Category Archives: Afghanistan

Strategic OCD? America’s Obsessive, Compulsive, Endless Muslim Wars on Cruise Control…..

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“Veteran Given Hero’s Welcome Back To Afghanistan….. KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—Waving flags and breaking into cheers the moment they spotted the veteran, dozens of joyous citizens gave Marine Pfc. Victor Rosas, 23, a hero’s welcome back to Afghanistan, sources reported Tuesday. “I’ve been counting down the hours until Victor came back, and here he is at last!” said local food vendor Anwar Ahmadzai, one of the many familiar faces the young soldier had not seen for the 14 months he was overseas in the U.S………”

This piece by the Onion is almost funny, until you look at a map of the Old World. From Asia through the Middle East to Africa.
American wars, weird wars, endless wars, stupid wars, absurd wars, almost-automatic wars on cruise control. Easy to trigger, easy to slide into. And what you can’t trigger, you can provoke, or the willful regional allies can provoke. Almost impossible to get out of (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, North Africa, Sahel, East Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc etc)……

With more very likely to come, possibly deliberately provoked by the Trump Administration or by local Trump-allied Arab princes and potentates, in the Persian Gulf, possibly Lebanon, and in other Muslim places….

It is almost as if the country has an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) related to Muslim lands and Muslim wars…

As I have suggested more than once: why not bomb some other part of the world for a change?  Become an equal opportunity bomber…..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A New Persian Gulf War? A Message from Marcus Licinius Crassus to Donald Trump……..

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“The Saudis have been bombing the Houthi rebels and ravaging their country, Yemen, for two years. Are the Saudis entitled to immunity from retaliation in wars that they start? Where is the evidence Iran had a role in the Red Sea attack on the Saudi ship? And why would President Trump make this war his war? As for the Iranian missile test, a 2015 U.N. resolution “called upon” Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles. It did not forbid Iran from testing conventional missiles, which Tehran insists this was. Is the United States making new demands on Iran not written into the nuclear treaty or international law—to provoke a confrontation? Did Flynn coordinate with our allies about this warning of possible military action against Iran? Is NATO obligated to join any action we might take?………..”
Also sprach Pat Buchanan, now older and even wiser.

Mr. Trump is a Manhattan businessman and a showman. Which means he has mastered the arts of showmanship and bluffing (and bullying).
His nonsensical campaign promise to ‘Make America Great Again‘ was absurd, as if America is Egypt or Peru. But it was bought by enough of the desperate industrial working classes, and much of the campaign-money-donating upper classes, to get him into the White House. Even as he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.

His promise of America First looks set to be set on fire by his new adventurism in the Persian Gulf region. Possibly egged on by some of the same Arab and Jewish regional allies he detests so much. He has surrounded himself by a few former military men and civilian hawks who have a chip on their collective shoulders regarding the Middle East, especially Iran. They think they can win the wars of choice that Bush and Obama squandered.

Now they have made Donald Trump into a George W Bush on steroids. But a new military conflict in the Persian Gulf will last much longer than the hawks and chickenhawks think. Remember the Iran-Iraq war? It was started by Iraq as a blitzkrieg victory, but it lasted eight years and ended up destroying Iraq. This latest war in Afghanistan has lasted 16 years, so far. The latest Iraq war started in 2003, Syria is in its seventh year.

A lesson for Mr. Trump from ancient Roman history, if he and his new generals care to read. Read the story of the Roman consul and general Marcus Licinius Crassus, a friend of Julius Caesar. He collected a huge army of many invincible Roman legions to invade ancient Persia more than two thousand years ago. Another unprovoked war. Crassus and his Roman legions vanished somewhere in the Iranian Plateau, never to be seen or heard from again.
Lesson? Wars of choice half-way across the world are not a good investment (as you, Mr. Trump and your class would say).
Mr. Trump, there are no direct American national interests threatened by the Iranians. They have not broken the Nuclear Deal with the world powers. They have not attacked Americans or America’s regional allies, yet. So, tone down the bluffing.

Mr. Trump, you are used to playing the cheap game of Casino poker, but the mullahs play the more enduring game of Chess. A game their country invented when your ancestors were still lurking in the caves and forests of Central Europe.
So, call back the dogs of war, get them out of your White House. Don’t throw good money after bad in the Middle East. Save a few more trillions of dollars and many lives on both sides.

Cheers
M. Haider Ghuloum

Beards and Zeitgeist: Leftist Beards, Zayed Beards, Islamist Fuzz, Lice and Orangutan……….

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It seems that the fate of the facial hair we call the “beard” is often tied to the political atmosphere of the period. Part of the Zeitgeist.
Decades ago, a young man with a beard in the Americas or in Europe was considered a radical, a suspected follower or admirer of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, (or even Dobie Gillis and Bob Denver). In fascist-ruled places like Chile, Argentina, and Greece they were thrown into prison or just disappeared on suspicion of radicalism or impiety or non-conformity. In some West European airports, bearded youth were often questioned more carefully. That was then, long before the world ever heard of Radical Islam.
At the same time, in Saudi Arabia any man who was ambitious grew a goatee beard (like the one Bob Denver and Dobie Gillis sported). From the king on down, they all flaunted the goatee (some Arabs called it saksooka). But that beard was not a radical political statement: just a show of solidarity with the eternal Saudi conformity rules.

FYI: I suspect that “goatee” drives from “goat“, which means these guys admired something about their goats. Maybe just the looks.

Then two events happened in 1979 that altered the history and shape of the beard for a generation to come:
First: the Afghan war erupted, with the Western secular governments and Arab Wahhabis aligned with the reactionary Afghan tribes against the God-less Communists. That war created a whole new generation of Islamic guerrillas. Al Qaeda started in Afghanistan, with Saudi money and Arab volunteers and American (Reagan) weapons. We can also say that it was the genesis of the Taliban and ISIS and Al Nusra and other cutthroat groups. The first Afghan war gave us the shaggy unruly lice-infested Wahhabi beard so loved by our Persian Gulf Salafists. One more complication: many Salafi elders, to show that they are among the top elite, tend to die their beards, often a bright red (Orangutan) color, as rusty as their brains. Maybe it is to appeal to their wives. A few let them let it go gray.
Second: the Iranian Revolution succeeded in February 1979. Mullahs with shaggy beards and heir followers with trimmed beards took over in Tehran, replacing the clean shaven men of the Shah, King of Kings, Light of the Aryans, etc, etc. An Iranian form of conformity has spread since then: all men of importance in the regime sport a short beard. Not the shaggy lice-inviting type the Salafis have, but a more trimmed grizzly beard. Long enough to be noticeable but too short to invite the lice or particles of food.

Other Muslim countries have their own variation of these two extremes of beards. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) many influential officials now sport the trimmed neat Zayed-Brothers beard. So named after the seven or dozen (or more) brothers who own Abu Dhabi and rule the UAE. In Egypt a beard is okay if it is the shaggy lice-inviting type, for it indicates the man is an ordinary Salafist who can be bought and not a Muslim Brother. In Syria, well, no matter what kind of beard you have in Syria, it can get you killed, or worse, by any group of armed Jihadis, liberators, invited foreign guests, un-invited foreign guests, cutthroats, or just plain regime forces. You can also get bombed by Syrians, Russians, Americans, British, or Israelis.
Who was it who said: “Hands Off Syria“?

So, in any struggle in our Middle East region today, even in my native Gulf region, you need to scrutinize the beard carefully. You also need to understand the nuances and differences between the various kinds of beards and if they are dyed and what color. Your career, fortune, and life could depend on it.

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

New Folly of Charlie Wilson and his Mistress: from the Stinger to the TOW………..

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In the 1980s the Reagan Administration decided to supply the Afghan Mujahideen with ground-to-air Stinger missiles with which to shoot down Soviet (Russian) helicopters/aircraft. Years later Hollywood gave “credit” for that policy, and presumably for the fall of Afghanistan to the Jihadists, to a Texas Congressman named Charlie Wilson and his influential Texan mistress (and to Tom Hanks).

The film Charlie Wilson’s War was made just a few years after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, but Hollywood has its own tunnel vision and did not see the irony lurking somewhere in the background of that story. Or, most likely, it was seen as inconvenient to paying suburban movie-goers to bring out the connection that was screaming out of the large screen. After all, that Stinger policy may have contributed to the eventual Soviet withdrawal and handing Afghanistan to a bunch of Islamist terrorists.
The civil war that ensued between the Mujahideen factions and Islamist tribal warlords destroyed more of Afghanistan than the Russian incursion/occupation. It culminated in the takeover of the Taliban and their Arab Wahhabi (Al Qaeda) paymasters. We all know the rest: the switching off the lights all over Afghanistan, terrorist attacks in Africa, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, other places, then in the USA, Europe, and Asia.


That was the Stinger. Now the Russians and Iranians are in Syria, in the air and on the ground. Just as the Saudis and their partners are in Yemen, in the air and on the ground. Now the TOW is being supplied to what are called “moderate” Syrian rebels. And I had thought all moderate Syrian rebels resided in Europe and North America by now. The American TOW is being supplied to counter a possible Russian-Syrian (and possibly Iranian) assault on the strongholds of the Jihadis in northern Syria. If this new weapon works, the likely beneficiaries will be the Jihadis of ISIS and Al-Nusra allies. It is almost certainly too late to revive the old moderate Syrian opposition in-country: the Wahhabi princes and petroleum potentates saw to that three years ago. With crucial Turkish cooperation by Caliph Erdogan, of course.
No doubt the Saudi, Qatari, and Emirati potentates are footing the massive bill.

But does history repeat itself? Can it be repeated? I know that mistakes can and are repeated, and too often.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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Jordanian King Abdullah to Help Stabilize Afghanistan……….

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Jordanian King Abdullah has had a meteoric rise across American media this past week, after his air raids and especially his Mission Accomplished photographic poses like this one below:

JordanKing
New Marvel Comics Hero……

Now my sporadically reliable sources report that he is being approached by U.S. officials to lead a joint special team of Navy Seals and Special Forces back into Afghanistan to help defeat the Taliban and stabilize certain provinces of that equally humorless country.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Washington’s Liberation Theology: Charlie Wilson’s Wars………

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Saw Senator John McCain on TV when I woke up this morning. He was making the rounds of cable networks. He was asked as expected about ISIS (ISIL, DAESH). He answered with the same old mantra of the past three or four years: “No Fly Zone, Free Syrian Army“.

Except the old Free Syrian Army that he and the Arab princes had been pushing in Syria is no more. It has been completely Wahhabi-ized, as ‘we’ warned of so long ago. The ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels, the wine-sippers, have left their five-star hotels along the Turkish border and departed for Paris, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and other venues. As ‘we’ predicted two years ago, it is now ISIS, DAESH, Al-Nusra, Ahrar Al-Sham, WTF, etc.
It is amazing how they go back to the same playbook that created this mess to start with. The playbook of Afghanistan in the 1980s: Western weapons and Wahhabi oil money used in tandem to liberate a Muslim country from its present and hand it over to the joys of Wahhabism:

  • We saw it in Afghanistan after 1989, when the Mujahideen took over ‘liberated’ Kabul and set to destroy it, before handing it over to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to finish the job. But that was okay, we got a good Hollywood film out of Charlie Wilson’s War.
  • We saw it again in Libya, when NATO used a loophole in a UN resolution to bomb the country and hand it over to the current warring Wahhabi terrorist groups who now dominate it and are in the process of destroying it. Afghanistan Redux on the Shores of Tripoli.
  • They pushed for a repeat in Syria, and Obama and Hillary Clinton made the right political noises about the longevity of Bashar Al Assad.
  • Meanwhile John McCain and his sidekicks started their own war on the Syrian-Turkish border, with a lot of help from Turkish fundamentalists and repressive Arab oil princes eager to explore the delights of a democratic Syria where free speech would reign.

Can you repeat the same mistakes and expect better results? Miracles do happen.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Bergdahl Controversy: Profiles in Courage, Profiles in Afghan Food…….

      


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“Soldier: ‘Ludicrous’ To Lay 100 Percent Of Blame At Bergdahl’s Feet..” 


“Hillary Camp Distances… After Defending Days Ago!….” 

“Republicans Delete Digital Praise of Bowe Bergdahl Release….” 

“GOP Strategists Are Arranging Media Interviews To Attack Bowe Bergdahl…..” 

“The Hero Who Died Looking for Bowe Bergdahl…..” 

“Hillary Clinton Was Skeptical of Taliban-Bergdahl Swap…..” 

“Bergdahl was unpopular with fellow troops” (He read books about Afghanistan!)

Those were some of the headlines this week on the Bergdahl-Taliban exchange. So:
  • Many Republicans praised the deal then saw an opportunity to benefit politically……….
  • The Clintonistas, Hillary et al, praised the deal then it got warm in the kitchen. They saw a pitfall, let it know Hillary MAY have been skeptical……
  • What next? That Obama was skeptical but went along with Smiling Joe Biden?
  • Either way, Susan Rice has had her last official government job: she is the fall girl, has been since before Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi (John McCain can manage to look dignified as he whistles that tune to sound like Maria, Maria, Maria)……..

Oh courage, courage or lack thereof and the soundbite and the video clip without consent. And don’t forget the spin for 2014 and 2016. The early bird gets the spin. That is what defines American politics these years.

Now for the main event, Bowe Bergdahl: 
  • The kid was held in captivity among the cutthroat Taliban for five years! Imagine one of the sanctimonious fat senators, or Rush Limbaugh or Hannity, or a Clinton adviser being in his place. 
  • Notice that in almost every video clip we see of him in captivity he is stuffing his face (as in eating)? Do you think the Afghans may have lured him with promises of better food than the pink slime and the SRE or whatever they serve in those outposts? 
  • The guy looked skinny and starved before his captivity, but we won’t know what he looks like now until he is shown on the inevitable TV circus. It shouldn’t be long now.

Bergdahl Controversy: Profiles in Courage, Profiles in Afghan Food…….

      


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“Soldier: ‘Ludicrous’ To Lay 100 Percent Of Blame At Bergdahl’s Feet..” 


“Hillary Camp Distances… After Defending Days Ago!….” 

“Republicans Delete Digital Praise of Bowe Bergdahl Release….” 

“GOP Strategists Are Arranging Media Interviews To Attack Bowe Bergdahl…..” 

“The Hero Who Died Looking for Bowe Bergdahl…..” 

“Hillary Clinton Was Skeptical of Taliban-Bergdahl Swap…..” 

“Bergdahl was unpopular with fellow troops” (He read books about Afghanistan!)

Those were some of the headlines this week on the Bergdahl-Taliban exchange. So:
  • Many Republicans praised the deal then saw an opportunity to benefit politically……….
  • The Clintonistas, Hillary et al, praised the deal then it got warm in the kitchen. They saw a pitfall, let it know Hillary MAY have been skeptical……
  • What next? That Obama was skeptical but went along with Smiling Joe Biden?
  • Either way, Susan Rice has had her last official government job: she is the fall girl, has been since before Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi (John McCain can manage to look dignified as he whistles that tune to sound like Maria, Maria, Maria)……..

Oh courage, courage or lack thereof and the soundbite and the video clip without consent. And don’t forget the spin for 2014 and 2016. The early bird gets the spin. That is what defines American politics these years.

Now for the main event, Bowe Bergdahl: 
  • The kid was held in captivity among the cutthroat Taliban for five years! Imagine one of the sanctimonious fat senators, or Rush Limbaugh or Hannity, or a Clinton adviser being in his place. 
  • Notice that in almost every video clip we see of him in captivity he is stuffing his face (as in eating)? Do you think the Afghans may have lured him with promises of better food than the pink slime and the SRE or whatever they serve in those outposts? 
  • The guy looked skinny and starved before his captivity, but we won’t know what he looks like now until he is shown on the inevitable TV circus. It shouldn’t be long now.

U.S. Navy Seals and Al Qaeda and U.S. Judges vs. Iranian Money………

      


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“When insurgents shot down a CH-47D Chinook helicopter carrying Navy SEALs over Afghanistan in 2011, it spawned myriad questions about who in the U.S. military and political establishment should be held accountable. But the families of several of the 38 men killed in that mission intend to take it a step farther, suing another entity more removed from the incident: Iran. Problem is, the families don’t at the moment have much in the way of direct evidence to implicate Iran in the shootdown. The families plan to name Tehran, two of its leaders — former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei — and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards among the defendants in a lawsuit seeking $600 million in damages………………”

Imagine if the family of every veteran who was ever wounded or killed in battle or in a terrorist attack decides to sue ‘somebody’ for it. Many thousands who died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc. Many thousands of veterans who were wounded. It would be a mess.
That ought to keep a lot of lawyers occupied.
This case is one hell of a stretch, but nothing new here. It seems that other parties in the USA have aspire to sue Iran for money, and have done so. And why not, and who needs real solid reasonable sensible evidence? There have been judges in recent years who ruled millions of Iranian dollars for American victims of Al Qaeda terrorism, under the pretext that “Saudi Arabia Iran supports Al Qaeda”! This is as sensible and reasonable as claiming that Jews supported Nazism. But hey, these honorable judges are just doing their job, and there is a lot of honorable frozen Iranian money to be had. There is plenty of easy money to be had.
BTW: How come nobody sues those princes and Wahhabi potentates who created, arm, lead, and finance Al Qaeda? And should the families of all those Afghans and Pakistanis and Yemenis who were collateral damage in the war against Al Qaeda terrorists decide to sue for the drones killing their relatives by mistake? And how much should they ask for? And what are their chances of a judge outside Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen ruling for them?
 

Here are some links to a few of my older posts on similar topics of ‘legal’ absurdity:

Mel Brooks and Oliver Stone of Persia: a Taliban-Hezbollah-Colombian-Iranian-alQaeda-Mexican-Texan-African Network…….

Piling on Iran: Teetotaler Washington Judge Plays Sherlock Holmes, or is it Hercule Poirot, not Stalin…..

The Iran Embassy Plot and My old American History Professor, about the Maine……

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


The Last Halal Kosher Kebab Joint in Kabul………

      


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“In his 50s, Simintov is the last known Afghan Jew to remain in the country. He has become something of a celebrity over the years and his rivalry with the next-to-last Jew, who died in 2005, inspired a play. Mindful of Afghanistan’s extremely conservative Muslim culture, Simintov tries not to advertise his identity to protect the Balkh Bastan or Ancient Balkh kebab cafe he opened four years ago, naming it after a northern Afghan province. “All food here is prepared by Muslims,” he said. Now the cafe, neat and shiny, faces closure because kebabs are not selling well – largely because of deteriorating security in Kabul…………..”

How did this man survive the hellish years of Taliban rule? He would have been an obvious target for them. Even many Muslims, both Shi’a and Sunni, did not survive their bloody years. Can survival be something that is, as Wendy Sherman might say, in the DNA?

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com