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

France Elects a New Traveling Weapons Salesman: Emmanuel Macron Wins……..

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Emmanuel Macron, the candidate of the French and European establishment has won the French presidency. He is sort of like a French Clinton, policy-wise.
Here is my prediction as to what he will do for the Middle East (especially the stagnant Arab World):
M. Macron, will act like all his recent predecessors. He will act like other European leaders, from Britain to Germany. Like Donald Trump will do later this month. Macron will become just another traveling salesman, heading to Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and other relatively well-heeled Arab capitals. No, not to solve regional problems, no more than Theresa May, Hollande or Donald Trump have done. He will be peddling weapons that keep the wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen going. Weapons that may start new wars in the Middle East and especially in the Persian Gulf.
Welcome to the Élysée Palace, M. Macron. The new French Traveling Salesman of Weapons, another peddler of death….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Before the Dark Forces Took Over America: Those Were the Days……..

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Sometimes, reading and listening to the media and to people, many people both here and abroad, it seems like Dark Forces have taken over America. People talk wistfully of the era of Obama, Bush, and Clinton. Yes, the era of George W Bush is also missed now as part of a Golden Age, and that is an accurate assessment given what has come after Barack Obama. Who would have thunk it way back in 2008?

That is because the Dark Forces have now completed their takeover of America, at least for now. In this dangerous bleak Year of Our, Your, and Their Lord of 2017. Only the federal courts and the media stand between them and wrecking the system so carefully crafted by the Founding Fathers of the United States. The legislature, those who are to consent and advise, have gone spineless. A combination of malevolent lawmakers in the Congress, tunnel-visioned corporate types running the executive branch, and an ignorant uninterested president are leading America to some kind of brink. (Did I leave out single-issue-focused voters?) Widening domestic class warfare and likely more permanent wars abroad, mainly new wars in the Middle East. Even as they claim to be trying to make America great again.

In that spirit, it is appropriate to listen to an old but good song that expresses the spirit of these dark times. It is sung by Mary Hopkins, and is titled Those Were the Days…….

A sad song, now even more bigly sad….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Image Problem of Arab Regimes: from Incredibly Mediocre to Incredibly Criminal……..

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“DUBAI: An Arab News panel discussion held on Tuesday proposed solutions to the Middle East’s image problem in the West, as new research emerged illustrating the severity of the US “knowledge gap” about the region. The panel, held at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai, detailed the importance of cultural diplomacy, effective government communication and the importance of student exchange programs in boosting awareness…….” Arab News (Saudi)

Sometimes I suspect that the ruling Arab oligarchs can never learn. In fact I am convinced that they can never learn about some issues. So many of these media events are staged, all blaming outsiders (the West) for the lousy image Arabs have.
I’ve got news for them, but I suspect they already know: the blame lies squarely with the Arab ruling classes. They are almost uniformly oppressive. At best these ruling classes are incredibly mediocre, at worst they are incredibly criminal (including many regimes perceived as being allies of the West).

So this panel, and many other events before it and after it, all seek ways to to improve the “image” of Arabs in the world. Meaning to improve the image of Arab regimes: the potentates, princes, and dictators. Arab regimes, mostly corrupt and repressive, confuse the image of their countries with their own image.
Such staged media events are part of a “real” and not just perceived Arab problem. The “image” is bad because the “reality” as imposed by the ruling oligarchs is bad. Staged media events or highly-paid lobbyists in Washington and London cannot hide the reality.
Arab regimes and their controlled media want to change the image without changing the reality. Getting rid of the symptom will not cure the illness. Morphine makes the pain go away but only for a while. The disease outlasts the patient if a serious “cure” is not applied.


How about ending the wold-class repression and corruption: that should go a long way towards improving the “image” of Arab oligarchs.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A Doctor’s Military Strategy Advice: Declare Victory and Get Out……..

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I visited my specialist doctor on Monday. Part of a regular annual summer follow-up, but I had moved it up to an earlier date based on some family advice. After a thorough check-up, the doctor said that I was doing well, that he was not sure why I had moved the date up so soon.

Before I started to blame some outside advice, he told me: “You are winning not losing, but that is for now. It is your chance: just declare victory and get out!
I told him it sounded like great advice, that I will try to advise others to do the same. And I quickly got out of his office.


Hear that Mr. Trump? Just declare victory in some of the intractable stupid Middle East wars (Yemen, Syria…. ) and get out, while still ahead. Don’t listen to the advice of your hawks and chickenhawks: one more war just around the next bend will not solve it all. Be like a surgeon: end it all, make that your strategy since your staff don’t seem to have any other.


(Remember, Donald: Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger tried to solve the Vietnam War by expanding it into Laos and Cambodia. They blew it. Gave us the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge, and three Asian defeats instead of one. So, keep that in mind).

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

World Elections: Mother of All Germans, a French Pied-Noir, and a Persian Carpet Weaver…….

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European elections coming up. France this month will choose between Marine Le Pen, considered an anti-EU rebel, and Emmanuel Macron, the candidate of the elites and the French establishment. Britain will vote in snap parliamentary elections the Conservative Tories hope to win. German elections coming up as well, with Angela Merkel (Mother of All Germans) facing snapping opponents.

I am not sure who will win, but I have my own odds (all odds are risky given the American elections last November). But I know one thing: British, French, or German winners will all pack a suitcase at some point and head to the Middle East region. No, not to perform the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage. Each will be eager to sell more weapons and other goodies than the other Europeans. Even the Marxist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, had he won, would also fly to Riyadh or Abu Dhabi peddling weapons and other goods. An intense rivalry among the three big European powers over Arab markets. Forget about human rights. Most European leaders are traveling salesman, although Merkel may be less of one.

Which reminds me: Iran is having its own elections for president. It looks like it could go either way. The U.S. Congress (both parties) and the Democrat bureaucrats in the Obama Administration have made sure that the economic benefits of the Nuclear Deal are minimal to the Iranian people. President Hassan Rouhani could lose the election to hardliner Mohammad Ghalibaf (his name in Persian means ‘carpet weaver‘). Either way it will be close. But don’t expect either one of these Iranians, or whoever else wins, to fly around the region selling weapons to the potentates.


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

When the Moment is Right for a Nebulous Axis of Man Crush: Trump, Duterte, and Kim……

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Donald Trump has invited the Phlippines’ quirky leader Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House. Duterte, who apparently like to leave dead men in his wake, has not decided whether he will show up yet. He famously called Barack Obama a “son of a bitch”: I doubt that Duterte would call any “white” US president by such an epithet. He probably figures there is nothing new that Donald can show him.
News media also report that Trump has told a news agency (Bloomberg) that he is also willing to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, “when the moment is right

What can we call this vague nebulous axis?
New Axis of Evil? Axis of Nuts? Nebulous Axis of Man Crush?
Donald, Kim Jong Un, and Duterte…..

(I left out newly anointed humorless Turkish dictator Erdogan)

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Fear and Normalcy and Fun in America and Over There: from Campuses to Airports……

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“MacDonald, Trump, and Criminal Justice. In a recent article for City Journal titled, “How Trump Can Help the Cops,” Heather MacDonald offers about a dozen recommendations to the White House. In this post, I want to scrutinize a few of those proposals and some of the arguments behind them. Let me begin, however, by saying that Heather MacDonald was recently threatened by a crowd of protestors (I use that term very loosely here) while visiting a college campus to deliver a lecture. That was outrageous and inexcusable. I have met Ms. MacDonald several times, and while we have some strong disagreements on certain subjects, she has always been friendly and courteous. She holds strong views and makes forceful arguments, but her claims should be answered with better arguments, not intimidation. As many others have already noted, it is a sad commentary on the state of our universities that such incidents keep happening………”

These folks are talking, writing as if everything else is normal these days in Trump’s America. This is not normalcy, it is extreme abnormalcy.
There has been no such abnormalcy since at least World War II. As for unusual unfortunate incidents happening: there are many. Not just on college campuses.

Try painting your face brown, carry a book that is written in Arabic, Persian, or even Hebrew at an airport, then you may see not only intimidation. Just a book: but you’ll see and get fear. You may instill fear in some, but you’ll get a worse fear and humiliation given to you, a deja vu type for those who were used to it way back when they were not over here but over there.

But you, since you’d be just slumming, may not appreciate such fear and humiliation because you’ve never experienced them here (or anywhere else). To you it’d be just an experience, not like the only way of life many had known over there.

Part of a new normalcy that is being eased into society these days, and should be resisted. You, we, don’t want “over here” to become like “over there“. It won’t be fun for anyone…

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Donald Trump’s AI War: Alexa, What Should I do about Iran?……

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I can imagine it.

Donald Trump in the Oval Office, or maybe in his official bedroom (not the real one at Mar A Lago). Rapping his fingers on the desk, finally turning to a little blinking cylinder (black or white? probably Bannon-white):

Alexa? Siri? Google? How many missiles should I fire at that empty airbase in Syria to keep the media happy? (Aside): Or maybe I can just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway. Sheldon Adelson would love it too, worth millions for 2020.

Alexa? Why is the Iranian Navy always prowling in the Persian Gulf? Why is it provoking us barely 8,000 miles from Tampa Bay? (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? What do I do about Putin? How long will the Good Cop (me) vs Bad Cop (Nikki Haley) routine last before Vladimir catches on? (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? How can I turn down another request by Netanyahu to visit the White House? By the way: what the fuck do my fellow Republican Congressmen see in this guy? I swear they seem to love him more than they love me. Love is blind.  (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? What do I do about Kim Jong Un? The ChubbtyLittleFuck is messing up my foreign policy plans. I’ve got him sanctioned up to his YouKnowWhere. Next step would be to sanction the Chinese banks and businesses that keep him going. But Ivanka and Jared tell me that is a no no. (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

King Salman? Hi there, Sal. Salam Aleikom, King, I love you Muslim guys, especially the Wahhabis: my kind of Muslims. Shook hands with one greas….,er, Muslim once in Brooklyn. Sal? I’ve got a problem. Oh, no never mind Yemen. JASTA? not today. I need some advise…….
Salman:  Just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on the heretic Magi in Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Bannon? Steve? What do you think I should do? Will the stiffs in Congress tightening sanctions on Iran help make it all go away?

Bannon: Sir? Call Kim Jong Un. You did say during the campaign you’d meet with him. Call him secretly.

Hello, Kim Jong Un? Kimmyyyyyy babe! I’ve got a question for you…

Kim Jong Un: And I’ve got you by les gonades, Donald. Don’t waste my time, Donald. Don’t be wishy-washy. The answer is simple. Just bomb Iran…… Sheldon Adelson would love it, worth tens of millions for 2020 campaign.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Bully Trapped? Trump Fears China and Pyongyang, Focuses Attacks on Iran, Mexico and Canada…..

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So Donald Trump is scared witless of little Kim Jong Un. The Cute Leader of Pyongyang is saber-rattling, begging for attention, knowing he’s got Donald by the little balls (his artillery is focused on Seoul). Trump seems paralyzed by the events on the Korean Peninsula. The chubby dictator apparently means business, won’t be bullied by the bully of Pennsylvania Avenue. What to do?
Simple, exit stage left, threaten faraway Iran (which is abiding by its treaties especially JPCOA nuclear deal even though the US is not, not really). So, if Pyongyang continues its nuclear advance, Trump will provoke a war with Iran, with full approval of the Democrat chickens in Congress. Then escalate the genocidal Arab onslaught against poor Yemen. Maybe hint at firing another few futile Tomahawks on some empty Syrian military base after more phony complaints of WMD use by Jihadi proxies of Arab kings and princes (that should get CNN pundits and fearful Democrats cheering, it did last time).

Nothing as satisfying to a New York brawler as a few cheap shots below the belt. But I do wish they would start wars with someone else: every time they get in trouble they think of waging another Muslim war. Bomb someone else this time: bomb Asia, Europe, Australia, Mars, Uranus (Donald). Just leave the Middle East alone, will you?

Trump is unhappy about the trade situation (including allegations of currency exchange rate manipulation) with China. During the campaign he sounded tough, promised to reshuffle the trade ties. Now he seems scared witless of China (not the least the impact on potential family business interests). So? He spins and attacks Mexico and Canada. More cheap shots below the belt.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

On the Persian Gulf: the Disappearance of Saleem the Jew……

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Saleem Yehudi, Saleem the Jew. That was what everybody that I knew called him in those days. That is the way my father and uncles called him when I was a kid. Saleem is a common name in the Middle East, and they were distinguishing him from some other Saleem(s) they knew. There are/were Arab Saleem, Iranian Saleem, Jewish Saleem, African Saleem, etc.
My father often took me along when he had some business near the port in our small capital city on the northern mainland tip of the Persian Gulf. In those days the dhows and fishermen boats were moored to piers right downtown, just behind the Seif Palace. Often my father stopped at the small front office used by Saleem Yehudi. I recall the man behind his desk, he seemed old to me as a child, but he was probably middle aged. He always gave me a piece of candy or a cookie or two, no doubt to keep me from fidgeting and getting into trouble while he talked with my father.

Then a day came when there was no Saleem Yehudi. A day when I realized that I had not seen him in a long time, maybe a few weeks. I don’t recall his name coming up at our afternoon meal Sofra (roughly the equivalent of a Western dinner table). Normally in my family we discussed all developments, everything and everybody. Adults and kids, men and women eagerly participating, interrupting…..

One day I was tagging along behind my father on the way to the port, when I suddenly asked him “Where is Saleem Yehudi, father?

There was a long pause before he said “Gone….. They’re all gone“.
Gone? Gone where, father?” I’m not sure if I was concerned about Saleem the Jew or the piece of sweet he gave me.

Another long pause before my father said “Probably gone to Shiraz, or Tehran….” Then another pause, he usually thought out what he said to me, “Or maybe some port in Iran. They can’t go to Iraq anymore……. Maybe Israel“.

Saleem the Jew, another fellow traveler who disappeared, almost certainly involuntarily……

But that has been the story of the Middle East, from the days of Babylonia and Cyrus until now. Just like Saleem Yehudi, others of other faiths, Arab Muslims and Christians, were also displaced, sometimes forcibly, by the same conflict. They still are in parts of the Old Mandate of Palestine (now Israel and the ever-shrinking Palestinian Territories). It goes on among Arabs as well: in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, the Persian Gulf and other places. The ethnic cleansing goes beyond interfaith, to inter-sectarian. A mad search for an ever narrower false homogeneity that never seems to stop these days. It goes on and it dooms the region, especially the countries undergoing this ethnic and religious cleansing.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum