Friday, February 02, 2007

The Secret Populations of Saudi Arabia

Worries about Saudi Arabia's own Shi'ite minority make it willing to conciliate Iran -- and cooperate with it. (AP).

AWWAMIYA, Saudi Arabia (AP) - They rattle the town with the sound of automatic weapons fire into the air, celebrating weddings. They wear tiny pictures of Hezbollah leaders. Residents say these are signs of a small core of Shiite extremists in this impoverished town. Moderate Saudi Shiites worry that Iran or other outsiders could use the extremists to stir up trouble in mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia - or that the militants could prompt a backlash from Sunni hard-liners - either way, giving the government a reason to clamp down on the Shiite minority.

Amir Taheri, writing in 2003, noted that Shi'ites may make up as much as 15% of the Kingdom's population. "Oficially, they do not exist. In reality, however, Saudi Arabia's Shiites account for 15 percent of the kingdom's population of 20 million. Last month their existence was tacitly acknowledged when the state media briefly reported a meeting between a delegation of Shiites and the kingdom's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdallah Ibn Abdel-Aziz. ... Concentrated in the oil-rich province of Al-Sharqiyah, Saudi Shiites form a good part of the kingdom's urban middle class. They are also strongly present in the liberal professions and the private business sector. And, yet, when it comes to public positions, Saudi Shiites shine with their absence. Of the top 400 government positions, a only one is held by a Shiite undersecretary of state. Of the 120 members of the all-appointed Saudi parliament only two are Shiites."

The Shi'tes are only one of several hidden populations in the Saudi Kingdom. The other of course, is the huge number of overseas workers who literally keep it going, constituting up to a third of the entire population. Human Rights Watch says there "seven million expatriates in the kingdom, about one-third of the total population, Dr. Ali al-Namlah, Saudi Arabia's then-long-serving minister of labor and social affairs, told Human Rights Watch in January 2003. He added that 5.5 million of the total number of foreigners were workers, and the remainder their dependents. New statistics were disclosed in May 2004, indicating an even higher number of expatriates. According to labor minister Dr. Ghazi al-Ghosaibi, there were 8.8 million foreigners in the kingdom representing almost 50 percent of the indigenous population." Many of these overseas workers are not even Muslim, and in a country where only Islam may be practiced, they must effectively practice their faiths underground -- in the 21st century and in despite of any so-called UN Declaration of Human Rights.

The largest expatriate communities in Saudi Arabia include one million to 1.5 million people each from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, and another 900,000 each from Egypt, Sudan, and the Philippines. The wages that these and other migrant workers send home places Saudi Arabia second only to the United States as the source of the largest amount of remittance payments in the world. Remittances from Saudi Arabia totaled some 285.3 billion riyals – about U.S. $76 billion – in the five-year period between 1995 and 1999. The government has repeatedly stated its intention to reduce the number of foreign workers in the kingdom and replace them with hundreds of thousands of unemployed Saudis, a process termed "Saudiization" of the labor force. ...

Intolerance of religious diversity in Saudi Arabia has been well documented elsewhere. Migrant workers who are not Muslims but are religiously observant must adjust to the absence of houses of worship for their religious faiths, and refrain from public display of religious symbols such as Christian crosses or the tilaka – the distinctive "holy spot" – that many Hindus apply on the forehead between the eyes. Private worship in community with others must always proceed cautiously and not be conspicuous. Some migrants described to us how they were forced to arrive in very small numbers over long periods of time to attend private religious services in designated private places so as not to arouse the suspicion of Saudi citizens or the feared religious police.

Saudi authorities continue to arrest foreigners, including Muslims, for peaceful private religious practice. Followers of Sufi orders continue to face harassment because Sufism, with its individualized and mystical approach to Islam, is perceived as a sharp departure from strict Islamic orthodoxy. In September 2003, the daily al-Madinah reported that the religious police in Sakaka, acting on a complaint, raided a house at 11 p.m. and arrested sixteen migrant workers for "allegedly practicing Sufism." According to the newspaper, the police "arrested the leader of the group and confiscated a picture of him which his supporters venerated. The group has lived in the area for several years and has been in the habit of distributing Sufi writings among the expatriate community." During the raid police reportedly seized magazines, videocassettes, and other materials. More recently, the religious police in Mecca reportedly arrested over 200 migrant workers from Bangladesh and Burma for attending a party in celebration of St. Valentine's Day, where alcohol was allegedly consumed. Following the arrests, the kingdom's highest religious authority, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh, was quoted as saying: "What these workers did in a holy place by celebrating and singing and drinking alcohol is a very grave sin." He remarked that Valentine's Day is "an infidel tradition that has no place in Islam."

25 Comments:

Blogger Jamie Irons said...

He remarked that Valentine's Day is "an infidel tradition that has no place in Islam."


I don't know... you just gotta "heart" those Islamists.

I wonder how they feel about Groundhog Day, perhaps the West's most innocently joyous holiday?

Jamie Irons

2/02/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Saudi Arabia is a house of cards. The Saudi arabs themselves are the picture of incompetence. Foreign workers keep the whole country afloat.

If they depend so heavily on the religious police to enforce the state religion, how stable is the little kingdom? The whole thing looks extremely vulnerable to the Iranians, even without the silent minority of Shiites.

No wonder Ahmadinejad hates having the US in Iraq! So many tasty things he could be doing in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the entire middle east. Gosh darn those Yankees!

2/02/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Remind me why we are dealing with the thuggish house of Saud? How can we preach the religion of freedom when we support one of the most oppressive regimes in the world???

Candidate Bush on Nation Building and Can Islam and Freedom survive one another?

A snippet from that post...Was President Bush being ironic? Ok I shouldn’t be flippant, I know he wasn’t being ironic but my gosh exactly how does one condemn the so-called radicals in Islam for wanting to expel Christians and Jews while in the very same breath mention Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Should I remind you, my gentle readers, that both of those nations have laws that restrict the rights of Christians? Indeed in Saudi Arabia merely wearing the cross can get you killed. Wouldn’t it have been at least consistent to have condemned those nations whose actions lead to the same end state as those rascally impatient radicals?

2/02/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger boinky said...

the Christian Science monitor had a similar post about ten days ago. The Saudis also have other "secret" populations: The overseas workers. Probably two million of them. Most are Sunni, but there are also Shiites, Christians and Hindus...But no one ever notices them...

2/02/2007 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

While the bloggosphere drones on with the same old stuff, Iowahawk has taken bloggojourno to the next level.

Equal Time: The Arkin Controversy
“Equal Time question: ‘Should Washington Post Military Analyst William Arkin Be Beaten Like the Repulsive Sack of Shit He Is?’"

Iowahawk will be the Edward R. Morrow of our time.

H/T LGF

2/02/2007 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

"Saudi Arabia is a house of cards. The Saudi arabs themselves are the picture of incompetence. Foreign workers keep the whole country afloat."

Well, maybe.

Keep in mind, slaves kept the Roman Empire afloat for 500 or 600 years.

2/02/2007 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Who is saying this is at least as important as what is said in this instance.

Although she is ostensibly an Associated Press stringer, Donna abu-Nasr should be regarded as a Saudi mouthpiece. Given Saudi censorship, it would not possibly be any other way.

2/02/2007 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Moderate Saudi Shiites worry that Iran or other outsiders could use the extremists to stir up trouble in mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia "

Nah, they'd never do that, would they?
---
Nate Posted this link to the
National Council of Resistance of Iran .
at Westhawk.

"I would like to share with you some untold aspects of the clerical regime’s meddling in Iraq. The documents I am going to present shed light on the scope of the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraqi affairs.

This document is the list of 32,000 agents of the mullahs’ regime in Iraq who receive monthly salaries from the Iranian regime. These people are currently in effect paid staff of the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force. (IRGC-QF)

The Iranian regime has stationed its agents in all the major provinces of Iraq.

This force was dispatched to Iraq in an organized way and in large groups shortly after the fall of the former Iraqi government in early 2003. They came through major border crossings under the direct command and supervision of the Qods Force, including IRGC Generals Qassem Suleimani, Iraj Masjedi, Ahmad Forouzandeh, and Hamid Taqavi.

The agents of the Iranian regime exposed in this document have an extensive presence and influence in Iraqi government agencies, in particular in the security apparatus some of which they control. They are the very same individuals who abducted two members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, Hossein Pouyan and Mohammad Ali Zahedi in Baghdad in August 2005. They were taken to the Ministry of Interior and subsequently transferred to an unknown location. There has been no news about their whereabouts for the past 18 months.

Head Quarters for Reconstruction of Iraq's Holy Sites:
A major front organization used by Qods force for the delivery of arms and ammunition to Iraq is the Headquarters for Reconstruction of Iraq's Holy Sites. This agency was founded following the overthrow of the former Iraqi government as part of a campaign to provide proper cover for Iranian meddling in Iraq and also as part of the scheme to increase Iran’s leverage in Iraq. This provided an easy and legal cover for extensive activities and coming and going of commanders and agents of the Qods Force.

The Reconstruction HQ has reached agreements with local authorities who are affiliated with the Iranian regime in different Iraqi provinces so that containers of goods arriving from Iran are not inspected at the border and are delivered sealed to Najaf, Karbala and Baghdad. The Qods Force hides arms and ammunitions in these containers. By using this scheme, the Qods Force has been able to transfer weapons freely and easily and provide them to its affiliates in Iraq.
"

2/02/2007 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jamie:
While we stand and watch the Groundhog, they stand and throw stones at a Human Being on the ground, until death provides respite.
---
---
This must be one of the "Moderate" Mullahs:
The mullahs’ regime admits to stoning sentences in Iran

NCRI - Yesterday, Chief of the regime’s Appeals’ Courts in Tehran Province, Mohammad Ali Khani admitted to handing down stoning sentences, the state-run daily Etemaad reported.

He said, “If the law proves that the crime has been committed then judges would hand down stoning sentences. The law makers will not allow a substitute sentence for the crime. Stoning to death is a form of punishment which is different from [mere] execution.”

2/02/2007 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

U.S. warns Iran to stop aiding Iraqi insurgents
Thursday, 01 February 2007
Reuters - Iran is supplying Iraqi insurgents with weapons technology used to kill American troops, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday, sending another warning to Iran against interfering in Iraq.

"We have picked up individuals who we believe are giving very sophisticated explosive technology to Shia insurgent groups who then use that technology to target and kill American soldiers," said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns. "It's a very serious situation. And the message from the United States is, Iran should cease and desist."
---
With over 30k being active since '03, isn't this a bit like slamming the gate long after the horses have escaped?

2/02/2007 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Saudi Arabia is not a nation state such as those we have experienced. It is a feudal appanage of the Sa'ud family. There is no reason to believe that they would do anything for the Shia in their midst. If the Shia were to be a source of trouble or possible allies of anti-Sa'ud forces, the Sa'uds would simply kill all of the Shia.

2/02/2007 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

doug quoted...
"Moderate Saudi Shiites worry that Iran or other outsiders could use the extremists to stir up trouble in mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia "

Trouble in SA is absolutely inevitable. Palestine will be the model.

And of course Egypt will provide the bookend.

As night follows day.

ADE

2/03/2007 03:48:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

People talk about "the Iraq war", but it's really the entire middle east that is in play. Removing Saddam opened a door for Iran to make a move. But until the US leaves Iraq, Iran has to bide its time.

By feeding weapons and training to anti-US terrorists in Iraq, Iran is taking a huge risk that the US will unleash its airpower against Iranian assets. Iran is already at war with the US. The US may eventually behave according to that reality.

Unless the US Democratic Party decides to repeat the Vietnam "no defeat is complete enough for us" scenario.quick7

2/03/2007 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Saudi just announced they are sending another 5,000 of their youth overseas to be educated, this time to the Netherlands. That's in addition to the 15,000 they sent to America last fall.

I suppose they *could* be making a push to educate themselves so they could start to build and expand their Kingdom. However, it seems more likely that this is a deliberate government policy of scooping up and shipping out of the country all those troublesome young men who have proven so prone to jihad.

Can you *imagine* 5,000 young Saudi troublemakers descending en masse on the Netherlands? :-)

2/03/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

"Of the top 400 government positions, a only one is held by a Shiite undersecretary of state"

Considering the Saudi Royal Family consists of some 3,000+ princes,
the fact that any top posts are held by Shiites is amazing.

As a General Rule in regards to "Kingdoms", all the top posts are held by the Royal Family.

Having lived in Saudi, I can say that the religious police are a major pain in everyones backside, including a significant portion of the local population.

Unfortunately, as is the case in all places that don't hold elections, no one really knows how much support various groups have. In the case of Saudi Arabia no one really wants to risk 10 million barrels of oil a day finding out the hard way.

But not to worry, all is not lost. 30 years ago the King decreed universal education for Women. Educated woman tend to grumble a lot about things like "rights" and "equal treatment" and have a way of convincing men that they should get what they want.

Rapid social change creates civil unrest. No social progress also creates civil unrest.

The equilibrium point in democracies is determined by elections. Getting to democracy requires a "professional" class capable of governing.

It took the British Crown something like 400 years from the time the House of Commons was formed until the Royal family allowed it any real power.

2/03/2007 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

al fin said...
Saudi Arabia is a house of cards. The Saudi arabs themselves are the picture of incompetence. Foreign workers keep the whole country afloat.


Hardly. As Semites, the Saudis are nearly as smart and cunning as Jews.

They have done quite well by themselves. They have a solid banker, engineer, and managerial class and a well-educated middle class. They plug in high value foreign workers into jobs that they lack the inclination or specialized skills for, just as a Jewish factory owner may have 98% of his staff be Gentiles.

Lower level jobs are filled just like Mexican illegals do here - do the grunge jobs at low pay Saudis don't want to do - without the burden of foreign workers spitting out "instant citizen Saudis" and never leaving.

Not burdened with the crap of the US Constitution, the foreign workers know they can be marched out tomorrow just like 400,000 Palestinians "guests" were after the Gulf War for siding with Saddam. Same with the Shiite Saudis. If they act up, they know they could be killed enmass or marched to the Border and dumped into Shiite Iraq.

What Saudi Arabia does suffer from are:

1. Wahabbism-created backwardness in an otherwise highly intelligent people. The cancer of intolerant Wahabbism in Saudi society.
2. A maldistribution of wealth far worse than Latin America's or the new reality of "Two Americas" right here - where the wealthiest 1% has sucked up most GNP gains the last 8 years.
3. Like America with a Far Left that is overeducated and in meaningless jobs - KSA has a real problem with Saudi youth not quite bright enough to fill critically needed jobs, but underemployed and undercompensated in the KSA economy.

*****************


Pierre Legrand -

Remind me why we are dealing with the thuggish house of Saud?

Oil.
Desire to avoid a Global Depression. 2 trillion petrodollars in play. In a region that also has 60% of the world's natural gas supplies.

How can we preach the religion of freedom when we support one of the most oppressive regimes in the world???

Because we have an obsolete Constitution that is wide open to state religions like Saudi Arabia's or Israel (Zionism) coming in and subverting us. Because we have no clause stopping foreign nations being "separate" from proselytizing their politico-religious values on us with no reciprocity while we have a near-fanatical insistence that what is OK for KSA or Israel to do is absolutely wrong for a US elected official to do.

*************************


Soldier's Dad - But not to worry, all is not lost. 30 years ago the King decreed universal education for Women. Educated woman tend to grumble a lot about things like "rights" and "equal treatment" and have a way of convincing men that they should get what they want.

Not in Islam. The words "Shut up, bitch, in the name of Allah!" are usually adequate. If not, saying "I divorce you" 3 times for disobedience and insubordination and sending them back to live with their parents with no support is usually adequate. (Muslim countries have very low divorce rates).

Muslims are not stupid. They see that a cadre of educated, powerful women has generally led in the West to an over-regulated Nanny State with pussified men horrified by the thought of fighting - and ripe for bullying or conquest. Women in Europe are the biggest believers in PC, quotas, and Open Borders for "needy refugees in Muslim lands fleeing persecution".

Educated women in Islamic lands, yes...not a bad idea to most Muslims. Literate women are a prize to most grooms if they are properly submissive, better mothers. But in Islam, men by religion and law call the shots outside household matters. Which is a huge allure to pussified young men in Europe or in African-American communities now under matriarchies - seeking to reclaim their lost manhood, honor, and power.

2/03/2007 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Stephen Renico said...

Just a month or two ago wasn't Saudi Arabia talking about the division of the middle east into opposing Saudi-sponsored (Sunni) and Iranian-sponsored (Shiite) camps? I believe they mentioned using Iraq as the battleground.

2/03/2007 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Actually, mean Saudi IQ is less than 90. And in fact, mean Ashkenazi IQ is around 106.

There is a world of difference between what Israelis can do themselves with their own desert (make it bloom) and what arabs cannot do themselves--and must pay foreigners to do.

2/03/2007 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Actually, mean Saudi IQ is less than 90.Actually, mean Saudi IQ is less than 90.

Interesting. I'm surprised they actually took the time to test each other. Of course we won't say anything about the effect on Bedouin DNA of all those centuries of inbreeding and marrying first cousins, because it's in the Koran so it must be a Good Thing To Do ... even if you do turn into a Kingdom of hemophiliac idiots

2/03/2007 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Al fin - "There is a world of difference between what Israelis can do themselves with their own desert (make it bloom) and what arabs cannot do themselves--and must pay foreigners to do."

That would be the Jews that figured out that the Coastal Plain could suck a certain amount of water out without saline intrusion from the Med as long as adequate water was not used by Palestinians in the highlands of the 3 aquifers in Palestine. Which, amazingly enough, was in the Highlands where the Palestinians lived.

Which of course led the Zionists to 1st blow up Palestinian wells, then arrest and fine any Pal with a "non-permitted well" that stole water for deserts blooming. Then finally with all water recharging the Coastal Plain tied into the State and Israeli Occupation Force - restricting Palestinian water usage to 1/11th that of that allocated per capita Zionist. (Which was 1/3rd the amount recommended by the WHO for health and sanitation).

*********************

Al Fin - There is a world of difference between what Israelis can..... and what arabs cannot do themselves--and must pay foreigners to do.

At least the Saudis are paying the foreigners with their own money, versus the Zionist scam of bribing the US Congress to make Israel the Welfare Queen of the ME and on top of Israel, having to link US donations to Israel's Egyptian co-slut.

More money goes to those two shitty nations than Latin America, the Caribbean, and subsaharan Africa combined.

********************

Actually, mean Saudi IQ is less than 90. And in fact, mean Ashkenazi IQ is around 106.

Ashkenazi Jews love to brag how smart they are. Lots of awards, etc. Yet for nearly 2,000 years, seem to lack the brains to be welcomed in any land or set up their own lands.

KSA was set up by a tribe of 450 people 200 years ago. In the New World and in colonial set-ups, "companies" of under 1,000 set up Uruguay, Belize, Massachusetts, Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Pennsylvania, Georgia. Because Napoleon could not get 6 million from wealthy Jewish financiers, he sold the Lousiana Purchase to America vs the Rothschilds. Unlike others that grabbed a chance at colonies and principalities - the ancient Jews demurred.

Why Jews did not seek their own nation until they grabbed it from the Palestinians was Jews were far more comfortable as middlemen, financial services to the ruling class, artisans? The alternative was to farm and fight - physical acts that got calluses and dirt on the hands.

2/03/2007 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Cedarford,

Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence: Cochran, Hardy, and Harpending: Department of Anthropology: University of Utah

AVERAGE Ashkenazi IQ is 112 – 115

Please link to ONE cite guilty of the bragging you characterize as Ashkenazic.

Ranting may be riveting, but facts are fun.

2/03/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

C4,

You do realize that Jews were waiting for the Messiah to come. Now, what that says about their IQ in regards to this issue, I'll leave for history to comment on.

2/03/2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Arabs are incompetent to run a modern technological society. That is because their average IQ is too low. Fortunately for them, they derive their self esteem from their triumphalist religion, which is destined to conquer the world--by any means necessary.

2/04/2007 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger Graytooth said...

"This (iranian) force was dispatched to Iraq in an organized way and in large groups shortly after the fall of the former Iraqi government in early 2003. They came through major border crossings under the direct command and supervision of the Qods Force..."

i remember watching a video featuring Norm Schwarzkopf talking about why exactly we didn't go all the way to Baghdad in Gulf War One.
He had a map and explained that the fear was, if they did take out Saddam, the Iranian Shia would just come in across the border and take over.

Colin Powell, before the UN speech, was alleged to have been warning of this too, saying things like 'Iraq is the Pottery Barn, you break it you own it'.

only trouble is, it's kind of difficult to own.

it's not like we didn't know that this was going to happen.

well, i guess president cheney didn't care, or wanted this to happen and saw it as a good thing.

2/04/2007 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger mannfred said...

http://statisticsoftheworld.page.tl

2/25/2007 03:42:00 AM  

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