Friday, May 08, 2009

18 Arab Leaders You Would Want with You in a Bar Fight

This post is not a political statement. It is simply a list of the Arab political figures you would want on your side if a bar fight were to break out. Because there are not that many, most of them are wimps once you take away their mukhabaraat, I had to throw in a few non-Arab ones for good measure.

There are a lot of figures on the list that I resent, and others whose actions or business practices I dislike. Then there are a few that I celebrate. For instance, the most sober of them, the ones who would never enter a bar in the first place, are likely to be the best fighters since their coordination will not be compromised.

1. Gamal Abdel Nasser, along with a few friends, took the lead in the 1952 Egyptian Revolution. He was an army colonel, so kicking ass was his job. But as a student he was wounded during a demonstration, then arrested and detained. Political activism was Nasser’s bread and butter; in his second year in high school, Nasser only spent forty-five days actually in high school—Ferris Bueller got nothing on Nasser. So you know he's tough.

He united Sudan with Egypt and also implemented a short lived unity with Syria, outmanning lesser Arab leaders. In the contest of the Arab defeat in 1948, Egyptian forces under his leadership secured the area known as the Fallujah. Also in October 1954, Nasser formally fired Naguib—his boss--and made himself the leader. In the same month, Nasser survived an assassination plot during a speech in Alexandria, when a volley of shots rang out. Nasser was heard shouting out in defiance of the ruckus of the crowd. Among his titles are “Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin.” He remains the godfather of all Arab nationalists. He makes more Arab nationalists than American Idol makes wannabe stars.

His Killer Move: He delivers a captivating speech from on top of the bar. It will grab your opponent's attention, leaving him vulnerable to a sneak attack, but only if you are not mesmerized, as well.

2. Yasser Arafat
, founder of the Fatah political party. He launched what is now one of the simpiest political parties in 1959. It was not always that way. He spent almost all his life fighting Israel either in battle or at the negotiating table. The Dude of Palestine survived an airplane crash into the Libyan Desert, which his two pilots and engineer did not. And several more attempts to take his life, until the Israelis finally poisoned him (this is disputed).

Arafat left school in 1948 and took part in combat in the Gaza area. He was called to fight alongside the Egyptian forces during the Suez Crisis. Earlier in his career, Arafat often personally led Fatah military incursions from Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Reportedly, he had Yusuf Orabi, a Syrian financier, thrown out of the window of a three-story building. Syrian police suspected Arafat was involved in the incident and issued a warrant against him. His street cred rose in the 1968 Battle of Karameh where Arafat ordered Fatah fighters to hold their ground in the face of an IDF attack. This courageous stand eventually forced the Israelis to retreat.

So if bad looks can give you a win in a bar fight, Arafat should be your sidekick; if bad luck and misery can give you the upper hand, stick to Arafat. Arafat was tough on his enemies, but even tougher on those who betrayed him or undercut him—there are countless stories. One thing is for sure, Arafat is not short on testosterone.

Killer Move: The kiss of death (his wife used it on Hillary Clinton's political career).

3. Saddam Hussein
. Again we have videos of this guy shooting guns, riding tanks, shooting people, torturing others, invading sovereign states, shooting more guns, messing with Iran, giving the finger to the United States and a dozen other nations. He is the wild card on this list. He had members of his own family killed, used chemical weapons against civilians, struck Israel with missiles, and is suspected of committing political assassinations with his own hands… if this is not crazy, it must be insane. As he was being lead to his execution, he managed to piss off his captors and create an embarrassing fiasco for his executors to whom he said, “Go to hell!” Rest assured that Saddam is the backup you need for a bar fight you cannot escape, but only if you are desperate. He was so crazy, he would be the type to kick your ass in the fight as well.

Another plus: if you guys somehow lost, his spokesman would announce to the world you sent your opponents to the grave.

Killer Move: the Scud attack. He launches beer bottles at your opponent. The down-side is he will hit you a few times.

4. Omar al-Bashir is the most wanted Arab leader. He's thumbing his nose at the International Criminal Court while he travels around the region. He would be perfect at evading the bouncers.

He comes from the al-Gaddafi school of fashion. One day the Sudanese leader dresses like an African tribe leader and the next like a white-robed presidential-looking Arab. If he wore the outfit from this picture to the bar fight, he would be undetectable to your opponents.

He's faced tough foes. Evangelists and Hollywood formed a rare alliance against him. Intellectual Arabs and street vendors alike are embarrassed by al-Bashir. If the whole president thing does not work out, then we know al-Bashir has a solid resume for prison brawling--no one will make him his bitch! If your skills in beating up people are not up to par, feel free to tap Uncle Omar for some tips and lessons.

Killer Move: Janjaweed fists. His rapid-fire punches will defeat any opponent and turn him and his family into refugees.

5. Khalil al-Wazir, the legendary Palestinian leader, had considerable influence in Fatah's military activities. He became the commander of Fatah's armed wing al-Assifa. He was behind the scenes during the 1970-71 Black September clashes in Jordan, supplying surrounded Palestinian fighters with weapons and aid. Al-Wazir planned numerous attacks inside Israel, he's that tough. He prepared Beirut's defense against incoming Israeli forces. While in high school, al-Wazir began organizing a small group of fedayeen to harass Israelis at military posts near the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. Egyptians detained him, Israelis sent him to exile in Saudi Arabia. He earned a new friend for Palestine—The People's Republic of China, including Premier Zhou Enlai—so buttering up the bouncer will be easy.

Nicknamed “the brain in exile,” you know he will fight smart.

Killer Move: A Surprise Attack. He will be disguised as an innocent bystander, then spring upon your enemy when he least expects it, unleashing a bone-chilling ululation as he strikes.

6. Ali Abdullah Saleh, like most decent Arab dictators, took part in a coup to depose a King, the Malik of Northern Yemen, in 1962. After giving him a few glasses of the "King of Beers," he'll be ready to cut someone with his jambiya (unless the bouncers get it at the door).

Saleh has great endurance. He took part in the 1974 coup that brought Ibrahim al-Hamdi into power. A coup against him in 1978 failed. Throughout Saleh’s military career, he was marked by numerous commendations and was wounded several times. Not sold yet? Saleh’s alleged criminal activities include the smuggling of drugs to Saudi Arabia and the trafficking of arms into various countries in Eastern Europe. It ain't easy being the head of a country like Yemen, where they have more guns that people and more nuts than an upscale bar. Remember, there are many bitter, angry, and underappreciated older men who sit at bars… in case you have to deal with such a situation call in the old school Ali Abdullah Saleh, he will do the job.

Killer Move: The Jambiya Dervish Slice. He pulls out his curved knife and begins whirling in a circle, cutting anything that gets in the way. It was inspired by Sufi whirling and by Chun Li in Street Fighter.

7. King Abdullah II of Jordan. He received military training in both the United States of A and the United Kingdom where he is a respected alum who earned his stripes. He is a field marshal now, being in charge of Jordanian Royal forces since 1996. It’s hard out here for a pimp, and that’s why it is good to have the King on your side in any bar fight.

He likes sky and scuba diving, and long walks on the beach. He would be great bear bait if the bar in question is a gay establishment.

The King has great survival skills. The guy is leading a country in the middle of a region that has seen so many wars and conflicts. He deals with refugees from Palestine, Iraq, and Chechnya, yet manages to have a solid relationship with Israel, the States, and Russia. Also, he is said to be a dominant video game player, which has given him very muscular thumbs. The Wii has contributed to his stocky, squirrelly build.

Killer Move: left, right, up, down, a + b, a + b

8. Qaboos bin Said al Said. It all comes to his weapons and the Sultan’s weapon of choice, a dagger that can stab your opponent and make their ancestors weep, is many inches longer than the Yemeni president's (Saleh says its not the size that matters but how you use it).

He received his education in Oman, India, and England, so he probably has a bad-ass accent. At 20, he entered Royal the Military Academy, Sandhurst and served with them in Germany for a year. There he helped defeat Napolean Bonaparte, and led him personally to imprisonment on Elba Island, according to Omani school textbooks.

In defiance of a house arrest he and his buddies took over the country and united it, overthrowing Daddy in the process. Also, with the help of Iran and Britain, he defeated the Communists from Yemen. Being married and divorced, rumored to be gay, and topped with a very weird sounding name definitely make the guy seem soft, except he is not. This will psyche out your enemy.

Killer Move: Flash Gordon. In the event of a fight, he pulls off his thawb to reveal both his daggers. As his opponent is stunned to see his jumbo appendage, he gets him good with the sharp metal dagger.

9. Abbas al-Musawi
, the co-founder of the Hezbollah movement and militia in his southern Lebanon town. Al-Musawi is reported to have served in various capacities in the movement: operational head of the Hezbollah Special Security Apparatus and head of Hezbollah's military wing, the Islamic Resistance.

Some believe he was behind the abduction of Lt. Col. William Higgins, luring him with a delicious candy bar. Abbas al-Musawi might not help you out in a bar fight, but he is known for motivating thousands of young people to join the resistance—say the resistance to that 300 pound dude sitting on your face. He is one of Shi’a on the list and rightfully he has a lot to vent. Whenever the Arab leaders sing Kumbaya with Israel, Al-Musawi pees on their parade and authorizes an attack on some target.

Ultimately Israel crashed his party by bombing his motorcade, killing his son and his wife. He was just returning from delivering a speech at a rally. Even after Israel killed him he was still a headache because the military wanted him alive not dead.

Killer Move: The Beard trap. Like a spider's web, it ensares stronger enemies. They exhaust themselves trying to escape and then he goes in for the kill.

10. Saladin
(Not an Arab, but pretty close) He's just about the only political figure that Arabs, Kurds, Iranians, and Muslims all celebrate. At his prime, he ruled over Egypt, Syria, Iraq, the Hejaz, and Yemen. He led the Muslims against the Crusaders and eventually liberated Palestine after his stunning victory in the Battle of Hattin.

As a child, his uncle started his military training and as a young man, he fought the Crusaders in Egypt and captured their commander, Hugh of Caesarea after attempting to attack his unit. Saladin was tapped to keep Alexandria secure.

When he learned a group of Egyptian soldiers were attempting to assassinate him, he had their leader killed. At age 26, he gave up wine after several meetings at the Alexandria AA chapter (Hi, I'm Saladin...). He managed to calm an uprising of 50,000 African soldiers in Cairo.

Once Saladin established himself in Egypt, he went to Gaza to face the Crusades head on, killing most of its residents. Saladin had his rivals and challengers poisoned. He then captured Yemen and saved it as an emergency territory that he would flee to if the “shish hit the fan.” He had quite an adventure conquering Syria where he had to deal with a propaganda war waged against him. Saladin had chalk and cinders strewed around his tent to detect any footsteps by the Assassins.

Ultimately, Saladin had almost captured every Crusader city. At the Battle of Hattin, the Crusader army was largely annihilated by the motivated army of Saladin in what was a major disaster. Saladin captured Raynald de Chatillon and was personally responsible for his execution in retaliation for his insult to Prophet Muhammad. The dude died of a fever (so much for battles) and he gave away all his money to charity!

Bottom-line, no leader has kicked as much honky ass. Given that bar fights are a very white tradition, I am sure he'll know how to handle them.

Killer Move: The Siege. He surrounds your enemy for days, denying him access to supplies, and then launches an all out assault in several waves, out-flanking him constantly.

11. Layla Khalid (Leila Khaled). Like thousands of Palestinians, Layla found herself in Lebanon on an extended vacation thanks to the kindness of Israel. If being the first women in the world to hijack an airplane is not badass enough, Khalid has a solid resume.

Khalid attended the American University of Beirut in the early 60’s where she joined the Movement of Arab Nationalists. In 1968, she joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She returned to Amman, where she attended paramilitary training courses and on August 29, 1969, she participated in the hijacking of a TWA 840 plane en route to Damascus—she would then ask the passengers to deplane and afterwards blow up the joy ride. She was the radical pin-up chick of her day.

That wasn’t enough for her, so she had a plastic surgery to alter her looks and on September 6, 1970, she took part of yet another hijacking attempt of an El Al plane. Her partners ended up not showing up and another one was gunned down and she was arrested and sentenced to prison in London. She was released shortly and became a member of the Central Committee of the PFLP.

Killer Move: She will carjack your opponent after he leaves the fight.

12. Houari Boumédienne, the Algerian rebel who adopted the name of a local saint as his nom-de-guèrre. A natural born military man, he reached the rank of Colonel in the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) and was put in charge of the military wing of the movement at a time when the French were defeating them badly. He has plenty of experience defeating drunk Frenchmen. Though they were soaked with wine mostly, he would handle the well drink and cheap beer infused Americans you face.

He became the youngest colonel in the FLN. In 1965 he overthrow his boss—Ahmed Ben Bella and seized power. Why stop there? Boumédienne survived a botched coup against him in 1967. To further reveal his badass credit, he supported Western Saharan self-determination.

I would rather have Boumédienne on my side than on the other side. After taking a lot of shit from opponents for being weak, he is ready to prove them wrong and punch some low life drunken guy.

Killer Move: The French Slap. He will demean and degrade your enemy with repeated facial slaps combined with obnoxious laughter.

13. Omar Mukhtar, the one Libyan leader who gave the Italian colonizers a good run for their money. He single-handedly organized a strategy for the Libyan resistance and his only qualification for the job was teaching the Koran—ideally he won’t go to the bar unless he has to. Just tell him some Italians are there drinking fernet.

He led more than 263 battles against the Italian forces—compare that with Zidane headbutting an Italian soccer player. The Italians were ruthless, but he managed to kill hundreds of their officers. The only way the Italians got the upper hand was by using airplanes for the first time.
The only way he was captured was when his horse got killed and fell on him; only then did the Italians arrest and eventually execute him.

In order to prevent him for giving a speech as he was being hanged, the Italians had airplanes fly over a crowd of 20,000. Omar’s captors later spoke of his steadfastness; his interrogators recalled that Mukhtar looked them in the eye and recited verses of peace from the Qur’an as he was tortured and interrogated. That's tough!

Killer Move: Ahadith of Glory. Similar to Muhammad Ali's Rope-a-Dope tactic, Mukhtar takes punches and dodges while repeating ahadith in a warm fatherly manner until the opponent is tired out. Then he unleashes his attack.

14. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi. The guy has an all female bodyguard of trained assassins and his colorful outfits will make him blend in with any bar's decor. His mere presence will strike fear into the heart of your enemies.

The guy is so bizarre that if you look up the word in dictionary, you find his picture. He is so crazy that no one messes with him, so it’s hard to predict what he will do next. He has the business card for all world’s known terrorists and he’s had them on payroll for a while. Ireland is known for their bars; guess what? They trained in Libya. South Africa, Latin America, anywhere in the Middle East, he’s got the hook ups for ruthless thugs and muscles that can come in handy if duty calls. Muammar doesn’t care; he can kill whoever he wants and then turn around and sue them for defamation; he has yelled and screamed at most Arab leaders.

Muammar is unique because unlike other military Arab dictators, he did not promote himself to the rank of General; instead he was pleased with colonel title, his actual title till now.

Killer Move: A Merciless Spanking.

15. Djamila Bouhired
, an Algerian nationalist, is the most courageous one on the list. Ms. Bouhired joined the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) as a student activist. Quite the sports woman, Djamila was into horse riding and kicking French ass.

Our gal was among the first to go and plant bombs among the occupying French troops. In 1957, she was hurt in a shootout with them.

She survived a brutal torture that included attaching her nipples to electric wires! (Water-boarding is child's play for her). She was sentenced to death, but was never actually executed. She spent time in the can in France and then eventually released in 1962! See: some Arab nationalists wish they could endure what Djamila gone through.

Bouhired’s gift is in her unmatched skills of turning anything in a bar into a weapon. Djamila started her resistance career in bars and hotel lobbies hunting French troops—so she is no stranger.

Killer Move: Planting a Bomb. If she leaves the scene quickly, follow her out. A win's a win.

16. Saud bin Abdul Aziz
, King of Saudi Arabia, this guy has been a serial ass kicker since he was 13, when he become the leader of the Saudi troops at war in Yemen. 13!

