Category Archives: MENA

Our Fertile Crescent of Turmoil and Violence: Neither Shi’a nor Sunni nor Wahhabi……


Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

In our native region, the origins of symbolic crescents go back deep into history. In modern times it makes for some memorable sound bites. From the original Ramadan Crescent we have gone through others. From the Fertile Crescent to Zbigniew Brzezinski‘s Arc (or Crescent) of Crisis of 1978 to the more recent sectarian “Crescents”.

Remember when the “Shi’a Crescent” was the fashionable term among the foreign policy connoisseurs of the West? That was when they talked about a Shia Crescent (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon) and the media picked on it and spread it? That one imploded early in 2011 with the explosion of what became the doomed Arab Uprisings.

Remember when some started to talk of a broad “Sunni Crescent” (Turkey, Qatar, Saudi, GCC, Syrian Opposition, etc)? All these were cute sound bites that sought to summarize and hence (mis)represent the march of events and history across the Middle East. As usual, the sound bites simplified and grossly misrepresented a set of complex situations.

Then there is the more specific “Wahhabi Crescent” that is defined by Saudi Arabia and Qatar at one end (one tip), and by the Jihadist terror groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS and Al-Nusra and the Salafi movements at the other end (the other tip). There is some serious interaction in between. No need to go over Taliban and Boko Haram and their ilk.

What we have now is one huge wide Arc of Sectarian Turmoil and Violence that spreads from the northeastern shores of the Tigris and Euphrates south to Yemen and north up through the Sinai and across the Nile and into Libya. I am not even including the distant peripheral neighbors like Afghanistan and Pakistan and northwest Africa. Now, more than three years after the so-called Arab Spring, we are having the beginnings of a possible regional bloodbath. In some cases like Syria and Iraq and Libya and Yemen it is well advanced, in other cases like Egypt and Palestine-Israel it is somewhat controlled and sporadic. The violence is also nibbling at some other states of the region, like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and Lebanon, threatening to get out of hand.

Oddly, or maybe not, the non-Arab countries and quasi-countries of the region are quite stable, given the storms raging around them. Turkey, Iran, Israel, and even Iraqi Kurdistan have managed to go through non-controversial political processes, in one case with smooth and peaceful leadership change. Yet these same non-Arab countries are deeply involved in the turmoil raging through the eastern part of the Arab world. In some cases feeding it, in others exploiting it. 

Stay tuned………

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Qassem Suleimani: Plotter with Morsi, Drug Smuggler to GCC, Election Manager in Iraq …….

      


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter


According
to the Kuwait daily Al Qabas Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani has been a master at multitasking over the past few years. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief of the Quds Force is reported everywhere from Basrah to Damascus to Cairo. He is quoted extensively in Gulf and Western media, although he has never talked to any of them:

  • Last year when the Muslim Brotherhood were ruling Egypt the newspaper claimed that they sought help from Iran’s Brigadier Suleimani. Morsi was president in Egypt at the time and Al Qabas claimed in a bizarre story that Qassem Suleimani had met a senior Egyptian (Muslim Brotherhood) leader at a famous Cairo hotel. It did not claim they met at a hotel bar over drinks. But where else? 
  • Now we all know Morsi was as sectarian as anyone else in Cairo, as sectarian as any of his former Salafi allies who betrayed him last July. No doubt the purpose of the leak was to discredit the local Muslim Brotherhood (both Kuwaiti and Gulf) and perhaps influence events in Egypt. 
  • Now the same newspaper, which represents the interests of traditional business oligarchs in Kuwait, has a new gem which it claims is based on Saudi and Gulf intelligence sources (as suspect in my book as Iranian and Syrian and Israeli or any other intelligence when it comes to disinformation). Mr. Suleimani is also in the illegal drug business.
  • They report that Qassem Suleimani is now also in charge of a network that prepares and smuggles drugs into the Persian Gulf states. The daily claims that the ‘raw drugs’ are originally shipped through Iraq (according to Saudi and Gulf GCC intelligence agencies) to Syria and Lebanon where they are processed (not clear where the raw materials come from into Iran). Then the final products are presumably shipped from Lebanon all the way to Bandar Abbas, an Iranian port on the Gulf. A hell of a long way to ship drugs, several thousand kilometers through the Suez Canal (or maybe the longer route around Africa?). Why not process the drugs in Iran, or even Iraq, instead of shipping them all the way to Lebanon to be shipped back to the Gulf by sea? Somebody is very stupid here, either the Iranians or the writer for Al Qabas. I pick the Al Qabas writer for the prize.
  • Al Qabas also claims that Suleimani runs the drug operation from Southern Iraq, where he is also managing a campaign to get another term for Nouri Al Maliki as prime minister of Iraq. Imagine that.
  • Now that is true multitasking. Notice how all the countries involved are the “usual suspects”: all either Shi’a majority or plurality or members of a certain camp? I mean Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria?That must be a coincidence, no? 
  • Al Qabas did not say, however, that Qassem Suleimani is also in charge of the Iranian nuclear program and operates execution squads, as well as the Amsterdam Red Light District and the Mexican Drug Cartels (all based on Saudi and Gulf intelligence source). Not yet. But maybe some Saudi prince would hire him to run their family campaign to become king after their next election.
  • All this can be true, of course. Anything is possible these days and not only on paper. But I am not buying it.


Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


U.S. Senate Goes Knesset, Declares Netanyahu ‘War President’ of America……

      


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter 

“Today the Senate is about to vote Israel a virtual blank check – for war on Iran. Reads Senate bill S.1881: If Israel is “compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” the United States “should stand with Israel and provide … diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government of Israel in the defense of its territory, people and existence.” Inserted in that call for U.S. military action to support an Israeli strike on Iran, S.1881 says that, in doing so, we should follow our laws and constitutional procedures. Nevertheless, this bill virtually hands over the decision on war to Bibi Netanyahu who is on record saying: “This is 1938. Iran is Germany.”……….” Is this the man we want deciding whether America fights her fifth war in a generation in the Mideast? Do we really want to outsource the decision on war in the Persian Gulf, the gas station of the world, to a Likud regime whose leaders routinely compare Iran to Nazi Germany?……………”


Also sprach
Pat Buchanan, one of the few independent voices in U.S. media and politics that does not kneel to AIPAC and to what he has called the “Israeli amen corner”. At issue is independence: the U.S. Congress (both houses) is doing the bidding of the Israeli right-wing prime minister, and acts against the long-term interests of the United States. This bill (S. 1881) would effectively make the Israeli politician the “decider” of war and peace for America.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Ronald Reagan and Obama: Reckless in Beirut, Cautious in Benghazi………

      


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Writing on the Lebanese adventures of Ariel Sharon and the American forces in Beirut and the bombing of the U.S. Marines and French barracks and the embassy in 1983 has reminded me of a more recent event. Three major bombings in Beirut in 1983 killed tens of U.S. diplomats and CIA agents as well as hundreds of U.S. Marines and French soldiers.
Which begs a comparison with the more recent ‘event’ in Benghazi, Libya. The recent battle cry (one of them) of the Republican Party has been: “Benghazi, Benghazi!” Four good men died in Benghazi. Yet in 1983, hundreds of Marines and tens of diplomats and spooks were killed in Beirut. The Marines died because the Reagan administration recklessly inserted them in the middle of the Lebanese civil war, placing their barracks right among the warring confessional and sectarian militias and hereditary warlords of Lebanon.
So, Mr. Obama hears this squawk of: “Benghazi, Benghazi….. Four good men died in Benghazi!” to contend with. Did Mr. Reagan have to face squawks of: “Beirut, Beirut…….Hundreds of good men and women died in Beirut!”?

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Saudi-Lebanese Media Calling for the Liberation of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza, and Iran…………..

      


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter      

“Acting US Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, who chairs the Security Council for the current month, and British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant spoke in strong terms and presented the kinds of violations of UN Security Council resolutions Iran had committed. Yet they did not put forward any measures, draft resolutions, or additional steps regarding such serious violations of resolutions issued under Chapter VII of the UN Charter –out of fear of the dual veto, according to Washington and London. This is in itself horrifying because it means that Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, Damascus, and Hezbollah have succeeded at subjecting the United States and Britain and frightening them through the Russian-Chinese veto. To be sure, it is unconvincing for the Obama administration to suffice itself with mere rhetoric, stating, as did DiCarlo, that there was a “steady of flow of Iranian arms, military support, advisors, and training to groups in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, Iraq and beyond” and that “[the Security] Council must tackle with renewed urgency [the issue of such] Iranian military assistance”. Thus, without practical steps to follow such an important discourse, the implicit American decision seems to be to submit to the de facto situation, in order to avoid confrontation with Iran, or with Russia and China…………………”

This chick writes for Saudi daily Al-Hayat, the newspaper of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Saud. She is often unhappy, nay pissed, with the Western powers for not doing the exact bidding of her Al Saud masters (I get pissed with them because I often think they do the Al-Saud prince’s bidding). She is especially pissed with Western powers for not invading and liberating Syria now, for not re-invading and re-liberating Iraq, not invading and liberating Lebanon, and especially for not invading and liberating Iran from itself and its history. Nobody mentions the liberation of Egypt anymore, assuming that Egypt has already been re-liberated from the Muslim Brotherhood and is in the camp of the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi and UAE media have many Lebanese writers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Saad Hariri or Fouad Saniora start a regular column in al-Hayat or Asharq Alawsat (the latter owned by Crown prince Salman). The goal? You got it: to get the West to invade and liberate Syria, Lebanon, Iraq (again), Gaza, and Iran.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




War of Terror: Yemeni Chopper Pilot Lands at Edgeware Road to Buy Qat………………

         


 Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter      

Yemeni Pilot Lands Jet to Buy Qat (Gat). Report tells of a Yemeni air force pilot who needed some Qat (Gat) to chew urgently. he needed to get high. So, he landed his military helicopter in a village, seeking to get some of the chewable drug (apparently every Yemeni village, block, and street, has its own dealers). This scared the hell out of the villagers in South Yemen, used to drones, planes, trains, and everything else bombing them whenever more than 5 people gather together. Based on the suspicion that they might be Yemenis or just a wedding party that might include some wayward American youth.
Anyway, the pilot found what he needed near a gas station, purchased it, and flew away. Back to his mission of making the Middle East safe and secure for the American and the Saudi ways of life (Yemenis can multitask like that, have been doing it for some time).
I recall the Qat was once easy to import into Britain. I heard that some Arab shops on Edgeware Road in London used to sell them. The Brits thought it was just some kind of an herb like mint (it was for a while, until they banned it because it was taking business away from the nearby pubs).

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com