Category Archives: US Foreign Policy

Shirin Ebadi on Obama and Bahrain……….

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“The Obama administration is making a major misstep by “closing its eyes” to the violent government crackdown on protesters in Bahrain and leaving the door open for Iran to influence the small oil-producing nation and U.S. ally, Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi said Friday. “In the absence of the West in Bahrain, the government of Iran can of course influence and exploit the revolution,” Ebadi, the Iranian-born human rights activist, author and former judge who has been living in exile since 2009, said in an interview at The Washington Post. Ebadi highlighted Sunni-led Bahrain, which is a majority-Shiite nation like Iran that has used violence to stop recent protests…….

I bet not a single media outlet in the Persian-American Gulf will ever carry this news item. They always headline Shirin Ebadi’s comments against the Iranian regime, and rightly so. Not single newspaper “anywhere” on the Gulf will carry this news item.
Cheers
mhg

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Gulf Cat that Got Clinton’s Tongue………….

     
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Allies of Saudi Arabia have not publicly protested these serious and systematic violations. The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said on April 18 that she had been “very pleased” with her two-day visit to Riyadh and made no public comments about the political prisoners. Neither Tom Donilon nor Robert Gates publicly commented on the kingdom’s human rights violations. “The EU’s silence on the brazen arrest of a peaceful dissident on the first day of its chief foreign policy representative’s visit looks like a pat on the back for an authoritarian state,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Silence when more than 160 peaceful dissidents are locked up should not be an option for Brussels or Washington.”………. In 2009, Saudi Arabia acceded to the Arab Charter for Human Rights, which guarantees in article 32 the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The kingdom is one of few countries that have not yet signed the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. “As the list of Saudi political prisoners grows longer, the silence of the US and the EU becomes more deafening,”…..”

Susan Rice today brazenly, and rightly, condemned human rights abuses in Syria and Libya and a few other Middle East countries. She waxed indignant. What was most noticeable were the countries she did not mention. Two of these countries are the worst abusers of human rights now: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Even as Rice was speaking, these two regimes were rounding up people in both countries and torturing them in Bahrain. Not only do they suppress freedoms and dissent, they also practice a form of apartheid discrimination, in the Saudi case against anybody of a different sect or faith, in the Bahrain case against the majority of the people (a la South Africa). Rice did not say boo about them. Nor did Secretary Clinton recently when she lambasted other governments this week. The Saudi pussycat has got all their tongue. No profiles of courage when elected American and European officials are terrified of offending offensive tribal absolute serial-polygamous monarchs.
I knew that deep bow Mr. Obama made in from of King Abdullah in 2009 was the beginning of something.
Cheers
mhg

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Saudi Pussycat that Got Clinton’s Tongue………….

     
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Allies of Saudi Arabia have not publicly protested these serious and systematic violations. The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said on April 18 that she had been “very pleased” with her two-day visit to Riyadh and made no public comments about the political prisoners. Neither Tom Donilon nor Robert Gates publicly commented on the kingdom’s human rights violations. “The EU’s silence on the brazen arrest of a peaceful dissident on the first day of its chief foreign policy representative’s visit looks like a pat on the back for an authoritarian state,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Silence when more than 160 peaceful dissidents are locked up should not be an option for Brussels or Washington.”………. In 2009, Saudi Arabia acceded to the Arab Charter for Human Rights, which guarantees in article 32 the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The kingdom is one of few countries that have not yet signed the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. “As the list of Saudi political prisoners grows longer, the silence of the US and the EU becomes more deafening,”…..”

Susan Rice today brazenly, and rightly, condemned human rights abuses in Syria and Libya and a few other Middle East countries. She waxed indignant. What was most noticeable were the countries she did not mention. Two of these countries are the worst abusers of human rights now: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Even as Rice was speaking, these two regimes were rounding up people in both countries and torturing them in Bahrain. Not only do they suppress freedoms and dissent, they also practice a form of apartheid discrimination, in the Saudi case against anybody of a different sect or faith, in the Bahrain case against the majority of the people (a la South Africa). Rice did not say boo about them. Nor did Secretary Clinton recently when she lambasted other governments this week. The Saudi pussycat has got all their tongue. No profiles of courage when elected American and European officials are terrified of offending offensive tribal absolute serial-polygamous monarchs.
I knew that deep bow Mr. Obama made in from of King Abdullah in 2009 was the beginning of something.
Cheers
mhg

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The Brave New Saudi-Israeli World of the West, Royal Red Eyes……..

     
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Saudi authorities have arrested over 160 peaceful dissidents in violation of international human rights law since February 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch urged the interior minister, Prince Nayef bin Abd al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud, to order the immediate release of peaceful dissidents, including Nadhir al-Majid, a writer and teacher arrested on April 17. Allies of Saudi Arabia have not publicly protested these serious and systematic violations. The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said on April 18 that she had been “very pleased” with her two-day visit to Riyadh and made no public comments about the political prisoners. Neither Tom Donilon, the US national security adviser who visited Riyadh on April 13, nor Robert Gates, US defense secretary who visited on April 6, publicly commented on the kingdom’s human rights violations………

Of course Western dignitaries will not bring up the issue of human rights violations and abuses in Riyadh. Already the aging al-Saud brothers have given Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton what is called the ‘red eye’ in the Gulf, in what the Saudis call the Persian-American Gulf. The red eye is our Gulf term for a serious scowl, where the eyebrows drop to somewhere between the nose and the shoe-polished dyed mustache of a potentate. Neither of these two leaders, nor their functionaries, would dare criticize the al-Saud brothers in public anymore. Now the new “third rail” of U.S politics consists of two: Israel and the al-Saud. Criticize the first at your own risk: every other politician will come after your hide. Criticize the second publicly and the aging despotic petroleum brothers will have a collective hissy fit, sending their septuagenarian offspring menacingly to China and Russia, threatening to replace American Kool-Aid with Tsigntao or Stoly.
Somehow, silently, by stealth, criticism of the al-Saud have become taboo in Western capitals. With all the Saudi abuses of human rights, much more flagrant than in Iran or Syria or Egypt under Mubarak, when was the last time anyone heard a US president or cabinet member, or a French president or a British prime minister publicly mention the issue? Silently and by stealth, even some members of Congress have added the al-Saud dynasty to the ‘third rail of politics. Soon the old king or one of his brothers will be invited to address a joint session of Congress. I suppose he can talk about the joys of absolute tribal monarchy. Or maybe he can spend his ten minutes on the joys of polygamy and how it can keep some senators out of those famous black books that can get them in trouble.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Rafdhi Prophets and Revolutionaries, State Department Wahhabis, Jesus and Lenin ………

     
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“Stick and stones may break my bones……
But words will never hurt me………”
An Americanism


When Mr. Feltman stops of in Riyadh to brief the al-Saudi brothers, he may be forced, out of politeness, to agree that there may also be an Iranian angle to the Fukushima disaster as well. In the new State Department spirit of accommodation, Feltman may go beyond the Shi’a Crescent and show off his new mastery of Wahhabi vernacular: he may start talking Rafdhis (or Rwafidh) with the aging al-Saud brothers. The Shi’a Crescent is a term King Abdul of Jordan, resplendent in his Captain Kirk space suit pajamas, coined a few years ago. It was in the spirit of George W Bush’s “Axis of Evil” sound bite. Surprising to King Abdul and his online-hip wife, it caught on.
But that Shi’a Crescent is passé, it doesn’t impress the Wahhabi brothers sitting on their vast lakes of petroleum keeping watch on their vast desert gulag. Hence, adoption of the immortal Wahhabi term, straight out of the bowels of Najd: Rafdhi (s), or Rwafidh (pl). No doubt Jeffrey Feltman grew up like most American kids, briefly believing, or pretending to believe, in that old untruth: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. But he is old enough to know better now. Besides, those words come with weapons and tear gas and electric prods and a whole horn of plenty that puts some teeth in the term “Rafdhi”. In fact the Rafdhis who are most of the people of Bahrain are now feeling all of the above.
FYI: Rafdhi is a Wahhabi term for a Shi’a, It comes from the Arabic word for “reject or refuse”. It refers to the Shi’a for refusing to accept some orthodoxy. It is a term used exclusively by Salafis and their ilk and mainly around the Gulf. It is supposed to be derogatory, but I don’t think it is. Anyone who rejects any orthodoxy anywhere should be proud, always. The Prophets Moses and Jesus and Mohammed were all against the orthodoxy, they were all Rafdhis (or Rwafidh). America’s Founding Fathers, Lenin, and Jean Paul Sartre were also Rafdhis. So were the people of Tunisia and Egypt and Libya this year, so are the people of Bahrain now. So are those Iranians and Saudis who are in prison for their beliefs. We should all be Rafdhis, better yet, we should all be Rwafidh.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Jeffrey Feltman of Manama and the West Bank and Beirut, Auld Lang Syne………

     
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A senior U.S. diplomat has traveled to Bahrain to meet with government officials and representatives from the civil society there, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Monday. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jeff Feltman, who is in charge of Near Eastern affairs, visited Bahrain on Sunday and Monday, reaffirming the “long-standing commitment” of the United States to a “strong partnership” with Bahrain, Toner told reporters. “Reiterating U.S. support for Bahraini national reconciliation and dialogue, he concurred with the Bahraini leadership’s own embrace of the principles of reform and the respect for rule of law and coexistence,” he said. He said Feltman also discussed with Bahraini officials on regional developments, including U.S. concerns about “Iran’s exploitation” of the situation in the region. Toner said Feltman expressed U.S. appreciation for Bahrain’s cooperation on the issue of Libya…..…Xinhua News

This must have been Feltman’s fourth or fifth visit to Bahrain. All were failures, or maybe not. All his previous visits failed to muzzle the al-Khalifa dogs, or maybe they were not intended to muzzle them. Maybe Jeffrey believed the Saudi-Khalifa narrative that his old Hezbollah pals are involved. That would be enough to bring back memories of Beirut, Hariri, Saniora, Lord Gaga, and the al-Saud emissaries. Lazy Sunday afternoons with the boys, guzzling beer and watching the cluster bombs of 2006 over the south. Enough to make Feltman burst into tears of longing, possibly enough to burst into singing Auld Lang Syne, with the shaikh trying to keep up.
He expressed appreciation for the rulers of Bahrain for cooperation on the issue of Libya, and the Bahraini butchers no doubt expressed appreciation for the Obama administration support on the issue of defending the apartheid system in Bahrain. In this regard, Mr. Feltman may have said that he had seen all the video clips and news clips and photos of the Bahraini victims of torture and sectarian killings and the village raids and the West Bank style checkpoints, and has concluded that the mullahs in Iran bear great responsibility for all of the above. The shaikh (now king) of Bahrain may offer Feltman the Bahraini citizenship as a reward for his frequent visits, as well as a government house in a secure area inhabited by imported security officers from Pakistan and Jordan and Syria.
PS: I need to make a correction about the West Bank. Israeli occupation soldiers at checkpoints don’t normally administer beatings and kickings, and people don’t normally just disappear at their checkpoints. They also don’t have Saudi soldiers, as far as I know, not yet.
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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What Bob Gates Did not Know, Crushing the Spirit of Bahrain……….

        
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Top U.S. defense and military officials were given no indication during recent visits to the Middle East that Saudi forces would deploy to Bahrain, the Pentagon said on Monday. “We have communicated to all parties our concerns regarding actions that could be provocative or inflame sectarian tensions,” Colonel Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. The Pentagon said neither Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was in the region last week, nor Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had no prior knowledge of the deployment by close ally Saudi Arabia…….

Okay, the US has its biggest naval base in the region in Bahrain, and the US secretary of defense visits Manama, and one day later the Saudis invade. Do you believe the US administration did not know? If you do, I still have that old lame camel that is in perfect condition for sale.
Cheers
mhg

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Lebanon: STL to Charge Muqtada al-Sadr?……….

     

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The prosecutor in the assassination case of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri said he filed an expanded indictment on Friday. The indictment remains secret and the names of the suspects under investigation have not been released. The prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, said the amendment “expands the scope” of the initial indictment he filed in January. A spokesman for the special tribunal in Leidschendam, the Netherlands, said it could take months for judges to review thousands of supporting documents…….

I am beginning to feel that the indictment changes, expands, and shrinks with the political variables in our region. Nay, it is not just a ‘feeling’, it is a fact. Maybe they, the West, have decided to add Ahmadinejad to the list (the fact that he was elected after the Hariri assassination is probably immaterial to this tribunal). They may decide to put back Bashar Assad, or they may decide to add Hosni Mubarak, now that he is out of office. I have even toyed, just now, with the idea that they may add one or two Mossad operatives: but I think that was Hasan Nasrallah’s idea. Besides, Mossad usually needs about 38 people to assassinate one man nowadays. I just hope they don’t decide to add to the indictment list the Dubai Chief of Police or Qaddafi. I know: how about Muqtada al-Sadr? He would be a convenient suspect.
Cheers
mhg

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Arab Uprisings: How the West was Won and Lost………

     

   
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Arab and Western media had thought 2011 looked like a boring year, just a break between American elections while the world waits for the next episode in the Israeli-Iranian or Israeli-Palestinian novellas.
Until a desperate Tunisian youth (Bouazizi) burned himself alive in December, and most Egyptians suddenly remembered a skinny young blogger (Khalid Said) who was beaten to death last summer by Mubarak’s police thugs. The revolution started.


  • Now Arab and Western media are excited now, as never before since the 1979, or maybe since 1917, or maybe 1789.
  • Democratic Israel is upset, subtly blaming Obama and asking for more money and weapons to confront the threat of this new democratic Arab wave.


  • American officials are uncertain whether to be upset or not. They have shown bi-polar symptoms, a k a some hypocritical tendencies. They worried about the revolt against Mubarak and Ben Ali, welcomed the revolt against Qaddafi and heartily cheered the protests in Tehran. They ignored the lingering revolt against the dictator of Sana’a (Yemen). They seriously frowned upon the revolt by the people of Bahrain (I suspect they more than frowned upon it privately: they tried to play a game of chess whereby someone else suggests their moves). I knew that the Bahraini revolt would get no traction in the officialdom of the United States as soon as Mr. Feltman flew into Manama last week and spent several days. No statement yet from Senators McCain and Lieberman yet that, yes, “Today we are all Bahrainis”, and not necessarily “Today we are all al-Khalifas”. That is natural: a Western, or any foreign, power looks after its own national interests before it looks after the interests of the people, any people.

  • Tony Blair puts his middle finger to the wind, maybe to a British public that he thinks has under-appreciated him. Or maybe to the traditional mores of the Labor Party, whom he sold to BAE Systems and Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. He has an epiphany, and says the ‘uprising’ in Egypt has to be ‘managed’. Presumably by himself.

  • Silvio Berlusconi thinks it is all amusing and tries again to call Hosni Mubarak’s dancing ‘niece’.

  • Sarkozy gets chronic ED, so he calls for air strikes on Qaddafi in Libya (expletive self-censored).

More reactions later. Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com