Tag Archives: Syria

New Leader of Syrian SNC: Saudi Grip Tightens………


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The Syrian National Coalition- SNC, the five-star Syrian opposition in exile, has just selected a new ‘president’ to replace Ahmed Al Jarba. They tried to make it look like an election, with a handful of people checking pieces of paper like ballots for the cameras. He is Hadi Al Bahri, a businessman in Saudi Arabia. He belongs to the same pro-Saudi organization as Mr. Al Jarba, the Saudi-supported “Democratic Bloc”.

Mr. Al Bahri learned all about democracy and freedom while living for decades in Saudi Arabia, watching the Wahhabi clerics and their princes in action. He is almost certain to be as avid an admirer of Saudi Wahhabi-style democracy as his predecessor. Reports indicate that now almost all members of the SNC are of Saudi choosing. All are eager to throw out Bashar Al Assad and introduce the kind of democracy that has kept the “kingdom” stable and happy.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Case for Splitting the Arab States: Wahhabistan and Huthistan and Rafidhistan……….


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Much has been written and said in the past ten years about the potential for splitting Iraq. The argument is mainly that the sects and ethnic groups cannot reach a deal to remain together peacefully within the British-created borders of Iraq. The Kurds want to split away, they are just waiting for when the moment is right (to quote the famous TV ad). The Sunni southwest region is in many ways more like northern Saudi Arabia than Iraq, at least in a tribal sense. There has also been talk of a split of Syria into Alawi, Sunni, and Wahhabi parts (perhaps a Kurdish one as well). We can extend that to some other Arab states; why only Syria and Iraq and Sudan (as happened a couple of years ago) or Somalia (which is bound to happen)? Let us explore a few other cases:

  • Saudi Arabia: King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud invaded and annexed several regions to his own Nejdi kingdom in the 20th century. His kingdom can now be divided into three states. The Nejd area will form a Wahhabistan which will keep the current name of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (if they don’t like Wahhabistan). The Hijaz will form another state where they all speak the same dialect of Arabic and say things like ‘ya shaikh’ and ‘ikhtishi’ and ‘koweyiss’ (meaning ‘good’). The smallest state will be along the coast of the Persian-American Gulf, where most of the Shi’as live. The southern part will join the next state on my list in northern Yemen.
  • Yemen: the northern most part of Yemen will annex the southern regions that had been usurped by Saudi King Abdulaziz in 1930s. It will be renamed Huthistan. The central part, the rest of the old Yemen will become “Yemen”. Southern Yemen which lost its independence in 1990 to become part of Yemen will regain its freedom and will be renamed the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen Southern Arabia.
  • Bahrain: Shi’as and some others have been in protest mode for more than three years, seeking equality in politics and economics. The Al Khalifa rulers and their tribal and Salafi allies are determined to deny them that right. So why not divide Bahrain into two mini parts: Manama and Muharraq to become one country (perhaps forming one new Saudi province), and the rest, including the neglected villages and townships could become another state of its own. This Shi’a part could be called the Rafidhi State and join the GCC as such. Or maybe it can join the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the eighth emirate. Okay, maybe I will send a text message to the shaikh, sorry king, suggesting it (with a copy forwarded to the Saudi king since it will be his decision to make).
  • Libya: is already divided into at least two parts: let us keep it that way.
  • Morocco: no change, except that the king will have to give up the Sahrawi region.
  • Egypt: Egypt has had nearly the same borders for thousands of years, the only Arab country to have this distinction. There are no major tribes or tribal divisions, although there are now deep religious divisions. So Egypt will probably remain the same: bored to death under a boring military ruler presiding over the same old bureaucracy, but united. The Sinai will remain a wild violent outpost and the south a place of violent clashes among the clans over women and cattle and religion.
  • UAE: the Abu Dhabi shaikhs have got the rest of them by the balls. Only Dubai is rich enough to draw the line.
  • Qatar: maybe it will join Turkey as a new Ottoman outpost.

(The Arab League will them change from a league or 20 some despots to a League of Forty Thieves. And I am almost serious about this, almost).

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The IS Caliphate and Kurdistan, Jihadist Enclave Facing Two Fronts………


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“Russia is asking the U.N. Security Council to condemn the illegal sale of Syrian oil by terrorist groups and encourage all countries to take “necessary measures” to prevent it. A draft presidential statement circulated to council members and obtained Monday by The Associated Press expresses “grave concern” at the seizure of oilfields in Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra and stresses that any export or import of crude oil without authorization of a sovereign state is illegal………….”

“Militants, who declared an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East, now claimed to have seized Syria’s largest oilfield. Fighters of the Islamic State, previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), said they took over the al-Omar oil field in the eastern Deir al-Zour province from rival rebel groups. Video footage uploaded online showed armed Islamic State jihadist standing in front of the entrance of the field as the group’s flag flew over a sign reading “Euphrates Oil Company – al-Omar field…………….”

The Wahhabi Jihadists are nowhere near Iraq’s major oil fields, but they have grabbed some Syrian oil fields. Apparently there is worry that they will soon start shipping Syrian oil to buyers. There is a precedent for this: already foreign buyers are eager to buy oil controlled by Kurdish separatists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Turks and among those mentioned in reports. Already Benyamin Netanyahu, sensing a future opportunity, has blessed the Kurdish ‘enterprise’ when he opined (without being asked) that they should be able to go independent. Netanyahu, who is not known to observe international legal niceties anymore than his neighbors, would not accept the same independent ‘fate’ for Palestinians.

Would an Islamic State be in the future of OPEC? Fortunately not: the Jihadists may harass the vast border region between Syria and Iraq for a few more years, but they may have reached their peak during the last week of June 2014. From now on, it may be the period of pushback in both Iraq and Syria. The hairy ones are likely to get squeezed on two fronts now, with their ‘realm’ getting smaller. If the tribes turn against them, they may be fighting on three fronts. That would be an untenable situation if their suppliers and enablers in Turkey and some Arab states tighten the squeeze on the flow of supplies and fighters. Even the mighty Wehrmacht could not withstand a multi-front war for long.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Wahhabi Neocon Explanation for the Rise of ISIS and other Terrorists…………


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“There has never been any doubt in my mind that elements within Iran’s security services have facilitated ISIS,” Col. Derek Harvey told Foreign Policy, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a terrorist network-cum-jihadist army that has now taken over territory in Syria and Iraq that, when combined, is roughly the size of Jordan. “When given opportunities to interdict, or have an effect, [the Iranians] have refrained.” Harvey, a retired Army intelligence officer and senior Central Command advisor, was emphatic that any solution for containing the rising threat of ISIS, an al Qaeda breakaway group, must foreclose on the possibility of U.S.-Iranian collusion. ………… Intelligence reporting during this period, Welch added, suggested that Iran was indeed funding “al Qaeda-type elements” in Iraq as well as Shiite militias such as Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Kataib Hezbollah, both of which are now said to be playing a major role in fortifying central Baghdad and Shiite-predominant cities and towns in southern Iraq. Iranian documents captured by U.S. forces in Iraq in 2007 did indeed state that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force (IRGC) was helping Sunni jihadists along with Shiite militias ……………”

This Neocon piece is closely following the Saudi Wahhabi marketed script on Iraq and Syria and the origins of the ISIS and al-Nusra Front. The Saudi strategy has been to divert attention from the fact that these terrorist groups and militias are Wahhabi movements with roots close to the power structure in Riyadh. The fact that they are the products of the triple alliance of: the Wahhabi religious doctrine which distorts Islam, the Saudi educational system, and Saudi oil money.

The extensive campaign to absolve Wahhabism from the modern rise of terrorism has been so audacious as to try and blame some of its primary victims. Some elements of American media and retired former officials and generals have been pushing this as well. Some Neocons are happy to adopt this even if it rewrites the history of Al Qaeda to blame anyone but their Arab allies.

Sectarian fault lines in the Arab world should exist, if they must, only in a few countries of the region from the eastern Mediterranean to the Gulf. That is where the populations are divided, that is where Iranians have made political and economic inroads into Arab territory. That is also where the Wahhabis have counterattacked with the only weapon they can rely on: the sowing of sectarian division and hatred. That is why the Wahhabi Salafis and their allies quickly took over the Syrian uprising in 2011 and made it into a sectarian civil war, drawing in Lebanese factions from both sides (and not only Hezbollah as is commonly misrepresented in Western media). That is also why the Wahhabis sent their mercenary forces to help crush the Bahrain uprising and worked hard to paint it as a sectarian movement inspired by Iran. That is also why the Wahhabi princes early on painted Iraqi politics as purely sectarian (they are sectarian but no more so than in most other Arab countries, and less than in some like Saudi Arabia for example). In doing so, and in sending their money and terrorists to commit mass murder in Iraq, they helped widen the Iraqi sectarian and political divide.

Even in the countries of North Africa, where the sectarian issue should be irrelevant, where there are few Shi’as and the population is mainly divided among Sunni Muslims and some recently converted to Wahhabism. In Egypt, now fully back under the Saudi sphere of influence, much of the political and religious classes occasionally tend to ignore their serious major problems and go sectarian: they profess that they are facing a Shi’a threat. That is the way to conform to this new Wahhabi Arab age. That same trend now extends west from Libya to Morocco.

Is this Wahhabi sectarianism spreading to Washington? Congressmen and senators and (mostly former) generals are eagerly taking sides. Will we soon hear senators discussing comparative Shi’a and Wahhabi theology like so many mullahs and shaikhs and imams?

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Islamic State: ISIS Morphs into a Caliphate, World Cup Goes On……


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Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (another tale mentions Islamic State of Sham or Levant instead of little Syria) is no more. A new state called The Islamic State was born. A nutjob of a Wahhabi cutthroat who calls himself Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi just interrupted the World Cup games to announce that he has become the new Muslim Caliph (Khalifa) of the new state. Thus he preempted the three other potential claimants who aspired to the job: Turkey’s Recip Erdogan, the King of Morocco, the King of Saudi Arabia. Most of the world did not pay immediate attention as they were in a state of shock at the garbage-time penalty the Mexico-Netherlands referee awarded the latter and the Costa Ricans completely frustrated and defeated the Greeks in Brazil.

A leader of the rival Wahhabi gang, Al Nusra Front, a guy named Abu Maria Al Qahtani, pooh-poohed this declaration by the interloper and pretender of ISIS (or ISIL). Apparently he was angling to declare himself the new Caliph, even with the handicap of a name like Abu Maria.

What should we make  of all this? To start with it is a clever move, not specifying fixed borders for the state. This Abu Bakr (or even Abu Maria) could be holed up in a cave and it would still be The Islamic State to his fans. He could be in jail awaiting execution and he would still be in The Islamic State.

Some tribal Wahhabi Salafis on the Persian Gulf, the usual suspects who funded and preached for the Syrian Jihadists, have already started a support group for this new Wahhabi state. They call it the “Popular Drive for the Nusra of the Iraqi People”.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

John Kerry of Arabia: Levantine Illusions of a Good Man………


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“The top US diplomat, who landed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah in the afternoon, also met Saudi King Abdullah a day after hosting urgent talks in Paris with the Saudi, Jordanian and UAE foreign ministers on the widening crisis in Iraq and Syria. King Abdullah has consistently called for greater US military support for the Syrian rebels, whom the Sunni Gulf kingdom has long backed. Following several signals in recent weeks by US President Barack Obama’s administration, the White House said Thursday it intends to “ramp up US support to the moderate Syrian opposition”……….. Ahmad Jarba, leader of the Syrian National Coalition, welcomed the huge US boost to his forces, battling to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “The situation is very grave and there are sectarian leaders ruling the country so we have to have greater efforts on the part of the US and regional powers to address the situation in Iraq,” Jarba said. Kerry said “the moderate opposition in Syria… has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) ISIL’s presence… not just in Syria, but also in Iraq………….”

Secretary Kerry’s statement about the role of the Syrian opposition in solving the Iraq crisis makes little sense here. It is like the advice about taking “a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you“. He is bent on going the old route he was warned off for the past year or two. He seems to have just bought some more of the Saudi snake oil about arming and further empowering the Syrian opposition militias.

The Wahhabi opposition in Syria got their start, their money and their ‘seed weapons’, from the same countries Mr. Kerry has been visiting this past week. The sources were on the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Much of the weapons that got the Jihadists their “booty” in land and property and hostages and death is American and European. Weapons supplied by these same governments to the “Syrian opposition” seeking to “liberate” Syria: in one case for the tender mercies of the Wahhabi doctrine, in the other case for the dubious rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. Arming and funding the Syrian militias will not increase the chances of peace in either Syria or Iraq. It is an invitation, nay a recipe, to keep the Syrian civil war going and to increase the sectarian unrest inside Iraq.

Mr. Jarba is reported to be heading to the door: apparently he will soon be out of the Syrian National Coalition, according to media reports. Either he saw the futility of his position or he is being booted by the Saudi princes who will now have to appoint another man of their choosing to lead the “liberation” of Syria for the Wahhabi cause. Moreover, there are Arab reports that the “general” who heads the allegedly Free Syrian Salafi Army, the man appointed and anointed as the Napoleon of the Syrian-Turkish border, will be officially sacked.

Cheers

mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

 

No Pasaran! Political Holding Pattern over Iraq and Syria……

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Events are moving fast in this new combined war for Iraq and Syria. The Syrian theater has cooled down somewhat, relatively speaking, with the regime and its allies regaining the momentum. Now the Iraqi theater of this Wahhabi-inspired sectarian civil war is heating up. The Jihadists of ISIS, and now probably al-Nusra Front as well, have moved the front deep into Iraq, in alliance with the remnant Iraqi Baathists who never reconciled to the new electoral system. Things are moving fast now, as this summary shows:

  • Earlier there was a Wahhabi split in Syria: ISIS Split from AL Qaeda after giving Al Zawahri the middle finger. But that may not last (logically it should not).
  • Al Nusra Front was declared months ago the sole ‘legal’ and authorized halal and kosher al-Qaeda franchise in Syria. Remember only a year or two ago when the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition and Persian Gulf Wahhabis swore al-Nusra was a moderate democratic liberal movement?
  • ISIS sweeps the Syria-Iraq border, creating facts on the ground, for now.
  • ISIS along with Wahhabi and Baathist allies sweep northern Iraq, creating new fronts with Iraq’s Shi’a heartland and with the Kurdish region.
  • American warplanes reported flying over Iraq again, apparently in a political holding pattern as Mr. Kerry sniffs up and around the Gulf princes and potentates. The Saudi princes no doubt will make a pitch for their own allies inside Iraq.
  • Just to further complicate things, and lest they be forgotten by the world, the Israelis decide to bomb inside Syria again. They seem to have some kind of UN mandate to bomb inside any Arab borders with impunity, and why not since everybody else in the world seems to reserve the right to bomb inside any Arab border.
  • Syrian warplanes are reported to be bombing inside Iraq now. And who would have thunk it only a few months ago when Mr. Assad was on his way to foreign exile as prognosticated by Saudi and hence American media and leaders.
  • Wahhabi terrorists seek to spread the sectarian war by speeding up their activities inside the cities of Lebanon, with several bombings this past week.
  • There are reports that the Wahhabi split may have been fixed by events on the Syrian-Iraqi border, that ISIS and al-Nusra may be re-uniting again.
  • Regardless, I can fatwa now that this ISIS business will not last. As the Spaniards facing the Fascist onslaught said seven decades ago: No Pasaran! And this time it will be true, they shall not pass, unlike the case of the unfortunate Spaniards who were betrayed by the European democracies.

Stay tuned for more…………

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Middle East Focus: From Red Herrings and Axis of Evil to an Axis of Convenience………..


“There’s only one strategy with a decent chance of winning: forge a military and political coalition with the power to stifle the jihadis in both Iraq and Syria. This means partnering with Iran, Russia, and President Assad of Syria. This would be a very tricky arrangement among unfriendly and non-trusting partners, but the overriding point is that they all have common interests. All regard the jihadis as the overwhelming threat, and all would be willing to take tough joint action. And with this fighting arrangement in place, the “partners” could start seriously fixing the underlying political snake pits in Damascus and Baghdad. Now, don’t start firing rockets at me just yet. Hear me out. First, every state, even the United States, works with bad guys, adversaries and enemies whenever the need is great, whenever it suits reality. Don’t forget, Iran helped us protect the western border of Afghanistan for almost the first two years of America’s war effort there. Tehran didn’t like the Taliban and neither did we. The cooperation stopped when President George W. Bush threatened to overthrow the Ayatollah’s regime with his “axis of evil” speech………….”

That foolish “axis of evil” speech is already marked as one of the stupidest creations of the White House in the modern era. A soundbite that the media dutifully propagated. And it came just months after Wahhabi terrorists, all citizens of Arab countries allied with the Bush Administration, committed the worst act of terrorism in the United States history on September 11, 2001. It was as if the Neocons were using Iran and Iraq as a ‘red herring’ to distract from other ‘facts’ leading up to 9/11, facts that now stare us in the face from Syria through Iraq.

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Cheers

mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Sectarian GCC, Delusional GCC: Third Battle of Qadisiyyah, Second Battle of Karbala…….

      


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In
the year of Our Lord 15 Hijri (about 636 AD), the Muslim Arab fighters won a big victory at the Battle of Qadisiyyah in what is today’s Iraq. That opened the door for the spread of Islam to Mesopotamia and Persia and beyond.



In
September of 1980, while Iran was in revolutionary turmoil, Saddam Hussein’s army invaded the Iranian province of Khuzistan (a.k.a Arabistan). Saddam made several demands and goals for his invasion, none of which were met at the end of the war. Seeing the dire situation inside Iran, he had expected a quick victory, as did most Arabs and many in the West (even the once-venerable The Economist wrote stupidly in 1980 that Iran might become an Iraqi satrapy). Saddam got the support of all the GCC states of the Persian Gulf, moral support, propaganda support, money support, and weapons. He also got the support of all the Western powers: weapons, intelligence, even some limited military action. As well as supplies of chemical weapons and overlooking his use of WMD against Iraqi Kurds and Iranian soldiers. 
Not all Arabs sided with him: Syria, Libya, and Algeria among the Arab states, and a faction of the PLO, did not side with Saddam. The late King Hussein of Jordan, the man who lost Jerusalem and the whole West Bank to the Israeli IDF in one single day, even went to the front and fired some symbolic shots at the Iranians. Iraqi propaganda and Persian Gulf supporters called the war Qadisiyyah of Saddam. In the end Iraq came out of this war a financially broken country. That was when he turned his guns against the Gulf people who had stood by his side. He invaded Kuwait in August 2, 1990 and the rest is history.


Now
we have the Wahhabi terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL) sweeping across northern Iraq. The same great Gulf GCC
tribal sectarian minds that cheered Saddam before 1990 are now cheering ISIS. Many of them are claiming that ISIS is really a nationalist rebirth of the Baath Party, apparently a softer Iraqi Baath Party that can now get along with the absolute tribal rulers of the Gulf. Maybe it is not the same Baath Party that invaded Kuwait and threatened the terrified Saudi princes until the Americans showed up and chased them out. Now they claim they are cheering for the disenfranchised Sunnis of Iraq, the 20% who have not reconciled to losing power. 
Diehard
sectarians in the Persian Gulf region are coming out of the closet, out in the open; not that they were ever well hidden. From tribal academics to media stars to liberal-Wahhabi-men-and-women-about-town to the clownish chief of the Dubai Police Dhahi Khalfan, they are all in justification mode, using crass sectarian terms. The same crass sectarian terms they used in the 1980s until Saddam’s tanks moved toward the south in 1990.
Now they see this new turmoil in Iraq as a third Battle of Qadisiyyah, or maybe as a second Battle of Karbala, as the Wahhabi invaders in Iraq are hinting at.
 

It
is as if on my Gulf they have not learned any lesson from the past few decades. It is as if delusion is like an heirloom handed down from foolish fathers to foolish sons and daughters in the GCC countries of the Gulf.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A New Reset for the Syrian Opposition? the True Number of Bashar Al Assad Days……..

      


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There
 were reports in some Arab media this past weekend that Ahmed Al Jarba will be replaced as head of the Syrian National Coalition, or whatever its latest name is now. A new leaders, the, what, sixth or seventh, in three years? That may call for a change of name as well: throw the jumbled separate words inside a bucket, shake it good, and start pulling out the new name of the opposition……

But can they run out of eligible Syrian names to lead it? At this rate of change, the laws of probability, the odds, are bound to bring the circle back to, yes, Bashar Al Assad. Once they run out of eligible candidates among the exiles and AWOL Syrian officers. Someday, maybe in a few years, we will read the headline that the Syrian National Coalition (or whatever its name is by then) has selected Bashar Al Assad as its new leader. Then Al Assad will give press conferences and deliver speeches in Istanbul and Riyadh promising to soon liberate Damascus from Bashar Al Assad and his allies. He may even visit Washington and Paris and meet with Senator John McCain and Bernard-Henri Levy and the Iranian Mujahideen Khalq as they declare that “the days of Bashar Al Assad are numbered“.
Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com