Tag Archives: Libya

The Logical Thinking of Kim Jong Un: Heeding the Lessons of Iraq, Libya, and Iran……..

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In the beginning…..
Donald Trump ignored North Korea and its petulant young dictator. Mr. Trump has been focusing on his “other” foreign policy issues. In fact up to recently he has been taking a long victory lap celebrating his own alleged self-styled loot of billions of Saudi oil money during his coronation by desperate Arab and Muslim princes and potentates in Riyadh last May. All he had to do was tell them that he does not care about human rights and that Iran exports terrorism (but apparently not the nice Wahhabi type of terrorism of ISIS and Al Qaeda and AQAP and Nusra).

Trump has also been focusing on the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), since before the election. Trump of course does not know much about it, that it is a good deal for all sides according to international consensus (with the exception of the ruling princes of Saudi Arabia, the Empire of Bahrain, Israel, and the paid-for US Congress). Apparently the one draw-back of the Iran deal for Trump, the Republican Party, (and hawkish Democrats) is that it is a signature achievement of President Barack Obama. So Mr. Trump had promised to revisit the deal, perhaps to “withdraw” the USA from it. His first National Security Chief Mike Flynn, a Turkish agent and possibly a Russian agent as well, threatened more serious action against Iran. Before Trump was forced to fire him.

Among the Iranians themselves there are many who are also disappointed by how the nuclear deal has turned out. And by the ratcheted up threats from Washington and the nearly monthly new sanctions being voted by the US Knesset Congress and Senate. They also remember what happened in Iraq and Libya.

Back to Kim Jong Un: he could not be denied his share of American attention for long. He is that kind of dictator. Not long after Trump was inaugurated Kim started tossing around warhead-capable medium-range and long-range missiles. He or his henchmen also murdered a young American student-captive in Pyongyang.
And one more thing that can be unforgivable from my point of view: he gave Dennis Rodman another opportunity to be seen on network news.

Kim Jong Un also certainly well remembers what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.  Apparently Saddam had given up his WMD, but Iraq was invaded and he was overthrown anyway.

Libyan dictator Gaddafi gave up his WMD and paid billions in “compensation” to Western citizens and corporations. He was attacked and overthrown by NATO. He and one of his sons were allowed to be tortured and killed by some rebels. Now Libya is a failed and divided state.

Kim must have started thinking:

  • Gaddafi (of Libya) gave up WMD. He also gave up billions of dollars to Western countries and to victims of the Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie in 1988. But what did he get? His new friends in NATO overthrew him then got him killed as soon as they got a chance. He and one of his sons were tortured and murdered by possibly the same people who later murdered four American diplomats in Benghazi. His country is now a failed state beset by Islamic Fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect and by tribal infighting.
  • Iran heeded world power demands and reduced its nuclear program- and according to IAEA and world intelligence services it is abiding by the JCPOA Nuclear Deal. And Iran now is being seriously threatened by Donald Trump who is also hopelessly trying to form a futile alliance of hapless Arab and Muslim despots and potentates against it. These are mostly the countries whose citizens have actually committed terrorism in the Middle East and in the West. And both houses of the US Congress keep piling up sanctions against Iran, Kim knows….

If I were Kim, I would possibly perhaps per chance think that it is not just the WMD and nuclear stuff that the West, and the US government, has a beef with. Maybe it goes beyond that. If Iraq and Libya were attacked after they gave up their WMD, and if Iran is being threatened after it reduced its nuclear capability……
You get the drift: Kim will think that as soon as he gives up his nuclear and missile program, he might as well give up the ghost….

And it is hard to blame him for thinking along these lines, if you think about it (or you can start reading this post from the beginning)……..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Pax Americana and Endless Conflict: War as Hell, War as Salvation…..

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“War is Hell” : Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (& possibly others)

 

I saw this on a British website. I think it was a BBC interview:
“Would Labour support military intervention against Assad?

Emily Thornberry (MP) says “Have we learned nothing from Iraq?, Have we learned nothing from Libya?” We need a plan……..”

