country:kuwait

  • Kuwait latest country to reopen embassy in Syria
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/kuwait-latest-country-to-reopen-embassy-in-syria

    Emirats arabes unis hier, Bahrein et Koweït aujourd’hui. Hier aussi reprise des vols de Syrianair vers la Tunisie. #normalisation accélérée pour la Syrie.

    In the course of 24 hours, two Arab nations have announced their intention to reopen their embassies in Syria after a seven year hiatus.

    According to a government source in Damascus, Kuwait will reopen their embassy in Syria in the next 10-14 days.

    Kuwait’s decision comes shortly after Bahrain announced that they were reopening their embassy in Damascus after closing it more than seven years ago.

    On Thursday afternoon, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reopened their embassy during a brief ceremony that was held in Damascus.

    • On parle aussi de la Mauritanie :

      الرئيس الموريتاني محمد ولد عبد العزيز سيقوم بزيارة رسمية إلى سوريا
      ٤-٥ يناير القادم حسب مصادر رسمية في نواكشوط

      الخليل ولد اجدود ajouté,
      عضوان الأحمري
      Compte certifié @Adhwan
      عودة العلاقات مع سوريا بشكل طبيعي مسألة وقت. عمر البشير قص الشريط، وستتبعه دول أخرى. تصريح الإمارات قبل قليل عن أن عودة دمشق للجامعة العربية بحاجة توافق عربي مؤشر جديد. كما أن رئيس السودان لم يزر دمشق دون استشارة واستنارة.
      16:15 - 27 déc. 2018 depuis Mauritania


  • An X reveals a Diamond : locating Israeli Patriot batteries using radar interference – Federation Of American Scientists
    https://fas.org/blogs/security/2018/11/an-x-reveals-a-diamond-locating-israeli-patriot-batteries-using-radar-interfere

    Amid a busy few weeks of nuclear-related news, an Israeli researcher made a very surprising OSINT discovery that flew somewhat under the radar. As explained in a Medium article, Israeli GIS analyst Harel Dan noticed that when he accidentally adjusted the noise levels of the imagery produced from the SENTINEL-1 satellite constellation, a bunch of colored Xs suddenly appeared all over the globe.

    SENTINEL-1’s C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operates at a centre frequency of 5.405 GHz, which conveniently sits within the range of the military frequency used for land, airborne, and naval radar systems (5.250-5.850 GHz)—including the AN/MPQ-53/65 phased array radars that form the backbone of a Patriot battery’s command and control system. Therefore, Harel correctly hypothesized that some of the Xs that appeared in the SENTINEL-1 images could be triggered by interference from Patriot radar systems.

    Using this logic, he was able to use the Xs to pinpoint the locations of Patriot batteries in several Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

    This blog post partially fills that gap, while acknowledging that there are some known Patriot sites—both in Israel and elsewhere around the globe—that interestingly don’t produce an X via the SAR imagery.

    All of these sites were already known to Israel-watchers and many have appeared in news articles, making Harel’s redaction somewhat unnecessary—especially since the images reveal nothing about operational status or system capabilities.

    Avec analyse détaillée des 4 sites israéliens de batteries de missiles Patriot identifiés, dont l’un (Palmachim, cf. https://seenthis.net/messages/740257 ) figure d’ailleurs sur la liste des cibles du Hezbollah…

    The proximity of the Negev air defense battery to an Israeli nuclear facility is not unique. In fact, the 2002 SIPRI Yearbook suggests that several of the Yahalom batteries identified through SENTINEL-1 SAR imagery are either co-located with or located close to facilities related to Israel’s nuclear weapons program. The Palmachim site is near the Soreq Centre, which is responsible for nuclear weapons research and design, and the Mount Carmel site is near the Yodefat Rafael facility in Haifa—which is associated with the production of Jericho missiles and the assembly of nuclear weapons—and near the base for Israel’s Dolphin-class submarines, which are rumored to be nuclear-capable.

    Google Earth’s images of Israel have been intentionally blurred since 1997, due to a US law known as the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment which prohibits US satellite imagery companies from selling pictures that are “no more detailed or precise than satellite imagery of Israel that is available from commercial sources.” As a result, it is not easy to locate the exact position of the Yahalom batteries; for example, given the number of facilities and the quality of the imagery, the site at Palmachim is particularly challenging to spot.

    However, this law is actually being revisited this year and could soon be overturned, which would be a massive boon for Israel-watchers. Until that happens though, Israel will remain blurry and difficult to analyze, making creative OSINT techniques like Harel’s all the more useful.



  • Kuwait flood damages estimated at over $300 million
    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/11/12/kuwait-flood-damages-estimated-at-over-300-million
    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/file/getimagecustom/098e5608-0588-4406-bf44-c30f579a705a/600/338

    Flash floods after heavy rains in Kuwait have caused hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of damage in the country, wreaking havoc on roads, bridges and homes.
    […]
    Bad weather - accompanied by torrential rains and flash floods - have hit several countries in the region, including Jordan where 12 people have been killed and nearly 4,000 tourists forced to flee the famed ancient desert city of Petra.

    Kuwait City hit by Heavy rain and flash floods | Airport | 7th Ring road | 14-Nov-2018
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdhQn4J-4ck


  • Exclusive: Khashoggi murder further complicates ’Arab NATO’ plan - U.S. sources | Reuters

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mideast-alliance-exclusive/exclusive-khashoggi-murder-further-complicates-arab-nato-plan-u-s-sources-i

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s strategy to contain Iranian power in the Middle East by forging Arab allies into a U.S.-backed security alliance was in trouble even before the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, three U.S. sources said, the plan faces fresh complications.

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
    Khashoggi’s murder on Oct. 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has drawn international outrage against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with Turkish officials and some U.S. lawmakers accusing the kingdom’s de facto ruler of ordering the killing.

    The Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) aims to bind Sunni Muslim governments in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan in a U.S.-led security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran. 

    But feuds among Arab allies, especially a Saudi-led economic and political boycott of Qatar, have hampered the founding of the alliance since Riyadh proposed it last year.

    A summit meeting in the United States where Trump and the Arab leaders would sign a preliminary accord on the alliance was expected in January. But the three U.S. sources and a Gulf diplomat said the meeting now looks uncertain. It has already been postponed several times, they added. 

    Khashoggi’s murder raised “a whole bunch of problems” to be solved before the plan - informally referred to as the “Arab NATO” - can move forward, one U.S. source said. One issue is how the Americans could have the Saudi crown prince, who goes by the initials MbS, attend the summit without causing widespread outrage.

    “It’s not palatable,” the source said.


  • MbS: The New Saddam of Arabia? – LobeLog
    https://lobelog.com/mbs-the-new-saddam-of-arabia

    As Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) has terrorized his opponents at home and abroad, fear has spread within the Saudi kingdom. Has he become the new Saddam of Arabia? As Iraq’s Saddam Hussein did in the 1980s, MbS is cementing his power domestically and regionally through fear and economic largesse under the guise of fighting Iran, Islamic radicalism, and terrorism.

    Much like the tyrant of Baghdad did in Iraq, MbS has crushed his domestic and regional opponents. Both of them have enlisted the support of foreign powers, especially the United States and Britain, to buttress their hold on power in their territories and expand their reach internationally. They both spoke the language of “reform,” which appeals to Western audiences, and both demonized Iran as a promoter of regional instability and a source of evil internationally.

    They both used chemical weapons against their opponents—Saddam against his Kurdish citizens and against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war; MbS against civilians in Yemen. Saddam threatened and later invaded his neighbor Kuwait. MbS has waged a vicious campaign against his neighbor and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar and threatened to invade it.

    Saddam and MbS also cynically donned the mantle of Sunni Islam in their hypocritical claims against the so-called Shia Crescent and its main proponent Iran. Saddam’s “Republic of Fear” seems to be slowly morphing into a “Kingdom of Fear” under MbS.

    #arabie_saoudite


  • Kuwait excludes firms dealing with Israel from any oil work
    Middle East Monitor - October 24, 2018
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181024-kuwait-excludes-firms-dealing-with-israel-from-any-oil-w

    Kuwait Petroleum Corporation has ordered the Kuwait Oil Company to review lists of qualified oil companies which have any kind of relations with Israel, the local Al-Rai paper reported.

    According to the Kuwaiti newspaper, sources said that this requested review would be “difficult” due to the “massive network” among global companies and their offshoots.

    However, the sources, which were not identified by the Kuwaiti newspaper, stressed that authorities have insisted on implementing this decision.

    Kuwait Petroleum Corporation was established in 1980 as an umbrella for all oil activities in the country. Kuwait produced 2.80 million barrels of petrol a day in August.

    Head of the Office of Boycotting Israel in the Kuwait custom’s department, Walid Al-Hammadi, said in August that his country is the adherent to the economic boycott of Israel of all Arab states.

    “We do not allow the entry of Israeli goods into Kuwaiti markets,” he said. “The Kuwaiti people support this boycott and report any Israeli goods found in the local market,” he added.

    #BDS


  • Exclusive: Mesa to include nine countries while prioritising Iran threat - The National

    https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/exclusive-mesa-to-include-nine-countries-while-prioritising-iran-threat-

    S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Tim Lenderking has spent the last three weeks in shuttle regional diplomacy across the Gulf to lay the groundwork for a US-hosted summit in January that would launch the Middle East Strategic Alliance (Mesa), a concept similar to an Arab Nato.

    In an interview with The National on Wednesday, Mr Lenderking divulged details about the structure of Mesa and its long term prospects. He said besides the Gulf Cooperation Council members – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman – the US and both Egypt and Jordan would be members of such an alliance.

    Mr Lenderking said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be hosting a GCC + 2 meeting on the margins of United Nations General Assembly on Friday to prepare for the January summit.

    “This stems from the Riyadh summit in 2017 where everyone agreed that the US and the GCC would meet on an annual basis...we added on top of that the keen interest on both sides in building Mesa,” Mr Lenderking explained. The alliance would be based on a security, economic and political agreement that would bind together the GCC countries, along with the US, Egypt and Jordan.

    Notwithstanding the different policy priorities within the GCC itself, Mr Lenderking said the idea of Mesa is “it builds a good strong shield against threats in the Gulf,” naming Iran, cyber concerns, attacks on infrastructure, and coordinating conflict management from Syria to Yemen as part of its agenda.

    “The more we have coordinated efforts, the more effective in enhancing stability,” he said, adding that Iran was the “number one threat” on the Mesa list.

    The senior US official confirmed that the US would be part of the alliance and “we [US] would like to agree on the concept of Mesa by the January summit.”

    He cautioned, however, that these conversations are still in their early stages and “if we find we need to change dates we need to be flexible on that”.


  • Oman’s Port Strategy – LobeLog
    https://lobelog.com/omans-port-strategy

    Within the Arabian Peninsula, Duqm and Salalah have much potential to further shape geopolitical relations amid strategic shifts in the regional balance of power. Any major investments by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Duqm (and other Omani projects) should be watched closely for their effect on intra-Gulf politics. Some analysts contend that both countries are attempting to restrict the Sultanate’s geopolitical maneuverability as Muscat and Tehran try to maintain cooperative relations. As Riyadh and Abu Dhabi may use their petro-dollars to influence Oman’s future position in an increasingly polarized Gulf, they could use investments in Omani infrastructure projects as another way to gain leverage. Likewise, Oman’s trade infrastructure proved highly useful to Qatar last year when Doha needed alternatives to Jebel Ali as a logistics hub linking the emirate to the global economy.

    It goes without saying that Iran itself is a key factor in this equation. If tensions in the Strait of Hormuz escalate, Duqm and Salalah would need to prepare for any trade-related ramifications. The Omani government must stay vigilant and aware of any escalations of friction amid increasingly harsh rhetoric from Washington and Tehran that threaten to unleash an armed conflict in or near the strait. Yet the ports’ advantageous geographic locations could help Gulf states continue to sell their oil and gas in the event of such a crisis, as shipments via Duqm and Salalah will not need to travel through the strait. Whereas Saudi Arabia has its Red Sea coast and the UAE has one Emirate (Fujairah) outside the strait, which would enable these two states to continue exporting oil in the event of the strait’s closure, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar are fully dependent on that artery for their hydrocarbon exports. As Amer No’man Ashour, chief analyst and economist at CNBC Arabia, explains:

    We all know that more than 30 per cent of oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz and with this shift via the Port of Fujairah and the Duqm port, the GCC countries will ensure that their oil shipments are safe, and this will decrease the risk and the cost of insurance on ships… Al-Duqm Port is one of the best ever solutions to the oil issue… It is 800 kilometres away from UAE borders. We know that the UAE has had a partial solution via Fujairah with a capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day, but the production of the UAE is almost 3 million barrels per day. Most of Kuwait, Qatari and Saudi oil is produced in the eastern parts of the Gulf area and this new Omani port will be very suitable for exporting oil to the world.

    #oman #grand_jeu


  • The U.S. is wrong about the Muslim Brotherhood — and the Arab world is suffering for it - The Washington Post

    By Jamal Khashoggi
    August 28 at 3:26 PM

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/08/28/the-u-s-is-wrong-about-the-muslim-brotherhood-and-the-arab-world-is-

    During the Obama presidency, the U.S. administration was wary of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had come to power in Egypt after the country’s first-ever free elections. Despite his declared support for democracy and change in the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring, then-President Barack Obama did not take a strong position and reject the coup against President-elect Mohamed Morsi. The coup, as we know, led to the military’s return to power in the largest Arab country — along with tyranny, repression, corruption and mismanagement.

    That is the conclusion that David D. Kirkpatrick arrives at in his excellent book “Into the Hands of the Soldiers,” which was released this month. A former Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times, Kirkpatrick gives a sad account of Egypt’s 2013 coup that led to the loss of a great opportunity to reform the entire Arab world and allow a historic change that might have freed the region from a thousand years of tyranny.

    • During the Obama presidency, the U.S. administration was wary of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had come to power in Egypt after the country’s first-ever free elections. Despite his declared support for democracy and change in the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring, then-President Barack Obama did not take a strong position and reject the coup against President-elect Mohamed Morsi. The coup, as we know, led to the military’s return to power in the largest Arab country — along with tyranny, repression, corruption and mismanagement.

      That is the conclusion that David D. Kirkpatrick arrives at in his excellent book “Into the Hands of the Soldiers,” which was released this month. A former Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times, Kirkpatrick gives a sad account of Egypt’s 2013 coup that led to the loss of a great opportunity to reform the entire Arab world and allow a historic change that might have freed the region from a thousand years of tyranny.

