Eight years ago America elected its first Black President – or did they?

Certainly Barack Obama’s Father was a black African, but his Mother was a white American, and his Father left when Barack was 2 years old and had nothing to do with raising his son from then on. And Barack was raised and educated by his Mother and his white Grandmother. So he was not really even half-Black. So there is the (less-than) half truth.

His presidency hasn’t been bad, and it hasn’t been too good either. He failed to make any break through in the chaos that is the Middle East – and his lack of action in Syria left a vacuum that allowed Russia to re-establish itself as a major player. And then just a few weeks ago he signed a US$38 Billion aid package for Israel that will enable them to continue to terrorize the Palestinians (and the Lebanese, and probably the Jordanians?)

BUT,

Out of a clear blue sky (Obama was on holiday in Hawaii) he allowed the USA to abstain, for the very first time, in a UN Security Council vote censuring Israel (for building illegal settlements on the West Bank) – and he allowed John Kerry to make a sharply critical speech of Israel on the same subject. At last truth seeped into the half truth – even if in truth Obama had nothing to lose. He was not up for re-election, and the Democrats had lost the White House anyway.

The existence of Israel, and its cynical lip-service to the 2 State solution, is at the heart of instability and chaos in the Middle East. The Israelis have every intention of annexing the West Bank, and having achieved that they will launch attacks against Jordan on the grounds of “security” because of course the Palestinians will launch counter-attacks from Jordan (there are more exiled Palestinians in Jordan then there are Jordanians). The Israelis will never be satisfied until they own the whole of the Middle East and its Holy sites and valuable oilfields.

The solution is simple. America is the enabler of Israeli terrorism and it should withhold its US$38 Billion aid package until Israel conforms with the UN Resolutions that are in place. There is a precedent. The 25 years of “The Troubles” with the IRA in Northern Island were brought to an abrupt end when the America found the guts – and political will – to denounce the IRA as a terrorist organization, and make it illegal to send them funds.

If you want insights into the present chaos and confusion in the Middle East, from Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration to Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of fundamental Islam leading to the events of 9/11, read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in The Gulf.

It is written from the points of view of those sources, archetypal expatriates who washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf. They were victims of power-mad politicians’ proxy wars,(The Buraimi Oasis, the Dhofar Campaign, the Viet Nam War), greedy finance house excesses (IOS, BCCI, Lonrho, Lloyds of London etc.) – and in some cases just victims of Madame Bovary style Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites:

www.amazon.com

www.amazon.co.uk

and read the five comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Second time Farce

The Chilcott report has confirmed what most of us suspected – that Bush and Blair were determined to go to war, and “sexed up” dubious intelligence to justify it. I hope that Dr. David Kelly’s widow gets millions in compensation – of course the relatives of the military personnel who died or were wounded, are not far behind.

Blair’s repeated assertion “I did not lie” is on a par (although much more serious) with his mate Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman”. Blair is either the biggest liar that ever existed – or his lying is pathological, and he is unable to distinguish lies from truth. And his assertion that the Middle East is better for his getting rid of Saddam is denial of the highest order. He needs to be sectioned and given electric shock treatment at a very high voltage. Or maybe he should just be “water-boarded”.

But Blair is not only a liar – he is also incompetent. Chilcott points out that the UK had no coherent plan for reorganising Iraq after the war was won. And the same goes for the Americans. If you want to put flesh on the bones of the Chilcott report then read Rory Stewart’s OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS (he was a British interim regional governor in Iraq after the war), and Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY. He reports on the delusional triumphalism of State Department Yahoos inside the safety of the Green Zone, while they carefully ignore the chaos and danger outside the walls.

But why be surprised? The Middle East is littered with the delusions of Western politicians causing chaos, and the death and maiming of innocents. The Great Game; Britain’s disastrous forays into Afghanistan; Sykes/Picot; the Balfour Declaration; Suez; the Shah of Iran; the Iran/Iraq war when we backed Saddam – and the First Gulf War.

There was some moral basis for that war – after Saddam invaded Kuwait. But there is strong evidence that the US State Department gave Saddam the green light to invade – and evidence that they wildly exaggerated (sexed up) the strength of Saddam’s Imperial Guard giving them the excuse to massacre hundreds of Iraqi conscripts and civilians (including women and children) as they streamed out of Kuwait towards Baghdad along the “Mile of Death”.

Read the story ‘IF YOU DON’T, SOMEONE ELSE WILL’ in my book THE GULF  “Reaping the Whirlwind”. Very little of that story is fiction. I met the US Colonel who was responsible for re-supplying Desert Storm – and I was working for ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia during that war responsible for jet fuel quality. My description of the helicopter Forward Operating Base is from personal experience. And my description of the sickening massacre along the “Mile of Death” comes from TV footage shown in Saudi Arabia – and the reports of one of the few journalists allowed in.

The tag line for my book reads “It’s all about oil…” but that really only applies to the 20th century. The Middle East is the cradle of our civilization, and the crossroads of our world – and has always been the scene of conflict. Mesopotamia, The Fertile Crescent, The Silk Road, the Ur of Chaldea, the birth of monotheastic religions, Jerusalem and the rise of Islam and the bloody Christian Crusades. And I am quite sure that those atavistic struggles have always been littered with the lies and incompetence of vainglorious and narcissitic politicans. History repeats itself – first time tragedy – second time farce.

If you want authentic insights into the chaos in the Middle East from 1960 to the events of 9/11, 2001 then read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. Based on 40 years working in the international oil industry it is a collection of stories about expatriates washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Flotsam and jetsam trying to survive in a rapidly changing and frequently violent world. You can preview it at:

www.amazon.com

or

www.amazon.co.uk

and download it if you have a Kindle. Or if you prefer a real book order the paperback direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Rule Britannia?

The British referendum that has sent shock waves through the EU, and the rest of the World, is being seen through the lens of being bad for Britain. But the realization is sinking in that it is at least as bad – if not worse – for the EU.

As the second largest economy in Europe, Britain contributed more than Euros 20 Billion annually to the EU budget, so who is going to pick up that tab? And their balance of trade was more than Euros 100 Billion in deficit (i.e. the EU made that in profit from British trade). And what about the 3 million Poles, and God knows how many other East Europeans, currently employed in the UK – and drawing family benefits to send home?

And if the more than 500,000 expatriate Brits living in Spain and France decide to leave and dump their houses on an already depressed real estate sector, what effect will that have? And what if Brits decide to forgoe holidays in France and Spain in favour of the USA and Dubai?

And what if fleet of foot Britain – not hidebound by 26 other partners and their vested self interests – does rapidly conclude trade deals with the USA (and China and Russia???) and their former colonies? And what if the British banking sector, again not hidebound by EU bureaucracy, gets even bigger inflows of money?

President Obama, and Secretary John Kerry, have already backflipped and said that of course there is a special relationship with Britain and there will be a trade deal. Why? Because the USA needs Britain firmly in NATO. They are the second largest military force, and almost always back the USA (unlike the bloody French).

I am pro-Europe. I lived in France for a year, and Spain for 23 very happy years. But like the majority of Brits I am sick and tired of unelected Brussels commissioners meddling, and trying to micro-manage Europe – and alarmed that they have been plotting to create a superstate where all 27 members will be subjugated to their rule. Britain is the home of Magna Carta – and Common Law that always has to pass the test of reasonableness – and not the dictates of Napoleonic Civil Code.

The French invented the EU, and congratulations for that vision; but with arrogant intellectual vanity they have become Messianic. European Union is not a religion, Brussels is not the Vatican, and Jean-Claude Juncker is not a Pope issuing infallible dogma. Britain has done the World a favour by injecting a dose of pragmatism into what was becoming a dangerous situation. That which does not bend – breaks.

Analyse any revolution (including the French), and bloody and barbaric as they always are, you will see the cause is a ruling class detached from the wishes of the common people. And the common people, at least in Britain (and I suspect many other European countries) are sick and tired of being treated as cannon fodder having their lives destroyed by the dogmas of a high-minded elite who believe they have a Divine Right to Rule. And they are also tired of thieving, lying and corrupt politicians – and a compliant media – who allow this to happen.

Europe is in uproar, and the Middle East is even worse. And the cause was a ruling elite who thought they knew better. They blundered in and intervened – and lied and cheated because in their eyes the end justifies the means. Now look at the chaos and suffering they have caused. And ironically it is that conflict – and its flood of refugees, that has triggered the chaos in the EU.

If you want authentic insights into how the Middle East became such a mess then read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. You can preview it at:

www.amazon.com

or

www.amazon.co.uk

and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book order the paperback direct from my publisher

www.feedaread.com

Every Man in this Village is a Liar (Part 2)

In my last blog on Megan Stack’s brilliant book I said that I was at one with Megan’s views on the Middle East until I read her chapter on Saudi Arabia, where I lived and worked for 12 years. Her article is off-target. Not by a lot – but definitely off. And what if all her articles are a little off-target?

Maybe I consider her article off-target because I look at it through a male prism – and she looks at it through a female prism. Certainly females in Saudi Arabia are not afforded the privileges that Western females enjoy. They are not allowed to drive, and in public they are asked, but not forced, to be veiled. And increasingly, young women are not veiled, and even those who are throw the veil back in the shopping malls and supermarkets.

Male and female life is segregated, but there are Universities and Hospitals and professional career paths for women. Inside the ARAMCO complexes unveiled Saudi women are employed, not just as secretaries and waitresses, but as graphic artists, HR managers and engineers.

And if you think that the average Saudi woman is repressed here are two personal anecdotes.

I was asked to help a male graduate trainee to prepare an important Powerpoint presentation after office hours. About half an hour into overtime he had a call from his young wife who told him if he wasn’t home in an hour his dinner would go in the bin, and he would be locked out. He didn’t go home in time, and she carried out her threat.

I was in a meeting with a Saudi Engineering Superintendent discussing a £300 million project when the phone rang. What was obviously a female voice was screeching on the other end of the phone. When he put the phone down he said, sheepishly . . . “I have to go home, my wife has found a leak in the bathroom.” $300 million project abandoned while he went home and fixed the leak in the bathroom.

I don’t mean to trivialize the situation of females in Saudi Arabia – but when I compare Saudi women walking elegantly around the malls and supermarkets in stilleto heels, well cut black abayas, a chiffon scarf loosely around their heads, and an expensive bag slung casually on their shoulders, with Western women inside the compounds in thongs, ragged shorts that show the cheeks of their arses, and crop tops that show their underwear, I know which, as a man, I prefer.

If every man in this Western Global village is a liar, then so is every woman who dresses like a tart while insisting she is a lady.

The veiling of women is a tribal custom that is dying out, and is not a requirement of the Holy Q’ran. The Q’ran (and The Bible) merely say that women should go forth modestly. There is nothing modest about strident Western feminists demanding their rights while retaining their privileges.

As I said in my last article the West simply does not understand the people of the Middle East and their steadfast faith and deeply held beliefs. As a friend of mine said, “They write backwards, they read backwards – and they think backwards.” He probably meant it as an insult, but in his naivety he was highlighting Rudyard Kipling’s “East is East and West is West – and never the twain shall meet.”

For Western adultlescents (a.k.a. Charlie Hedbo) to mock their deeply held beliefs is insulting and insane. And for women to expose and flaunt themselves is just as insulting, and insane – and both forms of mockery invite retaliation.

If you want authentic insights into the Middle East then read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. You can preview it at:

www.amazon.com

or

www.amazon.co.uk

and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book order the paperback direct from my publisher

www.feedaread.com

Paris & Pandora’s Box

The tragic events that have just unfolded in Paris, and the rise and rise of ISIS, the perpetrators of the atrocities, are a consequence of The West’s foreign policy blundering in the Middle East driven by the desire to control and exploit the vast oil wealth of the region. And the invasion of Iraq, and toppling of Saddam Hussein, opened Pandora’s box in that volatile arena.

In Greek mythology when Pandora opened her box all the EVILS of the World flew out, leaving HOPE inside. How prophetic were the ancient Greeks!

Very briefly in the Arab Spring, HOPE did come out of the box – but was driven back by naïve US State Department tragics trumpeting the benefits of Freedom, and the free market (a.k.a. Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll), and even more naïve adultlescents (a la Charlie Hebdo and The Danes) who think that life is a twitter of LOLZ where you can mock people’s deeply felt beliefs and customs without any thought of the consequences.

When will we learn that you cannot impose a liberal, free thinking, sceptical and decadent Western society on deeply religious, tribal societies that are essentially feudal in their make-up? I have lived and worked in the Middle East for over 40 years, and I can assure you that the majority of Muslims are decent, deeply religious people who want to live a good and quiet life within their family. But the extremists in their midst have learned their lessons well. Terrorism pays dividends.

The main cause of The West’s conflict with Islam in The Middle East is their unconditional support for the State of Israel – a state founded on the back of Zionist terrorism (IRGUN and the STERN Gang, the bombing of the King David Hotel etc.). There is no hope of peace in the Middle East until the question of Israel is resolved to the satisfaction of The Arab nation. Even if ISIS is defeated another,and more extreme, movement will rise from the ashes, just as ISIS rose from Al-Qua’eda’s demise.

Pandora’s box is wide open and we will never force the lid back on.

If you want insights into the Middle East, and its harsh and apparently barbaric societies, and its corruption, from the perspective of 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

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

Using the ISBN number is 978-1908147097

(They offer free delivery worldwide)

or direct from my publisher

www.feedaread.com

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.