The Middle East Counter-Revolution

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

To lead the counter-revolution in this region, Washington and Tel Aviv have relied on the Sudairi clan – the worlds richest political organization

By Thierry Meyssan

Within months, three pro-Western governments have fallen in the Arab World: parliament removed Saad Hariris Lebanese government, while popular movements drove out Zine el-Abbidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Husni Mubarak in Egypt.

These changes have been followed by demonstrations against U.S. domination and Zionism. They politically benefit the Axis of Resistance, comprised of Iran and Syria at the state level and at the non-state level by Hezbollah and Hamas.

To lead the counter-revolution in this region, Washington and Tel Aviv have relied on their best support: the Sudairi clan, which embodies despotism at the service of imperialism unlike any other.

The Sudairi

You have probably never heard of them, but for decades the Sudairi have been the worlds richest political organization.

Among the fifty-three sons of King Ibn Saud, founder of Saudi Arabia, the Sudairi are the seven that he sired with Princess Sudairi. Their leader was King Fahd, who ruled from 1982 to 2005. Only six are still alive. The eldest is Prince Sultan, minister of defence since 1962, who is 85. At 71, the youngest is Prince Ahmed, deputy interior minister since 1975. Since the 60s, it was their clan that organized, structured, and funded the pro-Western puppet regimes of the Greater Middle East.

A look back is required here.

Saudi Arabia is a legal entity created by the British during the First World War to weaken the Ottoman Empire. Although Lawrence of Arabia had invented the concept of the Arab nation, he never managed to make a nation of this country, let alone a state. It was and still is the private property of the Al-Sauds. As the British inquiry on the Al-Yamamah Scandal brought to light, in the 21st century there are still no bank accounts or budget for the Kingdom. It is the accounts of the royal family that serve to administer the Kingdom, which is its private domain.

The area fell under U.S. control after the Second World War, when the United Kingdom could no longer maintain its empire. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made an agreement with King Ibn Saud: the family of Saud guaranteed oil supplies to the United States which in return guaranteed the military assistance necessary to keep the House of Saud in power. This alliance is known as the Quincy Agreement, negotiated on a ship by the same name. It is an agreement, not a treaty since it does not bind two states, but a state and a family.
The founding king, Ibn Saud, having had 32 wives and 53 sons, serious rivalries between potential successors were not slow to emerge. Thus it was decided that the crown would not be handed down from father to son, but from half-brother to half-brother.

Five of Ibn Sauds sons have already sat on the throne. The current king, Abdullah I, 87, is a rather open-minded person, although totally out of touch with todays realities. Aware that the current dynastic system is headed for ruin, he intends to reform the rules of succession. The crown would thus be appointed by the Council of the Kingdom this means selected by representatives of various branches of the royal family – and could potentially go to a younger generation.

This wise idea does not suit the Sudairi. Indeed, given the various abdications to the throne for health reasons or self-indulgence, the next three candidates belong to their clan: Prince Sultan, formerly appointed Interior Minister, 85; Prince Naif, Interior Minister, 78; and Prince Salman, the governor of Riyadh, 75. If it were to be applied, the new dynastic rule would work to their disadvantage.

One can easily understand that the Sudairi, who never cared much for their half-brother, King Abdullah, hate him at present. And, also, that they have decided to throw all their forces into the current struggle.

The Return of Bandar Bush

In the late 70s, the Sudairi clan was headed by Prince Fahd, who noticed the rare qualities of one of his brother Sultans children: Prince Bandar. He sent him to Washington to negotiate arms contracts and was impressed by the way he handled an agreement with President Carter.

When Fahd ascended to the throne in 1982, Prince Bandar was a trusted aid. He was appointed military attaché, then ambassador to Washington, a post he held until his abrupt dismissal by King Abdullah in 2005.

The son of Prince Sultan and a Libyan slave, Prince Bandar is a brilliant and ruthless character that has distinguished himself within the royal family despite the stigma attached to his maternal origin. He is now the working arm of the gerontocratic Sudairi clan.

During his long stay in Washington, Prince Bandar befriended the Bush family, in particular George H. Bush, with whom he was inseparable. The latter likes to portray him as the son that he would have liked to have, so much so that his nickname in the capital is Mr. Bandar Bush. What George H. former director of the CIA and U.S. president appreciated most about him is his taste for illegal actions.

Mr. Bandar Bush made a place for himself in U.S. high society. He is both a manager for life of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Bohemian Grove. The British public first found out about him during the Al-Yamamah Scandal: the biggest arms deal in history as well as the largest corruption scandal. Over two decades (1985-2006), British Aerospace, soon renamed BAE Systems, sold $80 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia while quietly dropping a portion of this windfall into the bank accounts of Saudi politicians and probably British politicians, with $2 billion going to Prince Bandar alone.

This is because His Highness has a lot of expenses. Prince Bandar has taken over responsibility for numerous Arab fighters trained by Pakistani and Saudi intelligence during the Cold War to fight the Red Army in Afghanistan at the request of the CIA and MI6. Of course, the best known figure in this milieu was none other than billionaire guru turned anti-communist jihadist, Osama bin Laden.

It is impossible to say precisely how many men Prince Bandar has at his disposal. Over time, we have seen his involvement in many conflicts and terrorist acts across the Muslim world from Morocco to Chinas Xinjiang. For example, one may recall the small army that he had planted, by the name of Fatah Al-Islam, in the Palestinian camp of Nahr el-Bared in Lebanon. The mission of these fighters was to incite the Palestinian refugees, mostly Sunnis, to proclaim an independent emirate and to fight Hezbollah. The affair turned sour when the salaries of the mercenaries were not paid on time. Ultimately, in 2007, Prince Bandars men entrenched themselves in the camp. 30,000 Palestinians were forced to flee, while the Lebanese army waged a two-month battle to gain control of the camp. This operation cost the lives of 50 mercenaries, 32 Palestinian civilians and 68 Lebanese soldiers.

In early 2010, Bandar staged a coup to overthrow King Abdullah and to place his father, Sultan, on the throne. The plot was discovered and Bandar left in disgrace without however losing his official titles. But in late 2010, the declining health of the king and his surgery gave the Sudairi the upper hand and they engineered Bandars comeback with the support of the Obama Administration.

It was after having visited the king, who was hospitalized in Washington, and having concluded too quickly that he was dying, that Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri rallied to the side of the Sudairi. Saad Hariri is a Saudi, born in Riyadh, but with dual nationality. He inherited his fortune from his father, who owed everything to Saud. He is therefore obligated to the king and became Prime Minister of Lebanon at his urging, while the U.S. State Department was concerned about his ability to fill the position.

During the period when he had to obey King Abdullah, Saad Hariri began to reconcile with President Bashar al-Assad. He withdrew the accusations he had made against him about the assassination of his father, Rafik Al-Hariri, and apologized for having been manipulated to artificially create tension between Lebanon and Syria. In endorsing the Sudairi, Saad has made a political volte-face. Overnight, he renounced King Abdullahs policy of conciliation towards Syria and Hezbollah and launched an offensive against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, for the disarmament of Hezbollah, and for a compromise with Israel.

However, King Abdullah came out of his semi-comatose state and didnt wait long to demand accountability. Deprived of this essential support, Saad Hariri and his government were overthrown by the Lebanese Parliament in favor of Najib Mikati, another bi-national, but less adventurous, billionaire. As punishment, King Abdullah ordered a tax investigation into Hariris largest Saudi society and had several of his associates arrested for fraud.

The Saudiri legions

The Sudairi have decided to launch the counter-revolution in all directions.

In Egypt, where they financed Mubarak on one hand and the Muslim Brotherhood on the other hand, they have now imposed an alliance between the Brotherhood and pro-U.S. army officers.

This new coalition has shared power by excluding the leaders of the revolution in Tahrir Square. It refused to convene a National Assembly and contended itself with amending the constitution marginally.

First, they declared Islam the state religion to the detriment of the Coptic Christian minority (about 10%) who were oppressed by Husni Mubarak and who mobilized en masse against him. In addition, Dr. Mahmoud Izzat, the number two of the Brotherhood, called for the rapid introduction of Sharia law and the restoration of Sharia punishment.

Young Wael Ghoneim, who had played a leading role in the overthrow of the tyrant, was barred from the podium during the victory celebrations, February 18, which rallied nearly 2 million people. Conversely, the star preacher of the Brotherhood, Youssef Al-Qardawi, returning after 30 years of exile in Qatar, was allowed to speak at length. He, who had been stripped of his citizenship by Gamal Abdel Nasser, projected himself as the incarnation of the new era: that of Sharia law and peaceful coexistence with the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv.

Nobel Peace Prize Muhammad Al-Baradei, whom the Muslim Brotherhood opted as a spokesman during the revolution to give themselves a more liberal image, was physically assaulted by the same Brothers during the constitutional referendum and was ejected from the political scene.

The Muslim Brothers made their formal entry into politics through the creation of a new party, Freedom and Justice, with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and by imitating the profile of the Turkish AKP (The same strategy was chosen in Tunisia with the Renaissance Party).

In this context, violent attacks were perpetrated against religious minorities. Thus two Coptic churches were burned. Far from punishing the aggressors, the Prime Minister offered them a guarantee: he dismissed the governor that he had appointed in the province of Qenna, the respected General Imad Mikhael, because he is a Coptic Christian and not a Sunni Muslim.

In Libya, the Sudairi transferred armed fighters into Cyrenaica pending the green light from France and Britain to start the insurrection against the government of Tripoli. They are the ones who distributed weapons and the red-black-green star and crescent flags, symbols of the Senoussi monarchy. Their goal is to get rid of troublemaker Gaddafi and restore Prince Mohammed on the throne of what was once the United Kingdom of Libya.

It was the Gulf Cooperation Council that was the first to call for military intervention against the government of Tripoli. At the Security Council, it was the Saudi delegation which led the diplomatic manoeuvres for the Arab League to endorse the attacks by Western armies.

Colonel Qaddafi for his part declared in several speeches that there was no revolution in Cyrenaica, but that his country was facing an Al-Qaeda destabilization operation; claims that wrongly elicited smiles and which were personally confirmed to his great embarrassment by General Carter F. Ham, U.S. AfriCom commander. In charge of the initial U.S. military operations before being supplanted by NATO, General Ham was surprised at having to choose his targets based on information from spies on the ground who were known to have fought against the Coalition forces in Afghanistan in short, bin Ladens men.

Bahrain, meanwhile, presents itself as an independent kingdom since 1971. In reality, it is still a territory dominated by the British. During their rule they had chosen a Khalifa as prime minister and the position has been maintained for 40 years continuously, from the fiction of independence up until today. This is a continuum which is not displeasing to the Sudairi.

King Hamad has granted an important concession to the United States, which established its Central Command and the Fifth Fleet naval headquarters in the port of Juffair. In these circumstances, the popular demand for constitutional monarchy would imply access to real independence, the end of British rule, and the departure of U.S. forces. Such a development would certainly have a domino effect in Saudi Arabia and threaten the foundations of the system.

The Sudairi convinced the king of Bahrain to bloodily crush the hopes of the population.

On 13 March, U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates arrived in Manama to initiate the coordination of operations, which began with the entry of Saudi special forces, known as Nayef Eagles, under the command of Prince Nayef. Within days, all the symbols of protest were destroyed, including the public monument erected in Pearl Square. Hundreds of people died or went missing. Torture, which had been abandoned for almost a decade, was again widespread. Doctors and nurses who treated injured protesters were arrested in their hospitals, detained incommunicado, and brought before military tribunals.

But, the most important element in this terrible repression is the determination to transform a classic class struggle, between an entire population and a privileged class tied to foreign imperialism, into a sectarian conflict. The majority of Bahrainis are Shiites while the ruling family is Sunni. The Shias are seen as the vehicle of the revolutionary ideal of Ruhollah Khomeini, who was designated as a target. In one month, the “Nayef Eagles” razed 25 Shiite mosques and damaged 253 others.

21 of the main political protest leaders will soon be tried by a special court. They face the death penalty. More so than the Shiites, the monarchy is going after Ibrahim Sharif, the party chairman of the Waad (a secular leftist party), whom they accuse of not playing by the rules because he is a Sunni Muslim.

Having failed to destabilize Iran, the Sudairi have concentrated their attacks against Syria.

The Destabilization of Syria

In early February, when the country had yet to experience any demonstration, a page titled The Syrian Revolution 2011 was created on Facebook. It called for a “Day of Wrath on Friday 4; the call was relayed by Al Jazeera, but did not resonate anywhere. Al Jazeera deplored the lack of reaction and stigmatized Syria as the kingdom of silence (sic).

The name The Syrian Revolution 2011 is puzzling: it is in English and has the characteristic of an advertising slogan. But what genuine revolutionary would think that if he fails to realize his objectives in 2011, he would simply go back home?

Even stranger, on the day of its creation this Facebook page registered more than 80,000 friends. Such enthusiasm in a few hours, followed by nothing, suggests manipulation carried out with computer software that creates multiple accounts. Especially considering that the Syrians have a moderate level of internet use and have only had access to ADSL since January 1st.

The troubles began a month later in Deraa, a rural town located at the Jordanian border and a few miles from Israel. Vandals paid adolescents to tag anti-government graffiti on the walls of the city. Local police arrested the students and treated them as criminals to the annoyance of their families. Local notables who intended to settle the dispute were turned away by the governor. The young men were beaten. Furious, the families attacked the police station to set them free. The police responded with even more brutality, killing protesters.

President Bashar Al-Assad then intervened to punish the police and the governor a cousin whom the President had appointed to Deraa, far from the capital, to keep him out of sight. An investigation was opened to shed light on the police killings. The officials responsible for the violence have been indicted and put under bail. Ministers have apologized and offered condolences to the victims families on behalf of the government, gestures which have been publicly accepted.

Everything should have returned to normal, but suddenly masked snipers stationed on rooftops fired on both the crowd and at police, plunging the city into chaos.

Taking advantage of the confusion, the gunmen went outside the city to attack a government building that houses the intelligence services responsible for the observation of the Syrian Golan Heights territory occupied by Israel. The security services fired back to defend the building and its archives. There were deaths on both sides.

This type of confrontation has recurred. People sought protection from the army responding to the attackers who stormed the city. Three thousand men and tanks were deployed to protect the inhabitants. Ultimately, a battle has pitted the infiltrated fighters against the Syrian army in a scenario similar to the Lebanese army siege on Nahr Al-Bared. Except this time, the international media has distorted the facts and accused the Syrian army of attacking the people of Deraa.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Lattakia, a port which has long been the home of criminal organizations that specialize in maritime smuggling. These individuals received arms and money from Lebanon. They vandalized the downtown. The police intervened. On presidential order, the police were armed only with batons. The gangsters then unleashed war weapons, killing dozens of unarmed policemen.

The same scenario was repeated in the neighboring town of Banias, a town of less importance, but which is much more strategic because it is home to the main oil refinery in the country. This time the police used their arms and the confrontation turned into a pitched battle.

Finally, individuals in Homs, a major city, came to participate at a mosque and called their fundamentalist followers to demonstrate against the regime that is killing our brothers in Latakia.

Reacting to the unrest, the Syrian population descended en masse to affirm its support for the Republic. Huge demonstrations, unprecedented in the history of the country, drew hundreds of thousands of people in Damascus, Aleppo, and Latakia to the cry of God, Syria, Bashar!.

While the clashes were intensifying in the localities concerned, the police managed to stop the fighters. According to their televised confessions, they were recruited, armed, and funded by a pro-Hariri MP in Lebanon, Jamal Jarrah, which he denies.

Jamal Jarrah is a friend of Prince Bandar. His name had been cited in the case of Fatah Al-Islam in Nahr Al-Bared. He is the cousin of Ziad Jarrah, a jihadist accused by the FBI of being responsible for the hijacking of Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. He is also the cousin of the Ali and Yousef Jarrah brothers, who were arrested by the Lebanese army in November 2008 for spying for Israel.

Jamal Jarrah is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he also denies. In 1982, the Brotherhood tried to seize power in Syria. They failed and became victims of a terrible repression. Since the amnesty proclaimed by President Bashar Al-Assad it was believed that these painful memories had been forgotten. On the contrary, this branch of the Brothers is now funded by the Sudairi. The role of the Banias Brotherhood in the clashes has now been acknowledged by all.

Allegedly, Jamal Jarrah also used Lebanese Hizb ut-Tahrir militants, an Islamist organization based in London and especially active in Central Asia. Hizb ut-Tahrir, which advocates non-violence, is accused of masterminding many attacks in the Ferghana Valley. It was with the intention of curbing this group that China began its rapprochement with Russia within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Despite much debate in the House of Commons about the group, its representatives in London have never been inconvenienced and they all occupy positions as high-level executives in Anglo-American multinationals.

Last year, Hizb ut-Tahrir opened a branch in Lebanon. On that occasion, it organized a conference to which foreign dignitaries were invited, including a Russian intellectual of international repute. During discussions, the organizers called for the establishment of an Islamic state, stating that Lebanese Shiites, Druze, and even some Sunnis are not real Muslims and should be expelled like the Christians. Flabbergasted by such outrageous remarks, the Russian guest promptly gave television interviews to disassociate himself from these fanatics.

At first, Syrian security forces appeared to be overwhelmed by events. Trained in the U.S.S.R., senior officers used force without worrying about the consequences on the population. But the situation was gradually reversed. President Bashar Al-Assad took control of the situation. He changed the government. He repealed the state of emergency and dissolved the State Security Court. He granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds who were historically denied citizenship because of a disputed census. In addition, he took a number of other measures, such as repealing the fines for late payment of public utilities (electricity, etc.). In doing so, he satisfied the main demands of the population and mitigated opposition. On the Day of Rage (Friday, May 6) the overall number of protesters in the country did not reach 50,000 people out of a population of 22 million.

Specifically, Mohammed Al-Shaar, the new interior minister, called for anyone who was involed in the riots to report voluntarily to the police and be granted amnesty in exchange for complete cooperation. Over 1,100 people responded. Within days, the principal conduits were dismantled and many weapons caches seized. After five weeks of violence, calm slowly returned to almost all the troubled cities.

Among the ringleaders identified and arrested, several were Israeli or Lebanese officers and one was a politician with close ties to Saad Hariri. This attempt at destabilization has a sequel.

An open conspiracy

What was originally a plot to overthrow the Syrian regime turned into open blackmail through destabilization. Realizing that the revolt was not picking up steam, the anti-Syrian Arab press shamelessly echoed the negotiations that were in progress.

They reported the visits of negotiators going to Damascus to present the requirements of the Sudairi. If we are to believe the newspapers, the violence will not stop until Bashar Al-Assad bends to two requirements: break with Iran; and stop supporting the resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq.

International Propaganda

The Sudairi want a Western military intervention to end the Syrian resistance, along similar lines as the aggression which is unfolding in Libya. To do this, they mobilized propaganda specialists.

To everyones surprise, the satellite TV station Al Jazeera abruptly changed its editorial line. It is no secret that the station was created by David and Jean Frydman, the French billionaire brothers who were counsellors to Ytzakh Rabin and Ehud Barak. They wanted to create a medium that allowed a debate between Israelis and Arabs, since such a debate was forbidden by law in each of the countries concerned.

To set up the network, they called on the Emir of Qatar who initially acted as a cover. The drafting team was recruited among the BBCs Arabic Service, so that from the beginning the majority of journalists were leading British MI6 agents.

However, the Emir took political control of the network, which became the working arm of his monarchy. For years, Al Jazeera has indeed played a role of appeasement by promoting dialogue and understanding in the region. But the network has also contributed to trivializing the Israeli system of apartheid, as if the violent methods emplyed by IDF were merely unfortunate blunders on the part of a basically acceptable regime, whereas they constitute the essence of the regime itself.

Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt was outstanding, abruptly changed its editorial line with the Libyan case to become the mouthpiece of the Sudairi.

This about-face deserves an explanation. The attack on Libya was originally a Franco-British plan conceived in November 2010, i.e. well before the Arab Spring, in which the U.S. has been involved. Paris and London intended to settle scores with Tripoli and defend their colonial interests. Indeed, in 2005-2006, the Libya National Oil Company (NOC) had launched three international tenders for exploration and exploitation of its reserves, the largest in Africa. Colonel Gaddafi had imposed his own game rules on Western companies, forcing them to accept agreements that were hardly advantageous in their eyes. They even represented the less favourable contracts to multinationals worldwide. In addition, there were several disputes related to the cancellation of lucrative contracts for equipment and armament.

From the earliest days of the alleged Benghazi uprising, Paris and London set up the Transition National Council that France officially acknowledged as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. This Council has created a new oil company, the LOC, which was recognized by the international community at the London summit as the holder of the rights to the countrys hydrocarbons. During the gathering, it was decided that the marketing of oil stolen by the LOC would be done by … Qatar, and that the contact group of allied states would henceforth meet in Doha.

On cue, tele-evangelist Youssef Al-Qardawi started howling for the overthrow of President Bashar Al-Assad on a daily basis. Sheikh Al-Qardawi is president of the International Union of Scholars and also of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. He is the icon of the Muslim Brotherhood and preaches for an original brand of Islam, a mix of U.S. market democracy and Saudi obscurantism: he recognizes the principle of elected officials provided they undertake to enforce the Sharia in its most limited interpretation.

Youssef Al-Qardawi was joined by Saudi cleric Saleh Al-Luhaidan who urged: kill a third of Syrians so the other two-thirds may live (sic). Kill one-third of the Syrian population? That would imply slaying the Christians, Jews, Shiites, Druze and Alawite. So that two-thirds may live? That would amount to establishing a Sunni state before it cleanses its own kind.

To date, only the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, appears to resist the seductive power of the Sudairi petro-dollars. Its leader, Khaled Meshaal, not without a moments hesitation, confirmed he would remain in exile in Damascus vowing his support for President Al-Assad. With the latters help, he preempted imperialist and Zionist plans by negotiating an agreement with Fatahs Mahmoud Abbas.

Since March, Al-Jazeera, BBC Arabic, and Arabic France24 have turned into massive propaganda organs. By multiplying false testimonies and and manipulated images, they spin events to make the Syrian Republic look like the Tunisian regime of Ben Ali.

They have attempted to portray the Syrian army as a force of repression similar to the Tunisian police, one which does not hesitate to fire on peaceful citizens fighting for their freedom. These networks have even announced the death of a young soldier who refused to fire on his fellow citizens and was allegedly tortured to death by his superiors. In fact, the Syrian army is a conscript army, and the young soldier whose vital statistics had been published was actually on leave. In an interview with Syrian television, he affirmed his willingness to defend his country against foreign mercenaries.

Furthermore, these satellite channels have tried to portray several Syrian personalities as profiteers, just like Ben-Alis in-laws. They have focused their criticism on Rami Makhlouf, the richest man in the country, who is a cousin of President Al-Assad. They claimed that like the Tunisian model he demanded shares in all foreign companies wishing to do business in the country. This is absolutely unfounded and unimaginable in the Syrian context. In reality, Rami Makhlouf has enjoyed the confidence of President Al-Assad due to his role in establishing a cell phone network. Like anyone who has obtained such concessions in the world, he became a billionaire. The real question is whether or not they used their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers. The answer is no: Syriatel offers the cheapest cellular phone rates in the world!

At any rate, the prize for lying goes to Al Jazeera. The network went so far as to present images of a demonstration of 40,000 people in Moscow calling for the end of Russias support for Syria. It was actually footage shot during the annual May 1 celebrations, in which the network had planted actors to make fake statements.

The Reorganization of Prince Bandar’s networks and the Obama Administration

The counter-revolution device used by the Sudairi is up against one difficulty. Until now Prince Bandars mercenaries had fought under the banner of Osama bin Laden, whether in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya or elsewhere. Initially considered an anti-communist, Bin Laden had gradually become anti-Western. His shift was influenced by the ideology of the Clash of Civilizations that was expounded by Bernard Lewis and popularized by his student Samuel Huntington. It experienced its era of glory with the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the War on Terrorism: Bandars men fomented disorder wherever the United States wanted to intervene.

In the current period, the image of the jihadists needs to be changed. They are now expected to fight alongside NATO, as they once fought alongside the CIA in Afghanistan against the Red Army. It is therefore advisable to revert to the pro-Western discourse of the past and to find a substitute for anti-communism. This will be the ideological task of Sheikh Youssef al-Qardawi.

To facilitate this makeover, Washington has announced the official death of Osama bin Laden. With their father figure gone, the mercenaries of Prince Bandar can be mobilized under a new banner.
This redistribution of roles is accompanied by a game of musical chairs in Washington.

General David Petraeus, who as commander of CENTCOM was to deal with the men of Bandar in the Middle East, became the director of the CIA. We must therefore expect an accelerated withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan and greater involvement of Bandars people in the secret operations of the CIA.

Leon Panetta, the outgoing director of the CIA, became the secretary of defence. According to the internal agreement of the U.S. ruling class, this post should be reserved for a member of the Baker-Hamilton Commission. Panetta, like Gates, was a member. In the case of new wars, he would limit ground deployment, except for Special Forces.

In Riyadh and Washington they have already drafted the death certificate of the Arab Spring. The Sudairi can say about the Middle East what Il Gattopardo (the Leopard) used to say about Italy: everything must change so that everything can stay the same and we can remain masters.

Voltaire Network

13-23

The Muslim Community in Chile

March 4, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

By  Salma Elhamalawy, The Society of Muslim Union of Chile

omar-ali-saifuddin-mosque the-new-abu-dhabi-mosque
Views of Al Salam mosque in Santiago, Chile  

The origins of Islam in Chile are not very clear. It is known that in 1854 two “Turks” resided in the country, a situation that was repeated in the censuses of 1865 and 1875. Their country of origin is not known, just that they were natives of some territory of the immense Ottoman Empire.

According to the 1885 census, the number of “Turks” had risen to 29, but there is no precise information on their origin and their faith, since religion was not included in that census. However, the census of 1895 registered the presence of 76 “Turks”, 58 of them Muslims. They lived mainly in the north of Chile in Tarapacá, Atacama, Valparaiso, and Santiago.

In the census of 1907, the Muslims had risen to 1,498 people, all of them foreigners. They were 1,183 men and 315 women, representing only 0.04 percent of the population. This is the highest percentage of Muslims in Chile’s history.

In 1920 a new census showed that the number of Muslims had decreased to 402, with 343 men and 59 women. The greatest numbers were in Santiago and Antofagasta, with 76 in each province.

In Santiago, the first Islamic institution of Chile, the Society of Muslim Union of Chile, was founded on 25 September 1926. Later, on 16 October 1927, the Society of Mutual Aids and Islamic Charity was established.

With the 1952 census, the number of Muslims had risen again to 956. The majority lived in Santiago, with others in the provinces of Antofagasta, Coquimbo, Valparaíso, O’Higgins, Concepción, Malleco, Cautín and Valdivia, without much organization among them.

Their numbers decreased again, so that by 1960 there were only 522, with the majority of 209 living in Santiago. A decade later, the number of Muslims had increased to 1,431. However, the census did not indicate whether they were men or women, nationals or foreigners. Nevertheless, they were spread throughout the country.

Through the 1970s and ‘80s, there were no religious leaders or centers for praying. Muslims who maintained the faith met in the residence of Taufik Rumie’ Dalu, a trader of Syrian origin.

In 1990 the construction of the Al-Salam Mosque began, the first of the country. In 1995 another mosque was inaugurated in Temuco, and 1998 a new one in Iquique. Sources of the Islamic community indicate that at the moment, in Chile, there are 3,000 Muslims. Many of those are Chileans who, as a result of their conversion, have even changed their names. In spite of the small number of believers, they are not a homogenous community. The majority are Sunnis, and the rest are Shiites. Sufi groups have also arisen, but their members are mainly of non-Arab origin.

“I’ll never forget that day,” says the imam of Al-Salam Mosque, Sami Elmushtawi. “The day of the mosque’s inauguration was a day where the dreams of the Muslim community became true.” The Egyptian imam says further, “For us this was a unique opportunity, because not every day we are visited by kings, nor mosques are inaugurated either.” Apart from the fact that the King of Malaysia inaugurated the mosque on 1 October 1995, the mosque is considered one of the three best ones of Latin America, after those of Venezuela and Brazil.

The mosque, built to welcome 500 people, consists of three floors. The first has reading rooms, multipurpose hall, baths and cafeteria. The second contains the prayer hall, and the third has the office of the imam and rooms for guests.

“There are some people who come to pray during the day, but due to work the majority come to the mosque in the evening,” indicated Sami Elmushtawi.

However, Santiago is not the only place where Muslims can practice their faith. The Islamic Chilean Corporation of Temuco, founded in October 2001 in the city of Temuco, has the mission of spreading the Islamic culture and traditions. In addition, today it tries to open more channels to spread the moral values of Islam, overcoming the prejudices after 11 September 2001.

Muslim women pray at the mosque and in their houses. Chileans converted to Islam describe how they live as Muslims in a country which is dominantly Catholic, and how they are perceived. The attack of 11 September generated insults and practical jokes against them.

Karima Alberto, a 35-year-old housewife married to a Syrian merchant, has two children. She met her husband in his store. “He was the reason I converted to Islam, he told me marvelous things about Islam so I began to go to the mosque and learned more about Islam. It was like self-discovery,” she says.

Karima says that some people started treating them differently because of the 11 September attack. Although she is yearning to go to Makkah, she has already met her husband’s relatives in Damascus. “It was not difficult to stop eating pork or drink alcohol. It’s God’s will, and it’s stated in the Qur’an. Although some people think it’s a big sacrifice, I don’t look at it that way at all. Islam has given me a new vision.”

Carla Olivari, an 18-year-old student in a mixed school, says, “Now I do not feel pressured to drink alcohol at parties or to lose my virginity.”

At the age of 16, she used to pass by the mosque until one day she decided to enter. She left the mosque as a Muslim. “I feel that Allah chose me.” Her parents, who are Catholic, did not oppose, but her brother did. “When he sees me praying in my room, he calls me a lunatic.” However, she not only fasts during Ramadan, but on other days as well. “Above all, I pray for the victims in Palestine and Iraq.”

Carla wants to marry a Muslim. “My husband has to be a Muslim. I want my children to grow up in a Muslim family that teaches them important family values. Then I will get veiled permanently, not like now, when I only use it in the mosque.”

Habiba Abdullah, 40 years old, is a doctor at Roberto Del Río Hospital. She emphasizes that she carries the surname of her father, “Because Islam permits us to conserve our surname and not to be Mrs. Somebody.”

A member of a family of six brothers, she has a single son who is 18 years old. All her family is Muslim. “I was born a Muslim, and I’m proud of it. I remember my father taking us every weekend to the mosque. We would learn the Qur’an, and we would study Arabic. Although it was difficult when I first wore my veil at work, but little by little people started accepting me. Now people are not very surprised to see me with veil.”

Still, these women are a minority in Chile. “There are always people coming to the mosque out of curiosity,” states Imam Sami Elmushtawi. “Nevertheless, it is very satisfactory when I see their faces after leaving the mosque, or when they return again. Some people come to learn Arabic, and some come to learn more about Islam. But definitely it gives me greater joy that the Muslim community is increasing in Chile.”

Salma Elhamalawy contacted at: salma_elhamalawy@yahoo.com.

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Wars Sending US into Ruin

February 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Obama the peace president is fighting battles his country cannot afford

By Eric Margolis, QMI Agency

2010-02-10T142132Z_01_BTRE61913W200_RTROPTP_3_NEWS-US-AFGHANISTAN-ASSAULT

U.S. Marines walk during a dust storm in a U.S Marines camp near the town of Marjah in Nad Ali district of Helmand province, February 8, 2010.    

REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

U.S. President Barack Obama calls the $3.8-trillion US budget he just sent to Congress a major step in restoring America’s economic health.

In fact, it’s another potent fix given to a sick patient deeply addicted to the dangerous drug — debt.

More empires have fallen because of reckless finances than invasion. The latest example was the Soviet Union, which spent itself into ruin by buying tanks.

Washington’s deficit (the difference between spending and income from taxes) will reach a vertiginous $1.6 trillion US this year. The huge sum will be borrowed, mostly from China and Japan, to which the U.S. already owes $1.5 trillion. Debt service will cost $250 billion.

To spend $1 trillion, one would have had to start spending $1 million daily soon after Rome was founded and continue for 2,738 years until today.

Obama’s total military budget is nearly $1 trillion. This includes Pentagon spending of $880 billion. Add secret black programs (about $70 billion); military aid to foreign nations like Egypt, Israel and Pakistan; 225,000 military “contractors” (mercenaries and workers); and veterans’ costs. Add $75 billion (nearly four times Canada’s total defence budget) for 16 intelligence agencies with 200,000 employees.

The Afghanistan and Iraq wars ($1 trillion so far), will cost $200-250 billion more this year, including hidden and indirect expenses. Obama’s Afghan “surge” of 30,000 new troops will cost an additional $33 billion — more than Germany’s total defence budget.

No wonder U.S. defence stocks rose after Peace Laureate Obama’s “austerity” budget.

Military and intelligence spending relentlessly increase as unemployment heads over 10% and the economy bleeds red ink. America has become the Sick Man of the Western Hemisphere, an economic cripple like the defunct Ottoman Empire.

The Pentagon now accounts for half of total world military spending. Add America’s rich NATO allies and Japan, and the figure reaches 75%.

China and Russia combined spend only a paltry 10% of what the U.S. spends on defence.

There are 750 U.S. military bases in 50 nations and 255,000 service members stationed abroad, 116,000 in Europe, nearly 100,000 in Japan and South Korea.

Military spending gobbles up 19% of federal spending and at least 44% of tax revenues. During the Bush administration, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — funded by borrowing — cost each American family more than $25,000.

Like Bush, Obama is paying for America’s wars through supplemental authorizations ­– putting them on the nation’s already maxed-out credit card. Future generations will be stuck with the bill.

This presidential and congressional jiggery-pokery is the height of public dishonesty.

America’s wars ought to be paid for through taxes, not bookkeeping fraud.

If U.S. taxpayers actually had to pay for the Afghan and Iraq wars, these conflicts would end in short order.

America needs a fair, honest war tax.

The U.S. clearly has reached the point of imperial overreach. Military spending and debt-servicing are cannibalizing the U.S. economy, the real basis of its world power. Besides the late U.S.S.R., the U.S. also increasingly resembles the dying British Empire in 1945, crushed by immense debts incurred to wage the Second World War, unable to continue financing or defending the imperium, yet still imbued with imperial pretensions.

It is increasingly clear the president is not in control of America’s runaway military juggernaut. Sixty years ago, the great President Dwight Eisenhower, whose portrait I keep by my desk, warned Americans to beware of the military-industrial complex. Six decades later, partisans of permanent war and world domination have joined Wall Street’s money lenders to put America into thrall.

Increasing numbers of Americans are rightly outraged and fearful of runaway deficits. Most do not understand their political leaders are also spending their nation into ruin through unnecessary foreign wars and a vainglorious attempt to control much of the globe — what neocons call “full spectrum dominance.”

If Obama really were serious about restoring America’s economic health, he would demand military spending be slashed, quickly end the Iraq and Afghan wars and break up the nation’s giant Frankenbanks.

12-7

Movie of "Human" Ataturk Stirs Emotions in Turkey

November 10, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

By Ibon Villelabeitia

Ottoman turkey2
Ottoman Empire Turkey today

ANKARA (Reuters Life!) – A new film that portrays Turkey’s revered founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a lonely, hard-drinking man beset by doubts has whipped up emotions in a country still grappling with his legacy 70 years after his death.

Ataturk, a former soldier, founded modern Turkey as a secularist republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

Portraits of a stern-looking Ataturk adorn the walls of government offices, schools, shops and living rooms across the sprawling nation, testament to a man who has achieved the status of a demi-god among most Turks.

"Mustafa," a documentary that chronicles Ataturk’s life from childhood to his death on November 10, 1938, presents an intimate and flawed Ataturk rarely seen before, angering hardline secularists who have called for a boycott and say the film is an enemy plot to humiliate "Turkishness."

The film, which has drawn large crowds, has fed into a climate of soul searching in Turkey, where democratic reforms, social changes and an impassioned debate over secularism is shaking the pillars of the autocratic state left by Ataturk.

"This documentary is the product of an effort to humiliate Ataturk in the eyes of Turkish people," wrote columnist Yigit Bulut in the secularist Vatan newspaper.

"Do not watch it, prevent people from watching it and most importantly keep your children away from it to avoid planting seeds of Ataturk humiliation in their subconscious," he said.

On Monday, at 9.05 a.m., factory sirens wailed, traffic halted and school children stood to attention, a ritual Turks have followed for 70 years to mark the moment of his death.

"I wanted to show a more human Ataturk than the Ataturk they teach us about at school and in the military service," respected director Can Dundar said in an interview.

"Ataturk has been turned into a dogma or a statue by some of his supporters, but I wanted to show a more real Ataturk — a man who fought difficulties, loved women, who made mistakes, who was sometimes scared and achieved things," Dundar said.

Although the film contains no revelations about his life — thousands of books are published every year on Ataturk — "Mustafa" is the first film that emphasizes the private side of the deified leader over his military and nation-building feats.

Dundar shows him writing love letters during the battle of Gallipoli, where Turkish troops fought foreign occupiers.

Blending archive pictures, black and white footage and re-enactments, he is also seen dancing, drinking raki, wandering his palaces in lonely despair and becoming more withdrawn as he is overtaken by age and illness.

He died of cirrhosis of the liver in Istanbul, aged 58.

DOWN FROM A PEDESTAL

"Mustafa" has spawned extensive commentary in newspapers and on television since it opened two weeks ago. Nearly half a million movie-goers saw it in its first five days.

One Turkish newspaper said the film, with a 1-million-euro budget, had "brought Ataturk down from his pedestal."

"I found it interesting to learn more about who Ataturk was as a human being," said Gorkem Dagci, a 22-year-old engineering student. "He was not flawless, he was like the rest of us."

"Kemalists," who see themselves as true guardians of Ataturk’s legacy and have built a personality cult around him, say the film is an insult to Turkey’s national hero.

Nationalists are furious that the boy who plays Ataturk as a child is Greek. Ataturk was born in Thessaloniki (in today’s Greece) and Dundar used local children while shooting on location.

Turkcell, Turkey’s main mobile phone provider, pulled out of a sponsorship deal for fear of irritating subscribers.

After wresting Turkey’s independence from foreign armies after World War One, Ataturk set about building a country based on Western secular values. When surnames were introduced in Turkey, Mustafa Kemal was given the name Ataturk, meaning "Father of the Turks."

He introduced the Latin alphabet, gave women the right to vote, modernized the education system and removed religion from public life. But he also created an authoritarian state and left the army as guardian of order. Under the military constitution drafted in 1982, it is a crime to insult Ataturk.

Today, democratic reforms aimed at European Union membership are straining notions such as secularism, nationalism and a centralized state. The secularist old guard of generals, judges and bureaucrats is losing its grip on society as a rising and more religious-minded middle class moves into positions of power.

Battles between the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party and the secularist establishment over the use of the headscarf have revived the debate over Islam and secularism in modern Turkey.

Critics say Kemalists have turned Ataturk’s legacy into a dogma to defend the status quo. Many of his diaries and letters believed to touch on the issue of Islam and Kurdish nationalism are kept out of public view in military archives.

"The foundations of the republic are being discussed and the secularist establishment feels uneasy," author Hugh Pope said. "The debate around this film is a reflection of that but also of a maturing society that can discuss these things openly."

(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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