Category Archives: Yemen

Funny Saudi Diplomacy: What Doesn’t Happen in Yemen Never Stays in Yemen……..

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Then there is Yemen: the GCC have succeeded and failed at the same time. They have succeeded in keeping the rotten old order in Yemen. Ali is not head of state, but he and his cronies call the shots. The “opposition” that got some of the power are not the same people that sacrificed in Sana’a and Ta’az and ‘Aden. But it is not what most people would call an “opposition”, it is a new GCC-type opposition. The GCC plan was rejected by the peoples of Yemen but accepted by the traditional powers in the country. It succeeded for the existing power structure, succeeded for the GCC oligarchs, but it failed the people of Yemen.
 
The Saudi record of reconciling Arabs and Muslims is pretty bad, although their media tries to make it sound like a resounding success. They failed to settle among the Lebanese more than once, they failed to settle the Kuwait-Iraq dispute before the invasion in 1990, they failed to settle among the Palestinians (Hamas-Fatah), they failed to settle among the warring Afghans several times. They even tried, with miserable results, to invite Iraqis to Riyadh to discuss their internal problems, and the Saudis do not even have an embassy in Iraq. They offer money to the warring factions and hope for the best. Or maybe they are foolish enough to believe that all these people flocking to Riyadh respect and/or love them.

Cheers
mhg



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Houthis of Yemen: Facing the Saudis, Facing the GCC Salafis, Queen of Sheba………

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A fractured picture of a post-Saleh Yemen is starting to emerge as Houthis battle Salafists in the north of the country. If no solution to the strife is found soon, it may snowball into an uncontrollable situation, possibly leading to sectarian war. Tensions between the two groups have now reached fever pitch. This was made abundantly clear in a press conference held by a number of journalists at their syndicate’s headquarters in Sanaa after returning from a visit to Dammaj. It soon emerged that the journalists were conveying only one point of view, demonstrating a bias towards the Salafists. They maintained that the people of the Dammaj region had been suffering from a seven-week blockade by the Houthis, who were preventing food and medicine from entering. This prompted a pro-Houthi audience member to rebuke the journalists’ claims. He distributed a statement, signed by a member of the Houthi political bureau, Abu Malek al-Fichy, claiming that there is an attempt to distract the revolution youth with secondary issues. But the media escalation did not stop there. It intensified with the fighting on the ground, especially after Yemen’s Salafists vowed, during a conference held Wednesday under the slogan “Supporting the Oppressed in Dammaj,” to defend themselves by all legitimate means. They accused Houthis of “striving to establish a Shia state in the north of Yemen and south of Saudi Arabia.” The recent tensions in the north have raised questions about Houthi plans for the future, especially after they had announced their refusal to accept the Gulf initiative and its implementation mechanisms………….

This rejection of the GCC plan for Yemen explains why some GCC potentates in their media have recently started blasting the Houthis again. They are renewing something they have not done since after the Houthis defeated the Saudi military incursion in their country in 2009. The lightly and pitifully armed tribesmen, having dispatched the Saudi military that is among the best armed in the world, are now in conflict with the Salafis, who are the Saudi proxies. That is not necessarily to say the Houthis are sweethearts, they are not. They tend to be fierce independent fighters, and they are almost as reactionary as any Saudi potentates, but not nearly as corrupt (but then who in the world is as corrupt as the Saudi potentates?). No group in Yemen are sweethearts, probably not since Bilqis the Queen of Sheba went sweet on King Solomon (or maybe she had to).
The GCC deal looks like a joke now, with (not yet former) president Saleh calling the shots in Yemen. He is playing Putin to his own Medvede (wtf that be).

Cheers
mhg



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Abu Dhabi: Adventures of Shaikh Shakhbut with Nasser of Egypt and the Saudi Bins………

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Yemen has become a microcosm of the whole Middle East struggle between Socialist and Conservative forces—a struggle that is not going at all well for Nasser. The latest blow was Saudi Arabia’s scheme for an anti-Nasser Islamic Alliance, which has rallied open support from Jordan, Tunisia and Iran, and tacit backing from Kuwait and Morocco. Nasser is also locked in a struggle with the Red Chinese, who are sharply extending their influence in Republican Yemen. Already Peking has reportedly sent some $45 million in aid, put 3,300 Chinese technicians to work for the Republican government, and is designing a technical training center that will accommodate 800 students. Meantime, Yemen’s Royalist forces are just as determined. They recruit retired officers from France, Belgium, Britain, Pakistan, Iran and Jordan, receive arms and financial help from Saudi Arabia, Britain and Iran. Even the tiny Persian Gulf sheikdoms are unstinting. Recently, a Royalist Yemen emissary visited Sheik Shakhbut, ruler of Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf, and asked for a contribution of 5,000 pounds sterling. He walked away with £100,000. “You are all astonished?” the sheik shrugged to his advisers. “Do you know how many cases of ammunition £100,000 will buy, and how long they can keep Nasser from me?……….

Shakhbut did not have to worry about Gamal Abdel Nasser for long. He had more vicious enemies closer to home. His own brother, Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan, soon overthrew him and became the rules of Abu Dhabi. As promised, his brother did not murder him, possibly because of British influence. But Shakhbut and his sons vanished into thin air.

The Saudis were intriguing even then, even long before then, against anyone who threatened their feudal kingdom of absolute tribal Wahhabi polygamy. That has not changed: the princes are more corrupt than ever: there are more of them and there is more of the people’s money to steal.
It is unfortunate that Nasser did not manage to sweep all these ‘Bins” into the dustbin of history.
Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

WTF: Railway Link to Yemen? From Funny GCC to Asinine GCC…………

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Transport and Communications Undersecretaries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states discussed here Monday the establishment of a railway authority, as well as linking Yemen with the yet-to-be-established GCC railway network. Director General of UAE’s national transport authority, Dr. Nasser Al-Mansouri, in a keynote speech to the meeting, underlined importance of the railroad project that would link the six GCC countries. He said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has established the federation trains company and issued relevant legislations to pave way for the construction of the UAE’s railroad network. GCC Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Abdullah Al-Shubaili, in remarks on sidelines of the meeting said the officials discussed feasibility study of the railroad linkage with Yemen, safe regulations of small ships and inspection on vessels…..….”

I can’t believe these F-heads seriously talked about a rail extension into Yemen. Yemen is having a popular rebellion, nay multiple rebellions, against their favorite dictator. Yemen is experiencing several civil wars on several fronts. Yemen has a serious al-Qaeda presence. Yemen faces American drone bombings from bases most likely in Saudi Arabia. Yemen will be unstable for years to come mainly because of the dictatorship. It is absurd enough that they want to invite Morocco and Jordan and Monaco and Brunei and Zimbabwe and Colombia to join. And now this. What is the matter with these watermelon dignitaries of the GCC?
Cheers
mhg



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Khamenei on “Islamic” Arab Uprisings…………..

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Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said the great Islamic movements that have recently arisen in the Muslim world are a prelude to a greater development and the rule of Islam. The Leader made the remarks on Tuesday during a meeting with scholars and intellectuals who attended the fifth meeting of the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly, which was held in Tehran on Sunday. He also said, “Our stance is to support and strengthen these movements, and we hope that these Islamic movements will bring an end to the hegemony of the main enemies, namely the Zionists and the United States.” In addition, the Leader advised Muslims to be vigilant about the enemies’ threats, especially their plots to create division between Shias and Sunnis. These plots are politically motivated, he said, adding, “The global arrogance (the forces of imperialism) are especially pursuing a policy of Shiaophobia in addition to the policy of Islamophobia………….Mehr News Agency

Ayatollah Khamenei is wrong, of course, in labeling the Arab uprisings generally as Islamist, calling them “Islamic movements”. They started as quite secular movements in Tunisia and Egypt, and most Islamists like Salafis and many others either opposed or at least hesitated about them. The Islamists, ever opportunistic, especially the Salafis, have jumped on the bandwagon. Yet he has a point in that the Arab states undergoing uprisings are becoming more Islamist. Egypt will almost certainly become more “Islamist”, as will Libya although I suspect Libya is more susceptible to the threat of the Salafi movement. Syria will certainly become much more Islamist and much less secular than under the Baath, if Assad is overthrown, unless the military takes over again. Syria has had a long history of religious tolerance, even more so than Egypt in recent decades. Islamists have a leading role in both the Libyan and Syrian uprisings. Bahrain is already co-governed by the Salafis and Wahhabis who also fear a Shi’a resurgence if the Apartheid system is dismantled. As for Yemen? Who knows. Only Tunisia has some hope of blocking the ambitions of the Islamist parties.
Khamenei is quite right about the dangers of Shiaphobia and Islamophobi
a.
Cheers
mhg

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Africa, the Arab World, the (New) New Colonialism………….

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“The African strongmen are going the way of Nkrumah, and in extreme cases Gaddafi, not Nyerere. The societies they lead are marked by growing internal divisions. In this, too, they are reminiscent of Libya under Gaddafi more than Egypt under Mubarak or Tunisia under Ben Ali. Whereas the fall of Mubarak and Ben Ali directed our attention to internal social forces, the fall of Gaddafi has brought a new equation to the forefront: the connection between internal opposition and external governments. Even if those who cheer focus on the former and those who mourn are preoccupied with the latter, none can deny that the change in Tripoli would have been unlikely without a confluence of external intervention and internal revolt. The conditions making for external intervention in Africa are growing, not diminishing. The continent is today the site of a growing contention between dominant global powers and new challengers……. The contrast with Western powers, particularly the US and France, could not be sharper. The cutting edge of Western intervention is military. France’s search for opportunities for military intervention, at first in Tunisia, then Cote d’Ivoire, and then Libya, has been above board and the subject of much discussion. Of greater significance is the growth of Africom, the institutional arm of US military intervention on the African continent………………
China and India intervene in Africa in an economic and commercial capacity. They are militarily to weak (compared to Western powers) and too ‘distant’. And they are too ‘new’ to the region, as world powers and not ethnically. The West, especially the French have always intervened militarily in Africa, except for a hiatus of a couple of decades. That hiatus was only Anglo-American: the French never stopped, as French presidents continued to send expeditions to prop up their favorite dictators. The West is back in force now, from Somalia, to Libya, to Cote D’Ivoire, to other spots overtly or covertly. Is it a new age of colonialism for the “Dark Continent”?
And speaking of Western intervention: the Arab World is not exactly free of it. From Iraq to Libya to Yemen to Lebanon to Sudan to Somalia and other places, the West is engaged against a host of foes, real or perceived. Like Africa which it overlaps, the feeble and corruptly managed Arab world can’t seem to get its (shit) act together, persistently inviting outside intervention: intervention from the West, Israel, Turkey, and Iran. The whole region is like a vacuum wittingly or unwittingly begging for intervention (prostrate and legs wide open, I’d say if I were rude and crude, which I ain’t). Some of the potentates even hire foreign mercenaries from South Asia and form foreign legions of Colombians and Australians and Blackwater denizens, among others. The Arab world is supposed to have been educating at least three generations since the wave of independence in the 1940s. Yet in the past several decades the Arabs have never been less independent than they are now and arguably never less ably led.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com