Category Archives: Turkey

Political Psychology: This Irrational Urge to Punch Erdogan, Slap Salafis…….

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Strange. These days, whenever I see Turkish leader Caliph Recip Erdogan, I get this unreasonable but overwhelming desire to punch him in the face. Actually in the mouth and nose area specifically.
Why do you suppose I feel like punching him in the face? Odd: I am a cheerful and peaceful and un-punching-in-face type of person. With one exception. I have always been that way, until now. Could it be because he reminds me of someone who did not get punched in the face until it was too late, some 75 years ago in Germany?


(That is mostly the case: although actually there are a few people, all male and mostly from my Persian Gulf region, whom I sometimes get the strong urge to slap in the face. But they tend to be Gulf Salafis and a slap to the face is not the same as a punch, is it? Besides, I imagine many rational people feel like slapping a Salafi as soon as he opens his mouth)

All a new phenomenon of recent time, so unlike me: I always get along with others, except for rude people. Maybe it has to do with all the “stuff” back in the Middle East. But I’ll sort it out. One way or another, probably without having to go to Turkey.

Cheers (if possible)

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Turkish Coup: of Erdogan the Enabler of Jihadis and his Arab Salafi Tribal Admirers……..

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So, what is happening in Turkey now?

  • Since 2011, President Erdogan of Turkey managed to gather the support of Salafi Wahhabi Jihadists across the Arab lands. He was the most popular Muslim leader among them, after the Caliph of Raqqa and the Saudi king.
  • He also managed to gather the support of self-styled liberals across the Arab world (what I would call Wahhabo-Liberals, unabashed fans of the absolute kings and princes). They supported him because of his involvement in Syria in support of the Saudi-inspired Salafi Jihadists. Some of the more diehard looked at him as a substitute to the long-awaited Caliph of Islam, perhaps doubting the the ISIS substitute in Raqqa can survive.
  • Arab Salafi, pro-Jihdist, pro-Daesh, pro-Saudi social media accounts were among the loudest supporters of Erdogan before the coup attempt in Turkey. They were praying all over the media during the coup attempt for Erdogan to prevail. Some of them even claimed that they were doing it for “a democracy they don’t believe in”, most did not even bother with that fig-leaf.
  • Most of these Arab Salafis, Muslim Brothers, and Persian Gulf Wahhabi-liberals, came up (only in Arabic-language posts) with convoluted theory about an American/Western-Zionist-Persian plot to subvert Turkey away from the true Islamic path toward the Caliphate (WTF that be). Many of them still carry the silly new flag that is supposed to represent some mythical moderate Syrian”rebels”, even as in their hearts they owe allegiance to the black ISIS version of the green Saudi flag.
  • They all know, of course, that without Erdogan’s support, the Jihadist terrorists of ISIS and Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham and Army of Islam and others would not have been able to receive their weapons and volunteers and Persian Gulf tribal money to enable the mass murders in Syria and Iraq and across the world.
  • The same tribal Salafis who openly called for donations to support Jihad in Syria and Iraq and across the world also yesterday slaughtered sheep across my Gulf in celebration of the failure of the military coup against their best enabler, Erdogan.
  • Turkish officials, their Arab Salafist supporters, started talking loudly of a plot hatched in America against Erdogan. Such loud charges and threats by Erdogan surrogates worked against European governments, especially Germany. It is unlikely they will work against Washington.
  • Interestingly, Erdogan had started before the coup attempt to bury the hatchet with Syria. His ministers had started to change tack and show less hostility to Assad. Just days before the coup attempt. That was a wise decision.
  • Other countries: Israel, Iran, Europe, whose governments and peoples have little liking or respect for Mr. Erdogan, made the correct noises after the coup failed. Washington, as usual, was caught in a bind: damned if it did, damned if it did not. That is the fate of the only superpower.
  • Mr. Erdogan now feels free to make a grab for absolute power, to make sure his regime, his Islamist party, remains in power. Thousands are already rounded up and in prison. That should sound familiar to Germans who survived from the 1930s, if there are any.
  • Expect more fireworks in Turkey soon…..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

 

Mediocrity in Syria: the Turkish-Saudi Camel Gives Birth to a Mouse………

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تمخض الجمل فولد فأرا
“The camel went into labor and gave birth to a mouse” An excellent Arab saying.

The Saudi king and officials met this week with the new Caliph of Turkey, the Sultan Erdogan. They met in the Saudi capital Riyadh, and came up with a very unoriginal outcome. They called the outcome a “Strategic Cooperation Council”, not a good start. Not an original title at all, and hence not promising at all for the future of this arrangement. Most likely a product of the mediocre mind of Mr. Addle Al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister. As Arabs have wisely said for centuries: this camel went into labor and gave birth to a mouse. Unsatisfying to all.

The Saudis (and Qataris as well) face a couple of dilemmas, in Syria and Yemen. Syria is safely far away from their borders, so any mischief would not spill over the border. They may think they are “playing with the house chips“, in Las Vegas gambling parlance. If they win in Syria they would have struck a hard blow at their Iranian rivals; if they lose, well, nothing has changed since before 2011. They, their proxies, are not winning in Syria now. All the early predictions that Al Assad would be out of Damascus within weeks or months are coming back to haunt Western governments (and some Arab regimes). Even I started to believe and expect it in those late months of 2011.

But that prediction was mostly Arab propaganda created by Salafists and Wahhabis on the Persian Gulf and accepted by Western media as the truth. It was sold to the Obama administration by some Gulf princes and potentates and some Western “intellectuals” like Bernard-Henri Levy and and non-intellectuals John McCain and Joe Lieberman. They all, from Clinton to Cameron waited for the announcement of the scheduled departure of Assad and his cronies. It worked in Libya, or so they thought, so why not in Syria?

They have failed, but their money and weapons and Salafist volunteers also created and enabled the violent Caliphate of ISIS or DAESH. With active Turkish help and connivance. But like their other creation Al Qaeda, ISIS is also now threatening to bite them.

Erdogan will not solve the Saudi/Qatari dilemma in Syria. There are hints that it may be spilling over his own border.

He certainly will not solve their Yemeni problem, but that is a topic for another posting. Perhaps the next one.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

From Persian-American Gulf to Gulf of Mercenaries and the New Ottomans…….

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It is a problem, this faraway little Gulf of ours. A few years ago I modified its name, I started to call it the Persian-American Gulf, but it is getting harder. The population is shifting. The princes and potentates in their little kingdoms have now imported a majority of the non-Arabic and non-Persian speaking population from South and Southeast Asia and claim it should be called, no, not the Gulf of Bengal………..  Could it be the Gulf of Mercenaries, as I suggested a year or two ago? Gulf of Wahhabis, heaven forbid? How about the Gulf of Salaf? Gulf of Foreign Military Bases? Gulf of Tribal Sectarianism?

  • For example, the little oppressed repressed robbed sectarian island of Bahrain is now nearly sinking under foreign bases:
    U.S Naval Base Gulf HQ – Saudi Military Base post the Spring of 2011 invasion – Even the old British colonial masters have not stopped helping the ruling gangs in their robbery and repression. They are starting a new military base – Add to all that assorted imported mercenaries/interrogators and torturers from Jordan, Pakistan, Syria (former security), Iraq (former Baathists), among other foreign places. With an occasional obscure idle English prince and princess or two paying visits to shore up the kleptocratic autocratic outpost.
  • Little rich Wahhabi power Qatar where 90% of the population is temporary foreign laborers (mainly South Asian housemaids raising the kids and keeping house):
    U.S. Central Command has its regional headquarters at the Al-‘Adeed base – It is now also the Muslim Brotherhood HQ (outside Turkey) – Now reports say that Turkey, under its new Ottoman Caliph Sultan Recep Erdogan, will also establish a military base in Qatar. So, the Ottomans are coming back, with a new sultan. Which might indicate that the on-again-off-again sisterly relations with the fellow Saudi Wahhabis may be heading up the proverbial ‘unsanitary creek’.
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE, where some 90% of the population is composed of imported foreign laborers and housemaids), ruled by a Band of Brothers who own Abu Dhabi (lock, stock and barrel). I think it has:
    British base – French base – Canadian base (sorry, it was closed over a commercial dispute) – Colombian mercenary military base (no, not FARC) – (Former) Blackwater mercenary force: mainly South American, South African, Australian, etc- Actually I have lost track: for all I know even Monaco or Vanuatu may have military bases in Abu Dhabi by now.

