Arabia Deserta 
Middle East Focus

One Rich Oil Prince as an Environmental Disaster……

“A Saudi Arabian prince did some serious damage on a recent hunting expedition, managing during a 21-day killing spree to put a vulnerable species a few thousand deaths closer to extinction. The Saudi royal’s trip to Chagai, Balochistan this past January landed him 1,977 rare houbara bustards, reports Dawn, Pakistan’s English-language newspaper. Other members of his party managed to bag 123 more. According to a report prepared by the Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department – ”Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud regarding hunting of houbara bustard”.........."
Just a few decades ago, they did not need to travel that far for hunting hubara and other birds and animals. The Gulf and Peninsula region had an abundance........The princes and potentates have long depleted the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf from many of its once-native birds and animals. These native creatures (I don't mean the potentates) became rare, and some of them have vanished from the region. Then the potentates started.........since the days of the military dictator Zia Ulhaq (before he was incinerated in a helicopter “accident”). This has continued under other regimes, especially the Sharif brothers .........<< MORE >>

Oman-Iran Gas Deal: of Revolutionary Guards and Neighborly Tanks………

“Oman’s plan to build a $1 billion natural-gas pipeline from Iran is the latest sign that Saudi Arabia is failing to bind its smaller Gulf neighbors into a tighter bloc united in hostility to the Islamic Republic. The accord was signed during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Oman last month, and marks the first such deal between Iran and a Gulf Cooperation Council state in more than a decade. Oman is in good standing with the U.S. too: a $2.1 billion purchase of air-defense systems from Raytheon..........."
I have never been able to satisfactorily answer one important question: why are the Omanis not seeing Iranian (and Hezbollah) plots under every bed as the Saudis and their Bahraini ruling stooges .......Does the Sultan Qaboos not worry about the scowling mullahs sweeping.......It is also related to history, where the Omanis have always looked..............<< MORE >>

A New Saudi Foreign Minister? Forty More Years, Forty More Years………

“Opposition sources in Saudi Arabia say that the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Saud Al-Faisal will be removed from his post, following the removal of the Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The sources said that the ouster of Faisal would constitute the second step of changes at the ruling family’s key positions. A possible scenario could be that Faisal submits his resignation in the coming days, the sources also said. Having held the position since 1975, Faisal is regarded as........."
Other media have also reported the prince ailing in recent years, and he looks it. In the United States when an incumbent president runs for reelection, his supporters often chant: “Four more years, four more years”. This does not wash with Saudi princes who last in office decades. The job is their turf; part of their inheritance. Prince Saudi Al Faisal.............<< MORE >>

Honor, Dishonor, Seppuku, and Roadkill: from South Korea to Arabia and Beyond……….

“The vice-principal of a South Korean high school who accompanied hundreds of pupils on a ferry that capsized has committed suicide, police said on Friday, as hopes faded of finding any of the 274 missing alive. The Sewol, carrying 476 passengers and crew, capsized on Wednesday on a journey from the port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju. Kang Min-gyu, 52, had been missing since Thursday. He appeared to have hanged himself with his belt from a tree outside a gym in............"
This Korean school principal thought he was responsible for the deaths of some 300 students and others, and decided to pay the price in his own way. He took his own life. Of course not all Koreans are like that: most are not like that. Someone like Kim Jong Un of the DPRK only gets ...........Let’s look to our region, the Middle East, and we might find a humane way for 'regime change', well, a relatively humane way, at least from the pint of view of the masses:..........are not Japanese so a disappointing Arab despot could not get some trusted minister to swing the sword as he commits Seppuku by disemboweling.........<< MORE >>

Ukraine Fallout on an Arizona Gas Station: Union of Sanctioned Pariah States……

“Even as the crisis in Ukraine continues to defy easy resolution, President Obama and his national security team are looking beyond the immediate conflict to forge a new long-term approach to Russia that applies an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment. Just as the United States resolved in the aftermath of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its global ambitions, Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia by cutting off its............"
The list is already long and can get longer. Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, etc. Now the mother of all sanctions: a possible creeping economic blockade of the huge Eurasian mass of Russia. Mr. Putin may be excused if he makes a famous Reagan-esque speech outside the IMF building, with a great sound bite...........Yet a blockade against Russia invites blockades against many others, if the Iranian example is to be imitated. Russia is huge; it is still the ‘other’ world. Many countries, from Asia through Latin America and Africa, and even Europe, will not go along sanctions against (Mother) Russia. But even if they do, we will have two new definitions of nations..........<< MORE >>

From the Gulf through Asia: More on FIFA World Cup Corruption and GCC Rifts……

"Antonia Wigand Teixeira, the daughter of the Brazilian representative of the FIFA executive committee, had reportedly received the money in 2011. Her father Ricardo, part of the committee which helped select the World Cup host nation………… A statement issued by lawyers acting for the Qatar bid said the payment from Mr. Rosell to Mr. Teixeira had nothing to do with the country’s bid for the 2022 World Cup…………”
Saudi semi-official Alarabiya network is headlining this one, which tells me Saudi-Qatari relations have not improved as much as recent reports claimed. GCC media yesterday headlined reports about healing the rift between the ruling potentates of the two countrie......... Apparently corruption and international sports go closely together. From the Salt Lake City (Utah) Winter Olympics to the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain to the FIFA World Cup games in Qatar (and maybe Russia and beyond). Then there were the selection of the leaders of Asian Sports Federations. The president of the Asian Football (Soccer) Confederation used to be a Qatari and is now a Bahraini shaikh named Salman Al Khalifa,......... I suspect this has been going on for decades, but the scale has grown too heavy to be kept a secret. Before the era of petroleum oligarchs and petroleum potentates ............<< MORE >>

Tea and Crumpets Offshore: Liberators of Syria Liberate French Journalists in Liberated Turkey……

"The four went missing in June 2013 in two incidents. Press freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders has called Syria "the most dangerous country in the world" for journalists. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in April that 61 journalists were kidnapped in Syria in 2013, while more than 60 have been killed since the conflict began. The widespread abductions of journalists is unprecedented, and has been largely unreported by news organizations in the hope that keeping the kidnappings out of public view may help to negotiate the captives' release. Jihadi groups.........."
The only group that may not be directly involved in kidnappings are the exiled 5-star leaders of the SNC, for their role is confined to finding excuses for the Jihadists, ignoring those killed, and thumbing their chests whenever some are released. Besides sipping tea and nibbling at crumpets with visiting Arab....... Notice how the French journalists were liberated “in Turkey”. The would-be liberators of Syria have liberated the French journalists inside liberated Turkey. Before that the same liberators..........<< MORE >>

The Real Enemy Within: New Dastardly Plot of Al Qaeda………

"A recently declassified CIA report confirmed that all known al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations—from Pakistan to Yemen, and from Somalia to Algeria—have been instructed to kick back and enjoy the show as the United States’ federal government, energy grid, and industrial sector are rendered impotent by internal dissent, decay, and mismanagement. According to statements made by top-level informants and corroborated by leading Western terrorism experts, if seen through to its conclusion, al-Qaeda’s current plot could wreak far more damage than the events of 9/11…………………..”
According to this piece, the 2008 meltdown must have been just a trial run, a rehearsal for the big one. The Onion does not say openly, but it probably knows that it may all depend on the two next U.S. elections: the 2014 congressional elections and the general elections of 2016. So, maybe the New York NYPD was smart to decide to dismantle its network of espionage around the area mosques and shawarma.............<< MORE >>

Life Terms: from Algiers to Cairo and Damascus and on to Pakalingding……….

"Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika appeared set to win re-election for another five years on Friday after a vote opponents dismissed as a stage-managed fraud to keep the ailing leader in power. Sitting a wheelchair, Bouteflika cast his vote on Thursday in a rare public appearance since suffering a stroke last year that has raised doubts about whether, after 15 years in power, he is fit enough to govern the North African........"
So, it has three plus years on since the Arab uprisings started in Tunisia in December of 2010 and spread eastward. Let us look at the situation now.......In Algeria, president Bouteflika “wins” a fourth term of ........ Meanwhile the allegedly deposed Ali Abdallah Saleh is not far from the center of power, very likely plotting .........Interim non-leader Adly Mansour Al Zombie will vanish; he will go back into the vast caverns of Mr. Mubarak's ..........Bashar Al Assad will “win” another term later this year in Syria.........A gaggle of Lebanese right-wing generals and warlords are fighting for the ceremonial presidency of that...........On the Gulf. The would-be tribal liberators and bringers of democracy to Syria hold tight to absolute power at home. From Riyadh to Abu Dhabi.........Then there are the other two bulwarks of the Arab League, Mauretania and Somalia.........<< MORE >>

How Many Jackasses are Needed at One Wedding?..........

“According to the wedding-trend reporters at the Knot, donkeys at weddings are literal walking icebreakers, beasts that will lighten the burden of socializing. An Arizona company called Haul N Ass Productions has trained them to walk around, distributing beer from saddlebags. They also carry their own carrot snacks. For entirely donkey-themed nuptials, there’s the Donkey Sanctuary in England, which was registered as a wedding venue in 2013. Couples marry in a decorated stable. Two of the participating donkeys are named Mopsy and Zippo. Donkeys are.........."Speaking of which (and this is not a comment): a few years ago Arab media reported about a wedding in Damascus. During the celebrations, the bride decided to sing to her groom as they danced. Unfortunately she..........<< MORE >>

GCC Migration of Equus Asinus: Former Plain Donkeys become Leading Jackasses………

I don't know if there's already a designated creature, which holds the title of National Animal of Bahrain, but to my mind none would be more deserving than Equus asinus - the donkey. No other animal has toiled more for the people of Bahrain, nor contributed more to the country's prosperity than this humble creature. Before the widespread use of motor vehicles, donkeys were the main means of transport. Every village, and central Manama itself, was teeming with donkeys. They were used to transport sweet water and kerosene around the neighbourhoods; they took goods to and from the market place; they pulled the municipal rubbish carts; they collected fish from the seashore; and, before air transport, they were used to bring ashore passengers from boats during........."
It says here that Nubian asses were imported into Bahrain centuries ago, but that was probably on a small scale. I was told by sources in Bahrain and Kuwait that most donkeys of Bahrain seem to have migrated to the island with the Al-Khalifa clan. When the clan moved through Kuwait to Bahrain about a couple of centuries ago, suddenly the number of asses in Bahrain increased dramatically............<< MORE >>

Watermelon Countries: Al Sisi and Al Saud in a Partnership Made in Heaven……

“The Bahraini Arabic language newspaper al-Wasat reported on Wednesday Apr. 9 that a Cairo court began to consider a case brought by an Egyptian lawyer against Qatar accusing it of being soft on terrorism. The “terrorism” charge is of course a euphemism for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have designated a “terrorist” organisation and are vowed to dismantle. The two new partners and the UAE also loathe Qatar for hosting and funding Al-Jazeera satellite TV. The continued incarceration of the Al-Jazeera journalists and dozens of other journalists on trumped up charges is no coincidenc..........."
Counter-Revolutionary Egypt is now well on its way to becoming a certified Watermelon Country (ديرة بطيخ), as we say back home on the Gulf. As a (ديرة بطيخ), certified by the Secretary General of the Gulf GCC, himself a certified watermelon bureaucrat, it is qualified to apply for membership. But that can wait until Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi starts his..........<< MORE >>

Saudi King Sacks Prince Bandar Again: Yousef Who?.........

"Saudi Arabia has replaced intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the kingdom's pointman on the Syrian conflict, "at his own request", official news agency SPA announced Tuesday. In a royal decree, the powerful official was "exempted... from his position at his own request" and replaced by his deputy, Yousef al-Idrissi............"
So much for Bandar's much publicized return and what anonymous high officials claimed that he will resume work on his "Syria" portfolio. The anonymous officials almost certainly were Bandar partisans and allies. The old king and his palace minions had to act quickly, and sack him publicly ............ << MORE >>

Jordanian Jihadis: the Children of Zarqawi………

“Here in the hometown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who gained infamy for his bloody reign as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq during the early years of the American occupation there, the increasingly sectarian war in Syria has ignited militants, inspiring the largest jihadist mobilization the city has ever seen. Jordanian analysts and Islamists estimate that 800 to 1,200 Jordanians have gone to fight in Syria, more than double the number who fought in Afghanistan or Iraq. Though the fighters come from across the country, fully one-third hail..........."
Yes I recall Al Zarqawi and his brief reign of terrorism in Iraq. He and his imported foreign Arab Salafis. He was a proud son of some typical humorless hole of a town in Jordan, as long as he was busy killing and beheading the 'right' people in Iraq. But when the Salafi terrorists struck in Jordan, when they attacked a hotel and created many victims of the.........<< MORE >>

Iranian Pakistani Omani Hezbollah Naval Exercises, General Salami is no Baloney………

“Salami made the remarks after the Iranian and Omani naval forces staged their 4th joint exercises in the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf on Monday. He described the drills as successful, and said, "Based on a treaty between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Oman's navies,.........the Pakistani and Iranian navies have engaged in a four-day joint naval exercise east of the Straits of Hormuz this week in an effort to improve security cooperation between the two ........."
So said Admiral Salami, and that is no baloney. Iranian forces have been holding joint maneuvers with neighboring countries. No, not with Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. They have been holding joint exercises with Pakistan, and others with Oman, both not far from the Strait of Hormuz. It is notable that both countries...........the legendary secret Persian Gulf Branch of Hezbollah (established in Riyadh and Manama and the Washington Post columns) does not pose a serious threat to Oman......<< MORE >>

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