NYT - BEIRUT, Lebanon — Many Arab governments grumbled quietly in 2011 as the United States left Iraq, fearful it might fall deeper into chaos or Iranian influence. Now, the United States is back and getting a less than enthusiastic welcome, with leading allies like Egypt, Jordan and Turkey all finding ways on Thursday to avoid specific commitments to President Obama’s expanded military campaign against Sunni extremists.
For years, I have considered the Saudi Royals to be the world's turd in the punchbowl. In the early 1990's, while teaching at La Lumiere School in Indiana, young teachers who were unhappy with their low pay and long hours would scan the help wanted adds in the Independent Schools Magazine, published by NAIS and plunk inviting adds featuring "Great Pay and Adventure Teaching English in Saudi Royal Schools - Apply Now!" under my nose in the Main House during the three squares a day meals included in our contract agreement, as well as housing, insurance, great retirement benefits and a magnificent rural lakeside setting.
Hoary old Hickey ( late 30's and early '40's at the time) would offer, " Are you out of your @#$%ing Mind?"
Let's see one - This place is gorgeous and you'd want to go . . .to . . .this?"
There would follow litany of stuff I knew. Here's a few capital gems:
A range of offenses can doom a subject to execution, including murder, drug dealing, repeated drug use, armed robbery, rape and sexual misconduct like sodomy and adultery. Religious offenses, including sorcery, false prophecy, apostasy and blasphemy can and sometimes do bring death sentences, but are more often dealt with by lengthy or lifetime prison terms.My brother, a master carpenter, had been offered tax-sheltered work in Saudi Arabia and had done his due diligence. My Bro is a tee-totaller and devout Mass going Catholic. He gave the offer the back of his hand.
I explained this to the young academic bounders who repaired to what passed for dens of exotic adventure in Rolling Prairie, Hudson Lake, La Porte, Michigan City in Indiana and New Buffalo Michigan the nano second they were 'off duty.' at the school. They too drew sober wind at the thought of a year and change under Shariah Law.
You see, the Arabs loved too booze as much as the Amish, but they do did it on sneak after 1952. Here's why.
In recent years, Saudi-funded Islamicisation has had some notable triumphs – particularly when it comes to alcohol, which has always been near the top of the Wahhabi hit list, in spite of the fact that Saudis themselves often succumb to drunkenness, alcoholism, and, more recently, massive and widespread drug abuse. Alcohol was actually permitted in Saudi Arabia up until 1952. Two things happened that stopped the party. Firstly, one of King Abdullaziz's sons - Nasir - made an extended trip to America, and learnt to appreciate wine, women and song. Upon his return, the carousing continued with a series of orgies, famously involving men and women. The partying stopped abruptly one night, when the spirits consumed in vast amounts ended up killing seven, including women.
For this Nasir was beaten and imprisoned, but alcohol remained legal - the reveling Saudi elite really didn't want a dry state. The last straw was placed in the camel's back in 1952 when Nasir's brother Mishari – also a dissolute libertine – got himself so drunk that he went out and shot the British consul dead, also wounding his wife. The long-suffering King had had enough, and alcohol was banned. From that date onwards, the Saudi authorities made a virtue out of necessity and preached the evils of alcohol, gaining renewed support from the Wahhabi mullahs, whom the Saudi royal family used thenceforth as a highly effective thought police. Just as the later Talibans found, Desert Islam is not only a highly effective method of social and political control, but it legitimates exploitative and despotic administrative practices. Of course, the ruling elite carried on just as before with their ongoing alcohol-fueled orgies, rapes and paedophilia, but the official line was that alcohol was an evil. Saudi was on the wagon.
One of the first countries to be hit by Saudi double standards was Kuwait, which was severely strapped for cash in the 1960s. Their Saudi cousins offered to help, on condition that this small country – once a drinker's paradise – banned alcohol outright. The Kuwaitis accepted the money, shut down the bars and watched as mosque after mosque popped up, spouting jihad. This development was ironic considering that, barring the Saudis, the Kuwaitis were the most notorious drunks in the Arab world. Time magazine vividly captured the chaotic aftermath of the introduction of the ban:
A month ago the oil-rich sheikdom of Kuwait banned all liquor within its borders, and since then many of its thirsty citizens have been drinking everything in sight from perfume and eau de cologne to rubbing alcohol and Sterno — with predictably disastrous results. By last week, an estimated 150 Kuwaiti had died from alcohol poisoning, several hundred more had been blinded, and Kuwait's hospitals were filled to overflowing. Bathtub gin is flourishing, and bootlegging the real thing has become Kuwait's fastest growing business.
Moving on to the United Arab Emirates, the Emir of one of the Emirates was allegedly an alcoholic who eventually died of cirrhosis of the liver. Being quite the playboy, as most Arab leaders are, he gambled – a lot. So much, in fact, that he bankrupted the whole of his Emirate. Sheik Zayed, the founder and president of the United Arab Emirates, was a just and religious man who had paid off his neighbour's gambling debts one too many times. So, the incoming Emir of this particular Emirate, the son of the alcoholic, had one last resort – the Saudis. In 1985, Saudi money was handed over, again with strings. The Emirate became dry overnight and, again, the ferocious Imams turned up the heat from new, stark, mosques. The long-suffering inhabitants of the statelet now had to watch as their neighbour, Dubai, developed as a magnet for beer swilling, whoring tourists - particularly those from Saudi Arabia.
Women are also high up on the Desert Islam hit list, and the region has seen an increase in restrictive dress codes for women, and in segregation as a whole. If one looks at films during the Golden Age of Arab film making from the 1950s through to the mid 1970s, one sees women dressing flamboyantly in Western dress. They are also invariably uncovered – and not just their hair. Some were beautiful. Some were sexy and even lewd. Strangely, perhaps, drunk women were often used as a comic foil in these movies. They giggled. They flirted. They fell over. All very Carry On...
Booze and Babes are ag'in Shariah Law. In order to protect Royal Share, the Saudi Royals closed the bars and opened Mosques run by Wahabbi mullahs - the Jihadi Lads who will lop off a noggin, blow up an Israeli kindergarten and slaughter a whole mess of Kurds with a smile.
ISIL is merely bastard kids of the Saudi Royals it seems to me; therefore, why would Soul-patched Pops go all jihad on the bar-sinister spawn?
Not gonna happen. The only strike force the Saudi Royals will throw together will be a Nile Delta Hot-Tub Full of Jack Daniels Commandos and Royal Saudi Scotch Guzzlin Guard - Praise be the Prophet.