Archive for the ‘Saudi Arabia’ Category

Venezuela: $15 smugglers jailed, $3.08 billion a year smugglers go free

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Los miserables

Colombians Jailed in Venezuela for $15 Grocery Run

A $15 grocery run has cost two single mothers from Colombia 48 days in jail, along with the threat of a 14-year prison sentence, as a result of a crackdown on smuggling in Venezuela that is ratcheting up tensions and highlighting growing economic distortions between the neighbors.

Jenifer Rojas and Belsy Alvarez were arrested in early September by Venezuela’s national guard walking out of a supermarket in the western city of San Cristobal with bags of rice, pasta, mayonnaise and other staples whose prices are capped in Venezuela and whose sale is restricted to the country’s residents.

Right now they’re out on parole, along with the cashier, who also was arrested.

Back in September crossing the border with foodstuffs may have been profitable, but now, goods are bad,

My first shock was the grocery store when I went to refurbish my refrigerator. The prices went noticeably up in one month for the stuff I buy. There was no imported goods. Of course, among the goods available there is all sorts of imported stuff re-processed in Venezuela. After all we are importing now at the very least 60% of our food (estimates vary, I am giving you the bottom line). What I mean is that you could still find an occasional treat, like some average Italian pasta, or an overpriced jar of raspberry jam. This is now all gone. And it has not been replaced, even by sub-par Venezuelan production.

The real dough is in oil smuggling,

Caracas-based economist Asdrubal Oliveros recently estimated 130,000 barrels of gasoline are now smuggled across the border to Colombia each and every day.

That’s a big number. How big?

Well, assuming our men in uniform are bad at business and only make $65 per barrel sold (they’re wholesalers, after all), that would work out $8.5 million dollarsevery day, $253.5 million dollars a month, $3.08 billion a year.

You could make three thousand milicos millionaires for that kind of money, and still have spare change to cut another 843 of them $100,000 gifts. (Note: the government believes the amount is about $2.2 billion per year)

In some ways, the headline figure is actually quite small. It’s only a fifth of the $14-15 billion a year in foregone sales from subsidizing gasoline in the first place, andmuch less than the $25 billion a year we would be earning from extra oil produced in the Orinoco Belt if Chávez hadn’t muscled out our foreign partners in 2005-2006 and production had risen according to what was then the schedule, but hasn’t cuz, y’know, he did.

Don’t wonder, then, why there is no military coup in Venezuela. All that money is going somewhere.

Meanwhile, Maduro raised the minimum wage by 15%, i.e., the $776 lie

Nicolás Maduro raised the minimum wage by 15% last night, starting December 1st.

Quickly, government news agencies began spewing the lie – there really is no other way to characterize it – that this was the highest minimum wage in Latin America, equivalent to US$ 776. The rub lies in the fact that this conversion is calculated using the official-yet-impossible-to-find exchange rate of BsF 6.3 per dollar – if you were to use the market exchange rate of BsF 102 per dollar, you get a minimum (and I mean really minimum) wage of US$ 48 per month.

He’s also aligning himself with the hardcore Marxists

That’s going to work as all Marxism has so far.

Report on 100% food inflation in Venezuela,

Parting question,
Could Low Oil Prices End Venezuela’s Revolution? The answer to that question may depend on the outcome of Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi trip this week to Venezuela.

The Iranian plot to kill Saudi Ambassador involved Mexican cartels

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

From the Department of Justice’s statement,
Two Men Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States

The Alleged Plot
The criminal complaint alleges that, from the spring of 2011 to October 2011, Arbabsiar and his Iran-based co-conspirators, including Shakuri of the Qods Force, have been plotting the murder of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. In furtherance of this conspiracy, Arbabsiar allegedly met on a number of occasions in Mexico with a DEA confidential source (CS-1) who has posed as an associate of a violent international drug trafficking cartel. According to the complaint, Arbabsiar arranged to hire CS-1 and CS-1’s purported accomplices to murder the Ambassador, and Shakuri and other Iran-based co-conspirators were aware of and approved the plan. With Shakuri’s approval, Arbabsiar has allegedly caused approximately $100,000 to be wired into a bank account in the United States as a down payment to CS-1 for the anticipated killing of the Ambassador, which was to take place in the United States.

According to the criminal complaint, the IRCG is an arm of the Iranian military that is composed of a number of branches, one of which is the Qods Force. The Qods Force conducts sensitive covert operations abroad, including terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings, and is believed to sponsor attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq. In October 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Qods Force for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

The complaint alleges that Arbabsiar met with CS-1 in Mexico on May 24, 2011, where Arbabsiar inquired as to CS-1’s knowledge with respect to explosives and explained that he was interested in, among other things, attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia. In response, CS-1 allegedly indicated that he was knowledgeable with respect to C-4 explosives. In June and July 2011, the complaint alleges, Arbabsiar returned to Mexico and held additional meetings with CS-1, where Arbabsiar explained that his associates in Iran had discussed a number of violent missions for CS-1 and his associates to perform, including the murder of the Ambassador.

Shakuri remains at large. Arbabsiar was arrested on Sept. 29, 2011, at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, as a result from the cooperation of the Mexican government, which the Justice Department specifically acknowledges.

In Latin America, drugs, criminality and terrorism are threads of one fabric.

Additionally, this case illustrates the issue that border security is national security.


The good news in this planned act of war from Iran is that the Mexican government and the DEA have deeply infiltrated at least one of the cartels.


Biggus Dickus can’t be Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudis

Friday, February 5th, 2010

I was posting this Monty Python clip last month,

and now it’s Instapundit‘s turn, because of this story:
Diplomat Whose Name Is Dirty Word in Arabic Rejected as Saudi Ambassador

A high-ranking Pakistani diplomat reportedly cannot be appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia because in Arabic his name translates into a phrase more appropriate for a porn star, referring to the size of male genitals, Foreign Policy reported.

The Arabic transaltion of Akbar Zeb to “biggest d**k” has overwhelmed Saudi officials who have refused to allow his post there.

Zeb has run into this problem before when Pakistan tried to appoint him as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, where he was rejected for the same reason, according to Foreign Policy.

Scott Johnson takes a more dignified look at the story,

Which raises the question of Akbar Zeb: What, precisely, is the problem? Surely Mr. Zeb would be welcome as Pakistan’s ambassador to France, or Great Britain, or the United States, or Israel, for that matter, if only Pakistan would recognize Israel.

What’s the problem with dispatching Mr, Zeb to Saudi Arabia? Like Pilate, Saudi Arabia appears to have a problem with possible jokes about Mr. Zeb’s name. Could the problem be that among the rules of joking in Islam is the one laid down by Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez: “Fear joking, for it is folly and generates grudges.” Muhammad himself is quoted as having issued the edict: “Do not laugh too much, for laughing too much deadens the heart.” We see where Mr. Zeb might present a problem in Arabic-speaking countries.

Indeed, it is not just Saudi Arabia that has refused to welcome Mr. Zeb. As the news story notes, David Kenner reports on the Foreign Policy site that, according to the article in the Arab Times that is the source of the story, “Pakistan had previously floated Zeb’s name as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, only to have him rejected for the same reason.”

Kenner can’t help himself. He adds his own interpretive twist to the story: “One can only assume that submitting Zeb’s name to a number of Arabic-speaking countries is some unique form of punishment designed by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry — or the result of a particularly egregious cockup.”

Explained by a Johnson, too.

A death sentence over a cell phone

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

No end to the depravity,
Saudi girl, 13, sentenced to 90 lashes after she took a mobile phone to school

A 13-year-old girl has been sentenced to 90 lashes and two months’ prison in Saudi Arabia after she took a mobile phone to school.

A court ordered the girl to be flogged in front of her classmates following an assault on the school principal, according to the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan.

Take a look at what a flogging looks like:


Sentencing a 13-yr old child to endure 90 lashes and two months’ prison is the equivalent of a death sentence.

But we’re talking about a pathological mindset that believes that girls should be mutilated in order to save them from themselves and subjugate them to men. I was in a waiting room the other day when I came across this article, Waris Dirie Fights Female Genital Mutilation

Though female circumcision is often thought of as a foreign issue, according to experts at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an estimated 228,000 women in the U.S. have undergone the procedure or are at risk. “Violence against woman does not know borders,” notes Dirie, “whether it is FGM, forced marriage, honor killings, or domestic violence.” She is pushing hard for a U.S. release of Desert Flower and notes, “There are an estimated 40,000 FGM victims in New York City alone.”

It’s a practice Dirie can speak about firsthand. Her mother held her down when she was cut without anesthesia by a gypsy woman when she was a tiny girl. Dirie’s vaginal opening was stitched closed with thorns. The pain was horrific. “Can you imagine anything worse than hearing the screams of pain of your own child?” she asks.

“I consider FGM the worst type of torture that can be done to a woman. It’s impossible to describe the pain,” she continues. One of Dirie’s older sisters bled to death after the procedure, while a six-year-old cousin perished from a resulting infection. In her book, Dirie makes it clear that FGM is blatant butchering, writing, “It’s like someone is slicing through the meat of your thigh or cutting off your arm, except this is the most sensitive part of your body.” In many African communities, she goes on to explain, “the prevailing wisdom is that there are bad things between a girl’s legs.”

Dirie has come a long way to find herself in this well-appointed Paris room. At around 13, her father sold her to a much older man to be his next wife. The plan was that he would cut open her stitched vagina with a knife or break it open by penetrating her. So she ran away.

Like Aayan Hirsi Ali, she ran away. The article on Waris Dire does not mention a religious affiliation, but Islam definitely was the factor behind Hirsi Ali’s mutilation. Both Dire and Hirsi Ali have survived; as you may recall, Katoucha died under suspicious circumstances.

In another case involving a child, Phyllis Chesler asks Can Counseling Prevent a Potential Honor Killing?

Don’t bet your life on it.

Prior posts on fgm here and here.

Could it be that terrorist art therapy rehab summer camp doesn’t work?

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Pantybomber terrorist has Gitmo alumni friends. Who’d have thunk it?

Two al Qaeda Leaders Behind Northwest Flight 253 Terror Plot Were Released by U.S.
Former Guantanamo Prisoners Believed Behind Northwest Airlines Bomb Plot; Sent to Saudi Arabia in 2007

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

I guess those crayons and coloring books weren’t enough:

One program gives the former detainees paints and crayons as part of the rehabilitation regimen.

Looks like the Saudis forgot to try graham crackers and a nap, for the full kindergarten experience.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

Both Saudi nationals have since emerged in leadership roles in Yemen, according to U.S. officials and the men’s own statements on al Qaeda propaganda tapes.

Gitmo alumni hardcore terrorists, relased to Saudi Arabia, find their way to Yemen and resume leadership positions with al-Qaeda.

I’m shocked! shocked!

Say no to the bow

Saturday, November 14th, 2009


Why is the President of the United States bowing to foreign dignitaries?

How low will he go? Obama gives Japan’s Emperor Akihito a wow bow

Democrat president Barack Obama bows to Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko 11-09

How low will the new American president go for the world’s royalty?

This photo will get Democrat President Obama a lot of approving nods in Japan this weekend, especially among the older generation of Japanese who still pay attention to the royal family living in its downtown castle. Very low bows like this are a sign of great respect and deference to a superior.

Then there’s the Saudi king,



And we’re supposed to believe this is smart diplomacy?

