Truly it is a ghost story produced by Hollywood , some movie that you have watched previously and that has suddenly materialized .The Egyptian soldiers at the borders of Rafah , Sinai were slaughtered while breaking their fast at dusk. Those who slaughtered them while they had put away their weapons to eat were presumably extremists belonging to a fanatic faction that sneaked from Gaza to Egypt . Fifteen Egyptian soldiers were thus massacred by God knows who and God knows for what purpose .
The immediate reaction on behalf of Egypt was to close the Rafah border and to shell the tunnels that linked Gaza to Egypt causing their destruction which might have been the original purpose of the whole slaughter operation . The second part of the horror movie says that while the killers were escaping on board of an Egyptian tank they had seized – the Israelis shelled their tank killing 6 of them and then delivered the dead bodies to the Egyptian authorities, the reports say that number of them were wearing special kind of shoes .
The primary suspect in this bloody Hollywood movie- according to rumors – is HAMAS since the criminals apparently came from Gaza . The scenario says that the Qatari prince paid one billion dollars to HAMAS and that the whole operation was planned in Dawha while another version said that the criminals belong to HAMAS but had defected from the Haniyya /Mash’al branch in protest to the normalization and negotiation process in which HAMAS has engaged pushed by the Egyptian authorities . For this reason the defectors sought to poison the HAMAS/Egyptian newly promoted relations by killing the soldiers .
Another version of the scenario of the Horror Movies said that the Israeli Mossad is the primary suspect in all this blood bath and it is Israel that will reap the fruits of such action. Which scenario to believe we don’t know anymore , we don’t know anymore who is Israeli and who is not , we cannot tell Israel from HAMAS from Qatar from the Miltary Council or the Muslim Brothers , we don’t know who is who , and the killings go on .
Everywhere the killings go on in the same way . All have become Israelis all are behaving like Israel and the Turks and the Libyans and so many others . What Israel did or was doing or is doing must be embraced by all , embraced and repeated . This way all will become Israel and Israel will no more be singled out .We have Israel in Islam and Israel in the Arab Nation and Israel in the Gulf and Israel everywhere , what normalization can exceed this kind of behavior?.The Great Israel of God finally has come into existence . Finally the dream has come true, we thought that the dream will never come true but it did , it is materializing right here in front of our eyes . No need to expand and send the Israeli army to the four corners of the world , just work on breeding people the same way Israelis are bred and Israel will be everywhere.
Who would have thought that the HAMAS movement will have its name mixed with all this bloody mess ? A year ago we would have never believed such crap , but now – since HAMAS has opened up to corrupt Gulf countries , like Qatar, and to corrupt Turkey and sided openly against Syria while Palestinians are fighting Syrians instead of liberating Palestine – we don’t know what to say and we expect the worse from the organization that opted for sectarian alignment and division instead of opting for Resistance making terrorism an alternative to Jihad .
All this Rafah story tells nothing good about how HAMAS will end up and how it will disintegrate because it has shifted from its original role and duty into doing the duty of another, of an enemy in this instance . This disintegration will not happen without disseminating the bad odors of corruption and treason . Thus the Hollywood bloody horror movie will continue and will involve more and more people since all are being initiated into the Israeli role of kill and kill and fear none. These are the special ghosts of our era that go around with special shoes .
Egyptian air force attacks in Sinai for first time since 1973
August 2012 began violently in the Sinai Peninsula. Glowing leftovers from the violence that took place last February erupted into full flames, causing unprecedented attacks from Israel and Egypt. On August 5, Global Jihad militants attacked an Egyptian outpost near Gaza, killed 16 Egyptians, and stole several vehicles. One of the stolen Fahd Armored Personnel Carriers was hit in the subsequent Israeli air strike. A second APC exploded before it could enter Israeli territory, at the Kerem Shalom Border Terminal, which connects Israel, Gaza and Egypt; the IDF released an aerial video of the incident. On August 8, Egypt responded with air strikes close to the border with Israel, killing over twenty suspected Islamic militants, as reported by state news agency Ahram. This is the first time the Egyptian air force attacks in Sinai since 1973. The peace agreement between the countries forces Egypt to coordinate with Israel military moves in Sinai. The ongoing insurrection in Sinai is gathering momentum to such an extent that Egypt’s new Islamist government and the Zionists are cooperating in ways they never thought possible. Winds of change enliven slow-burning coals.
Sinai is burning. In the early hours of February 5, 2012, an explosion hit the gas pipeline running from Egypt to Israel west of the Mediterranean resort town of al-Arish. Consequently, the supply of Egyptian gas to Israel and Jordan was cut. In the last year, this pipeline was attacked twelve times and experienced several cuts. The recurrence of the event at the amazing average rate of once a month is not surprising. Due to the peace agreement with Israel, the Egyptian army cannot enter the area and the police are in charge of security. However, following Mubarak’s fall in February 2011, police presence thinned out across Egypt. This abandonment of the Sinai Peninsula by the Egyptians combines with other facts into a perfect formula for the creation of the recent violence. First, the Bedouins living in the area resent their being marginalized within Egypt. Second, the gas is supplied to Israel at a large discount in a twenty-year long contract signed by Mubarak’s government, while the gas price to Jordan was doubled last October. Additional reasons for violence exist also on the other side of the border.
