I TOLD YOU SO!

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died recently. But before he died a former US Ambassador to Riyadh took the opportunity to thank him for not saying “I told you so”.

While successive US governments pushed for (and violently forced) democracy and free market capitalism in THE GULF and the Middle East, (and now face the chaos of the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolutions) – the Saudis valued social stability and slow evolutionary change above everything else and have come through unscathed and stronger than ever.

Egypt is now a spent force only kept alive by billions of Saudi dollars; and Iraq and Syria are fragmented by bloody sectarian and tribal battles to the death. This leaves Saudi, with the support of the UAE, the dominant regional player representing Sunni Islam in opposition to Iran/Hezbollah as the aggressive proponent of Shia Islam. But Saudi Arabia and the UAE have more oil – and more money.

As I have always said the Middle East is all about oil – and the fabulous wealth it brings.

I hate to say “I told you so” – but I told you so in my plays and in my book of short stories based on 40 years experience in the oil patch in The Arabian and Persian Gulf.

My first play EXPATRIA written 20 years ago loosely based on my experiences in the Iranian oilfields had a background in the CIA’s deposing of the legitimate democratic government of Mossedeq and replacing him with the despicable and corrupt Shah and his cronies. And the story TRIBAL WEAVING in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” had a similar theme.

My second play THE GULF written 16 years ago and loosely based on my experiences in the Emirates of Qatar, Dubai and Sharjah concerned the rise of fundemantal Islam in response to America’s naïve? Cynical? Brute force and ignorant? exploitation of cheap oil from The Gulf. It ended with the beheading of an American. And this was long before the grisly beheading of Daniel Pearle and others.

I TOLD YOU SO!

Unfortunately, my plays never got produced – although THE GULF came close with a rehearsed reading at the Soho Theatre in London. But I think that they are important enough, and still contemporary enough to warrnt publication and I am trying to put together a Kindle edition.

In the meantime, if you want insights into The West’s relationship with the Middle East and its complexity from the perspective of the weird and wonderful oilfield trash, expatriate characters who washed up there in the oil patch from 1960 to 2001, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

The ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

Reaping the Whirlwind – a la Charlie

     I cannot think of a better example of reaping the whirlwind than the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. How any intelligent human being can think they can hurl juvenile insults that demean the sincerely held beliefs of any group – and not pay the consequences – is a tribute to the state of denial of adultlescent Western so-called civilization.

     If you want to understand the origins of Islamic fundamentalism read John Keay’s book SOWING THE WIND about the blundering foreign policies of France, Britain, and later the USA in the 20th Century: then google “Reaping the Whirlwind” a CNA Corporation research document about American foreign policy blunders in the Arabian/Persian Gulf in the 21st century and its likely consequences.

    All of the erudite, outraged and hypocritical articles passionately rushing to the defence of free speech ignore the elephant in the room – Israel (Balfour has a lot to answer for). The single largest cause of Islamic fundamentalism is the State of Israel and its brutal treatment of the Palestinians. And if you want to test the boundaries of free speech in The West try writing an article – or better yet publishing a cartoon – that insults or demeans Israel or the Jews.

    Last year here in Australia a columnist on The Sydney Morning Herald did just that – and was fired under pressure from the Jewish lobby. And in the ultimate irony, Charlie Hebdo fired one of their cartoonists for an article critical of Israel – and he received death threats from Zionists. Clearly free speech is a one way street at Charlie Hebdo (It might be interesting to try and trace the origins of their funding).

    As George Orwell once said . . . “There is no need for censorship. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy . . . a body of ideas that it is assumed all right thinking people will adopt.” And in The West that orthodoxy is anti-Islam and pro-Jewish.

    Unlike most of the so-called experts I have lived and worked most of my adult life in the Middle East, and worked for Jews. Western politicans simply do not understand the semitic races – Arab or Jew. As a down-to-earth blue collar friend remarked about Arabs, “They write backwards, they read backwards . . . and they think backwards.”

    In no way do I want to demean Arabs or Jews. I simply want to point out that East is East, and West is West. Their thought processes are different to ours, their belief systems are different to ours, and you will never succeed with them until you learn to deal with this. I was very successful in Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia by allowing them to be who they are, and not trying to ram Western ideals down their throats.

    If you want insights into The West’s relationship with the Middle East and its complexity from the perspective of the stories of the weird and wonderful expatriate characters who washed up there from 1960 to 2001, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

The ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.