Arabian regimes, most notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have embarked on what is referred to as “reforms”. These have centred around promoting vulgarity. The regimes thought their young populations will buy into it. Recent opinion polls show the youth reject such policies.
There are at least 65,000 political prisoners in El-Sisi’s dungeons where they are subjected to extreme torture. Many prisoners suffer from various ailments such as heart disease, diabetes etc but they are deliberately deprived of medication. A number of them have died in prison as a consequence.
Both the noble Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah emphasize speaking out and stopping evil deeds because they cause the destruction of society. The Bani Saud say, do not speak out against evil. Those that want to follow the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah are punished by the Bani Saud. Is there another definition of evil?
Iraq continues to reel under political instability because the various political factions cannot agree to work with each other. Muqtada al-Sadr seems to be at the heart of the political impasse because of his sudden shifts in what he wants. The people of Iraq suffer.
Joe Biden will be heading to the Middle East later this month. He has made clear it is to secure Israel, meaning that he will push for Saudi recognition of the zionist entity. Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Mohammad bin Salman is desperate for rehabilitation following his involvement in the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi that made him an international pariah.
Ignorance of other cultures and peoples is a peculiarly American trait. Its latest example was witnessed in the high-powered US delegation sent to Abu Dhabi ostensibly to offer condolences on the death of its president but in reality, to reset relations. The trouble was America sent people of the wrong color.
Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) refused to take a phone call from US President Joe Biden because he has called him a “pariah”. Biden wants the Saudis and Emiratis to increase oil production because of sanctions on Russian oil and gas. How long can MbS hold out against Biden?
The policies pursued by Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman threaten the sanctity of Makkah and al-Madinah. The two holy cities are the common heritage of the Ummah. It is, therefore, the responsibility of all Muslims worldwide to take steps to protect the two holy cities.
While Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) has used brutal methods including killings, imprisonment and torture to eliminate all rivals (real and imagined), to grab power, his ascension to the Saudi throne is not guaranteed. There are other contenders that are likely to challenge him.
In terms of population and landmass, the UAE is tiny. Yet it continues to act way above its size and significance. Barely 50 years ago, the Bedouins wandered with their camels and tents wandered in the desert. Today, they are acting as if they are big players. It would be in their interest to realize their limitation before their concrete and glass towers come crashing down.
Zionist Israel routinely issues threats against Hizbullah, Iran and the Islamic resistance movement in Palestine. In Palestine, the Zionists continue to arrest, torture and murder Palestinians without international opprobrium. Should Israel attack Hizbullah or Iran, it may receive a very harsh blow.
The Saudi regime is trying to engage its people in hedonistic culture by organizing concerts and dance programs while it continues to kill ulama, human rights defenders and those who dare ask for basic human rights.
There are unmistakable signs that the US is turning away from the Middle East to focus of the Asia-Pacific region in its new policy to contain China. Uncle Sam’s withdrawal from the Middle East has caused panic among its client regimes, not least the one in Saudi Arabia.
Diverse political groups in Iraq are increasingly demanding the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country. Their focus is the US presence that is at the root of all of Iraq’s problems.
Saudization has long been touted as a policy to replace expatriate workers with the Saudis. Given the Saudis’ laziness and incompetence, the policy is not making much headway. The only thing the regime has achieved is the expulsion of expatriates without any Saudis replacing them.
Successive military regimes in Egypt have a gory record of murdering innocent people. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has the worst record of all. Many leading Islamic movement activists, former members of parliament or ministers, face imminent execution following farcical trials.
In recent months, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader Muhammad bin Salman has been retreating on various fronts. His pronouncements about Islamic Iran, claiming it wants good neighbourly relations with it have raised many eyebrows. What has led to his retreat?
The Saudi war on Yemen is getting nowhere. The poorly-trained Saudi soldiers have been surrendering to Yemen’s Ansarallah fighters to save themselves. The Saudi regime has started executing its own soldiers accusing them of treason. This is a sure sign of defeat.
There is an intense struggle underway in Iraq between secularists and the Islamic movement. Unfortunately, the latter too has not fully shed sectarian tendencies despite the fact that it is the land of Prophets as well as great Imams.
Were it not for oil, most rulers in the Middle East would still be herding camels in the desert. Nobody would pay the slightest attention to them. Yet oil wealth has gone to their heads and they are acting way above their capacity. Their fall would be painful.
While Arabian rulers are rushing to normalize relations with the Zionist occupiers of Palestine, there are other powers getting together to resist such sell-out. A multi-polar world order is emerging
The Islamic movement was missing from anti-government protests in Algeria last year. How did this come about when in the 1990s, the Islamic Salvation Front had swept all polls—local as well as those at state level? We examine the issue.
Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi seems to be a man for all seasons. As Iraq’s former spy chief, he has cultivated close links with many unsavory characters that appear to have paid off by elevating him into the prime ministerial seat in Baghdad.
It is difficult to sympathize with Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) whose erratic policies have brought the medieval kingdom to the brink of collapse. Will a combination of the pandemic, low oil prices and MbS’ idiotic policies banish the Bani Saud?
Can anyone escape death? The Bani Saud ruling clan thinks it can, by hiding on remote islands to avoid infection by the coronavirus. But what if their time is up; will they be able to escape death?
With the arrest of several senior ‘royals’ and scores of security personnel, crown prince Muhammad bin Salman’s panic is evident. Rumours have it that he wants to become king before the G-20 summit next November regardless of whether his father is alive or dead.
Pakistan’s kow-towing to the Saudis is becoming increasingly untenable. The Saudis have just stabbed Pakistan in the back over Kashmir, that is the most important issue for Pakistan, in fact for its very survival. It is time for Islamabad to rethink its policy vis-à-vis the Saudis.
Some Muslims have described Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes on two American bases in Iraq as not sufficiently strong because no American soldier was killed. Iran’s missiles were not intended to kill but to send a message that no US military bases or its allies and puppets’ assets in the region are safe from Irani strikes.
The Najdi Bedouins take great offence if Muslims celebrate the birthday of the noble Messenger (pbuh) yet they have no problem celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali and the pagan festival of Halloween in the medieval kingdom.
Islamic leaders that led the Islamic awakening movements in their respective countries made a strategic blunder: they opted to play within the system and hoped to mould it to their agenda. Instead, they were not only co-opted but easily subverted and crushed by the system.
Another American trained, financed and inflated terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been eliminated because he outlived his usefulness for Uncle Sam. It also serves Donald Trump’s electoral chances by presenting it as a foreign policy success.
Most Muslims are unhappy with the Saudi occupation of the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah but they do not know how to change the situation. We speculate on what could happen if three countries were to take action…
MbS, the Saudi crown prince, is one nervous wreck these days. He has bitten more than he can chew or handle. He may be presiding over the demise of the sandcastle kingdom of Saudi Arabia and clearly feels the sand shifting from underneath his feet.
The Saudis are getting a dose of their own medicine as the Yemeni resistance movement Ansarallah launches drone attacks on Aramco and Riyadh.
China’s Belt and Road initiative is not the only game in town. There is a road and rail link planned between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey that would have much positive impact on the development of the region.
Two historical monuments—the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and al-Masjid al Aqsa in Jerusalem—were engulfed in flames the same day. Notre Dame got almost blanket coverage but the Aqsa fire was totally ignored. Why?
Muhammad bin Salman is clumsier than Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame but the former is far more deadly since he controls virtually everything in the medieval kingdom.
The Khashoggi affair has exposed the Bani Saud in a manner that none of their other misdemeanors had done before. Turkish President Erdogan has skillfully utilized the ghastly crime to expose their true nature.
The brutal manner in which journalist Jamal Khashoggi was chopped up alive by a Saudi hit squad has sent shockwaves throughout the world.
The Bani Saud are guilty of horrendous crimes in Yemen where a famine is raging and more than one million children are suffering from cholera. Saudi rulers should be tried for war crimes.
Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman is thrashing about like a wounded beast that is trapped. He has arrested a large number of people and also intensified executions in the kingdom to terrorize the people into submission. He is failing and will only short-circuit his own existence.
The Arabian Peninsula, especially the two holy cities of Makkah and al Madinah (called the Haramayn), are not the personal property of the greedy ruling family. Their un-Islamic behavior has put the Haramayn at risk. They should be banished to protect the holy cities.
On his US visit, Saudi crown prince Bin Salman missed no opportunity to tell big lies about the regime’s ‘moderate’ policies. Respect for human rights and people’s basic freedoms are not part of such moderation.
For weeks, the Western corporate media was reporting the ‘use of chemical weapons’ by the Syrian government but when the Syrian army discovered a chemical lab in terrorist-held territory, the same media went silent.
Saudi clown prince tries to ingratiate himself to the Americans to secure his hold on power. Will he succeed?
In the Banu Saud’s ongoing circus about succession, crown prince Muhammad bin Salman had lured other princes to the Ritz Carlton Hotel for dinner and then promptly arrested them. Who would want to believe this blighter in future?
After spreading the poisonous ideology of Wahhabism for decades that has spawned such monsters as the takfiris, the Bani Saud now claim they want to follow “moderate” Islam. Really?
The US-Zionist-Saudi-backed takfiri project is being folded up in both Iraq and Syria but these misguided people, set-up by the West, have caused immense damage to Islam and Muslims.
By standing firm on principle, tiny Qatar has called Saudi Arabia’s bluff. The Bani Saud and their Arabian allies are now scratching their heads as to what to do next.
June 1967 marked the 50th anniversary of the defeat of a number of Arabian armies at the hands of the Zionist invaders. Arabian nationalism proved no match for Zionist nationalism.
The Bani Saud and the Emiratis may be allies in their war on Yemen but inside the war-ravaged country, they are backing different factions that are fighting and killing each other.
Whenever the Saudi ‘royals’ mess up the economy, they reflexively target poor expatriate workers. There is not even a hint that the Bani Saud would curtail their extravagant lifestyle or accept responsibility for messing things up.
The imperialists and their sidekicks first create a crisis to frighten the Arabian potentates in the Persian Gulf and then come with offers to sell them weapons that the latter cannot use.
The Astana peace talks achieved several things. Syria’s ceasefire still largely holds, the terrorists have been separated from other opposition groups and the next round of talks will be held in Geneva at the end of this month.
Didn’t the Western rulers and their media tell us that they are opposed to the takfiri terrorists? So why are they so grief-stricken at the terrorists’ defeat in Aleppo?
Syrian forces make rapid progress with Russian air support against the terrorists in eastern Aleppo. Next stop will be Raqqa.
Poverty and Saudi Arabia may appear a contradiction in terms yet the kingdom’s economy has suffered massive blows because of wrong-headed policies. The kingdom is on the verge of bankruptcy.3
The Zionists not only want to occupy the whole of Palestine but their special target is al Masjid al Aqsa, the holy sanctuary. They have intensified their attacks in recent weeks as Muslim attention is diverted elsewhere.1
Takfirism is not a new phenomenon; its precursor was the Khawarij. Today, the takfiris receive money, weapons, training and support from many regimes, some even carrying Muslim names.1
What is Russia upto in Syria? The general impression is that it backs the Bashar al Asad’s government. This does not reflect an accurate picture. Russia has its own objectives in which Syria and Asad are mere pawns.
Ten years after Zionist Israel’s war of aggression on Hizbullah in Lebanon, we examine the political, military and strategic dimensions of the Zionists’ crime and blunder. Will the Zionists dare carry out a frontal assault against Hizbullah again?
The Palestinians suffered their Nakba (catastrophe) in May 1948 but it has not ended. Everyday is Nakba for the Palestinians under Zionist occupation.
The Najdi munafiqs’ cover has been blown by fast-paced developments in the region. They fought the Prophet (saws) 1400 years ago and are fighting his committed followers today.
The Saudi regime spends tens of billions on purchasing weapons each year but the Saudi army is so incompetent that it cannot even shoot straight. To hide its impotence, it has resorted to military exercises with other countries to showcase their prowess as its own.
