“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” Hillel Neuer said.
“Saudi Arabia was elected to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The addition of the Gulf nation was first flagged by UN Watch, a nongovernmental body that monitors the United Nations. The Commission on the Status of Women’s main mission is to assess the challenges to reaching gender inequality, according to the U.N. website. The organization’s executive director slammed the election, which occurred in a secret vote during the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council. Neuer called the election “absurd,”……..”
This is a serious news item, it is not a joke. It is a farce, like everything involving Saudi Arabia and the United Nations and its Human Rights Council. But it is not a joke: done in the dark of the night, in a secret vote, no doubt a Fatwa engineered by a shameless Nikki Haley and the humorous British ambassador to the UN.
It is getting even better: the Misogynous Humorless Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a top U.S. ally, is also on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“The UN’s special rapporteur on torture has accused Britain of playing Bahrain’s “game” by funding its human rights institutions while allowing it to act with “impunity” by not pressuring the kingdom to let him visit. Juan Méndez, whose 2013 visit was postponed by Bahrain, told BuzzFeed News the kingdom had “played the UK’s support to maximum effect”. While Méndez does not have legally binding, enforceable powers, the public nature of his reporting could potentially damage the kingdom’s standing on the world stage……..”
Historical reports of World War II tell us that whenever the invading German forces conquered a town in the Soviet Union (Russia), they started by killing off leaders of the Jewish community. They would call for all Rabbis and business and academic leaders to attend a meeting, where they would be either deported to camps or summarily shot over mass graves. The idea was to decapitate a community and render its members leaderless and lost.
Now I don’t want to exaggerate (although I will): there are no mass graves on the Gulf. The local culture does not allow for such historically-European practices. But in the British colony of Bahrain there is a milder gentler imitation of what the Nazi SS did during the war. The rulers and their imported mercenaries are slowly decapitating the troublesome Shi’as. They have been gradually persecuting and prosecuting the leaders of the majority Shi’a community (and some decent outspoken Sunnis like Ibrahim Al Sharif and others).
Clerics are being thrown in prison for speaking their minds, many mosques have been razed, and they are handing out long prison sentences for human rights activists. Many are having their citizenship, a birthright in all civilized countries, canceled arbitrarily by the ruling family and its tribal allies. New foreign people, mercenaries, are brought in who are deemed “loyal’ to the rulers. They tried that “loyalty” approach that in another Gulf GCC country decades ago, but it has backfired.
Remember, this is an exaggeration by me, a gross exaggeration on my part. Consider it like an artistic exaggeration or artistic license that is used to to make a point. But the idea is the same, even if the method is not nearly as gruesome.
M Haider Ghuloum
“Saudi Arabia enjoys a spectacular level of impunity from international accountability. This is not only because it has the world’s richest and largest royal family with influence spread far and wide. And it is not even just about oil, although having a quarter of the world’s pre-fracking energy reserves still engenders utmost deference from those many modern economies that will depend on Gulf oil and gas for as long as the precious black stuff lasts. However, the recent election of Saudi Arabia to the UN Human Rights Council, partly due to a secret vote swap with the UK, seems to have crossed a line. Mainstream eyebrows that have usually looked the other way when it came to the Saudi record on human rights have now been raised. And if that was not enough of an affront, the Saudi UN ambassador has just been selected to chair the influential Human Rights Council “consultative panel” that recommends to the president of the council a short-list of whom shall be appointed as Special Rapporteurs, including on such issues as rights of women, freedom of expression and religious freedom…………..”
When we were kids on the Gulf, a joke was making the rounds back home and in some foreign media. It quoted the late humorless Saudi King Faisal Al Saud that the world was not bi-polar, that there were in fact three superpowers: USA, USSR, and Kuwait. The king was quoted as making an uncharacteristic joke here, perhaps with a tinge of jealousy. At that time Saudi Arabia was not ‘rich’ yet, and Kuwait was the major oil producer and most advanced state on the Arab side of the Persian Gulf.
Now it almost seems that the new uni-polar world has several superpowers. That the Al Saud are often being treated by Western salesmen-leaders as one of them. If not, then they are at least considered untouchable by Western governments. In America they would be one addition to the untouchable issues of politics in Washington: perhaps a ‘fourth rail’ added to the ‘three rails’ of politics. Just look at the record:
- They behead and crucify people in public, including common criminals, hapless foreign laborers, witches, warlocks, magicians, as well as members of the political opposition who are not of the Wahhabi faith. The only regime that does so with impunity. ISIS (DAESH) cutthroats are correctly criticized by official Western hypocrites when they do that. The Iranian regime is also rightly criticized by official Western hypocrites when it hangs people in groups, including drug dealers and others. But no official criticism is heard anymore, especially from the US, British, and French governments, of the more barbaric Saudi practices.
- They ban all other religions and religious practices except Wahhabism. The Muslim Shi’a minority are third-class citizens at best, but they are barely tolerated and only because they were in the Eastern Province long before the Wahhabis conquered it during the last century. Only ISIS (DAESH) is more intolerant.
- For months they have been bombing the poorest Arab country, Yemen, with the latest lethal weapons the Western governments can sell, including cluster bombs. They and their fellow tribal potentates and hired Afro-Arab mercenary regimes. No complaint or criticism is heard from Washington, London, or Paris. In fact I suspect that the targets (the victims) are often picked and located for them by Western intelligence and satellite technology.
- This least democratic, most repressive and backward tribal regime is allowed the chutzpah of claiming to be working to bring democracy and free speech to other countries, especially Syria and Yemen.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
According to some Arab media, a small airplane that was sent by the UN to carry the Houthi-Army delegations to the Geneva talks failed to do so because of mutual suspicion. The Houthis and Saleh delegation got suspicious when told the UN plane needed to land for refueling at Jazan (southern Saudi Arabia). They worried the Saudis might grab and take hostage some of the top delegates on any excuse (this won’t be the first time). Especially since there are ‘rumors’ that Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi, a top leader of the movement may head their delegation. The Saudis now force all sanctioned airplanes heading for or taking off at blockaded Sanaa to land at Jazan.
Later Arab reports claimed the Houthi delegation flew through Muscat, Oman, since they only trust the Omanis among all GCC Gulf states. Maybe not quite so: as of Monday there were no Houthi or Yemeni Army delegations in Geneva. Other Arab sources claimed the Houthi jet is stuck in Djibouti because the Egyptian government has denied them the right to overfly Egypt to Europe. The Sisi regime is apparently trying to do their Saudi creditors a favor, except that the Saudis may need this conference more than their Yemeni opponents do.
So, the Saudis and the Hadi rump cabinet are re-doing their futile Riyadh
conference monologue of two weeks ago, this time in Geneva with some UN bureaucrats in attendance. Again, no Houthi or Saleh or Army representatives. Again, Gone With the Wind without Rhett or Scarlett, as I opined once. I also expressed a more ‘visual’ (almost adult) description of the Riyadh monologue right here.
It looks more and more that the fate of what is left of bombed-out Yemen will be determined on the ground in Yemen. Not from the air, not in Geneva or Washington or Riyadh or Tehran. I could have told them that months ago. In fact I did, I did, more than once.
(P.S.: I still think if the Saudis want to get out of this quagmire, then they should—> do this).
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, thanked the US secretary of state, John Kerry, for blocking an Egyptian-led drive on a possible Middle East nuclear arms ban at a United Nations conference, an Israeli official said on Saturday. It was a rare message of thanks from Netanyahu, who has repeatedly accused President Barack Obama of undermining Israel’s security by attempting to reach a nuclear deal with Iran. A month-long review conference on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended in failure on Friday, over disagreements on the issue of a Middle East atomic weapons ban. Washington blamed the failure on Egypt, which in turn blamed the US, British and Canadian delegations………….”
So the Obama administration got together with the right-wing British government and the Likudnik Canadian petro-regime to block an attempt to ban nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
So what was all the fuss and threats and economic blockade against Iran about then? I had though they were about stemming the expansion of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Apparently not.
And why would Benyamin netanyahu thank these three amigos for blocking that? And how do you spell hypocrisy in various languages of white folks?
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Iran said on Wednesday it would only accept a deal over its contested nuclear program if world powers simultaneously lifted all sanctions imposed on it. The comments by President Hassan Rouhani came the day after U.S. President Barack Obama was forced to give Congress a say in any future accord — including the right to veto the lifting of sanctions imposed by U.S. lawmakers……………”
The United States Congress, both houses of it, has finally managed to get hold of the pending Iran Nuclear Deal. The congressional jingoists are now in control of this issue. Which very likely means that as far as the United States is concerned this deal will remain ‘pending’ for a long time, at least through the 2016 general elections.
It will be fun but also painful to watch the major candidates from both parties doing contortions and pirouettes to avoid the pitfalls of taking any clear and definable position on this issue. That especially applies to the Democrats, since the Republicans have already abdicated and handed American Middle East policy to a foreign leader. A tail that effectively leads the dog now. A triumph of campaign money over national interest.