Donald did a video commentary,

Gitmo alumnus status update: shot in Yemen

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Not only did he graduate from Gitmo, he also graduated from Saudi Arabia’s rehab program:

Former Gitmo detainee killed in shootout, or as Ace says, former terrorist dies of dental plaque and bullets, but mostly bullets,

A former Guantanamo detainee has reportedly been killed in a shootout between the Yemeni Army and Houthi rebels in northern Yemen. The former detainee, Fahd Saleh Suleiman al Jutayli, was captured in Pakistan after fleeing the Tora Bora Mountains in 2001. He was repatriated to his native Saudi Arabia in May 2006.

According to the Yemen Post, two other former Gitmo detainees – Yusuf al Shehri and Othman al Ghamdi – called their families to tell them Jutayli had been killed in the fighting and asked them to inform Jutayli’s family.

Earlier this year, the Saudi government included all three of these former Guantanamo detainees – Jutayli, Shehri, and Ghamdi – on a list of the Kingdom’s 85 most wanted terrorists. After being released from Guantanamo, the three graduated from Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation program and joined eight other former Gitmo detainees in fleeing south to Yemen. All eleven joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Yusuf al-Shehri, a former Gitmo detainee, reportedly informed his family of Jutayli’s death. Photo courtesy of the NEFA Foundation.

The escape of the eleven former Gitmo detainees from Saudi Arabia was reportedly organized by still other Gitmo veterans. Writing in the May 2009 issue of the CTC Sentinel, Dr. Christopher Boucek, an associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that Saudi officials found their disappearance “was well-coordinated in advance.” Their escape “was allegedly coordinated with other non-Saudi former Guantanamo detainees who have been repatriated to other countries, indicating that returnees have maintained ties from Guantanamo,” Boucek reported.

Surely we have nothing to worry about with all the plans to close Gitmo by next January, do we?

Bowing, and receiving a medal

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Charles Johnson posts that Pres. GW Bush bowed to King Abdullah, and posts a video.

In the video, George W. Bush is leaning down in order to receive a medal King Abdullah.

I am more than willing to criticize Bush’s hand-holding and receiving medals from the Saudis, as the US persists in remaining dependent on Saudi Oil. However, Obama’s bow was, as Jules put it, a

gratuitous abasement of the office of the presidency.

Fie on both of them.

Obama bows to Saudi king

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009


Clarice Feldman has the video. You can see (0:50 into the video) that it clearly is a bow:

As I was saying yesterday, Americans do not bow to kings:

One does not bow or curtsy to a foreign monarch because the gesture symbolizes recognition of her power over her subjects.

It is akin to Jimmy Carter succumbing to Brezhnev’s infamous kiss at the signing of the arms accord in Vienna in 1979. It is a disgrace.

UPDATE, Friday 3 April
No, Obama wasn’t cleaning the floor when greeting Abdullah

Obama’s first formal TV interview with … al-Arabiya

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

President Obama has sat for his first formal TV interview with the Arabic cable TV network Al-Arabiya, ABC News has learned.

Dan Riehl has the video:

The Beeb’s Middle East correspondent says,

It [the interview] will confuse some in the Middle East even further – in particular, perhaps, persuading Iran’s most senior leaders that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not perhaps the best man to counter the Obama appeal.

No More Miser Nice Blog points out that

George W. Bush gave interviews to Al-Arabiya in May 2004, January 2005, October 2005, October 2007, January 2008, and May 2008 — six interviews, which, as far as I can tell, is six more than Bush gave as president to MSNBC.

Bush was also interviewed on Al-Hurra in May 2004 (the media blitz at that moment was Abu Ghraib damage control) and January 2008.

All that said, it’ll be interesting to see what Obama means by

“…If America is ready to initiate a new partnership [with the Muslim world] based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.”

Right now George J. Mitchell, his special envoy for Middle East peace,

on the road until Feb. 3, according to the State Department. He will travel to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France and England. He also hopes to go to Istanbul, the site of talks between Israel and Syria.

If, as prior Middle East “peace” missions have attempted, Mitchell is intent in negotiating peace by having Israel make more and more concessions, we all know how that’s going to turn out.

Meanwhile, Al-Hopiyah, Al Changiyah!


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