Weekend Wars: Iraq vs. Egypt

It couldn't be Weekend Wars if we didn't take a week for a cease fire every now and then. It also couldn't be Weekend Wars if we didn't address actual tangible conflict every now and then. The recent ruckus in Egypt and the forthcoming Lucky #13 episode of NSFW motivate my desire to hear your thoughts on the subject at hand.

This week I want us to get macro. I want to hear your short, medium and long range views on the MENA region. The Middle East and North Africa have been a focus of the market oriented world for over half a century...yet we don't really talk about the region all that much.

Ever since the "7 Sisters" penetrated this market, financier's lives have never been the same. Along the same train of thought, I thoroughly recommend this article about the new seven sisters of the oil world for those who desire further info on the subject.

The Meat of the Matter



Though much talk centers around the emerging markets of Southeast Asia and the overall influence of the BRIC countries, our day-to-day reality is very much tied to MENA.

This is why I am curious as to your opinions on Iraq and Egypt, as microcosmic samples of where this region will or will not go.

We have had about five years since the brunt of the Iraqi conflict died down. There's certainly more than enough evidence to say that globalist fiscal influence in this part of the world will follow (or attempt to follow) the "Iraqi Model".

How do you guys see Egypt playing out in this regard? Is it doomed to an Iraq-like standstill? Will reformation sweep and bring change of business as usual standards?

Do you see MENA as a viable investment opportunity?

Do you see better days ahead for the region?

Or are you a pessimist like me and see peril instead of opportunity around each corner?

I'd like to get this moving as an Iraq/Egypt comparison but if you see something of note in any of the neighboring states, please feel free to point it out.

For my money, I think that the adventuresome investor will have the opportunity for huge returns in this area over the coming decade. That having been said, the high risk/high reward model tells us that many will lose their shirts.

Let's get creative here guys...human catapult suggestions are welcome!

How would you proceed in this area if you had let's say...a low eight-figure discretionary chunk at your disposal?

Would you stay away all-together?

Why or why not?

Comments (61)

Feb 6, 2011

I don't think we have the wherewithal to knock over a Mossadegh-style government anymore. We couldn't even grease Chavez in our own neighborhood.

Worst case scenario: all of our MENA satraps are knocked over, and oil goes up to $250 a barrel. We then invade Canada to grab the tar sands.

Feb 6, 2011

^^^ I like where your head's at.

Feb 6, 2011

Egypt isn't doomed to Iraqi violence, impasses or division because Egypt doesn't have the same pernicious, incompetent and dishonest foreign presence that Iraq was unfortunately doomed to after our rapid 2003 invasion, failed occupation and miscarried withdrawal. All of the trouble that we saw in Iraq was the direct result of Bush's stupidity and the intransigence of his apologists. Invariably, after the autocrat steps down and spends his billions, Egypt will dissolve off our televisions screens and our brains as its 80 million people go back to their lives.

I see Africa as a whole as a valid investment opportunity. African land is being gobbled up by sovereign wealth funds from land and water strapped countries. The Chinese are making major investments in coal and metal mines. Africa's middle class is growing, becoming vibrant and consuming more goods. I think MENA can be akin to the BRICs if wealth trickles down.

I don't see a bright future for any locale dominated by the stupidity of religion. How can any country that couples the state and the Koran achieve anything notable?

If I had 8 figures to invest, I would buy/ create a stock exchange and denominate stocks in dollars instead of local currencies. This would definitely boost liquidity and increase Western investment.

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Feb 6, 2011

With an average of 50% of the MENA population under 25, (http://www.economist.com/node/18063746 see map) the region is likely to undergo significant governmental, economic and social transformation.
Political reforms will go a long way to stimulating once stagnant economies and attracting foreign invesment.
Infrastructure, real estate, energy and to a lesser extent mining will probably dominate.

Or, if all hell breaks loose, arms manufacturers and suppliers.

Feb 6, 2011

Iraq is far more stable than pre-2007. Nouri al-Maliki also announced recently that he will not be seeking re-election in 2014 and he wants to put term limits in place before then: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/02/ira...
In my humble opinion, Egypt will not turn into a wider conflict. What DOES concern me though is continued instability in Lebanon with Hezbollah now effectively running the government, and also what is going to come out of Iran.

Feb 6, 2011

There's an old adage in Africa and the Middle East regarding democracy: one man, one vote, one time. Egypt is overwhelmingly Muslim and the Pew Research Center indicates that a majority of Egyptians want to see Sharia law implemented in Egypt: http://bunkerville.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/majori...
The Muslim Brotherhood is the leading opposition party in Egypt. No Egyptian democracy will operate like America's limited, constitutional republic, with its constitution and co-equal branches of government, ensuring personal freedoms for Americans. I have little doubt that if Egypt turns to free elections, they'll elect the Muslim Brotherhood into un-checked power, at which point they will attempt to implement an evil, demented form of law called Sharia and then abolish any semblance of free elections. In addition, Islam as a religion doesn't embrace capitalism and the Muslim Brotherhood will attempt to end the peace treaty with Israel.

Essentially, my prediction is that little good will come of the current unrest in Egypt.

Feb 6, 2011

Thats the problem with the Middle East. We allow "democracy" to happen and the people vote to eliminate rights of women, gays, other religions and anything that conflicts with Islam. These countries need a bill of rights which prevent the people from violating the rights of minority groups.

A democratic Egypt will end up violating more rights than an autocratic Egypt.

Feb 6, 2011
ANT:

Thats the problem with the Middle East. We allow "democracy" to happen and the people vote to eliminate rights of women, gays, other religions and anything that conflicts with Islam. These countries need a bill of rights which prevent the people from violating the rights of minority groups.

A democratic Egypt will end up violating more rights than an autocratic Egypt.

I am pretty sure a "bill of rights" doesnt count if its forced upon one country by another. Why dont we try just going home and worrying about our own country? Last time I checked we have plenty of problems of our own to fix before we worry about the whether women in Egypt have equal pay or can get in to law school.

Feb 6, 2011
Bondarb:
ANT:

Thats the problem with the Middle East. We allow "democracy" to happen and the people vote to eliminate rights of women, gays, other religions and anything that conflicts with Islam. These countries need a bill of rights which prevent the people from violating the rights of minority groups.

A democratic Egypt will end up violating more rights than an autocratic Egypt.

I am pretty sure a "bill of rights" doesnt count if its forced upon one country by another. Why dont we try just going home and worrying about our own country? Last time I checked we have plenty of problems of our own to fix before we worry about the whether women in Egypt have equal pay or can get in to law school.

Don't believe anyone suggested that a bill of rights should be "forced" on anyone, only that "democracy" will fail without constitutional limitations on government power, otherwise it will be merely a dictatorship of the majority. Frankly, I'm 100% fine with dictatorship around the world, but I'm not fine with the Muslim Brotherhood getting in charge and ending peace with Israel and supporting Al qaeda.

Feb 6, 2011

A lot of countries have constitutions, but their constitutions can be changed by a majority vote in the legislature. For example, Huge Chavez' party in Venezuela has something like 55% of seats in the legislature and their simple majority amends due process and individual freedoms with the stroke of a pen at the request of its dictator. See, Chavez keeps getting elected by simple majorities but has been helped by the fact that he can bribe the majority electorate with confiscated money and shut down negative press. I have no doubt at all that the Muslim Brotherhood will operate in a similar manner. And this is exactly what America's founding fathers feared about democracy with no constitutional protections--majorities ruling as dictators over the minority. The concept of limited government is lost to the majority of the human race and is non-sense to Muslims.

Feb 6, 2011

Chavez is a perfect example of what socialism looks like. That scumbag needs a visit from Delta Force.

Feb 6, 2011

Both Egypt and Iraq will have US puppet governments/sham democracies until the US goes bankrupt supporting its empire or just throws in the towel.

Feb 6, 2011

Yawn. I am sure the world would be a better place with Islamist governments all over the ME. Get real. The USA is the only force trying to keep this from happening. No one ever talked about the plight of the Afghans or Iraqi's before the USA came there. Bunch of hypocritical liberals, as usual.

Feb 6, 2011
ANT:

Yawn. I am sure the world would be a better place with Islamist governments all over the ME. Get real. The USA is the only force trying to keep this from happening. No one ever talked about the plight of the Afghans or Iraqi's before the USA came there. Bunch of hypocritical liberals, as usual.

...ask an actual Iraqi of Afghan citizen what they think about the US' interest in their plight. Do you really think that bombing and occupation are helpful to a country? Talk about getting real...

And BTW if you think that attempting to better the lives of people halfway around the world through aid and military attack is anything but liberal then you really have no idea about the meaning of the word conservatism. Our wars in the mid-east are about as "liberal" and utopian as it gets.

Feb 6, 2011

The US sending troops into Egypt isn't off the table...trust me.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Feb 6, 2011

Ask an average Iraqi, aka not a Ba'athist a find out how their life was under Saddam. The same guy who gassed Kurds, invaded Kuwait, tortured and killed innocent civilians. No one cares about that. We only care about the horrors committed by the swine, imperial American troops.

We all know that America = USSR

Gag.

Feb 6, 2011
ANT:

Ask an average Iraqi, aka not a Ba'athist a find out how their life was under Saddam. The same guy who gassed Kurds, invaded Kuwait, tortured and killed innocent civilians. No one cares about that. We only care about the horrors committed by the swine, imperial American troops.

We all know that America = USSR

Gag.

So you think that the US enjoys popular support amongst the people in Iraq and Afghanistan? Absurd. In iraq we have killed tens of thousands of civilians, u think they want us to continue? If you control a country against the will of the people in that country then how can you be considered anything but an imperialist? Are we better or worse then previous imperial occupiers in these countries such as the USSR? I guess so, but who really cares?...if it was wrong for them then it is wrong for us.

Feb 6, 2011

Saddam was just a lowlife Baath party assassin in the 1960s before he caught the eye of our intelligence services. He really fit the profile of our kind of guy: vicious, secular and willing to play ball. We plied him with conventional weapons and WMD galore well into the 1980s while we were using him to hedge against the Iranians (who, fittingly, brought the Ayatollah to power after dumping over our man the Shah and his SAVAK police state). We also gave him tons of SIGINT and diplomatic cover (interesting tidbit: Iraq actually won a UNESCO award for women's rights and general social welfare)

Gassing the Kurds was his masterpiece of diabolicism. Though it must be said, Saddam as a Sunni Arab certainly didn't think of the Kurds as anything but a hostile foreign tribe that just happened to reside within the 1920 British-drawn borders for what would be the modern state of Iraq. Nonetheless, after gassing those women and kids at Halabja with the VX that we supplied him, the White House normalized diplomatic relationships with him within 4 weeks. Mind you, I was only a kid then, looking at the dead mother with her kid in her arms laying in the gutter in Time magazine, but even then, I was thinking the "WTF?"-type questions about our foreign policy.

Saddam signed his own death warrant in two parts. The first is when he used military force to punish the Kuwaitis for slant drilling into Iraqi reserves. Our ambassador gave him a wrongly-interpreted wink and nod, and then we decided to rein in this guy because we didn't trust any man with 20% of the world's petrol reserves. What if he turned out to be some neo-Nasserite who may knock down the useful divisions of the Arab world? That would get out of hand. The second part was when he tried to start a Euro-based oil bourse in 2000. That did him in more than anything. If the world threw off dollar hegemony, the whole jig is up. We no longer get to consume far out of proportion with what we produce, and the exquisite privilege of the USD reserve currency status goes down the toilet. We would actually have to produce the goods to fund our massive welfare/warfare state, instead of using the printing press to bridge the gap.

(Side note: Ahmadinejad has proposed the same kind of Euro-based oil bourse. Let's see how long he lasts!)

As Rummy said when he was invited to the Pentagon softball league: "I only play hardball."

That's where I see reality. And I don't see great investing opportunities in MENA in the near future when the tidal wave of anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism are reaching unprecedented heights. My brother graduated from a military service academy in the late '90s, and one of his classmates was brained by a sniper while manning a radar tent in -- you guessed it -- Egypt. The hate runs deep and now the mob is going to get their way.

We're all businessmen here in one way or another. It behooves us to think and act in accordance with reality. Even ol' Noam Chomsky thought he was getting more useful info out of WSJ than the NYT.

Feb 6, 2011

oopaaa, time for the muslim guy to come in, eh lads? It's all good

Im seeing lots of hate speech here. Im okay though, because I know deep down inside of me that you are frustrated with what a bunch of asshats did a few years back. We are too. We're wearing the same hat and for no good reason.Im here to explain it as best as I can. What I want from you is a clear and open mind when you read this post. If you dont agree, that's fine. I wont kill you hahaha im kidding, btw

It's 5:45 AM here, so Im going to make it short and pick and choose a few comments that were really...striking.

"...evil, demented form of law called Sharia and then abolish any semblance of free elections. In addition, Islam as a religion doesn't embrace capitalism and the Muslim Brotherhood will attempt to end the peace treaty with Israel...."
-Exactly the words of someone who hasn't truly studied Sharia law. The internet doesn't count. Bill O'Reilly doesnt count, and Glenn Beck DEFINITELY doesn't count. Why, you may ask? Well, the same reason you have such a misguided understanding of Islam and Sharia: Your knowledge about it is based off of what you see on (lets face it, subliminally controlled) TV, read on the internet, and hear from people who know absolutely nothing about it except a few things that it is labelled for (executing homosexuals, for example).

Elections in an islamic caliphate; Believe it or not, califas are elected. I'm talking the real-deal califas. The ones that immediately took control after the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), the likes of Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, all great companions of the prophet. They ran the islamic nation into its golden ages, yet kept traditions as if the prophet was still alive. Heck, who was it the pretty much built the trade structure that the Europeans roughly adapted from? Which people came up with the idea of the modern day cheque?
Before a person berates an entire religion, fuck that, actually an entire culture that was pretty much the stepping stone or the early stages of modern science and economy, he should atleast respect the ones who made advancements in so many fields (including finance!) and atleast understand their religion better before making broad and baseless claims. It's like looking at the Ku Klux Klan and assuming that all Christians are like that! Is it fair? Never. Then why is it okay for people to do the same thing with Islam? I just find it very puzzling, my friends.
Here are a few links you might want to read up on to get a general sense of things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_capitalism
http://www.1001inventions.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZDe9DCx7Wk
^theres an exhibition going on in new york city, check it out if you can. You wont regret it.

"Thats the problem with the Middle East. We allow "democracy" to happen and the people vote to eliminate rights of women, gays, other religions and anything that conflicts with Islam. These countries need a bill of rights which prevent the people from violating the rights of minority groups. " - ANT

~I agree with you. But, isn't it the choice of the people? Look, Im going to be direct and tell you whoever told you that women have no rights in Islam is a complete moron and would do society a huge favor by jumping off a bridge. Females served as vaziers in the islamic empire, were independent businesswomen, and also raised their families well. They were scientists and invetors aswell. I dont see how islam doesnt give women any rights. If Egypt has that issue, that's their problem. From the way Hosni Mubarak runs things, you can tell Islam isn't exactly a priority for him. Ask any educated muslim woman and she should tell you the facts straight up.

Homosexuality is plain and simple prohibited in Islam. Nothing you can do about it. If you're a homo, and you dont like it, please leave. That's the attitude americans usually have towards minorities that dont like somethings about the United States, am I not correct?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZDe9DCx7Wk

@Virginia Tech 4 Ever: I dont see why Americans are so infatiuated with Israel, so infatiuated with something they do not understand. Here's my take on it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgzVE-PzCaY&feature...
Palestinians want fair treatment in Israel. As long as Israel is really bitchy about it, they'll have Hezbollah and Iran waiting for Israel to slip up and give them an opening to completely tear it to pieces. If youve been following the ordeal lately, the palestinians pretty much said: guys, you can have whatever is left of palestine, all we want is to jointly run Jerusalem, which is also holy land for muslims. What did Israel say? no. WTF? can someone please explain this to me? and WE are considered violent and not interested in peace?

"economic blackmail" ahahahaha oh the irony... read "hoodwinked" and "confessions of an economic hitman", that's real economic blackmail. There are too many countries to count on your fingers that the United States choked to death through lending it a shitload of money at a high rate of interest through the World Bank/IMF, and thus indirectly controlling/blackmailing each country in the end.

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011
konig:

Exactly the words of someone who hasn't truly studied Sharia law. The internet doesn't count. Bill O'Reilly doesnt count, and Glenn Beck DEFINITELY doesn't count. Why, you may ask? Well, the same reason you have such a misguided understanding of Islam and Sharia: Your knowledge about it is based off of what you see on (lets face it, subliminally controlled) TV, read on the internet, and hear from people who know absolutely nothing about it except a few things that it is labelled for (executing homosexuals, for example).

No I think VT was right on the ball on that one, here's a list of things that can get you hung, thrown off a building, legs/arms amputated in the dozen or so countries that have adopted Shariah:
1. A women being gang-raped. If your thinking thats fair guess who get's executed? Its the woman, this is especially prevalent in Pakistan, since the burden of proof for the rape is so high, but by reporting the crime to the police, the women has confessed to adultery!
2. Relations with members of the opposite sex. Lets ignore the fact that you don't choose your hardon, it just happens
3. Insulting the prophet, or his best buddies, or the religion. Cause nothing is as a free as killing off all the people who criticize you
4. Freeing a slave from bondage
As you can imagine a lot of these things run opposite to our contemporary idea of right/wrong. But who are we to judge what god commanded some dude 1400 years ago to behave?

konig:

Elections in an islamic caliphate; Believe it or not, califas are elected. I'm talking the real-deal califas. The ones that immediately took control after the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), the likes of Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali, all great companions of the prophet. They ran the islamic nation into its golden ages, yet kept traditions as if the prophet was still alive. Heck, who was it the pretty much built the trade structure that the Europeans roughly adapted from? Which people came up with the idea of the modern day cheque?

As somebody who major'd in Middle Eastern history, complete nonsense. I wont get into the nitty gritty, but basically it was just one tribe taking over and going through the motions of an election. If you didn't like the results, well off with you head. After the first 4 guys elected themselves to power, one of the juniors in the tribe made himself king (Caliph) and for the remainder of the time (roughly 800 years) it was a monarchy

konig:

~I agree with you. But, isn't it the choice of the people? Look, Im going to be direct and tell you whoever told you that women have no rights in Islam is a complete moron and would do society a huge favor by jumping off a bridge. Females served as vaziers in the islamic empire, were independent businesswomen, and also raised their families well. They were scientists and invetors aswell. I dont see how islam doesnt give women any rights. If Egypt has that issue, that's their problem. From the way Hosni Mubarak runs things, you can tell Islam isn't exactly a priority for him. Ask any educated muslim woman and she should tell you the facts straight up.

Completely missing the point. The existence of limited government and a constitution is supposed to protect people from being marginalized, oppressed by the government or other citizens. Absolute democracy is just the will of the many on the few, which is oppression. I don't give that old story of womens rights in Islam. Compared to the barbarians of the 1200's sure, Islamic law was less insane but whereas the rest of the world advanced out of the dark ages, Muslim society has chosen to idle and point out the one or two situations where women had a couple of rights. The right to request a foot on their neck, versus just receiving it for example.
I'd like you to suggest one female vizier in Islamic history, just one. FYI there wasn't. There was only one female leader in the entire Islamic history (Shajar Ad-Dur in Egypt) and she ruled vicariously through her dead husband, pretending he was sick the whole time. Seeing as how Islam forbids married women from having relations outside their family/husband, these women in business sure must have had a ton of customers/suppliers/partners etc.

konig:

Homosexuality is plain and simple prohibited in Islam. Nothing you can do about it. If you're a homo, and you dont like it, please leave. That's the attitude americans usually have towards minorities that dont like somethings about the United States, am I not correct?

And this is the biggest problem with all religions. This notion that somewhere, somehow exists a universal book of rules that are simply yes or no, right or wrong and fair or unfair. All we sinners have to do is follow it. Unfortunately no such thing exists, there represents a whole spectrum of thought on nearly every piece of Islamic jurisprudence, which is why we need individual freedom and to take responsibility for your own actions instead of patronizing me about that girl I thoroughly debauched Saturday night. BTW many famous muslim scholars were well known homosexuals (Rumi comes to mind) and in several instances child abusers (seems like all religious people of all frocks chase boys)

konig:

Palestinians want fair treatment in Israel. As long as Israel is really bitchy about it, they'll have Hezbollah and Iran waiting for Israel to slip up and give them an opening to completely tear it to pieces. If youve been following the ordeal lately, the palestinians pretty much said: guys, you can have whatever is left of palestine, all we want is to jointly run Jerusalem, which is also holy land for muslims. What did Israel say? no. WTF? can someone please explain this to me? and WE are considered violent and not interested in peace?

The Palestinians were offered a state 3 times the size they are currently fighting for in 1948. They were occupied by Great Britain. They chose not to take it and to go to war. In 1949 they signed an effective agreement with Israel and lost the entire north, a large part of Gaza and a large part of the West Bank. They lost even more land in '67 and '74. If you can't use your brains to figure out that peace is the only way, well getting land wont solve your problems.

Feb 6, 2011

Greed is Good.

Feb 6, 2011

"Our race is the master race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattles at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves"
- former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin

In case you want to act stupid and pretend like you dont know what he meant by "our race", he meant Judaism.
Had a random muslim said that, Geert Wilders wouldve made a f*cking explosion out of it.

How come this type of hate falls on deaf ears? Islam isn't looking too shabby right about now eh?

Greed is Good.

Feb 6, 2011

The question is, where do I even begin? Isn't this where the Muslim community always begins? Calling it hate speech when people call them out on observable facts, such as the fact that political Islam is practiced as total despotism worldwide. It's not hate speech, brother. It's straight-up fact.

I don't need O'Reilly to tell me about Sharia law. I don't need to learn Arabic. I look at observable situations, such as that in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, etc. and I see Islamic theocracy for what it is--tyranny. Absolute and total despotism. The Muslim majorities persecute religious minorities, they stone women to death for "adultery" when they're raped, they execute homosexuals, they control the media, ban missionaries, and create classes of people based on religion, etc.

Here's the truth: Islam would fail if it had to compete in the marketplace of ideas. Islam thrives when there is no free press, when Christians have their churches blown up, when Islamic converts are threatened with execution by the state, when Bibles are banned, when the internet is censored, when the state is the mosque and the mosque is that state, when Islam is forced upon children from infancy by the state. You can talk all you want about "true" Islam and "true" caliphates, etc., but like anything else, there is theory and there is practice and as Islam has been practiced in the last century, Islam is living in the dark ages, is anti-science, anti-individual liberty, misogynistic, despotic, homophobic, and otherwise bigoted in every way toward "infidels."

Iran is not in the Middle East, is Shia Muslim and has no economic or political interest in Israel. The fact that it threatens Israel with nuclear annihilation stems from nothing more than the Quran's visceral anti-Semitism. Iran is one of the world's most repressive regimes--I hardly think it feels true sympathy for oppression of Sunni Muslims in Palestine.

Feb 6, 2011

Islam has survived the "marketplace of ideas" for about 2,000 years and Islamic people were doing algebra and higher-level math while Christian people were still punching holes in each others' skulls to cure mental illness. Despotic regimes have occured in all parts of the World and in nations of all religions...Hitler and Stalin both took power in countries that had Christian majorities and yet I dont hear you saying Christianity leads to mass killing and religous persecution. And if you want to limit the list of countries that you see fit to elect their own governments to those who hold your political views then that list will be short indeed. Bad news: most of the World does not treat homosexuals as equals (even the US where there is no gay marriage) and strict religous belief is more common then the secularism we see here on the East and West coast of America. Bombing these countries isnt going to suddenly make them "see the light" and come to love your conception of freedom.

And BTW I am Jewish just for the record.

Best Response
Feb 6, 2011
Bondarb:

Islam has survived the "marketplace of ideas" for about 2,000 years and Islamic people were doing algebra and higher-level math while Christian people were still punching holes in each others' skulls to cure mental illness. Despotic regimes have occured in all parts of the World and in nations of all religions...Hitler and Stalin both took power in countries that had Christian majorities and yet I dont hear you saying Christianity leads to mass killing and religous persecution. And if you want to limit the list of countries that you see fit to elect their own governments to those who hold your political views then that list will be short indeed. Bad news: most of the World does not treat homosexuals as equals (even the US where there is no gay marriage) and strict religous belief is more common then the secularism we see here on the East and West coast of America. Bombing these countries isnt going to suddenly make them "see the light" and come to love your conception of freedom.

And BTW I am Jewish just for the record.

Wow, what a cop out for horrible repression. First of all, your math is one of the reasons Muslims feel the right to Israeli territory. Islam is about 1,400 years old--nowhere near 2,000 years, and Islam has not survived the marketplace of ideas because other ideas are illegal in nations run under Islamic law. Second of all, Nazism was based on pagan belief systems and Stalinism was based on atheism. Christians have a long history of bad behavior, long enough not to need to be falsely lumped in with Nazism and communism (which is atheist).

I'm so sick of hearing this cop out for bad behavior. I'm honestly surprised you didn't talk about the Crusades from 800 years ago to justify why Muslims are at war with their neighbors on nearly every continent on the planet--TODAY. If Christians 1,000 years ago killed 100 million people in the name of Jesus Christ (the Biblically described "prince of peace") it would still not justify Egypt today making it illegal to convert from Islam to any other religion without potentially facing the death sentence.

The fact is, POLITICAL Islam, as has been practiced in the last 100 years, has bred nothing but hate, fear, terror, and complete and absolute repression, similar to that of communism and fascism. And quit lumping me in with neocons--it fucking pisses me off. I've not said a single thing about bombing anyone or invading or forcing anything. The only thing I've said is that the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt will not be in America's interests and it will not result in true democracy. Lumping me in with nation builders is false and a red herring.

Feb 7, 2011
Virginia Tech 4ever:
Bondarb:

Islam has survived the "marketplace of ideas" for about 2,000 years and Islamic people were doing algebra and higher-level math while Christian people were still punching holes in each others' skulls to cure mental illness. Despotic regimes have occured in all parts of the World and in nations of all religions...Hitler and Stalin both took power in countries that had Christian majorities and yet I dont hear you saying Christianity leads to mass killing and religous persecution. And if you want to limit the list of countries that you see fit to elect their own governments to those who hold your political views then that list will be short indeed. Bad news: most of the World does not treat homosexuals as equals (even the US where there is no gay marriage) and strict religous belief is more common then the secularism we see here on the East and West coast of America. Bombing these countries isnt going to suddenly make them "see the light" and come to love your conception of freedom.

And BTW I am Jewish just for the record.

Wow, what a cop out for horrible repression. First of all, your math is one of the reasons Muslims feel the right to Israeli territory. Islam is about 1,400 years old--nowhere near 2,000 years, and Islam has not survived the marketplace of ideas because other ideas are illegal in nations run under Islamic law. Second of all, Nazism was based on pagan belief systems and Stalinism was based on atheism. Christians have a long history of bad behavior, long enough not to need to be falsely lumped in with Nazism and communism (which is atheist).

I'm so sick of hearing this cop out for bad behavior. I'm honestly surprised you didn't talk about the Crusades from 800 years ago to justify why Muslims are at war with their neighbors on nearly every continent on the planet--TODAY. If Christians 1,000 years ago killed 100 million people in the name of Jesus Christ (the Biblically described "prince of peace") it would still not justify Egypt today making it illegal to convert from Islam to any other religion without potentially facing the death sentence.

The fact is, POLITICAL Islam, as has been practiced in the last 100 years, has bred nothing but hate, fear, terror, and complete and absolute repression, similar to that of communism and fascism. And quit lumping me in with neocons--it fucking pisses me off. I've not said a single thing about bombing anyone or invading or forcing anything. The only thing I've said is that the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt will not be in America's interests and it will not result in true democracy. Lumping me in with nation builders is false and a red herring.

Im pretty sure you have an excuse for the "Missionaries" that massacred the native people of North and South America too, right?

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011

It's a sad situation because you wanna root for free elections, but you know it will just turn into the Gaza Strip.

Feb 7, 2011

Women do not hold an equal place in Islamic society. Look at any Islamic country and you will not see women on an equal footing as they are in the USA. Being gay is forbidden also. How about protection of religion and allowing people to be atheist, Jewish and Christian? What about defaming Muhammad. These are all hallmarks of freedom and a true Democracy.

If the Middle East's idea of democracy is Islamic rule where those who do not fall neatly within the religion are banned, imprisoned or disenfranchised , than I do not respect or acknowledge their right to do so. I also support and encourage the USA to interfere, invade and over throw any such government.

It if far time that the Middle East learns to tolerate other ideas and beliefs. I am intolerant of others intolerance.

Also, I am not supporting Israel or even bring it into the situation. Frankly, what is the USA supposed to do. Israel is a lot more friendly to the ideals of the USA than any other Islamic run country. The old testament is very intolerant also, but in a free nation with a bill of rights that keeps the wanton desires of the people in check, we have learned to live and let live. I suggest the Middle East take note.

Feb 7, 2011
ANT:

Women do not hold an equal place in Islamic society. Look at any Islamic country and you will not see women on an equal footing as they are in the USA.

.... I also support and encourage the USA to interfere, invade and over throw any such government.
.

ANT, let me ask you something; What's the first thing that crosses your mind when you see a stunningly beautiful woman at work? Dont deny the truth. The outstanding majority of American people think; damn she'd look good on my bed, or "I'd like to tap that!"
I've lived in the U.S. , I know the mentality quite well.

I work with SAUDI FEMALES at my bank (who, by the way, are paid more than males for some odd reason.Also, my MD is a female), and its not even any of the international banks. Before you make brash statements, you need to know what you're talking about. Armchair philosophers piss too many people off, ANT.

Women here are respected and protected like gems. heck, it took my mother 5 minutes to get her new National ID Card and it took me 4 hours, and we stood at the same counter..why? As soon as the customs officer saw her, he asked the gentleman he was serving to step aside and served "mother" ,as females are addressed here. They aren't addressed as "miss" or "babe" or "honey" or "sweet thaang", but rather they are addressed "ommi" (which translates directly to mother). That's how we respect women here. So yes, I agree with you. Women do not hold an equal place in Islamic society. They hold a HIGHER place.

As the prophet mohammad said:"Heaven is under the feet of your mothers"

So, in essence, you think it's okay for the US to interfere in a country because it is different than the US? ANT, holy shit brother, you're contradicting yourself too much. First off, you want the ME countries to respect minorities, but you want your country to not respect another country because it does things differently?

Greed is Good.

Feb 10, 2011
konig:

Women here are respected and protected like gems.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y83kGgBacag&feature...

Feb 7, 2011

You're talking about Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh on one hand, and then Saudi Arabia on the other. That's like comparing the Wild West with modern day SoCal.

"stone women to death for "adultery" when they're raped"...I dont remember reading or hearing about this. Would you be so kind as to share a link to the report or story?

" they control the media"....and American media isn't controlled? In my opinion, I think a media that's controlled is much better than living in a world thinking that Im free to watch what I want when in reality, Im just being controlled subliminally. And if you ever lived in the middle east, the only controlled media is state television. Even the very poor have satellite TV, which includes CNN and the whole liberal lot. What are you talking about exactly?

"ban missionaries"...so? It's not like Islam is widely respected in the United States. Look man, I respect everyone and everything. Muslim,Christian,Buddhist, Atheist, Jewish, whatever. But what I don't respect is when a group of people dont respect X, actually humiliate and degrade X, and then expect X to look upon them favorably and treat them well. TRUE ISLAM (which, sadly, is pretty much non-existant now adays) teaches compassion and tolerance, even with people like that.

"create classes of people based on religion"....can you give an example? I cant seem to think of something here. And please, when you do so, use examples like Saudi Arabia or the UAE. Those are probably the closest things to Islam, albeit still far away from true islam.

^to be objective here, I'd like to share a story. There is this really fantastic engineering professor who taught a relative of mine at the undergraduate level here in Saudi Arabia. Top of the line type of guy. He applied for an R&D position at a top defense firm (yes, he is an American citizen). Guess what? They never called him back. He later asked a non-muslim colleague of his in the United States if he could use his name on the "trial resume"...guess what? He was contacted for an interview.

Isn't this discrimination and creating classes of people based on religion? We need to stop living in this fantasy world of ours and address the cold hard facts.

"Islam thrives when there is no free press".... Im sorry, but I have to disagree here. Within Baghdad alone (back in the Golden Ages ofcourse), there were 12 different newspapers. Each had its own style (conservative, liberal, JEWISH, etc.). Islam thrived back then, and it was a free press. Knowledge is light, amigo.

"Christians have their churches blown up"
Al-Qaeda = KKKx10 , no need to write a whole paragraph about it. They dont represent us. They represent a tiny, miniscule group of people who were brainwashed by their propaganda (Pakistanis, Afghanis, Bangladeshi, etc., uneducated people)

-I'll let the Quran speak:

-"Let there be no compulsion in religion" (The Noble Quran, 2:256)
-"On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people..." (The Noble Quran, 5:32)

-"Let him who will believe, and let him who will reject it..."(The Noble Quran, 18:29)

-"If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then COMPEL mankind, against their will, to believe?! (The Noble Quran, 10:99)"

-"Say : O ye that reject this Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. (The Noble Quran, 109:1-6)" <--- doesnt say anything about killing "infidels", does it?

-"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (The Noble Quran, 2:190)"

-"If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear God, the cherisher of the worlds. (The Noble Quran, 5:28)"

-Published by Bukhari, and narrated by Ibn 'Umar : "During a battle of Allah's Apostle a woman was found killed, so Allah's Apostle forbade the killing of women and children"

-"They perform (their) vows, and they fear a Day Whose evil flies far and wide. And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive (prisoner of war) -- (Saying), 'We feed you For the sake of Allah alone: No reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.' (The Noble Quran, 76:7-9)"

and what does the BIBLE say?
-'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy [a] everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."Samuel 15:2,3

-"Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man" Numbers 31: 17,18 --> I guess Christianity views whores in the same light, then?

"Quran's visceral anti-Semitism".... one of the prophet's wives was a Jew.. this makes your claim absolutely baseless, instantly.

Let's look into Judaism a bit, shall we?
-Said Rabbi Joseph, "Come and take note: A girl THREE YEARS and one day OLDis betrothed by intercourse"-Sanhedrin 7/55B

What does Christianity say about homosexuals?
-"'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (From the NIV Bible, Leviticus 20:13)"

I rest my case

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011

Wow, bringing up historical injustices to excuse current injustices. Lessons are learned over time. In the year 2011 things need to change.

Feb 7, 2011
ANT:

Wow, bringing up historical injustices to excuse current injustices. Lessons are learned over time. In the year 2011 things need to change.

So should we completely forget about Christianity's injustices and focus, propagate, and incessantly discuss how bad Islam is because a couple of bastards are screwing it up for the rest of us 1 Billion+ muslims?

Wow real classy, ANT.

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=17...
"The 18 nation study, led by the US-based Freedom House, found that while on the whole, Middle Eastern women still suffer from a "substantial deficit in women's rights" described as the "most severe" on earth, 15 of 18 Arab countries have seen increases in women's literacy rates and suffrage over the past five years."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/world/middleeast...
"ughly two years ago, Rowdha Yousef began to notice a disturbing trend: Saudi women like herself were beginning to organize campaigns for greater personal freedoms. Suddenly, there were women asking for the right to drive, to choose whether to wear a veil, and to take a job without a male relative's permission, all using the Internet to collect signatures and organize meetings and all becoming, she felt, more voluble by the month."

Women can't drive, choose what they want to wear or get a job without a male telling them what to do.

Yeah, bro, that screams equal rights. Get fucking real.

I am sorry, but you do not have the right to disenfranchise someone else. I don't care what your religion says. I respect your right to believe how you want and if you want to think that you have the right to tell women what to do, cool, you can do that. I do not respect your right to take those backward beliefs and force them on someone else.

People, all people, have the RIGHT to be free. There will never be true freedom and democracy in the Middle East until Islam has a reformation.

Also, I am not dismissing the horrible acts of the past. I am saying that we have atoned for them and moved on. Regardless, two wrongs do not make a right and using a past injustice as an excuse to perpetrate further injustice is bullshit.

Feb 7, 2011

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_rights_in_Saudi_Arabia
If women want to allow themselves to be dominated, I really don't care. The issue is the law does not allow for those who do not enjoy this dictorial relationship. Saudi Arabia could eliminate all of their rules and restrictions and 80% of the women in that country would still walk around in burqua's and obey their men. The problem is 20% would not and that would slowly infect that whole country. That is the fear.

FYI, I see women in burqua's all the time in Philly and it is perfectly fine. It is their choice.

CHOICE is the key word.

Feb 7, 2011
ANT:

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=17...
"The 18 nation study, led by the US-based Freedom House, found that while on the whole, Middle Eastern women still suffer from a "substantial deficit in women's rights" described as the "most severe" on earth, 15 of 18 Arab countries have seen increases in women's literacy rates and suffrage over the past five years."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/world/middleeast...
"ughly two years ago, Rowdha Yousef began to notice a disturbing trend: Saudi women like herself were beginning to organize campaigns for greater personal freedoms. Suddenly, there were women asking for the right to drive, to choose whether to wear a veil, and to take a job without a male relative's permission, all using the Internet to collect signatures and organize meetings and all becoming, she felt, more voluble by the month."

Women can't drive, choose what they want to wear or get a job without a male telling them what to do.

Yeah, bro, that screams equal rights. Get fucking real.

I am sorry, but you do not have the right to disenfranchise someone else. I don't care what your religion says. I respect your right to believe how you want and if you want to think that you have the right to tell women what to do, cool, you can do that. I do not respect your right to take those backward beliefs and force them on someone else.

People, all people, have the RIGHT to be free. There will never be true freedom and democracy in the Middle East until Islam has a reformation.

Also, I am not dismissing the horrible acts of the past. I am saying that we have atoned for them and moved on. Regardless, two wrongs do not make a right and using a past injustice as an excuse to perpetrate further injustice is bullshit.

That's not her full name by the way. My point is that I know this one, and as you can see, she is a complete whore.

"Women cant drive"...my mother drove when she used to live in Switzerland, and ever since she got married to my father and moved to Saudi Arabia, she has had her own chaffeur and a new car at her very whim. She doesnt want to go back to the hassle of actually driving. These women that protest the right for women to drive have never lived abroad before. They just want to be like "the Americans", sadly. Look at the SuperBowl Ads...heck, look at the Camaro ad, and the pepsimax ad to name 2 off the top of my head from this year's commercials...common theme? Sexual arousal and sex appeal.

".. choose what they want to wear ..", so on the basis of some liberal slut, you are going to assume women here dont get to wear what they want? Look ANT, I went to a large international co-ed school in Jeddah. There's no shortage of tube tops or spaghetti-whatevers or mini-skirts either. The abaya is simply tradition; wearing it is a symbol of respect for the culture. Head down to the Virgin music store in Tahlia street and you'll see loads of Western expat women wearing the abaya as a cloak (wearing jeans and a t-shirt under it and the abaya over it...no hijab or anything).

There's no law that presses women to wear a hijab. Look at the number of college girls that that don't wear the hijab, whether they go to a King Abdulaziz University or a private college.

"without a male telling them what to do..." ...this is plain bullshit right here. In Saud Arabia's legal system and SHARIA law, a woman is legally concerned only with her financial and emotional well-being. If she makes any money, its HERS ONLY. A man, however, is legally compelled to look after the financial needs and wellbeing of his family. Any money he makes should be allocated equally for whatever needs and wants the family has.

"....democracy...until Islam has a reformation"... FUCK AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. Alright? Nobody wants it here. The only ones that want it are the ones so naive to think it's good. Omar Torrijos and shit, supporting panache, then SADDAM HUSSEIN! and that's only naming a few! 95% of our women understand how fucked up it is. We dont want beer and boobs to roam free in the land. We want common respect between the genders, the way it is right now, and youre going to have to kill us all if you want reformation in the sense that I know youre talking about

They are wearing it by choice. If they were so willing to post for pictures, I wouldve taken them for you. For fuck's sake, pretty much everyone here is rich enough to buy tickets to London and migrate to the U.K. . What's stopping them? and no, not "men making their decisions". That has to be the biggest bullshit lie ever. That's the problem with armchair critics. they've never been to the places they talk about so negatively, yet believe every negative word about it out there.

Take a direct flight from London or New York City or D.C. to Jeddah and see how many Saudi women are there that are making the trip on their own. If it's a full flight, about 15% will be females without their "males to make decisions for them" (as you believe). How does my mom travel to switzerland with her sisters every summer for 2 weeks without my father or any of their husbands, infact? It's common trust and common respect.

Please understand something well before you bash it in complete ignorance.

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011

Sure, I post factual laws and articles and you talk about your mom in a chauffeur. Get real. Your mother is not a representative of every woman. Calling someone a whore also shows your mindset. She probably talked to a male cashier and that's what qualifies her as a whore.

I would happily pay 8 dollars a gallon if it meant we dis zero business with the ME. This behavior is worthy of the 1800's, not 2011.

Feb 7, 2011

Let's recap here:

1) if you're gay or support homosexual rights, just get out of our country. Homosexuality is banned in the Qu'ran (by the way, I'm a conservative Republican--I couldn't give a crap about gays I just don't think they should be hanged or exiled).

2) Women totally have equal rights. I mean, they don't want to drive anyway--they have chauffers.

3) There's a free press in the Islamic world. There were 12 newspapers in Iraq. Americans don't have a free press, they just think they do. They're being subliminally controlled.

4) Islam is not anti-Semitic. One of Muhammad's many wives was Jewish. So it doesn't matter that the Qu'ran refers to Jews as "swine".

5) I've never heard of anyone being stoned to death for being raped. Huh? This goes on all the time. http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details...
6) Missionaries and religious minorities being persecuted? That's just crap. Nobody wants to hear what they have to say anyway. They're being completely disrespectful in sharing their religious beliefs with Muslims.

7) Muslims aren't violent. Here, let me quote one half of the Qu'ran, leaving all the violent references out that were written after this. And then let me quote 4,000 year old Judaic law and claim that this is what Christians are supposed to abide by, leaving out the, umm, New Testament.

You know what you sound like? A dinosaur.

Feb 7, 2011

"She probably talked to a male cashier.." umm, no. I know her, I know her children. There's no need to humiliate this woman further. I'll never tell you what she did, but even if she did it in the US, she wouldve been in the running for Miss Whore. She's known in the upper crusts of Saudi society. They like her, for some odd reason. I,however, despise her.

"Your mother is not a representative of every woman"..a chaffeur here is about $200 dollars a month. According to a recent study published by Zawiya.com, 3 in every 4 households have chaffeurs.

"factual laws"...I dont see any

I'd be happy to live in the desert and still be rich as fuck and not do business with the United States, if you want to get iffy like that. There's other fish in the sea. Stop thinking so highly about yourself, China's right around the block, and so is India and the rest of the BRIC countries.

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011

You wouldn't be "rich as fuck" without the United States' military protection, you jackass. If the U.S. pulled out of its relationship with Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia would be totally fucked (it would be under Iraqi control right now without the U.S. and her allies). And the minute we find an economic replacement for gasoline, Saudi Arabia will return to its place as banana republic. I cannot wait for the day.

Feb 7, 2011

Konig, this woman could of been double teamed by a donkey and that doesn't give someone the right to stone here. Your stats on chauffeurs is laughable.

Ive posted articles and independent studies showing the abysmal state of the ME. Refute what I say with some actual facts. I bet your tune would change if you were a poor woman. Instead of trying to better your people you are a commodity nation that when your oil runs dry will be no better than 200 years ago. Disgusting.

Feb 7, 2011

"You wouldn't be "rich as fuck" without the United States' military protection, you jackass"...so ANT's behavior and attitude towards Saudi Arabia is absolutely acceptable yet the attitude I displayed in retaliation is not? WOW

Iraq was t-bagged by Saudi Arabia, look at Khafji. What the hell do the majority of americans know? yes, the marines came in and blew them to pieces...my ass. Khalid bin Sultan was in the battle field, he sent the SANG boys in, and they holed them up in a few houses. What did the marines do? Call in an airstrike, and all of a sudden they were the heroes of this battle! Please understand the history of the gulf war and what happened before you start sloshing claims around. The only attack Saudi Arabia was involved in was Khafji, because that is Saudi soil. That was the only attack Saddam Hussein had on Saudi Arabia, and we pretty much deflected it on our own whilst the 5th mechanized brigade and I think the 5th Marine Expeditionary Unit were in Kuwait when it happened. The only reason Saudi Arabia let the U.S. open a base here is because it needed one, really bad, back then. Bahrain's base is so comical, so they needed a much more serious place.

" under Iraqi control "... I bet you my life that even without the United States, the Iraqis wouldnt have gotten anywhere near Riyadh, let alone Makkah. Are you fucking serious? You need to stop watching TV man, listen to the real soldiers and not the ones they program on TV

"And the minute we find an economic replacement for gasoline, Saudi Arabia will return to its place as banana republic. I cannot wait for the day."...Im in wait as well. It'll be a good shock to the country to get its shit together and diversify its wealth sources. In the meanwhile, we'll still be producing petrochemicals and polymers as usual.

"Your stats on chauffeurs is laughable"... I agree. You still dont have 4 ;) haters gonna hate

"double teamed by a donkey and that doesn't give someone the right to stone here." ...I never said stone her, I have no right to.

"Ive posted articles and independent studies showing the abysmal state of the ME"...written by people like you who have never been there, agree to whatever they read on the internet, see on TV, and hear from equally ignorant people and sway your head in agreement whilst sipping some Bud. classic. The NYT is so liberal it's overbearing. They turn one tiny issue into one hell of an explosion. Kind of like how bankers today are perceived as scumbags who want nothing but to steal peoples' money. Definitely not a fair depiction of bankers.

"Instead of trying to better your people you are a commodity nation"...... facepalm yes, we might be. We are trying to change. We're opening up new sectors, investing more heavily in things outside oil. Have you ever thought actually coming here and seeing the place before you call it disgusting? so childish.

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011
konig:

Iraq was t-bagged by Saudi Arabia, look at Khafji. What the hell do the majority of americans know? yes, the marines came in and blew them to pieces...my ass. Khalid bin Sultan was in the battle field, he sent the SANG boys in, and they holed them up in a few houses. What did the marines do? Call in an airstrike, and all of a sudden they were the heroes of this battle! Please understand the history of the gulf war and what happened before you start sloshing claims around. The only attack Saudi Arabia was involved in was Khafji, because that is Saudi soil. That was the only attack Saddam Hussein had on Saudi Arabia, and we pretty much deflected it on our own whilst the 5th mechanized brigade and I think the 5th Marine Expeditionary Unit were in Kuwait when it happened.

I'm probably going to be sorry for weighing in on this, but since I was actually there, I might be able to clear a couple things up.

Konig, it's nothing personal, and I respect the way you've debated these various issues when clearly in the ideological minority, but to suggest the Saudis did anything other than knock each other over trying to run from Khafji when the first shots were fired is laughable.

I can't say Saudi Arabia is a beautiful country (I lived in your deserts for seven months), but I'm sure your country has a few things to brag about. Your armed forces, however, are not on that list. The cowardice I witnessed from your officer ranks during the first Gulf War was shocking. I literally watched two Saudi officers cowering in fear one night at the sound of mortar fire that was still well in the distance. One of them looked up at my buddy and asked in a panic, "Is it like this every night?".

Again, I'm sorry to bring it up, but the only thing I ever saw Saudi forces do was hold hands (literally) and retreat. (Which is why you hired the best fighting force money could buy to do the heavy lifting.)

