see the world from a “different” point of view.

Then there is the legend of the stoned ‘assassins’ and the man on the mountain……
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Cross My Heart on Barbary Coast: the Fourth Western Liberation of Libya?……..

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Libya, or some version of it, used to be a Roman province way back when. It was liberated by Arab Muslims in the seventh century AD, along with Egypt and the rest of North Africa. Ever since, Europeans have been trying to get back in, not just into Libya, but also the rest of North Africa (the Arab Maghreb). Come to think of it, Europeans have been trying to get into any vacuum to the south of their continent. The Americans were also forced to get involved during the early years of the Republic, under John Adams and Jefferson. During the wilder days of Barbary Coast (not the one in San Francisco, the one in North Africa). Hence the U.S. Marines on the “Shores of Tripoli“.

1911: Italy invaded Libya with with a view to expanding her African “empire”, like the French and British. Benito Mussolini later became dictator of Italy. He had read somewhere that Libya used to be a Roman province. He escalated the fight against the natives in order to secure the occupation, killing many thousands. During WWII, the Germans also entered the place in support of their Italian allies against the British who were entrenched in Egypt.

1943: The Western Allies liberated Libya from the Axis forces in 1943. But they stayed on for a while until invited by Colonel Gaddafi to leave after 1969.

2011: The Western allies, NATO, in conjunction with French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and David Cameron and Gaddafi’s old pal Tony Blair and Joe Liberman, liberated Libya once again. They took it from Colonel Gaddafi and his family, handed it to the disparate militias and Jihadists who control so much of it now. Remember the Republican political battle cry of recent years “Benghazi, Benghazi“?

2015: NATO and Arab leaders are hankering to liberate Libya again. Especially now that it is being threatened by the ISIS Salafi cutthroats. Will Libya be liberated one more time by the West? Will that be the last time, absolutely the last liberation of Libya, cross my heart and hope to die?

(FYI: Arab leaders can’t liberate Libya or any other place, mainly because you’ve got to have something in order to give it to others).

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Washington’s Liberation Theology: Charlie Wilson’s Wars………

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Saw Senator John McCain on TV when I woke up this morning. He was making the rounds of cable networks. He was asked as expected about ISIS (ISIL, DAESH). He answered with the same old mantra of the past three or four years: “No Fly Zone, Free Syrian Army“.

Except the old Free Syrian Army that he and the Arab princes had been pushing in Syria is no more. It has been completely Wahhabi-ized, as ‘we’ warned of so long ago. The ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels, the wine-sippers, have left their five-star hotels along the Turkish border and departed for Paris, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and other venues. As ‘we’ predicted two years ago, it is now ISIS, DAESH, Al-Nusra, Ahrar Al-Sham, WTF, etc.
It is amazing how they go back to the same playbook that created this mess to start with. The playbook of Afghanistan in the 1980s: Western weapons and Wahhabi oil money used in tandem to liberate a Muslim country from its present and hand it over to the joys of Wahhabism:

  • We saw it in Afghanistan after 1989, when the Mujahideen took over ‘liberated’ Kabul and set to destroy it, before handing it over to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to finish the job. But that was okay, we got a good Hollywood film out of Charlie Wilson’s War.
  • We saw it again in Libya, when NATO used a loophole in a UN resolution to bomb the country and hand it over to the current warring Wahhabi terrorist groups who now dominate it and are in the process of destroying it. Afghanistan Redux on the Shores of Tripoli.
  • They pushed for a repeat in Syria, and Obama and Hillary Clinton made the right political noises about the longevity of Bashar Al Assad.
  • Meanwhile John McCain and his sidekicks started their own war on the Syrian-Turkish border, with a lot of help from Turkish fundamentalists and repressive Arab oil princes eager to explore the delights of a democratic Syria where free speech would reign.

Can you repeat the same mistakes and expect better results? Miracles do happen.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Islamic State of North Africa: Return to Andalucia……..

