Category Archives: U.S. Foreign Policy

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.

John Bolton’s Gift to Iran: the Chickenhawk and the Cyber Mullahs………

      


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“In Iran’s intelligence war against America, the regime has a new weapon: “John R. Bolton.” No, Iran has not turned President Bush’s former ambassador to the United Nations into a sleeper agent. Instead, hackers believed to be connected to the Tehran government are posing as Bolton on social media platforms in a scheme to get human rights activists and national security wonks to hand over their passwords and user names. The fake Bolton LinkedIn account provides a window into how Iran’s hackers are trying to penetrate the policy networks of their government’s adversaries. Most experts say Iran lacks the sophistication to launch the kinds of advanced cyber attacks it has suffered at the hands of the West, such as the Stuxnet worm……………..”

John Bolton is so far out to the extreme that the Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee rejected him when Bush (W) nominated him for U.N. ambassador. He was appointed for one year during a congressional recess, bypassing the Senate vote. 

He has been advocating more Muslim wars for some years now, from Iran to Syria and to other places. He has never met a Muslim war he has not loved, as long as he did not have to do the fighting (sort of like his stand on Vietnam?). A classic chickenhawk position. Now apparently the Iranian hackers have found a way to use this implacable enemy of their country. And possibly pay back for the cyber attacks their systems suffered from all the malware Western intelligence (and other) services invaded it with.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Labors of Hassan Rouhani: Local Landmines, Regional Sea Mines……

      


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Hassan Rouhani is facing the toughest test of his career, the toughest test any Iranian leader has faced in decades. Can he fulfill the promises he made to the majority that elected him by opening up the country and get the Western economic blockade lifted? He faces regional and domestic obstacles:

 

  • Israel: the debate about the Iranian nuclear ‘program’ has been a Godsend to Benyamin Netanyahu and he has been milking it for all its worth since the 1990s. He has claimed various deadlines by which time Iran would have nuclear bomb, and then he has ignored his earlier deadlines and suggested yet new dates. Top ‘retired’ Israeli intelligence and military leaders often contradict him on this. The amazing thing is that all the caca de toro has not hurt him with the Israeli electorate. Nor has it hurt his credibility in the U.S. Senate and Congress: on the contrary, the schmucks now look at him as an oracle of Middle Eastern and Iranian (especially nuclear) matters. Besides, it has served one of the purposes he used it for: for years it has helped him divert Western attention away from his problems with the Palestinians.
  • Iranian hardliners: the country needs a nuclear deal but any reasonable deal will probably have to get past these old revolutionaries. Many of them would prefer no deal but they also realize that most Iranians are young and want to open up to the world and want more freedoms and less intrusion in their private lives by the mullahs. Besides, the economy is hurting from the blockade no matter what officials claim.
  • American Hawks (Democrats and Republicans and others): when it comes to the Middle East, almost the whole Senate and Congress are hawks. Being seen as soft on the Iran negotiations is like being against “motherhood and Memorial Day and Independence Day”, and not necessarily in that order. It is like being soft on Ho Chi Minh before 1968 or accepting Chairman Mao as the legitimate leader of China before the 1970s …………

 

  • Gulf GCC: it is divided over Iran, as it is divided over many other issues. But the GCC states are divided among themselves regardless of the Iranian question. Three of them have pulled their ambassadors from Qatar because its government rejects Saudi hegemony on certain aspects of the Arab turmoil
  • Saudi Arabia: the Al Saud have been the most hawkish about both the nuclear issue and Iran’s ties to the Arab world, until recently. Failure of their policies in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon (and American advise) may have pushed them to seek some form of accommodation with Tehran. 
  • UAE: there are some divisions. Abu Dhabi potentates are hawkish but Dubai and possibly some others do not seem so. 
  • Qatar: has been concerned about balancing worrisome forces (Saudi vs. Iran). Its dispute with Iran has been mainly over Syria and possibly Iraq. But it has had more serious and more threatening disputes with the Saudis. Some Arab media even reported in recent months allegations of military threats against Qatar from the Saudi-UAE alliance. I have posted about past tensions between Qatar and the Saudis
  • Kuwait: was invaded from both Iraq and Saudi Arabia during the past century. It also uncovered at least one large Iranian espionage network in recent years. It tries not to antagonize either Saudis or Iranians, mindful of the ability of both to cause trouble. Then there is the recent past experience with Baathist Iraq………
  • Oman: has been mostly neutral and it does not seem to buy the Saudi argument about either the nuclear issue or the general “Iranian threat”. It does not seem to feel threatened. Oman was reportedly instrumental in starting the recent Iranian-American dialog last summer. 
  • Bahrain: the least important of the GCC members. Nobody cares wtf its repressive rulers think now. It has become a full-fledged Al Saud appendix and the ruling potentates do exactly as they are told. 

Cheers

mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com