All posts by Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Dr. Mohammed Haider Ghuloum: trained as an economist, been called a few other names..... الشرقية للبنين- المتنبي- ثانوية الشويخ

The World’s First Sanctions Nation: Starvation vs. Bombs……..

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“The U.S. has prepared a list of Turkish entities and individuals to target should it decide to impose sanctions on Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government for imprisoning U.S. citizens and employees of its diplomatic mission, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The lira slid. While negotiations to release one of the people, evangelical Pastor Andrew Brunson, are ongoing, the preparation of the so-called “designation packages” shows how close the U.S. has come to imposing unprecedented penalties against a NATO ally……..”

Turkey is just the last one. It is not only Turkey, hardly that.

Sanctions have become the favorite weapon used by US administrations in the past few decades. They are now more prevalent under Trump than ever before. Other NATO nations will also face sanctions, especially those major allies doing trade and investment deals with the Iranians. Companies from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and other NATO members will face American sanctions.

There is hardly a country in the world where US sanctions are not imposed, either on the whole country, on its officials, or on some of its companies and individuals. Cuba was probably among the earliest ones, and is still a target of sanctions: it was sanctioned long before the Soviet missiles showed up on the island.

Excuses for sanctions/blockades range from repression (for non-allied poorer or non-rich countries only), to support of terrorism (for non-allied poorer countries only), nuclear activity (for non-allied countries that have no nuclear weapons only), an unacceptable regime (for non-allied non-major-trade-partner countries only), to more petty political excuses or other disputes.

Truly this has become the First Sanctions Nation in World History. And it is a bi-partisan policy. But I suppose it is better to squeeze nations, starve them, than bomb them. But yet the bombs keep falling anyway…….

P.S: Some Middle East media, especially pro-Iranian ones,now claim/report that the Trump administration is insisting on a particular candidate to be Iraq‘s prime minister, regardless of his coalition votes. They claim the administration is threatening to “sanction” any Iraqi politician or parties who oppose this US stance.

Cheers

Mohammed haider Ghuloum

ICYMI: Your Friendly Neighborhood Taliban Cutthroats Are Not Terrorists!……

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“U.S. Officials Hold Direct Peace Talks with the Taliban…..U.S. diplomats have held direct peace talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the ongoing 17-year U.S. war in Afghanistan. The New York Times reports the Trump administration is urging U.S.-backed Afghan troops to retreat from rural areas and focus on protecting Kabul and other major cities. The Times also reports this strategy will likely ensure the Taliban remains in control of vast stretches of the countryside, where the majority of Afghans live……”

“To the U.S., the Afghan Taliban is largely an insurgency with control over vast swaths of territory and aspirations to govern the country, while its Pakistani offspring is considered nothing but a terrorist organization. But the real reason the Afghan Taliban is not on the list has more to do with political considerations than whether or not it meets the statutory criteria for a terrorist designation……..”

Interesting. The Taliban were the worst terror organization/group in the Muslim World for years. Until ISIS, an offshoot of their Al Qaeda allies and partners, showed up. They have been responsible for, or cooperated in, killing thousands of Americans (along with their Wahhabi-Salafist allies). More than any other terrorist group ever. They cooperated in direct attacks on the American homeland during 9/11, something nobody else has done, none of the alleged threats like Hezbollah or Hamas or even Gaddi’s Libya or Saddam Hussein. Their Pakistani Taliban branch was designated as a terrorist group, but not the Afghan headquarters which tormented Afghanistan, aided and sheltered Al Qaeda before and during the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Afghan mother branch is now treated almost like the neighborhood sweet girl-next-door branch.

I believe the Taliban were never listed as a terrorist organization/group for two other deeper reasons. You see:

  • They are an offshoot of the Islamist Mujahideen of Afghanistan, created by Saudi money and American weapons in the 1980s to harass the Soviet/Russian forces supporting the secular leftist government in that country. After the Soviets and the secular regime departed, the Mujahideen, including the Taliban, proceeded to destroy Afghanistan. It is effectively a Saudi-Salafi-Western baby, a hometown chicken that came home to roost across the wider Middle East and North Africa and beyond.
  • The Taliban are not Middle Eastern, they are not involved in Middle East politics, so no Petro-Arab/AIPAC lobbyists are after them in the United States, spending money and applying political pressure, buying politicians, pundits, and prominent think-tanks. Unlike other more official organizations in, say Iran or Lebanon or Yemen or Gaza, etc. Who are not so generous, or so accommodating. For example…..