Even while most of the world has realized that foreign mercenaries cannot overthrow the government of President Bashar al Asad, Erdogan and Bani Saud continue to harbor the illusion, with disastrous consequences for both.
The Syrian army and pro-government militias are making steady progress against the takfiris driving them out of many important areas. This has been possible because Russia has been bombing the takfiris strongholds causing massive damage.
The roots of the Da‘ish terrorists (aka ISIS/ISIL or takfiris) can be traced all the way to the American Zionist neo-cons’ agenda to secure the realm for their favorite country Israel.1
Whatever Russia’s motives in joining the fight against the takfiri terrorists — and these have been dissected endlessly — they have resulted in dramatic changes on the ground in Syria.
With the foreign-instigated war on Syria into its fifth year, is there room for opti-mism about a possible end to the bloodletting? Recent developments give rise to guarded optimism that there may be a dim flicker of light at the end of Syria’s long dark tunnel. It would, however, be prudent not to assume that peace will descend on Syria tomorrow. That may still be a long way away but it appears there is much greater awareness among all parties involved, especially foreign backers of the takfiri terrorists, who realize they have created a monster that needs to be brought under control before it devours them as well.
It can no longer be denied that one of the main unintended consequences of the US instigated chaos in the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) is going to be the destabilization of “Saudi” Arabia.
They have no diplomatic relations but that has not proved a hindrance to the Najdi Bedouins and the Zionists publicly embracing each other against Islamic self-determination.
The Najdi Bedouins’ attack on Yemen has resulted in not only Saudi casualties but also given rise to freedom movements inside the kingdom. The Bedouins may have bitten more than they can chew.
Killing a lot of civilians and destroying much of Yemen’s infrastructure does not amount to a “Saudi” victory. What would the Najdi Bedouins do now?
No single Arabian army or a combination of them has ever won a single battle. Their sole achievement has been to conquer their own hapless people. A new plan proposes an “Arab” army; it will be used to suppress internal dissent, more efficiently!
Salman ibn Abd al Aziz, wasted little time taking the broom to almost all the appointees of his deceased predecessor Abdullah. In their place, he appointed his own sons and favourite nephews. How long will Bani Saud remain in power is an interesting question.
The death of King Abdullah (he was 90) on January 23 has exposed the deep fissures in the artificial ‘Saudi’ kingdom. People are demanding their basic rights and will settle for nothing less.
The takfiris have not erupted in a vacuum. Their emergence is part of a carefully laid out plan to destroy Muslim societies, turn Muslims away from Islam and to protect the Zionist entity.
While Rabbinical law prohibits Jews from trespassing on the sacred soil of al-Haram al-Sharif, the Zionist thugs are trampling on their own law to grab even the holy site.
Both Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council have condemned the Saudi regime for harassing and torturing human rights activists for doing no more than peacefully demanding basic rights.
It is revealing that Muslim regimes in the Middle East that eagerly give billions to takfiri terrorists to kill fellow Muslims are completely silent about zionist killings of Palestinians.
The world has a new poster boy in al-Baghdadi. Some naive Muslims will be taken in by his brandishing a kalishnakov instead of the sword but it is important to look deeper. Emotional outbursts are no substitute for clear analysis and understanding.
Bashar al-Asad seems set to win the June 3 election, not by rigging but winning people’s confidence frustrating the Western-Arabian inspired conspiracy against his government.
The House of Saud has arrived at a critical moment in its history: how to safely hand over power to the next generation without upsetting the applecart. It is not an easy task.
Even traditionally pro-Saudi groups in the world have been horrified at the Saudis’ designation of the Ikhwan al-Muslimun and by implication, Hamas in Palestine, as terrorist organizations.
Calling for reforms or exposing corruption in the kingdom could land you on the chopping bloc. So much for Saudi Islam.
Imperialist powers manipulate public opinion and perception about their strengths and weaknesses to confuse people. Muslims must be wary of such manipulation.
The Saudi intelligence chief, Bandar bin Sultan is a worried man these days. He has plotted to have the Americans attack Syria by supplying chemical weapons to the rebels. Instead, recent developments have left the Saudis exposed and sulking.
Deft diplomacy by Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran helped US President Barack Obama save face over Syria. He had got himself into a bind until the Russians’ offered him an escape route.
The tyrannical regimes in the Middle East are a bundle of contradictions. They are not sure who their friends or enemies are. While they are fighting each other, there are major contradictions in their relations pointing to extreme opportunism rather than policies based on principles.
The hoax perpetrated by the West promising democracy to the people of Libya if they got rid of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi lies smouldering in the ruins of burned out homes, schools and hospitals. Libya is a country in the grip of armed militias answerable to no one. The government does not exist even in name.
Hizbullah has adopted a principled, Qur’anic position vis-à-vis Syria, notwithstanding the insulting allegations hurled against it by Saudi and Zionist agents.
The transfer of power from Sheikh Hamad to his son, Sheikh Tamim, is mere window dressing. It will have little impact on the tiny sheikhdom’s policies.
Saudi Arabia’s problems have become so severe that even a member of the ‘royal’ family has been forced to speak out publicly. Will King Abdullah and his inner circle take heed of Waleed bin Talal’s warnings?
In recent weeks, hopes have been aroused by the announcement of some Syrian opposition leaders to hold a dialogue with the Syrian regime. Will this bring the much-needed peace to the Syrian people?
The Muslim East has undergone radical change over the last two years. There are new political alignments that spell trouble for the US.
Turkey has become trapped in the Syrian quagmire as a result of misguided policies pushed by the US and the Arabian rulers. But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cannot escape responsibility and he must take steps to rectify this by making amends with Russia and Iran, rather than spoiling them.
Opposition to the House of Saud is growing among all segments of the population. How long can it last in power?
In Israeli-NATO “liberated” Libya, endless violence has forced many people to hark back to the days of Qaddafi rule.
How racist is the Zionist State of Israel? Consider this. Danny Danon, a Knesset member of the ruling rightwing Likud Partyleads the organization, Deportation Now.
They came from all walks of life and represented all ages: men, women and children stretching more than five kilometers outside Bahrain’s capital city, Manama, on 5-18-2012 to categorically reject any union between their country and Saudi Arabia, which was discussed, though not approved, in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.
Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have converged on countries bordering Occupied Palestine in an attempt to march to al-Quds (Jerusalem) in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Called the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ).
The Qatari-based tribal-owned network, al-Jazeera’s news broadcast on February 16 about Libya was revealing. It started with a report on the mayhem that has gripped Libya since the capture and brutal murder of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi on October 20, 2011. Without showing any footage of the brutality perpetrated by various militias against civilians, the network switched to an episode of 16 years ago to tell viewers how terrible Qaddafi’s rule was.
Ultimately, even the great rhetorical skills of Barack Obama could not hide the fact that the US military had been defeated in Iraq. American troops sneaked out of the country into Kuwait on December 15, a full two weeks ahead of the stipulated deadline.
The Saudi regime has adopted a three-pronged strategy to deal with the storm that has erupted since the Islamic Awakening swept the Muslim East more than a year ago. Soon after two dictators — General Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and General Hosni Mubarak of Egypt — were driven from power in quick succession, Saudi King Abdullah announced billions of dollars in handouts to buy people’s loyalty.
The Saudi-ruled kingdom is heading for turbulent times. It faces challenges on both external and internal fronts. No, there is no imminent threat of a military invasion from abroad. It is the invasion of ideas that is scaring the living daylights out of members of the House of Saud.
How tight are US-Saudi relations? Here is a clue. While former US President George Bush would publicly hold hands with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and even touch noses like birds before mating, his successor Barack Obama also made his first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia before he landed in Cairo for his now-forgotten speech delivered on June 4, 2009.
Even before the full extent of reforms for women in Saudi Arabia announced by King Abullah was known, western media outlets led by the BBC had started drum beating about the “reformer” Saudi king.
Successive US regimes have claimed that al-Qaeda is their enemy number one and that no effort would be spared in costs or human lives to eliminate it. Does empirical evidence support this claim? Let us examine the facts.
The Israelis have used the partial opening of Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt as a pretext to say the Palestinians’ suffering has ended and no aid need be sent any more. This has come about as hundreds of peace activists attempt to deliver boat loads of goods to alleviate, even if partially, the suffering of the long oppressed people of Gaza.
Almost everything about Saudi Arabia is different from neighboring countries, starting with its opaque politics and secretive decision-making and the manner in which it treats people, especially women and foreigners.
The Tunisian people who triggered the mass protests that have swept much of the Muslim East may be denied their basic rights after all. The interim Prime Minster Beji Caid Sebsi said in a televised address last month that elections scheduled for July 24 may be postponed. He cited “technical” reasons for the possible delay raising fears that the Tunisian establishment was beginning to back peddle on promises made to the people following the ouster of the long-ruling dictator General Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, 2011.
In characteristic arrogance, the Saudi regime sent in its army backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers to the tiny island of Bahrain on March 13 to crush the people’s movement for freedom and dignity. Some 2,000 troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) including 1,000 Saudis were rushed to Bahrain to attack protesters that had peacefully rallied in Manama’s Pearl Square for a month.
The winds of change sweeping the Islamic East have reached the shores of the tiny island state of Bahrain as well. The ruling Khalifa family resorted to brute force to terrorize peaceful protesters in the capital Manama’s Pearl Square on February 18 that resulted in the deaths of five protesters and left hundreds injured. The city’s Salmaniya Hospital was overwhelmed as the dead and wounded were brought in. Distraught relatives rushed to the hospital turning it into a new venue for protests.
Friends and neighbors of Abouzizi’s were so horrified by his suicide that his funeral was turned into a protest rally despite threats from the police.
The Zionist State of Israel and its financial underwriter, the US, are getting desperate. They can no longer get away with their propaganda branding Hizbullah and Hamas as terrorist organizations. People worldwide are beginning to understand the true nature of Zionism.
Some Canadian media outlets have become conduits for Israeli propaganda. The latest in this series were “leaked” United Nations documents about the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination in Beirut.
This theatrical palace drama started when Bandar accompanied by a number of hangers-on went to Syria last year. He traveled under an assumed name using a false passport and carrying millions of dollars in cash, arrived in Damascus
The death of Shaykh Seyyed Hussain Fadlallah, a leading Islamic scholar of the Muslim world, in Beirut on July 4 has created a huge vacuum not only in Lebanon but also in the wider Muslim world. The 75-year-old alim and a leading ayatullah who was a strong supporter of Muslim unity and equally staunch opponent of US imperialism and Zionist colonialism.
The US, UK, Fatah and the secular tribal dictatorships in the Arabian world cannot use Islam to discredit Hamas because the Muslim masses judge individuals, organizations and states based on Islamic principles...
Extending the state of emergency will only fuel the rising tide of anger. People are being crushed by exorbitant prices of essential commodities, legendary corruption and a lethargic bureaucracy...
The UAE sheikhdom was cobbled together by the British before they left the region in 1971...
Even US President Barack Obama piped in with a video message telling the assembled crowd that he was serious about “engaging” the Muslim world, whatever that may mean...
Mubarak was vice president at the time of Sadat’s killing and succeeded him...
Muslims have naturally expressed concern over this latest assault on the Islamic sacred text...
The extent of Zionist war crimes in Ghazzah is slowly but surely emerging from the testimony of soldiers involved in the 23-day Israeli offensive launched on December 27, 2008. Much of this evidence was available to those willing to take off their pro-Israeli blinkers and see the smoldering ruins of Ghazzah...
The larger story from Lebanon’s June 7 parliamentary elections was neither the “defeat” of Hizbullah, as the Western media claimed, nor the resounding victory for the US-Saudi backed and financed March 14 movement. Its real significance lay in the fact that it may usher changes in Lebanon’s political landscape in ways that would have been unthinkable barely five years ago.
There has always been something rotten about the manner in which the House of Saud conducts its affairs. Deeply secretive, its palace intrigues often seep into the public domain because there are so many competing interests vying for power and influence.