Category Archives: Tunisia

Male Homosexuality in the Arab World

Tata writes: Maybe you could help me understand a phenomenon. In the Middle East and especially in the Gulf countries, homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty and decapitation. Paradoxically, I have often heard that the Arabs of the Gulf have many homo relations between them because they do not have access to women. It seems that it is rampant in the Gulf, and apparently the fear of dying does not stop them.

But I read a bizarre story about a Gulf prince who got caught in a fight in a gay nightclub in London with his lover. This guy is a hypermasculine Arab man, and he doesn’t look gay. But maybe Arabs have too much testosterone and are always horny, that’s why they put a tent on the head of their women and could fuck anything. I don’t know, it’s just a reflection.

The prince is in London, and there are no obstacles to have contacts with women, dozens of women if he want. He drives a Ferrari, he is rich, he is a prince, but he continues to go to gay nightclubs and avoids women? Why? Another rumor is of another prince from the Gulf who allegedly murdered one of his employees with whom he had gay relations. It seems that there is a mentality in the Gulf that if the guy is active rather than passive, he is not gay. Are these guys gay, bi or straight? Can a hetero sodomize a guy and be hetero nevertheless and continue to act full macho? I find this crazy and I do not understand this mentality.

I have heard that in the Arab World, you are not considered gay if you play the male role in gay sex. This is true in Morocco and Egypt at the very least. 20-30% of young Egyptian and Moroccan men have played the male role in gay sex. The guys who play the passive role are considered faggots. They are not necessarily persecuted though. It’s more that they are used sexually as a surrogate female by straight men.

William Burroughs and Paul Bowles lived in Morocco for years. Allen Ginsberg visited Burroughs in Tangier. I have also heard that Oscar Wilde went to Morocco with some other European gay men and had sex with teenage boys there. All of these men were basically gay. All of Burroughs neighbors knew that he was gay and was having sex with teenage street boys, but no one ever turned him in. I never heard the dynamics of the type of sex that Burroughs, Bowles and Wilde were engaging in with those Moroccan street boys. Apparently there was quite a bit of this going on in Moroccan society, and as long as you were very quiet about it, no one cared.

There is a lot of gay sex in Saudi Arabia. There are even quite a few of what could be termed gay bars. I am not sure of the sexual orientation of the men who are doing such things. Obviously if you prevent men from having sex with women, a lot of them are going to start screwing guys instead. That’s just the way men are.

Supposedly nothing is done about all of this gay sex in Saudi Arabia as long as they are very quiet and discreet about it. When they start getting loud about it, the authorities crack down. There were a number of arrests in Saudi Arabia recently at a gay wedding of two Saudi men getting informally married. There were female impersonators there, and the whole thing got out of hand pretty fast. The authorities raided the party and made a number of arrests.

Similarly, a group of gay men threw a wild gay party on board a boat on the Nile River recently. This was considered to be flaunting it, and these men were arrested, tried and sentenced to a few years in prison. The trial caused quite a fuss.

But I have heard that there are quite a few gay couples living quiet lives in Cairo. Everyone knows about it, and no one cares.

I read a recent article by a gay man who went to Egypt on vacation. He was on the Nile in Lower Egypt where he was renting boat boys to take him out on the river. He told how some of these teenage boys were openly propositioning him. Later he met with a gay couple living quietly in Cairo. Everyone knew about them, but it was accepted as long as they were discreet about it.

I read another piece by a gay man who went to Kuwait. He said Arab men of all ages were openly propositioning him. He was shocked at how open it all was. He went down to the beach at night, and he said there were all these gay men there cruising for sex on the beach, and quite a few of them were actually engaging in sex on the beach. No one was doing anything about it, but it all had to be kept on the down low.

Nevertheless, it is different in every country. The Shia take a very hard line against gay sex, and many gay men have been murdered in Iraq.

~8,000 gay men have been executed by the clerical regime in Iran.

In Iraq, Ayatollah Sistani issued a fatwa saying that gay men should be killed. After that, there were a lot of murders of Iraqi gay men.

Hezbollah is normally pretty liberal about the things that they allow under the rule, but they take a hard line on male homosexuality too. They don’t kill gay men in Hezbollah areas, but they do beat them up.

Male homosexuality is not accepted at all in Palestine, and gay men are often murdered in the Palestinian areas. Some have even sought refugee status in Israel as a result of this, and Israel did grant some of them this status. Male homosexuality is frowned upon in Syria and Lebanon, but there is quite a bit of it anyway. There are quite a few gay men among the Syrian refugees in Beirut, but they live in absolute terror as male homosexuality is frowned upon on Lebanese Islamic society.

They were also persecuted in Syria. I know of one case where gay men were arrested by Assad’s regime and imprisoned for a while. They were made to have sex with each other in front of Syrian police at the jail while the police sat back and laughed and ridiculed them. Of course, ISIS has been executing gay men in areas under its control, usually by throwing them off the top of tall buildings.

I know nothing about male homosexuality in Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Sudan or in the Islamic parts of Africa. Nor do I know much about it in the rest of the Islamic World, but I do know something about male homosexuality in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which is quite a complex situation. Maybe for a later post.

I’m not much of an expert on gay rights because as a straight man, the subject does not interest me much.

However, it has long been rumored that the leader of Oman is a gay. He has never admitted it, but many think he is anyway. I understand that people in Oman don’t care much one way or the other about their ruler being gay.

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Pan-Aryanism: White World Tour

Pan-Aryanism goes beyond the Stormfront criteria and says there are Whites in North Africa, the Arab World, Turks, Georgia, the Caucasus, and even in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, although true Whites are few in the last few countries. Nevertheless, there are some very interesting people in those three countries who are clearly White. These seem to be the remains of the ancient Aryans who populated the region.

Pan-Aryanists refer to White North Africans, White Turks (35%) and White Arabs as White while stating nonetheless that many North Africans, Turks and Arabs who are not White. How do you tell the difference? Well, try looking at them. Determination of whether someone is White or not is generally just observational.

I would go further and class all Turks as White and even include quite a few of the odd Uighurs. The people of the Stans just seem too mixed to be White. Same with Tatars, Bashkirs, and a number of other Turkic groups in Russia. They just seem too mixed with Asians. A very interesting question in the case of people like the Khanty and the Mansi, who like the Uighurs are nearly 50-50 White/Asian. I suppose we would just go observationally here to determine who is White and who isn’t.

I would throw in all of the peoples of the Caucasus – Chechens, Ingush, Ossetians, Circassians, Dagestanis, Nogays, Cherkessiasns, Kabardians, Balkars, and Karachays as White because they just are. The Azeris are also clearly White, as are the Assyrians further to the south in the Middle East.

Most Arabs are White, but at some point, some of them just are not. Quite a few Gulf Arabs would probably not make the cut. Look at Prince Bandar. Not a White man. Most Yemenis would be thrown in. Many Egyptians especially in the north would be thrown in, but this would have to be done on a one to one basis. Many Egyptians, especially in the south, are too mulattized to be White. Same with Libya. Qaddafi was White, but many Libyans are either Black or too mulattized.

Most if not all Tunisians are White as are most Algerians, at least those in the north. Most Moroccans are White except for a number of Blacks in the south. Tuaregs are clearly not White, nor are the Beja, Ethiopians, Somalians, Djiboutians, etc. Eritreans are a tough call, but they are probably not White enough.

That’s it for Whites around the world.

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The Old “Arab Israelis Have It So Good” Argument

Malla: Well, I did some research on this and it seems the Mizrahi had a more realistic opinion about Arabs and non Whites in general, while the Ashkenazim (and maybe Sephardics), especially during the early days of Israel, had a more idealistic opinion of the Third World. But the Mizrahi themselves are non-Whites. If Arabs and non-Whites then so are Mizrahis because Mizrahis are just Arabs. Besides, many Ashkenazis came with socialistic ideas of kibbutz farming and hippieness, while the Mizrahi were more realistic.

