Category Archives: North Korea

Trump Foreign Policy: Is There a MOAB in the Pyongyang Kid’s Future……

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“North Korea’s military on Friday directly responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s renewed threats to take “care of” Pyongyang’s nuclear threat amid expectations of a new nuclear test that could come at any time. “Our toughest counteraction against the United States and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive,” according to unnamed spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army. “Under the prevailing grave situation, the United States has to come to its senses and make a proper option for the solution of the problem,” continued the statement, carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency……..”

Donald Trump spent his first two months in office trying his hands at domestic issues.

His first policy Executive Order, a Muslim immigration/entry ban, was thrown out by U.S. federal courts. His second policy try was a sly but direct attempt at screwing the American people, repealing the ACA Healthcare law (Obamacare) without replacing it with a policy that covers those uncovered. He could not get his own party to pass a healthcare bill that he almost certainly did not understand. His attempt at screwing up the healthcare system was opposed by all professional associations of doctors, nurses and hospitals. It failed, so he blamed the Democrats, ignoring that his own party controls Congress.

He faced a rapidly building up crisis about allegations of his and his associates’ connections to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Democrats milked that issue for all its worth, but Republicans helped along by mishandling the investigation.

So what can a president do when he fails in domestic policy?

He can always revive or inflame a simmering crisis in the Middle East, or in some other Muslim country. Hence Trump’s “seeming” flip flop on Syria. Before any UN meeting, before any investigation, he used suspicions and allegations of Assad using chemical weapons against a rebel area to throw about 60 Tomahawk missiles at a nearly-empty Syrian airbase.

The American media loved it: nothing brings Republican and Democrat political elites together than waging or escalating a war in a Muslim land. Some of the more “liberal” news networks went nearly orgasmic, could not have enough of the attack in Syria, some like CNN were sorely disappointed that it seemed like a one-time event.

The Syrian attack quickly distracted from the domestic Russian investigation. But the Russians and the Syrians mounted their own PR blitz and the need arose for more show of foreign toughness. Hence the first use of the biggest baddest non-nuclear bomb, the MOAB. Few people would argue with the target picked: a territory in Afghanistan reportedly boiling with Taliban and ISIS killers. And with few civilians.

Some, including myself, speculated that the MOAB and even the Syrian bombing may have included a message for the chubby dictator of Pyongyang. One Kim Jong Un, a seeming addict to Twinkies and Ding Dongs. But unfortunately the MOAB use also coincides with a time of serious fireworks in North Korea: the birthday of late dictator Kim Il Song. He was the man who established Communist North Korea and blessed it with his dynasty of nasty murderous despots.

They are reported to be planning some nuclear fireworks for the occasion. Now the Pyongyang regime is not an Arab regime. It is not the type that is expected to bend over and take it, even if it is well deserved as in this case. At the least, they have the city of Seoul hostage to their massive artillery: potentially hundreds of thousands of casualties, including many Americans.

And someone like the Pyongyang Kid can’t afford to seem weak. There are probably some among his own family who would gladly dispose of him.

That is why I doubt that Mr. Trump would authorize the use of MOAB in Korea, not without serious provocation. Unless the generals can find a way to have it land right where M. Kim is napping, taking a shower, among other activities.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Camelot in Riyadh: Best and Brightest of JFK or Dumb and Dumber of MBS?……..

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

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“Now Prince Mohammed has swiftly accumulated more power than any prince has ever held, upending a longstanding system of distributing positions around the royal family to help preserve its unity, and he has used his growing influence to take a leading role in Saudi Arabia’s newly assertive stance in the region, including its military intervention in Yemen. In the four months since his coronation, King Salman has put Prince Mohammed in charge of the state oil monopoly, the public investment company, economic policy and the Defense Ministry…………. But some Western diplomats, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the prince and the king, say they are worried about the growing influence of the prince, with one even calling him “rash” and “impulsive.”…… After meeting with both princes at a summit meeting of Gulf nations at Camp David last month, President Obama said the younger Prince Mohammed “struck us as extremely knowledgeable, very smart.” “I think wise beyond his years,” Obama added in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network……………. “Being with Prince Salman every minute — can you imagine what you would have learned?”………………”

heart-warming analysis by David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times. You’d think a new Saudi age of Camelot is about to burst upon us. With an Arabian JFK and his two wives (so far), two Jackies for one Guinevere, ready to start an era of the Best and Brightest, instead of the Dumb and Dumber. But what about Lancelot, and would the Mufti be his Merlin?
Kirkpatrick, rather reluctantly and almost shyly, notes that some other Saudi princes have “reservations” about their new robber baron. But he salvages it all with the uber-diplomatic comment of Barack Obama to the Saudi semi-official Al Arabiya network. 
He said ““struck us as extremely knowledgeable, very smart.” No kidding Barack, no doubt you’ve been reading the groveling Saudi media. No doubt Prince Mohammed is smart enough to inherit the country from his father, but I’m not sure about ‘knowledgeable’. For one, MBS is waiting for his own PT 109 opportunity in the wrong place, in Yemen. Alas, it doesn’t look like the Yemenis are willing to accommodate him: he can’t have it long distance from Riyadh. He needs to get on some new boots (instead of the beautiful Najdi sandals that I really like: نعال نيدي) and dash across the lethal border if he wants to create his own PT 109 moment.

I doubt that Kirkpatrick or other N Y Times pundits waxed as poetic about another dynastic appointed dictator named Kim Jong Un. But then he had access to much less money than MBS. The pudgy Korean has not caused as much damage to his neighborhood (with bombs and cluster bombs) so early in his career. Not yet.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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What Qatar and North Korea Have in Common: the Crowd is Not Wild……..

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KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“The men grappled with each other to board the quickly filling bus. Others wriggled in through the windows, scaling the outside, using the large wheels as footholds and leaving scuff-marks on the white exterior with their shoes. These weren’t refugees fleeing disaster. They were migrant workers in 2022 World Cup host Qatar, fighting to earn a few dollars. The job: Pretend to be a sports fan. Qataris boast they’re mad for sports. The ruling emir of the oil-and-gas rich Gulf nation is so fond of football he bought Paris Saint-Germain, now France’s powerhouse team………. Thirty Qatar riyals – equivalent to $8 – won’t buy a beer in the luxury waterside hotel in Doha, the capital, where Qatari movers-and-shakers unwind. But for this pittance, workers from Africa and Asia sprint under blinding sun in the Doha industrial zone where they’re housed and surround a still-moving bus like bees on honey……………..”

During the FIFA World Cup games in South Africa, there were many groups, including families, rooting for the North Korean team. Which seemed odd, given that individuals in North Korea are not allowed to do any private travel overseas. If they could afford it. Then came reports, some of them credible, that these were Chinese crowds, including families with children, hired by the ruling dynasty in Pyongyang to pretend to be North Koreans.

Now we come to Qatar, where temporary foreign laborers are more than 87% of the population of about 2 million. Most of them are from South and Southeast Asia. There are just not enough people in Qatar to fill any stadium, even if expatriate laborers were willing to pay for tickets. Which they are not because they can’t afford it and most are not interested in football/soccer. Hence this practice of hiring foreign spectators. The ruling family of Qatar will spend billions for the privilege of being the only Middle East country to host the FIFA World Cup games in this century. Until somebody offers bigger bribes to FIFA officials.

This item was eagerly highlighted by Saudi semi-official Alarabiya, but only in its English edition. Gulf GCC media are rarely critical of other Gulf GCC countries and regimes. Which means tat Saudi-Qatari differences and tensions have not vanished, they were just swept under the rug for now. of course the fact that Qatar beat Saudi Arabia to win the Gulf Cup last month may also have something to do with this.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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From Stuxnet to Sony: CyberWar Chickens Coming Home to Roost?……….

Shuwaikh-school1 RattleSnakeRidge Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2     ChristmasPeanuts

Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

There is a lot of media and official noise about the hacking of Sony documents. There are also threats of more damage to the company for producing a film spoof of Kim Jon Un of North Korea. There are claims that North Korea is responsible, being upset about the film. Maybe they didn’t get the famous haircut quite right in the film, or maybe it is the inevitable stupidity and silly thrust of the film.
Now there is much talk of the ‘terrible’ act of hacking and terrorism and how to respond. But wait: is hacking another country such a terrible act? A terrorist act? Weren’t the same media clinking glasses over the various cyber attacks on another country’s institutions only recently? Weren’t congressmen and women and senators going publicly orgasmic over the series of cyber attacks on official Iranian websites? Reportedly, strongly and deliberately and proudly disclosed by the usual unnamed sources to be the joint work of Israeli and American experts.