      The United States’s aversion to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is more apparent in the current Trump administration, is the root of a predicament across the entire Arab world. The eradication of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than an abolition of democracy and a guarantee that Arabs will continue living under authoritarian and corrupt regimes. In turn, this will mean the continuation of the causes behind revolution, extremism and refugees — all of which have affected the security of Europe and the rest of the world. Terrorism and the refugee crisis have changed the political mood in the West and brought the extreme right to prominence there.

      There can be no political reform and democracy in any Arab country without accepting that political Islam is a part of it. A significant number of citizens in any given Arab country will give their vote to Islamic political parties if some form of democracy is allowed. It seems clear then that the only way to prevent political Islam from playing a role in Arab politics is to abolish democracy, which essentially deprives citizens of their basic right to choose their political representatives.

      Shafeeq Ghabra, a professor of political science at Kuwait University, explains the problem in this way: “The Arab regimes’ war on the Brotherhood does not target the movement alone, but rather targets those who practice politics, who demand freedom and accountability, and all who have a popular base in society.” A quick look at the political degradation that has taken place in Egypt since the military’s return to power confirms what Ghabra says. President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi’s regime has cracked down on the Islamists and arrested some 60,000 of them. Now it has extended its heavy hand against both secular and military figures, even those who supported him in the coup. In today’s Egypt, political life is totally dead.

      It is wrong to dwell on political Islam, conservatism and identity issues when the choice is between having a free society tolerant of all viewpoints and having an oppressive regime. Five years of Sissi’s rule in Egypt makes this point clear.

      There are efforts here in Washington, encouraged by some Arab states that do not support freedom and democracy, to persuade Congress to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. If they succeed, the designation will weaken the fragile steps toward democracy and political reform that have already been curbed in the Arab world. It will also push backward the Arab countries that have made progress in creating a tolerant environment and allowing political participation by various components of society, including the Islamists.

      Islamists today participate in the parliaments of various Arab countries such as Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia and Morocco. This has led to the emergence of Islamic democracy, such as the Ennahda movement in Tunisia, and the maturing of democratic transformation in the other countries.

      The coup in Egypt led to the loss of a precious opportunity for Egypt and the entire Arab world. If the democratic process had continued there, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political practices could have matured and become more inclusive, and the unimaginable peaceful rotation of power could have become a reality and a precedent to be followed.

      The Trump administration always says it wants to correct Obama’s mistakes. It should add his mishandling of Arab democracy to its list. Obama erred when he wasted the precious opportunity that could have changed the history of the Arab world, and when he caved to pressure from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as from members of his own administration. They all missed the big picture and were governed by their intolerant hatred for any form of political Islam, a hatred that has destroyed Arabs’ choice for democracy and good governance.

      #Frères_musulmans #USA #Egypte


  • The Exclusionary Turn in GCC Politics | ACW
    Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

    http://arabcenterdc.org/policy_analyses/the-exclusionary-turn-in-gcc-politics

    The sudden rupture in diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Canada has thrown a spotlight on the regional political dynamics that have placed unprecedented and potentially irreversible strains on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Over the past three years the inclusionary vision that had originally created and sustained the GCC as a grouping of six relatively like-minded states has given way to an exclusionary security-centered approach to regional affairs. The GCC always functioned best as a loose collective of monarchies whose ruling families guarded their autonomy and resisted attempts to draw closer on “big ticket” issues that encroached on national sovereignty. This combination of flexibility and consensus saw the GCC states through three major interstate wars in the Gulf––the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1988; the war to expel Iraq from Kuwait, 1990-1991; and the invasion of Iraq, 2003––and helped them maintain relative stability in an otherwise conflict-wracked region. However, the emergence of a hyper-hawkish geopolitical axis running from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi has widened existing fractures, created new fault lines, and inflicted potentially long-term damage on what had been the most durable regional organization in the Arab world.


  • This European Border Is Still Open. But for How Long?

    The border between Austria and Slovenia runs through Armin Tement’s backyard. Literally.

    Not that you would know it. Neat rows of vines march up and down the valley like military columns with no regard for a frontier laid down by man, why here, no one can quite remember. The Slovene wine workers speak German. The Austrians speak Slovenian, or at least try.

    As for the wine, well, says Mr. Tement, 32, “it tastes exactly the same on both sides.”

    When Mr. Tement’s family started making wine back in the 19th century, there was no border here. The region of Styria, straddling what is now southeastern Austria and northeastern Slovenia, was part of the Hapsburg Empire.

    When the empire was broken up after World War I, Upper Styria became Austrian and Lower Styria became part of Yugoslavia — until the 1990s, when that country, too, was broken up and Slovenia gained its independence.

    The border, a hundred years old this year, was briefly eliminated by advancing Nazi armies, then heavily policed during the Cold War, before vanishing in all but name when Slovenia joined the European Union’s passport-free travel zone in 2007.

    “It was a great moment,” recalled Janez Valdhuber, 53, a winemaker on the Slovenian side. To celebrate, he grabbed his young children, climbed the steep vineyard opposite his house to the top where the border runs, and unfurled a European flag.

    The interrogations at the border stopped, and Mr. Valdhuber’s car trunk was no longer searched when entering Austria.

    But some worry Europe’s open borders might slowly be closing again, one checkpoint at a time.

    This month, Germany announced that at its Bavarian border, it would turn back asylum seekers registered in other European Union countries, a move reintroducing a hard border of sorts with Austria.

    Austria, now run by a conservative government in coalition with the far right, threatened to do the same on its southern border with Italy, Europe’s busiest north-south trade route. And as if to demonstrate its resolve, Austria briefly resurrected checkpoints at the Brenner Pass this month.

    The border at Spielfeld, an Austrian town with barely 1,000 inhabitants, became a stop on the migrant route in 2015, and for a few traumatic weeks that year, tens of thousands of refugees came through.

    Since then, Austrian soldiers have returned.

    They ride in military jeeps along the “Wine Route,” a winding country road that zigzags back and forth across the border. They have built a fence along a small border stretch near Spielfeld and set up makeshift checkpoints in the hills — only sporadically manned, but there — on otherwise deserted lanes.

    No one here reports having seen any refugees in more than two years, and so far the border checks are relatively rare.

    But this month, the Austrian military and police staged a high-profile military exercise, simulating another mass arrival of migrants.

    A platform was set up for the photographers. Two Black Hawk helicopters circled overhead. Two hundred students from the police academy were enlisted as “refugees.” Later, the defense ministry released a video.

    “It feels a bit like we’re backsliding into the old days,” said Marko Oraze, a member of Austria’s Slovene-speaking minority who runs the Council of Carinthian Slovenes.

    Mr. Oraze lives in Austria but gets his car fixed in Slovenia. Many of his friends commute across the border every day.

    “More and more of them are stopped at the border on their way to work,” he said.

    Some in Spielfeld applaud the tougher stance taken by Austria.

    “It’s about time,” said Walpurga Sternad, who runs a restaurant with her husband near the highway connecting Austria and Slovenia. “They should just close all the borders in Europe, go back to what we used to have,” she said, as a group of friends nodded in approval.

    Ms. Sternad remembers the day in October 2015, when some 6,000 migrants poured over the border in Spielfeld, filling the motorway and spilling into her own front yard. “It was scary,” she said. “So many people. They kept coming.”


    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/world/europe/austria-slovenia-border-migrants-spielfeld-schengen.html#click=https://t.co/YWlazq9xGU
    #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Autriche #Slovénie #fermeture_des_frontières #Schengen (fin de -) #militarisation_des_frontières #armée #frontière_sud-alpine

    • Anti-immigration mood drives fear of racist profiling on EU borders

      Europe’s passport-free area under pressure as calls grow for tougher migrant controls.

      Police spot checks have become a part of Fahad’s annual summer holiday when driving through the snow-topped mountains of southern Bavaria.

      “This usually happens,” said the Kuwaiti father of three, when his silver people-carrier with his wife and children was stopped by German border officers in the idyllic Alpine town of #Kiefersfelden.

      Fahad and his family had to wait for more than half an hour at the border post, until they were given a pass to drive from Austria into Germany. During the FT’s three-hour stay at the checkpoint, non-white drivers made up about 70 per cent of cars selected for further checks. Fahad was one of a few drivers with beards, while others included women wearing headscarves and motorists who at first sight did not look like white Europeans. All were waved through once their IDs were checked, vehicle boots searched and luggage examined.

      Racial profiling at Europe’s internal borders is forbidden under EU law. But with a fresh wave of anti-immigrant governments calling for tougher controls on migrant movements, there are concerns that non-white people will come under increasing suspicion when travelling in the continent.

      Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone — an area made up of 26 European states that abolished passport control at their mutual borders — has buckled under twin pressures: Europe’s biggest influx of refugees since the second world war, and a growing number of anti-immigrant governments pushing to crack down on irregular migration flows. “There is such a fear that Schengen won’t survive that countries are being given the discretion to do whatever they can to keep it alive,” said Elizabeth Collett, director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe think-tank.

      Although the number of migrants entering the EU has dropped dramatically since the height of the migration crisis in 2015, emergency powers still allow border controls across 20,000km inside the Schengen zone. Kiefersfelden, a popular skiing destination, has become one of Schengen’s pinch points: it is home to one of three emergency police controls along Germany’s 820km border with Austria.

      Every car travelling on the A12 autobahn through Kiefersfelden must pass a police border stop where officers select vehicles for extra spot checks. The cars that are picked are sent to a tented zone, where drivers and passengers must show valid ID documents.

      Border police said they are told to look for signs of undocumented migrants and people smugglers crossing into Germany from Austria. So far this year, an average of 900 illegal migrants per month have been detained on the Austro-German border, down from 1,120 per month in 2017.

      As racial profiling is outlawed, it is the responsibility of European governments to ensure their police forces carry out checks at random. Rainer Schafer, spokesman for the federal police overseeing the Kiefersfelden controls, said race and ethnicity “can be among the indicators” officers look for when deciding to pull over a vehicle for extra checks.

      “But there are no rules that we just pick out the people who look like they are coming from Africa,” he said. Other factors include registration plates (Italian or eastern European plates draw officers’ attention), blacked-out windows, and the number of passengers, he said.

      Police checks in Bavaria are expected to intensify after the region’s conservative local government last month requested tougher migration controls.

      Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, has also called on the government to break two decades of EU-wide co-operation on migration and unilaterally send people away at Germany’s internal borders. Observers fear that other Schengen countries, like Austria, could in turn erect their own emergency border controls — and that the EU’s principle of free movement of people is at risk of becoming a privilege enjoyed only by white Europeans.

      A report from La Cimade, a French non-governmental organisation, found French border police “systematically check the identity documents of people who do not have the right skin colour” on inbound trains from Italy.

      Inga Schwarz, a researcher at the University of Freiburg, said Europe’s internal border crossings are becoming “increasingly racialised spaces, constructed not only by border guards profiling according to race, but also by European citizens who witness these racialised control practices”.

      In Kiefersfelden, the majority of the non-white drivers selected for checks were tourists in people-carriers and expensive cars — mostly from the Gulf — and were waved through in less than 15 minutes. Uruj, a 27-year-old teacher from Kuwait, her husband and young daughter waited for nearly an hour in their white Mercedes.

      Although they had valid visa documents, police took away their passports and only permitted the family to continue to their holiday destination in Austria once they had obtained a car seat for their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Wafah. Uruj, who was wearing a pink headscarf, said, “I don’t think they liked the look of us.”


      https://www.ft.com/content/fac891a6-93f9-11e8-b67b-b8205561c3fe?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754
      #contrôles_frontaliers #profiling #Allemagne #Autriche #contrôle_au_faciès

    • Réfugiés : la #Slovénie veut toujours plus de #barbelés sur sa frontière avec la #Croatie

      Les autorités slovènes se veulent rassurantes : la sécurité des frontières est assurée et personne n’a d’information sur l’éventuelle réouverture massive de la « #route_des_Balkans ». Pourtant le nouveau gouvernement ne semble pas avoir l’intention d’infléchir la politique migratoire de son prédécesseur et songerait même à étendre les barbelés qui coupent la Slovénie de son voisin croate.

      Par Charles Nonne

      La question des réfugiés semble ces dernières semaines avoir déserté le débat public en Slovénie. Le contrat de coalition signé le 28 août 2018, lapidaire, dédramatise : « Nous élaborerons une stratégie migratoire exhaustive, basée sur la coopération intergouvernementale. Nous protègerons les frontières de l’espace Schengen avec davantage d’efficacité et nous démonterons les obstacles techniques [barrières et panneaux] dès que les circonstances le permettront. »

      Pourtant, les passages de la frontière se poursuivent, notamment dans la région de la Bela Krajina, au sud-est du pays, où la rivière Kolpa sépare Slovénie et Croatie. Selon la police de Novo Mesto, entre le 1er janvier et le 31 septembre 2018, plus de 2400 ressortissants étrangers auraient illégalement franchi la Kolpa, soit douze fois plus qu’en 2017.

      Fin septembre, en marge d’un déplacement dans le centre régional de Črnomelj, le nouveau ministre de l’Intérieur, Boris Poklukar, avait affirmé vouloir maintenir les barrières en l’état, tout en garantissant que la police était préparée à une augmentation des passages frontaliers. Pour la maire de Črnomelj, Mojca Čemas Stjepanovič, « pour le moment, la sécurité est garantie et nous n’avons aucune raison de nous inquiéter. » Dans les communes les plus exposées, le gouvernement a promis l’érection de nouveaux « obstacles techniques » : sur les 670 kilomètres de frontière slovéno-croate, plus de 160 sont parcourus par des barbelés et 56 par de véritables barrières.

      En Slovénie, c’est notamment les tensions à la frontière entre la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Croatie qui préoccupent. Si le gouvernement se prépare à plusieurs scénarios, il affirme n’avoir « aucune information laissant penser à une augmentation prochaine des flux », indique le ministre Boris Poklukar. Au nord, l’Autriche a d’ores et déjà annoncé qu’elle ne diminuerait pas la surveillance de sa frontière lors des six prochains mois.

