Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 05, 2012

An Unruly Middle East

What else, but that they all happened within the last 24 hours, is common with these events?

Bombings Hit Bahrain After Government Bans Protests

A series of five bombs went off in the capital of Bahrain on Monday morning, killing two people and reminding the world that the tiny nation's quiet revolt against its royal family is far from over.
Gunshots heard at Turkish Prime Ministry
Gunshots have been heard at the Turkish Prime Ministry building in Ankara during a Cabinet meeting headed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, daily Hürriyet reported Nov. 5.
Weapons found in biscuit boxes in Yemen: ministry
A cargo of weapons originating in Turkey was seized by Yemeni authorities on Saturday in the southern port of Aden, the defence ministry Internet website reported.
Saudi Arabia: al-Qaida shoots 2 guards on Yemen border; 11 militants captured
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry says a group of 11 al-Qaida fighters has killed two border guards while trying to cross into Yemen before they themselves were captured.
Tear gas fired to disperse Kuwait protesters
Kuwaiti security forces fired tear gas to disperse a protest on Sunday by thousands of opposition supporters.
Sinai security chief sacked
Egypt’s interior minister on Sunday sacked the head of security in North Sinai, a day after an attack that killed three policeman in the restive peninsula sparked protests by their colleagues.
Militias battle in Tripoli
Fighting between two militias erupted at the building that previously housed Libya's intelligence agency in central Tripoli early Sunday, sources said.

Posted by b on November 5, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Permalink


The Middle East is a MESS!!! Europe is next, too many immigrants and the aboriginal inhabitants becoming more feeble all the time. Your going down Europe, DOWN!!!

Posted by: Fernando | Nov 5, 2012 10:58:21 AM | 1

Thus just what the Jabotinsky fascists want. Whether they are rational or deluded racists is another question.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 5, 2012 11:34:45 AM | 2

The neocon who writes at Atimes under the pen name Spengler had a piece a few months back about Isreal as the Middle Easts' near term geo strategic hegemon. I though it was more Israeli self praise. Now I am wondering if it is a better cold analysis than I though. I suppose it depends on if the Saudi GCC gets its cumuppence for all the trouble they have been kicking up. Looking at your list, the islamic world is tearing itself apart of the issue of the "proper" Islam and what is a legitimate politics. This is not an argument that is resolved quickly or without bloodshed.

Posted by: Northern Observer | Nov 5, 2012 12:35:37 PM | 3

Nothing really...

In Bahrain... It could be a false flag to justify a more severe measures to suppress the opposition that just won't stop opposing.  It would designed to deflect the mild and rare criticism the ruling family received only in the last few days. 

Or it could be, as 'b' indicated, a signal that things could be going to get more violent.

In Turkey... I would suspect the PKK... 

In Yemen, two suspects stand out, Alqaeda and the Southern Separatists, but seeing as the shipment is coming from Turkey where Alqaeda is operating, my bet is that they are involved.

Actually, Alqaeda or people ideologically aligned (read Salafis) would be the prime suspects for most of the remaining unrest.

Saudi-Yemen border - Alqaeda

Tripoli - you can bet one of the two militias is Salafi.

Egypt - this seems to be an indigenous  movement, opposed to poor government investment in their region, could easily blow up in Morsi's face. Not sure, AQ could be involved, but seems unlikely at this point.

Kuwait - The current unrest is being driven by Salafi-led opposition coalition, although the reasons that these fat, lazy, useless, pointless... nevermind :)

Posted by: OAB | Nov 5, 2012 1:24:28 PM | 4

Re: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait: Feudal monarchies have no place in the XXIst century, no matter what "bastions of stability" they purport themselves to be.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Nov 5, 2012 1:49:34 PM | 5

Nobody's mentioned Iran yet so I will. Iran is not a weak patsy that sits by and does nothing about terror and aggression against it and its allies.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 2:07:14 PM | 6

Don the Iranians wouldn't gain much by setting off bombs in bahrain. If there was a sniff them involved, let alone being caught, it would be a gift to the Isreali/US war party.
Ralphie, our western democracies are not the sweetness and light that we and they like to imagine.

Posted by: heath | Nov 5, 2012 3:15:56 PM | 7

What they have in common is that it doesn't look like I'll be making any more trips to the ME anytime soon.

Interesting that Saudi Arabia, the mother of all powder kegs, is not in the news today. They're about due a the mother of succession donnybrooks.

In most of the other news stories, it sounds like what's at stake is freedom and democracy, words now rarely uttered by Hillary the Horrible.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 5, 2012 3:31:21 PM | 8

the only quiet israel!

Posted by: brian | Nov 5, 2012 3:36:30 PM | 9

@ heath - Don the Iranians wouldn't gain much by setting off bombs in bahrain. If there was a sniff them involved, let alone being caught, it would be a gift to the Isreali/US war party.

Here's a sniff from Bloomberg:

While today’s explosions mark the most high-profile attack in downtown Manama, the government has accused members of the Shiite Muslim majority of resorting to violence and says they receive encouragement from co-religionists in the Iranian government.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 3:44:56 PM | 10

9, brian not true
"IDF vehicle comes under bullet fire on Syria-Israel border; no injuries reported (Haaretz)"

10, Don Bacon,
no, does not fit, Iran is wooing the US
"Senior Vice President for International Services at the American Red Cross David Meltzer has praised Iran’s readiness to send humanitarian aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. (Press TV)" or Haaretz, they are reporting it too :-))

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5, 2012 3:57:08 PM | 11

@ somebody --no, does not fit, Iran is wooing the US

Wooing? No, and not Petting either. Iran is thanking the US for sticking it to Europe with sanctions, and for the gifts of Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran never liked neighbors Saddam nor the Taliban, and the US helpfully sent them both to the tip.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 5, 2012 4:05:16 PM | 12

@ Northern Observer,

You mean Mr. Goldman [as in 'Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman']? That zionist troll makes me wanna puke violently in all directions. His blatant disregard for universal truths and succinct love for the land he should live on prove he's not really interested in providing economical and financial insights, as he time and time again ventures into the ME cesspool and keeps ranting on about the . He's the only person not to use his own name, but a pen name/handle instead and he even has his own on-board forum. I had set Atol as my homepage, because of the constant barrage of Cartra$$ian garbage on yahoo, but now I'm packing and headin' south.

"Asia Times Online is incorporated and registered in Hong Kong and is owned by Sondhi Limthongkul. Its revenues come from advertisements, an advertisement-free subscription service, and from selling content."

Spengler's take on the Arabian Spring [more or less] @

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 5, 2012 5:55:49 PM | 13

Darn. Something's gone wrong [pushing 'Post' without re-reading my crappola, but I'll pretend I don't know what happened to save face].

... keeps ranting on about the virtues of everything but Arabian independence from western influences [ya know, democracy riddled bombs, freedom infested missiles and equality laden booby traps].

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 5, 2012 6:00:02 PM | 14

Didn't King Saud leave 50 sons, 2,500 grandsons and 75,000 great grandsons that are all legitimate heirs to the thrown? Nothing could go wrong there.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 5, 2012 6:06:44 PM | 15

The "Benghazi effect: "Amidst the controversy in Washington over the chronology and extent of the CIA and U.S. military response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, THRE IS A CRITICAL POINT WHICH PUNDITS, for the most part, HAVE NOT RAISED, but of which the Obama administration is very mindful: “that the U.S. ambassador to Libya may have been killed by a group which was armed, supported by the United States or its allies…[Administration officials] know that jihadi groups are playing an increasingly important role on the ground in the Syrian opposition” and Washington wants to get in front of this problem." (CAPS MINE)

Well, well, well. It seems that the "inside job" in Benghazi is gaining grudging acceptance.

You have to assume that Obama is hiding a LOT more. Problem is, the more you lie, the easier it is to get caught.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 5, 2012 7:09:50 PM | 16

@16, mebbe a variation on the ol' green on blue. Jihadis swearing loyalty to the US State Dept. "Sure, we'll take out the next brutal tyrant on your list. We love Amreeka!"

Posted by: ruralito | Nov 5, 2012 8:28:40 PM | 17

JohnH writes: Problem is, the more you lie, the easier it is to get caught.

But after tomorrow, getting caught is not going have any domestic political repercussions. If the Republicans were a legitimate political opposition they would insist on an explanation, (given they will continue to control the House they would have the power to do so). If they were genuinely interested in America's real national interests they would do so but I doubt they will do anything since there will be no immediate electoral gain.

Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 5, 2012 9:14:20 PM | 18

An unruly midwest, too. A sign in a Des Moines, Iowa store near an Obama occupied rally:">">

Posted by: вот так | Nov 5, 2012 9:58:35 PM | 19

The link didn't post right. Here is the article the photo was part of. Hopefully this time it will work.

Posted by: вот так | Nov 5, 2012 10:00:51 PM | 20

Saudi Arabia - explosion kills 22 in Riyadh

just in case you thought all was well in the Kingdom -- there has been speculation that this was a terrorist type activity.

Posted by: Kim Sky | Nov 5, 2012 11:06:25 PM | 21

In Turkey, the explosion was a few gunshots, supposedly by a disgruntled Erdogan supporter. The entrance to the prime ministry is full of people and this guy, who belongs to an "erdogan fanatics" [supporters] group on facebook came by asking to see the prime minister on some grievance. He was outside the metal detectors at the entrance and he was quickly arrested when he started shooting. A few other points, ambulances came but there were no people taken to the hospital--the entrance to the prime ministry is teeming with reporters so I would trust what is being reported. Also in Turkey, gun laws are relatively relaxed, so it's not unusual for an ordinary person to have a licenced personal weapon but I don't actually have any info on this. So things are relatively murky so far.

