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Entries in Karl reMarks (4)


Saudi Arabia Feature: Regime's Historic Decision "To Ban Everything" (Karl ReMarks)

In an unprecedented move in modern governance, Saudi Arabia announced today that it will introduce a ban on everything. The announcement has sent shockwaves throughout the kingdom and the Middle East, leaving many governments wondering ‘why didn’t we think of that first?’ The new rule is expected to revolutionise governance in this part of the world, and may indeed have wider repercussions.

The announcement was made early on Sunday morning by a Saudi official in a press conference, expected to be the last of its kind because press briefings will automatically be banned when the ban takes effect.

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Mali, Algeria, and Beyond: A Beginner's Guide to the Bad Guys (Karl reMarks)

Mokhtar Belmokthar, a.k.a., Mr MarlboroMokhtar Belmokhtar --- The Masked Ones 

Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s name is a subtle nod towards Jean Valjean, the central character in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. (Al-Qaeda’s dalliance with symbolism is legendary.) Belmokhtar is believed to be responsible for the recent hostage-taking operation in Algeria.

The one-eyed Islamist is also known as Mr Marlboro and The Uncatchable. His group, The Masked Ones, go under various names including Khaled Abul Abbas Brigade and The Blood Battalion. 

The nickname Mr Marlboro comes from Belmokhtar’s cigarette smuggling activity. Other al-Qaeda groups have banned smoking in the areas they control. According to experts, this shows that al-Qaeda is learning from the European governments when it comes to implementing contradictory but lucrative tobacco policies.

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Libya Satire: A Beginner's Guide to Democacy...and Slapstick (Karl reMarks)

"The Libya Shield Force functions as a regular army, but only on weekends" (Photo: AP)

The General National Congress is an elected chamber, much like any other parliament in the world outside North Korea and parts of the Gulf. However the GNC’s procedures were designed to give a voice for those who lost in the elections but still have lots of weapons. A simple majority is used to determine the outcome of legislative votes, but this could be invalidated should 15 or more armed men burst into the chamber screaming and waving their machineguns in the air. At this point, the chairman must recognise the motion and moves to delay the vote and must rush out saying “I’m sorry I have to leave, I’m invited to dinner.” (But using more than 25 men is considered bad form according to convention.)

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Syria Satire: A Beginner's Guide to the Islamist Insurgent Groups (Karl reMarks)

"Liwa’a  Al-Tawheed, or the Unity Brigades, is a splinter group. Irony isn’t their thing"

Jabhat Al-Nusra: No doubt the jewel in the crown of all Jihadi groups. Except that they don’t approve of jewels. Or crowns. Or embellishments of any kind. Sometimes they are mistakenly referred to as Jabhat Al-Nusra Front, which literally means The Nusra Front Front. But that makes them sound ridiculous. And if there’s one group you don’t want to piss off it’s the Jabhat Al-Nusra. In fact, don’t piss any of them to be on the safe side.

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