Flying Royals Drowning Lambs

Appalling. That’s how I feel when I look at the condition of the Muslims in the Middle-East. Its very difficult to believe that the Arabs of the Peninsula had once conquered the known world 1400 years ago. How could these nomad Bedouins crush the mighty empires of Persia and Rome? The “How” is more important in the last question because when you look at their descendants you will find traces of anything but that of warriors who took on the world head on.

Let me cut to the point straight away. The monarchs of the Arab world are weak, greedy, dependent (on US) and in totality utterly incompetent to be the leaders of a people who once held the civilizational torch guiding mankind from darkness to light. It seems that the torch has turned into a dilluminator, guiding mankind from light towards dark dungeons of arrogance, ignorance and war-mongering.

Lets see the political reality of this important oil rich Arab Muslim country named after its conqueror, Saudi Arabia. Its rich in oil and gold. Its an important strategic partner for the US and the country is above all very dear to Muslims across the world because it is home to the cities of Makkah and Madinah, the two holiest places in all of Islam. Muslims in general feel very uncomfortable talking about the Country which is symbolically the center of the Islamic world. Talking about the Saudi misdeeds and injustices feels like spitting at the sun.

Saudi Royals have on the other hand keep working hard to make it easy to come out in the open about them. True, no country is a land of angels, and we cant expect miracles from the governments who rule us. We can or we cant choose our leadership is not the main focus o his thread. Neither is it to judge whether th ability to choose is better or worse than the natural outcome of power struggle. The main point is, what drives the policies of a country and what are its objectives.

The Saudis may hit back asking why a non-Saudi guy (like me) should have the audacity to critically examine Saudi Government, especially when the citizens themselves are very happy with their government. More importantly, what difference will it make to the Saudis what opinion I have of them? None at all actually. That’s right, no matter how much me and other bloggers bash the Saudi government, it wont change a thing. Here is why. The concept of “Independent” “Sovereign” “Nation State” is the philosophical mountain behind which hides the governments of the present world, in different shapes, forms, colors and shades. The independent nation state answers to no body but itself, which naturally forces the state to adopt policies that protect ethnic, sectarian, cultural, linguistic and religious biases. Let me explain.

We know that the single biggest problem in the world is the Palestinian occupation by the European Zionists. The Muslim world expects the richest Muslim country in the world to do something about it, diplomatically and maybe even militarily to defend the lives of innocent people in Ghazza specially. But why should the Saudis risk their “sovereignty” over the Palestinian issue? On the other hand, Saudis are dependent on the US for their very existence because they fear that the Palestinians might collude with Iraqis and Yemenis to take control of the Arabian Peninsula. If not them, then surely Iran will take over Saudi Arabia, is the fear that has been silently taught on the streets on Arabia so that the common people will blindly throw their weight behind the Royals’ strategy to rely on western powers to keep the sheikhs in power. To save the ethnic Saudis from such a dishonorable position where they must work to earn a living for a change, we see the unfolding of different fronts. The ethnical front is the war against the fearsome rebellious militant Palstinians and the dirt poor Yemenis. The sectarian front is the threat of shii Iran. The linguistic and cultural threats are the Asians who work mostly menial jobs. With all these threats (or evils) facing the Saudi Arabian Society, who could blame them for taking the kind of stance they have taken recently.

The Arabian Peninsula has been active in the regional strategy since 2011 in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. First, they bank rolled the militants who started the civil war in Syria to dislodge Bashar. Till date 500,000 people died and the war is far from over as Russia and Iran have come in full support to defend the madman Bashar. Then came Egypt. Saudi petro dollars were channeled to the mass murderer Sisi who lead a bloody coup to take over power in Cairo.
Then came Bahrain. Saudis marched into the country to crush the rise of Arab Spring in Manama. Innocent people were bulldozed and the people brutally silenced by Saudi guns. Next, Yemen, the cradle of Arab civilization. Saudis not only bombed the Yemeni villagers but they forced a shut down of food and medicine to starve the people eto submission when their guns failed to conquer Yemeni pride. Yemen did not give up, even though it is now like Ethiopia in the 80’s.
Next Qatar, the super rich Arab state and the home of Al Jazeera.

Qatar is the only Arab country in the Peninsula which rivals the Saudis diplomatically in the region and beyond. Doha hosts among others, the Taliban, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership. Moreover, the Saudis suspect Qatar to have informal strategic relationship with Iran. To strengthen the Saudi diplomacy, US President Trump visited the country for the Islamic Arab Summit where 55 muslim countries also took part. It was another way of showing the world that Saudi Arabia, not Iran, is the leader of the Muslim world as a state.

Saudis have more than just a few points to demand their presumed superiority in the Muslim world. It has the world’s largest reserve of oil, it is the closest Arab ally of the US, it employs millions of South Asian Muslims making the Kingdom a very important source of foreign currency for countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt and India. Above all, it has the spiritual, religious and traditional supremacy over the vast majority of Muslims simply by default due to the location of Makkah and Medina in their geo-political government. Its an unwritten law amongst Muslims, who believe that, who ever has authority in Makkah and Medina must therefore also be the supreme leader of the Muslim Ummah. The fact that the Saudis never ever claimed to be the leader of the Ummah doesn’t really matter, average Muslim will hold the Saud family in high esteem as long as the custodianship of the two sacred masjids are with that tribe.

When the Sharifs of Makkah betrayed the Ottomans, Muslim thinkers and leaders in South Asia remained mostly silent for fear of speaking against the family that administers the two sacred mosques. Muslims just didn’t get it then and they still suffer from that old disease. The unjust rulers loose their right to the title of Imamah (leadership) over the Ummah, is as sacred as faith and belief in God, as its Wahy (revelation) from God to Nabi Ibraheem and confirmed by the Majestic Quraan to Nabi Muhammad (sallillahu alihi wa aalihi wa sallam).

Are we Muslims naïve or just un-intelligent when it comes to our Deen (system of Life) I keep asking myself. We read in the Noble Quraan that God chose us to be Witness over all mankind, alternative meaning, to spread justice on earth, and to stand firm against any obstacle that hinders the progress of kindness, generosity, liberty, morality, honesty, sincerity, truthfulness and general goodness amongst people. Muslim men and women face the task that holds the key to their ultimate destination, to support all that is good and to resist all that is evil, a concept that strikes at the very foundation of the Jahilii (nationalistic, fascist, tribal) society currently in place in so many countries where Muslims live in overwhelming majority.

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Why cant we dream in Yemen?

Zain is from Yemen, the starting point of Arab civilization, the origin of Semitic peoples. I feel very lucky that Zain is still alive after the Saudi bombs destroyed his school and the lives of a dozen children all aged under 12. I am so glad Zain still has his nerves together after loosing his father, mother, brother and sister in another Saudi air raid just before Eid. Neighborhoods in Sada have basically turned into make shift open sky hospitals where mothers earned medical degrees overnight. Doctors with proper University degrees are either dead or imprisoned. So its now up to the newly qualified mothers to provide what Yemeni children need the most, a little bit of love and care after the after the horrors caused by Saudi bombings.

Zain talks world politics like a Senator. This is not due to his school, no, it’s because Zain and all the other kids are always faced with political questions at home, at school and in the playgrounds. The question is also almost always the same, which is, “Why are Saudis bombing Yemen”? Answers will also circle around a theme very common in Zain’s area. Kids know that Saudis cant really fight a real war on the ground, for if they did, every Yemeni youth would be firing slingshots enough to blind the attackers back to the other side of the border. That is why Saudis decided to not face real men on the ground.

As for Zain, he thinks Saudis are only doing what their friends in Tel Aviv advised them to do. They are only following friendly “orders”.

How is Yemen important to Israel? Well, Zain thinks its not so much about Yemen as such but its really about the rise of a revolutionary idea. What is that idea? Its this thing called “Hope”. See, Yemen, like so many other Muslim countries, wants to change the normal thought that nothing can be changed, that the status quo must always be maintained, that powerful people must not be challenged, that politics is not the agenda for common people, but now the Houthi movement wants to challenge all that. Houthis want to say that Change is possible and it can happen. Common people can choose to dream differently, to think of changing the society and say bye bye to state hypocrisy. This is Zain’s understanding as a 12 year old.

Zain’s thoughts strike so much similarity with people across the Muslim world that its difficult to whether Zain comes from Sada or Baghdad or Damascus or Cairo. The basic rule seems to be quite common amongst the rulers of the Muslim world. They survive on the pill that makes Muslims loose hope in their identity, history and above all they give up on their natural abilities to change their circumstances.

Why should it be like this? Why should Muslims feel hopeless in their own country? Zain stares at the sky asking whether it was another Saudi jet that he just saw flying over a minaret.

Saudi Proxy War

Saudi Arabia appears resolute: It wants Bashar al-Assad out of Damascus. The Saudis view the fighting in Syria with the same intensity that they did the civil war in Yemen that raged in the 1960s — as a conflict with wide and serious repercussions that will shape the political trajectory of the Middle East for years to come.

The Syrian war presents the Saudis with a chance to hit three birds with one stone: Iran, its rival for regional dominance, Tehran’s ally Assad, and his Hezbollah supporters. But Riyadh’s policy makers are wary. They know that once fully committed, it will be difficult to disengage. And so they are taking to heart the lessons of another regional war that flared on their border 50 years ago.

The war in Yemen that broke out in 1962 when military leaders ousted the centuries-old monarchy and declared a republic quickly turned into a quagmire that sucked in foreign powers. The Soviet Union provided the new regime with air support. British airstrikes aided the royalists and the United States offered warplanes in a symbolic show of force.

More than anything else though, the conflict became a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, which backed the deposed imam and his royalist supporters, and Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, who supported the new republic. Nasser’s vision of a united Arab “nation” free of Western domination and sterile monarchies resonated across the Arab world. The Saudi monarchy, wary of this republican fever on its border, decided it was not going to stand on the sidelines. The kingdom used all available means to try to check Nasser’s ambitions — but it did not send troops.

By some estimates, Egypt sent as many as 55,000 troops to Yemen, some of whom became involved in fighting well inside Saudi territory, while others were accused of using chemical weapons supplied by the Soviet Union. Saudi Arabia provided money and weapons to the royalists. Yet neither side achieved its goals. Egypt’s war with Israel in 1967 led Nasser to withdraw his forces, but the Saudis were unable to turn the tide. Riyadh was eventually forced to recognize Yemen’s republican government.

Now as then, Riyadh sees the struggle in Syria as a defining moment. As the leader of the Sunni Muslim world, it perceives an opportunity to check what it sees as Iranian plans to encircle the kingdom with hostile Shiite-dominated regimes. As the war has taken on a more sectarian character, the usually reserved foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, has described Assad’s onslaught against his own people as “genocide” and Syrian lands as being “under occupation” — a clear reference to the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah forces.

It is no secret that the Saudis are supplying elements of the Syrian opposition with weapons. They all but admitted as much when the prince said a few weeks ago that “if the international community is not willing to do anything, then they must allow Syrians to defend themselves.”

The Saudis will use all tools available to oust Assad, while taking measures to ensure that the weapons they’re supplying to the rebels do not fall into the hands of extremists. Nevertheless, following the chemical attack on civilians near Damascus last month, the Saudi foreign minister spoke candidly about the inability of the Arab nations to put a stop to Assad’s campaign through force of arms, adding that any military effort to do so would likely involve actors outside the region. Recent suggestions that the Arab League should assemble a military force to check Assad’s aggression do not seem viable. Disagreements among the league’s member nations have prevented it from agreeing to even endorse a potential U.S. strike.

But on Monday, the Saudi Council of Ministers issued a strong statement making clear that it considered preventing another chemical attack by Assad to be only a short-term goal. In the long-term, he must be ousted.

Saudi Arabia will intensify its efforts to arm the rebels and to use its media outlets and diplomatic clout to rally support for a military strike. Although the kingdom is known for using its troops sparingly, it has done so judiciously in the past. Riyadh did, for example, send troops to Bahrain to show its support for the Sunni regime in the face of extended mass protests. Of course, Syria is not Bahrain, but neither is Saudi Arabia the same country that it was in the 1960s, when it failed to achieve its goals in Yemen.

The oil-rich kingdom of today wields far greater influence than it did half a century ago. There is no question that it will wield that influence forcefully, supporting the rebels with guns and diplomacy as it struggles to outmaneuver Iran, outflank Hezbollah and oust Assad.

Fahad Nazer is a former political analyst with the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

The general who turned Saudi Arabia into a US-Israeli ally

The general responsible for US victory in the 1991 Gulf War, Norman Schwarzkopf, died on Thursday, December 27th from pneumonia. He was 78. Dubbed “Stormin Norman,” Schwarzkopf defeated Saddam Hussein and cemented US power over Kuwait. The battle also marked a shift in which the US began to actively remake itself as a Middle East hegemon, above and beyond other regions and theatres of war.

The US-led war killed up to 205,000 Iraqis during the invasion and its aftermath and decimated Iraqi infrastructure. In one of the war’s most notorious incidents, Schwarzkopf ordered US forces to fire on retreating and disarmed Iraqi forces along Iraq’s Highway 80, causing hundreds of casualties and prompting the name “Highway of Death.”

News of Schwarzkopf’s death comes as former President George H.W. Bush, who ordered the first Gulf War, is in a Houston hospital in intensive care after suffering bronchitis.

While the US played an active role in the Middle East from WWII onwards, the Gulf War defined its position as a Middle East hegemon. In deciding to push Iraq back out of Kuwait and guarantee the status quo ante in the Gulf, George H. W. Bush and his Centcom commander Gen. Schwarzkopf took the fateful step that would lead to the US replacing Britain as the Great Power in the Gulf. Schwarzkopf is said to have helped convince (together with then US Defence Secretary Dick Cheney and Secretary of State James Baker III), Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd to allow the pre-positioning of hundreds of thousands of US and allied troops on Saudi soil in advance of the January 1991 invasion of Kuwait. The Gulf War also redefined US-Saudi partnership, transforming Saudi Arabia’s role from de facto US colony and oil pump, into a key military ally.

Who is behind the Syrian conflict

Another 9 people killed in clashes in southeast Turkey where Kurds are increasingly coming under Turkish fire. This is not at all good news for the Turkish nation. Syrian situation is by far the worst case of genocide by compatriot co-religionis co-linguists in the modern history. Turkey in its role as the uncrowned leader of the muslim world and the only muslim NATO member country should have a moral obligation to rescue the victims of Bashar’s madness. But at what cost is Turkey prepared to do that? Will it risk loosing its Kurdish state in the south for Syrians?

The trouble in Syria is being fuelled by two states Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They are the real financiers with the international political backing of the pro Israeli lobby. For the monarchs Iran and Syria are the biggest threats. One as an Islamist state and the other as a strategic launching pad for the Islamists’ revolutions in the Gulf.

It can be argued that the Islamists will eventually be the winners in the event of regime change as in Egypt and Tunisia. By removing Bashar al Assad how will the monarchs feel more secured? Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy so far has been largely pro US-Saudi, so far. Baathists have been pro Russia-Iran, and that may be the source of the Middle East conflict. The proxy war is not as much between Saudi and Iran but more between US and Russia.

From Pravda:

Saudi Arabia and Qatar after the failed pan-Arab campaign against Syria seem to have found the country ready to get into a fight – Turkey. Erdogan urged his people to prepare for war because the parliament gave him a permission to do so. For Russia, this is the worst case scenario.

Saudi Wahhabi monarchies have become independent players in the Middle East. They have both the necessary influence and money. Their co-religionists in Turkey (incidentally, all leaders of the country came from the “Brotherhood”), too, strive for global leadership. Interestingly, the ill-fated Syrian shell landed on the Turkish soil on October 3, the day after Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi voiced his determination not to interfere in the internal affairs of Syria. The call of the Emir of Qatar for punitive action under the auspices of the Arab League made at the UN General Assembly found no supporters, and then the Turkish card was played. On October 4, the Turkish Parliament gave the green light for military operations outside its borders. On Sunday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his people to be ready for war with its neighbor. “You have to be ready at any time to go to war, if necessary. If you are not ready for this, you are not a state, if you are not ready for this, you are not a nation,” said Erdogan.

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However, such emotional appeals are a product for domestic consumption. In fact, Erdogan will not dare to launch a full-scale war against Syria, though he has a comparable army. First, Syria has a strongest ally in the religion – Shiite Iran. President Ahmadinejad vowed that an attack on Syria will automatically signify an attack on Iran, with all the consequences. It is unlikely that Ahmadinejad will allow the regime of Bashar Assad to fall – in this case, the Islamic Republic would lose its path to the Middle East and will be surrounded by enemies.

Second, for obvious reasons, albeit not openly, Syria is supported by Iraq where power is in the hands of the prime minister, Shiite Nouri al-Maliki. Iraq supplies to Syria oil despite the U.S. sanctions, and its airfields, according to the Americans, serve as transit bases for Iranian aircraft that bring arms to Assad. In Iraqi Kurdistan thousands of Syrian Kurds from Peshmerga unit (“going to die”) are undergoing military training. This is a formidable force, ready to cross the border at any moment, cross the sparsely populated southern Sunni Syria and come to the defense of Syrian Kurds who support pro-Assad position and fight against the so-called rebels, but in fact, mercenaries Wahhabis. The Turkish authorities clearly see the threat, and recently have been making strikes at such camps, despite warnings from Baghdad.  

This implies the third and most serious problem for Erdogan – the Kurdish one. If he starts a war, he will not be able to keep Turkish Kurdistan in the hands. There is already a large-scale war with the Kurds. This is indicated by the news about the losses in the ranks of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party last month – 500. According to Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Turkish Center for Economic and Policy Studies (EDAM), the majority of the Turkish population believes that the government’s policy towards Syria is one of a hawk, and many people think that what is happening in Syria is the business of the Syrians and the international community should not interfere.  

Fourth, the chances of support of such a war by the West are very slim. The United States has expressed “outrage” over shelling on the Turkish territory. Yet, President Obama has distanced himself from direct intervention. Similar statements of solidarity with Turkey were made by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, but the topic of Syria and conflict on the border with Turkey was not included in the agenda of a meeting of NATO defense ministers on October 9-10. The United States and Europe simply have no money for a conflict that is likely to be a lengthy one. In addition, the fact that the West has lately seen enough (i.e., murder of the American ambassador in Benghazi) does not impress western politicians.

Fifth, what about Turkey’s desire to join the EU? They would have to say good bye to it, because a country cannot become a member if it is in a war with its neighbors.

Sixth, Putin will not let Erdogan get reckless. The victory of the Wahhabis in Syria would free up the gangsters who would rush to the Caucasus and other Muslim regions of Russia. This was indicated by head of the center of the Volga regional and ethno-religious Studies of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Rais Sulemanov. According to him, a great number of radical Islamists from different regions, including Tatarstan, are fighting against Assad today. One group of Tatar Wahhabis returned to Almetyevsk, and then hastily moved to Mari El. According to him, “Tatar Wahhabis may join the underground Wahhabi in the Volga region who badly need people with terrorist skills. We shall see what the outcome of President Putin’s visit to Turkey on October 15 would be.  

Finally, there were signs that the Turks and the so-called “Syrian National Council” (SNA) are seeking to negotiate. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu suggested “replacing” President Assad with Syria’s Vice President Farouk al-Sharra, who in his opinion is a “reasonable man.” The same nomination was made by the SNA. Their leader Abdulbaset Sid said on Monday that he would not object to the participation of members of the ruling party “Baath” in the political future of the country provided that they have not participated in the killings during the revolt.

But the Syrian authorities feel that they can sustain their line, as long as they can save the president from direct physical elimination. “We are no longer living in the Ottoman Empire,” said Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi. He encouraged the Turkish government to stop pushing personalities acceptable to the Turkish people. The position of the legitimate government is simple: Assad will remain in office until his seven-year term expires in 2014. Then an election will be scheduled where the Syrians will choose a new president.