But I don’t have anything against friendly military bases. They can be a protective measure that started with Saddam’s Baathist brutal invasion of Kuwait in 1990. But I suspect they are not only aimed against Iraqi dangers anymore, and not only aimed against the mullahs in Iran, but probably also needed not-so-secretly to keep the sisterly Wahhabi princes next door at home. The princes are only a few tanks’ drive away, as the unhappy people of Bahrain discovered in the Spring of 2011.

As well as the dangers that may emerge from the troubles in Iraq/Jordan/Syria. Dangers that were largely created and financed by wayward Persian Gulf Islamist groups and some princes. As well as some unsettled tribal issues and risks that Gulf GCC states have experienced (attempted Saudi-backed coup in Qatar in 1998) and others may be experiencing.

Still, a Turkish military base in Qatar? But why not? After all there is a Saudi Wahhabi base in Bahrain. The Muslim Brotherhood Turkish base in Qatar could balance that.

But there is still the same nagging question that won’t go away for me: whoever the hell heard of a country welcoming a Turkish military base?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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The Strange Turkish Russian Iranian Syrian Oil and Pistachio Deals with DAESH…….

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When news seeped out about ISIS/DAESH selling and exporting oil over a year ago, I suspected a Turkish connection, even though Western and Saudi/Qatari media claimed there were deals between ISIS and the Assad regime. After all, the weapons, volunteers, and possibly much of the money for the Jihadis in Syria flowed through the long Turkish border. And ISIS/DAESH controls areas along the border.  And there have been credible reports of cooperation between Turkish military and intelligence and the Jihadists in Syria. These days, when a terrorist or accomplices escape from a European country, they head for Turkey: that is the trailhead to lands controlled by ISIS.
Now the Russians have come out and said it openly, with claims of documentation. Iranian media have also carried and seemed to support the Russia claim.
The Turks could not be original, so what did they do? A day or two later they made their own claim of Russian-ISIS oil deals. I didn’t know Russian needed Syrian or Iraqi oil.
Wait, there is more. To make matters more entertaining, there are now reports on the social media of Turkish claims that Iranians also made oil deals with ISIS/DAESH. Tit-for-tat, since the Iranians seemed to support the earlier Russian claims. I didn’t know that the Iranians also needed Syrian or Iraqi oil. I had thought they spent the past few years trying to sell more of their own oil, not buy foreign oil from their Wahhabi enemies.
What next? Turkish claims of Iranian deals to buy Aleppo pistachios from ISIS? Iranian claims of Saudi oil deals with ISIS? Qatari claims that the Bahrain regime imports some of its nasty interrogators from ISIS? Oh, wait……….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Love Song of ISIS: Salafi Meets Tunisian Chick, Invites her to Raqqa………

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“The honeymoon was a brief moment for love, away from the front lines of Syria’s war. In the capital of Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliphate,” Syrian fighter Abu Bilal Al Homsi was united with his Tunisian bride for the first time after months chatting online. They married, then passed the days dining on grilled meats in Raqqa’s restaurants, strolling along the Euphrates River and eating ice cream. It was all made possible by the marriage bonus he received from Daesh: $1,500 (Dh5,509) for him and his wife to get started on a new home, a family — and a honeymoon……………..”

How Salafi-romantic “they married, then passed the days dining on grilled meats in Raqqa“. How Wahhabi-chic, almost as good as the last week’s Paris second (or third) honeymoon of young Saudi Prince Whatishisface.

No doubt she made it across the Turkish border into Syria. That is Mr. Erdogan’s gift to the Wahhabi Jihadis and their Arab and European brides and their concubines. In effect he is the one who “gives the bride away”, no dowry required. It has been Erdogan’s gift to all those who seek to join the Jihad in Syria, probably including John McCain. At least this Salafi made her into an ‘honest’ woman, as they say. Others get sold on the slave market and are traded frequently. Either one: marital bliss or blissful concubinage with a North African or a European chick is no doubt one attraction of this new jihad for many starved and frustrated Wahhabi youth, especially those that don’t come out of the West.
Whatever happened to Hayat Boumedienne………..

    

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

Caliphate of Erdogan: How Turkey and her Wahhabi Arab Allies Screwed up Syria…………

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“To make sense of this unlikely alliance between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, let’s travel back in time to 2011. Amidst the turmoil of the Arab Uprisings, Erdoğan was counting on the overthrow of the dictatorships of al-Assad, Qaddafi, Mubarak and others, fondly imagining that Muslim Brotherhood parties would then come to power across the Middle East. This was the “Islamic order” of which Erdoğan and his colleagues dreamed, an order which was to be led by Turkey. In an apparent homage to the Ottoman sultans’ tradition of performing their prayers in a newly-conquered capital, Erdoğan declared that he would soon be praying in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. However, Erdoğan has been unable to make good on this promise. Erdoğan’s Syrian venture — the most ambitious such undertaking in the entire 90-year history of the Turkish Republic — has also proved to be the undoing of Turkey’s foreign policy. Intent on overthrowing al-Assad from the very beginning, Erdoğan is one of those responsible for the devastation in Syria today, along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States. A March 24, 2013 report in the New York Times stated that 120 cargo flights from Qatar and Saudi Arabia had carried military supplies to Turkey destined for the rebels in Syria. This weaponry was then delivered to the rebels in trucks alleged to belong to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).………..”

I have often posted, as have others, that nobody is as responsible for the bloody mess in Syria as Mr. Erdogan of Turkey and his Arab Wahhabi allies (the Al Saud princes, Al Thani of Qatar, and other Persian Gulf Islamists). Together these anti-democratic forces, with some misguided Western cooperation, managed to turn what started as a legitimate demand for Syrian democracy into a nightmare. One more Arab uprising became a Wahhabi Salafi terrorist campaign out of control, fed by petro-money, petro-weapons, and petro-volunteers. The Saudis and Qataris count on being far away from any spillover in their on police states on the Gulf, with no common borders with the inferno that is Syria. Turkey does not: their miscalculation is next door.
Just as the Pakistani ISI helped create the Afghan Taliban and now have to put up with terrorism in Pakistan, the Turks now will face spillover terrorism across their borders. They have the aspiring Kurds and they have millions of Alevis who strongly oppose Erdogan’s Syria adventure. The latter no doubt felt more secure under a secular regime in Ankara than under the Caliphate of Erdogan, ensconced in his new billion dollar royal palace.
    

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

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

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In the Beginning………….

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

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

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

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

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

    

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

Al Qaeda Front of Syria Returns to its Wahhabi Roots, No LOL……..

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“Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and its allies seized the last major government-held city in Idlib province on Saturday, in a blow that could expose the regime’s coastal heartland to rebel attack. The capture of Jisr al-Shughur in the northwestern province comes nearly a month after the same coalition of opposition forces, known as the “Army of Conquest,” overran the provincial capital. The city’s fall opens up a strategic assault route for the rebels to neighbouring Latakia province on the Mediterranean coast, a bastion of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, analysts said……… The jihadists hailed victory on their official Twitter account, claiming that “The mujahideen have entered the city centre. The city has been liberated,” Al-Nusra said…………….”