Feb 7, 2011
Edmundo Braverman:
konig:

Iraq was t-bagged by Saudi Arabia, look at Khafji. What the hell do the majority of americans know? yes, the marines came in and blew them to pieces...my ass. Khalid bin Sultan was in the battle field, he sent the SANG boys in, and they holed them up in a few houses. What did the marines do? Call in an airstrike, and all of a sudden they were the heroes of this battle! Please understand the history of the gulf war and what happened before you start sloshing claims around. The only attack Saudi Arabia was involved in was Khafji, because that is Saudi soil. That was the only attack Saddam Hussein had on Saudi Arabia, and we pretty much deflected it on our own whilst the 5th mechanized brigade and I think the 5th Marine Expeditionary Unit were in Kuwait when it happened.

I'm probably going to be sorry for weighing in on this, but since I was actually there, I might be able to clear a couple things up.

Konig, it's nothing personal, and I respect the way you've debated these various issues when clearly in the ideological minority, but to suggest the Saudis did anything other than knock each other over trying to run from Khafji when the first shots were fired is laughable.

I can't say Saudi Arabia is a beautiful country (I lived in your deserts for seven months), but I'm sure your country has a few things to brag about. Your armed forces, however, are not on that list. The cowardice I witnessed from your officer ranks during the first Gulf War was shocking. I literally watched two Saudi officers cowering in fear one night at the sound of mortar fire that was still well in the distance. One of them looked up at my buddy and asked in a panic, "Is it like this every night?".

Again, I'm sorry to bring it up, but the only thing I ever saw Saudi forces do was hold hands (literally) and retreat. (Which is why you hired the best fighting force money could buy to do the heavy lifting.)

I respect the fact that you risked your life for the Kuwaitis Mr.Braverman. Thank you.

From what I've heard, yes, that did happen. There were cowards, just like there were wimps on the U.S. side (albeit more on the Saudi side since this was their first major battle). However, there were heroes. A close family friend's two sons lost their lives in that battle, head on.

Ever been to Jeddah?

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011

@Virginia Tech: Yes to all of that,except to 3. If you were taught to read properly and critically, I said "in the Golden Ages". Fucked up people are screwing it up for us nowadays. Islam isnt the problem. Its the shitty governments that are too scared to topple over so they restrict the media.

4) If you read the 10 verses before that and the 10 verses after, you'll see that the term "Swine" was used to describe a group of bani israel who incessantly ignored and disbelieved in Moses' teachings. Moses went to them for years and years, yet they would jeer at him and sometimes hit him. In the end, they were cursed and turned into swines and apes (you forgot the apes part, btw). See how much the image clears up after reading it all and not just focusing on one word??

5) That's a FATWA ... holy crap man. A fatwa is subjective. A fatwa is up to a judge to decide. The Quran did not say whip her to death. The quran stipulates the rapists be executed. She didnt do anything wrong. She was a fucking rape VICTIM. The obvious fuckup here is the judge. You know who else fucked up here? YOU. You get a story from Paki-fucking-stan and affiliate it with proper Islam? Are you kidding me? How old are you? 3? Its a country pretty much at war,has rampant corruption, low literacy, poor education, and terrorism issue magnified by Al-Qaeda.

Go read sharia law from a proper source. You need to go to a lecture about Islam and Sharia at a proper university. Try Duke or Columbia. Great places to learn about islam.

6) Why do you need missionaries? Isn't the bullshit they spread in Africa and East Asia enough? Feeding people in exchange for their affiliation to christianity? that's sad.

7) bring it on. I'll defuse every shit grenade you throw at me. Give me one verse. Please do. Im waiting.

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011

I can't believe I'm saying this after konig's tone, but he's almost right. The terrible governance of the region has a lot more to do with this than the religion. Indonesia is home to the world's largest Islamic population and manages to be a functional, capitalist democracy. The Middle East needs to run out of oil for there to be an incentive for better governance. When autocrats can't count on the west ignoring their abuses and propping them up in exchange for cheap energy is when this will change.

Feb 7, 2011

I am still waiting for Konig to post actual Saudi law that refutes my statement that women are not free to choose. And i could give a shit about your chauffeur, we are discussing equal rights for women and minorities.

I post an article from the NYT saying 80% of Saudi women don't want western freedoms. How is this written with an American perspective. Freedom is about protecting that 20% who do want western freedom.

Trust me dude, you could have a golden Ferrari and I wouldn't want to be you or anyone in your country. Material things are not a replacement for freedom and tolerance.

Feb 7, 2011

No, never been to Jeddah. Really the only city (if you can call it that) I spent any time in was Al Jubayl. I was a little hasty in my earlier comment, however. The Persian Gulf (at least before Hussein destroyed it) was very beautiful, as was the coastline near Kuwait.

For the record, I didn't risk my life for the Kuwaitis. I couldn't give two shits about the Kuwaitis or anyone else in that part of the world (no offense). I was there because I was ordered to be there, and I was there because I was paid to be there. The Middle East could nuke itself and I wouldn't lose a minute's sleep.

Feb 7, 2011

Are people really in favor of invading countries where "women don't have equal rights" and other such non-sense goes on and imposing our will on them? Are you serious?

Yeah, I really want friends of mine and other citizens to die over some shit that is straight up irrelevant to our lives. Good call. Not to mention, it'll cost fucking billions of dollars to do anything like that.

"But, sharia law is bad!"

Right, well, we don't have it in America, so what the fuck do you care?

Feb 7, 2011
TheKing:

Are people really in favor of invading countries where "women don't have equal rights" and other such non-sense goes on and imposing our will on them? Are you serious?

Yeah, I really want friends of mine and other citizens to die over some shit that is straight up irrelevant to our lives. Good call. Not to mention, it'll cost fucking billions of dollars to do anything like that.

"But, sharia law is bad!"

Right, well, we don't have it in America, so what the fuck do you care?

The world needs more of you! hahahaa sorry no SBs tho

Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011

LOL.

Isn't Detroit under Sharia law?

Feb 7, 2011

http://www.newser.com/story/102456/sharron-angle-s...
I think Sharron Angle might be posting on WSO!

Feb 7, 2011

hahaha

I've been accused of a lot of things, but...

Feb 7, 2011
Edmundo Braverman:

hahaha

I've been accused of a lot of things, but...

LOL, I was referring to other people in the thread - I didn't make that clear (obviously.)

Anyway, the whole "the Middle East needs Democracy" thing just doesn't fly. What the fuck are we supposed to do? Besides, when there is a movement, like in Egypt right now, the far right immediately discredits it as being led by Islamic extremists. If all those millions of people protesting are extremists, then we've got big problems on our hands.

Feb 7, 2011

I never said I support invading countries to stop sharia law. Simply saying that the the ME needs to have real democracy for once. I have no problem with sharia law. I simply do not support forcing it on people. The ME could adopt US style freedom and 80-90% of people would still obey Sharia law. I care about the 10-20% who are forced against their will to obey it.

Regardless, there will be no improvement in Egypt. Looks like the protests are dissipating. This is a revolt over unemployment and poverty, not a desire to be free. Another non event.

Feb 7, 2011
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Greed is Good.

Feb 7, 2011
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If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford