Shia Gulf

Shiite Rising,” by Christopher Dickey and Rod Nordland, Newsweek International,, 1 March 2004.

Shiites See an Opening in Saudi Arabia: Municipal Vote in East Could Give Suppressed Minority Small Measure of Power,” by Scott Wilson, Washington Post,, 28 February 2005 (from Crossroads Arabia through Liberals Against Terrorism).

Marginalized Shiites stand up to be counted in Saudi local elections: Clerics encouraging community to vote,” by Ali Khalil, AFP,, 28 February 2005 (from Liberals Against Terrorism).

Some news on the Saudis’ phony elections — is the
The Shia Nova

Social unrest here has often been triggered by outside events, making Iraq’s recent elections particularly worrisome to Saudi leaders, who political analysts say opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq partly because of its potential effect on this region.

… forming a “Shia crescent”?

The prospect of even incremental Shiite political gain has alarmed Sunni Muslim leaders across the Middle East, who fear that long-suppressed Shiite communities such as this one astride the kingdom’s lifeblood oil industry will push for an ever-greater role in government. Sunni heads of state have warned the Bush administration that the democratic reform it is encouraging in Iraq and Saudi Arabia could result in a unified “crescent” of Shiite political power stretching from here through Lebanon, Iraq and into Iran.

Could result? But there are bigger prizes than Lebanon… Take a look:


Tell me those people, united by a sea, do not mind the violent intolerance of Wahabis in The Saudis’ Kingdom In Arabia or the Salafists in Iraq. Tell me that those people don’t know that the oil is under their feet and that the retrograde Sunni extremists are on the wrong side of history.

“People hurt when they see the milk from the cow flowing to the center and the west, with only a little staying here,” said Tayseer Khunaizi, a professor of finance at King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran. “Without the conquest of this region, the kingdom of bin Saud would never have survived. But deep inside of us, this is considered an occupation.”

As Newsweek said

All the countries in the region with large Shiite populations—all those that are sending pilgrims to Iraq’s ancient shrines—are watching these developments with rapt attention. Already you’re beginning to hear rhetoric that hasn’t been bruited since the height of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s power in Iran. Ali Al-Ahmed of the dissident Saudi Institute in Washington, for instance, says the world should stop talking about the Persian Gulf or, as the Arabs call it, the Arab Gulf. “It’s the Shia Gulf,” he says. “Look at the people who live around it, at least 90 percent of them are Shiites. The U.S. must take that into account. The Shiites are sitting on all that oil.”

For now, Shia in Tskia keep their heads down

“There is no particular Shiite interest in the municipal councils … There is national interest, and Shiites are part of this country,” the Dammam-based revered Shiite scholar told AFP.

But not for long.

Sharon Irons, 40

Doctor’s Lawsuit Says ‘Deceptively Acquired Semen’ Led to Child’s Birth,” Chicago Tribune,, 25 February 2005.

Earlier I calculated that accused rapist ‘ probable age was 38. If I would have read more stories, I would have known it was 40.

Irons, 40, who lives in Olympia Fields with her 5-year-old daughter, said Thursday that Phillips was happy when he learned she was pregnant during their relationship, which began after she separated from her husband.

But still close!

People Power Beirut Government Resignation

Hezbollah Radio Advert,” by Bryn Jones, Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip,, 7 February 2002.

Hoping that I have not yet bored all with posts on Bryn Jones, a/k/a Muslimgauze

‘s overt geopolitics and use of speech samples make his music completely unique. Also new under the sun is the incredible news out of Egypt and Lebanon. Multiparty elections in one, a popular protest forcing a government’s resignation in the other. I couldn’t help but listen to one song…

We are here. We will continue to be here. The first, this city, the first, the first, this is very important, this is the first Arab capital which the Israelis people are blockading.


We create a new people. Instead of being refugees subjects we to be fighters protesters. This very important. We were refugees subjects. Harmless. We became now fighters protesters. Freedom fighters protesters. The next stage


WTO Membership for Iran

Bush Weighs Offers To Iran: U.S. Might Join Effort to Halt Nuclear Program,” by Robin Wright, Washington Post,, 28 February 2005 (from Democratic Underground)

Right after the news that Cuba is telling its people to avoid foreigners, the Bush Administration is thinking of granting WTO membership to Iran:

The Bush administration is close to a decision to join Europe in offering incentives to Iran — possibly including eventual membership in the World Trade Organization — in exchange for Tehran’s formal agreement to surrender any plans to develop a nuclear weapon, according to senior U.S. officials.

That’s my kind of Islamic Republic!

Useful bs about Iran’s nuclear program aside, this is great news. Much better than crazy plans to embargo Iran. Iran’s democracy is about where Britain’s was a century ago, they have a very secular population, and Persia is a natural security pillar in the Middle East. We need to continue to integrate Persians into the international system so a future without the mullahs in charge becomes more and more real.

Free the Iranian people. Free the Iranian bloggers. Do everything possibel to add Iran to the functioning core.

The Reivew of the Review of the Review of the Reviews

The Review of the Review of the Review,” by Curzon, Coming Anarchy,, 27 February 2005.

Tom Barnett frequently publishes his “reviews of reviews” on his blog where he comments on media coverage of his book The Pentagon’s New Map. Younghusband reviewed PNM alongside G. Friedman’s America’s Secret War last month and Barnett gave his review of the review here and here.

YH liked the book and, not surprisingly, Barnett liked that (with a few sidenotes):

COMMENTARY: Mr. Coming Anarchy gives me the usual slap-down of those who really like the book but want to offer criticism: too repetitive, too self-congratulatory (America rules!) and too long. Fine. He scores his point. Bigger point is that he gets it for what it really attempts to be: a serious attempt at grand strategy that doesn’t focus on the tactics of today and isn’t just a long bitch-session about what the author can’t stand about the Bush administration’s security and diplomatic policies. He also sees the book as accessible, which is key, and views me as new school (definitely not another Kissinger or Brzezinski). This is all good, so I take the quibbling in stride. Mr. Coming Anarchy, despite the bias of his nom-de-scare, knows his rear-end from his elbow in terms of strategic analysis, and that, my friends, is rare in this world.

Admirable. We’re honored he stops by now and then.

Just one thing Mr. Barnett—the content on is provided by two contributors with different educations, experiences, and nationalities, currently living on opposite sides of the globe. There is no “Mr. Coming Anarchy” (if anyone, that would be the dear Mr. Robert D. Kaplan—not your favorite journalist, I know). And as for us, the proper form of address is Sir Younghusband and Lord Curzon.

And we look forward to the next book.

Good review. Tactfully addresses Tom’s naming mistake while giving due credit to Robert Kaplan. Curzon’s use of British titles may be inflammatory to Americans who still dream of liberating the Northern Colonies from Windsor tyranny (or would be it be united States under Hannoverish Occupation?)

People’s Republic of Disconnectedness

Cubans told to shun foreigners,” by Stephen Gibbs, BBC News,, 27 February 2005 (from Roth Report).

More than 100,000 workers in Cuba’s tourism industry have been ordered to restrict their contact with foreigners to an absolute minimum.

New regulations from the communist state’s tourism ministry apply to Cubans on the island and overseas.

They form part of a series of moves by the Cuban government to tighten state control across the country.

Workers are also told to watch their foreign employers and report actions that might threaten Cuba’s revolution.

The new regulations make stark reading. Everyone who works in Cuba’s expanding tourism industry – from bar staff to taxi drivers – is warned to keep a safe distance from foreigners.

Workers are advised that they can attend events at the homes of non-Cubans only with advanced written permission

Similar warnings are issued by Saudi Arabia. Both Cuba and Saudi Arabia are disconnecting regimes. Both governments are enemies of freedom, and neither’s system of vertical control can survive a horizontal flood of content flow.

There is a difference, though. While Havana is a friend of Caracas, Cuba is not the nest of terrorism that Riyadh is. While we should challenge the Communist regime, we should recognize that it is functional (or at least not dysfunctional). So if there is no future for The Saudis’ Arabia but regime revolution, our goal for our island neighbors must be regime transformation.

