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THE CRUEL REGIMES OF ARABDOM

June 7, 2001

"...our friends the Saudis are second only to the merciless Saddam when it comes to butchering their people in public."

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 6/07: There are huge cultural gulfs between East and West, old world and new world. And of course the West is extraordinarily dominant these days not only it terms of financial and military might, but also in terms of cultural influence and "moral" standards. That said, the reasons for such gross weakness in the Arab world today, a civilization approximately the same in population size as Europe or the United States and with great natural and human wealth, are multiple and complex. But at core the weakness in today's Arab world stem from two major factors: First, the grossly backward political systems in these countries -- which then of course perpetuate backward social, financial, and legal systems. Second, the confused and fractured national boundaries that so unnaturally and tragically divide the people of the area from one another. Both of these major factors have deep roots which have been grown both from within and from without. In relatively recent history, the search for Arab unity at the time of liberation from Ottoman domination never came to fruition.

Starting with the Paris Peace Conference in 1918, "The Peace To End All Peace," the dominant West carved the region into false boundaries, competing cliques, and "client regime" families which in many cases still are in place today. This then is the backdrop to Robert Fisk's courageous article in yesterday's Independent. We'll have more to say about the outrageous imprisonment of Saadeddin Ibrahim in Cairo in the future. Right now it should be mentioned that the latest reports are that the Tel Aviv suicide bomber a few days ago had been given a special visa by the Israelis in Jordan to visit Israel. Hmmm...especially with the Sharon clique now in charge of the Army, Mossad, and Shinbet and if one has just a little historical memory going back to such things as the Levon Affair in the early 1950s and the 1982 London shooting of the Israeli Ambassador that provided Sharon the excuse he so desperately was seeking for launching the War on Lebanon at that time.

"All these cruel Muslim regimes abuse the people of the Middle East 'What about the mercy and compassion which are among the first words of the Koran?'"

By Robert Fisk

[The Independent - 6 June 2001] Why, I ask myself, am I spending more time than ever in 25 years covering the Middle East cataloguing the barbarity, torture, hangings, head-choppings and human rights abuses of the region? No, I'm not talking about Israel's death squads, its vile torture apparatus at the Russian compound in Jerusalem and its shoot-to-kill army, some units of which are turning into an indisciplined rabble. I'm talking about the blind, cruel, vindictive Muslim regimes of the Middle East; because I'm beginning to ask myself if there isn't something uniquely terrible about the way they treat their people, the way they kill their people, the way they abuse them and flog them and string them up.

Let's start low-key. Last month, an Egyptian court sentenced Saadeddin Ibrahim, the Cairo intellectual and human-rights campaigner, to seven years in prison for spreading "false reports" abroad about electoral fraud and religious persecution and for receiving illegal foreign donations. Now I happen to know Saadeddin. He is a palpably honest, decent man. At his hearing in a state security court, for heaven's sake every charge against him was disproved with documentary evidence. The so-called "foreign donations" came again, don't gasp from the European Union. But he got seven years.

Now let's go to the other end of horror. The scene is the Tehran suburb of Khak e-Sefid on 19 March this year. A young woman called Fariba Tajiani Emamqoli has been sentenced to death for drug-trafficking, along with four other men. She is led out in front of a baying crowd, blindfolded and manacled, begging desperately for her life. But senior police officers ignore her. Along with her four male companions, 30-year-old Fariba is strung up from one of five cranes and spends 10 minutes choking to death before a crowd of 500 people along with others who had gathered to watch from their rooftops who shriek "death to dealers" as her body sways above the streets.

Down in Saudi Arabia, where public execution is a fine art, they're well on their way to meeting last year's rich crop of 113 public beheadings. A week ago, three Saudis Sotam al-Dhouibi, Majid al-Dahiri and Hamad al-Matiri were beheaded with a sword in Qassim province for theft and male rape. Guilty or not and the kingdom's trials are a mockery of justice our friends the Saudis are second only to the merciless Saddam when it comes to butchering their people in public. Then there's the other refinement of Saudi sadism: "cross amputation" (the chopping off of right hand and left foot for supposed crimes), a cruelty visited upon seven men, three of them Nigerian, in the first half of last year.

Yes of course, Saddam still tops the cruelty league women are hanged on Tuesdays (with Thursdays as an optional extra if the hangman is too busy the previous Tuesday) in Baghdad. And Saddam prefers to do most of his massacres in private. The Syrians do their hanging in private and only now are the political prisons beginning to open. One of their most recent liberations was that of a journalist who had spent 30 years in a dungeon. Even little Lebanon is now accused by Amnesty International of the increasing use of torture, with one report recording the use of the back-breaking "German chair" a filthy instrument originally perfected by the East Germans in Damascus on victims.

What does it represent, this behaviour by the states of the Middle East? Yes, I know the Americans are poisoning, frying or shooting their condemned prisoners at a ferocious rate. And of course, I know about "sharia" law. I've heard more than I want to know about its severity. But what about the mercy and compassion that are among the first words of the Koran? In Arab and Iranian homes, Muslim families exhibit infinitely more compassion and love than Westerners. They don't send their elderly and incurably sick to die in nursing institutions. The old and the fatally ill spend their last days in their family homes, cared for to the end by relatives. Shame on us. But how come the same men and women can stand on a rooftop to scream at a woman strangling on a rope?

Chibli Mallat, a prominent member of the anti-death penalty commission in Lebanon, dismisses the idea that brutality in the region is rooted in the "soul of the people", even though Hajaj ben Youssis, the ancient ruler of Baghdad, wrote about "pure power", a tradition that Saddam has followed. And Yasser Arafat the "super-terrorist" who became a "super-statesman" and is about to be turned into a "super-terrorist" again certainly learnt Ben Youssis's principles when he needed them. When Arafat had a collaborator, Alanbadi Odeh, publicly shot in Nablus on 13 January this year, there were the usual delighted shouts from a mob of Palestinians that "God is great" to send the man on his way to eternity.

Chibli doesn't think this is endemic. "I think we lost a lot of our liberalism in the 1930s under colonialism because the (British and French) mandatory powers distorted the meaning of democracy," he says. "In Syria and Egypt, the decent, democratic liberals couldn't get into government. So people learned that they had to use the 'putsch'. And so, after the colonial powers, we got dictators. And they want power. Today, one of our Lebanese judges, Hassan Kawas, has become revolted by judicial killings. He's against them now. We want to put our compassion into legal means to end this. But we are blocked by governments that want strong power."

I wonder about this. I wonder not so much about power but about the dark, undocumented complicity of dictators with their people. The Palestinian mob that screamed with joy at Odeh's execution loved Arafat. When Tunisia targets its human-rights defenders, the people are silent. When human-rights groups are put on trial in Morocco, the people are silent. Lebanon, which is not a dictatorship and hosts tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, has reportedly sent 300 asylum-seekers back to their countries of origin in the past nine months, including an Iraqi, Ammar Kazim Shams, who was recognised as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Jordan currently wants to send Abdul al-Ridha al-Ibrahimi, an Iraqi army deserter whose family have already been tormented by Saddam's thugs back to Baghdad. If they do, say goodbye to Mr Al-Ibrahimi.

And so it goes on. And for the most part unless it happens to involve Saddam the Americans and British and French, those supposed upholders of human rights, stay silent. Why? But even more to the point, how did the Muslim Middle East produce this cruelty? Meanwhile, before you go, just one more execution. A 35-year-old Iranian woman was stoned to death in a Tehran jail this month for allegedly acting in obscene films. But not to worry. She was buried up to her shoulders for execution so the stones could not touch her breasts. And only the prison guards watched.


June 2001


Magazine






TURKEY HEADING TOWARD "SOCIAL EXPLOSION"...i.e., "REVOLUTION"
(June 30, 2001)
In geostrategic and military terms, the unnamed U.S.-Israel-Turkish military alliance that emerged full-blown during the last decade -- of course with the Turks using the "peace process" as the excuse for such close relations between Turkey and Israel -- was one of the most important developments.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONS EMERGING
(June 29, 2001)
In a sense there is an arms race under way at this time of a different kind -- a race for whether weapons of mass destruction will be used in a serious and ongoing way should a new war break out first in the Subcontinent over Kashmir or in the Middle East over Palestine.

LABOR AND LIKUD MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT - MER FLASHBACK
(June 29, 2001)
Long before what was to happen with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (remember him?), MER was informing who he really was and what to really expect. Same with regard to Shimon Peres. Expect the same cutting-edge information and analysis in the months ahead.

Washington Scene: THE HISTORICAL MOMENT
(June 27, 2001)
The Middle East region totters now between further repression and oppression, terrorism and war. The outcome in the short term is indeterminate of course. But the winds and directions are clear; however much camaflouged by the politicians and the usually gullible mass media.

THREATCON DELTA ORDERED TODAY
(June 22, 2001)
One day they will probably get Osama bin-Laden, former confident of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, former CIA asset against the once mighty Soviet Empire, now arch nemesis of the American Empire.

"ALGERIA IS IN CRISIS"
(June 22, 2001)
"The Battle of Algiers" left North Africa biggest country terribly bloodied and traumatized. This time it was French imperialism and the French military that did the dirty horrifying deeds.

EGYPT ARMING WHILE REGIME IS SHAKING
(June 21, 2001)
Arab States, including Egypt, are arming at a growing pace. Even combined they are still no match to defeat Israel. But their detterence capabilities are growing, they might be able to seriously bloody Israel in years ahead...

ARAFAT'S FLUNKIES
(June 20, 2001)
There are many reasons the Palestinian people are suffering so terribly, worse by the year in fact, and are now endangered by the possibility of a second "nakba" (disaster).

"THE SECOND HALF OF 1948"
(June 20, 2001)
Official declarations and many reports in the Israeli media indicate that the Israeli military and political leadership are aiming, eventually, at a total destruction of the Palestinian authority, and, with it, the process of Oslo, which is now dominantly considered by them a 'historical mistake'.

TELEGRAPHING WHAT I S TO COME
(June 19, 2001)
Arafat had two roles he had been assigned. That's why none other than former "terrorist" Arafat was the most frequent visitor to the White House during the years 1993 through 2000.

SHARON'S LONG MARCH: NEXT TO WASHINGTON THEN TO THE ATTACK
(June 19, 2001)
Ariel Sharon is proving what others before him, including Generals Patton and MacArthur of American legend, learned about modern warfare. There's a heavy messure of political theatrics and personal legend involved in making war, more so now than ever in this age of instant TV and the Intenet.

SHARON Coming To US Again To Coordinate War Plans
(June 19, 2001)
Sharon is coming to the States again next week. Only a firm "absolutely not" from the Americans is likely now to prevent much further brutal subjugation of the Palestinians; quite possibly the exiling again of Yasser Arafat.

SON OF IMPORTANT ISRAELI FAMILY REFUSES OCCUPATION MILITARY SERVICE
(June 17, 2001)
Coordinated non-violent but serious civil disobedience -- there in the Middle East, in Europe, and in the United States -- that is what today's situation desperately calls out for.

ARIEL SHARON - WAR CRIMINAL?
(June 15, 2001)
Years ago the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, was brought before a mock international court through a joint effort of Home Box Office (HBO) in the USA and a major British TV network. The question before the court was whether Kurt Waldheim was possibly guilty of war crimes ...

PREPARING FOR DESTRUCTION
(June 15, 2001)
"If a cease-fire does indeed take hold, then all the better... If Arafat rejects the document or professes to accept it, but does not fulfill his part of the bargain, Israel will win more points in the court of world opinion and a more conducive political backdrop will be created for a military response to Palestinian violence."

ALGERIANS FIRE INTO DEMONSTRATING CROWDS TODAY
(June 14, 2001)
The Berbers in Algeria, the brutal civil war in Sudan, the Palestinians in the once Holy Land, the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, the ongoing Kashmir crisis -- all conflicts exploding throughout the greater Middle East region today in 2001, all conflicts the legacy of Western colonial policies of yesteryear and American imperial policies of today.

MARCH TO WAR CONTINUES: ISRAEL WARNS IRAN AGAIN
(June 14, 2001)
There are major historical and military reasons why Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton (representing of course huge constituencies who at the time pushed them to pursue the policies they did) pressed Yasser Arafat so hard to sign an agreement at Camp David.

THE SO-CALLED "AGREEMENT"
(June 13, 2001)
There is no real "agreement". There is a dictate. Yasser Arafat is in no position anymore to do much other than what his American handlers tell him to do; a day of reckoning he brought on himself by so many mistakes and so much corruption over such a long time.

Another Muslim Rep Foolishly Plays To The Cameras On Behalf of the Regimes
(June 13, 2001)
A week ago outside the State Department one of the latest Muslim organization reps to grab for the cameras -- Khalid Turaani -- declared in loud tones how the time had finally come for "civil disobedience" and how he and the other leaders of the assembled Muslim "client organizations" were going to get arrested in a peaceful protest ...

HASHEMITE KINGDOM CLOSES BORDERS TO PALESTINIANS
(June 13, 2001)
The Hashemite Regime has always, right from the start, been in deep collusion with the Israelis and since World War II with the CIA. This latest step to close off Jordan to Palestinians -- to essentially put a seal on the jar which now contains the Palestinians ...

CIA TELLS ARAFAT WHAT HE HAS TO DO AND WHAT IT WILL DO FOR HIM
(June 12, 2001)
When the Director of the CIA is himself involved so extensively, goes on site half way around the world for a lengthy stay, and the situation is so critical he has to publicly acknowledge his role ...

CLOVIS MAKSOUD DID IT TWENTY YEARS AGO, APPEARING WITH SHIMON PERES
(June 11, 2001)
Those who know Raghida Dergham know what she is, and its certainly not a truly independent journalist. She's been an opportunist for a very long time, and she's used her sexuality to climb the ladder with backing from one influential Arab diplomat or royal along the way for a long time now.

CALAMITY AHEAD
(June 10, 2001)
"A whole nation is now huddled around one tribal bonfire to lament its bitter fate, mourn its dead and ignore the dead of the other side. As usual, it views itself as the victim, turns the enemy into Satan and waits, inactive and bravely unthinking, for the calamity that is about to befall it and for which it is in no small measure to blame."

WAR POSSIBLE WARNS TOP SAUDI
(June 10, 2001)
Normally one of the last places one would turn for truthfulness, integrity, and information would be the Saudi royal family. Currently headed by a former playboy who drank, gambled, and womanized his life away in Beirut and London -- before assuming the throne -- it is the Saudi "royal family which epitomizes the "client regime" realities that have so fractured, weakened, and prostrated the whole region once known as "the Arab world."

CHRISTIAN LEADERS: WRONG TIME, WRONG ADVICE, WRONG REASONS
(June 8, 2001)
"Be assured of our prayers for you and the President and all others in the Administration as you seek to forge a fair and just policy for the two peoples and three faiths who share a common religious heritage in the land we hold as holy."

THE CRUEL REGIMES OF ARABDOM
(June 7, 2001)
There are huge cultural gulfs between East and West, old world and new world. And of course the West is extraordinarily dominant these days not only it terms of financial and military might, but also in terms of cultural influence and "moral" standards.

SHARON'S RISE
(June 7, 2001)
"In reality the Zionist and Hashemite leaderships continue to plot how to control and repress the Palestinians in ever more crafty and ever more duplicitous ways."

ARAFAT 4 YEARS AGO - MER FLASHBACK
(June 6, 2001)
Last year MER first carried information about the increasingly close CIA, Shinbet, and Mossad connections with Yasser Arafat's "Palestinian Authority".

MUSLIM ORGS EMBARRASS THEMSELVES AT STATE DEPT
(June 5, 2001)
With much press fanfare (they just love to play to the cameras) leaders of half a dozen Muslim American groups held a press conference gathering across from the State Department today.

DESPITE THE LULL, WAR CLOUDS LOOM
(June 4, 2001)
Despite the lull, there are many ominous signs of impending major attacks against the occupied Palestinians about to take place; and there is a real possibility of regional war.

EGYPTIANS THREATEN WAR!
(June 4, 2001)
When the American Secretary of State cancels long-planned foreign travel and publicly warns of the "abyss" from which "there may no return" you can bet the situation behind-the-scenes is far more dangerous and explosive than is publicly realized.

SHARON'S HAWKS PLAN FOR WAR
(June 3, 2001)
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor, reports on Israel's growing mood for full-scale hostilities in the aftermath of 17 deaths in a nightclub suicide bomb attack

24-HOURS AND COUNTING
(June 2, 2001)
"Americans should not travel to Gaza at the present time and those who live there should depart to a safer location when they can do so." U.S. Embassy, Israel

HATED RAJOUB GETS READY
(June 2, 2001)
With the days of Yasser Arafat maybe coming to an end one way or another, with Feisal Husseini passed from the scene, with the other Palestinian tough guys bottled up in Gaza, the frontrunner strong man to "control" the Palestinian people throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem appears to be Jibril Rajoub.

ARAFAT'S LEGACY
(June 2, 2001)
Yasser Arafat was hired, courted, and well-paid to control his own people and lead them, however much they tried to resist, to the Apartheid-style arrangement the Israelis always had in mind with the so-called "Oslo Peace Process".

ISRAELIS PLANNING BLITZKRIEG?
(June 1, 2001)
For a long time now we have been desperately warning about what the true Israeli intentions are. We have also been warning that the Palestinians are not at all prepared for these eventualities, neither with the terrible leadership provided by the "Palestinian Authority" nor for the world-wide information and public relations battle that accompanies all major developments in our world these days.




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