I commented several times in my postings on this cyber aggression, from Stuxnet to Duque to Flame and other malware, allegedly targeting the Iranian nuclear program and possibly other infrastructure. I even opined that “Live by Cyber war, Die by Cyber War“. I even wrote something about “cyber chickens coming home to roost“. And apparently they are starting now. This alleged North Korean attack and other allegedly Iranian cyber attacks in the past year. I have also written that cyber battles and cyber wars are equalizers: they are relatively cheap and any nation can excel in waging them.
Cyber counterattacks can be understandable, for they are done in retaliation for other cyber attacks. It happens. What irks me is the fact that American theatres have caved in to blackmail and fear and decided not to show the stupid film, The Interview. As has Sony now in deciding to “withdraw” the film, which makes one wonder what more information did the hackers get their hands on.

That reaction is an even more serious development: it means other hackers will be able to blackmail publishers, film-makers, and other cultural parties. Thus curtailing the right of free expression. Thus imposing a piece of the ‘political ambience’ of North Korea or wherever the hell they are located into the United States and other countries.

Cyber Wars as Great Equalizers: Tit for Tat?………

Cyber Jingoism: CyberSecurity, Cyber Wars, and the New Cyber Powers………

Cyber Wars: Malware, Mahdi, and Hail Mary in Iran and Israel……

Israel and the West: only Arab and Muslim Hacking is Terrorism, Ours is Kosher……
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Cute Leader and Waldo: Kim Jong Un Goes AWOL……….

_9OJik4N_normal Sharqeya-Baneen-15    DennyCreek2

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“Have you heard? Kim Jong Un is missing. Which can only mean one thing: He has been overthrown! His little sister, Kim Yo Jong, now runs the showin the most isolated nation on Earth. Or is it that the entire Kim dynasty, steward of North Korea for decades, is now out? It was a coup! The North Korean grand poobah finally got too big for his britches, what with ordering men to mimic his haircut and feeding his uncle to wild dogs, and was deposed. Boom. Wait a minute. Kim Jong Un is sick! It’s true, he has been “getting fatter lately”…………….”

Of all this speculation one thing is true for certain: Un has been getting fatter in recent months. Or maybe I should say “he HAD been getting fatter”. The Cute Leader probably easily outweighs (outweighed?) his father and grandfather, the Great Leader and the Dear Leader, combined. I doubt that even Dennis Rodman knows anything about his whereabouts. Certainly South Korean media rumor-mongers don’t know jack about this.

Once some years ago when Osama Bin Laden went AWOL I speculated that he could be in Las Vegas, dealing or just hitting the tables. Un could be in Macao right now, living it up within a different life-style, with pierced lips and nose and eyebrows. I shall not speculate about other possible pierced, er, extremities.

It is not too far-fetched to expect that a socialist revolution in Pyongyang may have overthrown him. It happens all the time to absolute ruling dynasties. Think Charles I, Louis XVI, Nicholas II, Shakhbout I, Saud I, Haile Selassie, the Pahlavis, among others. Some North Korean generals and functionaries may have gone back to Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and discovered that these dead Communist worthies never advocated or started absolute hereditary family dynasties. Nor were they fond of exotic expensive imported Swiss cheese.
Or maybe he has discreetly sought asylum with another notorious absolute ruling dynasty: the Al Saud. Un could be ensconced in a secluded villa in Jeddah, across the road from some other former Arab or African despots.

Maybe in Pyongyang the jig is finally up.

Or, Un could be in seclusion, playing Halo with Waldo. He could be laughing his head off at the frantic search mounted by the international media. The Cute Leader may be a prankster at heart.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Yemeni Elections and Swiss Cheese from North Korea……..

_9OJik4N_normal Sharqeya-Baneen-15    DennyCreek2

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Speaking of Houthis and Yemen (my last post): In 2012 General Hadi won the presidential election arranged and supervised by the freely-elected Saudi princes and UAE Emirati rulers. He won by 99.8% of the vote: my Sana’a source reports that the other 0.2% voted for Minnie Mouse (she seemed serious). She also claims Kim Jong-Un called Hadi immediately after the election results came out to ask how he did it, speaking technically not politically. He reportedly offered to send Hadi a huge box of his favorite snack: Swiss Emmental cheese in exchange.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Nobel Prize: If Arafat Could, Why Not Dennis Rodman?………..

      


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“Former basketball star Dennis Rodman has received the Nobel Peace Prize for his unlikely and controversial role in promoting international relations with North Korea and “friend for life” dictator Kim Jong-un. The eccentric sports icon accepted the award via satellite during the ceremony in Norway’s capital, Oslo. The prize committee praised Rodman for working to end the simmering conflict between isolated North Korea, the United States and the world community through “basketball diplomacy.” “I accept this award on behalf of the North Korean people and my good friend, Kim Jong-un………………….”

It is not so preposterous. Others have received it, including Yasser Arafat and a few others.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




North Korean Bomb: Israeli Speculation, Iranian Angle, Joe Stalin and the Rosenbergs, Frying Burgers at the Sing Sing Greasy Spoon……….

         


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“In addition to provoking the West, North Korea’s nuclear test on Tuesday may have also been carried out on behalf of Iran, and in the presence of Iranian atomic scientists, a security expert warned on Tuesday. North Korea is making progress both in its nuclear weapons capabilities and its ICBM missile research, Dr. Alon Levkowitz, coordinator of Bar-Ilan University’s Asian Studies Program and a member of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, told The Jerusalem Post. “The most disturbing question is whether the Iranians are using North Korea as a backdoor plan for their own nuclear program. The Iranians didn’t carry out a nuclear test in Iran, but they may have done so in North Korea,” Levkowitz said. “There is no official information on this… but Iran may have bypassed inspections via North Korea. If true, this is a very worrying development.”………………”

This is purely Israeli speculation. But it is to be expected under the circumstances. It would be stupid not to speculate on this issue, even if the speculator is the right-wing Jerusalem Post which has an axe (possibly even ax) to grind. After all: it was Pyongyang which provided Bashar Al-Assad with all those nuclear facilities that probably existed only in Western and Saudi media but the Israelis bombed anyway for mysterious reasons.

Besides, does anyone know any country that willingly provided either nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons technology to another country? Other than the USA giving it to Joe Stalin, something which exposed both the two Rosenbergs to the undeniably barbaric horrors of the electric chair at Sing Sing. Justly or unjustly, I don’t know. A few years earlier, the Nazis would have tortured then beheaded them on the guillotine for it (or just for being there). But the electric chair must be more barbaric than beheading (provided the blade is sharp and the executioner is sober). I read somewhere that it took long minutes to die on the chair in those Rosenberg days. Like frying a burger at a greasy spoon. I don’t think anyone uses ‘the chair’ it anymore, I hope not, probably not even Texas nor any God-fearing neighboring states that we see in those BP commercials on TV. Executions of any kind  are barbaric and only some theocracies (Muslim and Christian and other) in third world countries and the USA impose them.
(Speaking of pushing nuclear weapons technology: I know there were reports about nuclear ‘pusher’ A.Q. Khan of Pakistan, who became their national hero, even more so than Osama Bin Laden. There have even been reports of the Pakistanis promising to supply the Al-Saud and the Wahhabi Mufti with nukes at some future date, if and when the princes decide to become a world power).

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com




The Iran Bomb: Comparing a North Korean Voter to an American Voter………

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What is one difference (or the similarity if you prefer) between a North Korean voter (I know, North Koreans don’t vote, but humor me) and an American voter?

North Koreans are told and believe the following, among other things: that the Americans want to bomb North Korea and obliterate it with nuclear weapons and only the WMD of Kim Jong Il are keeping them at bay. Kim Jong Il and his sons Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Nam and Kim Dim Sum may also believe that.
 
Americans are told by the media and some politicians and ‘may largely’ believe the following, among other things:
The Iranians are building nuclear weapons which they will immediately use to destroy Israel. After that they would love to use their Hiroshima vintage bombs to trigger Armageddon or take over the world and make it a safer place for the awaited Mahdi (their Messiah). One pre-condition of all that is to bomb Europe back to the good old day of May 1945. Hence all the missiles deployed in Turkey and soon in other places near Iran. All that may have been corroborated by Saudi Intelligence, the shaikhs of Abu Dhabi, the Saudi ambassador in Washington, John Bolton, and one Texas screw-up named Mansoor Arbabsiar (I know you expected me to say Rick Perry). Provided that the End of Time and Rapture and the Christian right and the Republican Party do not beat them to it.

Cheers
mhg



m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com