He took part in 8 wars before he came to the throne. What does Saud bring to the fight? Saud had 53 sons and 56 daughters. Linked to a plot to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser, he also pissed in the Egyptian's Cheerios by supporting royalist forces in the Yemeni Civil War.

With this guy on your side, no one will overshadow you—a key strategy is not to act under intimidation. It’s true that they do not have bars in Saudi Arabia, so you know he does not mind burning up a whole one and condemning everyone in it into eternal damnation. Go ahead and unleash a holy war! PBS’s documentary “House of Saud” tells us that he was into his hard liquor. You know he’ll put a jihad on your intoxicated opponent at the bar! And his thawb makes for a great hiding place if the fight gets too intense.

Killer Move: Paying your enemy to kick his own ass.

17.Qutuz (not quite an Arab), if you don’t like what messengers have to say, do what Qutuz did! Since both Syria and Baghdad were conquered, making Cairo the next Mongol target, Hulagu sent messengers to Cairo with a threatening letter urging Qutuz to surrender. Qutuz’s response was to destroy the letter and to execute the messengers. They were sliced in half, and their heads were mounted on the gate at Bab Zuweila in Cairo. Now imagine his reaction when a bartender asks him to leave the establishment: he might slice him in using the same knife the bartender uses to slice those limes when he’s mixing up a mojito.

Qutuz ended up kicking a whole bunch of Mongol asses in the Battle of Ain Jalut. Qutuz used “Catholic guilt” to motivate the Muslims leaders into fighting with him by telling them they need to defend the women! Defending women? Sounds like a bar fight in the making.

It was reported that in the heat of the battle, Qutus lost his cool and cried loudly three times: “O Islam! O God! Grant your servant Qutuz a victory against the Mongols!” The Mongols with their few Christian allies were totally dominated by Qutuz’ army and fled to Syria. Qutuz had the commander of the Mongol army killed and his head was sent to Cairo. What’s with this guy and chopping people’s head’s off?

But before complete and total victory, he actually defeated the 7th Crusade—not a tough job since they came from France. Just for the record, Qutuz was also the first Muslim leader to utilize explosive hand cannons to break the enemy’s line. Qutuz definitely intimidates his friends and foes alike as long as he is on your side; he fears nothing and just gets the job done!

Killer Move: Decapitation.

18.Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi
, the Shah of Iran (also not an Arab and not even close). He’s on the list to serve as a punching bag for the butt faces at the bar who you brawl with. We know he is a softy because he attended a Swiss Boarding school and a couple of angry college kids overthrew his regime.

Did I mention, he was also installed to the throne by the Russians and the British in order for him to be their “#1 Guy”? That's amost as wimpy as his outfit in the picture (which he lent to King Abdallah of Jordan).

The Shah was such a small timer that if he needed to get something done, like deposing a foe, he would tap foreign intelligence to do the job for him. His plans didn’t quite work out and the Shah fled the country in humiliation and ended up an exile in Italy only to return in 1953 with the help of the CIA. He returned to power, but without any real authority, and became the butt of every joke in his own country where he spent his time supporting boy scouts in Iran. T

The only serious attempt on his life came when the Russians tried to detonate a bomb in a beetle, using a remote control; but like most things Russian, the remote didn’t function.

The Shah was also known for his love for good times, elegance and dazzling celebrations that he spent millions of dollars on. His love for vanity caused a lot of rage in the Iranian society; some believe it lead to his overthrow. The Shah had countless awards and endless titles among which are: “Head of the Warriors” and “King of Kings” (sorry Muamar, someone beat you to it). Never has humiliation looked so good, so if you’re ever losing a bar fight and want to save face, bring in the Shah of Iran. He has firsthand experience with loss, humiliation and being rejected. Also if the head of the Persians warriors is this soft, no wonder it took them days to defeat 300 naked Spartans.

The only reason to have him on your side during a bar fight is the joy you have watching him get his face pounded in, even as you suffer the same fate.

Killer Move: Fleeing the Bar.

[Tarboush Tip: Lyndsay, Carlos, Will]




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