Derived from an Arabic word for semi-arid desert, “Bedouin” is a term designating members of a large number of Arab tribes. Egypt features a 400,000 Bedouin population, mainly in the Sinai Peninsula; while Israel has 200,000 Bedouin citizens living in the Negev Desert and a smaller number in the Galilee. In Sinai, they kept mainly loyal to their traditional ways, while in Israel the situation was different. Over 60% of Israel is within the Negev Desert; wandering Bedouins inhabited the area for thousands of years, their ancestors were traders along the romantic Silk Road. Since the mid-19th century there has been a slow process of settling down among them. In the 1950s, the Israeli army began limiting the Bedouins freedom, attempting to concentrate them in certain areas. Since the 1970s, the Israeli Administration began creating Bedouin towns, Rahat being the largest one. Nowadays there are roughly fifty Bedouin settlements in the Negev with a total of some two hundred thousand inhabitants, roughly half of them in recognized towns and villages.
Recognized towns and villages get infrastructure and services from the state, while unrecognized settlements get nothing. In exchange for recognition, the Israeli Administration often asks for relocation and for proper verification of ownership. Now, Israel’s law system is incomplete. Where laws do not exist, Israeli courts often refer to British Mandate and Ottoman Empire laws. In this case, Israel decided to work according to the Ottoman Empire law here, demanding from the Bedouins Ottoman “Kushan” ownership papers. Not one Bedouin has such documents. The result is violent frictions each time the Israeli Administration attempts to regularize (a polite way of referring to “state-theft”) the situation of a given tribe. This is to the extent that a “Bedouin Intifada” is not a new concept; in August 2010 violence erupted between Bedouins and the Israeli police. The latter failed to enter a Bedouin settlement after discovering that the Bedouins were better armed than them.
The Bedouins’ situation in Israel is complex. They are citizens, and as such they may volunteer for service in the IDF (though most Jewish citizens are forced to enroll-I use here the definitions used by the Israeli Ministry of Interior). Many Bedouins volunteer for the IDF, but—unlike Druze citizens—they are restricted almost completely to service within one unit. It is called the Desert Rangers Battalion (“Gdud Siur Midbari” in Hebrew), which is part of the Givati Infantry Brigade. Often called the “Minorities Unit,” it includes also Circassian and even a few Palestinian soldiers. All of them must volunteer to the IDF. These soldiers serve mainly as trackers and pathfinders, and often are attached ad hoc to other military units while those attempt to move across the desert. The main point is that they are heavily monitored and kept away from strategic units and issues. They are not trusted. Their skills serve them also outside the army, where they are known for being able to cross the well-defended, fenced border between Israel and Egypt at will. This is when the two stories combine.
Interlude: Sinai? Who Cares!
Often, historical events are sanitized to fit actual political sensibilities. The original Santa Claus originated in Turkey, before it became a Muslim state. Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose provides astonishing views into Christian monasteries and libraries. Most people will place such organizations in Europe; yet, the world’s second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts is in Saint Catherine’s Monastery, in southern Sinai. Only the Vatican collection surpasses it.
This is a reminder than the Sinai Peninsula is a vastly underdeveloped area with an extraordinary potential. Beyond its culture, it offers also astonishing coasts, which had been only partially developed. This is even before mentioning the area still has tremendous importance in the transport of oil and gas. Overall, it may well support an independent state.
Muslim Egypt, Zionist Israel and…
The recent violence looks strange. How did the Global Jihad militants arrive at their targets? They couldn’t move along paved roads; Egyptian police would have detained them. The “global” part of the name should be read “foreigners.” It means they don’t know the desert. Moving there safely demands more than a compass and a Lonely Planet guidebook. How did the oil pipes been targeted with such regularity and precision? Ever since the peak days of the Silk Road, Bedouins use their skills as pathfinders and trackers to control the routes connecting the Negev Desert and the Sinai Peninsula, as well as related pathways. The low-key Bedouin Intifada within Israel is beginning to show its muscles, when a de facto Bedouin State is helping unexpected allies and setting the basis for a future open rebellion.
The situation is so serious than two unprecedented events took place since the revolt against Mubarak begun. The first was the entrance to Sinai of at least an entire brigade of the Egyptian army. The peace agreement between the countries allows only Egyptian police forces to patrol the peninsula. Yet, in fear of the developing rebellion, Netanyahu allowed Egypt to use its army in Sinai. This is unlikely to change anytime soon. Then, in the last days, Israel allowed Egypt to make the abovementioned air attack nest to its border. On June 2012, Mohamed Morsi was declared Egypt’s first Islamist president in the freest elections in the country’s history. He is the first president openly identified with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that was defined illegal by the military-run regime. He has good relations with Iran and made several announcements showing its intentions to shift Egypt’s alliances in the area. Yet, shortly afterwards, he found himself dealing with Israel on friendly terms, and even got a permission to use Egypt’s air force near the Israeli border. This is how critic the situation in Sinai is turning.
Reality is changing fast in the Middle East. There are credible signs that Israel may begin an indirect war with Iran. If Netanyahu is badly pressed, then he may decide to attack directly. A war between Israel and Syria is also probable. In either case, when that day comes, Bedouins may use their skills as pathfinders and trackers, and their control of the routes connecting the Negev Desert and the Sinai Peninsula, to cross-over and create a new Bedouin State with their brothers on the Egyptian side. There would be nobody capable of stopping the event. A well-known Bedouin saying is “I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers.” It reflects very well their hierarchy of loyalties. If the opportunity would arise, there is little doubt it would be seized. A flying camel passing through illusions of modern power; an ancient Silk Road reasserting its birth rights.
If Mursi is to adopt either view, and respond accordingly, he is liable to discredit himself in the eyes of the Islamists and of the public at large – especially given his inability to act independently of the powerful Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on security matters.
Mursi would find himself in an extremely awkward position vis-a-vis the Islamists if he were succumb to such pressure to blame Palestinian groups for the incident, and acquiesce to a response that effectively reinstates the blockade of the Gaza Strip – something he and his group have long and vociferously opposed.Such a development would also be likely to bring an end to the inter-Palestinian reconciliation process, and make Palestinian faction leaders unwelcome in Egypt, while at home Mursi would stand accused of jeopardizing public security with his recent freeing of former jihadi Islamists.This could amount to a first attempt to put Mursi at loggerheads with the Islamist movement which propelled him to office, with the aim of “burning” him. He would be depicted as two-faced, backing down to the ruling establishment and the enemies of the resistance, letting down fellow Arabs and Muslims, and indecision and ineffectiveness over Gaza and in general.
If, however, Mursi were to adopt the other view, that the Israelis were involved in the attack, he would also find himself in a bind, as he would be bound to respond against Israel and its accomplices to punish those responsible for killing the soldiers.
Go over this article full of lies (They are slaughtering Palestinians in the name of Palestine) written by the so called Palestinian journalist called Khaled Amayreh . See how readers are being served by the dubious press . See what kind of propaganda is being disseminated by Zionists . The syndrome of al Jazeera of lying publicly and openly is not restricted to Al Jazeera or Al ‘Arabiyya. Just read the headline and watch what kind of dubious message is being conveyed. The headline says : “They are slaughtering Palestinians”. It is supposed to be catchy. When you read :”They are slaughtering Palestinians” , you normally expect that this is done by Israel , but the headline says that the slaughter is done “in the Name of Palestine”. This is supposed to draw your attention that these slaughters are not committed by the usual expected slaughterer ie: Israel but by someone else.
So much for the Headline. In Arabic we say that the content of a speech is all in the title which is true because the rest of the article is not less catchy in speaking- extensively- about how Palestinians are being slaughtered .What Amayreh has probably learned from his masters must be the usual Zionist trick to use the plight of their people as a political tool to achieve political goals . The story goes on , and the pill that we have to swallow is -of course- that Palestinians are being massacred by President Assad. The first story is a lie , the al Yarmouk Palestinian Camp was not shelled by the Syrian Army. If we tend to believe journalist Ghassan Ben Jeddu and we tend to do so , the camp was shelled by the so called opposition and the Democratic Front of Liberation of Ahmed Jibril -that is pro Syrian- was hit and other locations in the camp as well.
After this statement, the flow of lies will not stop and this is due definitely to the Zionist instructions to replace the Israeli / Palestinian struggle by the fictitious Syrian /Palestinian struggle and to replace simultaneously in our own minds Israel by Syria. Very smart trick indeed that goes very well with the pack of lies that we have to swallow because -hardly are we done with the first lie- that we bump into the next one . The liar journalist said that 20 Palestinians of the Palestinian Liberation Army were slaughtered by what he calls the Shabbiha of the regime which is- of course- another lie because the Commander in chief of the PLA in Syria : General Tarek al Khadraa said to the press that the seventeen PLA soldiers that were slaughtered were on a leave and were heading home -weaponless- when the thugs of the opposition abducted them and slaughtered them in the ugliest way .
The dubious article of the dubious Amayreh does not stop here but adds that” Palestinians and third party sources affirm the responsibility of the regime”. And who are the third party sources only God knows . They must be some fictitious stories told by grand ma Israel.. And this is not all , because as the Arab saying goes : If you feel no shame then do as you please .And this is what our shameless journalist does , not what pleases him but what pleases his masters. And this is how- from lie to lie- we can go over the whole article.
What comes next after all this delirium is the derogatory fictitious conversation between the dubious journalist and some person called Ahmed that we are supposed to trust because he is the friend of Amayreh, Palestinian like him with a PhD from a Western University ,probably similar to that from which our liar graduated. Big deal! The conversation shows how credulous our journalist is or how naïve he thinks we are. Because, when asked why the Syrian regime would slaughter the PLA soldiers and what kind of interest the regime finds in acting thus, PhD Ahmed, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons – gave us a PhD answer saying that the Alawite regime knows that Palestinians are sympathetic to the opposition and against it, so – for this reason – the regime slaughtered the PLA soldiers by abducting them on their way home and cutting their throats. Wonderful answer!
