Category Archives: Morocco

Of Moroccan Cinema and Sore Throat……….

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Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“Sail said he is proud that he has in the last 11 years increased the production of feature films from 70 films to 200 films a year, and of short films from seven films to 100 films a year. “Ours would only be a real international film festival if the state helped produce good films,” he said. He said that honoring the great actor Adel Imam is enough to make any festival successful. “No one can differ on what Adel Imam represents in Arab cinema,” . “The accent is the main obstacle to Moroccan cinema,”……………”

That is probably true, what he said about the Moroccan accent. It is fun to listen to it, but not to speak it. Every time I try to speak it, I get a sore throat. I need to drink a lot of water after that.
The same goes for other North African accents.

FYI: the Moroccan I have met, mostly in Europe, are humorous, though. Much better sense of humor than, say, Jordanians. I know, I set the bar too low here……….
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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GCC and Distant Kingdoms: from Promised Membership to Strategic Partnership to LOL……..

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The GCC leaders have apparently kissed (literally) and made out up. Qatar and its Saudi and Emirati (UAE) unbrotherly sisters have decided to sweep some of their serious foreign policy differences under the rug, for the time being.

On a less serious note: there are reports that the next GCC summit in December (Doha, Qatar) will discuss something they now call “strategic partnership” with the kingdoms of Jordan and Morocco. Apparently the summit will finally be held in Qatar, as originally scheduled. That is the plan for now, until the Saudi princes and Abu Dhabi shaikhs decide otherwise in a new fit of tantrums against the brotherly Al Thani.

Remember when the Saudi king surprised everyone by inviting Jordan and Morocco to “join” the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 2011? That also surprised other GCC leaders who started wondering privately what the king had been smoking. But they went along with the idea anyway, perhaps knowing that, as I opined later, it was D.O.A. I opined succinctly at the time that “it ain’t gonna happen“, which almost certainly is what all the other potentates thought, although they would not express it so eloquently.

Later I wrote that they will find some limited alternative to membership for these two relatively faraway countries. And voila! But I will tell you there will be no real ‘strategic partnership’ as such either. There will be some mechanism to increase GCC aid to humorless Jordan and mellow Morocco, and perhaps some increased cooperation in “security” matters. Jordan already cooperates quite extensively in “security” and matters of repression, sending thousand of mercenaries and goons and “humorless interrogators” to Bahrain and the UAE.

As for Morocco, it is the last remaining Arab monarchy west of Jordan. It has become the favorite hangout (outside Europe) and hunting ground (you interpret that) for Saudi princes and other Gulf potentates. But it does not follow the Saudi and UAE absolute tribal family model: it has elections. Which may complicate any ‘partnership’ with these families.

So, what the summit will do is to authorize the GCC bureaucracy to ‘study’ this idea of a ‘strategic partnership’ that has been borrowed from the West. It does sound impressive and thoughtful, and that is probably about it in this case. Then they will form a committee of ‘experts’……………..
Then it might be just more LOL……….

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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New Muslim Zeitgeist: Iraq and Saudi Arabia Wage a Sectarian War………


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لماذا يموت العراقي حتى يؤدي الرسالة؟؟ 

و أهل الصحارى سكارى وما هم بسكارى ؟؟ 

يحبون قنص الطيور ولحم الغزال ولحم الحبارى !! 

لماذا يموت العراقي والآخرون يغنون هندا ويستعطفون نوارا ؟؟ 


“Iraqi government on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia of financing terrorism committed by Takfiri insurgents of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, a day after Riyadh blamed “sectarian” policies by Baghdad. Comments from Riyadh indicates it is “siding with terrorism”, the cabinet said in a statement issued by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s office.
“We strongly condemn this stance,” the statement read. “We hold it (Saudi Arabia) responsible for what these groups are receiving in terms of financial and moral support.”
“The Saudi government should be held responsible for the dangerous crimes committed by these terrorist groups,” the statement continued. Earlier on Monday, Saudi Arabia and Qatar blamed “sectarian” policies by Iraq’s government for the unrest that has swept the country………………”

That came one day after Saudi media quoted King Abdullah, from an undisclosed location in Morocco, ordering his cabinet to call Iraq ‘sectarian’, and demand they change their sectarian policies of the past few years. No doubt Iraq has become much more sectarian over the past ten years, but I have three points about that:

  • Now we are all sectarians, from Shi’a-dominated Iraq to Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia to military-dominated Egypt. Even places like Morocco that can’t tell a Shi’a from a plate of coucous are going sectarian. That is an unfortunate spirit of our time, our Zeitgeist. In the sense that we are now all so aware of each other’s sect and wary of it. So aware and wary that it affects our behavior and our opinions on regional issues. It even affects how we respond to politics in our blog comments (take my blogs for example).

  • Nobody is as responsible for the worsening of sectarianism in our region, and inside Iraq and Syria and the rest of the Gulf, as the Saudi princes and their media and their policies. That is why they have spent billions of acquiring Arab media outlets, which they dominate now. That is how they keep the allegiance of their (Wahhabi) people, by raising the specter of a Shi’a threat. That is why they keep and pamper their palace clerics: they come in very handy in issuing appropriate fatwas.

  • There is sectarianism in Iraq, but it pales compared to sectarianism in Saudi Arabia. Iraq is not nearly as sectarian as Saudi Arabia where it is institutionalized in the bureaucracy and in the theocracy. At least all Iraqi sects get to vote in elections: nobody except the princes in their palaces gets to vote in Saudi Arabia. Besides, the percentage of Shi’as (among citizens) in the Kingdom Without Magic is close to the percentage of (Arab) Sunnis in Iraq, yet there is no minister, deputy minister, or even a deputy to an assistant to a deputy minister (possibly not even a proverbial official dog-catcher) who is Shi’a in the kingdom.


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Is Prince Bandar Really Back? The Road from Morocco to Riyadh……..


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“Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan will return to the kingdom within days after spending around two months abroad for surgery and retake his position as intelligence chief, including control of the Syrian dossier, said Saudi security officials late Sunday. The Saudi officials said that during Prince Bandar’s absence, Saudi Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef was put in charge of the Syrian file and of the intelligence agency. The three security officials said the 65 year-old prince was seeking medical attention in the U.S. and resting in Morocco after surgery on his shoulder. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media……… The officials said that Bandar held a number of official meetings while in Morocco, including with Saudi deputy defense minister Salman bin Sultan. The deputy defense minister briefed Bandar on his official visits to Washington and Paris last month, they added, also saying that Bandar met Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan while in Marrakech……………..”

Bandar is back in from the cold! Is Bandar back yet once again? That would make a good title for a Saudi film, except that there are no theaters to show it over there; verboten. This is another chapter in the saga of Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He has become like a Saudi Jack in the Box, in and out, and back in. But all this is also part of the continuing Saudi turf war and jockeying for position among the various competing princes.
Something about Morocco and Saudi princes (or is it all Gulf potentates now)? Older Saudi princes usually go there after serious surgery in the West, they go to Morocco to recuperate or die or both. Sometimes they recuperate before returning home and dying quickly. Younger ones go there to enjoy the kind of relaxed life they deny their own peoples at home. Now apparently other princes and shaikhs from the among the Persian Gulf’s ruling families, and even many of their oligarchy allies among the merchant classes, have discovered the joy or R&R in Morocco. No wonder the Saudi King tried to add that kingdom to the Gulf GCC: he associates it with good times, sort of.
Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, it is all a stag party in Old Maroc. Apparently all princes, but no princesses. The royal chicks still prefer the perfumed feminine shopping galleries of Europe to blow their oil revenues.

Here is a list of just a few of many posts on this topic:

Saudi Prince Bandar Joins Waldo: But Where Are They?

Bandar Goes to Washington, May Seek Syrian Presidency

Syria’s Opposition Fractures More: General Idriss Refuses to be Fired, About Prince Bandar

Bribe, Baby, Bribe: the United Kingdom of Arabia and BAE Systems

Lockerbie in Perspective: Retaliations and “Bribe, Britannia, and Rule the Trade”

Saudis to Bandar: Baby Come Back, Baggage and All


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GCC Expansion or Contraction? From the Deserts of Jordan through Tahrir Square to Lido de Paris………


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They are raising the issue of GCC confederation and expansion again. Bahrain shaikhs and elites, their country already almost annexed by Saudi occupation forces and having nothing to lose, are also pushing for it publicly and on social media. Wahhabi liberals on the Persian Gulf, who look to the absolute Saudi princes for Liberté et Egalité et Fraternité, are as excited about it as they probably can get excited about anything (save perhaps for one other thing). But as I have been saying since 2011 the Saudi idea ploy of confederation has always been DOA.
There is even a revival of the idea of expansion, even as some claim the original GCC may be unraveling, well maybe at least weakening. At least the long-existing differences cannot be swept under the rug anymore. Just as a couple of GCC countries seem ready to bolt out of the stifling Saudi embrace. Yet there is new absurd talk of Egypt being asked to join: the media told us Al Sisi and a gaggle of Al Nahayans had some sort of joint Jane Fonda military exercises last week.
know that the Saudi princes have been seeking pliable partners to expand the Gulf GCC. Except that there are no more pliable partners left. They have tried with
Jordan in 2011, but then King Abdul in Amman called one of his funny but humorless elections, and the princes don’t cotton up to elections, even funny humorless elections in Jordan. Some GCC potentates quickly and untruthfully claimed they were postponing Jordanian accession until after Ramadan (of 2011). They also invited faraway Morocco to apply for membership, but that was before the King of Morocco called elections which were won by what passes for the Moroccan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Alas, Morocco has no Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi who can set things right after undesirable election results.

Now rumors have it that the princes have been toying with reliably counter-revolutionary Egypt as a possible member, initially that was on the table in 2012 as a ploy to keep the Muslim Brotherhood from winning the last election. Some wags have even claimed that since Crimea voted for secession the princes had thought that maybe they can get that region to join the GCC, but Vladimir Putin quickly beat them to it with this annexation thing.
Back to the drawing board. Morocco and Jordan and Egypt may still look good as targets of Saudi wooing. But speaking of wooing: the Saudi princes are notorious polygamists, much more so than any Westerner, even a French president like Francois Hollande. Polygamy can be added as their middle name: Polygamous Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sounds correct while “Polygamous French Republic” sounds so wrong even if true, especially in French.
I suspect, nay I know, that all of these one-night-stand candidates have less chance of joining the GCC than Turkey has of joining the European Union. Less chance now than the State of Mississippi has of joining the Organization of Islamic Countries. All of them together have about as much chance of becoming GCC members as I have of becoming the next Mufti of Saudi Arabia (or a mufti of anywhere else for that matter).


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