Tag Archives: Sectarian

Exchange of Qatari Royals in Iraq for Syrian Captives of Jihadis Ends in Bloody Massacre…….

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“The fates of 26 members of a Qatari royal hunting party held hostage for more than a year in Iraq were used to help negotiate a population swap in Syria, where residents on Friday started leaving two Shia villages and two Sunni towns in a synchronised easing of a four-year siege brokered by regional powers. Residents of the Shia areas of Fua and Kefraya, in northern Syria, were transported to nearby east Aleppo as the first buses began leaving Zabadani and Madaya, Sunni strongholds between Damascus and the Lebanese border, for a final destination somewhere in the rebel-held areas of Idlib province. The deal was finalised in recent days after nearly two years of negotiations between one of Syria’s main opposition groups, Ahrar al-Sham, and Iran. The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Qatar have also been central ……..”

Reports from all sides in the Middle East indicate that there may be several thousand Saudis held captive in Iraq. Most of them apparently went north to join the Jihadi campaign of terrorism against Iraqi civilians, a sectarian campaign mainly targeting Shi’as. Many joined Al Qaeda in Iraq in the days of Jordanian terrorist Al Zarqawi, and later joined ISIS (DAESH). They represent a huge headache for the Saudi government, and it probably has influenced the recent Saudi warming up to the new political order in Iraq. Families and especially tribes as well as clerics form an important lobby in Saudi Arabia, as the authorities try to get these prisoners released. Some have reportedly been sentenced to death for terrorist acts and some already executed.

An unfortunate development. Today, Saturday, reports came that Jihadi rebels bombed some of the same Syrian refugee buses, killing at least twenty, wounding many others. Not clear yet how this will affect the release of Qatari potentates held in Iraq.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

NIMBY on My Gulf: of Muslim Brothers, Tribal Islamist Politics, Divisions over Yemen, and All That……

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Muslim Brotherhood “thinkers/propagandists” in the Gulf region have been recently blasting the UAE government about developments in the southern Yemeni city of Aden. Apparently the UAE is exerting some influence in that port city.

They are too fearful to criticize the Saudis (or their Bahraini appendix) openly, since local Saudi (and Bahrain) embassies in the GCC states have been actively pressing host governments to prosecute and persecute public critics. It it now considered a ‘crime’ to insult other GCC regimes, even on Twitter and Facebook. It is also a crime in the GCC to criticize Al Sisi of Egypt. (In a positive step, a Kuwaiti court last week rejected this argument, opening the door for more freedom of expression).

Many Gulf Islamists are strongly tribal, and some have tribal roots inside Saudi Arabia. That, as well as an enduring alliance with Salafists (also dominated by pro-Saudi tribal ties), keeps many Gulf Muslim Brotherhood (outside UAE & Qatar) from criticizing the Saudis openly. Most Gulf MB outside the UAE and Oman have roots from Saudi kin. Hence they go easy lest they upset tribal (as well as business) allegiances and balances.
In that sense, especially in Kuwait and Bahrain, the MB are essentially as Wahhabi as the local Salafis are. In Qatar, it is likely that any public strong criticism of Turkey’s strongman Erdogan is not tolerated.

Oddly, or maybe not, this is also true for many Persian Gulf academic and media types with tribal affiliations (even those who are classified as ‘liberals’ by twisted Gulf standards). Most proclaim support for freedom/democracy, but not in the Gulf region, especially not in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. A unique Gulf version of the American term NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

The MB in Kuwait, for example, these days seem to think that the Saudis are accommodating the Houthis of Yemen too much. Meaning they are still bombing their towns, but not as intensely as in the past fourteen months. It must be kept in mind that the powerless former Yemeni president Generalissimo Abd Rabuh Hadi was and is allied with the Islah, the notoriously corrupt local version of the MB. But they keep their “best” and most vocal criticism for the UAE, which is the most antagonistic Arab regime toward the MB (other than Egypt). But they criticize the UAE without mentioning it: a skill some Gulf Islamists have mastered in recent years.

(On the other hand, it is also unacceptable in Iran to openly and strongly criticize allies like the Syrian government or Hezbollah in the media. Even though there are no tribal ties involved. Just strategic and some sectarian ties).

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Islamic Hypocrisy, Islamic Phobia: Guess Who Hates (Other) Muslims the Most…….

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اذا لم تستحى فافعل ما شئت
“If You Have No Shame, then You can do what you like……….” Arab saying

Al Jazeera (the news network owned by Qatari sheikhs) was complaining about the treatment of Muslims in Europe. Other media have been complaining about the unwelcome and hostility the Arab refugees face in the West. These dominant Arab media are mostly owned by Saudi princes, and Qatari and Emirati (UAE) potentates. All these three Arab countries, so much responsible for the carnage in Syria and Iraq and Libya and Egypt, have refused to accept Arab refugees. Yet they complain about the European reception of them.

Wahhabi terrorists (who claim to be Muslims) are busy killing and massacring thousands of other Muslims in the Middle East and across the world. Wahhabis are also known to turn away other Muslims from mosques in Europe and America and to fight tooth and nail against the establishment of “other” mosques in Europe. Even as many Muslims demand understanding and equality in the West.

The fact is that nobody hates Muslims more than other Muslims of a different sect or nationality or tribe. Nobody kills more Muslims than other Muslims of a different sect or nationality or tribe. Nobody shows more Islamophobia than some Muslims toward “other” Muslims. Shouldn’t the Muslim house be put in order first, before whining about the Western bigotry?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Of Chopped Heads and a Stoned Embassy: the Iranians Help the Saudis………

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The Iranians, some of the clerics and their followers, have a knack for shooting themselves in the foot. They did it again last week, in the aftermath of a gruesome Saudi festival of executions of 47 people by beheading in one day. Just as the world was building up outrage at the judiciously suspect mass killings, the Iranians misjudged and helped the Saudis change the subject.
The Iranians have done it again. They reminded the world, and especially the American people and media, of that “other” embassy attack in 1979. “Some” groups attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran last week, thus rightly creating outrage among the diplomatic classes across the world.
By allowing it to happen, the Iranians helped change the subject. World media, especially in the USA, have forgotten that 47 people were beheaded by the Saudis on New Year’s Day. They have focused, with a lot of help from Washington lobbyists and special interests, on the embassy in Tehran and on the execution of Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr.

A mass execution of 47 is now being headlined as the execution of one Shi’a cleric. As I said, some in Iran are quite good at helping their sectarian Wahhabi enemies change the subject.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Muslims and the West: Nigeria’s Other Sectarian Terrorist Army……..

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Another mass atrocity was committed in Nigeria last week. But it did not get much world media coverage. No, it was not committed by Boko Haram gangs, but by the Nigerian Army. Hundreds of Muslim Shi’as were killed and wounded during a religious ceremony by the army. Two days later the Saudi King cabled the Nigerian regime expressing his support of its “war against terrorism”. Hard to believe the Wahhabi king was congratulating the Nigerian army on the massacre of civilians. So, it must have been a strange coincidence. Did I tell you I don’t believe in strange coincidences?

This no doubt means that the Wahhabi sectarian message has reached Nigeria in West Africa. That it is not only limited to bands of Salafi killers like the Boko Haram, but that it has infiltrated the corrupt and possibly Wahhabi-ized halls of government and army.

So, Wahhabis (who claim to be Muslims) are busy killing and massacring thousands of other Muslims in the Middle East and across the world. Wahhabis are also known to turn away other Muslims from mosques in Europe and America and to fight tooth and nail against the establishment of “other” mosques in Europe. Even as many Muslims demand understanding and equality in the West.
Shouldn’t the Muslim house be put in order first, before whining about the Western bigotry?
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Muslim Wars: Shaikh of Al Azhar Starts Ramadan with a Sectarian Message………

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With the advent of the month of Ramadan, Muslims are waging wars on each other. Saudis and their hired allies are bombing Yemen into rubble. Syrians and Libyans and Yemenis are killing each other. Egyptian kangaroo military courts are handing out unprecedented numbers of death sentences to political critics of the military regime. Sinai and parts of the Nile valley are becoming uncontrollable terrorist hubs. Wahhabi terrorists are busy committing massacres and reinstating (female) slavery in Iraq and Syria. And now the Mubarak-appointed Shaikh of Al Azhar (he now calls himself the Grand Imam but there is nothing Grand about him) has jumped again into the sectarian fray.

Shaikh Ahmad Al Tayeb, a former functionary of Hosni Mubarak’s Nationalist Party, opened Ramadan by warning of a “feverish” campaign to convert young Egyptians away from the Sunni sect to Shi’ism. The shaikh, apparently insecure about his own faith, has warned of an “organized” campaign of conversion that uses education, science, and media. He claimed that there are evil and sneaky attempts to destabilize Egypt through the conversion of its the youth. He warned that “they”, WTF they are, would sneak upon “us” through the Egyptian affection toward the family and descendents of the Prophet and use that to gradually convert people into Shi’ism.

Yes, “they” might be sneaky, and this Ahmad Al Tayeb is probably the most insecure and the silliest Shaikh in the history of the once venerable Al Azhar……….

King Abdullah Earns a Doctorate from Al Sisi University, Morsi Moves from Elba to Saint Helena………
Grand Ayatollah of Al Azhar Gets His Just Reward on the Gulf………
Marine Le Pen Meets Egyptian Islamic Hypocrisy at Al Azhar: J’Accuse au Caire……
Islamic Outer Space: Al Azhar Tackles a Communist Jewish Shi’a Magi Conspiracy……

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Iraqi Federalist Papers? It’s the Economy, Publius………

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“Their lingering hostility reflects a widespread mistrust of military leadership among Iraqi troops, one of a host of problems hampering U.S.-backed efforts by Iraq’s central government to revive the security forces after a meltdown last year as Islamic State advanced. “It’s a common thing for us to see our commanders abandoning us,” said Sgt. Adwani. He recounted an experience last year in Ramadi—the provincial capital of Anbar, which Islamic State seized in May—where his captain retreated during a close firefight. Ammar Mohamad, an explosives specialist receiving new training from Spanish, Portuguese, and American soldiers at this Iraqi base some 50 miles south of Baghdad, remembered getting orders to withdraw from Mosul as Islamic State assaulted the city in early June last year…………”


Years ago, during the sectarian mini civil war in Iraq, the issue of the division of Iraq was widely discussed inside and outside that country. The issues of federalism and confederation was also discussed by Iraqi factions and famously suggested by then Senator Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb. That was when the Jordanian terrorist Abu Mus’ab Al Zarqawi and other foreign uninvited Wahhabi ‘guests’ set to provoke Iraqi Shi’as against Iraqi Sunnis and vice versa. At some point the issue faded as Iraq became engulfed in a complex multi-faction conflict that went beyond sect and geography.

Now, as Al Qaeda in Iraq ( AQI ) has morphed into the Caliphate of ISIS (DAESH) that threatens Iraqis across their publicized “identities” you would think the issue of some form of political division would be on the back burner. Apparently it is not: it is being fed by sectarian violence among the various “good Iraqis”. It is also being fed by some Westerners, including many in the U.S. House and Senate who apparently think they have no urgent domestic American issues to deal with. But ISIS have already created their own division, their own Caliphate, and unless Iraqis can solve their sectarian issues, DAESH will not go anywhere.
Often economic forces usually trump political ambitions and passions, in the end. Economic forces draw the boundaries and limits of political action. In Iraq, that is the case in the end, if there is to be a viable situation. The distribution of economic resources in Iraq, either oil or agriculture, are tilted toward the southern regions, the mainly Shi’a lands and to a lesser extent the northern mainly Kurdish lands. The Kurds now have Kirkuk, courtesy of the blitzkrieg of ISIS into Mosul in 2014. They probably believe their borders are mostly set, subject to developments in Baghdad and the vagaries of the ruling Turkish Islamists under their neighbor Caliph Erdogan. That leaves much of the Euphrates basin and the vast desert of southwestern Iraq. That is where “it is the economy, stupid” comes in.


Al Anbar province and the rest of what the media and pundits call the “Sunni” areas are economically handicapped. Some agriculture and ranching, with little oil, do not create a viable political entity, especially for a landlocked region. Al Anbar is not Switzerland or Austria: it has even less natural resources than landlocked Afghanistan. If the western regions of Iraq can’t depend on Baghdad, they will have to rely on the “outside”.

An independent western Iraq will have to rely mainly on Saudi Arabia and maybe Qatar or UAE to support its economy. It is unlikely that these countries want to carry the burden of these millions, no matter how much sympathy they have and how tempting politically. Besides, just think of the disputes over the borders, with Baghdad and with the Kurds. That would set Iraq up for continued internal conflict, then as now financed and fueled by outside money and volunteers. It would be outside Salafi influence trying to sway Iraqi Sunnis who are mostly moderates and are averse to Wahhabism.


Federalism with an American-style system (or even a German system) that protects the rights of the regions and their peoples seems the best solution. But not a feasible solution now. Alas, Iraq is not like America or Germany. Nobody there that remotely seems as capable of the task as a Hamilton or a Madison. No Iraqi Publius……….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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The War for MENA: Militias, Bombers, Cargo Cultists, and International Brigades……..

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“Unthinkable just a decade ago, the main government forces leading the battle are Shiite fighters—the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) that are under the control of militia leaders. These forces’ main partners are Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah. U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey has called the situation “the most overt conduct of Iranian support” since the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) began…………… The White House seems to view growing Iranian involvement in the war as a reality that cannot be wished away, which is probably true, but also as a step forward in U.S.-Iranian relations, which is arguably naive. Events on the ground in eastern Iraq suggest a different way of looking at the issue. If anything, the battle for Tikrit has shown that there is a whole side of the war from which the international community has been deliberately excluded. Iran and its Iraqi proxies have been carving out a zone of influence in eastern Iraq…………”

His title asks: “What to Do With Iraq’s Shia Popular Mobilization Units?”
Everyone, people of every faith and every sect are involved in this war: Wahhabi, Sunni, Shi’a, Christian, Jewish, possibly even Buddhist and Zoroastrian and Cargo Cultist. There are the Sunni and Wahhabi and Shi’a warplanes, which bomb targets in Syria and Iraq. There are also Christian, Jewish, and no doubt a few atheist bombers as well among them. I am not sure what the Caliph’s true faith is.

Those warplanes from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and possibly others? They are not flown by Shi’as: these are excluded from flying warplanes or doing sensitive military and security jobs. Not to mention that everybody on the other side, on the dark side, is Wahhabi, from the ISIS terrorists to their financiers to their female slaves and concubines.

This is not a sectarian war for the Levant anymore. It is now a sectarian world war that has gone beyond the Levant. It is a Middle East and North Africa war. A MENA War that goes beyond what the West usually calls a Sunni-Shi’a war: it is Wahhabi terrorists against everyone else, be they Sunnis or Shi’as. It now stretches from Iraq and Syria through Egypt and Libya, all the way deeper into North Africa. With the possibility of other outlying fronts in remote areas of Asia and Africa. It has attracted the misguided faithful from all over the world. So, both sides, nay all sides, in ‘this war’, have their powerful “International Brigades“.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Salafi Sectarian War and Terrorism in Europe……..

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Jan 2, 2015:  Reports of  protests against anti-Muslim attacks in Sweden.

Jan 5, 2015: Neo-Nazi anti-Muslim immigrant rallies in Germany.

Jan 7, 2015: Salafi terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Jan 9, 2015: Two hostage situations involving Salafi terrorists in the                              Paris area.

What has gone below the radar in recent years is the low level Muslim vs. Muslim campaign being waged across Europe. It is a one-way Salafi vs. (other) Muslim campaign. It is overshadowed by the general Jihadi threat in Europe and by the sectarian war being waged by Wahhabi salafis against everybody else in the Middle East and by the Western military campaigns in the Middle East.

It is one-sided campaign in Europe by Salafis against other Muslims, especially Shi’as. It verges on violence, although it is more political so far. Salafi (Sunni) groups automatically strongly oppose the establishment of Shi’a mosques in European cities and try to derail them. Even as they complain of European prejudice against Muslims (which also exists).

Sometimes it gets violent. Recently a Belgian court sentenced a Moroccan to 27 years in prison for setting fire to the largest Shi’a mosque in Brussels and killing its Imam. He was acquitted of committing “terrorism” but convicted of setting the fire and causing death. This is not the first time Salafi terrorist plots have been uncovered in Europe against other Muslims (usually Shi’as). A Salafi who was arrested recently in North America admitted that he had plans to attack Shi’a establishments.

What some of the Wahhabi Imams in Europe teach is not just to go to the Middle East and fight the Western infidels. What the dominant message is, what resonates more, is their exhortation to go to the Middle East and fight/kill ‘other’ Muslims who are different. The thousands of civilians who are massacred every year by terrorist bombs and mass murdered in Iraq are Muslims. As are almost all those beheaded and shot in Syria.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Gulf GCC Opposition Hampered by Tribal and Sectarian Walls……..

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“Saudi security forces have killed four armed men in a clash in Awamiya region, the Interior Ministry said. The troops raided a hideout for fighters in the eastern Awamiya town and killed the four in an exchange of fire on Saturday, the ministry said. The dead, described the government as terrorists, were behind the killing of a member of the security forces and wounding of another last Sunday, a ministry spokesman quoted by the Saudi state news agency SPA, said on Saturday. Among the dead was the leader of that attack, it said. Awamiya has been the focal point of unrest among Saudi Shia since protests in early 2011 calling for an end to perceived discrimination against the minority sect and for democratic reforms…………”

Everybody who rises or publicly or privately criticizes the Saudi regime is either a terrorist or a foreign agent. It doesn’t matter if they are Shi’a or Sunni or Wahhabi. Other GCC media tend to go along with that or just ignore it. Of course, those who resist police attacks or fire on them are also called so.
Regardless of whether those killed are armed or not, the Saudi princes are in an unusually good position for a regime that is the most repressive in the Middle East and one of the most repressive in the world. Its opposition is severely divided. There is a Shi’a opposition, a Sunni opposition, and an extremist Wahhabi opposition. But like almost all opposition groups in the Persian Gulf GCC countries they are plagued by tribal and sectarian divisions.

The tribe and the sect create demarcation lines that these opposition groups rarely cross, if ever. These different groups work on separate planes, and do not cooperate with each other. Once I likened them to little children who play around each other but not with each other. The main Saudi Wahhabi opposition even accuses the ultra-sectarian regime of being ‘too soft‘ on Shi’as.
Advantage, the rulers. At least for the time being.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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