Now the nuclear deal, as far as bilateral American-Iranian relations are concerned, will be in the hands of two Supreme Leaders. These two will decide the outcome: (1) Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for Iran, and (2) Supreme Leader Benyamin Netanyahu for the United States. I suspect the latter will have more say in the final outcome, which may mean there will be no final deal.
Which might be irrelevant, since the blockade is already unraveling. Russia has decided to resume the delivery of defensive missiles to Iran (S300). The other major countries of BRICS and others have already started the framework of an alternative or parallel world financial system that will compete with the Bretton Woods bureaucratic institutions of IBRD and IMF. That might reduce the effectiveness of this recent clamor for blockades and sanctions that Western powers seem to impose with impunity.
It is a measure of the complete domination of the Israeli tail of U.S. Middle East policy that even members of Mr. Obama’s own party were ready to defy a potential veto. Now that the U.S. position seems to be in more doubt, the Iranians are also playing hardball.
Either way, the Western sanctions are being whittled away, as they should be. Worldwide economic sanctions and blockades on whole countries only harm the people, not their rulers…………
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Yemen’s powerful Shiite Houthi rebels shelled the residence of the country’s embattled president Tuesday and simultaneously swept into the presidential palace in the capital, Sanaa, as a top military commander warned that a full-fledged “coup” was underway. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was inside the residence as it came under “heavy shelling” for half an hour but he was unharmed and protected by guards, officials said. In New York, the U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting over the chaos in Sanaa. The shelling was a dramatic development that put the U.S.-backed Hadi into a precarious position and represented the starkest challenge to his authority…………”
As of now it is not clear what is exactly happening in Sana’a, except that there is some fighting around the presidential palace today. It has been a relatively wild country outside Sana’a and Aden and a few other larger towns. Regime officials claim today that there is a Houthi coup, the Houthis claim they were attacked first by the ‘other side’.
The Houthis have controlled the capital for several months, although Al-Qaeda and some other tribal groups have tried to challenge their hold and slow their recent expansion south. They are depicted by most Arab and Western media as a wild tribal group from the wild north (of North Yemen). Some are also beginning to stress their new reported ties to the Iranian regime, a fact that worries the Saudis next door since they fought and lost a little war with the Houthis a few years ago.
The regime of Generalissimo Abd Rabu (Worshiper of His God) Hadi, which is just a continuation of every other Yemeni regime since 1962, is as corrupt as any in Yemeni history. Probably more because he has been even more beholden to the Al Ahmar tribal military oligarchs. The regime has completely failed to stem Al-Qaeda to the south in recent years. In fairness, nor has the American drone bombing campaign. The Houthis, who also mostly fight Al-Qaeda, started a surge that was too much for the regime and their Salafi foes, given that much of the military refused to fight them.
The wild looting of some leaders palaces also exposed the degree of corruption in that very poor country. The UN Security Council is reported meeting today in emergency on Yemen. Not sure what they can do. Maybe they will slap new sanctions on everybody. It will not mean much to anybody inside Yemen.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Lithuanian U.N. Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite, chair of the council’s Yemen sanctions committee, said all 15 members had agreed to blacklist Saleh and Houthi rebel military leaders Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim. The three men are now subject to a global travel ban and asset freeze. Saleh has denied seeking to destabilize Yemen and his party warned after a meeting on Thursday that any sanctions on the former president or “even waving such a threat would have negative consequences on the political process.”…….. The United States submitted a formal request to the Yemen sanctions committee a week ago for Saleh and the Houthi leaders to be the first people designated…………”
Years ago some politicians in the United States often warned of “world government” encroaching on national sovereignty. They were usually conservative Republicans who were terrified of a UN-type world regime that would interfere in domestic US affairs. Some of them opined that it was part of an international conspiracy to dominate the world. They were considered ‘the crazies‘ in mainstream US media in those days. Now some of them run the
Isn’t this exactly what the UN and the USA are doing now in places like Yemen? And can the UN really force various opposed Yemeni factions to follow international dictate on internal matters? And why does the UN and world powers not try to solve other ‘domestic’ problems with sanctions, as in Egypt and Bahrain?
I have posted here before that sanctioning the Houthis is a meaningless gesture. Unless it is a prelude to a more muscular intervention against them. As far as I know the Houthis don’t own properties in Europe or New York; they don’t shop in Paris and London, and they don’t spend their vacations in Nice or Geneva. They certainly don’t purchase their weapons from the West; otherwise Mr. Cameron and Prince Chuck Al Windsor and M. Hollande would be as regular visitors to Saada as they are to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum