Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Dialogue is the key to peace"

In a worthy opinion piece in Arab News discussing the Saudi King Abdullah's rejection of a U.N. Security Council seat, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim advocates:

"In my opinion, the Arab world instead of relying only on official contacts between the US and their respective governments, should find new ways to engage in dialogue with the American people. The US is one of the most open societies in the world and the American people are good listeners and open to political and social discussions -"

I don't doubt King Abdullah has similar thoughts, though the course of action he advocates is rather different. Five years ago he sponsored an "Islamic Conference on Dialogue" that was attended by prominent Muslims throughout the world . The resulting dialogue guidelines include:

1) Most important: is to spread Islam.

2) Refute "the suspicion that Islam and Muslims are responsible for terrorism, extremism and hatred."

3) Reject "the oppression and exploitation of poor people under the excuse of liberating them or guarding their human rights. "

4) Giving "priority to issues of protection of values and ethics against the calls for demoralization on grounds of defending individual freedom" - meaning, I suppose, that Muslims should turn a deaf ear to the complaints or differing priorities of non-Muslims and that Muslims who do listen should be denounced or their interaction with foreigners suppressed from the ears of Muslims.

5) Urge that Muslims worldwide respect their host nations but obey Muslim governments and organizations.

6) Work to ensure that "the United Nations and human rights organizations to criminalize the abuse directed at Islam and its Messenger."

7) Denounce "odious claims of superiority" that one group of people can be superior to another on the basis of race.

Conveniently, the Saudi King believes "dialogue" should be redefined as proselytization, its refinements, and the sort of propaganda needed for himself and his clan to remain in power; Muslims anywhere should obey their leaders - no matter how oppressive; and Muslims should have no hope that improvement could come about through political action of their own, nor that the rest of the world can serve as an example.  


Friday, October 18, 2013

US Passes Saudi Arabia to become the World’s Largest Oil Producer

"PIRA, a leader in worldwide energy market analysis, has recently announced that the US has finally surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest oil producer in the world, after an explosion in the use of hydraulic fracking created the largest oil boom in nearly 40 years, only beaten by the production boom in Saudi Arabia between 1970 and 1974."

Should the U.S. join OPEC next?  

This is an important milestone: within five years the U.S. will resume its role as a net exporter of petroleum for the first time in over four decades.  The flow of oil through the Arabian Gulf will no longer be considered  a necessary beverage for U.S. consumers but something of necessity for the rest of the world - and this Administration is very keen to push such responsibilities on others.  

If KSA cannot defend itself, nor cooperate in a regional alliance, the obvious candidates become their prime customers in the Far East: China, Japan, South Korea, and India.  These nations either lack the will or prowess to project decisive naval power to the Gulf.  

Long term, Saudi oil production is declining while domestic consumption continues to rise.  Around 2030 Saudi Arabia may even become a net importer of crude!  

What will happen then?  For comparison, early in the colonial period the West Indies was home to rich and lucrative sugar plantations, a strategic asset prize contested between European powers in war and peace, so highly valued that at the end of the Seven Years' War France yielded its sovereignty of mainland Canada to Britain in exchange for retaining its sugar islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

After the development of sugar beet in Europe and cane sugar plantations elsewhere the importance of the West Indies dropped and the region once again became a backwater.  Early in the 20th century Europeans pretty much yielded primacy in the area to the local up-and-coming power, the United States.  Spain lost Cuba in a war and didn't try to win it back.  Denmark sold its islands to the America. In WWII Britain offered the U.S. its naval bases in exchange for American-built destroyers. 

And the oldest independent Caribbean state, Haiti, hit by civil unrest, suffered for a generation the indignity of U.S.-European invasion and occupation, followed by disorder, mass slaughter (by its neighbor), dictatorship ("Baby Doc"), and currently another foreign occupation (this time by Brazilian-led U.N. forces.)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Saudi King's 2013 haj speech

Arab News gives the summary.  Here it is verbatim, as read by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz and reported by the Saudi Press Agency:

In the Name of Allah. Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Praise is due to Allah, and peace be upon His mercy, prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, whom Allah has sent to all creatures as witness, preacher, precursor, a caller to Allah with His permission, and an illuminator candle. Cherishing is due to Allah who said in His Holy Book:
"This day I have perfected your religion For you, completed My favor upon you, And have chosen for you Islam as your religion" and who says "For Hajj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in Hajj. And whatever good ye do,(be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provisions(with you) for the journey, But the provisions Is right conduct. So fear Me, O ye that are wise".

Dear brothers and Dear Muslims all over the globe:

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatu Allah Wa Barakatuh

I congratulate you on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, and I pray to Allah Almighty to accept the Hajj of his servants, and to include all of us in his mercy and forgiveness, may Allah help the Muslim Umma to execute the historical responsibility bestowed on it, in regard to its faith, homelands, and unity, along with its humanitarian and forgiving method while dealing with others, that has no excluding of the others just because not believing in the same religion. [That is, if people who don't believe in the correct creed of Islam or in Islam the procedure for dealing with them is dictated by Islam.]

What we agreed on with the others based on ethical methods of dialogue and do not conflict with our belief should be honored. [Note the allusion to the 2008 dialogue guidelines and conference, which redefined dialogue as proselytization and proclaimed that its most important purposes are to spread the faith and prevent revolution due to economic disparity in the Muslim world.] In contrary, if what we disagree on, the decisive word is what our religion explained to us as that is stated in the holy Qur'an "To you be your way, And to me mine".[The Koran continues with many qualifications to this statement.]

Dear brothers and sisters:

With Allah's Grace, we are one Umma, as far as we are united, knowing that we share same worries and hopes, and aware of the fact that our glory and pride come by holding tight to our belief, which stimulates all sort of ethical principles that our lord have asked us to follow. [That is, the King and the other leaders of Muslim countries are scared stiff of revolution and hold that religion is the key to keeping people in check.] Consequently, Islam is known with its mildness and along with its moderation, clarity, and forgiveness, it becomes our way in understanding and engaging in dialogue with the others, also becomes our civilized guide in understanding concepts such as freedom of religions, cultures, beliefs and not implement force in regard to these concepts. [No open violence against others - no violence that can be traced back to Muslim leaders, anyway.] Allah Almighty stated "Let be no compulsion In religion: Truth stands out Clear from Error". In complying with this notion we have established King Abduallah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and intercultural Dialogue, [as explained in earlier posts, this is an institution which redefines "dialogue" and "tolerance" to such an extent that what remains is a morally depraved institution] so it can act as a gate between Muslims, and other religions and cultures, declaring to the world that we are extending our hands with an initiative that respects all the followers of heavenly religions. The initiative that is against hatred and violence, it shows the world that Islam is the religion of purity, clarity and moderation.  [Note "toleration" over rights; that is, the moment non-Muslims misbehave in some way toleration ends.]

Having dealt with non Muslims with the method mentioned previously, it is a must for us Muslim to avoid skirmishes and disunity among ourselves, and therefore we have ordered the establishment of the Center for Dialogue Among Islamic Sects in Madinah. The establishment of the center was recommended by the Islamic Solidarity conference which was held in Makkah during the month of Ramadan,1433H. Our concern of the Islamic Umma was the aim to establish the center in order to avoid disunity and division. [We tyrants must stick together or die!] We are convinced that dialogue among Islamic sects with Allah' grace and help, is the appropriate method to understand each other. What we have agreed on is, thanks to God, due to his favor, and what we have disagreed on should not be of a way to destroy the unity of Islamic Umma. By Allah grace, the door of interpretation(IJTEHAD) is open, and this is why we have different views among Islamic schools of interpretations. Having said that, the basic of our faith should not be touched, and we don’t accept any bargaining on it. [That is, tolerance has its limits and from that point violence is fair play.]

Dear Muslim brothers:

From the prophetic land, cradle of revelation, we announce to the world that we are an Umma which does not bargain on its religion, ethics, and values. It does not allow whomever that maybe to interfere in its internal or external issues. [More explicitly than in 2008, "dialogue" is a one-way street, Muslims telling non-Muslims how they should behave and what they should do and turning a deaf ear to any complaints of Muslims dealing unjustly with non-Muslims.]  It should be clear to the world that we respect it, and value its humanitarian contribution throughout the history, but there is no option left before whoever tries to manipulate according to his narrow views or interests. [No "tolerance" there.] We are an Umma, its security is synonym to its religion and homelands. [That is, tyrants' security is in their control of religion.] It deals with the others in an equal manner. So, we hope that mutual respect between nations and countries can be a wide gate for friendship and to achieve mutual goals and interests. [The countries of the West should respect our views.  I believe the bits including and after "friendship" and "mutual goals" allude to corrupting non-Muslim leaders as necessary through selective bribery to achieve these goals.]  We are aware that we live in harmonious world where hatred is rejected, predominance and arrogance are objected. Whoever realizes this notion, our hearts are capable and willing for all sorts of friendship, and for those who choose otherwise, it is their business. Yet, we are firm in maintaining the dignity and the pride of our people. [Including violence, as needed or desired.]

Once again, I renew congratulations to you on Eid Al-Adha, may Allah accept your Hajj and good deeds.


A speech remarkable for its intolerance, even aggression, almost the first person to praise it was the imam of the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, who "hailed the Kingdom's stances towards the Palestinian people and their cause, highlighting the Kingdom's efforts in defending the Palestinian people."