Category Archives: Persian Gulf

Persian Gulf: Local Powder Keg, Western Market Opportunity……..

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“In Yemen, “Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16″ in sorties in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, wrote the Times. U.S. arms manufacturers have opened up offices in several Arab capitals, and reportedly expect additional orders from regional countries for “thousands of American-made missiles, bombs and other weapons” to replenish “an arsenal that has been depleted over the past year,” according to The New York Times. In an earnings call leaked to The Intercept last month, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson stressed the company’s goals to increase international sales, particularly in the Middle East. “A lot of volatility, a lot of instability, a lot of things that are happening” in the Middle East are potential “growth areas”………….”

In 1979, after the mullahs and their temporary secular allies overthrew the Shah of Iran, they made a nearly-fateful decision. They canceled all pending weapons contracts with the United States (that was before the Hostage Crisis). The decision was partly driven by ‘revolutionary’ zeal, and based on the naive assumption that they were safe from external attack and that they could influence the region with their revolutionary message and rhetoric.
Next year Saddam Hussein did something that quickly disabused them of that rosy view. Saddam saw an opportunity in the turmoil within Iran and made his own fateful decision by invading southwestern Iran. That war disappointed all expert predictions as it lasted eight years and bankrupted Iraq to the extent that Saddam invaded Kuwait to loot its wealth. We all know that story is still unfolding in Iraq and across the region (and to some extent within Iranian political circles).
Suddenly our once peaceful Gulf looked quite menacing. Meanwhile, with the two Persian Gulf superpowers, Iran and Iraq, otherwise occupied, the smaller countries started building up their own arsenals, to supplement the American Umbrella. Now Saudi Arabia, UAE and other GCC states are major weapons markets for the West (and the East). The Iranian mullahs probably salivate at the quality and quantity of state-of-the-art Western weapons that their smaller neighbors to the south can get. Only the Israelis get better weapons than the GCC states, and that is certainly deliberate American policy.

The mullahs will probably have to keep on salivating: Western weapons are unlikely to be available to Iran any time soon. That is not all bad. They have managed to develop their own vast weapons industry, as well as a credible space program. Which means they have locally mastered the sciences and technology needed. For a country the size of Iran, it makes sense to focus on domestic production. Besides, they have not done so bad in terms of regional influence, even without F-15 and F-16 warplanes and shared Western intelligence.

I am tempted to assert that it would be better for the other Gulf states to develop their own weapons industries. But there may be a small problem with that. Where would the princes and potentates, and their families, get the huge amounts of money that the weapons bribes commissions provide?

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

Islamic State Goes Institutional and Cultural and Global…….

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The Islamic State (of Syria and Iraq for now) of Caliph Abu Bakr Al Samarrai reportedly has been forming the skeleton of a state. At least they were before the bombing campaign started. With reported coinage and taxes and schools and other trappings of a state. Yet they need to do more to look like a real state. Something other statelets, sorry, other ‘states’ (statelets or half-states is what Generalissimo Al Sisi called the sisterly states on the famous tapes). Here are a few more steps that might be taken: 

  • Solicit and permit local branches of elite or semi-elite Western universities and colleges. Perhaps a branch of the Sorbonne in Raqqa, an NYU in Mosul (while Mosul lasts). Sort of like they have in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and other Persian Gulf venues. These campuses would be for men only, of course. Modified Sorbonne or NYU, just like they have modified watered-down versions in other parts of the Gulf. They can add some new local curricula: the Teachings of Ibn Taimiyyah, the Teachings of Mohammad Ibn AbdulWahhab, (but of course not the music of Mohammed Abdelwahhab of Egypt).
  • Open up local branches of elite Western think tanks. That ought to make you look more serious than you really are. Brookings, Cato, Rand, etc. Just as they do in the UAE and Qatar: provided these branches do not criticize local politics (or lack thereof) and local culture (or lack thereof).
  • Take a bold leap and allow opening ersatz branches of famous world museums. They need it after the Caliphate has destroyed every local monument they could get their hands on in Iraq and Syria. Museums and galleries like the Louvre, Guggenheim, and Tate might be happy to expand into a new ‘market’. Just as some have done in the UAE and Qatar.
  • Start a new campaign, insisting that the Persian Gulf be renamed ‘Gulf of the Caliphate’, or Salafi Gulf. Spend a lot of oil money doctoring ancient historic maps of the region to show that should be the new name of the Gulf. Just as they do in the UAE and Qatar, for example.
  • Start seriously thinking of membership requirements for world bureaucracies: the Arab League, United Nations, IMF, World Bank, WTO, WTF, etc……….

