Category Archives: Qatar

Bahrain (& maybe Qatar) Uncover another Stupid Terror Plot, about that Embassy Bombing……….

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JEDDAH: A terror cell planning attacks against the Saudi Embassy, the King Fahd Causeway and other vital installations in Bahrain has been broken up, a Bahraini Interior Ministry spokesman said Saturday. Four members of the cell were detained in Qatar and turned over to Manama, while a fifth Bahraini was arrested inside the country, said Gen. Tareq Al-Hasan. The alleged targets also included the Bahraini Interior Ministry and other individuals. Al-Hasan said the four arrested in Qatar had been traveling by car from Saudi Arabia. Security officers at a checkpoint seized “documents and a computer containing information of a security nature (and) details on certain vital sites.” They were also carrying US dollars and Iranian rials………..

If I were an Iranian official plotting terrorism in Bahrain or in Saudi Arabia, I would never hand the terrorists Iranian money, for two reasons: (1) American dollars, or Euro, or Gulf currencies are easier to use, and (2) Iranian money would look suspicious if these men get caught. A smart Iranian “control” would have them carry wads of Israeli NIS.
If I wanted to make sure everyone “knew” the Iranians were behind a plot, I’d give the terrorists some Iranian currency, a lot of it. So, somebody is very stupid: it can be the Iranians, or the Bahrainis, or the Saudis. Who do you think is that stupid? Could it be all of the above? I suspect any of the above have operatives who are stupid enough. The good news (or is it the bad news) is that we have not read anything (yet) linking this “plot” to an Iranian used car dealer in Texas named Arbabsiar. But it is early.

The Bahrain and Saudi media are running away with it. Saudi semi-official network Alarabiya headlines that members of the appointed Bahrain sectarian “parliament” have claimed Iran and Hezbollah were involved (they forgot to add North Korea). Qatari media have not reported on this, yet. Which is also odd, but maybe they are as suspicious of the timing of this as I am.
I think somebody somewhere ought to quit while they are ahead: the question is where is that somebody? Tehran or Manama or Riyadh?

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Arab Potentates Gaming the Electoral Systems: Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia…….

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Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said there would be a vote for an advisory council in 2013, in line with a constitution introduced eight years ago. The decision is another victory, though a small one given the delayed and partial nature of the change, for the Arab Spring which Qatar did so much to foment. The royal family’s failure to introduce any semblance of the democracy it was helping elsewhere to promote, through the Al-Jazeera television channel which it owns, and finance with its large-scale backing for the revolution in Libya, has drawn increasing political attention to itself. “We have always preferred that regimes start changes on their own and lead the movement of transformation, instead of seeing people rise up,” the Emir said in a nod to the contradiction………...”

No doubt the Qatari potentate had to do something. His Aljazeera network could not continue publicizing Arab uprisings against despots in Syria and Libya and other places while his own people had no representation. A two-third elected parliament is better than no parliament, depending on what other actions the government takes to influence the elections. The “devil is in the detail” and all that. It will be better than Bahrain which has nominally a half-elected legislature but it is effectively no more elected than 30% or so. It is even better than the case of Saudi Arabia where no one votes for a legislature or a dog-catcher and the ‘Shoura” council is fully appointed by the royal family. The Saudi “elections” they are talking about are for toothless municipal councils, which will also act as “advisory”, pending the accession to the throne of Prince Nayef (Naif) who will then get rid of them.
Arab potentates on the Gulf are learning how to “game the system”. Just as Mubarak and Saleh did, they can have all the pretensions of popular elections, without the headache and inconvenience of actual accountability. It would also make the Western allies happier, once they learn to turn a blind eye.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Yusuf al-Qardawi: ‘Pay as You Pray’ Anti-Semitic Shaikh of Islam……………

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Yusuf Al-Qardhawi represents some of the worst aspects in a certain class of Islamic clergy. He is a loud demagogue, and his dogma is quite flexible, depending on who wants him to be flexible. Which makes him, like the rest of us, inconsistent. That flexibility presumably comes at a price. He supported the uprising in Egypt toward the end. He supported the uprisings in Libya and Syria after the fact and especially after his Qatari masters started supporting them. He is against any uprising in Bahrain and has said so, and certainly in Saudi Arabia, for the same obvious reasons. Some might say that is because the Saudis and Qataris can pay him well, better than anyone else can.

Some of his opinions can be found on his website, but only some of them. Others he would not revisit, like his pro-Nazi ranting about Hitler being the instrument of God to punish the Jews. He opined that Hitler was part of God’s punishment of Jews and expounded on how Jews are enemies of God and how they exaggerate the Holocaust. All these anti-Semitic remarks within two minutes in this video.
Cheers
mhg


Arab Absolute Monarchs Funding Democracy in Egypt? Democratic People’s Republic of (Saudi) Arabia………

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A mini-crisis of sorts erupted between Egypt and the United States over foreign funding. The spark was probably the congressional testimony of the new US ambassador to Cairo, Anne Patterson, in June, in which she said that the US was earmarking $40m for USAID democracy and governance spending…………..Fast forward to this month, and the question of foreign funding is changing tack. A few days ago, the Egyptian press revealed (from government sources) that several of the largest transactions to civil society organizations have come from the Gulf, not the West. The numbers are quite telling. According to these reports, over LE181m ($30m) was given to the Ansar al-Sunna association, a very conservative religious group, by Qatar’s al-Thani Foundation. Kuwaiti and Emirati religious associations also donated significant sums, ones that dward(sic) what secular human rights groups might be receiving at the moment…….…

Last time I looked, neither the al-Thani nor the al-Nahayan were on the verge of changing their own quasi-feudal fiefdoms (Qatar and the UAE) into model democracies. Anymore than than al-Saud are about to declare a Democratic People’s Republic of (Saudi) Arabia. I mean these are the same people who tried to keep Mubarak in power, they even got pissed off at Obama for not ‘somehow’ keeping him in power (Qatar excepted in this case). Last time I looked, they were all clinging to power and inherited privilege at all costs, and I mean ALL costs. Now their Salafi allies are trying to influence the elections in Egypt, nay trying to buy the elections in Egypt.

(Come to think of it, how about a Great Jamihiriya Socialist “Emirates” Republic of Al-Nahayan?)
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Muslim Brotherhood Colors: Qatari, Saudi, Iranian, Chinese……….

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The Islamists seem to have the upper hand, enjoying the patronage of Qatar, the boiling-rich little Gulf emirate that hosts Yusuf Qaradawi, an influential mentor of the global Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Jazeera, the satellite-television channel that shapes perceptions across the Arab world. Qatar, some surmise, could yet play the part in nurturing Islamists in Libya that Pakistan played in Afghanistan. Mosques are already influencing the new order—often for the good. Within days of the rebel victory in Tripoli, imams broadcast calls for gunmen to stop firing in the air. They have used Friday prayers to tell looters to register their weapons with local offices answerable to the national council and have distributed reminders to be pinned to lampposts. In many districts the mosque is the seat of the new local council, receiving alms to subsidise its activities. Many have wells, and the national council has declared that supplying fresh water is a top priority. Tripoli’s new military commander, Abdel Hakim Bel Haj, once belonged to the Libyan Islamist Fighting Group, regarded as an affiliate of al-Qaeda, which he subsequently renounced. His deputy, Mehdi Herati, sailed with a fiercely Islamist Turkish group in last year’s flotilla to break the siege on Gaza. Ali al-Salabi, a Muslim Brotherhood scholar, has returned from Qatar. Assorted Islamists are suspected of killing Abdel Younis Fattah, the rebel commander who died outside Benghazi in late July in mysterious circumstances……………..”

I told you so about two weeks ago. All Arab uprisings (none are true revolutions yet) end up with more power for the Islamists. That is the natural order now, if only because the dictators and despots had made sure there is no real political life other than in exile or in prison. That leaves out the mosque, in most Arab countries the only place where people can gather without police violence being visited upon them. Unfortunately for the regimes, they could not close down the mosques (most Arab regimes are not nearly as good in controlling the mosques as, say, the Saudis are).
The Qataris have for years had their own favorite Islamists, and they usually tended to be the ones the Saudis disliked: branches of the Muslim Brothers in various places like Egypt and Gaza. The Saudis mistrusted the Egyptian MB, the “Mother of all Muslim Brothers”, especially, partly because they were against Mubarak and partly because they did not think much of the Saudi system as an example to follow (unlike the Salafis).
That is a far cry from some years ago, when Egyptian MB’s found refuge and support in Saudi Arabia against the secular leftist regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser. This is not to say the Saudis don’t have their own favored Muslim Brothers: they do, especially in the Gulf region and parts of Iraq and Syria. Hell, even the Iranian (Shi’a) mullahs have managed to have their own (Sunni) Muslim Brothers in Gaza. (No, I don’t think the Chinese have their favorite Muslim Brothers, not yet, although I suspect that the West does).

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Abrams Pissed at Qatar, When in Rome and Carthage………

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Qatar has acquired a reputation for sharp, quick responses to crises in the Arab world and for modern and unorthodox thinking. It is undeserved. Qatari diplomatic activity is designed to advance the interests of the tiny country and of its ruling family. Its adoption of the Libyan opposition, for example, is not based on any principle (such as liberty, democracy, or free elections), for the Qatari government and its TV station, Al Jazeera, have been notably silent about the crisis in Bahrain. There, they have backed the royal family and the Saudi-led GCC armed presence………Backing the royal family in Bahrain, supporting Hamas but then giving some money to the PA, and financing the rebels in Libya shows Qatari flexibility, but not courageous leadership. What does Qatar seek, beyond influence? Influence for what? ……………..”

Abrams sounds truly pissed at the Qatari oligarchy, but he is right overall about the hypocrisy. I have to agree with him on this one, although it is the Palestinian statehood thing that riles him up the most.
Abrams asks: Influence for what?” He forgets all about Rome. Long ago, in this galaxy, a small farming community around the upstart town of Rome gained influence and power gradually as it beat regional rivals. Within a couple of centuries, the Roman upstarts defeated Carthage in three (Punic) wars and became undisputed masters of the Mediterranean and half the known world (from Spain to the Euphrates River). Is it possible the Qatari dynasty is seeking to take over the (Persian-American) Gulf? Or maybe they just want to merge with Bahrain (minus al-Khalifa and the Saudi occupation forces, of course). Is it possible they want to conquer the known world? Ich weiss nicht.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Qatar and Oman: Is Iran Cracking the GCC Front?………….

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Sultan Qaboos said that regional states should keep vigilant toward the plots of sowing discord in the region. Referring to the latest developments in the region, he called for an urgent settlement to the problems and heed the demands of the people. Iran-Oman excellent ties will ensure interests of the two countries and the entire regional nations, he said. Salehi arrived in the Omani capital city of Muscat on Wednesday morning. He was warmly welcomed by his Omani Counterpart Youssef bin Alawi. “Without doubt, Salehi’s first visit to Oman would be constructive,” bin Alawi said. Bin Alawi added the visit is the best opportunity to foster mutual ties. Omani government is keen to enhance Tehran-Muscat cooperation, he noted. Iran and Oman have expanded cooperation in a variety of areas such as economy and defense since Iran’s President Ahmadinejad took office in 2005. The two countries signed a security agreement in August 2009….Fars News (Iran)

Just before this Salehi visit to Oman, he had been in Qatar. Even during the peak of the Arab revolutions and the Bahraini regime crackdown on the people’s uprising last March, high Omani officials and the Qatari crown prince were in Tehran for the celebration of Nouruz, the Iranian New Year. As I have posted before here, Oman has always marched to its own music, paying lip service to the Saudi-driven GCC band. Oman has always looked across the seas, even long after its territorial interests in East Africa were gone.
Qatar has been an active thorn in the Saudi side, although the Qatari regime has moved closer to the Saudi position as the Arab revolution moved closer to the Persian-American Gulf. But there is serious bad blood between Doha and Riyadh, ever since the 1990s when Saudi Arabia was involved in a plot to overthrow the Emir of Qatar. Several high ranking Saudi security officers were sentenced to prison in Qatar for their role and were only released a year or so ago. They returned to a heroes’ welcome by the al-Saud princes in Riyadh.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Gulf: Buying Arms and Media and the Internet…………….

        
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The United Arab Emirates and Qatar don’t care about democracy either. The Qataris only want to be able to buy every huge building & store in Europe & Asia & America. They also want to keep Aljazeera as the most popular Arab news network. They have al-Qardhawi in Egypt who they think will be influential, but he is a television shaikh, and young people look at TV shaikhs as being a little clownish. I doubt that many Egyptian youth pay much attention to him. Hell, I wouldn’t, and I am not young or Egyptian.

The United Arab Emirates
are even less inclined toward democratic values than Qatar. The potentates of Abu Dhabi just want to be able to buy every modern warplane and missile systems and tank and warship in the world. I hear they are in the market for a satellite to buy, which may indicate that the shaikhs believe all the UFO and extraterrestrial stories. They have been the second biggest importers of arms in the world in the past five years according to SIPRI. This for a country that has less than one million citizens (the other four million of the population are temporary foreign laborers, housemaids, and gardeners, mostly from South Asia). The way they are buying weapons, you’d think they are trying to speculate by hoarding, or maybe plotting to take over Saudi Arabia. Their shaikhs also want to buy as many and British soccer clubs as they can. Oh, and they like to be able to buy the best race horses in Britain.

The Saudi princes are into media big time. Obviously they are into other things as well because their numbers keep increasing. They have been buying Arab media furiously in the past few years. They own such well known outlets as Asharq Alawsat, al-Hayat, al-Arabiya, LBC, MBC, ART, etc, etc. They want to buy every Arabic newspaper & magazine & television network around, and they can afford it. They even own the whole Arab Thought Society, such as it is. They have never forgotten that Nasser of Egypt almost overthrew their dynasty with his strong media message. In fact the Saudis would like to buy the whole Internet and shut it down.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com