Qatari daily Al-Quds Alarabi, published from London, and other Arab media have interesting medical news from Egypt. The Medical Services Authority of the Egyptian Army has announced an update on its magical machines that can cure HIV and Hepatitis-C. It announced at a press conference Saturday that it is postponing receiving any patients who are seeking to be cured from HIV (AIDS) and/or Hepatitis-C through the new machines the Egyptian Army had invented. The Army said the postponement will last six months, allowing for further experiments on a larger sample of those infected.
The Egyptian army had announced the new inventions with fanfare a few months ago, at a public event attended by the county’s leadership including Field Marshal Al Sisi. A General Dr. Al –Sairafy said they are looking into the best ways to apply the cures for the Hepatitis-C and HIV (AIDS)N viruses, using what he called the C-Fact and Complete-Cure machines invented by the Egyptian Armed Forces.
A medical professor of gastronomy and liver diseases at Ain Shams University at Cairo said the tow breakthrough inventions were developed over a period of 22 years. He added that “the cure starts with a patient taking one daily tablet for ten days, after which he sits on a machine that drwas out his blood the returns a pure form of the blood back into his body. This blood re-infusion is done one hour per day over 16 days………”
With these great inventions, courtesy of the brains of the glorious armed forces of Egypt, the economy should quickly recover as millions from around the world make the pilgrimage to Cairo to get cured of their diseases.
(I must add here that this Complete-Cure sounds like a skin cream for zits, a.k.a. acne, rather than HIV (AIDS). The Fast-C sounds like a method of injecting a huge dosage of vitamin C into someone’s blood).
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“He could hardly wait to leave Qatar. Ganesh has promised himself to never again set foot in the desert. On this spring evening, though, Ganesh’s trip back home still lies before him. He is sprawled out exhausted on his bed on the outskirts of Doha after finishing his shift. The room is just 16 square meters (172 square feet) — and provides shelter to 10 workers. With the fan broken and the window sealed shut with aluminum foil, the air is thick and stuffy…………. On the map, the area is simply labeled “industrial zone.” But it is home to the thousands of faceless workers, the place where they eat and sleep. In Ganesh’s building, 100 workers are housed on three floors, far away from the glittery hotels in the city center. They live on the edge of a dream that the sheikhs want to make reality……………….”
The same also applies to laborers from other places, like Egypt and the Sub-continent and East Africa. Temporary foreign laborers form about 90% of Qatar’s population: almost the same percentage that they form of the population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). So you see why they are indispensable to these countries. Not only do these foreigners work on creating buildings and roads, on the supply side: they are also needed to create the demand for the goods and services. They are needed to buy much of the consumer goods the local merchants import, they are needed to transfer in remittances billions of dollars that keep the local banks operating, and foreigners are needed to fill these buildings that are owned by the princes and potentates and their business allies. Otherwise the newly erected towns between Doha and Abu Dhabi will look like ghost towns; they did not exist a couple of decades ago.
“Senior Fifa figures are for the first time seriously considering the ramifications of ordering a rerun of the vote for the right to stage the 2022 World Cup, in the aftermath of new corruption allegations against the hosts, Qatar.
While awaiting the results of a semi-independent inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 bidding races, senior football figures heading for the 2014 tournament in Brazil are understood to be considering their response if the report recommends a new vote in light of new claims based on hundreds of millions of leaked emails and documents. In Britain, there was a renewed outpouring of concern from politicians and former football executives after the Sunday Times alleged that Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari former Fifa executive committee member, paid $5m (£3m) in cash, gifts and legal fees to senior football officials ……………”
“The Qatari construction magnate Mohamed bin Hammam was in 2011 cast out from his gilded position at the commanding heights of world football’s governing body. His fall closely traces the arc of Fifa’s shattered reputation, and the melting credibility of his country’s 2022 World Cup project. Now the subject of the Sunday Times’s remarkably detailed allegations that he paid lavish bungs to Fifa officials while lobbying them to favour Qatar………………”
No doubt in my mind that millions in bribe money changed hands before the FIFA vote. But is that all new: from FIFA to the IOC to Formula One, among others? International sports bodies are rife with corruption and bribery, and they have been so long before Qatar became a household word in Paris. But as I always say: it takes at least two to tango.
There seems to be a trilateral alliance of interests seeking to wrest the FIFA World Cup games away from Qatar. In Britain, media and officials are reviving their old justifiable complaint about how the 2022 venue was chosen. The officials are still sore because London lost to Qatar (well, probably because of the bribes). Besides, British officials of the Cameron cabinet bend backward
and forward to please the Saudi princes who are gloating over all this. Saudi media like Alarabiya are covering the controversy with relish, enjoying the embarrassment of their upstart Qatari rivals in the GCC. So is some Egyptian media, mindful of Qatari support of the 2011 revolt against Hosni Mubarak and its close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Other regional countries like Syria (where Qatari potentates support the rebel Jihadists) are also gloating. So much for brotherly, or is it sisterly, Arab and GCC relations. The Qataris don’t seem to have many regional allies nowadays. The Saudis and their Bahrain stooges are hostile because Doha thwarts Saudi attempts at hegemony over GCC foreign policy (it is also partly brotherly and sisterly jealousy among the ruling potentates). They have lost the biggest prize, Egypt, to the Saudi princes and Abu Dhabi shaikhs who now have their man Al Sisi in power and call the shots in Cairo. They may lose whatever influence they have in Libya and Tunisia. They have also antagonized Iraq and Syria and Iran.
Hassan Rouhani is facing the toughest test of his career, the toughest test any Iranian leader has faced in decades. Can he fulfill the promises he made to the majority that elected him by opening up the country and get the Western economic blockade lifted? He faces regional and domestic obstacles:
- Israel: the debate about the Iranian nuclear ‘program’ has been a Godsend to Benyamin Netanyahu and he has been milking it for all its worth since the 1990s. He has claimed various deadlines by which time Iran would have nuclear bomb, and then he has ignored his earlier deadlines and suggested yet new dates. Top ‘retired’ Israeli intelligence and military leaders often contradict him on this. The amazing thing is that all the caca de toro has not hurt him with the Israeli electorate. Nor has it hurt his credibility in the U.S. Senate and Congress: on the contrary, the schmucks now look at him as an oracle of Middle Eastern and Iranian (especially nuclear) matters. Besides, it has served one of the purposes he used it for: for years it has helped him divert Western attention away from his problems with the Palestinians.
- Iranian hardliners: the country needs a nuclear deal but any reasonable deal will probably have to get past these old revolutionaries. Many of them would prefer no deal but they also realize that most Iranians are young and want to open up to the world and want more freedoms and less intrusion in their private lives by the mullahs. Besides, the economy is hurting from the blockade no matter what officials claim.
- American Hawks (Democrats and Republicans and others): when it comes to the Middle East, almost the whole Senate and Congress are hawks. Being seen as soft on the Iran negotiations is like being against “motherhood and Memorial Day and Independence Day”, and not necessarily in that order. It is like being soft on Ho Chi Minh before 1968 or accepting Chairman Mao as the legitimate leader of China before the 1970s …………
- Gulf GCC: it is divided over Iran, as it is divided over many other issues. But the GCC states are divided among themselves regardless of the Iranian question. Three of them have pulled their ambassadors from Qatar because its government rejects Saudi hegemony on certain aspects of the Arab turmoil.
- Saudi Arabia: the Al Saud have been the most hawkish about both the nuclear issue and Iran’s ties to the Arab world, until recently. Failure of their policies in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon (and American advise) may have pushed them to seek some form of accommodation with Tehran.
- UAE: there are some divisions. Abu Dhabi potentates are hawkish but Dubai and possibly some others do not seem so.
- Qatar: has been concerned about balancing worrisome forces (Saudi vs. Iran). Its dispute with Iran has been mainly over Syria and possibly Iraq. But it has had more serious and more threatening disputes with the Saudis. Some Arab media even reported in recent months allegations of military threats against Qatar from the Saudi-UAE alliance. I have posted about past tensions between Qatar and the Saudis.
- Kuwait: was invaded from both Iraq and Saudi Arabia during the past century. It also uncovered at least one large Iranian espionage network in recent years. It tries not to antagonize either Saudis or Iranians, mindful of the ability of both to cause trouble. Then there is the recent past experience with Baathist Iraq………
- Oman: has been mostly neutral and it does not seem to buy the Saudi argument about either the nuclear issue or the general “Iranian threat”. It does not seem to feel threatened. Oman was reportedly instrumental in starting the recent Iranian-American dialog last summer.
- Bahrain: the least important of the GCC members. Nobody cares wtf its repressive rulers think now. It has become a full-fledged Al Saud appendix and the ruling potentates do exactly as they are told.
Rewriting history and faking history has become a habit in our native region, especially in the Gulf GCC states. But it is a good thing that ‘facts’ are stubborn, mostly. This week’s political noise about an Al-Jazeera documentary film on the Coast of Oman is a good example.
When we were children growing up on the hot shores of the Gulf (Gulf of Mercenaries? Persian-American Gulf?) we knew about Sahel Oman (ساحل عمان) from readings and from family members. We called the whole coast south of Bahrain and Qatar by one name: Sahel Oman (Coast of Oman). We had student colleagues and friends from what is now the UAE and we called them ‘Omani students’: they did not seem to object. Dubai existed as Dubai, a commercial center, as did Al Sharjah and maybe Ras Al Khaimah. Abu Dhabi existed, but barely. We never heard or read about Abu Dhabi or some of the other emirates. Maybe we were ignorant, but we called the region: Sahel Oman. As did the other Arab media whenever they paid attention to the Arab side of the Gulf beyond Bahrain and Kuwait. In those days Bahrain was were the political action and political news were: even then the people were in constant rebellion against the absolute Al Khalifa clan and their British advisers (how some things never change!). Not much has changed in Bahrain: except for the unwelcome intrusion of Saudi troops and other imported foreign mercenaries shoring up the regime.
Now this recent recent documentary film on Al-Jazeera about Sahel Oman has riled up the UAE (mainly Abu Dhabi), and some of their Saudi allies are also making the right supportive noises. Saudi mouthpiece Asharq Alawsat (owned by Crown Prince Salman) had its obedient chief editor blast the film as a Qatari insult to the United Arab Emirates. The film is reportedly non-political, although the Qataris must have suspected that it would upset up the ruling potentates of the UAE who fancy themselves the heirs of the Greek-Persian-Roman-Babylonian-Umayyad-Abbasid empires (now they can add ancient Egypt through their share of the Gulf investment in Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi).