Category Archives: Muslim Brotherhood

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

NIMBY on My Gulf: of Muslim Brothers, Tribal Islamist Politics, Divisions over Yemen, and All That……

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Muslim Brotherhood “thinkers/propagandists” in the Gulf region have been recently blasting the UAE government about developments in the southern Yemeni city of Aden. Apparently the UAE is exerting some influence in that port city.

They are too fearful to criticize the Saudis (or their Bahraini appendix) openly, since local Saudi (and Bahrain) embassies in the GCC states have been actively pressing host governments to prosecute and persecute public critics. It it now considered a ‘crime’ to insult other GCC regimes, even on Twitter and Facebook. It is also a crime in the GCC to criticize Al Sisi of Egypt. (In a positive step, a Kuwaiti court last week rejected this argument, opening the door for more freedom of expression).

Many Gulf Islamists are strongly tribal, and some have tribal roots inside Saudi Arabia. That, as well as an enduring alliance with Salafists (also dominated by pro-Saudi tribal ties), keeps many Gulf Muslim Brotherhood (outside UAE & Qatar) from criticizing the Saudis openly. Most Gulf MB outside the UAE and Oman have roots from Saudi kin. Hence they go easy lest they upset tribal (as well as business) allegiances and balances.
In that sense, especially in Kuwait and Bahrain, the MB are essentially as Wahhabi as the local Salafis are. In Qatar, it is likely that any public strong criticism of Turkey’s strongman Erdogan is not tolerated.

Oddly, or maybe not, this is also true for many Persian Gulf academic and media types with tribal affiliations (even those who are classified as ‘liberals’ by twisted Gulf standards). Most proclaim support for freedom/democracy, but not in the Gulf region, especially not in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. A unique Gulf version of the American term NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

The MB in Kuwait, for example, these days seem to think that the Saudis are accommodating the Houthis of Yemen too much. Meaning they are still bombing their towns, but not as intensely as in the past fourteen months. It must be kept in mind that the powerless former Yemeni president Generalissimo Abd Rabuh Hadi was and is allied with the Islah, the notoriously corrupt local version of the MB. But they keep their “best” and most vocal criticism for the UAE, which is the most antagonistic Arab regime toward the MB (other than Egypt). But they criticize the UAE without mentioning it: a skill some Gulf Islamists have mastered in recent years.

(On the other hand, it is also unacceptable in Iran to openly and strongly criticize allies like the Syrian government or Hezbollah in the media. Even though there are no tribal ties involved. Just strategic and some sectarian ties).

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

In the Beginning: Shifting Dynastic Alliances in the Gulf GCC……….

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In the Beginning………….

There were two major recent Middle East alliances: (1) the alliance of Qatar and Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood-MB- (that was after the MB regime in Egypt was overthrown by the Al Sisi military coup) and; (2) the alliance of military-ruled Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Now the old alliances have been shaken and jumbled so that there are, for now: (1) the alliance of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Turkey (hard to believe that five years ago the Saudis used to accuse Qatar of being allied with Iran and Iraq and Syria and Lebanon) and; (2) the alliance of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE potentates shared an intense mistrust and hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood, while the Qatari potentates financed and supported the Brotherhood. Apparently the Qatari potentates have so much money that they are always looking for some foreign ally willing to accept some of it, including the FIFA sports officials. The Qataris still support the MB, but the Saudis have modified their view somewhat of their ancient ally and later enemy the Muslim Brotherhood. After all they are allied with the Brotherhood in both Yemen and Syria. The UAE still violently opposes the MB and has moved closer to Al Sisi of Egypt even as the Al Saud have moved closer to Qatar and Caliph Erdogan of Turkey.

Now apparently the Saudi opposition, the Wahhabi branch of it that is overseas, is confused or conflicted about the Saudi-Qatari ties. One school of thought claims that the new Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Nayef Al Saud strongly influences, nay dominates, the Qatari Emir Tamim Al Thani. Another school of Wahhabi opposition thought sees the influence reversed: it claims that it was Emir Tamim of Qatar who influenced the Saudis and talked them into easing up on the Muslim Brotherhood.
They both agree that the real power in the UAE, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, lost out because he had betted on and was closely allied with Saudi Prince Meteb Bin Abdullah who has lost out after his father died.

P.S:So far only Oman and Kuwait have remained outside these flexible shifting sub-alliances among the potentates of the GCC. Probably wisely, for now.

    

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

UAE Declares Almost Everybody a Terrorist: from Yemen to Italia to Soumi………

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“The Muslim Brotherhood was designated a Terrorist Group by the United Arab Emirates Saturday, joining several other organizations that received the same designation from the UAE, including the U.S.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or, CAIR. According to an Associated Press report, the terrorist designation bestowed by the UAE, puts added pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood by putting them in the same category of Islamic extremist groups as the Islamic State group, and even the Nusra Front which is an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria. Along with the Muslim Brotherhood, the United Arab Emirates tagged 83 other groups with the terrorist group label, such as Al-Islah, an Emirati group that many believe has connections with the Muslim Brotherhood, and whose members have been subject to prosecution in the Emirates federation………………”

The list is very long, and it includes some surprising groups like the American CAIR and Associazione Musulmani Italiani (Association of Italian Muslims). That last one immediately had me yell: WTF! Is that some kind of leftover (feloul) Fascist group? I am guessing it is either affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, or maybe for some reason the Al Nahayan Brothers don’t like it. Still, an Italian group? But that is okay: there are also on the list French and other groups that even the CIA has probably not heard of, like The Finnish Islamic Association (Suomen Islam-seurakunta) and the Muslim Association of Sweden (Sveriges muslimska forbund, SMF). 

I did not see Hezbollah of Lebanon on the list, although there are several alleged regional Hezbollah offshoots, real or imagined. Missing also on the terrorist list are the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Saudi Commission for the Propagation of Vice, the Communist Party of Belize, and dissident members of the Nabati Poets Society. No mention of the Mossad either. Or maybe they just listed every Muslim group they are not financing. But some of these groups are bona fide terrorist groups, literally cutthroats. Some, not all.

There are some ‘funny’ political inserts among these groups. The trick has been played more discreetly by the Saudis: to declare a bunch of people and groups as ‘terrorists’, and to include among them dissidents and reformists and other reactionaries. Hoping the Western powers will ‘bite’ and declare the same as ‘terrorists’. Notably British PM David Cameron, as well and uber-mercenary Tony Blair, have been pushing for the MB to be declared “terrorists” in the West. The reason? Follow the oil money………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Internal Wars of the GCC: from Al Bassous to Qatar and Egypt……..

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The foreign ministers of the Gulf GCC members met in Jeddah Saturday, reportedly to follow up on an ‘ultimatum’ given to Qatar. The ultimatum was from the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (also Bahrain, but now only as an appendix of the Saudis).

The ultimatum itself is an interesting, and should be shocking, piece of undiplomatic diplomacy and meddling in the sovereign affairs of an allegedly independent sovereign country. The GCC right-wing group (Saudi, UAE, Bahrain) had reportedly warned, nay threatened, Qatar to basically adopt their Saudi-imposed foreign policy in regional and inter-Arab affairs, or else. At stake is continued Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its continued criticism of Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi regime in Egypt, mainly through the Aljazeera network. As well as Qatari refusal to push Hamas in Gaza under the bus.

The Qatari-Saudi rift goes back to long before the Arab uprisings and the Egyptian military coup of 2013 and the Syrian civil war and Hamas control of Gaza. During the 1990s, Saudi intelligence orchestrated an attempted coup in Qatar, with the goal of overthrowing the last Emir Hamad. The coup attempt, in which certain tribal elements from the border region were also implicated, failed. As a result, a large group of senior Saudi intelligence and security officers were arrested in Doha and imprisoned for years. They were released during the last decade and send back home to Riyadh.

Anyway, some GCC ministers claimed after the Jeddah meeting that ‘the issues’ are on their way to being resolved. In fact all ‘issues’ are usually on their way to being resolved, and not only because GCC functionaries and top bureaucrats habitually claim that they are. Famously, the pre-Islamic tribal Al Bassous War was also resolved after some forty years, and that one was over a camel and a cantankerous woman who owned it. Even the Israeli-Palestinian ‘issue’ may be resolved some day: it has only been, what, about 75 years or so?

If’n you ask me, if’n you do, and I am aware that you haven’t yet, I would say it is highly unlikely that the Qataris will succumb to the demands of the Saudi princes and their Abu Dhabi and Bahraini sidekicks. There have been several bilateral meetings between Saudi and Qatari leaders in recent months. A bilateral summit meeting between King and Emir was held in Saudi Arabia last July, and apparently it failed to resolve the issues. It is unlikely then that a bunch of GCC bureaucrats can solve what King and Emir could not solve.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

In the GCC: the Islamists and the Magi and the Average Six-Pack Jihadi………


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“In contrast to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Bahrain’s government has nurtured a political alliance with the Bahraini MB, primarily rooted in a sectarian agenda that serves a unique purpose in Bahrain, the only Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state with a Shi’ite-majority population. For years, Bahrain’s MB has played an open and prominent role in Bahraini civil society while functioning as a charity organization. The MB operates a political wing (Islamic Minbar) that holds seven seats in the parliament. Some members of the ruling Al Khalifa family are deeply connected with key figures in the Brotherhood and Bahrain’s government even reportedly funds Islamic Minbar. The pains that the Al Khalifa family take to avoid alienating Islamic Minbar are best understood within the context of Bahrain’s Arab Awakening. Since 2011, Islamic Minbar has played a critical role in uniting Bahrain’s Sunni Islamists behind the monarchy that faces steadfast Shi’ite opposition. However, recent geopolitical developments in the GCC and the wider Middle East are complicating this political alliance………….”

Actually almost all Islamists in the Gulf GCC states, including some who are in opposition in their own countries, have taken pain to openly side with the ruling Al Khalifa clan against the uprising in Bahrain. Some of them avoid the embarrassing issue altogether. They have also shown great reluctance to look at the real big reactionary elephant in the neighborhood, to criticize the Saudi regime. In fact, many have occasionally expressed support and reverence for the Al Saud. This can be based on sectarianism or it can be based on tribal ties or on business interests. The tribes often straddle the border and some of their branches are close to the princes and tribal bonds are thicker than political rhetoric.

The Salafis are a special case here: they are widely known as a Saudi fifth column and they certainly do not believe in electoral democracy or human rights of any kind. The Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf is somewhat different from those in other Arab states. Some Muslim Brothers in other states, like in Kuwait, have in the past shown strong reluctance to support the Saudi opposition of all shade and color. Thy usually skirt the Saudi issue, and if they do they tend to stay away from the ‘human rights’ violations and the corruption they complain about so loudly at home. They would rather criticize their own governments, Israel, the West, and Iran. But one must not generalize: this does not apply to all.

In Saudi Arabia itself, Wahhabism is so entrenched not only in the general society but within individuals that it is almost part of the genetic makeup. This is especially so in the heartland that lies between the Eastern Province and Hijaz and Asir. More so than, say, Shi’ism is in Southern Iraq or Iran. The more liberal strain of ‘thought’ is divided between Wahhabi liberals who are tied to the regime and strongly support it and the independents who advocate accountability and human rights. Many of the latter, like Mohammad Al-Qahtani and S Al Reshoudi and Mukhlif Al-Shimmari and many others are usually found in prison.

It is possible that the strongest ‘opposition’ in Saudi Arabia may be the Wahhabi opposition rather than the human rights advocates who are few, for now. These groups exist within the kingdom and in European exile. Many are supporters of Al Qaeda and ISIS and other such terrorist groups. Some of their outspoken members (like the Tweeter @Mujtahidd) actually often complain on Internet social media that the Al Saud regime is soft on the Shi’as (of the Eastern Province) and harsher on the average Wahhabi Joe. Others complain, quite seriously, of joint conspiracies forged by America, Israel, Iran, and the Al Saud, perhaps with the Freemasons and Zoroastrian Magi (their favorite term for Iranians and often for Shi’a in general) thrown in for good measure.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

America on the Nile, Whining on the Nile: Time to Grow Up on the Nile?……..

      


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These discredited Egyptian liberals made their bed with the generals, now they are being forced to sleep in it. So just relax and enjoy it for the next thirty years: you’ve earned it……………” Me

Here is my broad-brush take on political developments in Egypt since 2011:


  • In February 2011 during the uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak, many of his Egyptian opponents claimed that the Obama administration was trying to shore up his position, to keep him in power. 
  • On the other hand, many of his supporters complained that the United States was trying to overthrow him, by not helping him. Saudi King Abdullah, who famously claimed the protesters at Tahrir were foreign agents, is still pissed upset at Obama for not helping Mubarak crush his people.

  • After Mubarak fell, almost everybody in Egypt who was not an army general claimed the Obama administration was keeping the SCAF military junta in power. Some among the military probably suspected that Obama was ready to throw them under one of those crowded Cairo buses.

  • In the summer of 2012, Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood won the presidency in free and fair close elections. His domestic and Arab opponents mostly acted as if the Obama administration had somehow helped him win the election. The Islamists claimed that he won in spite of American plots against him. Persian Gulf princes and potentates who could not tell an election from the proverbial ‘hole in the ground’ apparently suspected foul play. Egypt’s liberals joined forces with the oligarchs and the Mubarakistas and the Wahhabis to call for ‘restoration’ of the feloul.
  • In July of 2013 General Al Sisi, whom Morsi had promoted to minister of defense, stabbed him in the back by staging a military coup that overthrew the elected president. Al Sisi was urged to act by three factions: Egypt’s deluded liberals, the feloul, and the Gulf princes and potentates. The Muslim Brotherhood -MB- claimed the Americans were in cahoots with the military. Admittedly that was a very tempting suspicion, given the history. 
  • At the time U.S. congressional delegations to Cairo had divergent opinions: McCain/Graham said correctly that July 3 of 2013 was a military coup; Bachmann/Gohmert (the idiot delegation) praised the military coup even as they told Egyptians of the joys of American electoral democracy. 
  • The other side in Egypt, the liberals and oligarchs and feloul, claimed the Americans had made a deal with the MB and had wanted them in power. Egypt’s ‘liberals’, most of whom had urged the military to stage a coup and supported it, now proceeded to whine that the military had made plans with Washington to take power (after a coup that these same liberals pushed for and supported).

  • Now that the military has resumed its overt role as the absolute rulers of Egypt, these liberals, the few who have not remained on the Sisi bandwagon, are back doing what they do best these days: whine. They are blaming you-know-who for it. Western powers and most Arab oligarchs no doubt are happy with the outcome of the Egyptian non-election. But it is not as if the CIA and the U.S. State Department carried people by force, bused them by force, to vote 97% for Generalissimo Field Marshal Al Sisi. These discredited Egyptian liberals made their bed with the generals, now they are being forced to sleep in it. So just relax and enjoy it for the next thirty years: you’ve earned it.

Now
it must be time for some of these people to grow up and look for the real culprits where they are, among themselves……………

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Life is Cheap on the Nile: the Butchery Continues under the New Egyptian Dictatorship………

      


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“A court in southern Egypt on Monday decreed a mass death sentence for nearly 700 people, including the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president. On the same day, another Egyptian court banned the April 6 movement, which was among the primary engines behind the landmark 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s sharp turn toward authoritarianism in the nearly 10 months since an interim government took power has provoked expressions of concern from human rights groups and Western governments, but little in the way of meaningful punitive actions against the military-backed regime………………”

The best scenario, an optimistic scenario, in this impending Egyptian butchery is that it is just a political show. They are setting the stage for a great show of mercy by the new dictator. The Kangaroo courts continue their job, preparing the way for a new dictator for life in Cairo. He, Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi will probably show “restraint” and “mercy” after pleas from allies and suppliers in the West. He will likely show calculated moderation by commuting most of these hundreds, thousands by then, of death sentences to life in prison. All these people, including tens of thousands awaiting trial, will end up in prison for life simply because they exercised their right of protest. 

The Western world will be relieved for it, and it will applaud this military justice that it would not accept in the West. But that will be okay: these are only Arabs and in some places life can be cheap and freedom might be overrated.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Baghdad on the Nile? Egyptian Kangaroo Courts add Drug Charges to Morsi Trials……

      


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“All Arab political courts are like bad jokes, except to their victims.” Me?


“A son of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi will face trial for alleged possession and use of hashish, judicial sources said on Monday, but no date has yet been fixed. Abdullah Morsi, 19, was arrested on March 1 along with a friend for allegedly possessing two joints while they were in a car parked by the roadside in Qalyubia province north of Cairo. The two were freed the next day pending investigation after agreeing to give urine samples which the prosecution says tested positive. Morsi’s other son Osama has denied the charges against Abdullah, saying the authorities were “fabricating the case” and that his brother’s arrest was an attempt to “defame the family”……………..”

The judicial absurdity does not stop in Cairo, it gets even more absurd by the day. Now they are hounding the family of Morsi, in the true style of Saddam Hussein and his Baathist justice.

 
I wrote last month that: They are doing it again in Cairo. My special
source, snuck secretly into Cairo, reports that Egyptian courts have
been ordered to add some new charges to the litany of charges against
deposed president Morsi. The elected Mr. Morsi was deposed by a military coup d’etat led by Generalisimo Abdelfattah Al Sisi……….. j
ust in case, just to make the case against
Morsi watertight, she reports they have decided to add new charges to
the old ones. The new charges could include contributing to global
warming, African threats of diverting Nile waters, the loss of East
Jerusalem to the Jews (King Hussein is dead), the jump in Syrian war
victims from 75 thousand dead to over 100 thousand dead during his year
in office, topless German tourists switching their sun
bathing-activities from Egypt to Cyprus, as well as any epidemic and natural
disaster that may befall Egypt and neighboring countries. She also reports that they toyed with a new charge against the doomed Morsi……………


Is Morsi Refusing a Military Deal?……….

      


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“A senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party was arrested Monday on the eve of a major Muslim holiday, while the family of the organization’s jailed leader issued a defiant statement saying he wouldn’t renounce his claim to Egypt’s presidency. As Egyptians prepared to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, which begins Tuesday, neither the Brotherhood nor the military-backed interim government showed any sign of moving toward a political compromise. Most of the Brotherhood’s leadership has been in jail for months……………”

It looks like the ruling generals may be offering Mr. Morsi a deal. It looks like they may be offering him some kind of immunity, perhaps exile in Turkey or Qatar, in exchange for renouncing his right to the presidency (forget the Bahamas in this case). But of course it is not for him to renounce any ‘right” to leadership. It is up to voters, or so the legend says. Which means General Al Sisi, if he runs and wins (of course he’ll win), will have a shadow of illegitimacy hanging over him. But then most Arab leaders have a shadow of illegitimacy hanging over them, since most are not elected. So what else is new?

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com