Category Archives: Turkey

The World’s First Sanctions Nation: Starvation vs. Bombs……..

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“The U.S. has prepared a list of Turkish entities and individuals to target should it decide to impose sanctions on Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government for imprisoning U.S. citizens and employees of its diplomatic mission, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The lira slid. While negotiations to release one of the people, evangelical Pastor Andrew Brunson, are ongoing, the preparation of the so-called “designation packages” shows how close the U.S. has come to imposing unprecedented penalties against a NATO ally……..”

Turkey is just the last one. It is not only Turkey, hardly that.

Sanctions have become the favorite weapon used by US administrations in the past few decades. They are now more prevalent under Trump than ever before. Other NATO nations will also face sanctions, especially those major allies doing trade and investment deals with the Iranians. Companies from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and other NATO members will face American sanctions.

There is hardly a country in the world where US sanctions are not imposed, either on the whole country, on its officials, or on some of its companies and individuals. Cuba was probably among the earliest ones, and is still a target of sanctions: it was sanctioned long before the Soviet missiles showed up on the island.

Excuses for sanctions/blockades range from repression (for non-allied poorer or non-rich countries only), to support of terrorism (for non-allied poorer countries only), nuclear activity (for non-allied countries that have no nuclear weapons only), an unacceptable regime (for non-allied non-major-trade-partner countries only), to more petty political excuses or other disputes.

Truly this has become the First Sanctions Nation in World History. And it is a bi-partisan policy. But I suppose it is better to squeeze nations, starve them, than bomb them. But yet the bombs keep falling anyway…….

P.S: Some Middle East media, especially pro-Iranian ones,now claim/report that the Trump administration is insisting on a particular candidate to be Iraq‘s prime minister, regardless of his coalition votes. They claim the administration is threatening to “sanction” any Iraqi politician or parties who oppose this US stance.

Cheers

Mohammed haider Ghuloum

Turkish Islamists and American Outlier Republicans vs. Darwin……

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“When children in Turkey head back to school this fall, something will be missing from their textbooks: any mention of evolution. The Turkish government is phasing in what it calls a values-based curriculum. Critics accuse Turkey’s president of pushing a more conservative, religious ideology — at the expense of young people’s education……… At a news conference last month, Turkey’s education minister announced that new textbooks will be introduced in all primary and secondary schools, starting with grades 1, 5 and 9 this fall, and the rest next year. They will stop teaching evolution………..”

Years ago, when I was a school kid, we were taught about Charles Darwin and the evolution (and creationism of course). That was on the Gulf, the Persian-American Gulf. That was in our small corner on the northern coast, almost certainly not in the whole Gulf region. We considered ourselves more ‘advanced’ than the others, at least in education (and we were in those days).
Now Turkey, formerly thought of as the realm of Kemal Ataturk-ism but now a Muslim Brotherhood bastion, is going backward, even beyond what we had in my simple corner of the Gulf years ago.

Things are going backward in some ways, and not only in parts of the United States. More than 90 years after the Scopes Trial of Tennessee (that God-fearing state apparently still teaches mostly creationism in public schools). It is a losing battle, but some states and regions still fight (or try to) the teaching of evolution. Fortunately, many of these regions they can’t afford to publish their own science textbooks.

That is in Mr. Erdogan’s realm. It is tempting to wonder what Mr. Trump believes about this. But I’ll leave that for another time: need to hike before the predicted showers start, and out here they threaten to start any time now.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

 

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

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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

Erdogan as a New Caliph: Ein Volk, Ein Führer, Ein…….Turkey?….

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I tweeted last Sunday that: The ‘alleged’ attempted coup d’état last year was the Burning of the Reichstag for Erdogan. Ein Volk, Ein Führer….

I also presciently added: I’ll be shocked if Erdogan loses his referendum today. The victory will make him the first Caliph of Turkey & all Arab Muslim Brothers. The first anointed Caliph since the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate. More of a Caliph than the other ISIS thug in Raqqa who also claims the title.

Ironically,  Mr. Erdogan was probably more responsible than anyone else for the rise of ISS/DAESH. He allowed Wahhabi money, weapons, and Arab/European Salafist Jihadis to cross through Turkey into Syria (possibly into Iraq). Associates and relatives of Erdogan were reported to have played a crucial role in ISIS selling stolen Syrian oil through the Erdogan Trail in Turkey.  As I have posted in the past on all this here:

Turkish Coup: of Erdogan the Enabler of Jihadis and his Arab Salafi Tribal Admirers……

Caliphate of Erdogan: How Turkey and her Wahhabi Arab Allies Screwed up Syria…

Joe Biden on the Erdogan and Wahhabi Trails: With Allies Like These………

ISIS Oil: About the Erdogan Trail……

The Turks are Coming: Erdogan as a Softer Gentler Ahmadinejad?……

Now Turkey is in a similar position as Germany was in 1933. I know, I know, the comparison is too cute. But it is more valid than you think. The Turks have just killed their democracy, or more likely the ruling party just rigged the election and killed Turkish democracy for the foreseeable future.
Next step? Ein Volk, Ein Führer, Ein…….Turkey?….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Political Psychology: This Irrational Urge to Punch Erdogan, Slap Salafis…….

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Strange. These days, whenever I see Turkish leader Caliph Recip Erdogan, I get this unreasonable but overwhelming desire to punch him in the face. Actually in the mouth and nose area specifically.
Why do you suppose I feel like punching him in the face? Odd: I am a cheerful and peaceful and un-punching-in-face type of person. With one exception. I have always been that way, until now. Could it be because he reminds me of someone who did not get punched in the face until it was too late, some 75 years ago in Germany?


(That is mostly the case: although actually there are a few people, all male and mostly from my Persian Gulf region, whom I sometimes get the strong urge to slap in the face. But they tend to be Gulf Salafis and a slap to the face is not the same as a punch, is it? Besides, I imagine many rational people feel like slapping a Salafi as soon as he opens his mouth)

All a new phenomenon of recent time, so unlike me: I always get along with others, except for rude people. Maybe it has to do with all the “stuff” back in the Middle East. But I’ll sort it out. One way or another, probably without having to go to Turkey.

Cheers (if possible)

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Turkish Coup: of Erdogan the Enabler of Jihadis and his Arab Salafi Tribal Admirers……..

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So, what is happening in Turkey now?

  • Since 2011, President Erdogan of Turkey managed to gather the support of Salafi Wahhabi Jihadists across the Arab lands. He was the most popular Muslim leader among them, after the Caliph of Raqqa and the Saudi king.
  • He also managed to gather the support of self-styled liberals across the Arab world (what I would call Wahhabo-Liberals, unabashed fans of the absolute kings and princes). They supported him because of his involvement in Syria in support of the Saudi-inspired Salafi Jihadists. Some of the more diehard looked at him as a substitute to the long-awaited Caliph of Islam, perhaps doubting the the ISIS substitute in Raqqa can survive.
  • Arab Salafi, pro-Jihdist, pro-Daesh, pro-Saudi social media accounts were among the loudest supporters of Erdogan before the coup attempt in Turkey. They were praying all over the media during the coup attempt for Erdogan to prevail. Some of them even claimed that they were doing it for “a democracy they don’t believe in”, most did not even bother with that fig-leaf.
  • Most of these Arab Salafis, Muslim Brothers, and Persian Gulf Wahhabi-liberals, came up (only in Arabic-language posts) with convoluted theory about an American/Western-Zionist-Persian plot to subvert Turkey away from the true Islamic path toward the Caliphate (WTF that be). Many of them still carry the silly new flag that is supposed to represent some mythical moderate Syrian”rebels”, even as in their hearts they owe allegiance to the black ISIS version of the green Saudi flag.
  • They all know, of course, that without Erdogan’s support, the Jihadist terrorists of ISIS and Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham and Army of Islam and others would not have been able to receive their weapons and volunteers and Persian Gulf tribal money to enable the mass murders in Syria and Iraq and across the world.
  • The same tribal Salafis who openly called for donations to support Jihad in Syria and Iraq and across the world also yesterday slaughtered sheep across my Gulf in celebration of the failure of the military coup against their best enabler, Erdogan.
  • Turkish officials, their Arab Salafist supporters, started talking loudly of a plot hatched in America against Erdogan. Such loud charges and threats by Erdogan surrogates worked against European governments, especially Germany. It is unlikely they will work against Washington.
  • Interestingly, Erdogan had started before the coup attempt to bury the hatchet with Syria. His ministers had started to change tack and show less hostility to Assad. Just days before the coup attempt. That was a wise decision.
  • Other countries: Israel, Iran, Europe, whose governments and peoples have little liking or respect for Mr. Erdogan, made the correct noises after the coup failed. Washington, as usual, was caught in a bind: damned if it did, damned if it did not. That is the fate of the only superpower.
  • Mr. Erdogan now feels free to make a grab for absolute power, to make sure his regime, his Islamist party, remains in power. Thousands are already rounded up and in prison. That should sound familiar to Germans who survived from the 1930s, if there are any.
  • Expect more fireworks in Turkey soon…..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

 

Mediocrity in Syria: the Turkish-Saudi Camel Gives Birth to a Mouse………

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تمخض الجمل فولد فأرا
“The camel went into labor and gave birth to a mouse” An excellent Arab saying.

The Saudi king and officials met this week with the new Caliph of Turkey, the Sultan Erdogan. They met in the Saudi capital Riyadh, and came up with a very unoriginal outcome. They called the outcome a “Strategic Cooperation Council”, not a good start. Not an original title at all, and hence not promising at all for the future of this arrangement. Most likely a product of the mediocre mind of Mr. Addle Al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister. As Arabs have wisely said for centuries: this camel went into labor and gave birth to a mouse. Unsatisfying to all.

The Saudis (and Qataris as well) face a couple of dilemmas, in Syria and Yemen. Syria is safely far away from their borders, so any mischief would not spill over the border. They may think they are “playing with the house chips“, in Las Vegas gambling parlance. If they win in Syria they would have struck a hard blow at their Iranian rivals; if they lose, well, nothing has changed since before 2011. They, their proxies, are not winning in Syria now. All the early predictions that Al Assad would be out of Damascus within weeks or months are coming back to haunt Western governments (and some Arab regimes). Even I started to believe and expect it in those late months of 2011.

But that prediction was mostly Arab propaganda created by Salafists and Wahhabis on the Persian Gulf and accepted by Western media as the truth. It was sold to the Obama administration by some Gulf princes and potentates and some Western “intellectuals” like Bernard-Henri Levy and and non-intellectuals John McCain and Joe Lieberman. They all, from Clinton to Cameron waited for the announcement of the scheduled departure of Assad and his cronies. It worked in Libya, or so they thought, so why not in Syria?

They have failed, but their money and weapons and Salafist volunteers also created and enabled the violent Caliphate of ISIS or DAESH. With active Turkish help and connivance. But like their other creation Al Qaeda, ISIS is also now threatening to bite them.

Erdogan will not solve the Saudi/Qatari dilemma in Syria. There are hints that it may be spilling over his own border.

He certainly will not solve their Yemeni problem, but that is a topic for another posting. Perhaps the next one.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

From Persian-American Gulf to Gulf of Mercenaries and the New Ottomans…….

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It is a problem, this faraway little Gulf of ours. A few years ago I modified its name, I started to call it the Persian-American Gulf, but it is getting harder. The population is shifting. The princes and potentates in their little kingdoms have now imported a majority of the non-Arabic and non-Persian speaking population from South and Southeast Asia and claim it should be called, no, not the Gulf of Bengal………..  Could it be the Gulf of Mercenaries, as I suggested a year or two ago? Gulf of Wahhabis, heaven forbid? How about the Gulf of Salaf? Gulf of Foreign Military Bases? Gulf of Tribal Sectarianism?

  • For example, the little oppressed repressed robbed sectarian island of Bahrain is now nearly sinking under foreign bases:
    U.S Naval Base Gulf HQ – Saudi Military Base post the Spring of 2011 invasion – Even the old British colonial masters have not stopped helping the ruling gangs in their robbery and repression. They are starting a new military base – Add to all that assorted imported mercenaries/interrogators and torturers from Jordan, Pakistan, Syria (former security), Iraq (former Baathists), among other foreign places. With an occasional obscure idle English prince and princess or two paying visits to shore up the kleptocratic autocratic outpost.
  • Little rich Wahhabi power Qatar where 90% of the population is temporary foreign laborers (mainly South Asian housemaids raising the kids and keeping house):
    U.S. Central Command has its regional headquarters at the Al-‘Adeed base – It is now also the Muslim Brotherhood HQ (outside Turkey) – Now reports say that Turkey, under its new Ottoman Caliph Sultan Recep Erdogan, will also establish a military base in Qatar. So, the Ottomans are coming back, with a new sultan. Which might indicate that the on-again-off-again sisterly relations with the fellow Saudi Wahhabis may be heading up the proverbial ‘unsanitary creek’.
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE, where some 90% of the population is composed of imported foreign laborers and housemaids), ruled by a Band of Brothers who own Abu Dhabi (lock, stock and barrel). I think it has:
    British base – French base – Canadian base (sorry, it was closed over a commercial dispute) – Colombian mercenary military base (no, not FARC) – (Former) Blackwater mercenary force: mainly South American, South African, Australian, etc- Actually I have lost track: for all I know even Monaco or Vanuatu may have military bases in Abu Dhabi by now.

But I don’t have anything against friendly military bases. They can be a protective measure that started with Saddam’s Baathist brutal invasion of Kuwait in 1990. But I suspect they are not only aimed against Iraqi dangers anymore, and not only aimed against the mullahs in Iran, but probably also needed not-so-secretly to keep the sisterly Wahhabi princes next door at home. The princes are only a few tanks’ drive away, as the unhappy people of Bahrain discovered in the Spring of 2011.

As well as the dangers that may emerge from the troubles in Iraq/Jordan/Syria. Dangers that were largely created and financed by wayward Persian Gulf Islamist groups and some princes. As well as some unsettled tribal issues and risks that Gulf GCC states have experienced (attempted Saudi-backed coup in Qatar in 1998) and others may be experiencing.

Still, a Turkish military base in Qatar? But why not? After all there is a Saudi Wahhabi base in Bahrain. The Muslim Brotherhood Turkish base in Qatar could balance that.

But there is still the same nagging question that won’t go away for me: whoever the hell heard of a country welcoming a Turkish military base?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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The Strange Turkish Russian Iranian Syrian Oil and Pistachio Deals with DAESH…….

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When news seeped out about ISIS/DAESH selling and exporting oil over a year ago, I suspected a Turkish connection, even though Western and Saudi/Qatari media claimed there were deals between ISIS and the Assad regime. After all, the weapons, volunteers, and possibly much of the money for the Jihadis in Syria flowed through the long Turkish border. And ISIS/DAESH controls areas along the border.  And there have been credible reports of cooperation between Turkish military and intelligence and the Jihadists in Syria. These days, when a terrorist or accomplices escape from a European country, they head for Turkey: that is the trailhead to lands controlled by ISIS.
Now the Russians have come out and said it openly, with claims of documentation. Iranian media have also carried and seemed to support the Russia claim.
The Turks could not be original, so what did they do? A day or two later they made their own claim of Russian-ISIS oil deals. I didn’t know Russian needed Syrian or Iraqi oil.
Wait, there is more. To make matters more entertaining, there are now reports on the social media of Turkish claims that Iranians also made oil deals with ISIS/DAESH. Tit-for-tat, since the Iranians seemed to support the earlier Russian claims. I didn’t know that the Iranians also needed Syrian or Iraqi oil. I had thought they spent the past few years trying to sell more of their own oil, not buy foreign oil from their Wahhabi enemies.
What next? Turkish claims of Iranian deals to buy Aleppo pistachios from ISIS? Iranian claims of Saudi oil deals with ISIS? Qatari claims that the Bahrain regime imports some of its nasty interrogators from ISIS? Oh, wait……….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Love Song of ISIS: Salafi Meets Tunisian Chick, Invites her to Raqqa………

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“The honeymoon was a brief moment for love, away from the front lines of Syria’s war. In the capital of Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliphate,” Syrian fighter Abu Bilal Al Homsi was united with his Tunisian bride for the first time after months chatting online. They married, then passed the days dining on grilled meats in Raqqa’s restaurants, strolling along the Euphrates River and eating ice cream. It was all made possible by the marriage bonus he received from Daesh: $1,500 (Dh5,509) for him and his wife to get started on a new home, a family — and a honeymoon……………..”

How Salafi-romantic “they married, then passed the days dining on grilled meats in Raqqa“. How Wahhabi-chic, almost as good as the last week’s Paris second (or third) honeymoon of young Saudi Prince Whatishisface.

No doubt she made it across the Turkish border into Syria. That is Mr. Erdogan’s gift to the Wahhabi Jihadis and their Arab and European brides and their concubines. In effect he is the one who “gives the bride away”, no dowry required. It has been Erdogan’s gift to all those who seek to join the Jihad in Syria, probably including John McCain. At least this Salafi made her into an ‘honest’ woman, as they say. Others get sold on the slave market and are traded frequently. Either one: marital bliss or blissful concubinage with a North African or a European chick is no doubt one attraction of this new jihad for many starved and frustrated Wahhabi youth, especially those that don’t come out of the West.
Whatever happened to Hayat Boumedienne………..

    

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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