Al Nusra Front has refused to severe its ties with Al Qaeda, but that has not prevented America’s closest Middle East allies from throwing their lot with it. There have been credible reports over the past few weeks that the Saudis, Qataris, and Turkish potentates have given up on the other Syrian opposition groups. They have decided, at least for now, to support the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria as the only group that can give the Assad regime (and its Iranian and Lebanese allies) a hard time. They apparently hope that a refurbished Al Nusra Front, although still an Al Qaeda franchise, could eventually become acceptable to the United States.
My guess is that almost anything would be acceptable to Republican hawks in the Senate (McCain et al) if it appears to have a chance to challenge the Syrians and their allies, so long as it is not called ISIS (for now). Especially if it comes flush with cash to dispense to lobbyists and current and former politicians (the example of the rehabilitation of the Iranian Mujahideen Khalq, MEK, is one example).
That Turkish-Saudi-Qatari coordination (the Wahhabi tripartite) might explain the relative success of the terrorist group. It partly explains the concentration of its operations in areas with easy access to the Turkish Caliphate of Erdogan. Turkey, with its open border policy, has been as responsible as the saudi and Qatari princes and potentates for the growth of the Jihadis in Syria.
Interesting that I mused here about the possibility of the Wahhabi potentates bringing the Al Qaeda back from the cold. They seem to be well on their way, but don’t expect Al Zawahri to hold meetings with Congressional leaders anytime soon (and forget the LOL).
Cheers

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

Princes of La Mancha: Saudis Still Seeking Hired Foreign Forces for Yemen…….

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“Pakistan’s parliament on Friday unanimously approved a resolution promising the country will stay neutral in the conflict in Yemen, despite Saudi requests for Islamabad to participate in the coalition fighting Shi’ite Houthi rebels. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had summoned the emergency joint session to debate a Saudi request for Sunni-dominated Pakistan to send its warships, planes and ground troops to help the Saudi-led military coalition. A heated debate continued for five days, as many lawmakers strongly opposed any Pakistani military intervention in Yemen. They feared such a move would fuel sectarian tensions inside Pakistan………..”

Saudi Deputy Deputy Crown Prince (who is also Minister of Interior) Mohammed Bin Nayef Al Saud flew to Turkey last week. The common assessment is that he wanted Turkish help in the military operations in Yemen. That came just before President Erdogan flew to Tehran. Erdogan had blasted Iran for its alleged interference in Yemen (and other places), but after his Saudi and Tehran meetings he moderated his comments. Turkey is mostly Sunni, which means the sectarian-oriented Saudis think it can provide “Sunni” military help. The problem is that only about 75% of Turks are Sunnis, and the Turks could develop an Alevi or Shi’a problem that has been so far dormant, especially in the south.

Last weekend, Saudi defense minister, the youngster Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud flew to Egypt for meetings with his Egyptian counterpart, and possibly with Al Sisi. The Egyptian media has been gung-ho last week on intervention in Yemen, complete with headlines about the “Shi’a threat” to Egypt. Egyptian media are rarely subtle and almost never into due diligence, and some of them even accused “Shi’a and Iranian” agents of terrorist acts in Sinai. Yet Al Sisi seems hesitant about sending his soldiers into Yemen to fight for the Saudis. Some Saudi Wahhabi opposition groups, those who support ISIS and Al Qaeda, claim that he is holding out for more money from the princes. Yet Egypt has a history in Yemen that it would not want to repeat.

Pakistan under the Nawaz Sharif administration was seen as a reliable source of mercenary troops to fight the Saudi war in Yemen. Yet Mr. Sharif has met with Turkey’s Erdogan and with the Iranian FM Zarif last week. After which he threw the ball in the court of the Pakistani parliament with a request to authorize intervention. The Saudis are reported by some media to have asked for “Sunni” soldiers. But Pakistan is some 20% Shi’a (about 30-35 million of them), and it is already facing sectarian terrorist acts in some major cities. The Pakistani parliament voted this week unanimously against “renting” their army to the Saudi princes. After which Anwar Gargash, a minor state minister in the United ِArab Emirates played his best card. The UAE minister threatened that Pakistan will pay “a cost” for its decision not to join the war on Yemen. Meaning financial blackmail.

This leaves Egypt, which has been monitoring the Turkish and Pakistani developments. The only country among the three which has had experience fighting in Yemen in recent times. Will Field Marshal Al Sisi jump into the fray and provide canon fodder, at the “right price”?

Stay tuned………….

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