Check this interesting video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f80NnYflDU8

Check out the Ashkenazi/Mizrahi couple at 6:52. So it seems more Mizrahi (Middle Eastern Jews) are more right wing and support predatory violent behavior towards Arabs and Palestinians, while the Ashkenazis (Euro Jews) vote more left and are friendlier to Arabs (idealistic mindset). I do not know how the Sephardics and Ethiopians Jews vote.

Besides, Israel has a massive poverty rate, one of the highest in OECD countries. No wonder they get pissed by migrants from Africa taking way their jobs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SSd0rgTc1E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPuQwFX2J2A

But Israel has an overall high standard of living. Arabs in Israel, in spite of whatever racism they face, have a higher standard of living and social freedoms than most other Arab countries. Only Tunisia and Christian-dominated Lebanon come close in social freedom, and the Gulf states are the only ones who have more income among Arabs.

This is similar to the case in Rhodesia and South Africa where the Blacks had a higher standard of living than Blacks in the rest of the African continent. Or Singapore, where the Indians and Malays have a higher standard of living than Malaysia and definitely (much, much, much) higher standard of living than India thanks to the huge Chinese population. Singapore’s quality of life is comparable to other Chinese majority developed places like Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. One may ask that if Anglo-Celts and other Northern Euros never came to Australia would such an Australia (Australia full of only aborigines) be so developed as it is today or it would be more like Papua New Guinea.

It’s pretty bad to compare the surrounding Arabs with New Guineans and Aborigines. The whole Arab World is built up to Hell. They’re all modern countries over there. I have seen photos of Libya before the war, and it looks like Miami. I saw a recent photo of Casablanca, and it looked like LA. I have seen photos of the rest of the region, even war-torn Syria and Iraq, and they look like regular modern countries. There’s not a lot of difference between in the ordinary street scene between Amman, Beirut, Damascus or even Cairo and Tel Aviv. It all looks the same, like any modern built-up country.

There is none of the horrible poverty you see in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Latin America or Black Africa.

Arabs will not tolerate that sort of abject shantytown type poverty. They are basically socialist people who don’t care about money too much and believe that everyone should be well taken care of. Social safety nets are ordinary things in every Arab country. There’s no debate about this sort of thing. They are not individualists. They are collectivists. And they don’t think rich people are better than poor people. They are not particularly greedy, and they have a “We are all part of one village” mindset wherever they live.

Semi-feudalism came late to the Arab World via the Ottomans, and it never worked well. There were landed gentry and fellahin, or landless peasants. Nasser was the man who confiscated the land from the land barons and gave it to the landless peasants. If you went around the whole Arab World back then, even in say Yemen, there was a portrait of Nasser on every wall. Now in Western or Latin American culture, doing that is called Communism, and everyone hates it. But the Arabs love this sort of thing.

Baath nationalist parties came in in Syria and Iraq around 1960, a revolutionary socialist state arose in Libya in 1969, and another one was birthed in Algeria in 1964. Land was confiscated from feudal latifundiaists in all of these place and distributed to the peasants. The governments were all officially socialist, secularization was enforced even at gunpoint if it took that, huge safety nets were set up, and the state even got involved in quite a few of the larger industries and became a major employer. All of this was wildly popular all over the region.

US style radical individualism and Libertarian free market capitalism is totally anathema to all of those societies. For one thing, it goes against Islam, as Islam is a socialist religion. In feudal times, large Arab landowners enlisted the help of the local imams in interpreting parts of the Koran where it said, “Some are rich, and some are poor, and that’s all just fine” or something to that effect, but it never worked well. It ended up turning the local imams into hated figures like the priests of Catholic Church in the West and Latin America who always sided with the rich against the people.

So this whole idea that the Israeli Arabs have it good for having some extra money falls flat on Arab and even Arab Israeli ears. Standard of living is not number one on their list of the most important things in life.

If the Arabs are all so jealous of Israel, why are the non-oil Arabs are not jealous of the oil Arabs? Typical Jews to reduce everything down to money. Arabs don’t care that much about money. They don’t revolve their whole lives around money or sit around hating Jews for having more skyscrapers. That’s not important to your average Arab.

I have never in my life heard one Arab tell me they were jealous of Israel.

In Palestine, White European racist fascists invaded the region, started wars with everyone around them, and, being high IQ, produced a developed economy. So what? These jerks get brownie points because they are rich? I’m supposed to love them because they’re rich and hate those Arabs because they’re poor?

The commenter is an Indian, that’s why he thinks that way. We are socialists here; we don’t think like this. Actually I think the more money someone has, the worse of a person he tends to be, but that’s just me.

All of these arguments were used by the South Africans who practiced a very similar White settler-colonial project far after this stuff went out of style.

Arabs in Israel are not happy people. They’re angry, and they have no loyalty to the state at all. The Jewish fascists say the Arabs are traitors, and the Jews are actually correct on that score. Indeed they have no loyalty to the state and do not even see themselves as Israelis.

The similarities between Israel and apartheid South Africa are striking. It’s notable that Israel was long one of South Africa’s strongest allies, and towards the end, it was one of their only allies. Arab Israelis are are institutionally treated as second class citizens in exactly the same way the Blacks were under apartheid. 

Were those Blacks happier on their South African Nigger Plantation because they had a higher standard of living? They were not, but this was the argument that was used to show that they were happy Negroes toiling away cheerfully in the sun for their beloved White slavemasters. Similarly, South Africa moved into the neighborhood and in a matter of time, like Israel, it was soon also embroiled in wars with most if not all of its neighbors. Similarly, South Africa, like Israel, had zero friends in the region.

Blacks in South Africa and Arabs in Israel don’t want money and stuff. White Gentiles and Jews only care about money, and they don’t care about humans, so they think everyone else feels that way too. But they don’t. People want to be free, even if being free means not having as much stuff. Stuff doesn’t make people happy. You can keep giving your slave the latest gadgetry in his slave quarters, but he’s still not a free man.

Same with South Africa. Hey look, these White European racist fascists came in here and built up the region and made a big economy because they have higher IQ’s! So what. I am supposed to like them more because they are rich and hate those Africans because they are poor? I realize this is Indian thinking, but we socialists do not think that way.

Arabs have more political rights in all of the Arab World. In the Arab World, they are not systematically discriminated against due to their religion or ethnicity.

I would argue that those Arabs in Israel do not want all of those social freedoms. Freedom to do what?

And what social freedoms do they have there that they do not have in the rest of the region? How are the social freedoms of Arab Israeli Christians better than those of Arab Christians in Lebanon or Syria? Someone needs to clue me.

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Some Little-Known Truths about Arabs

Lin writes:

To Pranav:

…To me, (Sunni) Islam is basically an Arab/pan-Arab civilizational push, or it’s just a veneer over Arabized power. Let me recollect what I posted here before:

1) Arabic is said to be language of Paradise.

2) Arabs are said to be a superior race.

Superiority of the race of Arabs over non-Arabs

3) Though faggotry is condemned, large % of Arab/Muslims are closet fags as long as the closet is tightly shut and doesn’t embarrass the establishment.

4) The strictest sect of Islam, the Wahhabi Saudis, allied with the British and French kufirs during WW1 to topple the Ottoman Turk Caliphate, treason of the worst kind I must say, yet they consider themselves guardians of Islam. What a farce and shame.

I personally don’t think the Sunni Arabs have much of an economic future (Persians could be an exception that their Shiite Islam is more flexible, like they allowed sex change). I also foresee an Euro/Mediterranean Jihad One, after which the Middle East will be further fragmented…

Most of this is correct.

Sunni Islam is indeed an Arab or Pan-Arab civilizational project, and it is also a thin veneer over Arabized power. In addition, it is a vehicle for Arab supremacy.

1 is correct. They do speak Arabic in Paradise, and the only true Qurans are those written in Arabic, for God transmitted the Quran to Mohammad in Arabic. There are many translations of the Quran into all sorts of languages, but many Muslims consider them to be nearly illegitimate, as the only proper Quran is the one written in Arabic.

2 is also correct. If you go to Islamic sites on the web, you will see articles along the lines that Arabs are a superior to non-Arabs. No doubt all of these sites were written by Arabs, but nevertheless, Islam is a sort of an Arab Supremacist religion.

3 is true, but some Islamic countries tolerate it more than others.

4 is sadly true, and it is quite a blight on the Saudis’ claim to be the ultimate in hardline Islamists. Instead they seem traitors to the umma.

I personally don’t think the Sunni Arabs have much of an economic future (Persians could be an exception that their Shiite Islam is more flexible, like they allowed sex change).

I do not know what to say about this. The Sunni Arabs are definitely sitting on a lake of oil and gas that isn’t going away soon. Some of the Gulf countries have started to branch out away from an oil rentier economy. Dubai is now an international port city, one of the largest on Earth.

About the rest of the Sunni Arab states, I do not know what to say. Iraq, Syria, and Libya appear to be failed states right now, and Yemen is turning into one awful fast. There is some violence in Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon, but state structures appear to be largely intact. Palestine is a war zone and increasingly so is the Sinai.

Indeed the Shia do not appear to be going on jihad now or anytime soon. They do not believe in offensive jihad like the Sunnis do, and Shiism is quite a bit more progressive than Sunnism. Like Catholicism with its Pope, Shiism has its clergy. As the Pope and Vatican continue to update Catholicism to keep up with a changing world, the Ayatollahs and clergy in Lebanon and Iran do the same with Islam. The clergy in the latter two lands are surprisingly progressive, but those in Iraq, not so much. I know little about the Houthi Shia in Yemen.

The only people involved in the global jihad right now are radical Sunnis. The Shia, instead of being involved in this project, are victims of it, as global jihadists see the Shia as heretics to be killed on sight if not exterminated altogether. So the Shia, like the Arab Christians, are literally fighting for their lives against global jihad and are much more victimized by it than the Christian West is. Almost all terrorism in the world today is committed by Sunnis. In fact, the Shia are responsible for little terrorism outside of attacks on Israelis outside of Israel. There is some state terrorism being practiced by the Shia Iraqi state against Iraqi Sunnis.

I also foresee an Euro/Mediterranean Jihad One, after which the Middle East will be further fragmented…

I have no idea if this is going to occur, but it seems like it already is at a low to high variable level, right? Surely the Tunisian, Libyan, Egyptian, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian parts of the Mediterranean are heating up, and a few are out and out jihad war zones right now. Turkey is increasingly starting to resemble the beginnings of a war zone. Terrorism in Europe is at a fairly low level, but the few attacks have been spectacular and there is a steady drumbeat of low level attacks happening in the background.

Comments along with your own predictions are welcomed.

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Tolerance for Male Homosexuality in the Muslim World

Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Gulf countries tolerate it well, and it is said to be epidemic in places like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. There is also quite of bit of it in Syria, Egypt and Morocco.

It is not tolerated at all in Iran, Iraq, or Shia Lebanon, as Shia Islam is much more condemning of male homosexuality than Sunni Islam.

It is not that Sunni Islam necessarily is more tolerant of male homosexuality but that there is more variation in the Sunni world.

Palestine is not tolerant of male homosexuality at all, as gay men are frequently killed there. They are also commonly killed in Iraq and Iran. Syria used to be relatively more tolerant, but the parts of Syria taken over Islamists are very intolerant of gay men to the point where they are murdering them.

I have no data on male homosexuality in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan or Sunni Lebanon.

I also know nothing about it in the Muslim Sahel, Horn of Africa and West Africa.

I know nothing about male homosexuality in Muslim Europe such as Bosnia and Albania, although I assume it is more tolerated there than elsewhere.

Turkey is a mixed bag, as there is said to be a lot of male homosexuality, but it is also officially not tolerated. Sort of a don’t ask, don’t tell thing.

I know nothing of male homosexuality in the Caucasus, Muslim Russia, the Stans, India and Xinjiang.

I do not know what it was like before, but a lot of gay men are being murdered now in Bangladesh. I think there have been 30-40 such murders in the past couple of years. Gay rights advocates rather than gay men in general have been targeted.

I also know nothing about male homosexuality in Muslim Thailand, Muslim Burma, Muslim Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Southern Philippines. Male homosexuality is pretty well tolerated in Thailand and the Philippines, but I am not sure how ok it is in the Muslim parts of those nations.

Admittedly I am not the best person to ask about the situation for male homosexuality and gay men in the Muslim World.

Any further information would be interesting.

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Homosexuality in the Muslim World: An Overview

Looking at a video like that, one might get the impression that Muslims are routinely murdered in the Muslim World. Whether or not Muslims think that is what should be done or not, the death penalty for homosexuality is rarely carried out in the Muslim World, with some notable exceptions in the Levant and Mesopotamia, where the killings are extrajudicial murders and not state executions. These areas for whatever reason (probably cultural) have the worst homophobia and anti-gay violence in the Muslim World.

Even among radical Muslims like the Taliban in Afghanistan, sex with men and teenage boys is very common. Homosexuality is quite common in Pakistan, especially in the radicalized West, but no one does much about it. There have possibly been 5-6,000  executions of gay men in Iran, but the last hanging I saw was supposedly for two men who were convicted of raping teenage boys, not simple homosexuality.

In Iraq, things have been pretty bad for gays since 2001. Before 2001, Saddam did not care about them much one way or the other. The Shia militias have been murdering many gays, and ISIS of course also murders homosexuals.

Gays are killed in ISIS-controlled areas of Syria. Government persecution of gays by the Syrian state is off and on. Some gays are arrested and tortured or beaten by the state, but this is not common. In recent years, Syria has taken a hands off approach to homosexuals, sort of a see no evil, hear no evil/don’t ask, don’t tell approach. The state does not approve of gays, but they pretty much leave them alone recently. There is actually a gay hookup application being used by Syrian gays, and there are quite a few men on there. It would be trivial for the state to go after users of the app, but they have not done so. There are even 25 accounts in ISIS-controlled Raqqa!

I read an account by a gay man who went to Syria with his male lover ~15 years ago. They visited a coastal city, and the man said that he and his partner were propositioned everywhere – even by taxi drivers. They took a stroll along the beach and said that the social scene was all male, and a lot of the men seemed to be coming onto them. He described Syria as a gay paradise.

There are quite a few gays among Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They are ostracized from the rest of the refugee community and live in fear, residing communally with other gay men in crowded apartments in Beirut.

Homosexuality is rampant in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait at least. Traditionally not much has been done about it. A gay man took a trip to Kuwait recently and described it as a gay paradise. He met all sorts of Kuwaiti men who seemed to figure out he was gay via gaydar and propositioned him. He went to the beach at midnight and saw a number of gay couples having sex there by the moonlight.

There are even actual gay bars in Saudi Arabia, but they are not labeled as such. The authorities know what they are, but they don’t do anything. Also in Saudi Arabia men often walk around holding hands or with their arms around each other, so it’s easy for gay men to do this too and get away with it. A Kuwaiti friend of mine told, “All Saudi men are gay.” I asked her to elaborate and she said, “Well, at least 50%.” She also said that most of them were married, and the homosexuality was more properly seen as bisexuality. She also said it caused a lot of problems for married Saudi women who did not appreciate this behavior.

Ostentatious homosexuality is persecuted. A wedding party for two gay men was recently broken up by authorities. In addition, ~40 gay men have been arrested recently for crimes such as marrying other men, dressing like women in public and posting a gay flag on their balcony. The prosecutor has recommended the death penalty for all of these men. So you can see that Saudi Arabia has a don’t ask, don’t tell mindset about homosexuality.

Opportunistic lesbianism or bisexuality is very common among put-upon Saudi princesses or sheikhas. A lot of these women are miserable due to male chauvinism and try to allay their sorrows via pills, booze and lesbian affairs. Nothing is done to these women at all. There are separate boys and girls high schools, and there are problems with epidemic opportunistic lesbianism or bisexuality in girls’ schools. It is getting to be such a problem that it is interfering with girls’ education via problems like drama, breakdowns, crying and fights over lesbian romances.

It is very common for homosexuals to be killed in Palestine. Happens all the time. In fact, a number of Palestinian gay men have asked for and been given asylum in Israel on account of being gay.

Homosexuality goes on in Lebanon, and not much is done about it. However, in the South, Hezbollah has a tendency to beat up gay men if they hear about them, but they don’t kill them. There are occasional arrests and imprisonments. A woman was recently sentenced to one year in prison for lesbianism.

In Egypt, male homosexuality is very common from Cairo all the way down to the south. I read a blog post by a gay man who went there, and he was amazed at how much homosexuality there was. In the South, river boatmen on the Nile propositioned him. He also met a gay male couple in Egypt who lived together quietly. Nobody much cared. Most people seemed to know about it, but there was a don’t ask, don’t tell mindset going on.

However, the Egyptian state does not approve of ostentatious homosexuality. A raucous gay party on a large boat in the Nile was recently broken up by authorities. A number of the participants were sentenced to up to four years in prison. ~20% of young Egyptian men engage in opportunistic homosexuality, mostly because women are not available. Most of them play the male role and hence do not consider themselves gay. A few men play the female role and are labeled as gay.

All of the above is from the Mubarak era; I have no idea what things are like now.

I have no information about homosexuality in Libya, Tunisia or Algeria. However, homosexuality has traditionally been very common in Morocco. Western gay expats, including a number of men of letters such as William S. Burroughs and Paul Bowles, lived there for years. Bowles lived in Morocco for most of his life. Both men frequently had sex with gay teenage boys and young men in the cities. However, some of his neighbors found out about this behavior and got angry at Burroughs. I have read reports that said that ~20% of young single Moroccan men engage in opportunistic homosexuality which takes the same form as the Egyptian model above.

I have no information about homosexuality in Muslim Africa in the Sahel, the Horn or to the south.

Homosexuality is supposedly very common in Turkey. Western men sentenced to time in Turkish prisons have said things like, “All Turkish men are gay.” I doubt if that is accurate, but male homosexuality may be common there.

I have no information on homosexuality in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Muslim Russia, Muslim Ukraine, the Stans or Xinjiang in China.

I also have no information on homosexuality in Muslim Burma, Muslim India, the Muslim South in Thailand, the Muslim South in the Philippines or Indonesia.

In addition, I have no information about homosexuality among Muslim communities in the West.

Any information on homosexuality in these Muslim nations and communities would be welcome.

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An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance Part 5 –

I have decided to publish my most recent work, An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, on my blog. Previously, this piece was used for the research for “An Insiders Look at the Iraqi Resistance” a major piece that appeared on the Islamist website Jihadunspun.com (JUS got the copyright but I did the research). That long-running top-billed piece is now down, but it is still archived on Alexa here . Note that this material is copyrighted and all reproduction for profit is forbidden under copyright laws.

For information about reprinting or purchasing one-time rights to this work, email me. This article is an in-depth analysis of the Iraqi resistance and is continuously being revised. It is presently 58 pages long in total. It lists all known Iraqi resistance groups who have ever fought in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad until about 2005 and includes a brief description and analysis of each group. There are separate sections covering Size, Tendencies, Motivations, Structure, Foreign Assistance, Foreign Fighters, Regional Characteristics, Regions, Cities or Towns Controlled by the Resistance, Major Attacks and List of Groups by Tendency.

The article was intended to be a political science-type analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, and I tried not to take sides one way or the other. I used a tremendous amount of source material, mostly publicly available news reports from the Internet. Obviously, in an area like this you are dealing with a ton of disinformation along with the real deal, so I spent a lot of time trying to sort out the disinfo from the relative truth.

The problem is that one cannot simply discount sources of information such as Israeli and US intelligence, US military reports, reporting from the resistance itself, Islamist websites, etc. Of course these sources are loaded with disinfo and false analysis, but they also tend to have a lot of truth mixed in as well. In writing a piece like this, you pull together all the sources and get sort of a “Gestalt” view of the situation. When you examine all the sources at once in toto, you can kind of sort out the disinfo from the more factual material. Admittedly it’s a hit or miss game, but that’s about as good as we can do source-wise in the inherently hazy subject area of an underground guerrilla war.

Interviews with resistance cadre by the mainstream Western media were given particular prominence in this piece.

FOREIGN FIGHTERS

Foreign Fighters: In Summer 2003, there were some reports that Syrians were said to often outnumber locals in those carrying out attacks in various locales, including Fallujah, Ramadi, Baghdad, Baqubah, Balad, Tikrit and Mosul. However, these reports are contradicted by reports in 11-03 indicating most fighters in most parts of Iraq have been Iraqis. Most of the foreign fighters in the post-major combat phase (after 5-1-03) have been Syrians and Lebanese, and many of the rest are Jordanians, Yemenis, Palestinians, Kuwaitis, Saudis and North Africans – often Egyptians and Algerians.

In 12-03, Syrians were still fairly common amongst fighters in Husaybah, near the Syrian border. After the major battle in Fallujah from April-May 04, a group of 50-100 largely Syrian Sunni extreme fundamentalist fighters seemed to have control over part of Fallujah’s Jolan District.

Many of these could better be described as Arab nationalists than Islamists, and a number of them were not even particularly religious. Dozens of Arab fighters have come from France and hundreds from Europe. In addition to the nations above, others came from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Bangladesh, Qatar, Sudan, Somalia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. Saudi dissident leaders stated that 5,000 Saudi jihadis were present in Baghdad alone in 11-03. US intelligence believed there were up to 15,000 Saudis alone in Iraq in 9-03. Saudis reportedly played a role in the suicide bombings of the ICRC and Baghdad Hotel.

A Palestinian, born in Iraq, a resident of the Al Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad, carried out the suicide car bomb attack on the upscale restaurant in the Karrada District of Baghdad on New Year’s Eve, 2003. In 11-03, the Jordanian and US governments said that they had identified at least 120 Jordanians in the Sunni Triangle fighting US forces. There were reports from Israeli intelligence that 100’s of Kuwaiti (anti-Kuwaiti regime) Islamists were heading into Iraq in 11-03. These reports were verified by Iraqi sources with AQ connections and former Iraqi military officers in Basra, who said AQ was using the Safwan Crossing because it was the easiest one to get across.

Other areas on the Kuwait-Iraq border were also being used. Before the war, the Kuwait-Iraq border was protected by an extensive fence built by the Kuwaitis. During the 2003 US invasion, US forces smashed through the wall in 9 places. In these 9 locations, crossing the border into Iraq is a simple, low-risk stroll.

These sources also said that AQ was also using the wide-open Saudi-Iraqi border. The porous Saudi-Iraq border has no fences at all and there are many Bedouin guides in that area who will ferry anyone across the border, no questions asked, for only $200. After crossing into Iraq from Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, AQ jihadis usually headed to Zubayr or Abu Al-Khasib, towns south of Basra with a substantial Sunni population.

Zubayr in particular was a popular destination due to a high concentration of Sunni Islamists. According to US and Israeli intelligence, Iran filtered in about 11,000-12,000 Iranian fighters to the Shia South, mostly Revolutionary Guards, during the Karbala pilgrimage in Spring 2003. However, this group has so far, for the most part, merely been working to gain influence in the region peacefully, at least for now. They have been involved in only a very few armed actions. They may be stockpiling arms in the South, along with other Iraqi Shia armed groupings, in case they need them later. A number of Iranian fighters have been captured in the guerrilla war phase. Their ideology and political affiliation are unknown.

However, one of the suicide attackers in the 12-11 bombing of the US base in Ramadi caused 15 US casualties was a Lebanese Palestinian member of Hezbollah splinter faction. In 2-04, Iraqi puppet authorities said that about 500 Hezbollah had come into Iraq in 2003, almost all going to the South, but for the most part they were just engaging in political work and not armed activity. However, the source also said that “scores” of Hezbollah had come to Iraq since mid-December. These Hezbollah were heading to northern Iraq to work with AAI. Hezbollah operatives were said to be providing training and guidance to AAI members; few had participated in attacks.

Sources in Pakistan claim that the Taliban, al-Qaeda (International Islamic Front), Hezb-e-Islami, and HUM (Pakistani Kashmiri fighters) all sent fighters to Iraq, with most of them coming after major combat ended. Two Taliban guerrilas were apprehended in 9-03 coming over the Iranian border into Iraq northeast of Khanaquin through the Kurdish mountains. Another Afghan was caught trying to plant a roadside bomb near the Dura Power Plant in Baghdad in 2-04.

By 1-04, indigenous Iraqi groups were employing smugglers to ferry foreign fighters across the Jordanian, Syrian and Saudi Arabian borders into Iraq. Once inside Iraq, foreign fighters are often transported to Ramadi or Fallujah, 2 of the hubs of the foreign fighter network in Iraq. A 3-29-04 interview with a Blackwater USA (the mercenary firm that lost 4 employees in the famous mutilation-burning attack in Fallujah 2 days later) mercenary based near Fallujah said that many of the attacks around Fallujah had turned out to be Jordanians, Syrians, Iranians, and Chechens.
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Foreign Fighters During And Before Major Combat (March 19-May 1): Many foreign fighters came before and during major combat. An attempt was made to put them under central command towards the end of major combat. By the fall of Baghdad, the central command of the Arab mujahedin stated there were 8,000 foreign fighters in Baghdad alone. They took heavy casualties in the fighting, and many just went home after Baghdad fell. But in the postwar phase, they seem to be coming in again.

A large number of Palestinians came during major combat, about 1,500-2,000 (according to sources in the camp below) or 4,000+ (according to Newsweek), mostly from a splinter Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades faction aligned with Syria and located in the Ein Al Hilweh Refugee Camp in southern Lebanon. The leader of this faction is reportedly named Colonel Munir Maqdah. About 30-40 more Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades fighters came from just one town in the West Bank. Hamas and Islamic Jihad each sent factions of ~300 fighters. Islamic Jihad’s fighters came through Lebanon.

Fighters from Romania (Communists) and Vietnam (Communists), Indonesia (Islamists), Russia (mixed ideology – Communists, nationalists, Islamists), Dagestan (8,000 Islamists) and Malaysia (Islamists) reportedly announced plans to go fight in Iraq during the major combat phase, but none of them seem to have made it. Hezbollah sent about ~800 fighters, and they continued to trickle in long after major combat ended.

One source claimed that Lashkar-E-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani/Kashmiri group active in Kashmir, participated in the major combat phase. LET cadre in Saudi Arabia (LET purportedly maintains a Saudi presence) claim the group sent a number of fighters, possibly 100-200, during the major combat phase, and suffered casualties.
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Al Qaeda (AQ) Foreign Fighters: AQ has had an open presence in Iraq only recently. In the couple months before the war, when conflict seemed inevitable, small groupings of AQ were allowed by the Iraqi state to form cells in Baghdad, but told to stay clear of Saddam’s regime. They were allowed in on the basis that war seemed inevitable and anyone who wanted to fight the Americans was basically welcome. This group numbered only 30-40. They fought during the war and remained afterwards, when they were apparently reinforced by others. Many of the AQ who came to Iraq during and after major combat may have come in via Iran, either across the border east of Baghdad, or to the north through the Kurdish areas.

A few others supposedly came across the Turkish border into the Kurdish zone. Some may have crossed the Saudi and more recently the Kuwaiti borders. Few, if any, appear to have crossed the Syrian or Jordanian borders. The number of AQ currently in Iraq is very controversial, with estimates ranging from 300-15,000+. AQ sources in Iraq said there were 4,500 foreign jihadis in Iraq in 11-03, most of them from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen and the other Gulf countries. It seems certain that there were at least 100’s of AQ fighters in Iraq as of 12-03. In a 12-03 interview, MA cadre said there were at least 150 AQ in Iraq, with almost of them coming after the fall of Baghdad.

They moved around the country regularly. “One or two” of them might participate in an operation with a local resistance group before moving on to another part of Iraq. MA cadre acknowledged that “1 or 2” AQ cadre had participated in “a few” MA attacks before moving on. In 12-03, sources in Pakistan said that AQ was pulling out 1/3 of its 1,000-man force out of Afghanistan and directing them to Iraq. That would mean ~350 more AQ heading to Iraq. The whole question of AQ’s role in the Iraq War or the guerrila war that followed is poorly understood, probably due to the shadowy nature of the group.

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Manufacturing Consent: What Good Is Freedom If No One Uses It?

SHI writes:

You do realize that Russia isn’t free in any sense of the word. That makes any comparison with the current situation in the West totally pointless.

Maybe the Russians have always preferred it that way but for last three centuries, that entire expanse of land called Russia has settled for nothing but one strongman dictator after another. From the autocratic Tsars to tyrannical leaders like Stalin, Khrushchev and Putin now, if you’re a child growing up in Russia, you have not known freedom the way a Western child does. There are exceptions though, Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin broke away from Russian iron man traditions and tried to be benign leaders but their short-lived experiments failed.

There is no disputing the fact that Vlad the Putin is the biggest autocratic tyrant at the moment, not very different from Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Assad or Pinochet. This man oppresses his own people. Given a choice, most Russians would want to escape their country but they can’t as the State still puts a restriction on emigration. If you were born in Russia, you simply can’t defect to another country unless you’re married to a person over there. That is why the Russian mail order bride business has always been booming.

Why do you think the Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian and Hungarian people like to distance themselves so much from Russia? Not only are their countries most active NATO members but the people themselves are anti-Russia. Why do you think Ukrainians want to escape the shadow of Russia to merge with Western Europe and the Schengen region? While Britain can’t wait to escape from EU as the overall sentiment over there favors Brexit, the former countries of the Soviet Bloc can’t wait to join the Western Hemisphere.

Thing is, people in the West take their freedoms for granted. They simply have no concept of what it feels like to raise your child in a tyrannical, dictatorial regime. There are things like internet censorship, forced incarcerations and murders that you take as “normal”.

Maybe the recent US elections seem like a complete joke when you find that your Final 2 happen to be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But that’s a problem that can be fixed within four years. If you were born in Russia, you don’t have that choice in the first place. You have to put up with your autocratic government day in and day out. And so will your children.

It might sound cliched but the US is indeed a free society. Just check the annual rankings of Freedom House. There are other freedom indices including the UK-based Democracy index, Canada-based Fraser Institute’s “Index of Freedom in the World” and Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters without Borders. Countries like China, Russia and Islamic countries are consistently scoring “not free” in every independent assessment each year the rankings are prepared. Just check this year’s Freedom House map, no one really emigrates to any country that isn’t marked “blue”.

Let us take this apart one by one.

You do realize that Russia isn’t free in any sense of the word. That makes any comparison with the current situation in the West totally pointless.

Russia is far freer than we are. There is a huge dissident media, mostly funded by the West. There are large dissident websites that are very popular, and there are a number of dissident newspapers, radio stations and even TV from outside. You can buy dissident newspapers anywhere you want in Moscow. Dissidents are quoted every single day in the Russian media.

How many large dissident websites do we have? How many dissident newspapers are there in the US? How many dissident newsmagazines? How many dissident radio stations? One, Pacifica, and no one listens to it. How frequently are dissidents quoted in the US media. Never.

Maybe the Russians have always preferred it that way but for last three centuries, that entire expanse of land called Russia has settled for nothing but one strongman dictator after another.

Yes, they like it that way.

From the autocratic Tsars to tyrannical leaders like Stalin, Khrushchev and Putin now, if you’re a child growing up in Russia, you have not known freedom the way a Western child does.

It is far freer under Putin than it ever was under Communism.

There are exceptions though, Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin broke away from Russian iron man traditions and tried to be benign leaders but their short-lived experiments failed.

Yeltsin looted the country. The Communist Parliament was blocking all of his free market reforms, so he dissolved Parliament by decree and when they refused to accept his decree, he called out and the military and he attacked his own Parliament with tanks and guns. 600 people died, including a lot of legislators. That would be like Obama calling out the US military to open fire with tanks and guns on Congress and killing a bunch of Congressmen. Hell, even Putin hasn’t done that.

The US media cheered wildly. Not one single outlet failed to cheer. They had an election and the West sent over moneybags guys with literal suitcases full of illegal money for the campaign. These guys were photographed walking down the street carrying literal boxes of money. They flooded the campaign with illegal money and he won. 100% of the US media cheered for this. Yeltsin sold out the country to the US. He sold the whole place for 10 cents on the dollar to a bunch of Jews in the UK, the US and Israel and bankers in the US, UK and Frankfurt. They looted the whole country bare until there was nothing left to steal. Why do you think Putin came in. The Yeltsin supporters now have 1% support in the population.

87% of the population loves Putin. The opposition is miniscule.

Yeltsin was NOT a Democrat. He was way worse than Putin. Things are much freer under Putin than they were under Yeltsin.

There is no disputing the fact that Vlad the Putin is the biggest autocratic tyrant at the moment, not very different from Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Assad or Pinochet.

Those are actual dictatorships. And they also killed a lot of people. Putin has hardly killed anyone. Putin does not have a dictatorship. There are free elections, however most media is state media, and the state media is biased for Putin, but how is this different from the West? Putin wins all the elections because the dissidents are all seen as traitors.

This man oppresses his own people.

How can you oppress people with 87% support?

Given a choice, most Russians would want to escape their country but they can’t as the State still puts a restriction on emigration.

My understanding is that you can walk out of that place anytime you wish. Anyone can leave, it’s just that most do not want to. If 87% support the President, why would they all want to leave?

Why do you think the Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian and Hungarian people like to distance themselves so much from Russia?

Because they were formerly under the thumb of the USSR which more or less forced Communism on them. They got rid of Communism, and they have been mad at Russia ever since, although the Hungarian leader is pretty pro-Russian. They’re all just drinking the Koolaid.

Of those countries listed, only Poland and Lithuania are Russia-haters, and the Lithuanians are Nazis. They have statues of Nazis up all over the country. All of their big heroes are Nazis.

The Poles are simply insane. They hate Russia far more than they hate Nazis. The Nazis war on Poland killed 10 million Poles. The Soviets killed 275,000 Poles. So the Poles hate Russians. The Poles are insane.

Not only are their countries most active NATO members but the people themselves are anti-Russia.

Everyone in the West is anti-Russia because of the brainwash. There is not one single dissident pro-Russia media outlet anywhere in the West. With anti-Russian propaganda on every media outlet, how do you expect people to think?

However, most Hungarians are particularly anti-Russia because they elected a pro-Russian leader. Most Romanians don’t care about Russia.

Why do you think Ukrainians want to escape the shadow of Russia to merge with Western Europe and the Schengen region?

Because they hate Russia.

But they didn’t even want to join the EU. The EU supporters never had more than 35%. Ukraine was split between pro-EU and pro-Russia factions until the Nazi coup. After the coup, all of the pro-Russian parties were outlawed and a number of their legislators were murdered. The leader of the biggest pro-Russia party, the Party of Regions, fled to Russia after the regime tried to kill him by setting his house on fire, but they set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. Before the coup, the country was badly split between pro-Russian and pro-EU factions.

The Ukies think they will join the EU and get rich. But they are poor because all of their leaders have been stealing from them since Independence, not because they are close to Russia. They won’t get rich by joining the EU.

While Britain can’t wait to escape from EU as the overall sentiment over there favors Brexit, the former countries of the Soviet Bloc can’t wait to join the Western Hemisphere.

They’ve all already joined, not that it’s done them much good. The Greeks want out too.

Thing is, people in the West take their freedoms for granted.

What freedoms? If you have no dissident press, you have no free press. If you have no dissident press, you have no freedom of speech. If you have no dissident politicians, you do not have a free politics. Russians are far freer than any Western country.

They simply have no concept of what it feels like to raise your child in a tyrannical, dictatorial regime.

Yes but that’s not Putin.

There are things like internet censorship, forced incarcerations and murders that you take as “normal”.

There is no Internet censorship in Russia. The Russian-language web is flooded with dissident sites, all paid for by the West.

Hardly any dissidents go to jail in Russia. They might arrest a few from time to time, but dissidents are quoted in the Russian media every single day. Most of them are free to yap along all they wish.

Yes, there have been a few killings of dissidents, but Putin was not involved in the most recent notorious one outside the Kremlin. There have been a few killings of journalists, but there were many more killings of dissidents under Yeltsin than under Putin. Yeltsin had many of his opponents killed.

Maybe the recent US elections seem like a complete joke when you find that your Final 2 happen to be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But that’s a problem that can be fixed within four years.

No dissident politician ever runs in the US, or at least one never gets very far. Trump is very interesting in that he is an actual US dissident politician who has made it into the final round. I cannot remember the last time that happened, but it was probably Kennedy, and he was murdered by the Deep State who run the US. See what happens to dissident politicians in the US? See what happens when the American people elect a dissident? The Deep State kills them. That’s why few politicians go against the Deep State and the System because they are afraid of getting the “Kennedy treatment.”

If you were born in Russia, you don’t have that choice in the first place.

Actually elections in Russia are quite fair other than the media issues. The worst dissidents you could possibly imagine run against Putin. I mean almost out and out traitors. We never have any dissidents like that running for President. Putin wins overwhelmingly because the population thinks the Opposition are traitors.

You have to put up with your autocratic government day in and day out. And so will your children.

Sure, but this is how they like it. I know Russians, and they tell me they are fine with the system.

It might sound cliched but the US is indeed a free society.

It isn’t. There is no dissident press, so there’s no freedom of the press. Because there’s no free press, there’s no freedom of speech. There are no or almost no dissident politicians, so we don’t have free politics, although Trump is changing that.

Just check the annual rankings of Freedom House.

You realize that Freedom House is run by the reactionary Reaganite Republican nuts, and their joke indexes are worthless, right?

There are other freedom indices including the UK-based Democracy index, Canada-based Fraser Institute’s “Index of Freedom in the World” and Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters without Borders.

Like I said, what good is some abstract freedom of press if you have no dissident media? What good is freedom of the press if there is no dissident media to voice it in? What good is free politics if there are few if any dissident politicians? You might as well be living in a dictatorship. Freedoms are no good if you can’t use them or if nobody ever uses them. When everyone goes along with the program automatically, you’re no different than North Korea.

Countries like China, Russia and Islamic countries are consistently scoring “not free” in every independent assessment each year the rankings are prepared.

I would agree that China is not free, however, there are many political protests. There are 100 political protests every single day in China. The authorities just let almost all of them go on, and they don’t do anything about it. There is no free press though, I agree.

Islamic countries are not free because they can’t handle freedom, and they do better under dictatorships. Look what happens when they try to do democracy in the Arab World. It doesn’t work. Malaysia is a pretty free country, and Pakistan does have dissident political parties that regularly get 15% of the vote. There is a large dissident political party in Turkey, though they are under siege. Lebanon is a free country, as is Tunisia. Algeria is free.

Yemen is such a free country that a dissident movement just overthrew the government by force! You can’t get much freer than that. In Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, dissidents are armed to the teeth and are threatening to overthrow the government. You can’t get much freer than that in a sense anyway! The Iraqi Parliament is split; Sadr’s party and the Sunni parties are very much dissident parties.

Just check this year’s Freedom House map, no one really emigrates to any country that isn’t marked “blue”.

This is not true. There is a lot of immigration to China from all over the world. There is also a lot of immigration to Russia from Ukraine and the former Soviet states to the south and east. Under Ghaddafi there was huge immigration from Sub-Saharan Africa. Egypt was the same – mass immigration from Black Africa to Egypt. There is huge immigration to the Gulf nations from all over the world to work. Before the crash, many Colombians had immigrated to Venezuela for a better life. There is huge immigration of Central Americans to Mexico.

Just check this year’s Freedom House map, no one really emigrates to any country that isn’t marked “blue”.

That map must be some sort of a joke. Venezuela is the freest country in Latin America. The opposition has many media unbelievably outlets, and they all resemble Fox News X10. They tell constant lies, and they have regularly called for assassinating the President. They continue to do so now, and now all of the Opposition press is agitating for a coup. Could you imagine if the US had huge media outlets that told the most vicious lies on a regular basis and regularly called for the assassination of Obama, and now were screaming for the US military to stage a military coup and overthrow Obama to put in a military dictatorship? Venezuela is a 10X freer than the US.

The Opposition has taken over Congress and stages constant demonstrations/riots in the streets. And recently the Opposition is armed and has started assassinating government officials.

Venezuela has the fairest elections on Earth.

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“Problems” and “Solutions”

Discuss Severaid’s quote and my examples given below, agreeing, disagreeing or expanding on the notion.

The chief cause of problems is solutions

– Eric Sevareid

I think this guy is onto something.

Examples:

War on Terror – Solution was all out war on “terrorism” – really just disobedient Muslim states and some international guerrilla/terrorist groups.

The “solution” did not solve the problem at all, and in fact it made it much worse and introduced quite a few new problems.

The “solution” to the “Muslim terrorism problem” did nothing to alleviate the problem, and the problem only expanded massively, in the process destroying much of the secular Muslim world and replacing it with ultra-radical, armed and ultraviolent fundamentalists. Several new failed states were created out of functioning but authoritarian secular regimes.

A wild Sunni-Shia war took off with no end in sight. A new Saudi-Iran conflict expanded to include all of the Sunni world against Iran and some Shia groups.

The policy was incoherent – in places (Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and Libya) secular nationalists were overthrown and replaced with radical fundamentalist regimes (Iraq, Palestine) or failed states teeming with armed fundamentalist actors (Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Mali). In other places, fundamentalist regimes were overthrown and secular nationalists were put in (Egypt).

We alternately attacked and supported radical groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. An awful Russia-Turkey conflict took off on the Middle east with the US and NATO siding with Al Qaeda and ISIS supporting Turks. The US attacked and armed fundamentalists to attack Shia Iranian, Hezbollah and Houthi armies waging all out war on Al Qaeda and ISIS. In Yemen we actively attacked the Shia who were fighting Al Qaeda while supporting Al Qaeda and fundamentalist Sunnis with intel and weaponry.

Some Kurds were called terrorists and support was given to those attacking them. Other Kurds were supported in their fight against ISIS. In actuality, all of these Kurd represented the same entity. There really is no difference between the PKK, the YPG and the rulers of the Kurdish region. Meanwhile, Kurds fighting for independence were supported in Iran and Syria and attacked in Turkey though they were all the same entity.

Billions of US dollars and thousands of US lives were wasted for essentially no reason with no results or actually a worsened situation. Russia, one of the most effective actors in the war against Al Qaeda and ISIS, was declared an enemy and attacks on them by our allies were cheered on.

A horrible refugee crisis was created in Europe.

Muslim populations in the West were substantially radicalized.

Instead of ending Islamic terrorism, Islamic terrorist, conventional and guerrilla attacks absolutely exploded in the Middle East and to a lesser extent in Europe, Canada, Australia and the US. It also exploded in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Thailand, the Philippines and of course Syria and Iraq. There was considerable fighting and terrorism in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco and Jordan. The Palestinians ended up much better armed than before and the conflict exploded into all out war on a few occasions.

Terrorism and guerrilla war exploded in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Somalia and Kenya with some new attacks in Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Uganda. Somalia took a turn for the worse as a huge Al Qaeda force set up shop there and the country turned into the worst failed state ever with nothing even resembling a state left and the nation furthermore split off into three separate de facto nations.

The “solution” failed completely and simply ended up creating a whole new set of problems that were vastly worse than the original problem for the which the solution was directed.

Technology: Technology itself could be regarded as a lousy fix to many problems.

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Slavery in the Muslim World: The Tradition Is Not Yet Dead

From here.

Bottom line is, yes, slavery has been present in the Islamic World from Day One. In fact, one can make a case that slavery was an inherent and even emblematic aspect of Islam since its inception. It only left the Muslim World due to pressure from the West when the West emancipated its own slaves in the late 1800’s. Officially, most of the Muslim World dumped theirs. Yet the practice continued. Saudi Arabia only outlawed slavery in 1962. An advertisement for a castrated Black slave for sale recently appeared in a Saudi publication. Mauritania only outlawed slavery a few years ago, and the ban is hardly enforced.

As societies collapsed, the peculiar institution experienced a recrudescence. Libyan ports now export many slaves destined for Europe. Syrian teenage girls in Jordanian refugee camps are trafficked to brothels in Amman and sold to visiting Gulf men for $140-175 for a “temporary marriage.” In Northern Nigeria, even before Boko Haram kidnapped scores of teenage Christian girls, Muslim men had been importing concubine slave girls from the north to serve as “fifth wives.” The abuse and rape of female domestics in the Gulf who are little more than slaves of their owners has been documented for years.

Worst of all is the migrant labor scam that the Gulf states have been running for decades involving workers from South Asia, especially Pakistan and India,  and Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. For all intents and purposes, work which is tied to contracts with the employer is little more than slavery, let’s face it. Gulf employers of these men have referred to them as slaves. They are housed in the most miserable conditions in a very wealthy country and worked to exhaustion and sometimes to death in ferocious heat with little protection or rest. A number of deaths have occurred to poor working conditions. Some poor countries to the east have forbidden their workers from going to the Gulf to work. There has been a bit of a crackdown, but it was mostly fake. Kuwait gave its “slaves” rights recently, but the Emir has not yet signed the bill. Qatar is worried about its reputation as the Olympics are coming soon, but its response instead of cleaning up its act has been to cover the whole mess up and beat up and detain the protesters. Any progress elsewhere in the Gulf has been frozen in recent years. Instead we get the predictable fake backlash whereby the Gulf states say that critics of their Slave System are “Islamophobes.”

The progress for serious progressive change for alleviating remaining vestiges of slavery in the Arab World seem dim at the moment as the region undergoes a retrenchment, a backlash and a hardening of reaction.

The link between Islam and slavery goes back from the start, so ISIS is not doing anything new. The fact that the formal Muslim states of the world continue to refuse to clean up their mess is most discouraging, but it too may be blamed on tradition.

“Spoils of war,” snaps Dabiq, the English-language journal of Islamic State (IS). The reference is to thousands of Yazidi women the group forced into sex slavery after taking their mountain, Sinjar, in August last year. Far from being a perversion, it claims that forced concubinage is a religious practice sanctified by the Koran.

In a chapter called Women, the Koran sanctions the marriage of up to four wives, or “those that your right hands possess”. Literalists, like those behind the Dabiq article, have interpreted these words as meaning “captured in battle”.

Its purported female author, Umm Sumayyah, celebrated the revival of Islam’s slave-markets and even proffered the hope that Michelle Obama, the wife of America’s president, might soon be sold there. “I and those with me at home prostrated to Allah in gratitude on the day the first slave-girl entered our home,” she wrote. Sympathizers have done the same, most notably the allied Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram, which last year kidnapped an entire girls’ school in Chibok.

Religious preachers have responded with a chorus of protests. “The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus,” declared an open letter sent by 140 Muslim scholars to IS’s “caliph”, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, earlier this year. “You have taken women as concubines and thus revived…corruption and lewdness on the earth.”