No, you have learned nothing from Iraq or Libya. It is a good thing the Russians are in Syria to limit your folly. They will keep any Western invasion limited, and save the West from another long Muslim war, another folly which the Jihadis can point to as proof that the West is bent on a “new Crusade”. More Muslim wars waged by the West lead to more terrorist recruitment by the Jihadis.

Two extended new wars are looming over Washington now: one in Yemen to save Saudi nuts from the fire of their own miscalculation, the other in Syria.There may be one or two more beside those, if the mad Neocons have their way. The post-war Pax Americana is now a tragedy of senseless endless war extending from Pakistan to the African Sahel.

Amazing how any president with questionable legitimacy and scandals hanging over him quickly thinks of a foreign war. An easy way to divert attention. The American mainstream media is always willing to accommodate. Who said war is hell? War is often a salvation of a faltering leader.

Once I advised about the next time Western powers feel the need for bombing someone. Please pick some other region of the world to bomb and invade. Leave Muslims and Arabs to their/our own devices, to sort out their own mess. Just bomb someone else, bomb Burma or anyone else. Just leave our region alone. You have done enough to screw it up in the past 100 years…

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

 

Middle East Sands Shift Again in the Mayhem of Post-Post-Arab-Uprisings……

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In the beginning there were the Arab uprisings……
The era of the Arab Uprisings is over. The era of Post Arab Uprisings is over. Now the Middle East is going through the era of Post-Post Arab Uprisings.

The Arab convulsions that started at the end of 2010 were initially expected to usher in a new era of revolution against the stagnant order. That hope quickly shifted as the newly-anointed Arab Center of Power, represented by Persian Gulf oil wealth and Gulf Wahhabi-Salafi ideology basically took over the Arab League and its institutions. Or so it seemed.


But a few unseemly things happened on the way to the royal takeover of the Arab World.

The initial Syrian uprising of 2011, which had been taken over by Gulf-backed Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood Jihadists, stalled. Having been hijacked by essentially agents of even more repressive Arab regimes, it veered into the darkest realm of sectarian and confessional divisiveness, a normal Wahhabi inclination. Foreign intervention has made a solution even more difficult. But the military situation has now decidedly shifted in favor of the Damascus regime and its allies.

In Bahrain, the regime cracked down hard on the uprising of 2011, ‘invited’ Saudi and UAE forces to help its repression, and turned to the old divide and rule policy by going sectarian. That country is still very unstable, heavily dependent on foreign Arab forces and foreign mercenaries to keep order.

In Yemen, the GCC and the UN arranged for dictator Colonel Ali Abdallah Saleh to leave office. But they chose his deputy, another general named Abd Rabuh Mansour Hadi to be “elected” with 99.8% of the vote. Even Kim Jong Un does not get that kind of victory. Hadi was quickly co-opted by corrupt military and tribal forces, along with a very corrupt local version of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Eventually Hadi was overthrown by a rebellion of the tough northern Houthis and elements of the old Yemeni army. He was basically allowed to escape (reportedly dressed as a woman in Burqa).
As the Houthi alliance expanded south into Aden, Hadi (who had resigned AND his term had expired) and his henchmen escaped to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis made the same mistake they had made before, they tried to invade Yemen with a force of hired African and Arab mercenaries. It is now a quagmire, helped by the Obama Administration which arms and refuels the Saudi bombers that commit what is essentially a murderous genocide.

In Libya, the dreams of American and European liberals and conservatives alike were shattered by the aftermath of the overthrow, torture, and murder of Gaddafi and his son. The Western powers had engineered a UN resolution past Russia and China that had wordings that created a loophole for NATO to bomb Gaddafi’s Libya. All based on false claims by opposition rebels. Russia and China have not forgotten that Western deception at the UN, and they are unlikely to vote along the same lines again. Libya itself is now a smaller version of Syria.