      Au-delà du strict contrôle frontalier, d’autres questions divisent : des inquiétudes pèsent notamment sur la possible installation de centres d’accueil, comme à Debeli Rtič, sur la côte slovène, et à Brežice, à 40 kilomètres de Zagreb. La directrice du bureau gouvernemental pour la prise en charge de l’intégration des migrants, Mojca Špec Potočar, a tenu à indiquer qu’« il n’y [aurait] aucune installation permanente de réfugiés. »

      La question secoue également les rangs de la coalition : l’ancienne ministre de l’Intérieur, Vesna Györkös Žnidar, « faucon » régulièrement critiqué par les défenseurs des droits de l’homme, vient de claquer la porte de son parti, le Parti du centre moderne (SMC) de l’ancien Premier ministre Miro Cerar, en raison de désaccords profonds sur les questions migratoires.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Slovenie-le-gouvernement-poursuit-lentement-le-renforcement-de-sa
      #fermeture_des_frontières #murs #barrières_frontalières


  • Pétrole : en suspendant ses exportations, Ryad mise sur une intervention internationale - Libération
    http://www.liberation.fr/futurs/2018/07/26/petrole-en-suspendant-ses-exportations-ryad-mise-sur-une-intervention-int

    En suspendant les exportations de brut par le détroit stratégique de Bab el-Mandeb après une attaque de rebelles yéménites, l’Arabie saoudite espère susciter une intervention internationale dans le conflit oublié du Yémen, estiment des analystes.

    La décision du premier exportateur mondial de pétrole est tombée mercredi à la suite d’une attaque qui a visé en mer Rouge deux supertankers transportant 4 millions de barils, selon Ryad, et un bâtiment de guerre saoudien, selon les rebelles Houthis.

    on aurait donc 2 VLCC et un navire militaire


  • War Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore | The American Conservative
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/war-doesnt-make-sense-anymore

    America spends more on its military than all its enemies put together yet it still can’t win wars. Failed adventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have drained America’s power and diminished its prestige. The bloated Pentagon budget actually makes us weaker.

    Here’s the weird bit: nobody seems to care. If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending. Instead we mumble “Thank you for your service” and increase defense appropriations.

    [...]

    Maybe the extravagant expense of the Pentagon budget is a feature, not a bug. Maybe no one objects when we spend a quarter of a billion dollars ineffectually bombing Syria or several trillion ineffectually invading Iraq because these days war profiteers make their money not by looting their enemies’ cities, stealing their land, and selling their women into slavery, but from their own governments’ spending.

    My own life confirms this intuition. The invasion of Iraq has been a disaster for the United States, for the Middle East, and for the long-suffering people of Iraq, but for many of us, it was a cash cow. For a decade, I earned a solid middle-class living working just four months a year as a news cameraman in Iraq. The war on terror bought me my house.

    Thousands of Americans (perhaps not coincidentally mostly from red states) worked as contractors for the U.S. military and pulled down salaries much higher than they would have earned in the private sector back home. A truck driver from Mississippi made over $100,000 a year hauling in supplies from Kuwait. It is shocking how little of the money America spent in that misbegotten conflict ever trickled into the Iraqi economy.

    #objectif #guerres #Etats-Unis


  • “National security” cited as reason Al Jazeera nixed Israel lobby film | The Electronic Intifada
    https://electronicintifada.net/content/national-security-cited-reason-al-jazeera-nixed-israel-lobby-film/24566

    Al Jazeera’s investigative documentary into the US Israel lobby was censored by Qatar over “national security” fears, The Electronic Intifada has learned.

    These include that broadcast of the film could add to pressure for the US to pull its massive Al Udeid air base out of the Gulf state, or make a Saudi military invasion more likely.

    A source has confirmed that broadcast of The Lobby – USA was indefinitely delayed as “a matter of national security” for Qatar. The source has been briefed by a high-level individual in Doha.

    One of the Israel lobby groups whose activities are revealed in the film has been mounting a campaign to convince the US to withdraw its military forces from Qatar – which leaders in the emirate would see as a major blow to their security.

    The tiny gas-rich monarchy houses and funds satellite channel Al Jazeera.

    In April, managers at the channel were forced to deny a claim by a right-wing American Zionist group that the program has been canceled altogether.

    In October 2017, the head of Al Jazeera’s investigative unit promised that the film would be aired “very soon.”

    Yet eight months later, it has yet to see the light of day.

    In March, The Electronic Intifada exclusively published the first concrete details of what is in the film.

    The film reportedly identifies a number of lobby groups as working directly with Israel to spy on American citizens using sophisticated data gathering techniques. The documentary is also said to cast light on covert efforts to smear and intimidate Americans seen as too critical of Israel.

    Some of the activity revealed in the film could include US organizations acting as front operations for Israel without registering as agents of a foreign state as required by US law.

    The latest revelation over the censored film shows how seriously Qatar’s leadership is taking threats of repercussions should it air.

    Threats
    The Israel lobby groups reported on in the film could be expected to take legal action against Al Jazeera if it is broadcast.

    However, such threats alone would be unlikely to deter Al Jazeera from broadcasting the film.

    The network has a history of vigorously defending its work and it was completely vindicated over complaints about a documentary aired in January 2017 that revealed how Israel lobby groups in Britain collude with the Israeli embassy, and how the embassy interfered in British politics.

    Israel’s supporters are also pushing for the US Congress to force the network, which has a large US operation, to register as a “foreign agent” in a similar fashion to Russian channel RT.

    But the high-level individual in Doha’s claim that the film is being censored as “a matter of national security” ties the affair to even more serious threats to Qatar and bolsters the conclusion that the censorship is being ordered at the highest level of the state.

    A year ago, with the support of US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a transport and economic blockade on the country.

    Saudi rulers and their allies see Qatar as too independent of their influence and too open to relations with their regional rival Iran, and the blockade was an attempt to force it to heel.

    The Saudis and Israel accused Qatar of funding “terrorism,” and have taken measures to restrict Al Jazeera or demanded it be shut down altogether over what they perceive as the channel’s anti-Israel and anti-Saudi-monarchy biases.

    The blockade and the diplomatic assault sparked existential fears in Qatar that Saudi-led forces could go as far as to invade and install a more pliant regime in Doha.

    French newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday that the Saudi king has threatened “military action” against Qatar should it go ahead with a planned purchase of a Russian air defense missile system.

    In 2011, Saudi and Emirati forces intervened in Bahrain, another small Gulf nation, at the request of its ruling Khalifa monarchy in order to quell a popular uprising demanding democratic reforms.

    For three years, US and British-backed Saudi and Emirati forces have been waging a bloody and devastating war on Yemen to reimpose a Saudi-backed leadership on the country, clear evidence of their unprecedented readiness to directly use military force to impose their will.

    And no one in the region will have forgotten how quickly Iraqi forces were able to sweep in and take over Kuwait in August 1990.

    Air base
    The lesson of the Kuwait invasion for other small Gulf countries is that only the protection of the United States could guarantee their security from bigger neighbors.

    Qatar implemented that lesson by hosting the largest US military facility in the region, the massive Al Udeid air base.

    The Saudi-led bloc has pushed for the US to withdraw from the base and the Saudi foreign minister predicted that should the Americans pull out of Al Udeid, the regime in Doha would fall “in less than a week.”

    US warplanes operate from the Al Udeid air base near Doha, Qatar, October 2017. US Air Force Photo
    It would be a disaster from the perspective of Doha if the Israel lobby was to put its full weight behind a campaign to pull US forces out of Qatar.

    Earlier this year, an influential member of Congress and a former US defense secretary publicly discussed moving the US base out of Qatar at a conference hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

    FDD is a neoconservative Israel lobby group that happens to be one of the subjects of the undercover Al Jazeera film.