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“The caliphate has a beach. It is located on the Mediterranean Sea around 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Crete in Darna. The eastern Libya city has a population of around 80,000, a beautiful old town and an 18th century mosque, from which the black flag of the Islamic State flies. The port city is equipped with Sharia courts and an “Islamic Police” force which patrols the streets in all-terrain vehicles. A wall has been built in the university to separate female students from their male counterparts and the disciplines of law, natural sciences and languages have all been abolished. Those who would question the city’s new societal order risk death. Darna has become a colony of terror, and it is the first Islamic State enclave in North Africa. The conditions in Libya are perfect for the radical Islamists………………”

Most Jihadis, and some otherwise sane Wahhabi Arabs, often talk of Al Andalus. Andalucia is a term used not just for the famous province in Spain, but for the bulk of Iberia that was conquered by Muslims. An expansion that was stopped at Poitier (Palace of Martyrs in Arabic) and was eventually reversed by the conjugal union of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile.
Andalucia is now something beyond a geographic place to most Muslims, especially to Arabs. It reflects a state of mind that looks back to a bygone bright light in a current dark tunnel. A symbol of lost glory in our current era of weakness and irrelevance.

The Jihadi Salafis claim that their goal is to ‘recover’ Al Andalus. Actually the Andalucia of early Muslims is not what the Jihadis dream of. Theirs would be an intolerant stagnant homogeneous Wahhabi theocracy that has little to do with the vibrant melting-pot Spain of the Islamic era. Others promise to have their ‘horses tied’ in the center of Rome, and not just because these Wahhabi dudes like the Chianti or the Prosecco.
And what better place to retrace history, to conquer Europa, than from the spot where that earlier successful conquest started. North Africa.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Now I Have Seen It All: Sudan Saving Libya………..

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“Sudan said Thursday it is organizing a December 4 meeting of Libya’s neighbors, as the North African country continues to be plagued by lawlessness and violence. The foreign ministers of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger and Tunisia have been invited to the meeting in Khartoum, the foreign ministry said. Arab League secretary general Nabil al-Arabi and the organisation’s envoy to Libya, Nasser al-Qidwa, were also invited………….”

Now I have seen it all, und warum nicht? Everything is topsy turvy in the region now. If absolute tribal princes and potentates can claim to bring freedom and democracy to Syria, why can’t Sudan bring stability to Libya? Anything is possible these days.

Go for it, Omar. You must be serious: you have no more sense of humor than your ancient namesake did.

I have some concern about the list of invitees. I don’t mean to show any disrespect, but Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Tunisia and the Arab League don’t cut it. Not alone. Didn’t Qatar and the UAE join Bernard-Henri Levy and Senator McCain in bombing Libya and overthrowing Qaddafi? Why not invite them too?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

UAE Pivoting: Brothers Karamazov to the Shores of Tripoli……..

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“From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea………”
USMC Hymn

“Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were responsible for carrying out two series of air strikes in the past week on armed Islamist factions in Tripoli, Libya, US officials said on Monday. The officials said the two Arab countries used aircraft based in Egypt. Earlier the New York Times reported that the two US allies acted without consulting Washington………..”

If you have a choice between believing Egyptian (and UAE) officials and American officials, whom would you believe? I’d take my chances with U.S. officials, since they are subject to public and media scrutiny (er, ahem, not that they would lie even if they could get away with it). Besides, Egyptian officials are notorious serial liars, possibly the lying-est in the history of the Middle East.

But the United Arab Emirates flexing military muscle in the MENA region (with help from their little man in Egypt)? The private fiefdom of the Bin Zayed Al Nahayan brothers? As someone who is rude and crude (which I am not) would exclaim: the UnitedFuckingEmirates? The funny country that is 87% composed of imported temporary foreigner laborers and reportedly relies on a Blackwater-advised foreign mercenary force of Colombians and White South Africans and Australians and others to keep order? That is a shocker.

The Al Nahayan brothers are pivoting from the Persian Gulf toward North Africa now. They helped mess up Bahrain by joining the Al Saud invasion to crush the popular uprising and prevent the liberation of Bahrain in 2011. They joined up with French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and John McCain and NATO bombers to help liberate Libya in the same year. They helped muddy the waters in Syria in 2011 and convert a popular uprising into a Wahhabi-financed and armed Jihadi terrorist campaign. There are some reports of a sisterly role for the brothers in the rise of ISIS and its Caliphate in Iraq and Syria and back to Iraq.
What Mr. Vladimir Putin should worry about now is if the brothers decide to pivot to the Ukraine and maybe seek to liberate the Crimea. Mr. Obama may have to worry about the brothers Al Nahayan pivoting toward the far east, thus complicating his own efforts at pivoting toward the arms of his Chinese business partners and Kim-Jong Un.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Are All Airliner Shootings Deliberate Massacres? It Depends on Who Shoots and Who Gets Shot Down……


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Poor Malaysians, they seem so unlucky with their airline this year. Still, if it had not been for the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the struggle for Eastern Europe, this disaster would not have been so important. Still, not all airline disasters are equal. Let us look at a few cases when commercial civilian airliners have been shot down by military forces of governments:

1973: A Libyan Airlines Boeing 727-200 plane was shot down by Israeli fighters in Egypt’s Sinai Desert on 21 February, 1973. It was believed that the pilots got lost due to bad weather and equipment failure over northern Egypt, resulting in the plane entering Israeli-controlled airspace over the Sinai desert. Israeli fighter jets shot down the plane. Out of 113 people on board, only five, including the co-pilot, survived.
So, an Arab airliner shot down by Israel over occupied Arab land.

1983: A Korean Air flight was brought down by the USSR on 1 September 1983. The Boeing 747 civilian airliner from New York to Seoul was shot down by a Soviet jet just west of the Russian island of Sakhalin killing all 269 passengers and crew, including US congressman Larry McDonald. The Russians believed it was a US military surveillance plane and fired tracer rockets as a warning but it did not respond, the Soviet fighter pilot later said. US president, Ronald Reagan called the shoot down “a massacre“.
So, shot down over Soviet/Russian territory.

1988: On 3 July 1988 the US warship USS Vincennes, in the Persian Gulf, fired a surface-to-air missile to shoot down Iran Air flight 655 travelling from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Dubai. All 290 passengers, mostly Iranians on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and all the crew were killed. US Navy officials later said the Vincennes’ crew believed they were firing at an Iranian F14 jet fighter, claiming the plane was off the ‘usual’ commercial route and did not respond to requests to change course. Iran, perhaps echoing Ronald Reagan, called it “a barbaric massacre“.
So, an Iranian airliner shot down by a U.S. navy ship. Not over the Gulf of Mexico, nor within sight of Manhattan. In the ‘Persian’ Gulf, right in Iran’s own backyard. 

2001: Ukrainian military shot down a Russian passenger jet containing 78 people on 4 October 2001 as it flew over the Black Sea travelling from Tel Aviv in Israel to Novosibirsk in Russia. Russian crash investigators concluded the Tu-154 was hit by a Ukrainian ground-to-air missile despite the fact it was on its flight plan on an international airway which did not fall under any restrictions imposed by Ukraine. It exploded in mid-air, sparking speculation it was downed accidentally by Ukranian military on exercises in Crimea.

So is it a crime to shoot down a civilian airliner? You may be shocked to find out that it depends, but you shouldn’t. Apparently it mainly all depends on two factors: (1) Who does the shooting; (2) Who is shot down.

Generally third world airliners, when shot down by anyone but especially by Western missiles, are not much lamented or compensated. The Iran Air 655 victims were ignored in the West. If it had been an Iranian missile shooting down a Western airliners, Tehran would have been invaded, with full UN approval. Iran would have been blackmailed and forced to pay extortion in billions of dollars in compensation for the Western victims, who tend to be much more valuable as victims than others are. No such compensation was offered or paid, as far as I know, for Iran Air 655 victims or the Libyan victims.

Third world victims are always deemed to be worth less than Western victims. That is a fact; too bad you can’t take it to the bank, though. But I admit it is sometimes a self-made valuation suggested by unrepresentative and repressive governments.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com