The biggest prize as usual was Egypt. After one year of elected Muslim Brotherhood rule, a couple of Gulf states ‘financed’ a series of huge opposition protests and eventually a military coup. Shades of the CIA Operation Ajax in Iran, circa 1953. Egypt was to become basically a satrapy of the Saudi and Emirati potentates, rich but uncultured tribal despots. An absurd notion to anybody who knows anything about ancient Middle East history.

Now Egypt is reported to have swung another way. A media war is raging between Egypt and her presumed Gulf sisterly (or brotherly) bosses, and regional policies are shifting. From Yemen to Syria to Iran, possibly even to the Gulf, Egypt is seeking new alliances and restoration of old ties in the face of a Wahhabi blackmail.
The Egyptian-Saudi dispute has gotten so serious that former Yemeni officials, all Saudi agents who urge the bombing of their country from their comfortable Saudi exile, now are accusing Egypt of supplying the Houthi rulers of Sanaa with missiles.

Other Gulf media mouthpieces have accused neutral Oman of expediting the transfer of Iranian weapons to the Houthis. These are certainly attempts to justify the miserable failure of the expensively-armed and Western-guided but incompetent Saudi and UAE forces to win the war in Yemen.
Another major twist, but it is not over. Stay tuned…..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

 

BHL of Arabia and Kurdistan: From Syrian Jihadis to Peshmerga Beaujolais…….

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French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy has something for the Arab and Muslim worlds. He has been actively seeking to liberate the Arab peoples, which is an admirable thing, but only selectively, and only in the countries whose regimes have not been allies of the West. He has been at it since at least 2011.


He started with Libya, joining the likes of John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Hillary Clinton. They succeeded in getting NATO to bomb the Gaddafi regime into extinction. The West’s newest Arab friend and business partner, the dictator Colonel Gaddafi himself was tortured by the rebels to death (we saw some of their knife-play against the captive leader on TV). Those were heady exciting days, in the autumn of 2011. The colonel, a new friend of Tony Blair and Clinton and other Western leaders was dead. But he had already paid up billions of dollars to the West for the Pan-Am airliner explosion over Lockerbie.

Libya was free: we were told by tribal Arab autocrats and their media like AlJazeera.
So what did the new “and better” regime in liberated Libya do? Their very first measure was to rescinded (cancel) the Gaddafi law restricting polygamy. Some of the Salafi and Wahhabi rebels even started talking wistfully about “slave women” and concubines. Now of course Libya is well on its way into failed-state status.
One strike for Levy and his eager Western fellow liberators.

But Bernard-Henri Levy would not be discouraged. Being French, he wanted to liberate Syria for the joys of a French-style life combined, unknown to him, with a dose of Saudi-Qatari Islamism. We can call it Wahhabi Beaujolais. As it turned out, the early Syrian protests were soon bought and subverted by absolute tribal Arab princes and their tribal Salafist Jihadis. With a lot of help from the Islamist regime in Turkey. The Syrian opposition morphed into groups of anti-democratic terrorists and cutthroats like DAESH, Al Nusra, Jaish Al Islam, Al Farooq, Al Abbatoir, etc, etc. Bernard-Henri was thwarted, and he remained silent about Syria for a couple of years.
Strike two for Bernard-Henri Levy (and John McCain and Lindsey Graham, et al).


Now he is being a bit more focused, perhaps more realistic. He is now into Kurds and the Peshmerga. But the Kurds, militarily speaking, are more than the Peshmerga. They deserve autonomy, and maybe even more, but it is complicated by several countries, including one ornery member of NATO with a humorless fundamentalist leader in Ankara. But I look forward to seeing the new film about the Kurds and Peshmerga.

Odd that Levy ignores that other Arab war, in Yemen. I suppose bringing that up would be embarrassing for friend Francois Hollande.

There is money to be made in some of them wars….
Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

Spelling Mediocrity: Hillary Clinton at the State Department………

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In this election season, it is natural and necessary to look at the record of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of States. Here is what I see:

Her record at State is mediocre at best. She did not manage to deal with the Arab uprisings effectively, and I suspect that she set the stage for worsening American-Russian relations and the re-emergence of the Cold War.

