Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

Egypt’s Revolution and a Kingdom without Magic…………

        
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Now the country is trying to establish Mubarakism without Mubarak and it is determined to put an end to the “Middle East Spring” with petrodollars, terrorism and military intervention. It has been said: “The destiny of this pageant lies in the Kingdom of Oil…”…… After stifling protests within its own borders, Saudi Arabian intervention in Bahrain means that it is perpetuating its obscurantist message using terror. This policy of terror is due to the nature of how the power structure was formed in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is used to interpreting any kind of diversity “as an affront to Islam”. This has been the approach since 1744, the establishment of the pact between “the puritanical religious revivalist Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and a group of desert warriors known as the Ikhwan, who had embraced the call to arms of al-Sa’ud. The same pact governing this alliance between religious and temporal powers persists to this day through the clerical legitimization of the rule of the House of al-Sa’ud, and the reciprocal guarantee of the Islamic character of the state………..

He saysand guarantee the Islamic character of the state”. I beg to differ about this. He is talking about the ‘apparent’ Islamic character: the ubiquitous mosques, the shaggy Wahhabi shaikhs issuing fatwas-com-alibis, women not allowed to drive cars (although they rode whatever men rode at the time of the Prophet), etc. True Islamic character probably does not exist in most, nay any, countries, certainly including the Kingdom without Magic. It has to do with a core of values: justice, equality, not allowing corruption. Islamic character also does not mean these hairy Salafis, the enablers and cheerleaders of corrupt potentates. In the early days of true Islam most of these avaricious potentates would have met the same fate their own judges pass on poorer people these days: their hands chopped off, then flogged in public. That would be a switch, n’est-ce pas?
In early Islamic days, something like the BAE Systems scandal would not have happened (look it up under that or under: al-Yamama, or Tony Blair & SFO, or Prince Bandar), nor would many more we probably never read about. In this new age of ‘professed’ Western transparency and humongous arms deals by some of our states that barely have enough people to fill a football stadium. It has more to do with preserving the grip of dynasties on absolute power than Islamic character.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi King: ‘I’m Just an Average Joe’, Al-Shaikh & Fermi…….

  
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Bahraini Child               High flying king            Thoroughly moderrn Shaikh Al
Alarabiya network, owned by a royal in-law and headed by a Saudi prince, reports that Saudi King Abdullah has requested that he not be killed ‘King of Hearts’ or ‘King of Humanity’. In fact he requested that people stop calling him ‘king’ altogether, saying that God (Allah not Yahweh) is the only king. This breakthrough apparently occurred during a meeting with the big banana of the Council of Senior Ulema (clergy) and Department of Scientific Research and Fatwa Shaikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Shaikh, a gaggle of other shaikhs, the Secretary General of the GCC, ministers, and the elite of Saudi society (such as it is).
Now this Scientific Research and Fatwa business can be confusing to a heathen (that would be most of you, and probably even me by Wahhabi standards). They obviously don’t mean the Einstein or Oppenheimer or Teller or Fermi kind of science (not even Luis Alvarez who taught me Physics 101 years ago). They mean Shaikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Shaikh and his merry group of state-appointed clergy, the guys who fatwa banning protests in all Arab countries except in Libya and Iraq and Syria.
I have noted before that this Shaikh Al Al-Shaikh, and all the other Shaikhs Al Al-Shaikh, are direct descendant of Shaikh Mohammed Abdulwahhab, after whom the term ‘Wahhabi’ was coined. He is not to be confused with the late great Egyptian singer and musician Mohammed Abdelwahhab, who was not a Wahhbai and never issued fatwas. Skaikh al is not entertaining.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Prince Opines on Lulu Square, the Warsaw Uprising, and Uncle Adolph……..

        
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Prince ALWALEED: Let me tell you, the so-called day of rage should be changed to some other word, please. Should call it day of allegiance and love to the King Abdullah. Today if you’re on the streets, people have the flags up, they were just themselves and say, `We will not tolerate and accept any sort of demonstration here. We’re happy with our king, we love our king, and we will not accept any outside interference at all,’….. You know, we have issues, sure, internally, like any other country, and we had some demonstrations in the Shiite province in the east coast. And we had maybe around 40, 50 demonstrators yesterday. And the whole thing, you know, just faded away after they had discussion with the authorities over there. We had issues in the past, we resolved them internally and amicably. …….. So really, this whole thing should be changed from day of rage to day of allegiance to the king……Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, look, having said all that. King Abdullah is not going to take this for granted at all. King Abdullah is a reformer. King Abdullah is a reformer since he became the king almost five years ago. And it’s a process, it’s an ongoing process, you know.…….. I mean, this show, for ladies driving, yes, I’m for it. And listen, the fact that I would publicly and openly, this shows that in Saudi Arabia there’s an open debate….. So really, we are heading in the right direction. Maybe not the same speed that you’d like us to, but each country has to move at the speed that it needs. And exactly that’s what President Obama said today, that each country should change in the Middle East at its own speed, its own pace, and without outside interference……

So Prince al-Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdelaziz al-Saud thinks the term “day of rage” should be changed to “day of allegiance” or “day of love for the king”. He may be right to pile
praise on King Abdullah. Compared to who is lining up too replace him, he is not bad. They better pray that Abdullah lives a few more years, pray that a couple of the other princes pass away before him (you know the two I’m referring to).

Now, assuming he means changing the term across the Arab world: in Libya it would be “a day of love for Mu’ammar”, in Bahrain it would be a “day of love for Hamad and Khalifa” (okay the uncle is a bit too much to stomach). Imagine if he lived in 1943: what he would say about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? “Let’s not get carried away, let us not call it a ‘Warsaw Uprising’, no, let us call it a ‘day of love for uncle Adolph and uncle Hermann‘ or, better yet ‘a day of bonding with the SS'”.

“Without outside interference” indeed! They are shooting protesters in Qatif as I type right now. What was going on in the head of Maria Bartiromo during all this? I would not want to guess, not publicly.

(He may be right to pile praise on King Abdullah. Compared to who is lining up too replace him, they better pray that he lasts a few more years).
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Can Saudi Money and Western Arms Kill the Arab Spring?…………

        
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  Can the Saudi army crush her spirit?
You say you want a revolution

Well, you know
We all want to change the world
 You tell me that it’s evolution

Well, you know
We all want to change the world….
” The Beatles

Mr. Maskati is a 24-year-old human rights activist who not long ago felt so close to achieving Egypt’s kind of peaceful revolution, through a dogged commitment to nonviolence. Then the Saudi tanks rolled into Bahrain, and protesters came under attack, the full might of the state hammering at unarmed civilians. “We thought it would work,” Mr. Maskati said, his voice soft with depression, yet edged with anger. “But now, the aggression is too much. Now it’s not about the protest anymore, it’s about self-defense.” The Arab Spring is not necessarily over, but it has run up against dictators willing to use lethal force to preserve their power……At first, they seemed an unstoppable force, driven by the power of demographics — about 60 percent of the population across the Arab world is under the age of 30………

It is now clear that the forces of Arab despotism and reaction have recovered from the initial shock of the revolution and have regrouped. The revolution seemed to cut through the decrepit old Arab system like a knife through rancid butter, moving from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen to Bahrain to Libya and beyond (perhaps to Saudi Arabia). Now the revolution has stalled in the desert of Libya and in the burned and bloody streets of occupied Bahrain. In Libya, Qaddafi has redeployed his oil money and his Western weapons and may have bought himself a reprieve. In Bahrain the people were on the verge of defeating their despotic rulers, when U.S officials started visiting with more frequency just before Saudi arms intervened by invading the country and occupying it.

The Saudi strategy for defeating the Arab spring is simple: to co-opt it in North Africa (Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya) with money and through Western allies, and to crush it by force and genocide in Bahrain and the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is getting bloodier as the dictator clings to his capital city.
The Saudi invasion of Bahrain, aided by the United Arab Emirates as a baggage carrier, came only a few hours after the US Defense Secretary left Bahrain, possibly with Jeffrey Feltman still in Manama. Or maybe not: Feltman has visited the island several times in only a few weeks and is becoming gradually known in our region as a Shi’a-baiter to a Wahhabi degree (you’d think he is running the al-Khalifa campaign the way he runs the right-wing March 14 campaign in Lebanon, or that he is running for office over there).

In any case, Saudi money has bought the king (formerly emir) of Bahrain to such a degree that he has invited them in to occupy the country and subjugate its people. A king inviting a Wahhabi force to subjugate his largely Shi’a people: it is like inviting Nazis into a Jewish neighborhood. But Saudi money will not subjugate a country like Egypt the way it did under the stagnant Mubarak. It may rob the revolution of some of its gains if the Egyptian people are not careful. Saudi money and force will not subjugate the people of Bahrain for long either; they barely escaped their last intervention in Yemen. Besides, they will probably have more fires to put out at home in the coming months.

As for the West: well, how many ways can one spell ‘hypocrisy’? The West was eager to keep the old order in North Africa until it was too late. Now they are eager to take on Qaddafi. In Bahrain, where people are being killed and displaced by a corrupt kleptocratic regime, the West is largely turning a blind eye with a soft unconvincing “Oh, you shouldn’t!” No doubt dreaming of huge weapons deal from the al-Saud and al-Nahayan clans.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Satrapy of Bahrain: who Rules in Manama?………..

        
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  Can the Saudi army crush her spirit?
American officials want Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to allow political reforms that could lead to more representation for Shiites under Sunni rule. During his telephone conversation with the Saudi king, Mr. Obama called for an end to the violence that has accelerated in Bahrain over the last few days. He asked for a “political process as the only way to peacefully address the legitimate grievances of Bahrainis and to lead to a Bahrain that is stable, just, more unified and responsive to its people,”……..”

So Obama is discussing the future of Bahrain with Kin Abdullah, a foreigner to Bahrain.
So tell me again: who did you say rules in Bahrain?………..
It is clear to me that the king of Bahrain is now a satrap (wali in Arabic, which is worse) of the Saudi monarchy. His avaricious clan are now allowed to continue their plunder of Bahrain, but its politics are left to the big boys across the causeway. The shots now are called from Riyadh not Manama.
Let this be a lesson for other states on my Gulf: never invite Saudi (or Iranian or Iraqi) troops to prop up your regime. If you have to do that, then it is time to do a Bin Ali or a Mubarak and get the hell out of Dodge.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Saudi King’s Clueless Offer: More Money, More State Security, Forget Politics………

        
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“You say you want a revolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

You tell me that it’s evolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world
….”
The Beatles, sans King Abdullah

The Saudi King spoke today. He did not disappoint me in his speech today. I had made some predictions yesterday about what he will not offer, what he will not say:


  • He anno
    unced salary raises for state employees.
  • He announced an immediate bonus of two months’ pay for everyone.
  • He raised the minimum wage for state employees (including his own and all those thousands of princes?).
  • He announced a monthly stipend to every unemployed Saudi (again: thousands of princes).
  • He ordered creation of a Commission to Combat Corruption. He did not appoint Prince Bandar to be its chief, which can be good or bad.
  • He ordered the creation of
    60 thousand new jobs “in the security services”. He is telling the
    people: you get some more money, you also get thousands more security
    agents to make sure you don’t ask for more.
  • He assumed his people are happy about their politics and decided not to change anything there. The increased state secret agents are just one more step to make sure of that.


No apology for invading the people of Bahrain. Basically he offered them a few more crumbs from the royal table, in exchange for no politics and he expanded the state security to keep the people subdued. These people, whether they are named al-Saud or al-Khalifa or al-Nahayan, are a hopeless case. It is time to rise in the Arabian Peninsula from Qatif to Jeddah, and passing through Riyadh and al-Qassim. I am not talking revolution here, of course not: I am talking sending a message to these clueless potentates who live inside their own watermelon states.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Saudi King’s Speech: Shocking or Funny or Usual Blah?………….

        
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  Bahrain facing the tanks

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world….”
Beatles


A royal website
has been notifying Saudi citizens, tweeting, that King Abdullah will deliver a speech to his loyal subjects (no mention of any disloyal subjects). It also said the speech will be followed by a series of royal “orders” (maybe be the English translation is “royal decrees”). Speculation has been rife among Saudis on the web about what he will say. I tried to speculate about what he will NOT say and do: 

  • Announce his abdication (retirement) and appoint his loyal nephew Bandar Bin Sultan as heir.
  • Announce that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be henceforth be known as the Republic of Saudi Arabia.

  • Announce his “conversion” to Shi’ism and that he considers Ayatollah Ali Sistani as his marj’e (religious guide), until further notice.

  • Announce that he has been dabbling in the writings of Hegel, Marx and Lenin, in that order, in recent years. That he has become a Marxist, but an Islamic one.
  • Announce that he is coming out of the closet: that he had been a secret revolutionary for some time now. He starts humming to the tune of Lennon’s (not Lenin’s) “Revolution”

  • Do a mea culpa, apologize to the people of Bahrain for invading their country and help shooting them down along with al-Khalifa and Abu Dhabi foreign mercenaries.

  • Announce that he is taking a cut in his salary, and that other princes have agreed to do the same.

  • Announce that every Saudi citizen shall get 1,000 riyal bonus (for being there).
  • Announce that the government will pay the salary of one Asian or African housemaid for each Saudi family for a period of five years. Claim that he can get a better deal through ‘buying” bulk.

  • Announce that he is going on a long vacation to the Appalachian Trail (the one in Argentina).
  • Announce that his maternal great-grand mother was half Jewish.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi Medical Breakthrough, Emulating Amsterdam…….

        
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Islamic holy scripture is now among a patient’s legally sanctioned therapeutic options as a clinic gets a permit to offer treatment with Koranic incantation. For some people, alternative medicine means acupuncture, for others it’s macrobiotics. But now, in Saudi Arabia, Islamic holy scripture is now among a patient’s legally sanctioned therapeutic options. This week, the government awarded a license to a clinic treating the ill with Koranic incantations. The permit for The Center for Treatment through Ruqiya (Incantation) in the coastal city of Jedda was given by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which also oversees the center’s activities……Until now, regulations have been designed to eliminate the practice of sorcery, which is illegal in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death. Two men were sentenced to death last October following charges of practicing witchcraft in the kingdom. But Saudi practitioners insisted that ruqiya should not be confused with sorcery. Al-Hashimi told A-Sharq Al-Awsat that half of all diseases are treatable by using the Koran because they are “Satanic afflictions” that disappear following prolonged verse incantation. Al-Hashimi added that 80% of cancer cases in the kingdom are caused by the evil eye, which is treatable by the Koran as well……”

There are at least two people awaiting the executioner’s sword for the crime of sorcery. There most likely are others on the way in the court system. Then there is the poor Lebanese television magician, who was ambushed during a pilgrimage (umarh) by the Commission for the Propagation of Vice (religious police) and sentenced to beheading. They decided not to behead him, or maybe postponed it, after international publicity. I am looking to the day when magic, witchcraft, and sorcery become as legal in the Kingdom without Magic as toking is in most of California or Seattle (well, effectively), as legal as another “profession” is in Amsterdam.
I think the Saudis have decided to do as the Dutch did to another ancient “industry”: if you can’t fight it, legalize it and organize it. Yet I doubt that the Saudis will establish the equivalent of Amsterdam’s “Red Light” district for these Salafi shamans.

He said:Half of all diseases are treatable by using the Koran because they are “Satanic afflictions”…..”. Okay, what about corruption? It can be cured by the Quran and the Shari’a: the Second Caliph Omar (the Just) did it effectively. Why can’t the Saudi dynasty cure their own kelptocrats through the use of the Holy Quran? I forgot: Omar himself was neither corrupt nor a thief. Omar was incorruptible, these guys are incorrigible.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Real and Political Massacres in Manama: the Division of Bahrain………

        
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  Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?

There was a massacre on Wednesday morning by the joint operations of Bahraini regime forces and Saudi occupation forces. Several were reported dead, but the toll will rise, many more were wounded.
A political massacre followed: the impartial Bahraini alwasat daily and the opposition have been reporting that members of the toothless appointed Shura Council have been announcing their resignations throughout the day. Members of the Bahrain judiciary have also been announcing their resignations throughout the day. At least one newly-appointed minister announced his resignation (not many more will, since almost all ministers are either al-Khalifa members or their tribal retainers). Alarabiya network (owned by an in-law of the royal family and operated by a nephew of King Abdullah) tried to put the usual Saudi propaganda face on it. It claimed on its website that those Shi’as who resigned did so because they were threatened.

In effect the al-Khalifa and their al-Saud lords have split Bahrain into two. They have finally given up on the fake all-inclusive government they tried to present to the world, especially to the West. This has always been a sectarian regime in Manama, but in the past it could not be a 100% sectarian regime like the Saudi one. Now the regime in Manama is just like the Saudi one, representing the al-Khalifa family and a few families of their retainers and royal groupies. Reports also filtered throughout the day that leading opposition figures have been arrested, presumably by joint al-Khalifa and Saudi forces. Some right-wing daily rags in Kuwait, which unfortunately seems to spawn some of the worst Arab media and “crappiest” writers in recent years, have even started talking about a Bahrain Khalifiyya, البحرين الخليفية, meaning an al-Khalifa Bahrain. Sort of like “Saudi” Arabia.
Now the Saudi forces will probably remain in Bahrain forever, unless forced to leave by the people of Bahrain. And they can force them to leave, now that the fear is gone.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Saudi Cause Célèbre: a Policy of Apartheid, a Media Empire……..

        
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  Can the Saudi army & Abu Dhabi mercenaries crush her spirit?

The chief editor of

Asharq Alawsat, the Saudi daily owned by prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz and run by his son, is here telling the United States administration to stop issuing statements about Bahrain and the Saudi invasion of the island. When this guy writes like this, it can only mean that he got his orders from his lords and masters to say so.

Its title in Arabic is a tough sounding “America Must Control These Statements!”. He is referring to US concern about Bahrain and the killings of civilians by regime security mercenaries. The headline is translated by the newspaper to a milder “America’s inconsistent statements”. He is also saying that allowing free elections in Bahrain would “hand the island to Iran”, a typical Wahhabi refrain against free elections anywhere, even in the oppressed Arabian Peninsula which is about 90% of the “right sect”. He, a foreigner to Bahrain, is also casting suspicions of disloyalty on a majority of the people of Bahrain. Even though it was the ruling oligarchy that betrayed the country by inviting foreign forces to invade.

They have mobilized their vast media (all owned or controlled by Saudi princes), their hired Salafi shaikhs, and their paid ghost newspapers in some states of the Persian-American Gulf (the worst two dailies in my hometown, the worst two in the Middle East, with suspicious financing, fall in that category). They focus now on Bahrain more than anything else, having made the al-Khalifa Apartheid policy against the people of Bahrain their cause célèbre.

They will lose in the end because they are on the wrong side of the move of history. They have no cause beyond keeping in power a grasping and corrupt regime that is a smaller version of their own. Besides, the fear that kept these twits in control is gone. I am not talking about just Bahrain. There is no fear…….
Cheers
mhg

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