    As The Electronic Intifada revealed in March, FDD is one of the groups acting as an agent of the Israeli government even though it is not registered to do so.

    In July 2017, FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer testified to Congress that it would be an “insane arrangement” to keep US forces at the Al Udeid air base while Qatar continued to support “terror.”

    It will concentrate minds in Doha that FDD was one of the lobby groups most dedicated to destroying the international deal with Iran over its nuclear energy program, a goal effectively achieved when the Trump administration pulled out of it last month.

    In a sign of how vulnerable Qatar feels over the issue, Doha has announced plans to upgrade the Al Udeid base in the hope, as the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes put it, “that the strategic military hub will be counted as one of the Pentagon’s permanent overseas installations.”

    The final straw?
    The cornerstone of Qatar’s effort to win back favor in Washington has been to aggressively compete with its Gulf rivals for the affections of Israel and its Washington lobby.

    Their belief appears to be that this lobby is so influential that winning its support can result in favorable changes to US policy.

    Qatar’s charm offensive has included junkets to Doha for such high-profile Israel supporters as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Morton Klein, the head of the Zionist Organization of America who publicly took credit for convincing Qatar’s ruler Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to veto broadcast of the documentary.

    While an all-out Saudi invasion of Qatar over a film series may seem far fetched, the thinking in Doha seems to be that broadcast of The Lobby – USA could be the final straw that antagonizes Qatar’s enemies and exposes it to further danger – especially over Al Udeid.

    With an administration in Washington that is seen as impulsive and unpredictable – it has just launched a trade war against its biggest partners Canada and the European Union – leaders in Doha may see it as foolhardy to take any chances.

    If that is the reason Al Jazeera’s film has been suppressed it is not so much a measure of any real and imminent threat Qatar faces, but rather of how successfully the lobby has convinced Arab rulers, including in Doha, that their well-being and longevity rests on cooperating with, or at least not crossing, Israel and its backers.

    Asa Winstanley is associate editor and Ali Abunimah is executive director of The Electronic Intifada.

    Qatar Al Jazeera The Lobby—USA Al Udeid air base Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Donald Trump Jared Kushner Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Bahrain Iran Kuwait Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Jonathan Schanzer Morton Klein Alan Dershowitz Zionist Organization of America

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  • The Gulf Impasse’s One Year Anniversary & the Changing Regional Dynamics – Gulf International Forum

    Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Ph.D., Fellow for the Middle East, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

    http://gulfif.com/the-gulf-impasse

    A year has passed since the Qatar News Agency was hacked and implanted with ‘fake news’. Ten days later this hacking was followed by the diplomatic and economic embargo of Qatar by four regional states – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt. The element of surprise strategy applied by the Quartet was intended to shock the Qatari government into acceding to their demands. Now, one year later this approach is misplaced as Qatar proved more resilient than anticipated. Rather than isolating Qatar regionally and internationally, the crisis has widened the cracks in the Gulf into a chasm and has generated unintended consequences that risk inflicting generational damage on its political and social fabric. As with the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990, the blockade of Qatar is an era-rupturing event that will reverberate through the regional politics and international relations of the Gulf for years to come.

    Evolving Threat Perceptions
    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was formed in 1981 largely in response to regional security threats triggered by the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War in 1980. The six states that came together in Abu Dhabi to form the GCC often differed in their foreign policy outlook. The five smallest Gulf States shared varying degrees of wariness toward Saudi Arabia, reflecting in part a history of border disputes. For example, Kuwait was put under Saudi blockade in the 1920s and 1930s, Oman and Abu Dhabi had territorial disputes with Saudi Arabia from the 1950s to the 1970s, and as recently as 1992 and 1993 skirmishes occurred on the Saudi-Qatari border. Simmering unease in smaller Gulf capitals at the prospect of Saudi domination of GCC structures hampered attempts to construct collective military and security policies such as the Peninsula Shield Force or a common internal security agreement.

    And yet, throughout the three major wars in the Gulf – the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), the Gulf War (1991), and the war and subsequent US-led occupation of Iraq (2003-11), the GCC remained a bastion of relative stability in a region gripped by conflict and insecurity. During this tumultuous period, all six GCC states retained a common threat perception enabling them to overcome instances of intra-GCC friction, such as Saudi and Emirati attempts to reverse the 1995 succession of Qatar’s Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani or the Emirati walkout from the planned GCC monetary union in 2010 after Riyadh was chosen over Abu Dhabi as the site of the prospective GCC central bank. Indeed, GCC states have always worked best together in the face of external threats that draw together the six ruling families’ common interest in political survival – evidenced by the decision in 2011 to revive and dispatch the Peninsula Shield Force to Bahrain to assist in the restoration of order and the creation of a $10 billion GCC fund to assist Bahrain and Oman in the wake of Arab Spring unrest.


  • Death penalties by country 2017 - MapPorn

    https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/8btmo7/death_penalties_by_country_2017_1280x905

    Because of population differences, this is pretty misleading. The rate per 100,000,000 people would tell you more:

    Iran>634

    Saudi Arabia=456

    Iraq> 336

    Bahrain=207

    Somalia=162

    Kuwait= 175

    Jordan=160

    Singapore=143

    Palestine=132

    China>72

    Egypt>37

    South Sudan=33

    Pakistan>31

    Belarus>21

    Afghanistan=15

    Malaysia>12

    UAE=10

    USA=7

    Yemen=7

    Bangladesh=4

    Japan=3

    North Korea/Vietnam=???

    #droits_humains #peine_de-mort #cartographie #visualisation #sémiologie


  • Iran risks losing clout in Iraq by arresting Shiite cleric Shirazi
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/03/shirazi-shiite-iran-iraq-vilayate-faqih.html

    Protests also took place in Kuwait and other Arab countries. During a demonstration in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kuwait City, Sheikh Yussef Mulla Hadi, a leader in the Shirazi movement in the country, described the Iranian regime as a dictatorship masquerading under the banner of velayet-e faqih (clerical rule) and demanded that Shiites around the world renounce it.

    Sadeq Shirazi’s older brother, Mohammad, was among the founders of the principle of velayet-e faqih, but the family believes Khamenei and Islamic Republic founder Khomeini have corrupted the concept. Mohammad Shirazi, who died in 2001, had called for establishing a velayet-e faqih, or council of jurists, but Khomeini advocated that ultimate authority be held by an individual.

    Differences in interpretations appear to be leading to a Shirazi rejection of the concept of velayet-e faqih altogether. Hussein Shirazi now says velayet-e faqih, as implemented by Iran, enslaves the citizenry and contradicts the principles of freedom, equality and democracy

    Mohammad Shirazi, who led the Shirazi movement, established his religious authority in Karbala during the 1960s and 1970s, until moving to Iran and settling in Qom in 1979. In the early 1970s, he founded the Islamic Action Organization, which supported liberation movements in the Islamic world, including that of the Palestinians. There also was a third brother, Hassan Shirazi, who was assassinated in Lebanon in 1980 because of his activities on behalf of the Shirazi movement.

    Explication, entre autres choses, de ce curieux drapeau shirazi apparu lors de l’attaque contre l’ambassade iranienne à Londres.

    #shirazi #iran #chiisme



  • Egypt Analysis : How Sisi has been sidelining his opponents

    | MadaMasr
    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/02/10/feature/politics/analysis-how-sisi-has-been-sidelining-his-opponents

    “Angry” was the way many described President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s improvised speech during the inauguration ceremony of the Zohr natural gas field on January 31.

    The president declared that the only way Egypt’s national security could be compromised was over his “dead body” and the “dead body of the military.”

    But who exactly the president is angry at is not clear. Sisi did not specify whether he was addressing opposition leaders — many of whom have called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections — or individuals within state institutions who have antagonized him as of late.

    The speech follows a series of high-level shuffles within the security apparatus, with Sisi unexpectedly dismissing Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy in October of last year. According to a family friend, Hegazy had been under house arrest until December 16, when he appeared at a small event held to honor him — which the president attended — and where the dismissed official was permitted limited movement under strict surveillance.

    In January of this year, Sisi also dismissed Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service (GIS). Fawzy’s movement has also been restricted, according to a source close to his family. He was removed from his post after calls were allegedly leaked in which a man who appears to be affiliated with Military Intelligence speaks to media talk show hosts and celebrities and instructs them to appear understanding of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The man is also heard condemning Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for political stances that Cairo is not pleased with, especially with the rapprochement between Kuwait and Qatar and the fear of a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood. The leaks have yet to be independently verified.

    According to a Foreign Ministry source and to a European diplomat who has recently visited both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the leaked calls have made officials from both countries unhappy, and compelled the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to release a statement of apology to Kuwait and take unannounced measures to placate Saudi Arabia.


  • American fast food took over Kuwait and made its people obese – VICE News
    https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/bj5z3q/american-fast-food-took-over-kuwait-and-made-its-people-obese

    As consumers in the U.S. become more health-conscious, fast-food sales are plateauing, but in Kuwait they’re only going up. And as a result, it has become one of the most obese countries on the planet.

    #Etats-Unis #Koweit #complexés #obésité


  • Slavoj Žižek · The Non-Existence of Norway · LRB 9 September 2015

    https://www.lrb.co.uk/2015/09/09/slavoj-zizek/the-non-existence-of-norway

    The Non-Existence of Norway

    Slavoj Žižek on the refugee crisis

    The flow of refugees from Africa and the Middle East into Western Europe has provoked a set of reactions strikingly similar to those we display on learning we have a terminal illness, according to the schema described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her classic study On Death and Dying. First there is denial: ‘It’s not so serious, let’s just ignore it’ (we don’t hear much of this any longer). Then there is anger – how can this happen to me? – which explodes when denial is no longer plausible: ‘Refugees are a threat to our way of life; Muslim fundamentalists are hiding among them; they have to be stopped!’ There is bargaining: ‘OK, let’s decide on quotas; let them have refugee camps in their own countries.’ There is depression: ‘We are lost, Europe is turning into Europastan!’ What we haven’t yet seen is Kübler-Ross’s fifth stage, acceptance, which in this case would involve the drawing up of an all-European plan to deal with the refugees.

    What should be done? Public opinion is sharply divided. Left liberals express their outrage that Europe is allowing thousands to drown in the Mediterranean: Europe, they say, should show solidarity and throw open its doors. Anti-immigrant populists say we need to protect our way of life: foreigners should solve their own problems. Both solutions sound bad, but which is worse? To paraphrase Stalin, they are both worse. The greatest hypocrites are those who call for open borders. They know very well this will never happen: it would instantly trigger a populist revolt in Europe. They play the beautiful soul, superior to the corrupted world while continuing to get along in it. The anti-immigrant populist also knows very well that, left to themselves, people in Africa and the Middle East will not succeed in solving their own problems and changing their societies. Why not? Because we in Western Europe are preventing them from doing so. It was Western intervention in Libya that threw the country into chaos. It was the US attack on Iraq that created the conditions for the rise of Islamic State. The ongoing civil war in the Central African Republic between the Christian south and the Muslim north is not just an explosion of ethnic hatred, it was triggered by the discovery of oil in the north: France and China are fighting for the control of resources through their proxies. It was a global hunger for minerals, including coltan, cobalt, diamonds and copper, that abetted the ‘warlordism’ in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    If we really want to stem the flow of refugees, then, it is crucial to recognise that most of them come from ‘failed states’, where public authority is more or less inoperative: Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, DRC and so on. This disintegration of state power is not a local phenomenon but a result of international politics and the global economic system, in some cases – like Libya and Iraq – a direct outcome of Western intervention. (One should also note that the ‘failed states’ of the Middle East were condemned to failure by the boundaries drawn up during the First World War by Britain and France.)

    It has not escaped notice that the wealthiest countries in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates, Qatar) have been much less open to refugees than the not so rich (Turkey, Egypt, Iran etc). Saudi Arabia has even returned ‘Muslim’ refugees to Somalia. Is this because Saudi Arabia is a fundamentalist theocracy which cannot tolerate foreign intruders? Yes, but Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil revenues makes it a fully integrated economic partner of the West. There should be serious international pressure on Saudi Arabia (and Kuwait and Qatar and the Emirates) to accept a large contingent of the refugees, especially since, by supporting the anti-Assad rebels, the Saudis bear a measure of responsibility for the current situation in Syria.

    New forms of slavery are the hallmark of these wealthy countries: millions of immigrant workers on the Arabian peninsula are deprived of elementary civil rights and freedoms; in Asia, millions of workers live in sweatshops organised like concentration camps. But there are examples closer to home. On 1 December 2013 a Chinese-owned clothing factory in Prato, near Florence, burned down, killing seven workers trapped in an improvised cardboard dormitory. ‘No one can say they are surprised at this,’ Roberto Pistonina, a local trade unionist, remarked, ‘because everyone has known for years that, in the area between Florence and Prato, hundreds if not thousands of people are living and working in conditions of near slavery.’ There are more than four thousand Chinese-owned businesses in Prato, and thousands of Chinese immigrants are believed to be living in the city illegally, working as many as 16 hours a day for a network of workshops and wholesalers.

    The new slavery is not confined to the suburbs of Shanghai, or Dubai, or Qatar. It is in our midst; we just don’t see it, or pretend not to see it. Sweated labour is a structural necessity of today’s global capitalism. Many of the refugees entering Europe will become part of its growing precarious workforce, in many cases at the expense of local workers, who react to the threat by joining the latest wave of anti-immigrant populism.

    In escaping their war-torn homelands, the refugees are possessed by a dream. Refugees arriving in southern Italy do not want to stay there: many of them are trying to get to Scandinavia. The thousands of migrants in Calais are not satisfied with France: they are ready to risk their lives to enter the UK. Tens of thousands of refugees in Balkan countries are desperate to get to Germany. They assert their dreams as their unconditional right, and demand from the European authorities not only proper food and medical care but also transportation to the destination of their choice. There is something enigmatically utopian in this demand: as if it were the duty of Europe to realise their dreams – dreams which, incidentally, are out of reach of most Europeans (surely a good number of Southern and Eastern Europeans would prefer to live in Norway too?). It is precisely when people find themselves in poverty, distress and danger – when we’d expect them to settle for a minimum of safety and wellbeing – that their utopianism becomes most intransigent. But the hard truth to be faced by the refugees is that ‘there is no Norway,’ even in Norway.

    We must abandon the notion that it is inherently racist or proto-fascist for host populations to talk of protecting their ‘way of life’. If we don’t, the way will be clear for the forward march of anti-immigration sentiment in Europe whose latest manifestation is in Sweden, where according to the latest polling the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats have overtaken the Social Democrats as the country’s most popular party. The standard left-liberal line on this is an arrogant moralism: the moment we give any credence to the idea of ‘protecting our way of life’, we compromise our position, since we’re merely proposing a more modest version of what anti-immigrant populists openly advocate. And this is indeed the cautious approach that centrist parties have adopted in recent years. They reject the open racism of anti-immigrant populists, but at the same time profess that they ‘understand the concerns’ of ordinary people, and so enact a more ‘rational’ anti-immigration policy.

    We should nevertheless reject the left-liberal attitude. The complaints that moralise the situation – ‘Europe is indifferent to the suffering of others’ etc – are merely the obverse of anti-immigrant brutality. They share the presupposition, which is in no way self-evident, that the defence of one’s own way of life is incompatible with ethical universalism. We should avoid getting trapped in the liberal self-interrogation, ‘How much tolerance can we afford?’ Should we tolerate migrants who prevent their children going to state schools; who force their women to dress and behave in a certain way; who arrange their children’s marriages; who discriminate against homosexuals? We can never be tolerant enough, or we are always already too tolerant. The only way to break this deadlock is to move beyond mere tolerance: we should offer others not just our respect, but the prospect of joining them in a common struggle, since our problems today are problems we share.

    Refugees are the price we pay for a globalised economy in which commodities – but not people – are permitted to circulate freely. The idea of porous borders, of being inundated by foreigners, is immanent to global capitalism. The migrations in Europe are not unique. In South Africa, more than a million refugees from neighbouring states came under attack in April from the local poor for stealing their jobs. There will be more of these stories, caused not only by armed conflict but also by economic crises, natural disasters, climate change and so on. There was a moment, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, when the Japanese authorities were preparing to evacuate the entire Tokyo area – more than twenty million people. If that had happened, where would they have gone? Should they have been given a piece of land to develop in Japan, or been dispersed around the world? What if climate change makes northern Siberia more habitable and appropriate for agriculture, while large parts of sub-Saharan Africa become too dry to support a large population? How will the redistribution of people be organised? When events of this kind happened in the past, the social transformations were wild and spontaneous, accompanied by violence and destruction.

    Humankind should get ready to live in a more ‘plastic’ and nomadic way. One thing is clear: national sovereignty will have to be radically redefined and new methods of global co-operation and decision-making devised. First, in the present moment, Europe must reassert its commitment to provide for the dignified treatment of the refugees. There should be no compromise here: large migrations are our future, and the only alternative to such a commitment is renewed barbarism (what some call a ‘clash of civilisations’).

    Second, as a necessary consequence of this commitment, Europe should impose clear rules and regulations. Control of the stream of refugees should be enforced through an administrative network encompassing all of the members of the European Union (to prevent local barbarisms like those of the authorities in Hungary or Slovakia). Refugees should be assured of their safety, but it should also be made clear to them that they must accept the destination allocated to them by European authorities, and that they will have to respect the laws and social norms of European states: no tolerance of religious, sexist or ethnic violence; no right to impose on others one’s own religion or way of life; respect for every individual’s freedom to abandon his or her communal customs, etc. If a woman chooses to cover her face, her choice must be respected; if she chooses not to cover her face, her freedom not to do so must be guaranteed. Such rules privilege the Western European way of life, but that is the price to be paid for European hospitality. These rules should be clearly stated and enforced, by repressive measures – against foreign fundamentalists as well as against our own racists – where necessary.

    Third, a new kind of international military and economic intervention will have to be invented – a kind of intervention that avoids the neocolonial traps of the recent past. The cases of Iraq, Syria and Libya demonstrate how the wrong sort of intervention (in Iraq and Libya) as well as non-intervention (in Syria, where, beneath the appearance of non-intervention, external powers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia are deeply involved) end up in the same deadlock.

    Fourth, most important and most difficult of all, there is a need for radical economic change which would abolish the conditions that create refugees. Without a transformation in the workings of global capitalism, non-European refugees will soon be joined by migrants from Greece and other countries within the Union. When I was young, such an organised attempt at regulation was called communism. Maybe we should reinvent it. Maybe this is, in the long term, the only solution.

    #norvège #réfugiés #asile


  • The UAE’s ’alternative GCC’

    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/12/uae-kuwait-alternative-gcc-gulf-qatar-crisis.html

    In a move that certain observers saw as an effort to undermine the Kuwaiti emir, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced a new partnership with Saudi Arabia. The announcement came only hours before the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait on Dec. 4, which fell apart after two hours and was only attended by two council members’ heads of state: the Kuwaiti and Qatari monarchs. The summit will be remembered as the worst GCC summit to date. In addition, the Kuwaiti efforts to mediate the six-month-old Qatar crisis have thus far proven futile.

    This new UAE-Saudi partnership represents an alternative to the GCC while the Qatar crisis continues. Yet it is premature to conclude that it intends to be a substitute for the subregional organization founded by six Arabian Peninsula monarchies in 1981. Regardless, the UAE-Saudi partnership’s purpose is to achieve between these two nations essentially what the GCC was intended to accomplish among all six of the GCC members: enhance transnational cooperation in the areas of military, economics, culture and politics.


  • Proxies Aside; A closer look at the war in Yemen
    http://www.warscapes.com/conversations/proxies-aside-closer-look-war-yemen

    The Saudi-led coalition pummeling Yemen has announced that its campaign is in the final stages - preparing to declare “victory,” some sources report - with the country in shambles and none of the issues driving the war resolved. The devastating civil war is playing out in one of the most internally complex nations in the Middle East, Yemen’s intricate mix of tribes, religious sects and decades-deep power struggles driving a conflict intensified by the outside intervention of regional rivals. The Saudi-led air military coalition, “Operation Decisive Storm,” has introduced some 100 warplanes and 100 thousand troops into the already volatile mix, with Egypt, Morroco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and now even Colombia making war in one of the poorest, yet most culturally rich, countries in the region as they combat the Houthi movement, which has received some degree of support from Iran. Airstrikes have killed more than 1,100 people, the majority civlians, and devastated Yemen’s already tenuous infrastucture, while at least one in four Yemenis was in need of humanitarian assistance even before Cyclone Chapala slammed Yemen’s southern coast on November 4, adding thousands of fleeing coastal residents to the already nearly 1.5 million Yemenis internally displaced by the war.

    Yet, for all the outside intervention, this is not a proxy war, according to leading Yemeni scholar and conflict specialist Nadwa Al-Dawsari. The founder of Partners Yemen, the local affiliate center of Partners for Democratic Change International, Al-Dawsari’s work has taken her deep into Yemen’s tribal areas. Warscapes turns to her to better understand the deeper forces driving the seemingly hopeless conflict.

    Michael Bronner: Thanks again for doing this. Can you tell me a little bit about your area of expertise as we get started?

    Nadwa Dawsari: My main expertise is in the area of conflict and local security, mainly in tribal areas in Yemen. I have worked extensively with civil society and created a civil society organization in 2009. I have done research and field assessments on areas related to local security and justice, both formal and informal, and the relationships between the formal and informal justice and security mechanisms. I’ve written articles and reports on tribes, tribal conflicts, security and justice, al-Qaeda, tribes and al-Qaeda, tribes and the Houthis, political issues in Yemen. My work on the ground involves spending a lot of time building relationships with locals.