Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The scourge of the cell phones...(Updated)

Technological advances are changing the shape of Middle East politics, or at least they've added a new dimension to how scandals get depicted to the viewing public. From Junbulatt's embarassing utterances to scenes of mob violence, images and videos taken by cell phones are a never-ending source of scandal to the gossip-whisperers of the region.

And now, a video surfaces of the brother of Iraq's minister of trade getting a lap dance from a hooker somewhere in Iraqi Kurdistan. He's the guy who appears at the end of the clip. [The person at the end is the media advisor of the Ministry of Trade, Muhammad Hanoon, who was arrested on the same corruption charges involving the minister's brothers. The assertion is that one of the brothers was at this party]. The clip starts with someone yelling, "Yirohlich fidwa al-Maliki", which roughly translates into "I'd sacrifice Maliki for you." I think this is the same brother who got arrested last week in Samawa carrying 150,000 dollars in cash, who then tried to bribe his way out. He's accused of skimming profits from sugar imports into Iraq. The Iraqi parliament last week was the scene of a serious grilling of the Trade Minister, Falah al-Sudani, a member of the pro-Iranian Da'awa Party-Iraq Organization (...headed by Abdel-Karim al-'Anizi), over this and other issues. His brothers are also members of the same party.

In other news, Maliki's office has sent out directives punishing businesses that sell alcohol. There's also a move in parliament [led by party-pooper MP Layla al-Khafaji of the UIA, a Canadian citizen] to ban alcohol imports. Boy, that's going to put a damper on the partying. It is also clear that much of the partying is being done by the nouveau riche Islamists.

Here's the video, which I'm posting strictly for educational purposes:

UPDATE (Monday, May 25, 2009): The Minister of Trade submitted his resignation today.


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