Category Archives: Mercenaries

Islamic Mercenaries of the Persian Gulf: Have Quran, Will Travel………

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This is not a new phenomenon on the Persian Gulf: religious sheikhs (clerics) for hire.

Often they come from Egypt, Jordan, North Africa and other Arab countries/regions. They usually attach themselves to one or another among the ruling absolute oligarchies, of the Gulf, especially in the UAE or Qatar. Attracted by money and opportunity, they start issuing statements or Fatwas in favor of their benefactors and against others who displease these benefactors. They are absolutely mercenaries: clerics for hire. No different from the armed foreign mercenaries that some Gulf regimes hire to do their repression or wage their regional wars.

Here is a man with the impressive-sounding title of Deputy President of the International Union of Muslim Clerics, basically a clerical bureaucracy for hire. He is here accusing another cleric-for-hire, the Religious Adviser, whatever that be, of the top man in the UAE, Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ), of being among “devil worshipers”. He also called him a religious traveling salesman. MBZ and the UAE are among the strongest anti-Muslim Brotherhood in the whole Middle East. This is a sore point of contention with their Saudi “allies” in the stalling war on Yemen.
Of course all this name-calling is a case of one soot-covered pot calling another pot ‘black’.


The Persian Gulf GCC states are full of these hired expatriate clerics, like Al Qaradawi (in Qatar) and others, basically mercenaries, religious guns for hire. Often they are either Muslim Brothers who have found the joys of oil money (in Qatar) or others hired by the UAE potentates to blast the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamic gunslingers and mud-slingers.

All these people do their own interpretation of the Quran or Hadith to serve their masters. They are almost as bad as the Salafis, almost.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Yemen: a Genocidal War of Clashing Foreign Mercenaries…….

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Some Gulf states have hit on a new ingenious technique to compete with more powerful neighbors like Iran, Turkey, and Israel. They have sought to expand their sphere of influence through a combination of financial inducements and the hiring of foreign mercenaries to act like national armies. All of it allegedly hush-hush, but not enough hush-hush on the Gulf. State secrets on the Persian Gulf last about as long as they would in a cathouse (a k a a brothel for the, er, uninitiated). But that is okay: everybody is involved in Arab civil wars these days, from Russians to Americans and Iranians and Turks and Lebanese and Chechens and Euros. Among others.

The United Arab Emirates, UAE, with a small native population of nearly a million have been actively hiring foreign mercenaries. They have been especially hiring Colombian fighters, so many officers at high pay, creating a shortage in the Colombian military. Some reports have also come out of Mexicans. As early as the Arab Uprisings of 2011, Abu Dhabi formed a mercenary brigade organized by former Blackwater executives, and composed of Latin Americans, Australians and white South Africans, among others.

The Saudi population is about one third temporary foreign laborers (housemaids, drivers, etc). The native population is not interested in fighting a foreign war or any war, except for the many who volunteer with terrorist Wahhabi groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS.  So the princes have sought a different kind of mercenary force. They have bought off the dictator of Sudan, the convicted war criminal General Omar Al Bashir. He has rented off thousands of his forces to the Saudis in their war on Yemen. There is the possibility of Mauritanian and other African mercenaries, including Djibouti (both members of the Arab League). Jordanian mercenaries are almost certainly involved as well, as they almost always are in these cases (in Bahrain, as one example). Pakistan, which has about 35+ million Shi’as, has declined for its army to be hired off, and Egypt has been stonewalling.

The deposed Yemeni regime of General Hadi (Al Zombie) has been allied with the corrupt Islah (mainly Muslim Brotherhood) group. Now the Saudis are moving closer to the MB with whom they had good relations in past decades that had soured, while the UAE rulers see the MB as Enemy Number One. Hence a divergence of opinion and policy among allies in the quagmire that is Yemen.

Both countries have been bombing Yemeni cities for months, essentially committing genocide, with logistical and targeting help from the United States government and possibly other Western powers. Reports indicate that the UAE is moving away from the Saudis, especially in Yemen which lies almost between the two countries. The Abu Dhabi potentates are reportedly sending their own mercenaries to southern Yemen. They are also inviting former South Yemen (PDRY) Marxist leaders to the UAE for consultation. Since the Emirati sheikhs are unlikely to have gone Marxist, I assume they are making some other deal.

So, the real war is not between just two Yemeni sides. It is between the Saudis and Emiratis and Qataris and Colombians and Americans and Mexicans and Sudanese and Jordanians and Al Qaeda (AQAP) and ISIS and Hirak secessionists and aging Aden Marxists. Meanwhile the genocidal air war by the bought and hired Arab and African alliance is pushing Yemen back about sixty or so years.

Stay tuned………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Iraq’s Ahmed Chalabi: Death of a Convenient Western Alibi……..

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Ahmed Chalabi died this week. His death has allowed the Western media to re-iterate, and almost certainly exaggerate again, his singular role in pushing the American-British, Bush-Blair, 2003 invasion of Iraq.

We are to believe that one man, an Iraqi exile with possible unsavory connections, fooled the huge American intelligence community (remember when CIA chief George Tenet said finding WMD in Iraq was a Slam Dunk). He also supposedly fooled the less-massive British intelligence machine: MI6 and James Bond and George Smiley and the rest of the possible characters.
Gone are Donald Rumsfeld’s snarky comments about Old and New Europe. Gone are Dick Cheney’s claim of fictional meetings between Saddam Hussein agents with Al-Qaeda operatives in Czecho-Slovakia. Gone are the silly allegations of “mushroom cloud” and “smoking gun”. Gone are the allegations of Yellow Cake from Niger and the outing of uncooperative CIA agents.

Gone are the huge no-bid contracts for well-connected U.S companies and Persian Gulf contractors. Gone is any talk about millionaire American private military and building contractors who made their fortunes in the Iraq war, on the backs of dead and crippled American boys and girls and Iraqi victims. Gone is the talk about a billion-dollar Baghdad embassy that was used as a cash cow for corrupt Americans and their Gulf partners.

Chalabi was one exaggerator, perhaps one liar among many in the early years of this century. Not all of them were Arabs. Chalabi’s death seems convenient for many in the West.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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War on Yemen: Assault by Rich Arab Princes and Poor African Rapists……

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Yemen has been under severe assault for almost eight months now. From the air, warplanes of Arab princes, the best machinery of war that the West can sell, are raining death and destruction on the poorest of Arabs. Now the princes have also bought or rented thousands of African/Arab mercenaries to do the ground fighting for them. Apparently too many casualties among the Gulf coalition soldiers (Saudi, UAE) in Aden have raised ‘concern’ among the peoples of these two countries.

The Saudis have already handed parts of Aden in Southern Yemen to mercenary Sudanese soldiers. These soldiers have been rented from the wanted international criminal Omar Al-Bashir, military dictator of Sudan for almost 27 years. Al-Bashir was convicted by the International Criminal Court years ago, but he keeps traveling at will across the Arab world. He met the Saudi king in recent days. His army excels in and is famous for rape and murder of unarmed civilians. Now he is being paid by the Saudi princes so that his army of rapists and killers can help control the city of Aden. These Sudanese soldiers are now technically allies of American and British forces that are involved over Yemen.
Arab media report that more Sudanese soldiers, a third wave, are heading to Aden. Saudi daily al-Hayat (owned by Prince Khalid Bin Sultan) quotes a senior adviser to the deposed Yemeni president General Hadi that mercenary Egyptian soldiers hired out from Al Sisi are also on their way.

I have some doubts about the veracity claim of this Egyptian role. Unless the price was raised to an offer that the ruling military could not refuse.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Fog of War: Iraqi Militias, American Militias, Mercenary Militias……..

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Militias have suddenly retaken the center stage in media and in public official discussions of recent developments in Iraq. Apparently Shi’a ‘militias’ are now taking an important role in the Iraqi counteroffensive against the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State, ISIS.

There is no denying that some of the Iraqi Shi’a militias can be as nasty as the other armed factions in Iraq. The experience of the mini-civil-war of 2006-2008 showed that. But they are in no way comparable to the Wahhabi cutthroats of Al Qaeda or ISIS, regardless of the nonsensical stuff Gen. Petraeus said recently. Yet there is now a bigger storm of foreign criticism of Iraqis hiring or allowing ‘militias’ to fight government battles. This is especially true in the United States.

Yet hiring and/or using private militias is a worldwide phenomenon in this era of war-for-profit. Apparently there is no stigma on hiring private militias if the militias are Westerners and those who hire them are Western governments. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have been known and reported  to rely on private contractors (the Western equivalent of militias) in battle zones. We have read about the American millionaires that were made in Iraq. So, the complaints about Iraqis using militias when they have an army of 200 or 300 thousand sound hypocritical and hollow. The United States has a standing military of millions, yet there is increased dependence on contractors in military zones and even in protecting diplomats and high military officials (as reportedly happened in Iraq).

I shall not speak extensively here about those other hired foreign militias down the Persian Gulf. They are hired by the princes and potentates from humorless places like Jordan, often through the government and certainly with its approval, as well as from Pakistan and other distant lands. These are used to keep the people repressed in such places, and to conduct thorough and ‘enhanced interrogations’ of the restive ones among the native populations. So it can be irksome that princes and potentates who hire foreign mercenaries (essentially militias) to torment their own people complain about Iraqi militias.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Gulf of Mercenaries: OMG, the British are Coming Back……….

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Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seem to be in a race to see which one can establish more foreign military bases and which one can hire more foreign mercenaries. I once suggested that the Persian-American Gulf should be renamed the Gulf of Mercenaries, mainly because of these two countries’ penchant for importing foreign mercenaries to crush dissent and help stifle reform.

The British were in Bahrain for a long time as colonial masters. They had military bases on the island, and they helped the Al Khalifa ruling family and their tribal allies keep absolute political control and enabled them to continue looting the country. They left at the beginning of the 1970s although their bureaucrats continued to call the shots in many local institutions.

The U.S. naval base is a more recent development in Manama and it is largely considered a ‘non-political’ presence. It is a port of convenience and has no internal role. The Saudi military presence is an even more recent development, and it is a totally political and domestic security presence. The Saudi forces entered the country to help the Al Khalifa crush the “Arab Spring” popular uprising of 2011. They are now in the country as a permanent presence.

Then there is the huge contingent of foreign mercenaries imported from such humorless places as Pakistan and Jordan and Syria. They are definitely a political presence.

The British government has done its best to support the repression in Bahrain, it has even sent its unemployed princes and princesses on occasional visits to Bahrain. Just to enhance the ‘legitimacy’ of the ruling sectarian elites. Even as it has called for sanctions, nay even war, against the Syrian regime.
Now the British are reported to be in the process of re-establishing a new foreign military base on the island. That seems like a purely political presence, since Bahrain does not face any external threat other than from the foreign mercenaries imported by its regime.

Sovereign countries have the right to allow foreign bases on their soil: nothing unusual about that. Especially if they face external threats. Provided these bases do not interfere in domestic politics. But will the small island sink under the weight of all these foreign bases and imported mercenaries?………
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Twist of Fate: Are the Saudis Hiring Foreign Forces to Face Possible Wahhabi Attacks?………


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“Saudi Arabia has deployed thousands of troops from Egypt and Pakistan along its frontier with Iraq, amid fears of invasion by the al-Qaeda splinter group that has declared a radical Islamic state across the border. Panicked by the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis), Riyadh has taken the drastic step of calling in military assistance from its close allies ……. Saudi Arabia spent an estimated GBP 35 billion on defense last year……………”

Most Arab regimes spend a lot of money on importing weapons, even though many, nay most of them face no external threat. But their focus is not defense against a foreign enemy. The priority is to keep the regimes, the ruling elites, the oligarchies, in power. The target, especially since the Arab Uprisings in 2011, has been potential domestic unrest.

Foreign mercenaries are not new in the Persian Gulf countries. Bahrain has been notorious for importing some of the nastiest of them from countries like humorless Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq (mainly former Baathists), among others. The rulers of Bahrain, who are also seriously humor-challenged, need mercenaries because they refuse to hire much of their own citizens.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have often relied on foreign military personnel, but they famously went even more international recently. The ruling potentates went ahead in 2011 and reportedly formed an elite parallel mercenary army organized by former Blackwater officials. The mercenaries are chosen from Colombia, South Africa, Australia, and other places. Colombian media even reported that country was facing a shortage of qualified military officers because of the money offered veterans by the UAE (which has very few citizens among its population).

Saudi Arabia does not face the same population problems as Bahrain or the UAE. About 15 million of its 24 million population are citizens, and thus eligible to serve in the military and security services. Yet their have been reports over the past few years of secret Saudi agreements with governments of Pakistan, Malaysia, and others to supply mercenary forces “when needed”.

Now this new report of Egyptian forces makes some sense. Egypt has a huge reserve of under-employed military personnel (all security personnel are probably needed t home these days). Egypt is not facing any foreign threats, contrary to what local media reports (unless Al Sisi goes foolish and intervenes in Libya). With many of the Muslim Brotherhood opposition either shot by the military or hanged or in prison, they can afford to send a few thousand to Riyadh.

Yet it is highly unlikely that the Al Saud will openly rely on foreign mercenaries. They can’t exactly aspire to become an important regional player and OPENLY depend on foreign mercenaries to defend the regime.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Heading to the Persian Gulf: Yates & Timoney, vandenHeuvel & Cheney, Mexican Killers, Jordanian Goons……

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Former British police boss John Yates and US ex-cop John Timoney will oversee reforms to Bahrain’s security force after a report found it guilty of human rights abuses, the Daily Telegraph reported Friday. Bahrain’s King Hamad has asked Yates, who quit as head of Britain’s Metropolitan police force in July over a phone-hacking scandal, and Timoney, former head of Miami police, to modernise its force in order to meet international human rights standards. “Bahrain’s police have some big challenges ahead, not dissimilar to those the UK itself faced only a couple of decades ago, but I have been impressed that the King is doing the right thing by pressing on with big reforms,” Yates told the British newspaper. “This is a big challenge which I will undertake with a great reforming police officer like John Timoney,” he added. A special independent commission probing Bahrain’s March crackdown on Shiite-led democracy protests said ………

About Bahrain: what will they do with all the humorless Jordanian interrogators and torturers the ruling al-Khalifa had imported from the sisterly king of Jordan? Will they send them back or will the Brits and Americans try to train them to better identify terrorists protesting for their rights? What about all the Pakistani mercenaries they have imported to help pillage villages, beat up people, threaten women with rape, and arrest the innocent? And all the Syrian and Iraqi Ba’athist mercenaries?

What Next for the Gulf region?


  • The Iranian mullahs could hire Katrina vandenHeuvel to help develop democratic institutions and help on women issues.

  • The Saudi princes may hire Liz Cheney to help the kingdom democratize and also to help improve the image of Islam and Muslims on her “Keep America Safe but Stupid” website.

  • The al-Nahayan potentates of Abu Dhabi, who also rule the United Arab Emirates, have decided on a different approach. They will finally take my advice and hire some veterans of the Mexican drug cartels to join their mercenary army. That army was announced last spring and is led by Blackwater bosses and composed of Colombians, Australians, white South Africans, among others.

Cheers
mhg



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The Orwellian Glory of Bahrain? Khalifa and Winston Smith and O’Brien……………….

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                                           Glory of the nation? 
Even amid the crackdown, officials insist that Bahrain remains a democratic country adhering to, in the words of Abdulla al-Buainain, a judge, the “rule of law.” (E-mails to the government information office and a public relations firm hired by Bahrain went unanswered.) But the frustration of Mr. Alderazi is evident across the kingdom. The most despised government figure for Shiites, Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the king’s 75-year-old uncle and the world’s longest-serving prime minister with four decades in office, has become the center of an attempt at a personality cult; his portraits adorn intersections. “Glory of the nation,” one describes him……… Most dangerous, though, is the exacerbation of sectarian hatred in a country that has never really reconciled the narratives of the Khalifa family’s long-ago conquest. No one claims that Sunnis and Shiites ever lived in harmony here. But the country stands as a singular example of the way venerable distinctions of ethnicity, sect and history can be manipulated in the Arab world, often cynically, in the pursuit of power. Programs on state-owned television like “The Observer” and “The Last Word” baited activists as traitors and encouraged citizens to inform on one another. ………………

This over-ripe Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa has created a bipolar society on the island of Bahrain. For many years outsiders, especially Westerners, saw only what they were ‘directed’ to see. Or they saw what they wanted to see. They saw one Bahrain: cosmopolitan, open to foreign business, pro-Western, rulers and their elite retainers speak English, yadda, yadda, yadda….
They did not see “most” of Bahrain. The Apartheid system that kept a majority of the people oppressed. They did not see the kleptocracy that stripped the land the wealth of the small country. They did not see the imported foreign mercenaries from places like Pakistan and Jordan and Syria who helped repress and torture for a fee. Many preferred not to see, especially the British expatriates many of who openly sided with the despots this year, for a price.
I recall some Europeans get nearly teary eyed talking about the last Shaikh of Bahrain (before the son promoted himself to king), how he allowed Westerners free access to the beautiful beach at one of his palaces. Only Westerners, they emphasized: no Asians, no Arabs, no Bahrainis, not even Saudis! I recall that one German, only one European some years ago, who muttered that “you should go outside Manama and see the squalid Shi’a villages”.
Now they have created an Orwellian nation of native informers, just to help the foreign mercenaries keep things under control.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Gulf Arms Race: the Best Armed Foreign Mercenaries, it is the Commission, Stupid!………

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At the Defence Security and Equipment International arms fair in London’s Excel Centre, there is no shortage of options for dishing out bad days, weeks, months and whole lifetimes. The Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, addressed the delegates yesterday morning, extending a warm welcome to the various invitees, among them military procurement officers from Angola, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The 65 national delegations asked to buy weapons in London include 14 regimes defined as “authoritarian” by human rights groups, who have highlighted the use of British arms in suppressing opposition movements in the Middle East……….. Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest buyer of British weapons and also the largest importer of arms globally. Saudi contracts earned the UK about £300m last year, according to arms trade analysts the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute……………

So, all this means that the citizen of the UAE and Saudi Arabia is the best armed citizen anywhere in the whole wide world. Funny, they don’t look it: I suppose I should correct and say that the UAE foreign mercenary is the best armed foreign mercenary anywhere in the world.
According to SIPRI, it now looks like Saudi Arabia is the biggest arms importer in the world. The United Arab Emirates was the biggest Arab arms importer and the second largest arms importer in the world for several years, but no more. The UAE has less than one million citizens (plus a few million temporary foreign laborers) while Saudi Arabia probably has some 15 million citizens (plus millions of temporary foreign laborers). Now the potentates in Abu Dhabi will try harder to surpass the potentates in Riyadh. They certainly can afford it more than Riyadh can. That also means that some Saudi prince(s) will collect billions in commissions (called bribes in impolite and crude company, but I won’t stoop to that), much more than their Emirati (Abu Dhabi) potentates who will collect less in arms commissions (also called bribes in impolite and crude company, but I won’t stoop to that either).
Now we will have a race: the UAE potentates will seek to regain their position in weapons imports and, not incidentally, in the size of commissions their potentates receive. These fat bribes commissions are paid by the oh-so-generous Western arms exporters, who will then add the cost to the export price. Almost like money laundering: well, it is a way to launder the public money of these Gulf states back to the potentates with the help of the exporting companies. Remember the British BAE Systems and the scandal of the US $2 billion weapons deal bribe to Prince Bandar Bin Sultan (allegedly)? That was the investigation by the Serious Frauds office (SFO) that Tony Blair killed. It was called the al-Yamama deal. A lot of laundering there, more than the proverbial but real Chinese laundry in my neighborhood.

Maybe there are good honest reasons for amassing and storing all these weapons in desert warehouses. Maybe it is the fear of the scowling Iranian mullahs across the Gulf, maybe it is some mistrust of the resolve of the Western allies whose fleets fill my Gulf. In at least two cases it is the fear of the people, which explains the foreign mercenaries. Yet somehow I can’t shake off this nagging feeling that “It is the commissions, stupid!
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com