Pakistan’s Wrong Kind of Connectivity

Iran Was Offered Nuclear Parts,” by Dafna Linzer, Washington Post,, 27 February 2005 (from Roth Report).

International investigators have uncovered evidence of a secret meeting 18 years ago between Iranian officials and associates of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan that resulted in a written offer to supply Tehran with the makings of a nuclear weapons program, foreign diplomats and U.S. officials familiar with the new findings said.

The meeting, believed to have taken place in a dusty Dubai office in 1987, kick-started Tehran’s nuclear efforts and Khan’s black market. Iran, which was at war with Iraq then, bought centrifuge designs and a starter kit for uranium enrichment. But Tehran recently told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it turned down the chance to buy the more sensitive equipment required for building the core of a bomb.

There is evidence, however, that Iran used the offer as a buyer’s guide, acquiring some of the pricier items elsewhere, officials said.

Pakistani “hero” AQ Khan remains protected by the Pakistani government. Because we are not allowed to talk to him, we don’t know who else he helped spread WMD tech too besides Tehran, Tripoli, and Pyongyang. Or if he even “acting alone.”

The irony, of course, is that we have much more to fear from “friend” Pakistan than our “enemy” Iran.

Mad at Madd

MADD at GM,” MADD at GM,, (from Houston Chronicle through The Corner).

MADD Off the Rails,” MADD at GM,

Have you ever had a glass of wine with dinner… and then driven safely home?
Have you ever driven home after having a beer at a ballgame?
Have you ever had a cocktail with your friends after work before heading home?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re what MADD calls a “drinking driver” .. and if MADD had its way, you would have been arrested.

From another MADD at GM page

Over the past twenty years, efforts of government, traffic safety, and adult beverage retailer groups have fundamentally changed the nature of the drunk driving problem. What once was considered at worst a social mistake is now recognized as a life-threatening and illegal act. Recognizing this fact, drunk driving is anathema to responsible adults.

Drunk drivers are now overwhelmingly made up of product abusers who routinely reach high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) and often are repeat offenders. Government data shows that the average BAC of a drunk driver in a fatal crash is .19%—over twice the legal limit. And while this group makes up a very small portion of all drivers, they cause an overwhelming majority of alcohol-related fatalities each year. (Many of them are the drunk drivers themselves.)

But despite the fact that the drunk driving problem has been boiled down to what even MADD calls a “hard core of alcoholics who do not respond to public appeals,” MADD continues to advocate senseless PR campaigns—campaigns that take aim at responsible adults, not this “hard core.” Why? Because the original, well-intentioned MADD organization has been hijacked over 25 years into a $50 million PR organization with an anti-alcohol agenda.


I have little sympathy for the health mullahs. The Global War on Terrorism is a war for freedom against vertical control. Salafists and virtue police are a danger to the liberal dream in every nation, whether Secular, Christianist, or Islamist.

Free Arab Music (Pseudoislamic Ethnomusicology)

I’ve received a not insiginificant number of hits for my post Free Arab Media from people searching for free arab mp3s. That page wasn’t any help, and frankly I don’t know of any good Arab musicians. I do know of one good swaydo Arab fellow though: the utterly unique Bryn Jones, aka Muslimgauze. Before his death, was prolific, creating hundreds of albums in several pseudo-Muslim styles. Epitonic has a few of his tracks available for download, including:


(Also available from epitonic are a few songs by the airy 1 Mile North, the oddly named Arab Strap, and the “pseudo-ethnomusicologist” Zoviet France.)

(For a taste of the “lyrics” of these songs, read my attempted transcription of Hindu Kush Opium Crop.)

As for Muslimgauze, in the non-free world…

medium_no_human_rights_for_arabs_in_israel.jpg also has Muslimgauze previews available from 4 albums: No Human Rights for Arabs in Israel, From the Edge, Red Madrassa, Dar Es Salaam, and Abu-Dis, though the site’s arcane interface makes it hard to say whether full albums are available there or not.

Fellow iTunes aficionados can download two albums: the famous Arabbox and The Remixes.

Bryn Jones teamed up with Bass Communion to create the obviously named Bass Communion v. Muslimgauze.