Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Sheik of Araby, then and now -- and Beetlebaum

How many of you remember Rudolph Valentino in the great 1921 movie, The Sheik (of Araby)?

Well I'm the sheik of Araby
  Your love belongs to me
Well at night where you're asleep
Into your tent I'll creep
The stars that shine above
Will light our way to love
 Ah you'll rule the world with me
I'm the sheik of Araby

Ah, you'll rule the world with me!

You at least remember Lieutenant Colonel T. E. Lawrence, who lead an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks in 1916-18, and hoped to establish an independent Arab nation under Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashem. .

King Faisal as a young man; and his grandson

 . . . only to have his hopes crushed by the French and others.

Lawrence liked Arabs.

In fact, he liked Arabs very much.
Taken from a beautiful blog, 
a  1935  picture, 
Arab Boy with Desert Candles
By Herbert List, in the 
Hamburg and Munchner Stadtmuseum

There is good reason for his respect for Faisal
(to the left, behold Faisal) and others

He would, today, be called a Moderate Muslim.  He united Sunni and Shiite people under his rule, and was relatively tolerant of differences between Arabs and Persians.

Little did we know, in l921, how prophetic the words of The Sheik of Araby would become!

  •                                                     Gulf leaders attend the GCC summit in Riyadh

The alll-Arab Gulf Coast Cooperation Council has a lot of money.  It consists of six kings, sultans, potentates of oil-producing nations, clustered around the Persian (or, as the Saudis and U.S. Navy prefer to call it, the Arabian), Gulf.

The Tail that Wags the Dog of the World:

The GCCC has a lot of money.  I wonder how its wealth compares to, say, the Vatican's; the English Queen's; the Wall Street Malefactors of Great Wealth.  If you know, let us all know.

If you would see the potentates as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bid Rashid Al Maktoum of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. . .
dressed in their finery

. . .  would have you see them, look here.  It's pretty interesting and, in a modern world, decidedly odd.

The Arab Spring has barely touched the Gulf Kingdoms and Principalities. 

Yemen, which should be a member of the Council, isn't, because it's tribes think for themselves, in diverse ways.  
Bahrain -- the playground for the Saudi princes -- used its courts to sentence protesting leaders of opposition groups to death.  And to punish doctors who tended those its soldiers had shot in cold blood.protest  Our Sixth Fleet, stationed in Bahrain, did nothing to help.  The protest withered.  Kafka at his finest.
 There was about as much protest in Dubai as you would expect in Waikiki:  not enough to disturb a flea.  
In His Highness' Kingdom, the tyrannical Saudi Arabia, none dare lift a finger, for fear of loosing much more than a finger.
Oman -- the best of the lot [women can attend football games!] -- experienced a mild protest.  The Sultan of Oman promptly created one million new good-paying jobs and guaranteed a minimum living income -- mere pocket change but enough.  The protest faded quickly.    Traditional smuggling between Oman and Iran, which maintain good relations with tech other:

The Gulf nations are, nominally, our friends.  Except for Oman and South Yemen they should not be our friends.

The GCCC are rich beyond the wildest dreams of avarice.  Faisal's descendants are a poor rich lot, and, like theocratic dictatorships such as he Vatican tend to be, they are rigid, murderous, cruel, corrupt, and anti-democratic. 

According to, from Dubai, 
Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz's proposal at the Riyadh summit of the GCC leaders last week to move beyond cooperation to the ‘union' has the making of a major initiative in creating a new and lasting balance of power in the troubled macro-region to which the GCC states belong.
In short, they fear Iran; they fear Iraq's joining Iran; they fear the relative freedom of Egypt; and they fear the liberalism and religious toleration (relative) of  Turkey.  And of course they fear us, and China and Russia and their traditional enemies, England and France.  (They dislike environmentalists who, however, are not powerful enough to be feared.)  With all their wealth, hey live in fear.

Or so it seems to one on a small speck of land in the middle of he Pacific Ocean.

Too bad.  Will it ever be so?  Can we in the United States overcome our own Malefactors of Great Wealth and he Batons on the Supreme Court who so encourage their continued rule?  We'll see, won't we.

If, by the way, you would like to hear The Sheik of Araby performed by Spike Jones -- my favorite --

When we were young a wonderful new machine -- never before envisioned by us -- would play any music you had a record for, at any hour you selected.  We ,my brother and I, selected Rossini's William Tell Overture, as performed by Spike Jones.  It played each mooning at 6:00, to wake Daddy up of his work in the oil fields.  It played every day until he -- or we -- couldn't and it anymore.  Here it is:

And a good day to one and all!

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