Bahrain: the Economics of Corruption 101……….

        
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   Spirit of Bahrain



Bahrain’s Shi’a are also under-represented in the bureaucracy, which is increasingly staffed by puritanical Salafists hostile to Bahrain’s majority on theological grounds. Perhaps most irritating of all, the monarchy is believed to have extended citizenship to as many as 100,000 Sunnis Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Pakistan, who form the backbone of the security services. Foreign Sunnis get a government-built house after five years of military service – but Shi’as say they have to wait 15 or even 20 years………. Even though Bahrain’s king would like to see military action against Iran, he has refrained from saying so in public, for fear of sparking of a rebellion by his subjects. Following independence in 1971, Bahrain established a parliament and a constitution which guaranteed basic rights for all citizens. But in 1975, the monarchy promulgated a new security law, which allowed for the detention of political prisoners for up to three years without trial. Bahrain’s parliament protested – and was promptly dissolved…….. For several years, Bahrain was characterised by brutal authoritarianism: through the 1990s, Saudi troops repeatedly quelled riot
ing by the emirate’s Shi’as, and memories of those dark years have been revived by recent events…………..”

For many years
, the average people of Bahrain lived in sectarian peace. When they voted for independence in 1970, it passed because they all voted for it. The real troubles started with the ruling oligarchy, the al-Khalifa and a few families who hang around them, their tribal allies. Bahrain is a resource-poor country, with a large ruling family, many shaikhs, and a hungry group of elite retainers and hangers-on of the rulers. The current king has at least three wives and more than two dozen children. The limited resources could not keep all these shaikhs of the ruling family, and their tribal retainer families, in the style of their richer neighbors, the true petroleum princes. Yet the al-Khalifa had to live in the expected style of Arab oil shaikhs. They could see the Saudi princes treat the country and its resources as their own private feudal fiefdom (they still do, more now than ever). They could see the ruling family of Abu Dhabi treat the country’s resources as their own private wealth, throwing occasional crumbs at the people.


The easiest
, the only, way was to apportion more of the country’s meager resources to the elite and less to the rest, to most of the people. That became easier to do after the constitution was suspended and the real parliament dissolved by force in 1975. Then some quarter of a century later they established a fake electoral system where they always had a majority, and they made sure the security forces and the military were composed of the “right sort” of people. But there aren’t enough Bahrainis of the “right sort” to police the country. Besides, Bahrainis of any religion or sect were unlikely to abuse and torture their own compatriots no matter of what faith or sect. So, what to do? They started importing mercenaries from other countries. They also started encouraging the growth of a nasty Salafi contingent (Salafi as in Islamic Heritage groups and Wahhabism and Bin Laden and all that).


The ruling
family has had 35 years to divide the people and plunder the island(s) of Bahrain. Plunder through abusing the revenues or stealing (I know: it ain’t polite, but it is the only way of putting it succinctly) public land which was blatantly expropriated, actually privatized, for the members of the ruling family and their retainers and their families.

This is the story, more or less. The rest is fear-mongering among the eternally sectarian-conscious people of my Gulf (I know we are), and fear-mongering among foreign policy makers and some idiotic advisers who are made to believe that the ayatollahs will be strolling around Lulu Square and to the gates of the headquarters of the Fifth Fleet. 

End of the story, more or less (more less than more).
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi Arabia to Give Up Corruption, Prince Bandar to Enter Rehab Center……..

        
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  Defiant spirit of Bahrain

Saudi Arabia participated in the International Conference against Corruption that was held in Almaty in the Republic of Kazakhstan this past week. The conference was held as part of the international efforts to combat corruption…. .. The Saudi delegation presented a paper at the conference on the kingdom’s relentless efforts to protect honesty and combat corruption, guided in these efforts by the Islamic Shari’a whch banned corruption……..Okaz Daily (Saudi)

It would have been a masterstroke to have appointed Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to lead the Saudi delegation to the anti-corruption conference. In fact, it would highlight a new Saudi stance against corruption to appoint Prince Bandar as the kingdom’s ambassador to the world at large against corruption. They might also want to add the potentates responsible for the housing development projects in Jeddah that were swept away by rain floods in recent years, killing many ordinary Arab folks. They might also want to add a few of the avaricious potentates who are behind erasing all the historic monuments of early Islam, like the homes of the Prophet’s family and his sahaba. Those historic monuments have been replaced with Las Vegas-style five-star hotels and shopping malls that now crowd the Holy Shrines in Mecca and Madinah. They can also add a couple of Salafi shaikhs, since the Salafis are always eager to tear down historic monuments and, more important, they are always eager to defend autocracy and royal corruption and greed, for a nominal fee.
One caveat: Bandar may decide to pay back to the people of Arabia the US$2 billion he got in bribes commissions form the BAE Systems for an arms deal, and he may also want to pay back interest earned on the amount.
PS: imagine having an anti-corruption conference in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstanforfuckssake! What is next? An international conference on human rights in Manama or Tehran or Riyadh?
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

My Gulf Wins a Prize: the Least Charismatic Leader(s) in the Whole World………..

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

The protesters’ disruption of the harbor, which was reportedly purchased by the conservative Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa for ‘one dinar’, was an important symbolic gesture by the opposition. For the United States, the intervention is a slap in the face. On Saturday, March 12, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Bahrain, where he called for real reforms to the country’s political system and criticized “baby steps,” which he said would be insufficient to defuse the crisis. The Saudis were called in within a few hours of Gates’s departure, however, showing their disdain for his efforts to reach a negotiated solution. By acting so soon after Gates’s visit, Saudi Arabia has made the United States look at best irrelevant to events in Bahrain, and from the Shiite opposition’s point of view, even complicit in the Saudi military intervention. The number of foreign troop is so far very small and should not make one iota of difference in Bahrain’s balance of power. The Bahraini military already total 30,000 troops, all of whom are Sunnis. They are under control of Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa and supposedly fully faithful to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Bahrain also has a similar number of police and general security forces, mainly mercenaries from Baluchistan, Yemen, and Syria, reputed to be controlled by the prime minister and his followers in the family……..”

I think, nay I know, Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman is arguably the least charismatic leader in the whole wide wonderful world, and possibly one of the most corrupt, probably got that one dinar back, and then some. But he is certainly not the least avaricious leader in the world: he got that one dinar back out of the sweat and blood of poor Bahrainis (okay, I did not say he is some kind of a leech; no sir, I’d never say that). Yet he has lasted at his job for 40 years (fortyfuckingyears!). That is almost two generations of poor Bahrainis who have to watch his visage on state TV and in the oligarchy media every single day and listen to quotations of the usual inane bland statements that only some leaders on my Gulf seem to have a knack for! Most of these sayings and statements, either in Manama or Riyadh or Shaikhwhatshisarse in Abu Dhabi, make Mu’ammar Qaddafi seem downright entertaining. I suspect some of these potentates can make Yasser Arafat and Lieberman (Avigdor not Joe) sound like fun persons by comparison.
Actually Qaddafi has been the most entertaining of Arab leaders: you can spend two hours listening to his nonsense without completely understanding what the hell he is up to. Yet you keep on listening (well, for only about two hours or so). On the other hand, some of our Gulf potentates I mentioned above can make you fall asleep in less than fifteen minutes (the average limit of their speechifying ability).
Which tells you something about the state of their, or is it our, politics.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

What Bob Gates Did not Know, Crushing the Spirit of Bahrain……….

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

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Qaddafi Tanks, Saudi Tanks, Ba’athist Tanks ………

        

                              Summer

 

   Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter      Target of Saudi tanks in Manama
The council of ministers has confirmed that it has answered a request by Bahrain for support, Riyadh said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency……
Sounds so much like the statement aired on Baghdad Radio when Kuwait was invaded……

Gaddafi tanks reach centre of Zuwarah, west of Tripoli….. Alarabiya (Saudi)

“Saudi tanks reach Manama, capital of Bahrain…” Me (and news agencies)
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Is the UAE Falling Behind in its Armaments Goal?………….

        

                        Summer

 

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This CIA entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).
The UAE has been the second biggest importer of weapons since 2005. This means the al-Nahayan had the world “silver medal”. In the region, the UAE has been the first biggest importer of weapons, i.e. the gold medal. Not sure what they have been doing with all the hardware, since they don’t have enough citizens for all these arms (some 80-85% of the population is composed of Asian laborers and housemaids who are not eligible for military service).
Now there is a new shocker for the UAE, something they did not know: in terms of total defense spending as a percent of GDP they are way down the list. They are number 40! Well below lowly Oman and rival Qatar and the even lowlier Bahrain!
Now the rulers of Abu Dhabi have three choices to catch up: (1) Speed up the purchase of weapons, and that is okay, it means more bribes commissions for the potentates. (2) Induct many thousands of expatriate workers into the armed forces which would push up military spending at the expense of civilian spending. (3) Find a way to reduce the GDP! I leave that last one to them to figure it out.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Zenga Zenga in Occupied Bahrain: Manama as Prague or Kuwait City?………….

        

                        Summer

 

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Forces from neighboring Gulf Arab countries will help maintain order in Bahrain, Arabiya TV reported on Monday, and an adviser to Bahrain’s royal court said their forces were already on the strategic island. “Forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council have arrived in Bahrain to maintain order and security,” Nabeel al-Hamer, a former information minister and adviser to the royal court, said on his Twitter feed. Gulf Daily News, a newspaper close to Bahrain’s powerful prime minister, reported on Monday that forces from the GCC, a six-member regional bloc, would protect strategic facilities. A Saudi official said Monday that more than 1,000 Saudi troops, part of the Gulf countries’ Peninsula Shield Force, have entered Bahrain where anti-regime protests have raged for a month…….


The lines have been drawn on the Gulf: which is what the worried al-Saud dynasty has wanted since they hosted Bin Ali and supported Mubarak last January. They, like other oligarchies on MY Gulf, have wanted a sectarian divide between the people of the region (I mean the Arab side of the Persian-American Gulf). It is the old policy of ‘divide and rule’.
The rapacious Bahrain oligarchy did a masterful job of terrifying a section of their population into throwing in their lot with the rulers and against their own self-interest. In this task, and as usual, the al-Khalifa have had the strong support of the Salafi movement, always the mercenary force willing to do the bidding of the despots in the Arab world these days. They usually do it for reasons to do with Salafi doctrine, or for sectarian reasons, or for material gain. All three of the above in the case of Bahrain (and Saudi Arabia).