Capisce?

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Nuclear Question: How to Spell Filibuster in the Korean of Pyongyang…….

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted today (Sunday): Landed in Finland for Helsinki 2018 where POTUS & Prez Putin are set to discuss US/Russian relations. POTUS meeting is in the interest of US national security. It’s critical that the leaders of the US & Russia engage on important matters between our two countries…. On July 16, working level meetings between US and DPRK officials are scheduled to begin to coordinate next steps, including the transfer of American service members’ remains already collected in the DPRK……

My two cents on this? How do you say FILIBUSTER in the Korean nuclear dialect of Pyongyang?
I hope I am wrong on this but I doubted it very much….

 

Korean Nuclear Diplomacy: Flim Flam La La Land Approach and Roosting JCPOA Chickens……
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Korean Nuclear Diplomacy: Flim Flam La La Land Approach and Roosting JCPOA Chickens……

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North Korea: we reject gangster-like unilateral denuclearization demands..

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: talks on denuclearization of North Korea going well…..

Donald Trump (tweeting): I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed, and even more importantly, our “handshake”. We “agreed” to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal….

Yours Truly: but you did not honor the previous Nuclear Deal that the USA and Europe and the UN Security Council agreed to with Iran. You reneged on an international agreement signed on by the UN and Europe (and the USA). Why should Kim Jong Un trust you now? You will not be able to separate the two cases. Iran Deal chickens coming home to roost, Donald.

Yours Truly: this is “Flim Flam La La Land Nuclear Diplomacy

Cheers

M. Haider Ghuloum

New America? From the New Deal and the New Frontier to the Banality of “I Really Don’t Care Do U”…..

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First there was the real Western Frontier that shaped America.

Then there was the New Deal of FDR.

Then the Greatest Generation that helped save the world.

Then there was the New Frontier of JFK which ushered the graceful but brief era of Camelot.

Then the Great Society derailed by Vietnam and IndoChina….

Then the heroic era of NASA and space exploration culminating in the Apollo projects and what came later spanned a couple of generations.

Now we are on the eve of the Fourth of July 2018. Deep in the opportunistic age of MAGA which has ushered in the silly but very accurately expressive era of “I Really Don’t Care Do U“.

And That’s Not All, Folks……

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Nuclear Talks: Trump Gives Up His Ace Too Soon, Anyone Remember Otto Warmbier?….

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Secretary of States Mike Pompeo has been tweeting a storm of optimism about his meetings with North Korea’s top killer and survivor Kim Yong Chol. Example “Good progress today during our meetings with Kim Yong Chol and his team. North Korea and the world would benefit greatly from the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula…

@POTUS has made it clear that if Kim Jong-un denuclearizes, there is a brighter path for #DPRK. We envision a strong, connected, secure, and prosperous #NorthKorea that maintains its cultural heritage but is integrated into the community of nations.

The proposed summit offers a historic opening for @POTUS and Chairman Kim to boldly lead U.S. and #DPRK into a new era of peace, prosperity, and security. Our countries face a pivotal moment in which it could be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste.

Here is what I think and what I tweeted to him this morning: “Kim Jong Un knows that only his nuclear weapons got him to the summit with @potus. If you think Kim will give up his golden goose, his existing nuclear weapons, you are one of two: 1) more delusional than #potus (Donald Trump) or 2) A greater dissembler than Trump.
Both unlikely… …

Of course this get-together might be easier for a reason. Benyamin Netanyahu and his Saudi allies are not breathing heavily down the necks of both Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo against any deal allowing North Korea to remain a nuclear power, as it certainly will.
So, folks, get ready for a nuclear North Korea: Donald Trump has already given up his best hand just for the pleasure of meeting with the man he called Fat Little Rocket Man…. right after throwing the family of Otto Otto Frederick Warmbier under the bus….

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

An Arabian Waldo Mystery in Ramadan: Where is Saudi Crown Prince Bin Salman?……

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Ramadan is a particular time when the Muslim, and Arab, worlds turn nocturnal and very sociable. Fasting from sunrise to sunset means reduced work hours and more sleep (siesta) hours during the daytime.
One important aspect of Ramadan is that people visit each other a lot at night, late into the night. Another aspect in the Persian Gulf area and in the Arabian Peninsula is that the rulers exchange visits with various groups of people, and the media tend to extensively cover these visits.

Ramadan this year has been strange in Saudi Arabia. The normally sycophantic and attentive Saudi media have been devoid of much news about the country’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), the son of King Salman. No news or photos or video clips of the ruling prince being out and about.
This has led to rumors in some Arab media and social media that the Crown Prince is either dead, or possibly wounded in last month’s alleged shooting down of a drone, or is being held by rivals. This has been encouraged by some Iranian propaganda. But all this is highly unlikely.

Some sources have even suggested that there may have been a counter-coup by more fundamentalist elements in the royal family or the religious establishment, and that may explain why several well-known women’s rights activists were arrested two week ago.

My own sources have not been able to locate the prince or to locate the real sources of any of these rumors swirling around him .
Still, it is an unusual situation for the most powerful strongman in Saudi Arabia of the past few decades to vanish, joining Waldo. He, a business and political partner of Donald Trump, Benyamin Netanyahu, and one of the Kushners, ….

Of course one likely explanation is that the prince is just sick and doesn’t want to publicize it and give his domestic rivals any ideas. Or maybe he fancies himself a new prophet and is meditating in a desert cave or more likely on his yacht, awaiting an angel to visit him. He may just pop out into a blast of media attention any day (or any night)……

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Trump as the Sixth Pillar of Wahhabi Islam? Sisters of the Faithful…… Redux

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It is the first anniversary of the absurd Arab-American-Islamic Summit that was held in Riyadh one year ago. The Summit of the buyers (Arab kings, princes & potentates), the bought (Donald Trump & the Kushners), and the hired (poor African & Asian countries). So, I am copying my old post here:

At the Riyadh Wahhabi-American Summit, it looked like the princes and potentates were ready to change the basic tenets of Islam to appease the man who has made Islamophobia more acceptable in America. Their new American Idol, Donald J Trump.


Islam has five pillars that define a Muslim (all Muslims be they Sunni, Shi’a, or Wahhabi):

  • Shahada, Assertion, that Allah is the One God and that Mohammed is his Prophet.
  • Donating the Zakat (Alms) for the poor and needy. (I can almost hear American Republicans groaning).
  • Fasting the Holy Month of Ramadan (no food, drink, lies, and sex: from dawn to dusk).
  • Five daily prayers facing Mecca (originally Muslims prayed while facing Jerusalem, until they conquered the Prophet’s hometown and disposed of the idols).
  • Making the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca/Madinah. But this last one is not completely mandatory: it is only for “those who are able and can afford it”.

Now there may have been a subtle change, given the Wahhabi festival last week celebrating Donald Trump and his clan at the Summit in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Trump was treated like more than a new Caliph, more like a combination Caliph and Angel. The Saudi princes’ generosity with their people’s money and their controlled media saw to that. Trump’s wife and daughter, the only women at the various meetings and parties, were almost elevated by the Wahhabis to the rank of “Sisters of the Faithful” (in Arabic: اخوات المؤمنين ).

Not necessarily bad in itself, if Donald himself wasn’t around to bask in the glory and to believe what they said about him. Melania and Ivanka: as Catholic and Jewish ‘Sisters of the Faithful’. It is not the first time in the history of Islam. But Donald Trump is the first of his kind in the history of the American Republic.

In Riyadh, his eyes were so focused on the money, hundreds of billions of petro-money, that he may have unwittingly handed America’s foreign policy, and her future wars in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to a bunch of incompetent, corrupt, and greedy princes.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Nuclear Deals: When the Dotard Never Meets the Fat Little Rocket Man……..

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Wrote this rant yesterday, before the anticipated cancellation of the improbable Trump-Kim summit:

Here is my take on the very doubtful summit between Donald Trump and Loren Leader Kim Jong Un
Trump: I’ll guarantee the safety of Kim Jong Un if deal is made….

Kim Jong Un: But what if the US president changes?

Trump: We stand by our deals, no matter who is the president. We, in America, don’t violate our treaties and agreements, especially those sanctioned by the UN Security Council…. Just ask Mike Pompeo……

Kim Jong UN: Bwahahahahahahaha…

Trump: Look, Kimmy, I’ve already had commemorative coins designed, with both of us on them…. I’ve started measurements for my Nobel Peace Prize ceremony suits. Melania has commissioned dresses by Givenchy (great American couturier…. MAGA)…..

Kim Jong UN: What about the Iran Deal? They stopped nuclear work and now you are starving them, maybe going to war against them…

Trump: There is an easy explanation. That was not my deal. Obama’s deal, his fault. He was Kenyan, you know…..

Kim Jong UN: I’m not buying this… give me a better explanation…

Trump: Ever hear of Netanyahu? Adelson? Have you seen all that Saudi and Emirati green? Billions of it for the taking? Evangelicals trying to save wayward Israeli souls before it is too late…….

(Reports this morning say White House is still selling commemorative coins and memorabilia of the cancelled Singapore Summit)

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Logical Nuclear Thinking of North Korea: Lessons of Iraq, Libya, and Iran…………….

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This is a reprint of a post of mine from last July:


In the beginning…..
Donald Trump ignored North Korea and its petulant young dictator. Mr. Trump has been focusing on his “other” foreign policy issues. In fact up to recently he has been taking a long victory lap celebrating his own alleged self-styled loot of billions of Saudi oil money during his coronation by desperate Arab and Muslim princes and potentates in Riyadh last May. All he had to do was tell them that he does not care about human rights and that Iran exports terrorism (but apparently not the nice Wahhabi type of terrorism of ISIS and Al Qaeda and AQAP and Nusra).

Trump has also been focusing on the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), since before the election. Trump of course does not know much about it, that it is a good deal for all sides according to international consensus (with the exception of the ruling princes of Saudi Arabia, the Empire of Bahrain, Israel, and the paid-for US Congress). Apparently the one draw-back of the Iran deal for Trump, the Republican Party, (and hawkish Democrats) is that it is a signature achievement of President Barack Obama. So Mr. Trump had promised to revisit the deal, perhaps to “withdraw” the USA from it. His first National Security Chief Mike Flynn, a Turkish agent and possibly a Russian agent as well, threatened more serious action against Iran. Before Trump was forced to fire him.

Among the Iranians themselves there are many who are also disappointed by how the nuclear deal has turned out. And by the ratcheted up threats from Washington and the nearly monthly new sanctions being voted by the US Knesset Congress and Senate. They also remember what happened in Iraq and Libya.

Back to Kim Jong Un: he could not be denied his share of American attention for long. He is that kind of dictator. Not long after Trump was inaugurated Kim started tossing around warhead-capable medium-range and long-range missiles. He or his henchmen also murdered a young American student-captive in Pyongyang.
And one more thing that can be unforgivable from my point of view: he gave Dennis Rodman another opportunity to be seen on network news.

Kim Jong Un also certainly well remembers what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.  Apparently Saddam had given up his WMD, but Iraq was invaded and he was overthrown anyway.

Libyan dictator Gaddafi gave up his WMD and paid billions in “compensation” to Western citizens and corporations. He was attacked and overthrown by NATO. He and one of his sons were allowed to be tortured and killed by some rebels. Now Libya is a failed and divided state.

Kim must have started thinking:

  • Gaddafi (of Libya) gave up WMD. He also gave up billions of dollars to Western countries and to victims of the Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie in 1988. But what did he get? His new friends in NATO overthrew him then got him killed as soon as they got a chance. He and one of his sons were tortured and murdered by possibly the same people who later murdered four American diplomats in Benghazi. His country is now a failed state beset by Islamic Fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect and by tribal infighting.
  • Iran heeded world power demands and reduced its nuclear program- and according to IAEA and world intelligence services it is abiding by the JCPOA Nuclear Deal. And Iran now is being seriously threatened by Donald Trump who is also hopelessly trying to form a futile alliance of hapless Arab and Muslim despots and potentates against it. These are mostly the countries whose citizens have actually committed terrorism in the Middle East and in the West. And both houses of the US Congress keep piling up sanctions against Iran, Kim knows….

If I were Kim, I would possibly perhaps per chance think that it is not just the WMD and nuclear stuff that the West, and the US government, has a beef with. Maybe it goes beyond that. If Iraq and Libya were attacked after they gave up their WMD, and if Iran is being threatened after it reduced its nuclear capability……
You get the drift: Kim will think that as soon as he gives up his nuclear and missile program, he might as well give up the ghost….

And it is hard to blame him for thinking along these lines, if you think about it (or you can start reading this post from the beginning)……..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum