Middle East Recovering from Arab Spring Fever?

The Arab World: In Search of “Subjectivity”

By Vitaly BILAN (Ukraine)
oriental review

The Arab World: In Search of “Subjectivity”The greater irritation shown by the countries that currently are the Arab world’s chief “integrators” — Saudi Arabia and Qatar — during and after the “Group of Friends of Syria” conference in Tunisia points to growing problems in the Wahhabi integration project that stretches from the Atlantic to Iran. In essence, the “subjectivity” of the Arab ecumene under Saudi-Qatari patronage is currently being strength-tested in Syria.

A geopolitical proving ground

The high interest that the world has shown in the Arab Spring confirms once again that in recent years the lands of the Arab world are key to the formation of a new international geopolitical environment.

That is hardly surprising, given the significantly enhanced role of the region’s energy resources in the global energy system and, more importantly, the inability of the Arab countries to develop their political, economic and humanitarian space and create a stable foreign relations system (like that of the EU, for example).

The situation has grown worse in recent times because, whereas the Americans were calling the tune after the Cold War ended, the main US competitors in the middle East — the EU, China and Russia — stepped up their activities in the wake of three failures by Washington: Camp David-2 in 2000, the Iraq war and the policy of “total democratization” of the Arab states during the middle of the last decade.

The situation in the region was also paradoxical because the non-Arab countries were the region’s opinion leaders until the revolutionary events of last year despite the fact that the Arabs (or more precisely, the Arabic speaking peoples) constitute the vast majority of the population of the Greater Middle East and occupy the lion’s share of its territory, with a total of 21 states (or 22 if the “quasi-state” of Palestine are counted).

Those countries are Iran, Israel and, more recently, Turkey, which seems to have finally stopped beating its head against the wall of the European Union, and shifted its foreign policy vector to the Middle East, while investing itself fully in shaping the Turkic world (a subject I wrote about previously).

Among the Arab countries, only Mubarak’s Egypt and Saudi Arabia stood out. With one of the region’s most powerful armies, Egypt has traditionally been considered its key country, and Saudi Arabia holds 25% of the world’s oil reserves.

The Arab world’s disunity and weakness has led to the formation of so-called extraterritorial Islamist organizations throughout the region (some experts call them religious orders). They are unique states within states (like Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood), or a well-developed network that stretches across the entire region (like the semi-virtual al-Qaeda).

The loose rules of behavior in this energy Klondike, which is like an active volcano in constant eruption, have apparently already annoyed and prompted some excessively active rulers of Arab Gulf monarchies to make efforts at integration.

The Persian Gulf “integrators”

The further the Arab Spring develops, the more it resembles a parochial struggle for dominance in the Arab world. And the “front line” between the authoritarian and theocratic monarchist regimes (Saudi Arabia and the so-called “small monarchies” of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Qatar) and the moderate/hard-line, quasi-military, authoritarian and, most importantly, secular regimes (primarily Egypt, Syria, Libya, Algeria) becomes increasingly well delineated.

At this stage of the struggle we are witnessing the latter being “crushed” by the former, symbolic of which was the actual transformation of the League of Arab States into the Gulf Cooperation Council’s “executive branch.”

I believe there are three components to the Gulf countries’ successes.

First of all, there is, of course, the Gulf monarchies’ high level of socio-economic development as compared with the other Arab states, their relatively stable economies and their substantial financial resources derived from energy exports.

In the information age, however, that is not the most important thing. The key role in the successful struggle with their secular “frenemies” was played by the media resources (primarily satellite TV channels, Al Jazeera and Al Arabia) and social networks, which were actively employed for propaganda purposes, as well as the defined advocacy and the skillful use of the objective difficulties of other countries in the Arab world (the high level of corruption in various levels of government, the social polarization of society, the ineffective power transfer mechanism, etc.).

Of course, I should also mention the changing US strategic policy toward the region, which Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies have exploited for their own purposes. That is apparent in the Middle Eastern states’ rejection of the policy of “total democratization” and in the policy of forming an “axis of moderate states to maintain stability” in the Middle East as a counterweight to the “axis of extremism in the region” (Iran-Syria-Hezbollah).