This invasion of Bahrain is being advertised in Gulf semi-official media as a “police” force. They claim the GCC Peninsula Shield agreement allows it. In fact the GCC agreement allows helping a member against foreign invasion, not against popular uprisings. They certainly did not interfere to protect Kuwait in 1990: they chickened out against an outside invader (Iraq).

This is a Saudi invasion against the people of Bahrain. The talk of UAE participation probably means they may have sent a hundred or so people along with the Saudis. The UAE has very few natives to form a real army: its population consists mostly, nay overwhelmingly, of foreign expatriate laborers and housemaids.
This is a Saudi invasion to save the nuts of the al-Khalifa from the fires of their own greed and corruption and their insistence on their Apartheid policy. Just as the 1968 Soviet invasion was against the people of Prague and the Ba’athist 1990 invasion was against the people of Kuwait. Anybody who was against those invasions has to be against this one. After all, a pig with lipstick, even a brotherly or sisterly pig, is still a pig. The pig has just strolled into Manama inside a tank.
The good news for the people of Bahrain and other Arab states is: the fear is gone. It may be zenga zenga in Manama………..
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Saudi Arabian Regime Does a Saddam! Invades Bahrain! ……..

        

                        Summer

 

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Media now confirm that Saudi National Guard forces have crossed into Bahrain. Gulf media claim the forces are from the GCC, but they are in fact Saudi forces bent on subjugating the people of Bahrain and effectively annexing their country in everything but name.


  • What is the difference between the Iraqi Ba’athist invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and this Saudi invasion of Bahrain in 2011?
  • Both invasions were acts of aggression against the peoples of the two countries. 
  • In both cases the aggressor uses force to crush any opposition by the people.
  • In both invasions the invaders are there to impose a regime against the will of the people.
  • The people of Kuwait faced the soldiers of the dynastic Ba’athist regime, and the people of Bahrain are now facing the Wahhabi troops of the absolute tribal polygamous monarchy across the Gulf. 
  • There is nothing that a regime can do that is lower than invite foreign troops to enter the country to act against its own people. The al-Khalifa have just done that.


Can we say that our cause was better than your cause, and our resistance was better than yours? That would be hypocritical.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Sarkozy Loses an Ally over Muslim Hearings: my Suggestion………

        

                        Summer

 

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy fired an adviser he had hired to promote “diversity” after the appointee attacked his allies’ approach to Islam and secularism, the former aide told AFP on Friday. “He has just set me free. I am going to campaign to defend the dignity of Muslims in this country,” said Abderrahmane Dahmane, who had served as Sarkozy’s adviser on “diversity.” The sacking came after Dahmane spoke out against a plan by Sarkozy’s UMP party to hold a “debate” on secularism and Islam, at a time of sensitivities over the government’s treatment of France’s six million Muslims. “I have no intention of being fodder for Sarkozy and Cope,” he said, referring to Jean-Francois Cope, the leader of the right-wing ruling UMP party and a strong backer of policies that Muslims have said stigmatise them…………”

Hey, Sarko: you can always hire Peter King or Newt Gingrich as you “diversity” adviser to Muslims. They have some experience in dealing with us. The kind of experience you may prefer while you are looking for a way to weasel your way into another term at the Élysée Palace.
Then there is Brigitte Bardot……..
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

On my Gulf: of an Uprising, a Vanished Fear, a Threat of Invasion……

 

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“Thousands of protesters blocked King Faisal Highway, a four-lane road leading to the financial district of the capital, Manama. Security forces dispersed about 350 by using teargas, the government said. Police moved in on Pearl Square, occupied by members of the Shiite majority calling for an elected government and equality with Sunnis. Witnesses said security forces surrounded the tents, shooting teargas and rubber bullets at activists……..”


They never learn, these potentates. This is the same old Arab story, especially in Bahrain, but with a new twist this year. People rise demanding their rights to democracy and equality and justice; the rulers refuse and crack down; with time the protesters lose heart and go home. It happened several times in Bahrain over the past couple of decades.
This time there is one big difference, a decisive difference: there is no fear! The people are not afraid anymore, and this is why they have been threatening the people with foreign intervention: it worked before, but it will not work this time around. This may explain the “rumor” that they spread today about Saudi military intervention. A possible trial balloon? The oligarchs are reminding the people of Bahrain that they, the rulers, have fellow despots across the bridge with well-armed troops, and that these foreign troops may not be as “merciful”. But the problem the al-Khalifa face is what all Arab despots have been facing in this beautiful year of Arab revolutions: there is no fear! The fear that the despots relied on so much is gone from the Bahraini hearts, just it is gone from most Arab hearts.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Multidisciplinary: Middle East, North Africa, Gulf, GCC, World, Cosmos…..