Tag Archives: Sectarianism

The Arab Islamic American Summit Comes Up With a Trump Motto: Holy Art of the Deal….

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The Saudi organizers of the so-called Sunni Arab Islamic American (Sectarian) Summit in Riyadh have come up with a website and a logo, sort of.

(My browser told me this website is not safe and would not open it. I’ll say.)

It says :

Historic Summit, Brighter Future
Together We Prevail

Which is rather cheeky, after what I have opined about this exclusively sectarian provocative summit. It will fail in most of the goals it has been set to achieve, whatever they be, except to milk the Persian Gulf Arabs, mainly the Saudis, for a few hundred billion more dollars for Mr. trump’s projects. Expensive weapons, toys that the potentates can’t even use properly: I repeat myself, but their failure against poor Yemen is one example. Maybe there will be more spectacular failures in the near future as they talk Donald Trump and the hawks around him into new wars in the Gulf and the wider Middle East.

I would have the thought the organizers, and their highly-paid American and British lobbyists that devised the logo would do a more accurate job. The logo could say, for example:

Wahhabism, Sectarianism, and Republican Corporate Values:
Together We can Exploit the Swamp and Make America Great Again!

It would also help if they distribute stacks of a new Holy Book of the Summit: free copies of “The Art Of The Deal

I commented on this Sunni-Republican-Royal Summit yesterday in this post here. I will have more comments later….

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The March of Violent Fundamentalism in Southeast Asia………..

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“Islam in Malaysia, and Southeast Asia, is taking a more conservative turn. The Muslim faith, brought here by Arab traders hundreds of years ago, has coexisted for generations with Malay customs such as shamanism, other forms of traditional medicine and the country’s sizable Buddhist, Christian and Hindu communities. But more recently, conservative Wahhabi doctrines, often spread by Saudi-financed imams, are redefining the way Islam is practiced and, for some, eroding the tolerance for which the country has been known………. Politicians, meanwhile, are now competing with each other to show off their Islamist credentials. The opposition Pan-Islamic Party strict adherence to Shariah has helped build its support in rural areas. And a government investment fund—under the control of the Muslim-oriented ruling party…………”

In the West they/you talk of Islam and Muslims as if they/we are a monolithic thing. They/we are not. When they say Muslim and terrorism in the same sentence in the West they mean Wahhabi, a small but expanding puritan sect of Sunni Islam. These are the ones engaged in worldwide terrorism as represented by Al Qaeda, AQAP, and ISIS (DAESH).

But there is an even more violent campaign of terror among Muslims, a sectarian war, most of it committed by Al Qaeda and ISIS and their ilk against all Shi’a Muslims and against many Sunni Muslims as well. It now spans the globe.

For years Malaysia has banned the practices of Shi’ism, even as the regime and its clerics moved deeper into the realm of Wahhabi intolerance. Local Shi’as have to practice their rites in secret, otherwise they risk persecution and prosecution. As the article says, the Saudi Wahhabis have been spreading their intolerant sect for decades, by sending Imams and establishing and financing schools. Stoning of women and public flogging is more common now in Malaysia and a few other places than it ever was in the past.

The same applies to Indonesia, which also persecutes its non-Wahhabi Islamic minorities. But that has been the trend through all Sunni Islam: a Wahhabi-ization of the mainstream. Egypt is now quasi-Wahhabi, and that includes Al-Azhar. The trend toward Wahhabi-ization and intolerance among Muslims and toward other muslims, in both Arab and South Asian countries, has accelerated in the past decade. It is now sweeping North and West Africa. Even among European Muslims it is very common, much more common than you think.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Fire and Frying Pan in the GCC: Sectarian Politics, Tribal Politics, Oligarchy Politics……..

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Thinking of my post yesterday about oligarchy and meritocracy made me go back and do some uncharacteristic critical rereading of its general topic.

If you read a list of ministers in any Gulf GCC state, one fact stands out: the most important and most powerful public positions are almost always taken by members of the ruling families. That is often cited as a gateway to corruption. In most cases it is true, as I have pointed out in some examples here.

The issue of regime security is an important factor why security and armed forces are kept ‘within the family’. But in some of these tribal societies the issue is more complicated by two divisive factors which create some support for this concentration of power: 

  • Tribalism: tribalism is rampant in the region, as is tribal nepotism. Tribal ministers or other high officials who are not from ruling families tend to create their own corruption in some of the Gulf states. Any tribal cabinet minister or high official worth his salt will usually tend to favor members of his own tribe. In some of these countries a minister of oil (for example) from Tribe X will literally stuff his ministry and its subsidiary companies with his own tribal kin. A minister of finance from Tribe Y will do the same. Ditto for ministers and directors of various service ministries and departments. One can see it just from a list of heads of departments and the concentration of employees.
    All that creates suspicion and insecurity among other non-tribal or minority members of society.
  • Sectarianism: members of minority sects tend to fear that a minister from a particular majority sect will favor members of his own sect. Members of a majority sect will also fear that a minister from a minority sect will favor his own.

Hence there are specific cases where large swathes of society prefer a minister from the ruling family to another from among the ruled. Especially if the alternative is someone from another specific sect (or tribe). Members of ruling dynasties are often deemed relatively more neutral and seem more like arbitrator of society than others. Even if they also often abuse, misuse, and mismanage the resources. This attitude is especially true among ethnic and religious and tribal minorities. This is quite clear in one particular GCC state where most opposition political leaders and many members of the political opposition are from one large tribe (plus another tribe) and from among extreme sectarian Islamists. It has very few members of the minority sect supporting it. I have written on this particular case before.

Of course that is not true in all cases: in some Gulf and Arabian Peninsula states, in two GCC kingdoms in particular, members of the ruling oligarchy are as tribal and sectarian as anyone else, if not more. And they beat everyone else in corruption.

It is a tough choice for some, stoked by fear, a choice between the frying pan and the fire……..

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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