Category Archives: Syria

Who to Believe on Future Syrian WMD Allegations: the Trump White House or Bashar Al Assad?…….

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“Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be preparing a chemical weapons attack that would result in the “mass murder” of civilians, the White House said Monday, warning the regime would pay a “heavy price” if it goes ahead…….. “The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement. “The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.” Assad, backed by his ally Russia, has strongly denied the allegation that his forces used chemical weapons against the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun, describing it as a “100 percent fabrication”……..”


It is not a theory anymore: it is a fact. Whenever the Syrian Jihadist rebels are losing some serious ground someone, either the United States government (or occasionally British or French sources), come up with “evidence” that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons (WMD). All based on”reliable” sources on the ground in Syria: meaning Syrian Jihadi rebel sources. Possibly all of it corroborated by by reliable “allied” intelligence sources in some Persian Gulf kingdom, and maybe some Western reporter in Istanbul or Riyadh or even Beirut.

Could be true, the reports are accompanied with photos and video clips, which regime supporters claim are staged or doctored. But anything can happen in the bloody killing fields of Syria. Apparently somebody has been repeatedly playing with chemical weapons in (or over) some of the besieged Jihadi-held parts of Syria. This has been the pattern for several years, a pattern that started in recent years, as soon as the rebels began to lose ground to the Assad regime and its allies. Is the limited, alleged small-scale use of chemicals really helping the Assad regime that much? I doubt that it is worth the trouble nowadays, so I have doubts about it. It has now become like a matter of determining which came first: the chicken of the egg?

Usually the accusations (and retaliation) come after the alleged fact. This time the Trump White House claims that Assad is “thinking” or “planning” to use chemical weapons. Normally the losing side in a war is tempted to use chemical weapons, as Saddam Hussein’s Baathists used Western-supplied WMD against the Iranian forces and against Kurdish civilians during the 1980s. The winning side in a war rarely uses WMD, it has not happened since 1945.

Now Mr. Trump is getting involved deeper into a predictable Syrian quagmire, just as he is getting deeper into the certain Yemeni quagmire. Possibly both for a price to be paid by one or two oil potentates. And he is setting the stage to get the American media that he despises on his side.
His White House now claims they have foresight, that some bird must have told them Assad will use WMD soon. Perhaps along the eastern border with Iraq? Or maybe at one of the last strongholds of the Jihadis inside Syria. The New York Times reports that the new White House claim took US military leaders by surprise. National intelligence and even White House National Security officials refused to comment on the surprising and unprecedented statement by Sean Spicer. UN ambassador Nikki Haley was also reported yesterday to have threatened to hold Iran responsible if Assad uses chemical weapons, although it is not clear why she did not threaten Russia as well. (Hint: Russia, like North Korea, has nuclear weapons).

The question now is: how credible are any new allegations by the Trump White House these days? Especially about matters of war and peace, but not just those? A sign of the times, no? Sad….


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Breaking Fake: French Intel and Tillerson Assert Assad Regime Responsible for Mosul Massacre….

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“At least 105 civilians died in a US anti-IS strike in the Iraqi city of Mosul (Iraq) in March, Pentagon probe finds…..”

Breaking Fake News: French Intelligence and US Secretary of State Tillerson assert that they have reliable reports from credible sources that the Bashar Al Assad regime was responsible for the massacre of 105+ civilians in Mosul last month. They said they got reliable information from Syrian rebel activists on the ground in Syria, Riyadh, and Paris.

For their part, D Ignatius alleged said he was assured by a senior intelligence official from a Gulf GCC country, that this is true. He declined to name the Gulf country, but finally admitted that it was an island nation in the Persian Gulf.

They say Mr. Trump is weighing his options, looking for an abandoned Syrian airbase to bomb. The humorless Saudi foreign minister suggested that maybe he should cut the “head of the snake” by bombing Tehran or, better yet, Qom

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Old Slogan, New Slogan: Assad Hasn’t Gone Yet, but Erdogan Must Go…….

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Remember when the common slogan in Turkey (and in Washington and among Wahhabi potentates) was: Assad must go?

It has been revived with a lot of Saudi money given to Donald Trump. A few weeks ago Trump discarded the old Assad slogan, but that was before he discovered the joys of Saudi money.


Maybe Assad will go, eventually. Everybody does, something which gives the American people some hope.

But there is a new maniac roaming the Middle East now, repressing his own people, stifling freedom in Turkey. A better slogan now would be: Erdogan Must Go.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

New Syria War Plan: From Humorless Jordan to the Iraqi Border………

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Independent Arab media are a rare breed these days. They are those that are not owned (bought or bribed) by the potentates of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, or the UAE. Nor those owned or controlled by other dictators. It is often hard to tell which media are independent, or who owns what. Western reports often refer to Asharq AlAwsat (London: owned by Saudi king Salman & sons) or AlHayat (London: owned by Prince Khalid Bin Sutan) as “independent Arab newspapers. Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London) is now fully owned by the Qatari royals. Al-Arab (London) is owned by the UAE potentates. Various radio and television networks blanketing the Arab world and Europe are owned by the princes now (AlJazeera, AlArabiya, MBC, LBC, etc etc).

Independent Arab media, outside Lebanon and maybe Iraq, are now mainly located in Europe. Mainly in London. Oddly side by side with much of the private media owned by Arab royal princes.

The few remaining independent Arab media now report ominous developments occurring along the border of Humorless Kingdom of Jordan and Syria. They report that thousands of fighters have been trained by Americans, British, and Jordanians to fight inside Syria. Presumably these fighters are ‘moderate’ Syrian Jihadi rebels. Presumably. There have also been pictures of heavy military equipment gathered along the Jordanian border.

The Syrians have warned Jordan not to interfere in their country, but the Arab oil money is apparently too good for the humorless king of Jordan to resist. The reported plan is to enter Syria from the south, near where the border with both Jordan and Iraq meet, not far from the Saudi border. The reported plan is to move quickly toward strategic points along the eastern border of Syria. Far away from Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah, and Turkish zones of influence. Effectively further partitioning Syria.

Either to help create a secessionist part in eastern Syria, or to block an Iranian connection from Iraq into Syria and then into Lebanon. Likely both are considered worthy targets.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Exchange of Qatari Royals in Iraq for Syrian Captives of Jihadis Ends in Bloody Massacre…….

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“The fates of 26 members of a Qatari royal hunting party held hostage for more than a year in Iraq were used to help negotiate a population swap in Syria, where residents on Friday started leaving two Shia villages and two Sunni towns in a synchronised easing of a four-year siege brokered by regional powers. Residents of the Shia areas of Fua and Kefraya, in northern Syria, were transported to nearby east Aleppo as the first buses began leaving Zabadani and Madaya, Sunni strongholds between Damascus and the Lebanese border, for a final destination somewhere in the rebel-held areas of Idlib province. The deal was finalised in recent days after nearly two years of negotiations between one of Syria’s main opposition groups, Ahrar al-Sham, and Iran. The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Qatar have also been central ……..”

Reports from all sides in the Middle East indicate that there may be several thousand Saudis held captive in Iraq. Most of them apparently went north to join the Jihadi campaign of terrorism against Iraqi civilians, a sectarian campaign mainly targeting Shi’as. Many joined Al Qaeda in Iraq in the days of Jordanian terrorist Al Zarqawi, and later joined ISIS (DAESH). They represent a huge headache for the Saudi government, and it probably has influenced the recent Saudi warming up to the new political order in Iraq. Families and especially tribes as well as clerics form an important lobby in Saudi Arabia, as the authorities try to get these prisoners released. Some have reportedly been sentenced to death for terrorist acts and some already executed.

An unfortunate development. Today, Saturday, reports came that Jihadi rebels bombed some of the same Syrian refugee buses, killing at least twenty, wounding many others. Not clear yet how this will affect the release of Qatari potentates held in Iraq.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“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

Pax Americana and Endless Conflict: War as Hell, War as Salvation…..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“War is Hell” : Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (& possibly others)

 

I saw this on a British website. I think it was a BBC interview:
“Would Labour support military intervention against Assad?

Emily Thornberry (MP) says “Have we learned nothing from Iraq?, Have we learned nothing from Libya?” We need a plan……..”

No, you have learned nothing from Iraq or Libya. It is a good thing the Russians are in Syria to limit your folly. They will keep any Western invasion limited, and save the West from another long Muslim war, another folly which the Jihadis can point to as proof that the West is bent on a “new Crusade”. More Muslim wars waged by the West lead to more terrorist recruitment by the Jihadis.

Two extended new wars are looming over Washington now: one in Yemen to save Saudi nuts from the fire of their own miscalculation, the other in Syria.There may be one or two more beside those, if the mad Neocons have their way. The post-war Pax Americana is now a tragedy of senseless endless war extending from Pakistan to the African Sahel.

Amazing how any president with questionable legitimacy and scandals hanging over him quickly thinks of a foreign war. An easy way to divert attention. The American mainstream media is always willing to accommodate. Who said war is hell? War is often a salvation of a faltering leader.

Once I advised about the next time Western powers feel the need for bombing someone. Please pick some other region of the world to bomb and invade. Leave Muslims and Arabs to their/our own devices, to sort out their own mess. Just bomb someone else, bomb Burma or anyone else. Just leave our region alone. You have done enough to screw it up in the past 100 years…

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

 

Will America Join the Jihad in Syria? How Do They Line Up in Eastern Mediterranean……..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demands that Russia drop its support of Assad in Syria. Sure: Putin, current heir to the rough and tough Soviet and Romanov empires, is almost certain to listen to the Texas oilman and his TV celebrity boss.

Nikki Haley seconds the Tillerson motion and threatens to take the names of anyone opposing it and add it to her famous list of names. And to cut their weekly allowances.

China‘s Xi, a guest of Trump at Mar-A-Lago, grins and remains “inscrutable”, as he is supposed to remain as leader of PRC (Chi-Com to the American Right). But he knows the futile game Trump is playing with him. Too transparent. No doubt, Trump was trying to unnerve Xi by attacking Syria during his visit. The problem with that is that Chi-Com leaders don’t get unnerved easily by television or real estate celebrities. Haven’t done it since the days of Chairman Mao and his Little Red Book. They can smell the bull from far away, they have done their fair share of spreading it.

Russia‘s Lavrov will ask that Trump drop his unwitting (or is that witless) support of Al Qaeda and other Jihadi cutthroats in Syria, including those in Idlib. The latter probably owned the same cache of chemical weapons that were bombed by the Syrian regime last week.

American mainstream media, often copying the media of Arab royal regimes that are as repressive as Assad, are gung-ho on avenging the Alamo, or the Maine. They have been since 2011.

Turkey wants Trump to help install a nice clean-cut Muslim Brotherhood regime in Damascus like the one in Turkey, and as humorless. It would be more repressive, given that it will include former Baathist renegades as well as current fundamentalists with Wahhabi ties.
Saudis want Trump to install a Wahhabi-esque regime in Damascus. Or, barring that, any regime that is hostile to the Iranians and Iraqis and not secular like the Baathists. They promise to shower the “right” regime in Damascus with many billions that they will not have.
UAE rulers don’t seem to care that much, as long as they get to have a naval base somewhere in Syria to protect their “national interests”, whatever the hell that be. In the Mediterranean of course.

The Bahrainis have no money to give to anyone outside the ruling family and their minions. So they will offer to receive the new Trump-anointed Caliph of Syria in their well-policed capital. On the assumption that this would legitimize both their regimes. Yes, they are clueless.
Iranians and Lebanese make the “right” noises, essentially they make the same noises in unison. But they keep on doing the voodoo that they do in Syria. So far.

Bashar Al Assad (America’s bête noire de la semaine) is a man who has had a target on his back for six years. He has been pronounced a dead-man-walking many times, mostly by Arab despots and Jihadis inside Syria and gullible believing Westerners. Yet he doesn’t seem worried about it. In fact I haven’t seen him worried since before the brief 2011 uprising that became a Jihadi insurrection that became a combination civil war and proxy war. Does he know something we don’t? Is he taking something we don’t? 

More on this later….

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

American Illusions: From ‘No More War’ to ‘One More Muslim War’…….

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“One Two Three Four
We Don’t Want Your F–king War…”

I remember this old refrain fondly now. I used to hear it almost on a daily basis during my undergraduate university days. It is about time to dust it up and hear it again.

That replaced what it should have been:
“One, two, three, four
Tell me that you love me more”

This time it is not just the political classes, not just Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex that own the politicians, it is also the corporate media that is daily pushing one Muslim war or another. Much of it is also funded by foreign lobbyists, their loyal think-tanks, and other interests.

The old mantra “No More War” has been co-opted. During the George Bush (fils) and Obama eras, the United States gradually got engaged in several Middle East civil and uncivil wars. September 11, which had its genesis in the old Afghan War against the Soviets: American weapons and Saudi money and Wahhabi ideology created Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Opened the door to the second (or third) Afghanistan War that is still going on, sixteen years later. Then the Iraq war came with much fanfare (and eventually much embarrassment).

Soon other wars snuck in by stealth: Islamic State, Somalia, Libya, African Sahel countries, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. The United States is now involved in wars in some 10 Muslim or Muslim-majority countries. And the American political classes and the hungry media seem eager for more war. They castigated Obama for not getting into just one more war in Syria, and now they are glorifying Trump for putting one foot into a potentially disastrous Syrian war.
The sights were set on Syria early on, not for the benefit of the Syrian people, but for strategic regional reasons. Before the Arab Uprisings of 2011. For a while the sights were set on Iran, a truly foolish idea. Lebanon is not far from their thoughts, not with Netanyahu, the Guru of the American right and assorted chickenhawks, egging them on. On the other hand, the Jihadis get some mileage by talking about the “new crusades”.

Nowadays, it is always “One More Muslim War”: one more Muslim war to end all Muslim wars. That old illusion of the 20th century. Except that it doesn’t end all Muslim wars, just sets the stage for the next one…….

I really long for “No More War“. I find myself longingly humming the old refrain: One Two Three Four…. and I wish I could end it differently, with the clean version, with no four-letter word. Fat chance……

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Donald Trump’s Brief Airborne Syrian Fling: My Fatwa for Next Year………

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

President Trump has managed to gather some sort of consensus, at least within the media and among politicians, around his brief air-war fling with Syria. As usual in the initial phase of a military action, both parties and the media have managed to praise his action, in some cases for fear of looking unpatriotic or “too outlier” (fear of bullying is not confined to school children).

Soon they will be asking: what next? What? No more? Especially cable media will go through severe withdrawal symptoms, being used to some thirty years of covering (ad nauseam) non-stop foreign wars. Some are already beginning to ask the question. Then the absolute rulers of the allied Muslim countries will push him to support a “democratic” Syria (where power can be shared between the Wahhabi Salafists attached to Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood attached to Turkey’s strongman Erdogan). A claustrophobic democratic experience they would never allow their own peoples to enjoy. Apparently Trump has been listening to the potentates lately, and he seems to be impressed.

My guess? My Fatwa: sometime well before the summer of 2018, Democrats will look back and say that Trump did his Syrian fling in order to divert attention from “other” more pressing “America First” issues he could not handle. The quick disenchantment happened with LBJ, Bush (pere et fils), and perhaps others.

A one-week apparent success (meaning no American casualties) while his foes’ knives are being temporarily hidden. Foreign action trumps domestic failure, but only for a while (just ask George H W Bush who presided over the end of the Soviet Union and a swift American victory in the Persian Gulf War).
The infrastructure will still need to be dealt with, and Trump may soon have some Obama-style stonewalling by the Republican Congress on the required spending. Then there is Healthcare, then a mechanism to keep and create jobs inside the USA, then a mechanism to encourage young people to enroll in STEM education (preferably within the excellent traditional mode of a broad American undergraduate college education that we all enjoyed).

The risk is that America First may become America Later. Looks like George Dubya Bush was right: being US president is a hard job……

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum