Category Archives: Latin America

America in the Twilight Zone of Trump: Which Countries Qualify as Genuine Shitholes?………

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In the Beginning:
There were the Axis of Evil countries none of whose citizens were involved in the September 2011 terrorist attacks on the USA (I thought that was a stupid term at the time)….
Then the Coalition of the Willing (the war on Iraq)…..
Then the Muslim Ban list against “potential” terrorists that included only countries whose citizens have never committed terrorism in America…
Then the Muslim-Arab-American Summit i Riyadh Against… everybody else….

Now America is in a twilight zone she had never been in before in the modern era. Nothing, no term, is taboo now. Now we have a new term, rather a new use of an old privately used American term:
People who immigrate from Haiti, Africa, other Central American and Latin and Arab countries came out of Sh*tholes….. and should not be allowed…

A country has the right to decide whom to allow in and whom to keep out. Other countries do it as a matter of routine, and America has been quite generous towards aspiring immigrants. But the leaders of these other countries, their heads of state, never ever use the term shithole for another country. No Arab or Muslim or African or Latin leader ever called another country a shithole. Not publicly and not in a quotable setting. The Saudi rulers, for example, never call their rivals in Qatar or Iran by such an epithet. The Arabs, even Hezbollah, never call Israel a shithole, and vice versa….

In the Middle East, leaders, dictators, kings, and potentates are now pouring over memos from their advisers. All trying to answer the newest most important Trumpian question of the week: Are We Among the Select Shithole Countries? (I expect Mr. Netanyahu will be the usual exception: he will probably tweet a line of strong support for Mr. Trump, as he has done with the Mexican Wall and other issues).

Remember, as someone on a big News Network said just an hour ago: talking of immigrants, with all respect, the homeland of the First lady Melania, Slovenia, is not exactly the “Jewel of Europe”…

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Imagine a New Middle East Slogan: Export Beautiful Pork, Not Beautiful Guns……

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Vice President Mike Pence tweeted today that:”@Potus just announced that American pork will be exported to Argentina & American farmers and ranchers will reap the rewards.”

Mr. Pence forgot to add the obligatory “Great” this time. In fact Mr. Pence has not used the “epithet” of greatness for a couple of days now to describe his boss. I wonder why….

Mr. Trump was in the Middle East last May, being anointed by Arab leaders as the new prophet of our age. He claimed he had made deals worth more than $450 billion. He claimed.
Too bad Potus forgot to negotiate, during his May Summit, to have American pork exported to the Middle East. Imagine exclusive export of pork to all those allied Arab and Muslim countries. (Scratch sanctioned Iran: they don’t deserve all that beautiful pork, not yet).

Imagine the rewards.
Imagine, if you can, the new slogan:

Export Beautiful Pork, not Beautiful Guns.


Raise Fat Pigs, not Skinny Terrorists….

(FYI: for some reason Congress always prefers “pork” to “pigs”).

It won’t be kosher or halal, but just imagine the added rewards….


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Jeff Beauregard Sessions III Visits Mexican Border, Refrains from Mooning Neighbors…….

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“Attorney General Jeff Sessions toured the US-Mexico border Tuesday and unveiled what he described as a new get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions under President Donald Trump. The nation’s top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as “filth” brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations. The tour included visiting a port of entry, where Sessions exited an SUV in a white shirt and baseball cap before entering a restricted area……..”

Jeff Beauregard Sessions (The Third) is the Attorney General of the United States. He was named after a good Southern gentleman: Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. That earlier Beauregard was a man of many talents, but he is best known for starting the American Civil War at Fort Sumter (where he won a Pyrrhic victory), and he went on to fight other battles for the Confederacy.

Now, back to the current border.
On another border of another country, at another time, the following happened. A very high security official went on an inspection visit of the tense border between his country and a neighboring country. He ended up making a speech facing the border. At one point he got carried away, turned his back on the neighboring country, pulled down his pants and mooned the befuddled neighbors on the other side.

Some of the soldiers among the neighbors across the border were offended, and aimed their rifles at his rear end. But alas, they decided not to create an international crisis by shooting his arse.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Sad Economic Dances: From Tango Argentino to Saudi Arabian Ardha………

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“من حفر حفرة لأخيه وقع فيها :Whoever digs a hole for his brother, he himself shall fall into itAn Arabic saying against treachery, based on a Hadith quote from the Prophet.

” Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, needs to sell oil at around $106 to balance its budget, according to IMF estimates. The kingdom barely has enough fiscal buffers to survive five years of $50 oil, the IMF said. That’s why Saudi Arabia is moving fast to preserve cash. The kingdom not only raised $4 billion by selling bonds earlier this year, but its central bank has yanked up to $70 billion from asset management firms like BlackRock (BLK) over the past six months. After years of huge surpluses, Saudi Arabia’s current account deficit is projected to soar to 20% of gross domestic product this year, Capital Economics estimates. Saudi Arabia’s war chest of cash is still humungous at nearly $700 billion, but it’s shrinking fast…………”

Argentina evokes images of tango, soccer, gauchos…and an awful economy — one of the world’s worst. Its economy is projected to show little or negative growth this year. Argentina is still indebted to American hedge funds, affectionately known as “vultures” in the country. And it remains the poster child of nations that default on their loans. But there’s new optimism in Argentina, mainly driven by presidential elections coming later this year…………….”

In Argentina, the ruling party could win another term in run-off elections. But the Tango Argentino goes on.

Now to Saudi Arabia, where the princes like to force their Western visitors to mimic the native all-male Ardha dance for the cameras. From George W Bush to Prince Chuck of England they have all pretended t enjoy this dance. Only the Frenchmen, Sarkozy and Hollande, could not bring themselves to pretend that they want anything to do with it.

There is a great Arabic saying from the Hadith that ” من حفر حفرة لأخيه وقع فيها   whoever digs a hole for his brother, he himself shall fall into it“.

As I have opined recently, the Saudi princes had bought the fantasy that they can “control” crude oil markets. They thought they could engineer limited lower prices for political strategic goals. To punish the mullahs in Iran, Putin in Russia, and the North American shale industry. It worked well beyond their expectations, to the extent that Saudi Arabia faces economic disaster in a few years.  They probably never dreamed that prices will collapse to less than $50 (apparently the Saudis need oil prices to hover around $100/barrel).  Other Gulf GCC states can live with much lower oil prices than $100, but not the Saudis.


If you look at the IMF chart, you’ll notice that the most corrupt most repressive of the Persian Gulf states require a higher price for crude oil to break even. These are the two countries to the right. Of course that could be just a coincidence, some may say “there is no correlation”.

However, the princes are fine. They take their cut first, from oil production and from huge military and civilian contracts. They keep on sucking the resources of the country and its people. Whatever reduction in their loot results from reduced oil prices they make up with commissions and kickbacks on even larger weapons contracts with the West.

Hopefully their reckless policies do not doom the economies of the other Gulf states.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Is Cristina Fernández Being Framed? from Debt Default to Charges of Terrorism……….

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“The draft of an arrest warrant for Argentine President Cristina Fernández was found at the home of a prosecutor who was investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing the lead investigator. Prosecutor Alberto Nisman had drafted a warrant that accused Fernández of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the bombing, according to the report. Nisman died on Jan. 18, a day before he was due to appear in Congress over his claims that Fernandez conspired to derail his investigation……………”

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was not anywhere near office or politics in the 1990s. We are talking 21 years ago, which makes one wonder why no progress in the case over that time, across all these previous administrations in La Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires? Why now?
Cristina Fernández has ruffled some mighty international feathers lately. She has had issues with powerful international bankers, and powerful governments that serve them, over Argentina’s debt (the Argentine bond-holders didn’t do so badly, after all). She is accused by her foes and some U.S. media of conspiring with Iran to cover up a 1994 terrorist incident. She also removed the top leaders of the domestic intelligence service, SI, last December.

Or, worse, she is being insinuated into a conspiracy behind the death of Alberto Nisman. Mr. Nisman was Jewish and the attack was on a Jewish Center, which evokes memories of buried old Argentine Anti-semitism and Adolph Eichmann and no doubt other Nazis who managed to obtain or purchase sanctuary after World War II. Oddly, the draft warrant also mentions the arrest of a co-conspirator: Foreign Minister Hector Timerman who is also Jewish and former human rights activist (like his famous father Jacobo was).

One suspicious thing: reports say they found the ‘draft’ arrest warrant in his trash bin. Imagine: what kind of an assassin would leave such document (accidentally on purpose) in a trash bin, or drop one in a trash bin! The first place police investigators would look. Only someone who wants it to be seen and read would do that. Something is not kosher here, not even halal, and forgive the deliberate pun.

The plot thickens. Or better yet: the plots thicken……..
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

Mexico: New President, Same Old Caca del Toro……

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“Peña Nieto pushes on with change. Leader promises a Mexico ‘on the move’ despite growing scepticism…….. In a 90-minute state of the nation speech in the Palacio Nacional, where Mexico’s history is depicted in a series of murals by Diego Rivera begun in 1929, the president hit hard his message of a forward-looking Mexico that is “on the move”………….” New York Times

Ya, ya, ya. We’ve been hearing and reading this every time a new president is inaugurated. Everyone of them is a new breath of fresh air when they start: Zedillo and Calderon and Fox and this Nieto. More political caca de toro.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

O Canada: is it Oily and Imperialistic with a Pusher for Prime Minister?………


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Canada spied on communications at Brazil’s Mining and Energy Ministry, according to Canadian intelligence documents revealed Sunday by Globo television. The documents were leaked by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. His disclosures including that the United States spied on the same ministry, on President Dilma Rousseff and her aides, have greatly strained US-Brazilian ties. In the disclosures broadcast on Globo, documents purportedly from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service leaked by Snowden show a detailed outline of the Brazilian ministry’s communications including phone calls, emails and Internet traffic. Canada does have interests in Brazil, particularly in mining, Mining and Energy Minister Edilson Lobao told Globo, calling the development “serious.”……………..”

““But a dark secret lurks in the northern forests. Over the last decade, Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate. It’s no longer America’s better half, but a dystopian vision of the continent’s energy-soaked future. That’s right: The good neighbor has banked its economy on the cursed elixir of political dysfunction — oil. Flush with visions of becoming a global energy superpower, Canada’s government has taken up with pipeline evangelists, petroleum bullies, and climate change skeptics. Turns out the Boy Scout’s not just hooked on junk crude — he’s become a pusher………………….”

Apparently I discovered
that I have been paying a lot of attention to Canada over the past year
or so. More than, say, I have been paying to more important countries
like Brazil or Argentina or India or China:

Here is what I wrote on this a few weeks ago: Okay. Stephen Harper is the son of an Imperial Oil loyal senior accountant/pencil pusher and a fundamentalist evangelist (a Christian not a Muslim one). An evangelical Likud-nik Salafi, of the sort that Sarah Palin pretends to be (but certainly is not). When Canadians elected him, they probably did not realize they were voting the oil-industry fox into their beautiful environmental hen house. That explains it all, including his ‘more royal than the king’ attitude toward the Middle East.

For example I also wrote this in another posting here.

Before that I wrote in an earlier posting right here.

Before all that, I tried to write seriously in a posting here. You can see why that was difficult.

I also wrote before that on this strange Canadian episode in another posting here.

I even wrote this next hasty posting linked here.

Okay, I might as well throw in this last one, a bonus, but not my favorite.


The Ghost of Allende and Other Latin Plots…………


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“The rising power of leftists in South America made the election of Chile’s President Salvador Allende a threat to the United States, a journalist says. That was one of the reasons the CIA became involved, directly or indirectly, in the socialist leader’s assassination in 1973, author Carlos Bosso said in an interview published Sunday in the Santiago (Chile) Times. In his book, “The CIA in Chile,” Bosso said the CIA detected what it saw as “a strong increase” in Chileans voting for leftist political parties in the 1960s He cited an analysis of leftist guerrillas done by the CIA that said attempts by leftist groups to take over governments by violence “were not feasible anymore,” so the groups began getting involved in the continent’s political processes. That resulted in the election of Allende…………

That was then. Now the gates have opened. Now they have several leftists to get rid of: Evo Morales (Bolivia), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Maduro (Venezuela), Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua), the Castros (the toughest ones, in Cuba). Then there are the softer leftists who in the old right-wing days would have been overthrown just as quickly: in Chile, Brazil…………


Álvaro García Linera of Bolivia………


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“The profile of Álvaro García Linera, a leading intellectual and political figure, is atypical. Born in 1962 in Cochabamba, he is a trained mathematician and sociologist. Since 2005 he has served as the communist vice-president of the “Plurinational” State of Bolivia, working alongside Evo Morales, the country’s first president of indigenous background. Following studies in Mexican universities, García Linera returned to Bolivia in 1985 and engaged in political activism. In 1992, he was arrested for his participation in the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army. He spent five years in prison without trial. It was there that he studied sociology which he then taught upon his release. He has since led conferences not only in South America but also in Spain and France. He is an intellectual renowned throughout Latin America and the theoretician behind the awakening of indigenous identity which he considers the most revolutionary element of Bolivian society………………”

Failed Cartagena Summit: Blame Florida, Blame Canada…….


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A summit of nearly 30 Western Hemisphere leaders has ended without a joint declaration due to divisions over Cuba and Argentine claims to the Falkland Islands. “There is no declaration because there is no consensus,” said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as the summit’s closing news conference. Washington, backed by Canada, stood fast against widespread demands to include in the meeting’s final declaration language specifying that Cuba be included in future hemispheric summits. They had also balked at backing Argentina’s claims to the British-held Falkland Islands. “All the countries here in Latin American and the Caribbean want Cuba to be present. But the United States won’t accept,” President Evo Morales of Bolivia told reporters late Saturday. “It’s like a dictatorship.”……..

no more Summits of the Americas unless ALL nations of the Americas are allowed to attend. Canada’s right-wing government and the United States’ allegedly communist socialist government blocked any consensus on Cuba (and perhaps Florida)and the Malvinas (Falklands). At least until after the 2012 elections. This time Canada got the Malvinas (Falklands) in exchange for Cuba (and perhaps Florida), next time: who know