Still our journalist wanted to show us more of his professional skills by asking more questions to his PhD anonymous about the Palestinians’ positions regarding the actual events to which PhD answered –thoroughly- that it is of neutrality adding : not only the position of Palestinian refugees in Syria but that of all Palestinian factions for the purpose of protecting Syria’s refugees . By saying this our journalist seems to forget the anti Assad demonstrations that roam Gaza almost daily and Haniyya ‘s statements delivered in Turkey where he addressed the Syrian opposition saying that his heart was with them and that HAMAS leadership stood by them. Big deal! We ask our dubious author of dubious affiliations – How are Palestinian Refugees in Syria being protected when Palestinians have joined in big numbers the armed thugs to the point that they form the largest Arab group in the gangs active on the ground?
Finally -after all these delicatessen offered by the dubious author to our delight -comes in the main dish that is non less delicious , and you can guess that it is made of pure sectarianism cooked with the utmost care by the greatest Zionist Chefs to be enjoyed by all . This is where the creativity of our writer comes to full blossom and you can swallow his words letter by letter that say : It is the Shi’as who kill in Iraq and everywhere , they kill Syrians and Iraqis and Palestinians mercilessly , the Shi’as are the great killers of all times and the great criminals ever witnessed who have been engaged in killing Arabs for a decade now !
Zionists –of course – couldn’t be served better .There comes a whole sect that can strip them of their bloody reputation as slaughterers and exterminators- by excellence- thanks to some dubious Palestinian journalist who has sold his soul to the devil!
In his article Western Leaders Slip into Their Childhood, Thierry Meyssan reviews the color revolutions, their genesis and their commonalities. He also reveals why Syria seems to be a harder nut to crack for such idealistic revolutionaries as Obama and Cameron: not enough young Syrians properly inspired.
A few years later, in 1989, Sharp was tasked by the CIA with conducting the practical application of his theoretical research in China. The United States wanted to topple Deng Xiaoping in favor of Zhao Ziyang. The intention was to stage a coup with a veneer of legitimacy by organizing street protests, in much the same way as the CIA had given a popular facade to the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh by hiring Tehran demonstrators (Operation Ajax, 1953). The difference here is that Gene Sharp had to rely on a mix of pro-Zhao and pro-US youth to make the coup look like a revolution. But Deng had Sharp arrested in Tiananmen Square and expelled from the country. The coup failed, but not before the CIA spurred the youth groups into a vain attack to discredit Deng through the crackdown that followed. The failure of the operation was attributed to the difficulties of mobilizing young activists in the desired direction.
Ever since the work of French sociologist Gustave Le Bon in the late nineteenth century, we know that adults behave like children when they are in the throes of collective emotion. They become susceptible, even if for just a critical fleeting moment, to the suggestions of a leader-of-men who for them embodies a father figure. In 1990, Sharp got close to Colonel Reuven Gal, then chief psychologist of the Israeli Army (he later became deputy national security adviser to Ariel Sharon and now runs operations designed to manipulate young Israeli non-Jews). Combining the discoveries of Le Bon and Sigmund Freud, Gal reached the conclusion that it was also possible to exploit the “Oedipus complex” in adolescents and steer a crowd of young people to oppose a head of state, as a symbolic father figure.
On this basis, Sharp and Gal set up training programs for young activists with the objective of organizing coups. After a few successes in Russia and the Baltics, it was in 1998 that Gene Sharp perfected the method of “color revolutions” with the overthrow of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
After President Hugo Chavez foiled a coup in Venezuela on the basis of one of my investigations revealing the role and method of Gene Sharp, the latter suspended the activities of the Albert Einstein Institute which served as a cover and went on to create new structures (CANVAS in Belgrade, the Academy of Change in London, Vienna and Doha). We saw them at work the world over, especially in Lebanon (Cedar Revolution), Iran (Green Revolution), Tunisia (Jasmine Revolution) and Egypt (Lotus Revolution). The principle is simple: exacerbate all underlying frustrations, blame the political apparatus for all the problems, manipulate the youth according to the Freudian “patricidal” scenario, organize a coup, and then propagandize that the government was brought down by the “street.”
International public opinion easily swallowed these stage settings: first, because of a confusion between a crowd and the people. Thus, the “Lotus Revolution” actually boiled down to a show on Tahrir Square in Cairo, mobilizing a crowd of tens of thousands, while the near totality of the Egyptian people abstained from taking part in the event; and second, because there is a lack of clarity with regard to the word “revolution”. A genuine revolution entails an upheaval in social structures that takes place over several years, while a “color revolution” is a regime change that occurs within weeks. The other term for a forced change of leadership without social transformation is a “coup d’état”. In Egypt, for example, it is clearly not the people who pushed Hosni Mubarak to resign, but U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner who gave him the order.
The slogan of the “color revolutions” harks back to an infantile perspective. What matters is to overthrow the head of state without consideration of the consequences—“Don’t worry about your future, Washington will take care of everything for you.” By the time people wake up, it’s too late; the government has been usurped by individuals not of their choosing. At the outset though, there are cries of “Down with Shevardnadze!” Or “Ben Ali, get out!” The latest version was launched at the third conference of “Friends” of Syria (Paris, July 6): “Bashar must go!”
A strange anomaly can be detected with regard to Syria. The CIA did not locate groups of young Syrians willing to chant this slogan in the streets of Damascus and Aleppo. So it is Barack Obama, François Hollande, David Cameron and Angela Merkel themselves who repeat the slogan in chorus from their respective foreign offices. Washington and its allies are trying out the methods of Gene Sharp on the “international community”. It is a risky bet to imagine that foreign ministries can be as easy to manipulate as youth groups! At the moment, the result is simply ridiculous: the leaders of the colonial powers have been stomping their feet like angry, frustrated children over a desired object that the Russian and Chinese adults won’t let them have while ceaselessly wailing “Bashar must go!“.
As a deeply-tribal and largely homogeneous society that has also engaged heavily both in state-branding and institutional partnerships in recent years, the security crackdown in the UAE holds particular resonance, calling into question the judgement of international institutions that bought into the benevolent ‘images’ so carefully promoted by ruling elites.
The arrest and detention of 54 political and human rights activists in the United Arab Emirates has thrown the spotlight on one of the most autocratic and least institutionalised Persian Gulf monarchies. Championed by their western security partners as an oasis of relative stability in a sea of regional upheaval, Gulf rulers have in reality been profoundly shaken by rising participatory demands and calls for political reform. Initial policy responses focused on intensifying the ‘politics of patronage’ by announcing massive welfare packages worth billions of dollars, and creating tens of thousands of new jobs for under- and unemployed nationals. However, these notably failed to quell dissenting voices or address the underlying socio-economic and political drivers of discontent. In all six Gulf States, rulers have instead turned to repression to compensate for the failure of redistributive measures to preserve their power and privileges.
This depressing turn of events has momentous consequences for the sustainability of the social contract binding states and societies in the Gulf together. It also calls into question the judgement of international institutions that bought into the benevolent ‘images’ so carefully promoted by ruling elites. As a deeply-tribal and largely homogeneous society that has also engaged heavily both in state-branding and institutional partnerships in recent years, the security crackdown in the UAE holds particular resonance. Moreover, it raises fundamental questions about the future of authoritarian ruling families whose instinctive response to the appearance of domestic opposition is to suppress it and wish it out of existence. Failure to acknowledge the zeitgeist sweeping so powerfully across the region means rulers run the risk of losing control and ensuring that change, when it comes, will be sudden and violent, rather than incremental and consensual.
Waves of arrests
With the Arab Spring well into its second year, the authorities in the UAE have consistently mismanaged the limited pressures for reform. Far from projecting a vision of strength, these missteps have exposed the regime’s absolute mistrust of any political or democratic development. A collection of seven emirates dominated by Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the country has one of the least participatory political systems in the world. Elections to the (advisory) Federal National Council were held for the first time in 2006, but were excessively, even ludicrously, controlled. Only 6889 voters – less than 1 percent of the national population who were hand-picked by their rulers – were permitted to vote for half of the seats, with the remainder filled by appointed members. Lacking legislative power, the council resembled a talking shop until the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt empowered people across the Arab world with notions of political freedoms and public accountability.
By comparison with the momentous developments in North Africa and neighbouring Bahrain, early calls for political reform in the UAE were extremely cautious. On 3 March 2011, a petition signed by 132 Emiratis requested that all UAE citizens be given the right to vote and that the Federal National Council be vested with legislative powers. Yet even these most moderate of demands were too much for the leadership in Abu Dhabi, who responded by arresting five high-profile advocates for reform, for “breaking laws and perpetrating acts that pose a threat to state security, undermining the public order, opposing the government system, and insulting the President,” the (unelected) hereditary ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. 
The five detainees included a champion of human rights and free discussion of UAE issues, Ahmed Mansour, and leading Emirati economist, Nasser bin Ghaith. Mansour had founded the www.uaehewar.net website in August 2009 as a platform for the discussion of politics, development, and society in the Emirates. This online forum featured hundreds of postings on sensitive issues (such as the acquittal in January 2010 of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the half-brother of the President who had been captured on video allegedly torturing a South Asian man), before it was blocked the same month. Also in 2010, he stated that, “It’s because I care for my country that I feel these issues need to be discussed.” Bin Ghaith, for his part, had eloquently criticised the economic handouts as a tool for pre-empting calls for reform, just a week before his arrest: “They have announced ‘benefits and handouts’ assuming their citizens are not like other Arabs or other human beings… But this only delays change and reform, which will still come sooner or later.”
After eight months of detention, the ‘UAE5’, as they became known, were convicted of insulting the rulers of the UAE following a trial riddled with inconsistencies and denounced by human rights organisations. On the following day, they were pardoned by the President, doubtless wishing to appear the benevolent father-figure forgiving his wayward citizenry, but their criminal records remained, making it impossible for them to obtain the ‘certificate of good conduct’ necessary to work and even marry in the UAE. Almost immediately, the state security cracked down again, stripping six members of the Islamist Jamiat Al-Islah wa Tawjih (Association for Reform and Guidance) movement of their citizenship. Islah was one of the oldest and most organised groups in the UAE, dating its history back to 1974, and with a strong foothold in the country’s educational and charitable sectors. Although two of their number reached Cabinet positions in the 1970s, their growing strength alarmed the government, and they were steadily marginalised during the 1980s and 1990s.
Worryingly for the federal government in Abu Dhabi, Islah remains particularly strong in the northerly emirate of Ras al-Khaimah. Only an hour away from Dubai by road, visitors to Ras al-Khaimah (and the other northern emirates of Sharjah, Ajman and Umm al-Qaiwain, as well as Fujairah on the east coast) are struck by the differential levels of development and the visible manifestations of poverty and deprivation. It is a world-away from the glitz and the glamour of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and home to many Emirati nationals who complain of inequalities in living standards and poorer levels of public services, including high rates of unemployment. In these conditions, many hold sympathies for Islah, which claims to have some 20,000 members. Government paranoia in Abu Dhabi centres on Islah’s potential to rock the boat in the wake of the Arab Spring, as it draws upon similar narratives of political oppression, economic distress, and perceived lack of opportunities that proved so potent a tool of mass mobilisation in Egypt and Tunisia.
This obsession with national security formed the prelude to an intensifying campaign of repression intended to stamp out the Islah threat once and for all. 50 people have been detained since March 2012 with 36 arrested since 16 July alone. The whereabouts of 38 of the men remain unknown, and Amnesty International has expressed concerns that the detainees are at risk of being tortured. One of the original ‘UAE5,’ Ahmed Adul Khaleq, was re-arrested in May and deported to Thailand on 16 July, on a Comoros Island passport, after being told by prison officials that he would be imprisoned indefinitely without formal charge if he refused to leave. Abdul Khaleq is a member of the stateless (‘bedoon’) community and founder of the Emaraty Bedoon website that sought to draw attention to their plight. His family has been harassed by the UAE authorities and his six sisters have been threatened with arrest if he resumes his activism while in Thailand.
Of additional concern is that some of the arrests were reportedly carried out by un-uniformed men said to be non-Emiratis. These could be members of an 842-strong group of Columbian soldiers and former soldiers said to be operating within the UAE ; according to a May 2011 New York Times exposé, they were hired by former Blackwater head Eric Prince at the behest of the Abu Dhabi authorities to defend the UAE from terrorist attacks and internal revolt. Explosively, the Times article claimed that Prince had given orders to recruit only non-Muslims, from South Africa and the French Foreign Legion in addition to Columbia, as Muslim soldiers “could not be counted on to kill fellow Muslims.”
Already, the number of arrests is unprecedented in scale and scope. Although mostly from the poorer Northern Emirates, they also include public sector officials from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and representatives of some of the UAE’s largest and most influential tribes, such as the al-Suweidi, the al-Nuaimi, and the al-Shamsi. A cousin of the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, Sheikh Sultan bin Kayed Al-Qassimi, was detained in April in a sign that royal rank no longer offers protection. One of the most high-profile arrests was that of Dr Mohamed al-Roken, whose whereabouts remain unknown following his detention on 17 July. Al-Roken was one of the most prominent human rights lawyers in the UAE, and had served as co-defense counsel for two of the ‘UAE5’ in 2011. Disturbingly, when another lawyer (Salim al-Shehhi) went to the State Security Prosecution office to represent al-Roken, he himself was detained.
With the arrests continuing almost on a daily basis, it is hard to predict when they will end. Yet it is clear that they fall into a larger pattern of the suppression of the limited spaces that hitherto had existed for discussion, debate, and association in the UAE. As part of the April 2011 crackdown, the elected boards of the Teacher’s Association and the Jurists’ Association (the latter headed by al-Roken) were dismissed and replaced by government appointees. A draft new judicial law discussed in a closed session of the Federal National Council on 26 July 2012 would, if passed, change the UAE constitution by placing the Federal Judicial Council under the President, rather than the Minister of Justice, thereby doing away with any separation of powers between the executive and judiciary branches of government. And the outspoken Chief of Police in Dubai, Dahi Khalfan, has shown scant regard for due process or the presumption of innocence with a series of inflammatory outbursts warning of international plots to overthrow Gulf rulers.
The escalating crackdown has profound implications for notions of national identity and ‘public space’ in the UAE. The demonisation of the Muslim Brotherhood (with which Islah is affiliated) by the media and ruling elites has contributed to the construction of a ‘them and us’ mentality which never before existed. People now speak of ‘the opposition’ and ‘opposition figureheads,’ terms virtually unheard of in the close-knit and largely homogeneous Emirati society that hitherto had lacked internal fissures such as the Sunni-Shiite schism in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Crucially, they come at a moment of uncertainty within the UAE, as the nation and its rulers struggle to define what it means to be an Emirati in the contemporary world.
For decades, national identity in the UAE was constructed around the charismatic authority and benevolent leadership of the country’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. He united the seven federations upon independence in 1971 and was its first (and only) President until he died aged 86, in November 2004. People from all walks of life identified closely with him and cemented a residual loyalty that deepened with the addition of feelings of nostalgia following his death. However, eight years on, this unifying glue has weakened, but his sons have not been able to find a suitable replacement for Zayed as the emblematic national symbol of identity. Hence, the construction of ‘the other’ – the threat from Islah and the Muslim Brotherhood – is being used to try and rally Emiratis in support of their rulers, and to overcome their lack of vision for the country’s future.
The demonisation of the Islah movement has intriguing socio-cultural consequences. In Arabic, ‘Islah’ as a word simply means ‘reform’ and is used as such in everyday conversations. However, in its public association with regime-declared ‘enemies of the state’, its original meaning has been stripped away, and the word has instead become politicised and loaded with pejorative meaning. It is difficult to envisage people in the UAE being able safely to talk of reform, at least in the near future, when the word itself carries such double-meaning. It also connects future calls for reform with a specifically Islamist agenda, making it harder for reformists of other hues to make themselves heard.
Creating divisions within society where none really existed before may work in the short-term, but it risks generating movements that develop a momentum of their own and move beyond the capacity of governments to control. Saudi Arabia’s tacit encouragement of jihad in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Bosnia in the 1980s and 1990s is one example; another, more recent instance, is the Bahraini government’s ruthless deployment of sectarian rhetoric to fragment the swelling opposition movement that briefly threatened to topple the Al-Khalifa ruling family last year. In this they succeeded, but at the price of shattering social cohesion and polarising people as never before. In the UAE, the danger is that alienation from the Abu Dhabi-run government (and security apparatus) reinforces and deepens the simmering discontent held by many nationals in the Northern Emirates at their difficult socio-economic situation.
These feelings of alienation and loss of an overarching identity are compounded by the reconfiguration of power in the post-Zayed generation. Sheikh Zayed was succeeded as President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi by his designated heir (and eldest son) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in a relatively smooth succession. However, Khalifa is reputedly in poor health and rarely seen in public, and has delegated much of the day-to-day governance of the federation to his younger half-brother, Mohammed bin Zayed. He is a hard-liner, particularly with regard to Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood. His eldest son, Khalid bin Mohammed, is believed to be responsible for the ‘Islamist file’ at the State Security Directorate, which itself is headed by another trusted member of his inner circle.
Power in the UAE federal government thus appears to be coalescing around Mohammed bin Zayed and his full brother, the national security advisor (and head of the State Security Directorate until 2011) Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed. This suggests that the portrayal of Islamists and Islamism as threats to national security will continue to take priority over any political engagement or willingness to tolerate dissenting views. Moreover, by cracking down so hard and so widely, the authorities in the UAE are creating a sophisticated police state wherein people and organisations fear arrest or sanction if they cross vaguely-defined (and constantly-shifting) ‘red lines.’ This calls to mind Foucault’s notion of the ‘self-policing subject’ under the gaze of suffocating surveillance and constant peer pressure to denounce transgressors and prove one’s own loyalty.
This securitisation of the response to domestic advocates of political and human rights is troubling. The leadership of the UAE may think that it can go its own way and violate international norms as it pleases. But, in reality, their draconian approach does nothing to tackle the root causes of socio-economic discontent in the Northern Emirates, or the concern held by many Emiratis that they are largely excluded from the dizzying emergence of Abu Dhabi and Dubai as ‘global cities.’ In 2006, for example, Emirati nationals constituted just 2 per cent of Dubai’s total workforce. By viewing any peaceful critic as a threat to state security, the ruling clique in Abu Dhabi has shown itself to be out of touch with reality, and completely unable to accept or incorporate pluralist views within the existing political system.
Furthermore, the oppressive approach is actually self-defeating. Suppose for a moment that the charges against the detainees are indeed based on fact and that some or all are found guilty of plotting to commit anti-state crimes. The problem for the ruling elite is that their overwhelming and disproportionate security response makes any such verdict much less credible in the eyes of local citizens and international observers alike. Far from believing the gravity of the aborted plot, the authorities will be vulnerable to charges of conducting a show trial, and the detainees will become political prisoners and martyrs to an energised opposition. This would mark a substantial regression for the UAE and probably only widen the existing boundaries of discontent and opposition.
Developments in the UAE matter. Over the past few years, the country’s rulers have branded it as a regional hub for businesses and institutions looking to set up in the Middle East. A large part of the appeal rested on the emphasis on tolerance of other cultures, openness to diversity, and special free zones operating beyond national laws. It was very successful, as prestigious and high-profile international organisations and multinational corporations located their regional offices in the UAE, among the most recent being the launch in May of Sky News Arabia, based in Abu Dhabi and bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation headed by the owner of Manchester City football club and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.. Others included prestigious museums (the Louvre and Guggenheim) planning to open regional offshoots in the UAE, leading universities setting up branch campuses in Abu Dhabi (the Sorbonne and New York University), and a phalanx of British universities naming academic buildings, lecture theatres, and professorial chairs after individual Emirati rulers in return for substantial amounts of funding.
With each new arrest, it will become progressively harder for these predominantly cultural and educational institutions to continue to justify their engagement with a country currently so inimical to the freedoms and values they claim to represent. After having uneasily turned a blind eye to the case of the ‘UAE5’ in 2011, any continuing silence over the detention without charge of more than 50 people will be deafening. However, from a cynically realist perspective, the cold truth is that the UAE’s strategic and commercial significance means that western institutions and governments are unlikely to make much of a fuss. As with Bahrain, the threshold of tolerance for government-sanctioned violence will be far higher than in Syria or Libya. Acknowledgement of this appears to have spurred on officials in Abu Dhabi to effectively dare their western partners to acquiesce in the crackdown as a necessary measure, or follow their principles and drop their lucrative agreements. In a time of economic austerity and savage cost-cutting, it would be a brave organisation that eschewed a major donor or investor in such a way.
