Heroes Fighting the Scourge of Corruption: My Nominees…..

        
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Corruption continues to rob the poorest of this world of hope and opportunities, and to undermine even long-established democracies. Join us in giving the deserving individuals, who fight this scourge, due recognition for their determination and bravery. Nominate someone today…….

Transparency International asked me, and many millions of others, to nominate someone to receive the 2011 Integrity Award (honoring the unsung heroes of the fight against corruption). I have decided to nominate His Royal Highness prince Bandar Bin Sultan al-Saud and His Royal Highness Shaikh Whatishisface of Bahrain. I also thought of nominating His Dubious Highness Khalifa al-Khalifa, the prime minister of Bahrain, but then I remembered I just had my lunch only 30 minutes ago.
Cheers
mhg




m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Freed Bahrainis, Beached Saudis, Abu Dhabi Waterboys, Horny Mermaids ……

        
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                           Some Saudi and UAE forces           One of their Bahrain victims

Things are looking up on my side of my Gulf. I won’t call it the Persian-American Gulf this time, but only this time. After the Saudis take over Abu Dhabi, or will it be Qatar, I’ll call it the Persian-Wahhabi Gulf, although Wahhabis are desert people and not true Gulf people. They fear turning into mud and dissolving into the sea, as the old poet said so long ago. That old poet was right: all fishermen who sail from Saudi Arabia are Indians or Pakistanis. Salafis are also reported to fear the sea, for they may believe that either some Jinn or some horny mermaids may pop out and assault them (they’ll opt for the mermaids anytime, these bearded goats).

Back to my main entrée: Saudi forces, with their Abu Dhabi water boys, have finally brought justice and democracy to the people of Bahrain. Now the people of Bahrain can be as free as the people of the Arabian Peninsula. More important: now the little king of Bahrain can be as free as the Saudi king. What is even more important: now all these shaikhs, these little khalifas of Bahrain can feel as free as the al-Saud princes, and like them they can do whatever they want, take whatever they want. Nobody there to argue, is there? Isn’t freedom great?
Now I expect Hillary Clinton to pay a visit to Manama, walk around Lulu Square, amazed at the site of the victory of the al-Khalifa, al-Saud (and their Abu Dhabi water boys).
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Real and Political Massacres in Manama: the Division of Bahrain………

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

There was a massacre on Wednesday morning by the joint operations of Bahraini regime forces and Saudi occupation forces. Several were reported dead, but the toll will rise, many more were wounded.
A political massacre followed: the impartial Bahraini alwasat daily and the opposition have been reporting that members of the toothless appointed Shura Council have been announcing their resignations throughout the day. Members of the Bahrain judiciary have also been announcing their resignations throughout the day. At least one newly-appointed minister announced his resignation (not many more will, since almost all ministers are either al-Khalifa members or their tribal retainers). Alarabiya network (owned by an in-law of the royal family and operated by a nephew of King Abdullah) tried to put the usual Saudi propaganda face on it. It claimed on its website that those Shi’as who resigned did so because they were threatened.

In effect the al-Khalifa and their al-Saud lords have split Bahrain into two. They have finally given up on the fake all-inclusive government they tried to present to the world, especially to the West. This has always been a sectarian regime in Manama, but in the past it could not be a 100% sectarian regime like the Saudi one. Now the regime in Manama is just like the Saudi one, representing the al-Khalifa family and a few families of their retainers and royal groupies. Reports also filtered throughout the day that leading opposition figures have been arrested, presumably by joint al-Khalifa and Saudi forces. Some right-wing daily rags in Kuwait, which unfortunately seems to spawn some of the worst Arab media and “crappiest” writers in recent years, have even started talking about a Bahrain Khalifiyya, البحرين الخليفية, meaning an al-Khalifa Bahrain. Sort of like “Saudi” Arabia.
Now the Saudi forces will probably remain in Bahrain forever, unless forced to leave by the people of Bahrain. And they can force them to leave, now that the fear is gone.
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

mailto: m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com”>m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

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

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