Her prediction of 2011 that Bashar al Assad has no place in Syria and will be out within weeks. Her support in 2011 for bombing Libya to aid the “rebels” and the premise that it will lead to democracy.
Soon enough, ISIS emerged within weeks in Syria, thanks to the Wahhabi ideology, money, weapons, and volunteers from “moderate” Wahhabi allies she courted and heeded. ISIS is now entrenched in Libya & other places, also thanks to the Wahhabi ideology, money, weapons, and volunteers from “moderate” Wahhabi allies she courted and heeded. She, and her aides, were not creative in both these important cases.
The Nuclear Deal with Iran would never have been reached if the hawkish Clinton was still Secretary of State. Possibly military action of some sort would have been initiated in the Persian Gulf.
I am not going to talk about Iraq and her repeating the Saudi mantra about Al Maliki and how if only he would leave. That was stupid as we can see that things got even worse now after al Maliki left…..

Her trade policies were a continuation of the mindset that created NAFTA a generation ago and pushed for the TPP deal last year.  If she wins, don’t expect any changes in that regard.

As for Benghazi, Benghazi, well, that is/was a silly Republican opportunistic mantra that seems to have lost steam……

The point is: she was at best a mediocre secretary of state, and I am being generous here. John Kerry proved a superior secretary, and I wonder what could have been achieved if he had started in 2009…….

Dommage……….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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A Dummy’s Guide to Managing Arab Turmoil: from Iraq to Libya and Syria and Yemen………

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A few Arab governments, and their controlled media, spent several years criticizing the way the United States handled Iraq. The Saudi and Qatari potentates especially seemed to think they could have done better.
They dabbled in Iraq, but got their real chance, both of them and others, in places like Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Yemen.

  • In Libya they talked the Western powers through NATO into bombing the installations controlled by the Gaddafi regime. The West essentially won the civil war in Libya for “the opposition”. People like Senator McCain, Hillary Clinton and French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy thumbed their chests (and breasts) and declared a victory in Libya for democracy and tolerance. Allegedly with some Arab help, no doubt token help. It turns out the Libyan opposition was not what they thought it was. Libya is now divided among tribal elements and Jihadist terrorists. It is suffering from Al Qaeda affiliates as well as ISIS (DAESH) branches.
  • These two Persian Gulf , er, “powers”, ruled by absolute tribal Wahhabi potentates, also thought they could do better in Syria than the West did in Iraq. Of course they had a strong hand in the failure of Western intervention in Iraq and the growth of Wahhabi terrorist enclaves in that country.
  • Having messed up Libya, the Saudis and Qataris started, along with Senator McCain and, yes, French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy to push for the Western powers to follow their same advise in Syria. From the spring of 2011 they flooded Syria with money, weapons, and Salafi Jihadists. With logistic and trafficking help from the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Caliph Erdogan of Turkey. That was when the non-sectarian original Syrian uprising ended and was replaced with sectarian Salafi Jihadist groups many of whom eventually joined ISIS or Al Nusra. Close to a quarter million Syrians from both sides have died, millions are roaming the shores of Europe seeking refuge. Meanwhile, the Arab potentates who started it all refuse to take in the refugees they helped create.
  • Now the current options for the West in Syria range between accepting Al Assad or one of his allies in power or allowing the intolerant sectarian Wahhabis to take over. There might be a quasi-Wahhabi option somewhere in between, but that may have been co-opted by the new Russian intervention.
  • In Yemen, the Gulf potentates allowed former vice president Generalissimo Abd Rabuh Hadi to win a rigged election with 99.8% of the vote in 2012. Not a very subtle form of democracy is it? Hadi allied himself with the corrupt quasi-Islamist Muslim Brotherhood-ish Islah (ironically Islah means Reform in Arabic). He lost out in Sanaa to an alliance of tribal Houthis and former dictator Ali A Saleh supporters in the army. He fled to Aden, but he was chased out to a hotel in that other bastion of Arab democracy and freedom, Riyadh. The war in Yemen became a struggle between the Houthi-army alliance and Southern secessionists and Al Qaeda. And American drones.
  • Now the Saudis have managed to hire, rent, and buy a bunch of Arab and impoverished African allies ranging from Jordan to Sudan and possibly Mauritania and others. There are unconfirmed reports that the UAE is also sending its mercenary army of hired Colombians to Aden. Yemen is now a war among various groups and proxies. The Saudis and their allies are bombing the country indiscriminately, as do some of their local enemies. Thousands have died, and many displaced in the second poorest Arab country after Somalia. Speaking of which, many Yemenis have fled to Somalia, which tells you how bad things are in that country.

Together, these princes and potentates can write a best-seller: A Dummy’s Guide to Managing Arab Turmoil………
So much for an ‘Arab solution‘. I had thought the idea of an ‘Arab solution’ for any regional problem was laid to rest in 1990/91. Apparently not yet, but no doubt soon enough.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Libya Massacre: Hezbollah Blasts ISIS and Others…….

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“Hezbollah denounced the new crime that was committed by the terrorist group of ISIL in Libya and that claimed dozens of innocent Ethiopian citizens, offering condolences to the families of the victims and those who experienced the agonies of that horrible massacre. In a statement, Hezbollah considered that the crime complements the series of tarnishing the image of Islam and the Muslims and persists on seeking the religious and the sectarian wars in order to serve the malicious plots of the intelligence services in a number of Arab and Western countries………….”

This is a common and now-increasing allegation among various Arab groups that Western powers are behind the growth of ISIS/ISIL. Many Arab opinionators, from a rainbow of ideologies, easily claim that ISIS was a creation of Western powers, or Israel, or even Iran. Some paranoid types on the Persian Gulf even claim the group was created by all of the above.
They overlook the simple fact that this murderous Caliphate emerged and was nurtured by Wahhabi ideology, Wahhabi volunteers, and Wahhabi oil money. And we all know where those three factors meet.

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

Jihadists and Hashish? ISIS in Libya, Shabby Caliph in Raqqa…….

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“Attempt to smuggle hashish to Libya foiled. The Lebanese security forces stopped a drug-smuggling operation destined for Libya Monday. The Anti-Drug Unit of the Judicial Police thwarted an attempt to smuggle drugs out of Lebanon after being tipped off about the operation, the Internal Security Forces said in a statement. The police cooperated with Egyptian authorities to halt an illicit shipment of 3.5 tons of hashish from Lebanon to Libya transported on the ship “Mare Ta Queen.” The ship left Lebanese waters for Tobruk’s marina in Libya but was stopped by the Egyptians near the coast of Damietta. Egyptian authorities confiscated the illicit items……………”

Ironically, that illegal “stuff” might help them stop killing each other. I hear that you can’t be stoned and high AND angry at the same time. Even in Libya, even in Syria, and in the Caliphate.

The shabby Caliph Al (Samarrai) of ISIS would probably mellow down (or maybe ‘up’) if he and his cutthroats were stoned more often, and not just “high” on the sight of blood. All these uptight Wahhabi youth streaming through the Erdogan Kingdom of Turkey into Syria and Iraq. All these madenned Salafi Jihadis in Libya. All the rest of them, need behavior modification, something to cool them down and see the world from a “different” point of view.

Then there is the legend of the stoned ‘assassins’ and the man on the mountain……
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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GCC and Pliable Arab Revolutionaries: Qatari-Saudi Micro Cold War……..

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Apparently the other Wahhabi dispute, the Saudi-Qatari dispute is alive and well. It is usually swept under the rug just before GCC summits, and briefly. In fact it has been around for a couple of decades, ever since the Saudis tried to engineer a coup d’etat in Doha in the 1990s. The coup failed, but many high Saudi intelligence officers were caught in Qatar and jailed for years.

More recently there was the Libyan episode. Qatar expressed opposition to Egyptian bombings in Libya whereby the Egyptians openly accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, a very Egyptian reaction. The GCC automatically issues a statement in support of a member country in the face of accusations by outsiders. They did it this time in defense of Qatar, which angered the Saudis who came to the aid of their man Al Sisi. The secretary general of the GCC, a Bahraini potentate, was ordered to rescind his earlier defense of Qatar. He had to quickly issue another statement against his own earlier statement. So the Saudi-Qatari dispute goes on.

Meanwhile, the potentates of Qatar have been busy. They were reported yesterday to have just signed a military agreement with fellow Muslim Brotherhood supporter Turkey. Media reports also claim the Qataris may have paid enough money to buy Al-Nusra Front away from Al-Qaeda, or maybe they have just rented Al Nusra for a period of time. If true, this will have implications not only for Syria, but also for Lebanon. The Qataris are still aiming to own Syria through some other proxy. They apparently have an urge to own some other country besides France. They lost Egypt last year to the Saudi-UAE (Abu Dhabi) potentates who practically drowned Al Sisi and his generals with billions of dollars. That may explain why Al Sisi and his aides thought that to the Gulf rulers billions of dollars are like grains of rice, numerous.

Apparently almost everybody in the Arab world is up for sale now, including many former ‘revolutionaries’. Not to be outdone by the military and Sisi, Egypt’s Tamarrud movement was also reportedly bought by the Abu Dhabi potentates of the UAE as far back as 2012. Long may the revolution live, and may all Arab revolutionaries prosper from oil money, and not just in Egypt.

Stay tuned………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Strategic Science Fiction: Unified Arab Force, Unified Arab Farce…….

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“As threats in the Middle East grow, there’s a pressing need in the region, Egypt’s President said Sunday. “The need for a unified Arab force is growing and becoming more pressing every day,” President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a televised address, noting that Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have offered to send troops as Egypt steps up its efforts to battle ISIS in neighboring Libya………”

Also sprach Field Marshal Al Sisi, elected president of Egypt by almost 98% of the vote last year.
They are now talking about a unified Arab force to fight the murderous jihadis of ISIS from Libya to Syria and Iraq. And possibly fight ‘others’ after that. From Arab politicians to Western media pundits and retired generals and even former CIA agents. Everybody is suddenly a strategist: a Napoleon and a Caesar.

There has never been an effective unified Arab force in modern times. There is a joint Gulf GCC force called the Peninsula Shield that was supposed to be a joint “defense” force against external threats. It failed its only chance to defend when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, by not showing up. The only ‘operation’ on its resume has been to intervene in Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy uprising there during the Arab Spring of 2011. This is typical of Arab armed forces: their priority is protection of the ruling order against internal unrest. We have seen this across the board, from Libya to Egypt to Syria and Bahrain and Yemen.

A joint Arab force to fight the Caliphate of IS? With actual casualties and body bags? Unlikely that the Arab countries can sustain the needed human costs. Besides the hesitation to enter, say, Syria and become sitting ducks between the two sides, the Jihadis and the Syrian army and its allies. Just imagine humorless Jordanian and United Arab Emirates troops facing two formidable opponents in a two-front war: skilled experienced and suicidal Wahhabi Jihadists and Syrian army veterans plus Hezbollah. The UAE, with barely 1 million citizens, reportedly has an imported foreign mercenary force for its own internal security. Just imagining the Emirates in such a battle merits a resounding WTF plus an LOL (and possibly an Oscar for science fiction).

The first battle might be the last one, a Waterloo. Besides, a unified Arab military force would be the worst thing to happen to the Arab peoples now. It will only lead to unified repression: one force with one strategy and one deadly force to keep the repression and the oppression going. Exactly what happened in Bahrain.

I suspect the push is more from the West, mainly from some hawks in the US. It makes sense to have an Arab force in order to “legitimize” action and make it politically acceptable at home, or so they think. The real action would be by NATO powers, a la Libya 2011. Some of the Arab princes and potentates are no doubt thinking of a post-ISIS phase, when they can ‘clean house’ in Syria and maybe in Lebanon. They have allies over here as well for that endeavor.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter