Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Qatar

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 166

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pa attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

La faille est trop grande pour eviter la contagion dans ces lignes de partage et de demarcation entre Nord/ Sud,
coloniaux/ indigenes, lois civil/ lois ancestral, civilization/culture pittoresque, expat/immigre, dissident d’un system/opposant d’un despot…

Ce que nous appelons Avenir n’est qu’une variation du passe’. Tout de meme, le temps nous a change’ un tant soit peu

Jerusalem is the door to peace as well as to war: Religions are infamous catalysts to all kinds of mischief

A lire: “Desorientale” de Nigar Djavadi

Lebanon Foreign minister Bassil uttered an ignominy: I have no ideological problems with Israel. As if foreign people occupying a land and transferring its citizens is a purely human rights issue.

That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right

Si je raconte mes histoires personnel avec humour, ce sont les contes du petit royaume du “Je” de chacun de nous.

Lebanese university graduates are Not better off in job hunting. If they perform good in Lebanon, they are transferred oversea, mainly in the Arab Gulf States

Qatar, now on the verge of hosting the 2022 World Cup, is being accused of mistreatment of the workers  from Bangladesh, Nepal and the Himalaya States, employed to build the stadiums, or a form of slavery. Over 400 workers died so far from overwork, malnutrition and unsanitary dwelling.

Stephen Spilberg, mawt sariri bi Loubnan. The Post lan yo3rad bi Loubnana 7atta iza Al Mashnouk wa al Moustakbal badhon yo3rdou. Spilberg tbarra3 bi one $million la Israel fi 7arbha 3ala Loubnan fi 2006

Anzarna Syrian Kurds in 3afreen (north-west Syrian province) la ta7tami ta7ta mizalat al shar3iyyat al Souriyyat

Talama al Jaish al Souri bi takkadom midani, fa al oumour bi ta7asson

Bassil kan bi 7ajat la 5 sa3aat ma3 Sayyed al Moukawamat 7atta yefham shou Ideologia bte3neh

Esta3malet al mokhtaar rabou2, 7ejjat la lo2maha. “kahrabt al jaww”. (niaiserie personelle de maitresse de jardin d’enfants)

2aal shou? ellak 7a2 tetfarraj. ka2anno msharda2 etfarraj 3ala le3bha al mou3a2

Moush msharda2 erja3 3an kareeb ila Garderie. me3tebrat enno al Club her private playing ground. wa hiya al m3alimat

Kaalat enno ya7ok li bass etfarraj. 3ala shou? 3ala le3bha?

Mazbout Na3eem Kassem baddo ye 7awel Loubnan ila dawleh Islamiyyat? Khemmana Hezbollah bado dawlet moush ta2ifiyyeh?

Intakassat bayn Saad wa waziraho Al Jarra7: Saudi Kingdom badha tsakker kaman Ogero bi Loubnan 

 

Not a single political session of Faisal Kassem (in Al Jazira channel) pertained to Qatar political and social system

Faisal Kassem is a Syrian of the Druze sect and was attributed Qatar nationality for venomously critiquing Syrian leaders (Bashar and his father Hafez Assad) and any “Arabic” leaders on the channel Al Jazira who didn’t ally with Qatar political lines.

This open letter by a Qatari female immigrant in England to Faisal Kassem points to the serious deficiencies in Qatar political and social system that supported politically and financially the terrorists factions of ISIS and Al Nusra in the Syrian international war. She is wondering why he keeps silent and still receive $9 million from Qatar.

Note: Currently, Saudi Arabia and Gulf Emirates are blockading Qatar and pressuring it to rally to Saudi political line of aggressively blockading and confronting Iran. Iran has maintained its commerce with Qatar and its aerial space for transport.

In 2014, Saudi Kingdom was preparing a military intervention in Qatar, which forced its Emir to cede power to his son.

“أنا قطرية وعندي رسالة للدكتور فيصل القاسم :

(أرجو نشرها لأنه منعني من التعليق )
في ذكرى برنامج الإتجاه المعاكس اليوم

1: عمر البرنامج 14 سنة.
2: عدد حلقات البرنامج حتى يومنا هذا 569 حلقة.
3: مواضيع البرنامج كلها سياسية وشملت معظم الدول العربية وحتى الإسلامية .
إلا الوضع السياسي في قطر لم يسبق أن تعرض له برنامجك ..هل هي الصدفة يا ترى ؟؟؟؟
أم هذا قضاء وقطر ؟
أم قطر ليست محسوبة من الدول العربية ؟
أو ربما هي حالة خاصة خارج عن نطاق التغطية .؟

أنا إمراة قطرية مهاجرة في إنجلترا منذ 4 سنوات لدواعي سياسية ولا زلت في تواصل مستمر مع أبناء بلدي الشعب القطري كان ينتظر منك أن تخصص ولو حلقة واحدة عن الوضع السياسي للبلد الذي تقيم فيه وترى بام عينك الأوضاع والحريات فيه دون حاجة لمراسل أو شهود عيان وأنا لا اتحدث عن الماديات هنا بل حريات شخصية ومساواة وحقوق الفرد في الإنتخاب والتصويت لماذا تتجاهل الدكتاتورية في قطر بالله عليك ؟؟؟

كيف تقبل أن يحكم الشعب القطري إمراة لم تتجاوز المستوى الإعدادي في طفولتها؟

أنا شخصيا هنا كامراة ضعيفة تملك فقط القلم .

.أتحداك يا فيصل القاسم وأتحدى رجولتك ..إذا كنت تملك ذرة رجولة ..فانطق بكلمة واحدة عن نظام الحكم في قطر ..هل هو ديمقراطي ؟ عادل ؟ هنالك مساواة في قطر ؟

ألم تسمع عن الشاعر القطري الذي لمح للحرية في قصيدته فحكم عليه ب 15 سنة سجن

لماذا تنبح على الجيران وتلزم الصمت أمام سيدك القطري ؟

أنا لن أسالك عن ثروتك التي بلغت 9.3 مليون دولار مع أنك تنتمي لعائلة فقيرة ..

ولن اتدخل في موقفك من الوضع السوري.. الشعب السوري يستحق الحرية مثله مثل أي شعب عربي آخر ..

ولكن لن أسمح لك أن تنبح على هذا النظام أو ذاك وتلزم الصمت أمام الآخر فقط لأنه يدفع لك أموالاً طائلة ..

أو لانه منحك وعائلتك الجنسية القطرية ..
لن أتدخل في سر كراهيتك للرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وعشقك للدكتاتور الأعظم القطري ..

إن كنت حقاً تدعي أنك إعلامي حر ..فلا تخشى أحد ولا تقبض من أحد ..منازلك الفاخرة تغزو العالم في روما والأقصر ولندن ونيوجرسي ..
هل تريدنا أن نصدق أن الإعلامي الحر يجمع ثروة كهذه من عمل شريف في مدة قصيرة؟
أخي فيصل الإعلامي الحر والشريف في عالمنا العربي هو إما خلف القضبان أو ملاحق أو رحمة الله عليه ..
ثروتك يا أخي فيصل أكبر من ثروة الرئيس الامريكي باراك أوباما والتي تبلغ 3.4 مليون دولار …

أنا هاجرت بلدي الذي تقيم أنت فيه الآن ..لأنني لم أوافق على العديد من الأمور السياسية للعائلة الحاكمة هناك ..
الأموال لا تهم يا أخي فيصل بل المبادئ والحريات هي من تجعل منا أحراراً في تفكيرنا وأقلامنا ..
فكن فعلا حراً ولا تكن أداة في يد قوم جهالة ..يريدون أن يفتحوا العالم بأموالهم دون أن يفتحوا كتاباً واحداً.
أنا عندي الملايين من الاسئلة لك ..عذراً أنا أعلم أنك معتاد على طرح الأسئلة على ضيوفك وليس الإجابة عليها
..

إسمح لي هنا أن أطرح عليك بعض الأسئلة البديهية دكتورنا العزيز:

1: دكتور أموالك طائلة لماذا لا تتبرع بالبعض منها للشعب السوري ؟
2: دكتور أنت تملك 6 منازل فاخرة لماذا لا تسكن عائلة سورية مشردة في أحد منازلك الموجودة في أربع عواصم اوربا.؟ دون ذكر قصورك الثلاتة في سوريا .
3: دكتور أنت تدعي أنك ثائر ومناضل حر وتتزعم الثوار صح؟
لماذا لا تنزل معهم إلى ميدان الثورة وتلامس الثورة قولاً وفعلاً عوض الحديث خلف جهاز الكمبيوتر ؟
4: دكتور إذا كنت سوري وطني حر ..كيف تجنس أبنائك بالجنسية القطرية !!!!! ..
لماذا تحقن جيلا كاملاً بالخيانة ؟
كيف ستجيب أحد أبناءك في المستقبل إذا طرح عليك سؤال كهذا : أبي أنا سوري أم قطري ؟؟؟؟؟
5: لماذا لم تفضح النظام السوري من قبل الأزمة ؟
إذا كنت تملك كل هذا المعلومات عن الراحل حافظ الأسد وعن بشار الأسد لماذا يا ترى لم تشارك الناس بها من قبل ؟؟؟؟؟؟
6: دكتور كيف يعقل أن تدعم مجموعات مثل داعش والنصرة ..هل تعلم أنك كافر بالنسبة لهم كونك علماني الفكر درزي الديانة ؟؟؟؟؟
كيف يعقل أنك تدعم جماعات قد تقطع رأسك يوماً ما ؟؟؟
هل هذا غباء أم استغباء للعقول البسيطة؟
7: دكتور بما أنك تستشهد بالقران دائما ..لماذا لم تعتنق الإسلام حتى يومنا هذا ؟
هل لأنك لم تقتنع بعد بهذا الدين أو فقط تستعمل هذه الآيات القرانية الكريمة حين تنزل شعبيتك للحضيض ..لتتلاعب بعواطف أتباعك ؟
كما قال إبن رشد :المجتمعات الجاهلة غلف لها كل شئ بالدين وستتبعك من الخلف حتى لو كنت شيطان..
8: واخيرا ..كيف تكذب على الناس وأنت في هذا العمر ؟؟؟

أكتفي بهذا القدر ..مع أني أحمل في جعبتي الملايين من الأسئلة لك ..
أنا على يقين أنك ستمنعني من التعليق على صفحتك بعد أن يرى مسيّروا صفحتك هذه الرسالة .
هذا لا يهم ولكن لا تفتخر بعدها أنك تملك الملايين من المعجبين وأكثر من نصفهم ممنوع من التعليق على صفحتك فقط لأنهم لا يوافقونك الرأي ..
المرجوا أن ترد على رسالتي وآسفة على صراحتى معك.

أنا طلبي بالله عليكم ..لكل من قرأ هذه الرسالة أن ينقلها ويضعها كتعليق على أي بوست يضعه الدكتور فيصل ..كي لا يتجاهل هذه الرسالة …
الحقيقة غابة من الأشجار ..و كل منا متعلق بشجرة واحدة من نفس الغابة على أنها حقيقته المفترضة.
..شششـــــــكراً للجميـــــــع

Notes and comments on FB and Twitter. Part 49

Qatar is still supporting Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood and playing in the hands of Saudi Kingdom. This Brotherhood has been brainwashed to Wahhabism for 4 decades: Most Imams are financed by Saudi Kingdom, even in France and England
Christian clergy in Middle-East are joyful with the increase of Christian martyrs. Kind of the terrorists are doing their best to spread this joy among all the clergies.
Sous le signe de “Game Control”, des hecatombs d’animaux ont été systematiquement pratiquées.
La protection de la nature et l’extermination de la faune ne sont pas spécifiquement Africaines: Les Européens et Americains prennent l’Afrique pour refuge et pour échapper aux hurlements de leur citoyens écorchés
J’ai vécu au temps óu les enfants n’étaient rien: en dessous des domestiques et avant les animaux. J’ai dû changé avec le temps: ces enfants morveux sont maintenant tout.
“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed – to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is” Parker J. Palmer
Notre monde d’enfants avait des mots qui tuent: Le croup, tetanus, typhus, travail, bombardement, bombes, tuberculose, suppuration… Mourir en mangeant une cerise sans cracher le noyau, un chewing-gum avalé, un coup de pierre sur la tempe
Le refus de se soumettre á l’infirmité et les dures lois qui la négligent et persister á être un individu
Until the thousands of Wahhabi Islamic religious Madrassat, working around the world, are transformed into secular public schools, Extremist Islamic sects will be around for hundreds of years.
The USA, China and Europe must find the necessary funds and training to all States ready to close down or reform these Saudi Kingdom funded religious Madrassat in the last 4 decades
It is much easier to become a billionaire than surviving: Laziness performance is the same, but the grit is much higher
“Quand on vous voit, on vous aime. Quand on vous aime, Óu vous voit-on?”  Ce soir, chez moi, pour rien.
“Bon. Il nous reste 5 minutes. Nous pourrions aborder le probléme de Dieu”
On ne parle pas á Dieu. C’est une facon de dire qu’on a réflechit profondement en un instant d’insanité temporaire
Tu n’est pas un seul être et tu n’est pas l’ensemble de tous les êtres.
On a crée un Dieu pour l’opposer au hazard organisateur. Les malins ont crées Dieu pour mieux gouverner. Les simples d’esprit pour circonvenir aux multiple malheurs du monde réel, par paresse d’esprit de reflection
Substantiated: Qatar and Iran had agreed on the oil and gas pipeline that should cross Iraq and end on Syria seashore. Saudi Arabia, USA, Israel and Turkey are trying to cut-off this project by occupying the South east region bordering Iraq, Syria and Jordan.
US troops landed in Boukamal border town and Saudi Arabia is to form a 34,000 army to occupy this “No-fight Zone”, if they can
Laissez faire. Les choses mortes se rejoignent dans le passé

Why is Turkey standing up for Qatar?

“Thank you Turkey for the milk!” posted one Twitter user from Qatar, along with a picture taken in a supermarket whose shelves were full of Turkish-brand bottles. (Why? Is Qatar in such a dire need with all its billions invested overseas?)

Over the weekend, fresh stocks of milk, yogurt, poultry and juice from Turkey were flown to Doha as the country faced a shortage of fresh produce due to the recent crisis in the Gulf – the worst in the past decade. (Iran is better positioned and closer to Qatar by sea and air to provide all that Qatar need)

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the isolation of Qatar as inhumane and against Islamic values, comparing it to a “death sentence”. (Why? Turkey and Qatar actions in Syria for the last 6 years were that humanitarian)

His foreign minister is due to visit the country on Wednesday for talks about the crisis

As Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt decided to sever all ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, Turkey’s initial reaction was to try to refrain from taking sides and to call for dialogue.

But just two days later Ankara made a dramatic pro-Qatari turn.

The passing of a bill to authorise the deployment of Turkish troops to Qatar was presented to the international community as a clear message: Doha is not alone.

In fact, the bill had been waiting for parliamentary approval for almost two years – long before the Qatar crisis erupted.

The two countries had already signed a military protocol back in 2015, and Turkey had opened a military base in Qatar – its first in the region, currently hosting about 100 Turkish soldiers, but with a capacity of up to 5,000 troops.

On Monday, the Turkish army sent a further three officers to co-ordinate the future deployment. Some reports suggest that Ankara will initially deploy infantry, then a naval force, followed by F16 fighter jets.