But while IS’s embrace of outright slavery has been singled out for censure, religious and political leaders have been more circumspect about other “slave-like” conditions prevalent across the region. IS’s targeting of an entire sect for kidnapping, killing and sex trafficking, and its bragging, are exceptional; forced labor for sexual and other forms of exploitation is not.

From Morocco, where thousands of children work as petites bonnes, or maids, to the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan where girls are forced into prostitution, to the unsanctioned rape and abuse of domestics in the Gulf, aid workers say servitude is rife.

Scholars are sharply divided over how much cultural mores are to blame. Apologists say that, in a concession to the age, the Prophet Muhammad tolerated slavery, but—according to a prominent American theologian trained in Salafi seminaries, Yasir Qadhi—he did so grudgingly and advocated abolition.

Repeatedly in the Koran the Prophet calls for the manumission of slaves and release of captives, seeking to alleviate the slave systems run by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Jewish Himyarite kings of Yemen. He freed one slave, a chief’s daughter, by marrying her, and chose Bilal, another slave he had freed, to recite the first call to prayer after his conquest of Mecca. His message was liberation from worldly oppression, says Mr Qadhi  – enslavement to God, not man.

Other scholars insist, however, that IS’s treatment of Yazidis adheres to Islamic tradition. “They are in full compliance with Koranic understanding in its early stages,” says Professor Ehud Toledano, a leading authority on Islamic slavery at Tel Aviv University. Moreover, “what the Prophet has permitted, Muslims cannot forbid.”

The Prophet’s calls to release slaves only spurred a search for fresh stock as the new empire spread, driven by commerce, from sub-Saharan Africa to the Persian Gulf.

To quash a black revolt in the salt mines of southern Iraq, the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad conscripted Turkish slaves into their army. Within a few generations these formed a power base, and from 1250 to 1517 an entire slave caste, the Mamluks (Arabic for “chattel”), ruled Egypt.

A path to power

Their successors, the Ottoman Turks, perfected the system. After conquering south-eastern Europe in the late 14th century, they imposed the devshirme, or tribute, enslaving the children of the rural poor, on the basis that they were more pagan than Christian, and therefore not subject to the protections Islam gave to People of the Book. Far from resisting this, many parents were happy to deliver their offspring into the white slave elite that ran the empire.

Under this system, enslaved boys climbed the ranks of the army and civil service. Girls entered the harem as concubines to bear sultans. All anticipated, and often earned, power and wealth. Unlike the feudal system of Christian Europe, this one was meritocratic and generated a diverse gene pool. Mehmet II, perhaps the greatest of the Ottoman sultans, who ruled in the 15th century, had the fair skin of his mother, a slave girl from the empire’s north-western reaches.

All this ended because of abolition in the West. After severing the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 19th century, Western abolitionists turned on the Islamic world’s, and within decades had brought down a system that had administered not just the Ottoman empire but the Sherifian empire of Morocco, the Sultanate of Oman with its colonies on the Swahili-speaking coast and West Africa’s Sokoto Caliphate.

With Western encouragement, Serb and Greek rebels sloughed off devshirme. Fearful of French ambitions, the mufti of Tunis wooed the British by closing his slave-markets in 1846. A few years later, the sultan in Istanbul followed suit.

Some tried to resist, including Morocco’s sultan and the cotton merchants of Egypt, who had imported African slaves to make up the shortages left by the ravages of America’s civil war. But colonial pressure proved unstoppable. Under Britain’s consul-general, Evelyn Baring, Earl of Cromer, Egypt’s legislative assembly dutifully abolished slavery at the end of the 19th century. The Ottoman register for 1906 still lists 194 eunuchs and 500 women in the imperial harem, but two years later they were gone.

For almost a century the Middle East, on paper at least, was free of slaves. “Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them,” proclaimed the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam in 1990. Early jihadist groups followed the trend, characterizing themselves as liberation movements and, as such, rejecting slavery.

But though slavery per se may be condemned, observers point to the persistence of servitude. The Global Slavery Index (GSI), whose estimates are computed by an Australian NGO working with Hull University, claims that of 14 states with over 1% of the population enslaved, more than half are Muslim. Prime offenders range from the region’s poorest state, Mauritania, to its richest per head, Qatar.

The criteria and data used by GSI have been criticized, but evidence supports the thrust of its findings. Many Arab states took far longer to criminalize slavery than to ban it. Mauritania, the world’s leading enslaver, did not do so until 2007. Where bans exist, they are rarely enforced. The year after Qatar abolished slavery in 1952, the emir took his slaves to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Government inspections and prosecutions are rarities. “The security chiefs, the judges and the lawyers all belong to the class that historically owned slaves,” says Sarah Mathewson of London-based Anti-Slavery International. “They are part of the problem.”

No labor practice has drawn more international criticism than the kafala system, which ties migrant workers to their employers. This is not slavery as IS imposes it; migrants come voluntarily, drawn by the huge wealth gap between their own countries and the Gulf. But the system “facilitates slavery”, says Nicholas McGeehan, who reports for Human Rights Watch on conditions in the desert camps where most such workers live.

The Gulf’s 2.4m domestic servants are even more vulnerable. Most do not enjoy the least protection under labor laws. Housed and, in some cases, locked in under their employer’s roof, they are prey to sexual exploitation.

Irons and red-hot bars

Again, these workers have come voluntarily; but disquieting echoes persist. Many Gulf nationals can be heard referring to their domestics as malikat (slaves). Since several Asian governments have suspended or banned their female nationals from domestic work in the Gulf out of concern for their welfare, recruitment agencies are turning to parts of Africa, such as Uganda, which once exported female slaves. Some domestic servants are abused with irons and red-hot bars: resonant, says Mr McGeehan, of slave-branding in the past.

Elsewhere in the region, the collapse of law and order provides further cover for a comeback of old practices. Syrian refugee camps in Jordan provide a supply of girls for both the capital’s brothels and for Gulf men trawling websites, which offer short-term marriages for brokerage fees of $140-270 each. Trafficking has soared in Libya’s Mediterranean ports, which under the Ottomans exported sub-Saharan labor to Europe. Long before Boko Haram kidnapped girls, Anti-Slavery International had warned that Nigerian businessmen were buying “fifth wives”—concubines alongside the four wives permitted by Islam—from neighboring Niger.

Gulf states insist they are dealing with the problem. In June Kuwait’s parliament granted domestic servants labor rights, the first Gulf state to do so. It is also the only Gulf state to have opened a refuge for female migrants. Qatar, fearful that reported abuses might upset its hosting of the World Cup in 2022, has promised to improve migrant housing.

And earlier this year Mauritania’s government ordered preachers at Friday prayers to publicize a fatwa by the country’s leading clerics declaring: “Slavery has no legal foundation in sharia law.” Observers fear, though, that this is window-dressing. And Kuwait’s emir has yet to ratify the new labour-rights law.

Rather than stop the abuse, Gulf officials prefer to round on their critics, accusing them of Islamophobia just as their forebears did. Oman and Saudi Arabia have long been closed to Western human-rights groups investigating the treatment of migrants. Now the UAE and Qatar, under pressure after a wave of fatalities among workers building venues for the 2022 World Cup, are keeping them out, too.

Internal protests are even riskier. Over the past two years hundreds of migrant laborers building Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim and Louvre Museums have been detained, roughed up and deported, says Human Rights Watch, after strikes over unpaid wages. Aminetou Mint Moctar, a rare Mauritanian Arab on the board of SOS Esclaves, a local association campaigning for the rights of haratin, or descendants of black slaves, has received death threats.

Is it too much to hope that the Islamic clerics denouncing slavery might also condemn other instances of forced and abusive labor? Activists and Gulf migrants are doubtful. Even migrants’ own embassies can be strangely mute, not wanting criticism to curb the vital flow of remittances. When Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, visited the UAE this week, his nationals there complained that migrant rights were last on his list. Western governments generally have other priorities. One is simply to defeat IS, whose extreme revival of slavery owes at least something to the region’s persistent and pervasive tolerance of servitude.

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