Tag Archives: Mercenaries

Islamic Mercenaries of the Persian Gulf: Have Quran, Will Travel………

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This is not a new phenomenon on the Persian Gulf: religious sheikhs (clerics) for hire.

Often they come from Egypt, Jordan, North Africa and other Arab countries/regions. They usually attach themselves to one or another among the ruling absolute oligarchies, of the Gulf, especially in the UAE or Qatar. Attracted by money and opportunity, they start issuing statements or Fatwas in favor of their benefactors and against others who displease these benefactors. They are absolutely mercenaries: clerics for hire. No different from the armed foreign mercenaries that some Gulf regimes hire to do their repression or wage their regional wars.

Here is a man with the impressive-sounding title of Deputy President of the International Union of Muslim Clerics, basically a clerical bureaucracy for hire. He is here accusing another cleric-for-hire, the Religious Adviser, whatever that be, of the top man in the UAE, Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ), of being among “devil worshipers”. He also called him a religious traveling salesman. MBZ and the UAE are among the strongest anti-Muslim Brotherhood in the whole Middle East. This is a sore point of contention with their Saudi “allies” in the stalling war on Yemen.
Of course all this name-calling is a case of one soot-covered pot calling another pot ‘black’.


The Persian Gulf GCC states are full of these hired expatriate clerics, like Al Qaradawi (in Qatar) and others, basically mercenaries, religious guns for hire. Often they are either Muslim Brothers who have found the joys of oil money (in Qatar) or others hired by the UAE potentates to blast the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamic gunslingers and mud-slingers.

All these people do their own interpretation of the Quran or Hadith to serve their masters. They are almost as bad as the Salafis, almost.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Yemen: a Genocidal War of Clashing Foreign Mercenaries…….

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Some Gulf states have hit on a new ingenious technique to compete with more powerful neighbors like Iran, Turkey, and Israel. They have sought to expand their sphere of influence through a combination of financial inducements and the hiring of foreign mercenaries to act like national armies. All of it allegedly hush-hush, but not enough hush-hush on the Gulf. State secrets on the Persian Gulf last about as long as they would in a cathouse (a k a a brothel for the, er, uninitiated). But that is okay: everybody is involved in Arab civil wars these days, from Russians to Americans and Iranians and Turks and Lebanese and Chechens and Euros. Among others.

The United Arab Emirates, UAE, with a small native population of nearly a million have been actively hiring foreign mercenaries. They have been especially hiring Colombian fighters, so many officers at high pay, creating a shortage in the Colombian military. Some reports have also come out of Mexicans. As early as the Arab Uprisings of 2011, Abu Dhabi formed a mercenary brigade organized by former Blackwater executives, and composed of Latin Americans, Australians and white South Africans, among others.

The Saudi population is about one third temporary foreign laborers (housemaids, drivers, etc). The native population is not interested in fighting a foreign war or any war, except for the many who volunteer with terrorist Wahhabi groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS.  So the princes have sought a different kind of mercenary force. They have bought off the dictator of Sudan, the convicted war criminal General Omar Al Bashir. He has rented off thousands of his forces to the Saudis in their war on Yemen. There is the possibility of Mauritanian and other African mercenaries, including Djibouti (both members of the Arab League). Jordanian mercenaries are almost certainly involved as well, as they almost always are in these cases (in Bahrain, as one example). Pakistan, which has about 35+ million Shi’as, has declined for its army to be hired off, and Egypt has been stonewalling.

The deposed Yemeni regime of General Hadi (Al Zombie) has been allied with the corrupt Islah (mainly Muslim Brotherhood) group. Now the Saudis are moving closer to the MB with whom they had good relations in past decades that had soured, while the UAE rulers see the MB as Enemy Number One. Hence a divergence of opinion and policy among allies in the quagmire that is Yemen.

Both countries have been bombing Yemeni cities for months, essentially committing genocide, with logistical and targeting help from the United States government and possibly other Western powers. Reports indicate that the UAE is moving away from the Saudis, especially in Yemen which lies almost between the two countries. The Abu Dhabi potentates are reportedly sending their own mercenaries to southern Yemen. They are also inviting former South Yemen (PDRY) Marxist leaders to the UAE for consultation. Since the Emirati sheikhs are unlikely to have gone Marxist, I assume they are making some other deal.

So, the real war is not between just two Yemeni sides. It is between the Saudis and Emiratis and Qataris and Colombians and Americans and Mexicans and Sudanese and Jordanians and Al Qaeda (AQAP) and ISIS and Hirak secessionists and aging Aden Marxists. Meanwhile the genocidal air war by the bought and hired Arab and African alliance is pushing Yemen back about sixty or so years.

Stay tuned………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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War on Yemen: Assault by Rich Arab Princes and Poor African Rapists……

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Yemen has been under severe assault for almost eight months now. From the air, warplanes of Arab princes, the best machinery of war that the West can sell, are raining death and destruction on the poorest of Arabs. Now the princes have also bought or rented thousands of African/Arab mercenaries to do the ground fighting for them. Apparently too many casualties among the Gulf coalition soldiers (Saudi, UAE) in Aden have raised ‘concern’ among the peoples of these two countries.

The Saudis have already handed parts of Aden in Southern Yemen to mercenary Sudanese soldiers. These soldiers have been rented from the wanted international criminal Omar Al-Bashir, military dictator of Sudan for almost 27 years. Al-Bashir was convicted by the International Criminal Court years ago, but he keeps traveling at will across the Arab world. He met the Saudi king in recent days. His army excels in and is famous for rape and murder of unarmed civilians. Now he is being paid by the Saudi princes so that his army of rapists and killers can help control the city of Aden. These Sudanese soldiers are now technically allies of American and British forces that are involved over Yemen.
Arab media report that more Sudanese soldiers, a third wave, are heading to Aden. Saudi daily al-Hayat (owned by Prince Khalid Bin Sultan) quotes a senior adviser to the deposed Yemeni president General Hadi that mercenary Egyptian soldiers hired out from Al Sisi are also on their way.

I have some doubts about the veracity claim of this Egyptian role. Unless the price was raised to an offer that the ruling military could not refuse.

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

Fog of War: Iraqi Militias, American Militias, Mercenary Militias……..

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Militias have suddenly retaken the center stage in media and in public official discussions of recent developments in Iraq. Apparently Shi’a ‘militias’ are now taking an important role in the Iraqi counteroffensive against the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State, ISIS.

There is no denying that some of the Iraqi Shi’a militias can be as nasty as the other armed factions in Iraq. The experience of the mini-civil-war of 2006-2008 showed that. But they are in no way comparable to the Wahhabi cutthroats of Al Qaeda or ISIS, regardless of the nonsensical stuff Gen. Petraeus said recently. Yet there is now a bigger storm of foreign criticism of Iraqis hiring or allowing ‘militias’ to fight government battles. This is especially true in the United States.

Yet hiring and/or using private militias is a worldwide phenomenon in this era of war-for-profit. Apparently there is no stigma on hiring private militias if the militias are Westerners and those who hire them are Western governments. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have been known and reported  to rely on private contractors (the Western equivalent of militias) in battle zones. We have read about the American millionaires that were made in Iraq. So, the complaints about Iraqis using militias when they have an army of 200 or 300 thousand sound hypocritical and hollow. The United States has a standing military of millions, yet there is increased dependence on contractors in military zones and even in protecting diplomats and high military officials (as reportedly happened in Iraq).

I shall not speak extensively here about those other hired foreign militias down the Persian Gulf. They are hired by the princes and potentates from humorless places like Jordan, often through the government and certainly with its approval, as well as from Pakistan and other distant lands. These are used to keep the people repressed in such places, and to conduct thorough and ‘enhanced interrogations’ of the restive ones among the native populations. So it can be irksome that princes and potentates who hire foreign mercenaries (essentially militias) to torment their own people complain about Iraqi militias.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Arabian Reich: Arbeit Macht Frei, Public Flogging Macht Frei, Tear Gas Macht Frei………

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It is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Nazi concentration-death camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army as it swept across Poland toward Germany in January 1945.

Sometimes I think the 1960s terms used by JFK “Let them come to Berlin“, “Ich bin ein ‘Berliner'(?)” must have sounded naive and absurd to an average Russian in Leningrad or Stalingrad or to anyone in any Soviet village east of Poland. Barely 15 years after WWII and the horrors of Operation Barbarossa. By the 1980s, however, Reagan’s “Tear down this wall…..” sounded more reasonable and plausible.

Anyway, my focus is the Middle East. The Nazis posted a cruel slogan at the entrance to their concentration camps, which housed mostly Jews but also dissidents, leftists, and other undesirables. The absurd slogan was “Arbeit Macht Frei“, something the cotton plantation owners never thought of in Old Dixie. In the Middle East, one can imagine new slogans based on that one. The Saudi princes can erect “Public Flogging Macht Frei“, or “Absolute monarchy Macht Frei“. The Egyptian regime can erect “Bullets Macht Frei“. The Bahrain rulers can erect “Tear Gas Macht Frei“, or “Kleptocrats Macht Frei“. They and the rulers of UAE can both quite reasonably erect “Foreign Mercenaries Macht Frei“. The caliphate of ISIS might put up “Concubines Macht Frei”. Tony Blair might add to his letterhead “Oil Oligarchs Macht Frei”. No irony intended………..

BTW: did you read that the British Ministry of Justice “is hoping to profit from selling its expertise to the prison service in Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for public beheadings, floggings, amputations and courts that regularly violate human rights.…………”?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Gulf of Mercenaries: OMG, the British are Coming Back……….

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Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seem to be in a race to see which one can establish more foreign military bases and which one can hire more foreign mercenaries. I once suggested that the Persian-American Gulf should be renamed the Gulf of Mercenaries, mainly because of these two countries’ penchant for importing foreign mercenaries to crush dissent and help stifle reform.

The British were in Bahrain for a long time as colonial masters. They had military bases on the island, and they helped the Al Khalifa ruling family and their tribal allies keep absolute political control and enabled them to continue looting the country. They left at the beginning of the 1970s although their bureaucrats continued to call the shots in many local institutions.

The U.S. naval base is a more recent development in Manama and it is largely considered a ‘non-political’ presence. It is a port of convenience and has no internal role. The Saudi military presence is an even more recent development, and it is a totally political and domestic security presence. The Saudi forces entered the country to help the Al Khalifa crush the “Arab Spring” popular uprising of 2011. They are now in the country as a permanent presence.

Then there is the huge contingent of foreign mercenaries imported from such humorless places as Pakistan and Jordan and Syria. They are definitely a political presence.

The British government has done its best to support the repression in Bahrain, it has even sent its unemployed princes and princesses on occasional visits to Bahrain. Just to enhance the ‘legitimacy’ of the ruling sectarian elites. Even as it has called for sanctions, nay even war, against the Syrian regime.
Now the British are reported to be in the process of re-establishing a new foreign military base on the island. That seems like a purely political presence, since Bahrain does not face any external threat other than from the foreign mercenaries imported by its regime.

Sovereign countries have the right to allow foreign bases on their soil: nothing unusual about that. Especially if they face external threats. Provided these bases do not interfere in domestic politics. But will the small island sink under the weight of all these foreign bases and imported mercenaries?………
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Twist of Fate: Are the Saudis Hiring Foreign Forces to Face Possible Wahhabi Attacks?………


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“Saudi Arabia has deployed thousands of troops from Egypt and Pakistan along its frontier with Iraq, amid fears of invasion by the al-Qaeda splinter group that has declared a radical Islamic state across the border. Panicked by the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis), Riyadh has taken the drastic step of calling in military assistance from its close allies ……. Saudi Arabia spent an estimated GBP 35 billion on defense last year……………”

Most Arab regimes spend a lot of money on importing weapons, even though many, nay most of them face no external threat. But their focus is not defense against a foreign enemy. The priority is to keep the regimes, the ruling elites, the oligarchies, in power. The target, especially since the Arab Uprisings in 2011, has been potential domestic unrest.

Foreign mercenaries are not new in the Persian Gulf countries. Bahrain has been notorious for importing some of the nastiest of them from countries like humorless Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq (mainly former Baathists), among others. The rulers of Bahrain, who are also seriously humor-challenged, need mercenaries because they refuse to hire much of their own citizens.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have often relied on foreign military personnel, but they famously went even more international recently. The ruling potentates went ahead in 2011 and reportedly formed an elite parallel mercenary army organized by former Blackwater officials. The mercenaries are chosen from Colombia, South Africa, Australia, and other places. Colombian media even reported that country was facing a shortage of qualified military officers because of the money offered veterans by the UAE (which has very few citizens among its population).

Saudi Arabia does not face the same population problems as Bahrain or the UAE. About 15 million of its 24 million population are citizens, and thus eligible to serve in the military and security services. Yet their have been reports over the past few years of secret Saudi agreements with governments of Pakistan, Malaysia, and others to supply mercenary forces “when needed”.

Now this new report of Egyptian forces makes some sense. Egypt has a huge reserve of under-employed military personnel (all security personnel are probably needed t home these days). Egypt is not facing any foreign threats, contrary to what local media reports (unless Al Sisi goes foolish and intervenes in Libya). With many of the Muslim Brotherhood opposition either shot by the military or hanged or in prison, they can afford to send a few thousand to Riyadh.

Yet it is highly unlikely that the Al Saud will openly rely on foreign mercenaries. They can’t exactly aspire to become an important regional player and OPENLY depend on foreign mercenaries to defend the regime.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com