Category Archives: North Korea

Presidential Name-Calling: Sticks and Stones from Washington to Pyongyang…..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones
But words will never hurt me…”
      Untrue children’s rhyme


Epithets and insults have been memorable these past two years. From the US presidential campaign to the post-election rallies to the UN General Assembly speeches. Almost all of them dished out by Donald Trump:

Look at That Face (Trump mocking Carly Fiorina)!

Little Rubio (Trumo mocking Marco, who famously   confided to the media that Trump has a small, er, hand)!

Lying Ted (Trump describing Sentor Ted Cruz)!

Low Energy (Trump about Jeb Bush? Ben Carson)!

Crooked Hillary (Trump for Clinton)!

Rocket Man (Trump about Kim Jong Un)!

Now the Iranians have picked up the term “rogue”, a favorite epithet used by US politicians against other nations. Trump and Rouhani traded “rogue” name-calling at the UN General Assembly this week.

But the top prize, the Oscar, the Nobel of epithets goes to an alleged North Korean Twitter source: “Impotent threats by international shouting magnate Donald Trump are dismissed, as the twitchings of a Dog licking its flea-riddled scrotum.”

That trumped Trump, and probably stumped him as well.

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

A Season of Hurricanes: Role of Western Duplicity in Unleashing the Kim Jong Un Crisis…….

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

What a  week it was…
First came Hurricane Harvey and its terrible human and economic effects…..
Then we were reminded of Hurricane Kim Jong Un and his missiles
Not to mention Hurricane Trump and his incomplete gaggle of cabinet members and assistants. The Trump Administration leaders have all apparently read The Art of the Deal“, and they seek to apply it to international relations. Adapting a New York real-estate businessman’s experiences as gospel for how to deal with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Europe and others is an act of folly. And the most eager adopter of this hustler’s Art of the Deal is the UN ambassador, Nikki Haley.  A very dangerous development, which neither Defense Secretary Mattis (not necessarily a moderate) nor Secretary of State Tillerson may be able to offset. Haley seems to speak for Trump (probably also to Trump), in his language, when she tries to bluff the rest of the world. It will not work.

Which brings us back to North Korea. The Trump administration has been urging North Korea to “come to the table”, but the goal is obvious:  Give up your nuclear weapons and you will find us reasonable, if not downright friendly.
And don’t mind the wink, wink. Don’t mind what is happening to the Iranians now with tightened sanctions and daily threats of war….

Except that Kim Jong Un, detestable dangerous dictator that he may be, is not that stupid. He knows what happened to Saddam Hussein (Iraq) and Muammar Gaddafi (Libya) when they gave up their WMDs under Western urging. He sees and hears and reads the daily threats of war and new sanctions by Donald Trump and the spineless US Congress (both parties) against Iran AFTER she accepted a deal to reduce her nuclear program under JCPOA. Kim may be unpalatable, but he is not stupid. Here is what I posted here last July 6. Read it:

In the beginning…..
Donald Trump ignored North Korea and its petulant young dictator. Mr. Trump has been focusing on his “other” foreign policy issues. In fact up to recently he has been taking a long victory lap celebrating his own alleged self-styled loot of billions of Saudi oil money during his coronation by desperate Arab and Muslim princes and potentates in Riyadh last May. All he had to do was tell them that he does not care about human rights and that Iran exports terrorism (but apparently not the nice Wahhabi type of terrorism of ISIS and Al Qaeda and AQAP and Nusra).

Trump has also been focusing on the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), since before the election. Trump of course does not know much about it, that it is a good deal for all sides according to international consensus (with the exception of the ruling princes of Saudi Arabia, the Empire of Bahrain, Israel, and the paid-for US Congress). Apparently the one draw-back of the Iran deal for Trump, the Republican Party, (and hawkish Democrats) is that it is a signature achievement of President Barack Obama. So Mr. Trump had promised to revisit the deal, perhaps to “withdraw” the USA from it. His first National Security Chief Mike Flynn, a Turkish agent and possibly a Russian agent as well, threatened more serious action against Iran. Before Trump was forced to fire him.

Among the Iranians themselves there are many who are also disappointed by how the nuclear deal has turned out. And by the ratcheted up threats from Washington and the nearly monthly new sanctions being voted by the US Knesset Congress and Senate. They also remember what happened in Iraq and Libya.

Back to Kim Jong Un: he could not be denied his share of American attention for long. He is that kind of dictator. Not long after Trump was inaugurated Kim started tossing around warhead-capable medium-range and long-range missiles. He or his henchmen also murdered a young American student-captive in Pyongyang.
And one more thing that can be unforgivable from my point of view: he gave Dennis Rodman another opportunity to be seen on network news.

Kim Jong Un also certainly well remembers what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.  Apparently Saddam had given up his WMD, but Iraq was invaded and he was overthrown anyway.

Libyan dictator Gaddafi gave up his WMD and paid billions in “compensation” to Western citizens and corporations. He was attacked and overthrown by NATO. He and one of his sons were allowed to be tortured and killed by some rebels. Now Libya is a failed and divided state.

Kim must have started thinking:

  • Gaddafi (of Libya) gave up WMD. He also gave up billions of dollars to Western countries and to victims of the Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie in 1988. But what did he get? His new friends in NATO overthrew him then got him killed as soon as they got a chance. He and one of his sons were tortured and murdered by possibly the same people who later murdered four American diplomats in Benghazi. His country is now a failed state beset by Islamic Fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect and by tribal infighting.
  • Iran heeded world power demands and reduced its nuclear program- and according to IAEA and world intelligence services it is abiding by the JCPOA Nuclear Deal. And Iran now is being seriously threatened by Donald Trump who is also hopelessly trying to form a futile alliance of hapless Arab and Muslim despots and potentates against it. These are mostly the countries whose citizens have actually committed terrorism in the Middle East and in the West. And both houses of the US Congress keep piling up sanctions against Iran, Kim knows….

If I were Kim, I would possibly perhaps per chance think that it is not just the WMD and nuclear stuff that the West, and the US government, has a beef with. Maybe it goes beyond that. If Iraq and Libya were attacked after they gave up their WMD, and if Iran is being threatened after it reduced its nuclear capability……
You get the drift: Kim will think that as soon as he gives up his nuclear and missile program, he might as well give up the ghost….

And it is hard to blame him for thinking along these lines, if you think about it (or you can start reading this post from the beginning)……..  “

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Nuclear Bluffing and Bullying: a Silly Question by Nikki Haley, a Stern Warning by Iran……..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking


“The United States wants to know if the United Nations atomic watchdog plans to inspect Iranian military sites to verify Tehran’s compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Tuesday. Haley will meet with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials in Vienna on Wednesday for what she described as a fact-finding mission, which is part of President Donald Trump’s review of the deal Iran made with world powers to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of most sanctions. “If you look … at past Iranian behavior, what you’ve seen is there have been covert actions at military sites, at universities, things like that,” Haley, a member of Trump’s cabinet, told Reuters in an interview. ……… She said she was traveling to Vienna to ask questions, not to push the IAEA to do anything……….”

What a silly lady Nikki Haley can be when pressed by Donald Trump. Traveling to Vienna to pressure the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to “do anything”. Anything like what?
It is shocking that apparently nobody in the Trump administration knows if the Nuclear Deal does or does not cover conventional military sites. It does not. Doesn’t anybody over there read these agreements? Don’t these ambulance chasers have lawyers in international law among them?


It is so obvious the Trump Administration has “decided” that Iran is breaking the nuclear deal, even as they know that it is not. Trump (or his son in law Jared Kushner) is pressuring Nikki Haley, and she is pressuring the IAEA, which is an international organization not beholden to Trump. The Europeans have already made it clear they want no part of Trump’s new ploy: they sent their foreign minister, Federica Mogherini to Tehran for the inauguration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The Iranians are apparently fed up with the silly bluffing and attempts at cheap bullying by the Trump Administration. They took a page from the North Korea book: they warned that they need only 5 days to ramp up uranium enrichment usable for nukes.

In this game, it is like a Washington race between Donald Trump and the United States Congress to see which one of them can wreck the Iran Nuclear Deal through increased sanctions and military threats in the Persian Gulf. Neither one can: JCPOA is an “international” deal.

Meanwhile, in Pyongyang, the other omnipotent leader Kim Jong Un is watching these machinations and plots cooked up by the novice hustler in the Oval Office. Can you guess what he is thinking?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Tale of Two Hostile Cities: Trump’s Losing Game of Poker with Pyongyang and Tehran……….

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Kim Jong Un has launched another ballistic missile. He is completely ignoring the hand-wringing and the tepid warnings from Washington. North Korea, a small poor country ruled by one nasty family, has several nuclear warheads, and is probably on its way to develop a delivery system that can threaten the American West Coast. Yet North Korea does not seem impressed with Donald Trump’s vague entreaties. Nor do Trump’s threats seem designed to truly impress.


Switch to the Middle East, to my Persian Gulf clogged with American and other Western warships from faraway places. The Iranian regime has signed a deal with world powers (including UN, IAEA, EU) that curtails its nuclear program and restricts it to peaceful purposes. Even their leading theocrat, Ali Khamenei, has approved it while grumbling about the ‘evils of dealing with Washington’. Now the Iranians still develop missiles that are aimed at deterring any attack on their cities by Western powers or their expensively-armed tribal royal customers. Not a breach of the nuclear deal if they are not warhead-capable. An insurance against the vast foreign imported arsenals surrounding their country.

Yet the invective in Washington is focused on Iran while Pyongyang is almost beseeched to (please) behave. Daily threats hinting at, nay threatening of, another war in the Persian Gulf region are now almost part of the National Anthem in Washington. (The current Congress may add a new stanza to the StarSpangled Banner, it’s not that far-fetched). Administration officials, paid think tanks, and senators compete with each other in this ongoing warmongering. The major media are as cooperative in this new drumbeat of a new war of choice as they were for Iraq in 2002/2003. As if they can’t learn from the past, some arrogant fools in the USA are even talking, again, of regime change in Tehran as a gift from Washington.

There are several reasons for this dichotomy, what someone (not me) once called the Iran Derangement Syndrome in Washington. Two of the reasons are obvious: the omnipotent and generous Israeli right-wing lobby and the inflow of Gulf royal money for expensive weapons/toys. Plus the history since the end of the last world war.

But perhaps the most important and crucial reason is also well known to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un: he already has his defense in the form of nuclear weapons as well as deadly conventional artillery aimed at South Korea. As I explained recently here in this post on the Thinking of Kim Un.
So he just deals with Donald Trump as other world leaders should: he knows his background, and he ignores his warnings, his bluff, just as any mediocre Poker player would.

Recent reports in US media now indicate Trump may try to provoke the Iranians into abandoning the nuclear deal. Oddly he is supposed to do that by himself breaking the nuclear deal first thus pushing the Iranians into reacting, the new logic of the regime in Berlin Washington. The blustering New York Poker player trying to bluff masters of their own game of chess.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The Logical Thinking of Kim Jong Un: Heeding the Lessons of Iraq, Libya, and Iran……..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

In the beginning…..
Donald Trump ignored North Korea and its petulant young dictator. Mr. Trump has been focusing on his “other” foreign policy issues. In fact up to recently he has been taking a long victory lap celebrating his own alleged self-styled loot of billions of Saudi oil money during his coronation by desperate Arab and Muslim princes and potentates in Riyadh last May. All he had to do was tell them that he does not care about human rights and that Iran exports terrorism (but apparently not the nice Wahhabi type of terrorism of ISIS and Al Qaeda and AQAP and Nusra).

Trump has also been focusing on the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), since before the election. Trump of course does not know much about it, that it is a good deal for all sides according to international consensus (with the exception of the ruling princes of Saudi Arabia, the Empire of Bahrain, Israel, and the paid-for US Congress). Apparently the one draw-back of the Iran deal for Trump, the Republican Party, (and hawkish Democrats) is that it is a signature achievement of President Barack Obama. So Mr. Trump had promised to revisit the deal, perhaps to “withdraw” the USA from it. His first National Security Chief Mike Flynn, a Turkish agent and possibly a Russian agent as well, threatened more serious action against Iran. Before Trump was forced to fire him.

Among the Iranians themselves there are many who are also disappointed by how the nuclear deal has turned out. And by the ratcheted up threats from Washington and the nearly monthly new sanctions being voted by the US Knesset Congress and Senate. They also remember what happened in Iraq and Libya.

Back to Kim Jong Un: he could not be denied his share of American attention for long. He is that kind of dictator. Not long after Trump was inaugurated Kim started tossing around warhead-capable medium-range and long-range missiles. He or his henchmen also murdered a young American student-captive in Pyongyang.
And one more thing that can be unforgivable from my point of view: he gave Dennis Rodman another opportunity to be seen on network news.

Kim Jong Un also certainly well remembers what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.  Apparently Saddam had given up his WMD, but Iraq was invaded and he was overthrown anyway.

Libyan dictator Gaddafi gave up his WMD and paid billions in “compensation” to Western citizens and corporations. He was attacked and overthrown by NATO. He and one of his sons were allowed to be tortured and killed by some rebels. Now Libya is a failed and divided state.

Kim must have started thinking:

  • Gaddafi (of Libya) gave up WMD. He also gave up billions of dollars to Western countries and to victims of the Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie in 1988. But what did he get? His new friends in NATO overthrew him then got him killed as soon as they got a chance. He and one of his sons were tortured and murdered by possibly the same people who later murdered four American diplomats in Benghazi. His country is now a failed state beset by Islamic Fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect and by tribal infighting.
  • Iran heeded world power demands and reduced its nuclear program- and according to IAEA and world intelligence services it is abiding by the JCPOA Nuclear Deal. And Iran now is being seriously threatened by Donald Trump who is also hopelessly trying to form a futile alliance of hapless Arab and Muslim despots and potentates against it. These are mostly the countries whose citizens have actually committed terrorism in the Middle East and in the West. And both houses of the US Congress keep piling up sanctions against Iran, Kim knows….

If I were Kim, I would possibly perhaps per chance think that it is not just the WMD and nuclear stuff that the West, and the US government, has a beef with. Maybe it goes beyond that. If Iraq and Libya were attacked after they gave up their WMD, and if Iran is being threatened after it reduced its nuclear capability……
You get the drift: Kim will think that as soon as he gives up his nuclear and missile program, he might as well give up the ghost….

And it is hard to blame him for thinking along these lines, if you think about it (or you can start reading this post from the beginning)……..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

When the Moment is Right for a Nebulous Axis of Man Crush: Trump, Duterte, and Kim……

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Donald Trump has invited the Phlippines’ quirky leader Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House. Duterte, who apparently like to leave dead men in his wake, has not decided whether he will show up yet. He famously called Barack Obama a “son of a bitch”: I doubt that Duterte would call any “white” US president by such an epithet. He probably figures there is nothing new that Donald can show him.
News media also report that Trump has told a news agency (Bloomberg) that he is also willing to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, “when the moment is right

What can we call this vague nebulous axis?
New Axis of Evil? Axis of Nuts? Nebulous Axis of Man Crush?
Donald, Kim Jong Un, and Duterte…..

(I left out newly anointed humorless Turkish dictator Erdogan)

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Bully Trapped? Trump Fears China and Pyongyang, Focuses Attacks on Iran, Mexico and Canada…..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking


So Donald Trump is scared witless of little Kim Jong Un. The Cute Leader of Pyongyang is saber-rattling, begging for attention, knowing he’s got Donald by the little balls (his artillery is focused on Seoul). Trump seems paralyzed by the events on the Korean Peninsula. The chubby dictator apparently means business, won’t be bullied by the bully of Pennsylvania Avenue. What to do?
Simple, exit stage left, threaten faraway Iran (which is abiding by its treaties especially JPCOA nuclear deal even though the US is not, not really). So, if Pyongyang continues its nuclear advance, Trump will provoke a war with Iran, with full approval of the Democrat chickens in Congress. Then escalate the genocidal Arab onslaught against poor Yemen. Maybe hint at firing another few futile Tomahawks on some empty Syrian military base after more phony complaints of WMD use by Jihadi proxies of Arab kings and princes (that should get CNN pundits and fearful Democrats cheering, it did last time).

Nothing as satisfying to a New York brawler as a few cheap shots below the belt. But I do wish they would start wars with someone else: every time they get in trouble they think of waging another Muslim war. Bomb someone else this time: bomb Asia, Europe, Australia, Mars, Uranus (Donald). Just leave the Middle East alone, will you?

Trump is unhappy about the trade situation (including allegations of currency exchange rate manipulation) with China. During the campaign he sounded tough, promised to reshuffle the trade ties. Now he seems scared witless of China (not the least the impact on potential family business interests). So? He spins and attacks Mexico and Canada. More cheap shots below the belt.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Trump Foreign Policy: Is There a MOAB in the Pyongyang Kid’s Future……

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“North Korea’s military on Friday directly responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s renewed threats to take “care of” Pyongyang’s nuclear threat amid expectations of a new nuclear test that could come at any time. “Our toughest counteraction against the United States and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive,” according to unnamed spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army. “Under the prevailing grave situation, the United States has to come to its senses and make a proper option for the solution of the problem,” continued the statement, carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency……..”

Donald Trump spent his first two months in office trying his hands at domestic issues.

His first policy Executive Order, a Muslim immigration/entry ban, was thrown out by U.S. federal courts. His second policy try was a sly but direct attempt at screwing the American people, repealing the ACA Healthcare law (Obamacare) without replacing it with a policy that covers those uncovered. He could not get his own party to pass a healthcare bill that he almost certainly did not understand. His attempt at screwing up the healthcare system was opposed by all professional associations of doctors, nurses and hospitals. It failed, so he blamed the Democrats, ignoring that his own party controls Congress.

He faced a rapidly building up crisis about allegations of his and his associates’ connections to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Democrats milked that issue for all its worth, but Republicans helped along by mishandling the investigation.

So what can a president do when he fails in domestic policy?

He can always revive or inflame a simmering crisis in the Middle East, or in some other Muslim country. Hence Trump’s “seeming” flip flop on Syria. Before any UN meeting, before any investigation, he used suspicions and allegations of Assad using chemical weapons against a rebel area to throw about 60 Tomahawk missiles at a nearly-empty Syrian airbase.

The American media loved it: nothing brings Republican and Democrat political elites together than waging or escalating a war in a Muslim land. Some of the more “liberal” news networks went nearly orgasmic, could not have enough of the attack in Syria, some like CNN were sorely disappointed that it seemed like a one-time event.

The Syrian attack quickly distracted from the domestic Russian investigation. But the Russians and the Syrians mounted their own PR blitz and the need arose for more show of foreign toughness. Hence the first use of the biggest baddest non-nuclear bomb, the MOAB. Few people would argue with the target picked: a territory in Afghanistan reportedly boiling with Taliban and ISIS killers. And with few civilians.

Some, including myself, speculated that the MOAB and even the Syrian bombing may have included a message for the chubby dictator of Pyongyang. One Kim Jong Un, a seeming addict to Twinkies and Ding Dongs. But unfortunately the MOAB use also coincides with a time of serious fireworks in North Korea: the birthday of late dictator Kim Il Song. He was the man who established Communist North Korea and blessed it with his dynasty of nasty murderous despots.

They are reported to be planning some nuclear fireworks for the occasion. Now the Pyongyang regime is not an Arab regime. It is not the type that is expected to bend over and take it, even if it is well deserved as in this case. At the least, they have the city of Seoul hostage to their massive artillery: potentially hundreds of thousands of casualties, including many Americans.

And someone like the Pyongyang Kid can’t afford to seem weak. There are probably some among his own family who would gladly dispose of him.

That is why I doubt that Mr. Trump would authorize the use of MOAB in Korea, not without serious provocation. Unless the generals can find a way to have it land right where M. Kim is napping, taking a shower, among other activities.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Camelot in Riyadh: Best and Brightest of JFK or Dumb and Dumber of MBS?……..

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KuwaitCox2

“Now Prince Mohammed has swiftly accumulated more power than any prince has ever held, upending a longstanding system of distributing positions around the royal family to help preserve its unity, and he has used his growing influence to take a leading role in Saudi Arabia’s newly assertive stance in the region, including its military intervention in Yemen. In the four months since his coronation, King Salman has put Prince Mohammed in charge of the state oil monopoly, the public investment company, economic policy and the Defense Ministry…………. But some Western diplomats, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the prince and the king, say they are worried about the growing influence of the prince, with one even calling him “rash” and “impulsive.”…… After meeting with both princes at a summit meeting of Gulf nations at Camp David last month, President Obama said the younger Prince Mohammed “struck us as extremely knowledgeable, very smart.” “I think wise beyond his years,” Obama added in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network……………. “Being with Prince Salman every minute — can you imagine what you would have learned?”………………”

heart-warming analysis by David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times. You’d think a new Saudi age of Camelot is about to burst upon us. With an Arabian JFK and his two wives (so far), two Jackies for one Guinevere, ready to start an era of the Best and Brightest, instead of the Dumb and Dumber. But what about Lancelot, and would the Mufti be his Merlin?
Kirkpatrick, rather reluctantly and almost shyly, notes that some other Saudi princes have “reservations” about their new robber baron. But he salvages it all with the uber-diplomatic comment of Barack Obama to the Saudi semi-official Al Arabiya network. 
He said ““struck us as extremely knowledgeable, very smart.” No kidding Barack, no doubt you’ve been reading the groveling Saudi media. No doubt Prince Mohammed is smart enough to inherit the country from his father, but I’m not sure about ‘knowledgeable’. For one, MBS is waiting for his own PT 109 opportunity in the wrong place, in Yemen. Alas, it doesn’t look like the Yemenis are willing to accommodate him: he can’t have it long distance from Riyadh. He needs to get on some new boots (instead of the beautiful Najdi sandals that I really like: نعال نيدي) and dash across the lethal border if he wants to create his own PT 109 moment.

I doubt that Kirkpatrick or other N Y Times pundits waxed as poetic about another dynastic appointed dictator named Kim Jong Un. But then he had access to much less money than MBS. The pudgy Korean has not caused as much damage to his neighborhood (with bombs and cluster bombs) so early in his career. Not yet.

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

What Qatar and North Korea Have in Common: the Crowd is Not Wild……..

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“The men grappled with each other to board the quickly filling bus. Others wriggled in through the windows, scaling the outside, using the large wheels as footholds and leaving scuff-marks on the white exterior with their shoes. These weren’t refugees fleeing disaster. They were migrant workers in 2022 World Cup host Qatar, fighting to earn a few dollars. The job: Pretend to be a sports fan. Qataris boast they’re mad for sports. The ruling emir of the oil-and-gas rich Gulf nation is so fond of football he bought Paris Saint-Germain, now France’s powerhouse team………. Thirty Qatar riyals – equivalent to $8 – won’t buy a beer in the luxury waterside hotel in Doha, the capital, where Qatari movers-and-shakers unwind. But for this pittance, workers from Africa and Asia sprint under blinding sun in the Doha industrial zone where they’re housed and surround a still-moving bus like bees on honey……………..”

During the FIFA World Cup games in South Africa, there were many groups, including families, rooting for the North Korean team. Which seemed odd, given that individuals in North Korea are not allowed to do any private travel overseas. If they could afford it. Then came reports, some of them credible, that these were Chinese crowds, including families with children, hired by the ruling dynasty in Pyongyang to pretend to be North Koreans.

Now we come to Qatar, where temporary foreign laborers are more than 87% of the population of about 2 million. Most of them are from South and Southeast Asia. There are just not enough people in Qatar to fill any stadium, even if expatriate laborers were willing to pay for tickets. Which they are not because they can’t afford it and most are not interested in football/soccer. Hence this practice of hiring foreign spectators. The ruling family of Qatar will spend billions for the privilege of being the only Middle East country to host the FIFA World Cup games in this century. Until somebody offers bigger bribes to FIFA officials.

This item was eagerly highlighted by Saudi semi-official Alarabiya, but only in its English edition. Gulf GCC media are rarely critical of other Gulf GCC countries and regimes. Which means tat Saudi-Qatari differences and tensions have not vanished, they were just swept under the rug for now. of course the fact that Qatar beat Saudi Arabia to win the Gulf Cup last month may also have something to do with this.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com