Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Iranian Genesis of Wahhabi ISIS, the Baathist Roots of Salafi DAESH………..

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This week is the 35th commemorative of a watershed event that is still shaping the Middle East. Baathist Iraq under Saddam Hussein, worried about the message of the new Khomeini revolution, saw an opportunity and invaded Iran, which was weakened by continued revolutionary turmoil and internal divisions. That war did not turn out as expected, and its consequences are still unfolding in our region:

  • Saddam Hussein started the Iran-Iraq war this week in 1980. That war lasted eight years (1980-1988) and split the Arab world into those who supported the Baathist invasion (mainly some in the Gulf region) and those who opposed it (mainly Syria, Libya, Algeria, and some Palestinian groups).
  • That war did not achieve any of the declared goals set by Saddam, but it led to the bankruptcy of Iraq. I opined at an event at KISR after the war that Iraq went from a healthy supply of foreign exchange reserves before the war to a total net foreign debt that well exceeded US $100 billion (for obvious reasons I don’t have my exact original estimates now).
  • Which led a desperate Saddam to invade Kuwait in 1990 in order to plunder its wealth. That invasion led to what Americans call the “Persian Gulf War” of 1990/91. The Baathists were defeated and blockaded and kept within Iraq.
  • After the September 11 Wahhabi terrorist attacks in the USA, the Bush-ies refocused on Iraq (although not a single Iraqi was involved in that mainly-Saudi attack). It was followed by the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Later the results of the first Iraqi elections created a worsening of the sectarian tensions in the Arab world. Al Qaeda and the Wahhabi terrorists entered into Iraq in force, backed by outside Arab financing.
  • Eventually, as the Arab uprisings of the Spring of 2011 spread eastward toward the Gulf, a local Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda morphed into ISIS (ISIL, DAESH), an alliance dominated by foreign Arab Salafi Jihadis and former Baathist henchmen of Saddam.
  • The intervention of foreign Arabs, including some regimes, and the growth of local militias of both Muslim sects, have had a lot to do with the bloody sectarian turn of events across the region.
  • ISIS or DAESH now controls large parts of Iraq and Syria, mostly through sectarian exhortation and a medieval-style bloody reign of terror. It has been largely supported by the flow of foreign money and weapons facilitated through Turkey.
  • Some of those Arab potentates who helped create ISIS or DAESH are now feeling the heat and claiming to be fighting to destroy it. But apparently not seriously enough, NOT in Syria or Iraq.
  • The consequences of that fateful decision of September 1980 are still unfolding across the region. The beat goes on………..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Palmetto Hustler: How Lindsey Graham Bin Jingo Learned about Iranians………..

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“Senator Lindsey Graham, the first speaker Friday morning, appearing from Washington via video, spoke of losing his parents as a teenager, working in a pool hall and having to help raise his younger sister – and how it relates to his leadership style. “Everything I learned about Iranians I learned working in the pool room,” he said. “I met a lot of liars, and I know Iranians are liars.”………….”

Pool halls and liars. He worked in a pool room and discovered that Iranians are liars, unlike many senators and others who work in pool halls. This is where Senator Lindsey Graham Bin Jingo learned that Iranian are liars (apparently there are no exceptions). This senator Graham sounds like an unlikely Paul Newman in one of my favorite old films.
Unless some of his pro-democracy kleptocratic autocrats on the Persian Gulf told him so. We all know they never lie.

    

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

BBC Applying Lipstick to the Saudi Pig in Yemen……….

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“Certainly, Saudi Arabia has shown an ability to conduct a high volume of air strikes (sometimes as many as 125 strikes a day), proving wrong those that doubted the Kingdom’s ability to sustain complex extra-territorial operations……….. So has the Saudi operation been a success? Yes and no. If the definition of success is the removal of strategic and tactical threats to the Saudi homeland, then yes the Saudis basically achieved their aims…………”

They were using the best Western weapons, hundreds of billions of them, including billions of bribes commissions to princes, bombing an enemy that had no credible air defenses, and still they did not achieve their goals. That usually means defeat. The Houthis now control almost all of North Yemen, and they have gained more territory in South Yemen, including in Aden, since the Saudi air assault started. Al Qaeda AQAP have also expanded their zones of control since their main rivals were busy fending off Saudi air attacks.

This piece of BBC propaganda is putting a pretty face on an ugly defeat in Yemen. A pig with lipstick is still a pig. Even a Wahhabi halal pig.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Democrat Obama and Socialist Hollande: Tale of Two Leaders………..

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“His visit comes as Paris strengthens its political and economic relations with the oil- and gas-rich Gulf monarchies. He arrived in Riyadh from GCC member Qatar after attending the signing of a 6.3-billion-euro ($7-billion) deal between French aerospace firm Dassault and Qatari defense officials. The agreement includes an order for 24 Rafale fighter jets, with an option on a further 12. On Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Paris and Riyadh are also discussing 20 economic projects worth “tens of billions of euros.” Hollande’s Riyadh trip comes just over a week before the GCC leaders visit their traditional ally Washington. President Barack Obama called that meeting to brainstorm on reducing regional conflicts and to try to allay Gulf fears over any U.S. rapprochement with Iran…………….”

Little Francois Hollande of the Parti Socialiste of France has grabbed an opportunity to take some business away from Les Americains. Flying, nay shuttling, back and forth to the Persian Gulf, you’d think he was what he actually is, a traveling salesman. Not even as lofty as a foreign minister. He is not achieving any diplomatic breakthrough over Palestine or the Iranian nuclear deal. He is selling, at any price.

Hollande shuttles back and forth between Paris and his newly discovered lucrative market on the Persian-American Gulf, allowing himself to be summoned by the kings, princes and potentates. Meanwhile, Barack Obama plays the lofty true world leader that he is, that Hollande can never be, that no current European leader can be: he summons Gulf GCC leaders to Washington DC.

But that is okay with the Frenchman: he laughs all the way to the bank. He has been signing weapons contracts at a faster rate than anyone else. Now nothing can be more French Socialist than selling more weapons to absolute rulers.

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

Have No Morals, Will Travel: More on Tony Blair’s Sordid New Labor Deals………

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“The Kazakh despot who bought Blair for £16million (and Cherie for £320k): How ex-PM sold himself to a ‘virtual gangster’ linked to torture, money laundering, bribery and murder ………. Tony Blair makes a business out of providing consultancy to mostly unacceptable and disreputable clients. How else to explain the work he does for President el-Sisi in Egypt — who obtained his power by a military coup — or Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not to mention the consultancy he provides, at great expense no doubt, to the unelected leaders of Gulf countries………. Since leaving office, in the wheels-within-wheels world that he now inhabits, Blair, in his turn, was recommended for the job of promoting Kazakhstan and its president by one of his most influential contacts — Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi…………”

He has become a specialist in promoting despots from the Persian Gulf to Central Asia and Africa. It is not so much the ‘consultancy’ as using whatever political and public capital he has left to lobby for their political agendas. The motto of his business empire should be: “Have no morals, will travel“.

Not so much more to say here about Blair, this former British prime minister who is the least respected of former British PMs. Friend and enabler, nay servant, of corrupt despots and princes worldwide. Now why can’t he just vanish from public attention? Like the others, from Churchill to Wilson to Major to Lady Thatcher? It almost feels like an insult mentioning him in the same sentence as Churchill and Wilson.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Caliphate: Islamo-Baathism and Al Rishawi’s Wardrobe Malfunction……….

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Caliphate of ISIS seems to be a coalition of at least two strange bedfellows:

One is an offshoot of Al Qaeda, the AQI that was once led by Jordanian terrorist Abu Mes’ab Al Zarqawi. Zarqawi plagued Iraq for a few years with acts that were gruesome even by the standards of Iraq’s bloody history. He hailed from Zarqa, another humorless town in Jordan, hence his Jihadi nom de guerre (they usually add the hometown or home country of the cutthroat as a last name). Al Zarqa in Jordan was proud of her native son, even as he terrorized Iraqi peasants and townsfolk, especially Shi’as whom he publicly called a snake (coincidentally the late Saudi King Abdullah had urged the U.S. to cut the head of the snake by attacking or invading Iran, according to Wikileaks documents).

Zarqawi was a celebrity in his hometown, and he was eulogized extensively in that grim town after the Americans delivered his just deserts in 2006. But hero-worshipping Zarqawi had suddenly started being frowned upon in Jordan after the Jihadis blew up several hotels and killed a bunch of people in Amman. One of the terrorists survived because she had a wardrobe malfunctionliterally, and her explosives didn’t detonate (Sajida Al Rishawai who was executed in Jordan last week).

The other major component of this Caliphate, inside Iraq, consists of former Baathists. These are generals and colonels and lower military men who deserted Baghdad when the Americans attacked in 2003 and vanished for safety (long before Paul Bremer officially disbanded the old Iraqi army, that army had disbanded itself and deserted without fighting for Baghdad or any other town). These also include security men, experts at interrogation, terror, and torture. It is probably these Baathists who are the major link to the tribes of Al Anbar and to former rank and file men of the old armed forces. Iraqi Sunnis, even the tribal types of the border regions, traditionally are not of the Wahhabi Al-Qaeda type mindset, most of them are/were rather secular (by Muslim standards). Could it be a marriage of convenience? It could, but for how long? It certainly will not survive the loss/fall of Mosul, whenever that happens.

Then there are the foreigners and their women be they Arabs or Europeans. Their case is obvious: it takes dedicated Wahhabism or dedicated birdbrains or both to buy the stuff these people spread over the various media.

Then there are the outsiders, the enablers and financiers of the campaign of terror. These hail mainly from Arab states, especially the Gulf states, and the Islamist rulers of Turkey and its military, who have for years allowed all foreign Jihadis to cross the border into Syria. An apparent silent alliance of Turkish officials and the Caliphate. Even as some fools in the U.S. Senate and Congress agonize over whether Turkey will be willing to actively join a coalition against the Caliphate of terror. Not realizing that Turkey, like some Arabs, has been in this war for a few years. On the other side.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

What Next? Putin too has Asperger’s……..

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Vladimir Poutine serait-il atteint du syndrome d’Asperger, une forme d’autisme qui l’oblige à exercer un “contrôle maximum” de lui-même lorsqu’il traverse une crise? C’est ce que pointe du doigt un rapport du Pentagone rédigé en 2008 et publié ce jeudi. En étudiant les expressions et les mouvements du visage du président russe dans des vidéos, des experts militaires ont conclu que le développement neurologique de Poutine avait été perturbé dans son enfance……………”

According to the U.S. Defense Department…….
Which should go some way in improving relations in these early stages of this new Cold War that almost everybody on all sides seems eager to have continue and develop. Not that Asperger’s is anything that reflects a human shortcoming. It is just a human condition, like many others. I know, or I should know.
Could it have been a vaccination that did it? Will Putin’s case become an issue in the 2016 election caucuses and primaries now? Will some brilliant scientific candidate for president wonder aloud if Putin is responsible for “spreading” Asperger’s (High Functioning Autism, Autism Spectrum) in the U.S? …………..
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

The New Ottomans: Thursday Night Massacre in Riyadh……..

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“”Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud issued a royal order today, relieving Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Chief of General Intelligence, of his post,” the official Saudi Press Agency said……. A separate decree said Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a nephew of Abdullah, was removed from his posts as Secretary General of the National Security Council and adviser to the king. Two sons of the late monarch were also fired: Prince Mishaal, the governor of Mecca region, and Prince Turki, who governed the capital Riyadh, according to the decrees broadcast on Saudi television………..”

Maybe Salman is not as demented as the Saudi Wahhabi opposition in exile (Mujtahidd, etc) have been claiming. He seems to be doing the right things that a normal wily Saudi king would do when he ascends the throne.
Gone are the days of obsequiousness to the reigning king (Abdullah). Here are the days of obsequiousness to the new reigning king Salman. He has been quick to execute his palace coup. He started early, possibly even before Abdullah was buried but probably after his death, with the chief of the Royal Court of Abdullah. Al-Tuwaijri was sacked as were some others. Today, Thursday, a whole bunch of other princes have been disposed of in one day, many of them the sons of King Abdullah. They had been promoted by Abdullah and quickly deposed by Salman. Prince Muqrin is still the crown prince, and he has appointed Prince Mohammed Bin nayef as crown prince to the crown prince, third in succession. But for how long? He does control the Interior Ministry: security, secret police, religious police, prisons, etc, etc.

All this ruthless plotting and counter-plotting would do justice to an Ottoman royal court. It shows you: there was little if any brotherly love in the Byzantine palaces of Riyadh. There is even less now.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Hezbollah’s Mysterious Eager Talkative Whistleblower Commanders………

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“Around a kitchen table in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a midlevel Hezbollah commander moved empty coffee cups and a plastic water bottle around a cell phone, demonstrating how his men repelled an assault by what he said were Islamic State fighters along Lebanon’s border with Syria……..Sporting a neatly trimmed beard, weathered face, and thick khaki cargo pants, this commander, now in his 40s, first fought for Hezbollah during the group’s operations against Israel, when small teams of fighters carried out clandestine cross-border raids. The current war he’s fighting, against rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, is much different………. But just as Hezbollah has changed the Syrian war, the conflict has also changed Hezbollah. The organization has become much larger, and its fighters have received the training that only involvement in a long conflict can provide. But at the same time, in some ways, the party is becoming unwieldy and more vulnerable to corruption and infiltration………..”

It says: Around a kitchen table in Beirut’s southern suburbs“: a cute American touch. Around a kitchen table in the suburbs where Hezbollah is alleged to be entrenched. There have  been several of these anonymous Hezbollah blabbermouths in recent months, all eager to let it all pour out for some Western reporter who often can’t understand Arabic and can’t tell a Lebanese accent from a proverbial hole in the ground.

This Abu Ali: a cute local ethnic touch picking that name, no doubt a ‘nickname’ suggested by some amenable ‘locals’. Somehow it reminds me of Tom Friedman’s favorite Arab cab driver. Abdo in Cairo, Abed in Beirut, Abul Abed in humorless Amman (and maybe Abboudi in Baghdad and Abu Dong in Beijing).

I wonder if he was truly a forties-something Hezbollah ‘commander’ or just a pretender. I can’t imagine the Party allowing its commanders to talk openly to Western media about sensitive issues. Not even seasoned commanders. They probably suspect that some Western correspondents are Mossad agents. This ‘commander’ could be a March 14 minion, he could be Mossad, he could be a cross-dressing actress for that matter. He could be some clever Lebanese scammer doing it for the money. I am not sure, but there have been so many of these improbable blabbing ‘commanders’ of Hezbollah in Western newspapers that I take each and every one with a grain of salt. To be polite. Unless Hezbollah sent to them to implant certain ideas.

And these whistleblowers seem to only talk to Western media correspondents, mainly those hostile to Hezbollah.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Israel Invites a Swedish Minister to Stay Away……..

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“A high-ranking government official revealed on Saturday that Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom canceled her trip to Israel after she was notified that she would have to bring her own security personnel and that her trip would not be considered an official state visit. The very public breakdown in relations between Sweden and Israel began after Sweden officially recognized Palestine as a state in October……………”

It is no secret that there is no love lost between Mr. Netanyahu and almost all (West) European leaders. Almost without exception. That also goes for his top ministers. That is also true about his relationship with the Obama administration which usually bends backwards to please his lobby of groupies in the Congress. That would also be true if a Republican is ever again elected to the U.S. presidency, even if it is the historically-challenged Louie Gohmert. Even if it is the extremist Las Vegas gambling tycoon the Likudist Sheldon Adelson.

Odd for leaders of countries that are strong and consistent supporters of Israel. It must be some personality issue, no?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com