Posted by: kodlu | Nov 6, 2012 1:07:44 AM | 22

add this

"For first time, Palestinians in Gaza fire missile at IAF helicopter
IDF confirms that a Soviet-made Strela (SA-7) anti-aircraft missile was fired at a helicopter last week."

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 5:03:54 AM | 23

of course there is this too

Syrian Rebels Get Missiles
Fears Rise That Portable Antiaircraft Weapons Could Wind Up With Terrorists

and of course this
Libya militia leader: Heat-seeking missiles, other weapons stolen during firefight

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 5:14:11 AM | 24

which opens the interesting question if Iran was behind the Benghazi attack

Remember this link by Hannah K. O'Luthon? - the Security firm tied to ex Iran Contra defendants?

Plus the fact that Ambassador Stevens asked about the Iranian Red Crescent Hostages in the released documents and was told they were fine but not told who in Benghazi was holding them.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 5:27:51 AM | 25

None to be noticed by the American mainstream media.

Posted by: Fred Lochbihler | Nov 6, 2012 9:17:18 AM | 26

some people are laughing their heads off somewhere

Syria shutters Hamas offices in break with group

Spokesman Ayman Taha said on Tuesday that the move had been expected after Hamas openly switched sides to support the armed rebellion against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Taha says Monday’s move by Damascus was ‘‘a result of our siding with the Syrian people in their just struggle.’’ Taha spoke from Cairo.

So the "non lethal" weapons the US supplies now will go to a unified opposition including Hamas?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 11:43:15 AM | 27

@somebody 24 - so Rafallah al-Sahati militants seized the MANPADs from the CIA base at Benghazi, then some 10 days later some bigger wolves searched for them ni various bases and seized them in their turn; the two episodes are closely tied, in the sense they both regard a hunt for precious weapons; the fable that the second episode was a "reaction" by loyal militias against rogue militias is ... a fable

this too reminds of Mogadishu 1993, where the downed American pilot was "claimed" by Aidid's militias from the local militia that first captured him

Posted by: claudio | Nov 6, 2012 12:38:07 PM | 28

28, yeah, though I am still not sure where the manpads will finally turn up, Lavrov stated publicly that Russia knows Syrian rebels have received 50 manpads from the US, I am sure if they know that much they can do something about it ...

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 1:03:44 PM | 29

Though looking at this Libyan arms smuggling map I would say the direct route goes from Benghazi through Egypt to Sinai and Gaza, just needs some cash.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 6, 2012 5:30:24 PM | 30

What else, but that they all happened within the last 24 hours, is common with these events?

I don't know what's common with the events .The second story says

the motive for his alleged assault remains unknown.

b, do you want to tell us what you think the motive is?

Posted by: Calig | Nov 6, 2012 9:39:43 PM | 31

Al Qaeda Levant aka FSA Release a Video of Kidnapped Journalist Anhar Kochneva

Posted by: brian | Nov 7, 2012 4:45:02 AM | 32

Americans tour base to recruit Libyan anti-militant force: commander

Posted by: somebody | Nov 7, 2012 9:55:15 AM | 33

@33 "The force may be required to fight jihadi militants like those accused in the September 11 assault on the consulate."

Stop that. I'm trying to drink my morning coffee here.

Posted by: dh | Nov 7, 2012 10:56:41 AM | 34

Man lights himself on fire in front of Prime Ministry

That is how revolutions start, no?

Posted by: somebody | Nov 7, 2012 12:53:10 PM | 35

please save me from the revolution

Libya will continue its inexorable descent into chaos and violence, unless the international community — the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations or even the devil himself, it no longer matters — acknowledge our lamentable reality and dispatch a sizable peacekeeping force to establish law and order, disarm the militias — by force if necessary — and give the nascent Libyan authorities a chance to grow up, look in the mirror and live up to their responsibilities.

The post-Qaddafi Libyan authorities, from the National Transitional Council to the recently formed government of Prime Minister Ali Zidan, have a uniquely idiotic security concept: building an army composed of a coalition of “approved militias”. This will not work.

With 1,700 militias plaguing the country and respecting no one, it is a recipe for endemic violence and a complete breakdown of society.
If Libya is to survive as a state, then steps must be taken right now to mobilize an international peacekeeping force and authorize it to intervene to disarm the militias, bring about security and train an army and police force.

compare with - by the same author

the west is doing the right thing in Libya

If we really do care about justice and progress in Libya, then we should make sure that after Gaddafi the Libyan people are left alone to rebuild their state and create their own government, without Washington, Paris or London abusing whatever credit they accrue in the meantime to plant their own stooge.

Libya’s wealth and wellbeing can be safeguarded only by having a democratic, accountable government that is answerable to its own people, and its own people alone. That is something which only the Libyan people can do.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 7, 2012 2:03:33 PM | 36

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