But I think I am getting ahead of myself here…….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum     Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

More Gulf Military Exercises Near the Strait of Hormuz…….

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Some Arab media quote a UAE (Emirates) ‘prominent analyst’ that a number of GCC countries will hold naval military exercises in the Persian Gulf. The analyst mentioned something about the exercise being a message to a ‘threatening Iran’. But he also hinted that enhanced operational field coordination is an important goal. In other words, learning to organize the proverbial piss-up in a brewery, which is more essential for the success of any military operation than accumulating expensive hardware.

They report the exercises will be held in the area of the Strait of Hormuz and not far from three disputed islands that are held by Iran (Abu Moussa, and the Tunbs). It is not clear to me how close to Hormuz they will be held, if they will be held at all. Nor how reliable this ‘analyst’ who leaked the news is, although they report that he is ‘close’ to UAE policy-makers. No report if some of the participating countries that heavily use imported mercenaries (UAE, Bahrain) will bring along these foreign mercenaries to join the exercises.
This comes days after the Iranians held their own exercises near the area, where they targeted a replica of a U.S. naval warship (a flat top). A cute but snidely touch by the humorless mullahs, although the timing may not have been smart.

No doubt the region is getting weirder by the week. From the Gulf to Libya. Which possibly explains the state of this particular post of mine.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Egypt and the Gulf: Myth of Egyptian Role in the Persian Gulf War…….

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“Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Al Sissi has reportedly launched a damage control operation to ensure that his country’s relations are not affected by the alleged audio recording suggesting that Egyptian officials close to him viewed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with disdain. The conversation between Al Sissi who was then minister of defence and two aides, released on Saturday, includes remarks that some Gulf countries were half states, that they had more money than they needed and that Egypt should adopt a strict policy of give-and-take with them. It also includes verbal personal abuse of the Emir of Qatar…………..”

More about the Sisi Tapes. Sisi and his aides said the Egyptians should be tougher with countries ‘we liberated or helped liberate’ from Iraq. This is a misconception (actually almost a lie) that Egyptians keep repeating and now they may believe it. The Kuwaiti and Gulf media are too polite or timid to deny it directly. Egypt was very helpful but it did not actually liberate, nor did any other Arab country or army liberate Kuwait. Nor were they capable then, nor are they capable now of liberating anyone. The sheer logistics would have paralyzed them. It is the “Piss-up in a Brewery” syndrome that I am fond of referring to occasionally here.

Don’t get me wrong. Egyptian was very helpful and Egyptian public opinion was overwhelmingly against the Iraqi invasion and occupation in 1990-91. That enabled the Mubarak regime to send forces. Egyptians, unlike Jordanians for example, were never admirers of Saddam Hussein. I was in Cairo right after the war, and public opinion seemed strongly supportive of their ‘participation’.

Kuwait was mainly liberated by the Americans (boys and girls and Christians and Jews and Muslims and Vegans and Agnostics, among others). With some help from other European allies, especially the British. The Arab contingents that were sent to Saudi Arabia were just for window-dressing: the Americans thought it would help with Arab public opinion.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Pictorial Bahrain Security Summit: The King and Jacko………

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I found this archival photo of a summit held a few years ago between the late Michael Jackson and His Majesty the King of Bahrain in Manama. That was before that city became known as the “Arab capital of tear gas“. The topic of the summit was allegedly focused on Persian Gulf Security situation and how to improve it.

The picture below is reportedly of Jacko arriving for the Summit disguised as an ISIS groupie. Here he is shaking hands with one of the many loyal trusted foreign mercenaries imported from…….. somewhere else. The alert-looking guy with shifty eyes in the middle is also another imported mercenary: he is either a body guard or a foreign policy adviser to the government. Perhaps he doubles as both.
BahrainJacko2

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

ISIS, ISIL, WTF: Mystery of the New Black Map of the Wahhabi Caliphate………

      


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One
overlooked detail of the recent noise about ISIS (or is it ISIL) and its threat to all of Iraq has been overlooked. The new black map of their proposed Wahhabi Caliphate ominously includes Kuwait. Kuwait, as everyone knows (well as many know) was occupied by the Baathist Iraqi regime in 1990-991, and declared the 19th province. Until American forces and some other Western allies liberated it during what is officially called the Persian Gulf War.

There
have been hints, repeated in Arab media, that the ISIS (or ISIL) now may include former Baathist generals from the old Iraqi Army, the one that refused to defend Baghdad in 2003.

Cheers

mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Sectarian GCC, Delusional GCC: Third Battle of Qadisiyyah, Second Battle of Karbala…….

      


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In
the year of Our Lord 15 Hijri (about 636 AD), the Muslim Arab fighters won a big victory at the Battle of Qadisiyyah in what is today’s Iraq. That opened the door for the spread of Islam to Mesopotamia and Persia and beyond.



In
September of 1980, while Iran was in revolutionary turmoil, Saddam Hussein’s army invaded the Iranian province of Khuzistan (a.k.a Arabistan). Saddam made several demands and goals for his invasion, none of which were met at the end of the war. Seeing the dire situation inside Iran, he had expected a quick victory, as did most Arabs and many in the West (even the once-venerable The Economist wrote stupidly in 1980 that Iran might become an Iraqi satrapy). Saddam got the support of all the GCC states of the Persian Gulf, moral support, propaganda support, money support, and weapons. He also got the support of all the Western powers: weapons, intelligence, even some limited military action. As well as supplies of chemical weapons and overlooking his use of WMD against Iraqi Kurds and Iranian soldiers. 
Not all Arabs sided with him: Syria, Libya, and Algeria among the Arab states, and a faction of the PLO, did not side with Saddam. The late King Hussein of Jordan, the man who lost Jerusalem and the whole West Bank to the Israeli IDF in one single day, even went to the front and fired some symbolic shots at the Iranians. Iraqi propaganda and Persian Gulf supporters called the war Qadisiyyah of Saddam. In the end Iraq came out of this war a financially broken country. That was when he turned his guns against the Gulf people who had stood by his side. He invaded Kuwait in August 2, 1990 and the rest is history.


Now
we have the Wahhabi terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL) sweeping across northern Iraq. The same great Gulf GCC
tribal sectarian minds that cheered Saddam before 1990 are now cheering ISIS. Many of them are claiming that ISIS is really a nationalist rebirth of the Baath Party, apparently a softer Iraqi Baath Party that can now get along with the absolute tribal rulers of the Gulf. Maybe it is not the same Baath Party that invaded Kuwait and threatened the terrified Saudi princes until the Americans showed up and chased them out. Now they claim they are cheering for the disenfranchised Sunnis of Iraq, the 20% who have not reconciled to losing power. 
Diehard
sectarians in the Persian Gulf region are coming out of the closet, out in the open; not that they were ever well hidden. From tribal academics to media stars to liberal-Wahhabi-men-and-women-about-town to the clownish chief of the Dubai Police Dhahi Khalfan, they are all in justification mode, using crass sectarian terms. The same crass sectarian terms they used in the 1980s until Saddam’s tanks moved toward the south in 1990.
Now they see this new turmoil in Iraq as a third Battle of Qadisiyyah, or maybe as a second Battle of Karbala, as the Wahhabi invaders in Iraq are hinting at.
 

It
is as if on my Gulf they have not learned any lesson from the past few decades. It is as if delusion is like an heirloom handed down from foolish fathers to foolish sons and daughters in the GCC countries of the Gulf.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


ISIS, ISIL, WTF: Mystery of the New Black Map of the Wahhabi Caliphate………

      


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One
overlooked detail of the recent noise about ISIS (or is it ISIL) and its threat to all of Iraq has been overlooked. The new black map of their proposed Wahhabi Caliphate ominously includes Kuwait. Kuwait, as everyone knows (well as many know) was occupied by the Baathist Iraqi regime in 1990-991, and declared the 19th province. Until American forces and some other Western allies liberated it during what is officially called the Persian Gulf War.

There
have been hints, repeated in Arab media, that the ISIS (or ISIL) now may include former Baathist generals from the old Iraqi Army, the one that refused to defend Baghdad in 2003.

Oman-Iran Gas Deal: of Revolutionary Guards and Neighborly Tanks………

      


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“Oman’s plan to build a $1 billion natural-gas pipeline from Iran is the latest sign that Saudi Arabia is failing to bind its smaller Gulf neighbors into a tighter bloc united in hostility to the Islamic Republic. The accord was signed during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Oman last month, and marks the first such deal between Iran and a Gulf Cooperation Council state in more than a decade. Oman is in good standing with the U.S. too: a $2.1 billion purchase of air-defense systems from Raytheon Inc. was announced during a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry last year. Oman, led by 73-year-old Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said, hosted secret talks between the U.S. and Iran in the run-up to November’s Geneva agreement..………..”



I
have never been able to satisfactorily answer one important question: why are the Omanis not seeing Iranian (and Hezbollah) plots under every bed as the Saudis and their Bahraini stooges claim they do (as do some Washington Post columnists)? Does the Sultan Qaboos Bin Said not worry about the scowling mullahs sweeping across the Gulf, skirting the mighty U.S. Navy and other Western armadas and Jordanian mercenaries in order to take over his country? Come to think of it: why don’t the Qataris seem worried about this? 
I have tried in the past to think it through, in my older posts here. 

This is no doubt partly related to the fact that Omanis know how the Wahhabis look at their (the Omani) version of the Islamic faith. They fear neighborly hegemony, as do many others in the Gulf GCC states. They all know that Iranian Revolutionary Guards would have to cross the sea and pass by the U.S Navy in the unlikely event that they go irrationally as mad as mad dogs and try to attack Oman (or Ras Al Khaimah or Um El Qewain). They all also know that Saudi tanks can just drive in as they did in Bahrain. 
It is also related to history, where the Omanis have always looked away from the Peninsula and across the seas. That is how they have forged their relations in the past: across the Gulf and across the Indian Ocean.

Iranian Pakistani Omani Hezbollah Naval Exercises, General Salami is no Baloney

GCC Rifts amid Arab Unrest: Wild Attempts at Gulf Hegemony, Swallowing a Bone

Disinformation about Secret American-Iranian Negotiations

GCC Summit: a Salafi Tribal Dream Team, Taqiyya and a Real Existential Threat

Qatar and Oman: Is Iran Cracking the GCC Front?

GCC Migration of Equus Asinus: Former Plain Donkeys become Leading Jackasses………

      


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“I don’t know if there’s already a designated creature, which holds the title of National Animal of Bahrain, but to my mind none would be more deserving than Equus asinus – the donkey. No other animal has toiled more for the people of Bahrain, nor contributed more to the country’s prosperity than this humble creature. Before the widespread use of motor vehicles, donkeys were the main means of transport. Every village, and central Manama itself, was teeming with donkeys. They were used to transport sweet water and kerosene around the neighbourhoods; they took goods to and from the market place; they pulled the municipal rubbish carts; they collected fish from the seashore; and, before air transport, they were used to bring ashore passengers from boats during low tide. It is thought that all domestic donkeys originated from the Nubian wild ass (Equus asinus africanus), and the first domesticated donkeys were probably imported into Bahrain during the Dilmun era, when the inhabitants of the islands practised a flourishing trade in the import/export business. Donkey bones dating from the third and second millennium BC have been unearthed at various archaeological sites around Bahrain, providing historical evidence of the close association between people and donkeys in Bahrain……………..”




The
writer says that he does not know if “there’s already a designated creature, which holds the title of National Animal of Bahrain”. I got news for her (or him): the people have already chosen the national animal of Bahrain, and they all seem to agree that it is the ass (or donkey or jackass). Or maybe I should say Al-Ass (or Al-Donkey or Al-Jackass). Why do you think they have been rebelling for three years?

That
article was written in 2007, before the people rebelled against all them long-eared Als. It was published by a daily that calls itself “The Voice of Bahrain”.

It
says here that Nubian asses were imported into Bahrain centuries ago, but that was probably on a small scale. I was told by sources in Bahrain and Kuwait that most donkeys of Bahrain seem to have migrated to the island with the Al-Khalifa clan. When the clan moved through Kuwait to Bahrain about a couple of centuries ago, suddenly the number of asses in Bahrain increased dramatically, while the number of donkeys in my native Kuwait decreased dramatically. I wonder if there is a connection between the dramatic shift in asinine demographics. That this is how the Equus asinus became the Equus asinus Bahrainicus.

I
was also told by someone who claims she is knowledgeable that, immediately after that migration, the average intelligence of a resident of Kuwait skyrocketed, even before I was born in the Sharq district. At the same time the average intelligence of a resident of Bahrain dropped sharply with the new arrivals. Street crime also increased on the island, eventually aided and abetted by Western advisers and weapons and imported foreign mercenaries. Looting and thievery on a grand scale, especially of land, also increased at that time and continues to be extremely high.

I
think this requires further study, and perhaps some deep thinking. More on this soon, stay tuned.

(FYI: this is a newly altered version of an older post. It is one of those posts that I enjoy going back and reading again, and revising. It is one of the posts I like to share every once in a while. I have made some slight changes on this current post).
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com