Apparently, however, the current successes of the Saudi-Qatari integration “locomotive” in the region are only tactical in nature. And it is premature to say that the Arab integration project under the auspices of the GCC is succeeding.

There are strong reasons for that, primarily intellectual ones.

The end of the drive for integration?

In the Arab States, which have been accustomed to the charms of secular living for decades, there are increasing concerns about the spread of the Wahhabi model of social organization, which is intrinsic to the current main “integrators” of the Arab world.

Therefore, I would venture to suggest that the current successes by the Islamists in Egypt are temporary. I believe anyone who has lived there for years and knows the Egyptians well would agree with me.

The Arab League’s vote in January against the Qatar option for resolving the Syrian situation by a number of the League’s “unreliable” members, like Lebanon, Algeria, Iraq and Egypt, was revealing in that respect.

It is also important to take into account the non-Arab regional “players” (Iran, Turkey, Israel), which have different ambitions than the Arab monarchies in the region as a whole and particularly with respect to the Arab ecumene.

Although the regional integration projects initiated by Turkey and Iran also look unpromising because of the traditional distrust that the Arab street feels towards the imperial ambitions of both countries, they greatly complicate the integration attempts of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In general, despite all efforts, the Arab world has undergone no major changes towards acquiring “subjectivity.” The “drive for integration” by Doha and Riyadh is perceptibly fading due to the stubbornness of Damascus. The League of Arab states is slowly returning to normal — a pan-Arab talkfest — and the familiar outlines of the world’s leading players are coming increasingly to the fore in the region.

And that means the Arab world will apparently remain an international “proving ground” — an area where the various geopolitical projects of the world’s powerful can be worked out.

SourceNew Eastern Outlook 


Shanghai Cooperation Organization Announces “Peace Mission 2012” Exercises, Uzbekistan “No Show”

In the north of Tajikistan discussed the details of the “Peace Mission 2012”

Avaz Yuldashev

Details of the joint antiterrorist exercises of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization “Peace Mission 2012” to be held in northern Tajikistan in June this year, discussed in Sogdiana.

These issues were the main topic of discussion at the staff talks of representatives of the defense ministries of SCO member states that have passed from 4 to 8 March in Soghd garrison.

As reported in the press center of the Ministry of Defense of Tajikistan, in the exercise, which will take place in three phases, will be attended by the operational group of military units of the Armed forces of the five states that make up the SCO – Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Russia.

Soldiers of the SCO member states work out the common approaches to the use of troops in the event of increased illegal armed groups in the highlands.

As expected, will be applied new methods of detection, blocking and destruction of conventional illegal armed groups have seized, according to legend, the mountain village.

On carrying out the exercises “Peace Mission-2012” in Tajikistan, it was announced in Astana in March last year.

Since the founding of the SCO member states held several joint counterterrorism exercise under the title “Peace Mission”.

The first exercise took place in August 2003, in which no part of Uzbekistan: the first phase was carried out in Kazakhstan, the second – in China. In the past year in the Eastern Military District of Russia held a “Peace Mission-2011”.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan are the Middle East Axis of Evil

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan are the Middle East Axis of Evil

Abdul Nishapuri

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan are the Axis of Evil in the Middle East.

U.S. President George W. Bush coined the term “Axis of Evil” when refering to North Korea, Iran, and Iraq in his 2002 State of the Union Address. There are reasons to believe that like several of his strategic blunders (e.g., reliance on Pakistan army to neutralize the Al Qaeda threat, invasion of Iraq etc), Bush was much off the mark in his assessment of the Axis of Evil, an error which was also enabled by a powerful Saudi-Ikhwan (Saudi-Muslim Brotherhood) lobby in Washington, D.C.

If today, we have unrest in Afghanistan and Iraq and uncertain situations in Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen, the discreet role of three counties is hard to ignore: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. Together these three countries constitute the real axis of evil, the Middle East Axis of Evil.

We cannot hope to have democracy, peace and stability in the Middle East and the entire world unless we address the lack of democracy and active support for Jihadi Salafi-Ikhwan terrorism by these three countries.

Let me explain the above hypotheses with a few examples:

1. The September 11, 2001 terrorists were mostly of Saudi Arabian origin, inspired by the Jihadi-Salafi ideology of a Saudi citizen (Osama in Laden) and an Egyptian Ikhwani Jihadist (Ayman Al Zawahiri, current head of AQ).

2. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are two major sources of Al Qaeda infiltrators into Iraq, providing the largest number of Salafi-Ikhwan suicide bombers who have killed thousands of Shias, Sunnis (Hanafis), Christians and Kurds in Iraq in the last several years.

3. Qatar’s Al Jazeera is known for spreading Salafi-Ikhwan propaganda in the Middle East in a subtle and refined manner. While its English news channel is known for selective morality and dishonest twists (e.g., silence on Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, noise on Syria), the Arabic channel is much more blatant in its Salafi-Ikhwan psy-war and tactics. For all practical purposes, Al Jazeera is the major propaganda wing for the Middle East Axis of Evil.

4. Qatar and Saudi Arabia played a major role in providing financial and logistic support (including ammunition) to Libyan rebels. However, instead of supporting moderate Sunni rebels, Qatar and Saudi Arabia supported Salafi-Ikhwan militants (in other words: Al Qaeda) which now are a major source of threat to democracy and human rights in independent Libya.

5. A similar role was played by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to support the Salafists and Ikhwanites in Egypt, an investment that paid off. Today, Ikhwan and Salafis constitute majority of seats in Egypt’s newly elected parliament.

6. It’s the same axis of evil (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan) which is currently pumping millions of dollars and smuggling latest weapons to Jihadi-Salafi and Ikhwan militants in Syria, who have hijacked and tarnshied Syrian people’s legitimate struggle against an authoritarian dictator (Bashar Al Assad). Recently, Al Qaeda’s head Ayman Al Zawahiri and his affiliates in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Palestine’s Hamas and Pakistan’s Sipah-e-Sahaba/Taliban have expressed explicit support for the Salafi-Ikhwan militants in Syria. The Salafi-Ikhwan militants have killed thousands of Shia Muslims (including Alevites and Isna Asharis), Sunni Muslims (Hanafis and Shafeis) and Christians in the last few months.

7. It’s the same Axis of Evil which has unsuccessfully attempted to brutally suppress the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain. On 9 March 2012, almost one third of Bahrain’s population (about 200,000 people) marched in Bahrain to protest against Saudi-Qatar backed King Hamad regime. More than 75 Bahrainis have been killed so far by the Saudi-Qatar forces deployed to protect the current dictator of Bahrain. US, UK and other Western countries are suffering major public relations setback due to their silence on Saudi-Qatar brutalities in Bahrain.

8. Saudi Arabia is currently busy in suppressing not only women and pro-democracy Sunnis but also millions of Shias in its Eastern province. Dozens of Shias have been killed and hundreds arrested. Al Jazeera has maintained silence on the pro-democracy protests and brutal suppression in Saudi Arabia. Once again, thanks to Salafi-Ikhwan lobby in Washington, D.C., the West is silent at the cost of its own credibility.

9. It’s the same anti-Sunni (Salafis represent only one per cent of Sunni Muslims), anti-Shia axis of evil which is creating an artificial divide between Sunnias and Shias in order to augment recruitment for the Salafi-Ikhwan Al Qaeda movement. The same trio is unnecessarily threatening Iran (after invasion of Iran through Saddam Hussain in 1980s), which is creating more instability in the region.

10. Plan to re-install the Taliban regime in Kabul: Saudi Arabia and Qatar are actively lobbying in Washington, D.C. and other Western capitals to re-install brutal Taliban regime in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the US and NATO forces in the near future. Their aim is to use (abuse) Afghanistan as a main station from where a violent Salafi-Ikhwan ideology will be propagated in neighbouring countries and also internationally. In this effort, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are actively supported by Pakistan’s military establishment which remains dependent on Saudi-Jihadist ideology for their own Jihadist projects and also receives generous financial support from the Saudi Kingdom. A Taliban diplomatic office (informal embassy) has been set up in Qatar in order to formalize the handing over of Kabul to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

11. Saudi Arabian government through its amply funded and well connected Islamist Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) Lobby in Washington, D.C. is forcing the US government to release Al Qaeda-Taliban terrorist. Apparently, USA has agreed to free five most dangerous terrorists who are soon to be transferred from the Guantanamo Bay military prison to the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Five top terrorists include: Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Nori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Mohammad Nabi Omari. These five people are the killers of thousands of Shiite Muslims, Tajiks and Hazaras of Afghanistan, and are currently held by the U.S. in the Guantanamo Bay military prison.In Qatar, these terrorist will also be reunited with their families. At least one has been accused in the massacre of thousands of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan. His name is Mullah Norullah Nori, described in U.S. military documents as one of the most significant former Taliban officials held at Guantanamo. He was a senior Taliban commander in Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001. He previously was a Taliban governor in two provinces Northern Afghanistan, where he has been accused of ordering the massacre of thousands of Shiite Muslims including those of Hazara Shia and non-Hazara Shia backgrounds.

Western Donor Nations Working To Topple the Malawi Government.

[The tables are turning on Western schemes to “weaponize” the people of  all African nations, a process of organizing the disadvantaged and the hungry into angry mobs and aiming them at the government.  Many cautious leaders are taking actions to limit this ability of Western NGOs to stir-up local and national dissent.  The Western (American) plot involves a circular method of attack, that of using State Dept. trained political “activists” to agitate and to organize mobs.  This process was plainly revealed in one leaked Egyptian embassy document (SEE:  secret US document discloses support for protesters), which lists several secret meetings in the United States, between US Gov representatives and leaders of Egyptian “activist” groups.

“April 6 activist xxxxxxxxxxxx expressed satisfaction with his participation in the December 3-5 \”Alliance of Youth Movements Summit,\” and with his subsequent meetings with USG officials, on Capitol Hill, and with think tanks.”

This agitation process is disguised as an “educational” activity, intended to help disadvantaged populations to create their own “democracy.”  Any effort to defend the government against these organized attacks is branded as anti-democratic and is used to force an American reconsideration of foreign aid.  By making foreign aid conditional upon acceptance of this State Dept. subversion, it becomes a circular mechanism for destroying the very government it was allegedly helping.  The helping hand is revealed as a closed fist.  When it becomes apparent that the “aid” given is also a weapon, then the shit begins to hit the fan.  Aid is then reduced or cut-off, thereby agitating the locals by its deprivation.  Giving something, then taking it away, is a method for focusing local anger which was previously unfocused and diffuse.]

Lilongwe – Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has told Western donors and multilateral agencies that say they are not pleased with his policies to withdraw from the country.

President Mutharika made the remarks while inaugurating a road the government constructed in the tea-growing area of Thyolo.

He said intelligence reports have indicated that some Western donor nations were working with local civil society organisations to topple his government.

“If any donor wants to withdraw from this country let them withdraw,” said an angry Mutharika.

“If they want to (leave) this country let them pack up and go.”

He urged the youth of his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to oppose plans by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to meddle in the country’s internal political and economic affairs.

“I’ll not accept this nonsense anymore; if donors say this is not a democracy, to hell with you,” he emphasised.

The President urged DPP members to take to the streets to demonstrate their dismay with personal insults made against him by opposition groups.

NGOs and opposition groups are understood to be planning demonstrations against President Mutharika’s rule.

The Malawi leader said, “I’m tired of being insulted. I will not accept this nonsense anymore.

“Even the donors won’t allow anybody to insult their leaders in their countries.”

He reiterated his earlier stance that the government would not devalue the Malawi kwacha “to please the Washington Consensus”.

The IMF has been demanding the devaluation of the kwacha further from the 10 percent devaluation of October 2011.

“Now they want us to devalue by 40 percent, I won’t allow devaluing the kwacha so that you suffer in order to please Washington.

“When Washington smiles, you shed tears; I won’t allow that,” he said.

Malawi’s relationship with the West has been on the wane for about a year now. Mutharika last year expelled the British Ambassador to the Southern African country after the latter reportedly insulted the Head of State.

Britain responded by expelling Malawi’s top envoy in London and subsequently convinced donors to pull general budgetary support to the country.

This has led to a sudden downturn in economic fortunes, which opposition groups have used to mount anti-Mutharika campaigns.