This aside, the trajectory of events in the UAE is disturbing. It suggests that its rulers are simply unable or unwilling to comprehend or tolerate any form of political plurality. Yet all political systems – monarchical or republican, democratic or authoritarian – must adapt to and change with the times. Failure to do so on one’s own terms, ‘from above,’ leaves open the possibility that pressures will eventually build-up from below. Moreover, their attempt to maintain the status quo at all costs marks the UAE out as one of the most authoritarian political systems in the region with the fewest constraints on the use or abuse of executive privilege. As a core strategic ally of the west, and home to large expatriate communities, any prolonged unrest in the UAE will inevitably assume significance beyond its borders.
However, if a state fails to trust its citizens and conflates the holding of diverse viewpoints with treachery, the greater danger is to Emirati citizens themselves. This leaves the government looking paranoid, weak, insecure, and completely at odds with the image they have so carefully constructed in recent years. The UAE is at a crossroads; it can choose between acceptance of pluralism or continuing repression, and its prospects for consensual domestic development rest on the outcome.
 ‘UAE Cracks Down on Dissent Amid Calls for Reform,’ Gulf States Newsletter, Volume 35 Issue 899, 29 April 2011, p.1
 ‘Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Linked to Crackdown,’ Gulf States Newsletter, Volume 36 Issue 929, 2 August 2012, pp.6-7.
 Kasim Randeree, ‘Workforce Nationalization in the Gulf Cooperation Council States,’ Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Occasional Paper No.9 (2012), p.8.
An alarming report was published by Richard Edmondson on his site, although he fails to see its true significance and the imminent danger this incident represents:
“An American Pastor, Reverend Wess Magruder, has decided to partake in the Muslims holy month of Ramadan this year with his Muslim friends, by fasting, praying and reading the Holy Quran.
The United Methodist has not only decided to observe the Ramadan fast this year but also to share his experience on his personal blog, Shia-Online reported.
Magruder says he turned to the Muslim faith for inspiration since he knew that Muslims have successfully been fasting for 30 days each year during Ramadan for over fourteen hundred years.
“I feel a constant ‘buzz’ [during the fast] in my head,” Magruder wrote on his blog.
“This buzz serves a useful purpose, by the way. It keeps me conscious of God, of God’s presence, of God’s will that is bursting to become real in the world. And so when something else isn’t going on in front of me, the buzz reminds me to speak to God,” he added.
“I feel very happy and fortunate now,” Magruder wrote, after fasting from sunrise till sunset.
Where do I begin? A Christian turns to a Muslim for inspiration?!
Can’t he get enough of a buzz from fasting like a proper Christian on Good Friday by eating only fish?
I am not surprised this comes from the Methodist church. True Christianity is in grave danger in the US: Jerry Falwell is dead and Pat Robertson is not feeling so well, despite the use of those wonderful christian vitamins he was selling on his site. There was once a bright star of televangelism, Jim Bakker, who preached the theology of prosperity, something a muslim fanatic of fasting at Ramadan cannot comprehend. He was brought down by fake scandals.
John Hagee, recognized as a true Christian and thus honored with the Humanitarian of the Year Award by B’nai Brith, also sadly appears to be in poor health, suffering from a tremendous excess of weight that makes breathing difficult.
In these times of turmoil, when judeo-christian values are challenged and the dark forces of Islam are working to establish the caliphate worldwide (whatever that means, of which I am proud to remain ignorant), when muslims living in America work quietly and stealthily to install sharia law over our land of the free, to whom will the American Christians turn for guidance?
To shepherds like Magruder who fraternize with the enemy and seek to spread the islamist hold over the homeland? That is precisely what he is doing:
In his blog, Magruder invited all people of the Christian faith to try the fasting experience even for one day.”
Let us think in depth, what are the potential consequences of this deceivingly benign act of “fasting together.”
From the spiritual perspective there can only be a nefarious influence of an alien religion upon our christian faith. I mean judeo-christian values.
From the practical, everyday life standpoint the effect of huge numbers of people fasting by choice would be disastrous. It is one thing for an unemployed Christian to spend his money on medication and have little left for food: potato chips are still inexpensive. It is another thing altogether if thousands, perhaps more, people decide to fast for 30 days.
Archer Daniels Midlands would not go bankrupt (it is too big to fail) but hundreds of people who work in its plants in 270 countries around the world may lose their jobs. The effect on the US and the world’s economy would be painfully felt. It is naive to think the stealth activists promoting this fraternal commingling with Islamists do not have the destruction of the US economy as a goal.
When in disarray, when in doubt, the flock should look to its shepherds as role models: does Haggee look like he is sinning by fasting the Islamic way? Certainly not.
Christians must remain vigilant, now more than ever, in the defense of their judeo-christian values to ward off nefarious influences.