Ankara perceives Doha as one of its key allies, especially after Turkey’s increasing isolation internationally.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was the first leader to make a solidarity call to President Erdogan after the Turkish coup attempt last year.

Turkey-Qatar trade ties $424m (Not much)

Turkish exports to Qatar in 2015: main items sea vessels, electrical goods, furniture $361m

Qatari exports to Turkey in 2015: main items petrol and derivatives, aluminium, plastic products

  • 126% Growth of Turkish exports to Qatar since 2011
  • 25% Decrease of Qatari exports to Turkey since 2011

There are even reports alleging that a 150-strong elite unit of Qatari special forces was sent to Turkey for close protection of Mr Erdogan after the coup plot. (Yeah. Turkey’s President badly need all kinds protection, even with the lousy Qatari special forces,  after dismantling his armed forces and detaining thousands of judges, teachers and university students…)

The governments of the two countries also share similar ideological stances.

Neither classifies the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas as “terrorist organisations”; both have condemned the military coup in Egypt that toppled Mohammed Morsi in 2013; and both have supported Islamist groups in their attempt to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

They also have the same attitude towards Iran. Both acknowledge that it is one of the key players in the region and try to maintain good ties – contrary to the Saudi demonisation of Tehran.

Qatar has also been investing heavily in Turkey – it ranks seventh in terms of Doha’s foreign investments.

Turkish exports to Qatar are valued at more than $420m (£330m), and the emirate is seeking several arms deals with Turkish defence firms. (Not that of any quality since Turkey relies on Israel to do the maintenance of its heavy tanks and air-fighters)

The value of projects undertaken in Qatar by more than 30 Turkish companies, mainly in the construction sector, has reached approximately $8.5bn to date, according to official numbers.

And with the 2022 World Cup’s preparations under way, Turkish contractors are eyeing the country for further investments.

Mr Erdogan has demanded an immediate end to the Qatar crisis, calling on the Saudi king to take the lead to resolve it.

Although taking a pro-Qatari position, Turkey does not want to be perceived as anti-Saudi.

What it wants first and foremost is a diplomatic settlement to restore the relations between the parties.

But if the tension escalates further leading to a military confrontation, or a coup, will Turkey still be prepared to stand by its recently adopted “brother”?

Note 1: Trump and Saudi monarch deal was to subsidize most of the promised $350 billion from Qatar sovereign fund. Saudi kingdom taking full control of Qatar as it did with Bahrain. The US military got hysteric and pressured Trump to cool down his antics. Two US navy ships arrived to Qatar, supposedly to train Qatari marine

Note 2: Qatar is no Bahrain. Not that it is that bigger in population and land, but richer and many countries rely on Qatar’s generosity and investment. Not even the US airbase in Qatar will intervene in any military confrontation: Iran will Not allow this move, this time around, on its backyard

Note 3: Qatar Emir didn’t learn the lesson from his father who was pressured by Saudi Kingdom to step aside: He had ignored Big Brother privilege to initiate political positions and Not take front seat in the political scenes such as with Syria, Libya and Egypt

Note 4: Qatar former foreign minister Hamad confessed yesterday that they committed serious errors in funding terrorist factions in Syria, Iraq and libya. He admitted that, headed with the USA, they shared with Saudi Kingdom the same headquarters in Jordan and Turkey to destabilize Syria since the inception of the civil war in 2011

America is no longer a force for stability in the Gulf

The blacklisting of Qatar is a sign of President Trump’s new world disorder

AMERICA’S president got on so well last month with King Salman of Saudi Arabia that he has embraced the monarch’s foreign-policy goals.

Sunni Saudi Arabia detests Shia Iran, its chief regional rival. So does Donald Trump. (Why that? What does Trump knows of Iran?)

He also appears to share the Saudi view that the most egregious bankroller of terrorism in the Middle East is the tiny sheikhdom of Qatar.  (Qatar is a late comer, after 2011. Saudi Kingdom since 1980)

He applauded when, on June 5th, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, as well as land, sea and air links. The Gulf states gave Qatari citizens 14 days to leave.

Ludicrously, the UAE declared that anyone publishing expressions of support for Qatar can be jailed for up to 15 years. Mr Trump tweeted: “Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

Though tiny (in population), Qatar matters. It is the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas and an airline hub. It is also host to Al Jazeera, the nearest the Middle East has to an uncensored broadcaster (so long as it does not criticise the Qatari monarchy).  (That was before Syria upheaval)

It has good ties with Iran, with which it exploits a vast gasfield. It is supportive, too, of the (Sunni) Muslim Brotherhood, the most popular face of political Islam. (Brotherhoods in Egypt, Turkey and Syria)

All this makes Saudi Arabia hate it. The Saudi regime has tried in the past to bend Qatar to its will, but failed. Qatar hosts a large American airbase, which until now has made it feel safe. But with Mr Trump in the White House, nobody is now so sure.

No concrete reasons have been given for the blacklisting of Qatar.

There is lots of chatter that wealthy Qataris fund terrorism. (Kuwait, Saudi Kingdom and Gulf Emirates allowed its citizens to collect and fund Syria, Iraqi and Libya terrorist factions)

This accusation, which is also levelled at rich Saudis, is unproven, though the Financial Times reports that Qatar paid $1bn to Iran and an al-Qaeda affiliate for the release of Qatari royals who were taken hostage while on a falcon-hunting trip to Iraq. A billion-dollar ransom would buy a lot of explosives.

The spat has split the Gulf Co-operation Council, hitherto a force for stability in an unstable region.

It may drive Qatar, as well as Kuwait and Oman, the other two members of the GCC, who pointedly declined to support the Saudi move, further into the arms of Iran. Tempers may eventually cool, but some observers worry that the price of Saudi Arabia backing down will be the muzzling of those pesky Al Jazeera journalists.

Mr Trump’s support for Saudi actions also damages America’s credibility. It suggests that, under him, the superpower can abandon its allies after a brief chat with their enemies.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar—look!” tweeted Mr Trump on June 6th.

The sober foreign-policy types who cling on in his administration are scrambling to downplay such undiplomatic words and calm tempers. Perhaps recognising his error, Mr Trump offered his services as a mediator the following day.

Now anything goes

Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s autocratic president, has also decided that Mr Trump is an American leader who will let him persecute his enemies without hindrance. On May 23rd, two days after the two men met and praised each other in Riyadh, Mr Sisi had a potential opponent arrested for allegedly making an indecent hand gesture at a rally five months earlier.

On May 25th the government blocked access to the websites of Mada Masr, Egypt’s leading liberal newspaper, and those of 20 other media outlets, including Al Jazeera and Huffpost Arabic.

In Bahrain the authorities killed five people and arrested 286 more in a raid on the home of a Shia cleric; shortly after that, they dissolved the main secular opposition party. America would once have objected to all this. No longer—and that is a recipe for a less stable Middle East.

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline “Donald does Doha”
Note: Gulf Emirates have been tacitly attacking Qatar since 2014 in US and Arabic news media. The US airbase in Qatar was moved from Saudi Kingdom after strenuous events in the 90’s.

Trapped and dying in Qatar: Foreign slave workers

Forced to work under the desert’s scorching sun, denied food, drinking water, and barred from escaping home, thousands of men in Qatar are modern day slaves. And we can help free them.

Emma Ruby-Sachs – Avaaz posted this Feb. 27, 2015

Last year, one person died every other day building a billion dollar mega-project for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup.

A major part of the project is managed by an American company with a CEO who lives in a quiet part of Colorado.

If more than 1 million of us stand together for freedom, we can confront her with our voices every time she leaves her house to go to work, or to ski, until she takes action.

This same tactic pushed Hilton Hotels to protect women against sex trafficking in days — join the urgent call to help free Qatar’s modern slaves:

Qatar’s “guest worker” program is at the root of the problem.

It lures people from Nepal and Sri Lanka with promises of good jobs, but when they arrive their employers confiscate their passports and force them to work long hours in 50 degree heat with no chance of escape.

The US company, CH2M Hill, say the local contractors and government laws are to blame, but CH2M Hill is the public face of World Cup construction.

Their CEO can and must take a lead role in ensuring we don’t see seven more years of worker deaths. She could even threaten to take their business elsewhere unless this system is changed.

CH2M Hill has a responsibility to help stop this modern day slavery. Our call now could persuade CH2M Hill to speak out and then lead other companies to weigh in until every single worker has the freedom to return home.

Direct your complaints to CH2M Hill CEO Jacqueline Hinman again, and again and again:

One big global outcry at the right time can save thousands of lives.

When Hilton Hotels wasn’t doing enough to protect women and girls from sex trafficking at their hotels, Avaaz staff brought our call to the CEO’s front door and the policy was changed in days. Let’s do it again

Emma, Nell, Mais, Ricken, Alice and the whole Avaaz team

Sources:

Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed (The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/23/qatar-nepal-workers-world-cup-2022-death-toll-doha

 

Tales from the British India Office

Muscat (1811)
Muscat pictured in 1811

A transgender singer hits stardom in Baghdad. Officials scramble to impose order after a Kuwaiti restaurant is found to be selling cat meat. Gulf royals on an official visit to London are left marooned in a drab south London suburb because of a shortage of hotel rooms in the West End.

These are some of the quirky stories hiding in 9 miles of shelving at the British Library (BL) that hold the India Office Records – millions of documents recording Britain’s 350-year presence in the sub-continent.

The India Office did not only administer India, it also exercised colonial rule over an area stretching west as far as Aden. That’s why the files cover Persia and Arabia. And the reason the stories are coming to light is that the Qatar Foundation has paid £8.7m for nearly half a million documents relating to the Gulf to be digitised.

Work started in 2012, and many of those documents have now gone online at the Qatar National Library’s digital library portal.

Never formally part of the British Empire, the Gulf nonetheless came under colonial administration after being targeted for trade in the 17th Century by the East India Company.

Two centuries later, the government established direct control through the India Office.

Persia and Arabia (map of 1850)

For much of the period covered by the documents – from the 1750s to 1951 – the Gulf was a little-regarded backwater, dotted with coastal villages that scraped a living through fishing or pearl-diving, with basic goods being traded to and fro.

Officials created a complex network of regional authorities.

British officers and locally recruited “native agents” in Bahrain, Muscat, Sharjah and other towns reported to a British ambassador known as the Resident, based for most of this period in the Persian port of Bushire or Busheer (now Bushehr in Iran).

British officials would also travel the region, making some of the first journeys by outsiders into the harsh desert interior.

In 1865 Lewis Pelly, the British Resident, was dispatched to Riyadh – then a small oasis settlement – to placate tribes accused of raiding the coastal towns, one of the first such expeditions by an outsider. He was knighted nine years later.

Pelly’s passport – “fair but sunburnt”

Front cover of passport issued at Bombay Castle in 1858 to Lewis Pelly, East India Company officer and British diplomat (“…complexion fair but sunburnt…”), for a journey from India to England.
Front cover of passport issued at Bombay Castle in 1858 to Lewis Pelly, East India Company officer and British diplomat (“complexion fair but sunburnt…”), for a journey from India to England

The records Pelly and other officials left – government papers, diplomatic dispatches, letters, diaries, financial receipts, maps, sketches, photographs and so on – have long been accessible only to those researchers able to visit the BL in person and navigate the often haphazardly catalogued archive.

“Given the paucity of publicly available data within the Gulf States, materials held in Britain are often the primary source of data for scholars working on the Gulf,” says Dr Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, author of Qatar and the Arab Spring.

“Digitising the collection will make it far easier for scholars who are unable to visit London to access the material.”

Anyone with internet access will be able to search 475,000 pages from the two most important British outposts, at Bushire and Bahrain, along with 25,000 pages of medieval Arabic scientific manuscripts from the British Library’s own collections.

Boxes of cinnamon

Handwritten note from 1863 by Lewis Pelly outlining approximate annual imports by sea from India to Basrah and Baghdad, showing the rich array of goods passing through the Gulf at that time, including cinnamon, coffee, copper, ebony, ginger and indigo.
Handwritten note from 1863 by Lewis Pelly outlining approximate annual imports by sea from India to Basra and Baghdad, showing the rich array of goods passing through the Gulf at that time, including wax candles, cardamom and cinnamon – and, lower down (out of sight), coffee, copper, ebony, ginger and indigo

The portal currently holds between a quarter and a third of this total, with the remainder due online by the end of this year. Access is free, without registration, and the entire site is navigable in English and Arabic.

“What makes this project special is the variety of content – maps, archives, manuscripts – and the work we’re doing to create metadata for search, to make sure this content is relevant to a wide range of audiences, both in the UK and internationally,” says Richard Gibby, head of the British Library/Qatar Foundation partnership.

The BL’s curators are also writing contextual features, to help interpret the wealth of material and highlight unique stories from the archive – such as the tale of Massoud El Amaratly.

Born female in southern Iraq in the early 20th Century, El Amaratly identified as male, and became famous in Baghdad in the 1920s for his distinctive renditions of rural folk songs. The BL has several recordings, and has brought in ethnomusicologist Rolf Killius to curate a unique digital Gulf music archive that also includes such rarities as traditional pearl-divers’ sea shanties.

As part of his research, Killius has also embarked on fieldwork, filming new performances of traditional music such as this bagpipe and drum ensemble in Oman.

One benefit of the digitisation project is that curators handle every item in previously poorly-labelled files, sometimes unearthing gems in the process.

Amid a shortage of paper, an unknown clerk in 1940s Bahrain took a couple of British World War II Arabic propaganda posters, turned them over and typed on the back.

Propaganda leaflet

These rare posters, trumpeting British freedoms and progressiveness, went unnoticed for 70 years, until BL curator Louis Allday chanced upon them while preparing files for digitisation. He writes about his find here.

But principles of free academic inquiry, which guide the BL’s work, contrast with Freedom House’s assessment of Qatar as “not free”.

Amnesty International called Qatar’s new cybercrimes law, passed last month, “a major setback for freedom of expression”, and Qatari writer Mohammed Al-Ajami remains in jail, serving a 15-year sentence for a poem deemed insulting to the monarch.

The BL and Qatar National Library (QNL) both hold copies of the digitised archive but Gibby’s expectation is that the portal – currently hosted by Amazon – will eventually be transferred for hosting in Qatar. That could theoretically expose material to manipulation by Qatari censors.

“That was discussed very clearly right from the beginning,” says Gibby. “Both sides made very clear to each other that there is no suggestion this will be censored. To date that has been borne out. We, the British Library, are trusting [the Qatar Foundation] and our faith is in them.”

Rosie Bsheer, history professor at Yale University, comments that any endeavour to make archives more accessible should be welcomed “despite Qatar’s egregious record on civil liberties”.

Al-Biruni and Archimedes

Manuscripts from the British Library - Al-Biruni and a translation of Archimedes
Left: A page from one of only three known copies of a treatise on astrolabes by 11th Century polymath Al-Biruni. The illustration is for a hand-held mechanical calendar, the Box of the Moon, showing internal gears.
Al-Biruni’s manuscript may have been the first to depict such miniature technology.
Right: Arabic translation of a work by Archimedes, showing a section of a water-clock – the man’s head has eyes that change colour on the hour, as a bird drops balls on to a cymbal.

The digitisation project has created dozens of jobs at the BL, where staff are pushing the boundaries of Optical Character Recognition software to convert typescripts and printed text into searchable files – relatively straightforward in English, but notoriously difficult in Arabic, which uses cursive letter-forms.

“In Europe, these kind of funds are not available,” says Dr Joachim Gierlichs of the QNL, referring to the millions provided by the Qatar Foundation. “As a curator, your struggle is to keep the collection open. But to develop and enhance it like this? That’s not an opportunity any more.”

The greatest benefits may be intangible.

A project on this scale, facilitating universal access to a major archive in English and Arabic, has the potential to change perceptions of the Middle East – from outside, and also from within.

“The partnership,” says Gierlichs, “enables Qatar and the Gulf to discover their own history.”

Photo taken in the 1880s by Meccan photographer Abd al-Ghaffar. It shows Sharif Yahya (second from right), a close relative of the ruler of Mecca, with two lesser noblemen (left). Yahya's slave (far right) holds a long-barrelled rifle, and all four men wear traditional weapons, known as "janbiya" – three are long scimitars, one is a shorter, curved dagger.
Abd al-Ghaffar, the first Meccan photographer, took more than 250 shots of Mecca and its inhabitants between 1886 and 1889, as well as the first photographs of pilgrims participating in the hajj pilgrimage

This weekend Matthew Teller starts Round the Bend, a weekly series of tales from the India Office, in the Magazine Monitor.

 

The Israel-Egypt-Jordan Natural Gas Agreement and the July 2014 War in Gaza

The Financial Times article of 21st Mai 2014, reported that Israel was very close to signing agreements with Egypt and Jordan for exporting Israeli natural gas to these countries, from Leviathan, Israel’s largest natural gas field.

What happened in the time between the Financial Times article on 21 Mai 2014, which reported that Israel was close to signing the agreements and the Haaretz article on 30 June, which reported the actual 30 billion dollar agreement between Egypt and Israel?

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/02ea38aa-e0e2-11e3-a934-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl

(you can click on the picture to enlarge it)

Israel Egypt Jordan PA

 Posted on

At the following article of Haaretz, which is as you can see at the following Wikipedia link, Israel’s oldest newspaper, and its English version is published with the New York Times,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haaretz

It was reported on 30 June 2014 that Israel did finally sign an agreement to export to Egypt 30 billion dollars of natural gas in the next 15 years. That is 2 billion dollars of natural gas each year, and it amounts to 20% of Leviathan’s capacity.

http://www.haaretz.com/business/.premium-1.601980

At the following article of the Times of Israel, an electronic newspaper that is published in 3 languages, it was reported on 3 September 2014, that Israel did finally sign an agreement to export to Jordan 15 billion dollars of natural gas in the next 15 years.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-signs-15-billion-gas-deal-with-jordan/

What happened in the time between the Financial Times article on 21 Mai 2014, which reported that Israel was close to signing the agreements and the Haaretz article on 30 June, which reported the actual 30 billion dollar agreement between Egypt and Israel?

Well what happened is that Israel claimed that the 3 Israeli teenagers were abducted by Hamas on 12 June 2014, as you can read at the first line of the following Wikipedia link, in section “Immediate Events”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Israel%E2%80%93Gaza_conflict#Immediate_events

At the first paragraph of the following Wikipedia link, you can read that on 7 July 2014, one week after the agreement between Israel and Egypt, Hamas took responsibility for the teenagers’ abductions (I recall that Hamas denied any involvement in that affair) and at the same time it launched 40 rockets to Israel (in reaction to Israel bombing Gaza first)

One day later, on the 8 July 2014, the Israeli army entered Gaza.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Israel%E2%80%93Gaza_conflict

It is well known that Hamas is funded by Qatar. Hamas won the elections in 2006 by providing financial help to the people of Gaza. In a sense Qatar bought a military camp at the Israeli borders. Qatar is the 3rd richest country in the world in terms of proven natural gas reserves, after Russia and Iran, and could have easlily provided the natural gas to Egypt and Jordan instead.

One of the main reasons that Qatar funded and wholeheartedly supported  the Muslim Brootherhood candidate in Egypt, Muhammad Morsi, is that if Morsi was in power he would have never made a deal with Israel, since the Muslim Brotherhood is supported by Qatar.

At the following Wikipedia link, section ‘Aftermath’, 2-3 lines before the end of the section, where the consequences of the Arab Spring on the Egypt-Israel 1978 Peace Agreement are examined, you can read that the deputy chief of the Muslim Brotherhood said that the Brotherhood does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt%E2%80%93Israel_Peace_Treaty#Aftermath

At the following BBC article you can read how much Qatar supported the Muslim Brotherhood and its candidate Morsi. In the 6th and 7th paragraph you can read that Qatar did not give all that money for nothing, but instead to make sure that Egypt would buy natural gas from Qatar. I copy these two paragraphs.

“….But this was not a charitable giveaway. It was in the nature of an investment. A Qatari economist told the BBC: “We couldn’t stand by and let Egypt collapse”, but the billions came with an expectation – “I’ll give you the money, show me the outcome,” he said.

The Qataris had already secured a lucrative deal to sell their gas to the Egyptians and they were proposing to heavily invest in the redevelopment of the Suez Canal…”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-23185441

Many socialists that are financed by Qatar say that the Brotherhood was democratically elected. As you can read in the 3rd paragraph of the following Wikipedia link, as soon as he was elected, Morsi started changing the law to rule as a dictator. I copy from the link.

“…As president, Morsi granted himself unlimited powers and the power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts….”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Morsi

You can read at the following Haaretz article that the Israelis have agreed to sell to the Palestinian Authority in West Bank 1.2 billion dollar in natural gas.

But this is a small amount compared to the 45 billion dollar deals with Egypt and Jordan, and Qatar would have not probably minded.

As you can see the deal was singed in January 2014 and there was no war in Gaza. It was before the agreements with Egypt and Jordan that the war broke out. Nobody starts a war for 1.2 billion dollars.

http://www.haaretz.com/business/1.567216

Devastating civil war in Yemen: Is it of any concern to the UN? (Oct. 27, 2009)

The UN did it again!  Civil wars in non-oil producing Arab States are left to run its natural steam until the State is bankrupt and ready to be picked up at salvage price.

The UN tends to get busy for years in collateral world problems when civil wars strike any non oil-producing Arab States.  Occasionally, the UN demonstrates lukewarm attempts for a resolution in oil producing States as long as it is under control.

Lebanon experienced 17 years of civil war.  Morocco still has a civil war in south Sahara for three decades.  Sudan has been suffering of a rampant civil war for four decades.  Algeria is experiencing a resurgence of a devastating civil war that started in 1990 because Europe refused to accept a democratically elected Islamic majority in the parliament.  Iraq was totally neglected while Saddam Hussein was decimating the Shias and Kurds in Iraq for three decades, even after the US coalition forced the Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.  Somalia never got out of its miseries for four decades so far.  Mauritania is rope jumping from one military coup to another. The other Arab States are in constant low-level civil wars overshadowed by dictators, one party, oligarchic, and monarchic regimes.

A week ago, a few trucks were allowed to cross Saudi borders to Yemen carrying tents and necessary medicines to stem rampant diseases where hundred thousands of refugees huddle in refugee camps on the high plateau of North-West Yemen, by the borders with Saudi Arabia that closed its borders and chased out any infiltration of refugees.

The most disheartening feeling is that you don’t see field reporting of this civil war by the western media.  The written accounts are from second-hand sources and decades old. They abridge the problem by stating it is a tribal matter. They feel comfortable blaming Iran; then how this land locked region can be supplied by Iran needs to be clarified. The western media is easily convinced that Al Qaeda moved from Saudi Arabia and was ordered to infiltrate the Somali refugee camps in South Yemen; then how Al Qaeda got to be located in a region of North West Yemen with Shia Yazdi population is irrelevant.

The population of North West Yemen forms the third of the total and it is Yezdi Chiia that agrees to seven Imams and not 12 as in Iran; the Yazdi sect does not care that much about the coming of a “hidden” Mahdi to unite and save Islam.  The western media want you to believe that this war, which effectively started in 2004, is a succession problem to prevent the son of current President Abdallah Saleh from inheriting the power. Actually Saleh’s son is the head of the Presidential Guard which has been recently involved in the war after the regular army failed to bring a clear-cut victory.

Yemen was a backward States even in the 60’s.  South Yemen had a Marxist regime backed by the Egyptian troops of Jamal Abdel Nasser against North Yemen ruled by an ancient Yazdi Imam; a hereditary regime labeled the “Royalists” and backed by Saudi Arabia. After the Soviet Union disintegrated Yemen unified in 1990.  Since then, South Yemen and North West Yemen were deprived of the central State financial and economic distribution of wealth.  President Saleh could present the image of a “progressist” leader as long as Yemen was out of the screen and nobody cared about this bankrupt State.

Yemen is on the verge of being divided into three separate autonomous States, the South, North West, and Sanaa the Capital.  The problems in the Horn of Africa have migrated its endemic instability into Yemen; refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan have been flocking into the southern shores of Yemen for same climate.  Heavy influx of contraband products are keeping the people of these two regions precariously afloat. The deal between Hillary Clinton and Israel foreign affairs Levny to patrol the Indian Ocean was not just meant for Gaza but mainly to prepare President Saleh for his 2009 campaign against the rebels in North Yemen by monitoring contraband arms shipments to the “hawssy” rebel.

Saudi Arabia, during the duo power brokers of Prince Sultan and Neyef (respectively Ministers of Defense and the Interior) did their best to destabilize Yemen on account of fighting the spread of the Shia sect in the Arabic Peninsula. Yemen has no natural resources to count on and the population is addicted to “Qat” that they chew on at lunch time for hours.

Yemen was the most prosperous region in the Arabic Peninsula for millennia.  Land caravans started from Taez and then passed by Maareb from which town the caravans split to either Mecca (then to Aqaba and Syria) or took the direction to Persia and Iraq. All kinds of perfume, seasoning, and textile landed by sea from India and South East Asia; incense was produced from a special tree grown in Yemen and Hadramout. The British Empire didn’t care about this region; all that it wanted to secure were sea ports for commerce and to defend the entrances of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea to Egypt.

The UN is inheriting the same lax attitude of the British Empire; as long as the US bases are secured in this region then the hell with the people. Qatar arranged for reconciliation in 2007 and Saudi Arabia interfered to fail it. Archaic tribes fighting one another wearing daggers as symbol of manhood are all that there is in Yemen.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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