Category Archives: U.S. Foreign Policy

Cold War Relics: from Ukraine to Cuba………

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Pundits and columnists in the West have been recently mentioning that Vladimir Putin seems to be going back to a Cold War stance (speaking especially of the Ukraine crisis). That Putin is following aggressive Soviet-like policies toward his neighbors that are similar to those of the Cold War days that ended around 1991. Mr. Putin has been in power for about 13 years. His new image of the aggressive cold warrior is more recent, a function of his recent strong objections to European Union attempts at expansion into what Russians consider their traditional sphere of influence.

Which made me think quickly of that other, more enduring even more ridiculous relic of the old Cold War.  The foreign policy relic that never went away, that will likely remain in place as long as the “Cuban vote” is important for winning Florida. The unilateral and senseless U.S. economic blockade of Cuba that has been around for more than half a century, longer than the original Cold War. It will almost certainly survive Fidel Castro, it might even survive the last of the Castro brothers.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Arab Nursery Rhyme Transition to Democracy: Mary Mary Quite Contrary…….

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KuwaitCox2 
Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.

“Deputy spokesperson of the United States State Department Marie Harf said in a press briefing on Monday that Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is leading the country’s democratic transition, despite recent criticism by the US of Egypt’s human rights record and the US holding some of its aid to Egypt pending democratic reform……….”

Also sprach U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf. But in fairness what else can the lady say?
Transitioning to democracy is a gentrified term to use now for Arab dictatorships and absolute tribal family rule. Generalisimo Field Marshal Al Sisi is transitioning Egypt to democracy, hence he is still part of an axis of goodness, almost certified by Good Housekeeping. In the process he has overthrown a freely-elected president, the man who promoted him to defense minister, and thrown him in prison with a dozen or so trumped up charges. In the process his security forces and his soldiers have massacred a few thousand civilian protesters, the largest such massacre in modern Egyptian history. In the process his security have arrested and thrown in prison tens of thousands of people who disagree with him. In the process he has got himself “elected” against a hapless tool, with more than 97% of the vote (in a very low turnout election). In the process his courts have sentenced almost two thousand protesters to death, and the toll keeps rising.

By the same standards we can also argue that the Al Saud absolute tribal princes are transitioning the Arabian Peninsula toward democracy. We can also say that the vile absolute tribal rulers of Bahrain are transitioning the captive island of imported mercenaries and teargas toward democracy. We could have said the same about Mu’ammar Gaddafi and we can say it abut Bashar Al Assad. Etc , etc, etc………
Ten, twenty, thirty years from now, they will still be transitioning their peoples toward democracy. With a lot of help from their soldiers and their security agents, and in some cases with their imported mercenaries.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Nile Chutzpah: Cairo Regime advises USA on Official Violence……

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“Egypt on Tuesday urged U.S. authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with racially charged demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri – echoing language Washington used to caution Egypt as it cracked down on Islamist protesters last year. It is unusual for Egypt to criticize such a major donor, and it was not immediately clear why the government would have taken such a step. Ties between Washington and Cairo were strained after Egyptian security forces killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters following the army’s ousting of freely elected President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013………..”

The regime of Generalisimo Self-Appointed Field Marshal Al Sisi Bin Coup Al Dictator regularly rails against ‘intrusion’ of NGOs, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Now it thinks it sees an opportunity to strike back at the Obama administration (and maybe the US Senate). Regime media (owned and controlled) is full of smug comments about how the USA cannot advice others on the Ferguson affair and human rights. That is, when they are not railing against some imaginary joint plot between the U.S. administration and the Muslim Brotherhood whose freely-elected regime was overthrown by Generalisimo Al Sisi. That coup of last summer was pushed for by an alliance of Egypt’s Wahhabi liberals and Mubarak veterans (feloul) and it was financed by Persian Gulf princes and potentates, mainly from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Horseapples and Stupidapples and Bullchips and Ghazwatshit from Iraq and Syria to Washington………

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“President Barack Obama promises to stop genocide in Iraq and not to do “stupid shit,” meaning virtually anything that might actually stop the genocide. Hillary Clinton rightly proclaims that avoiding “stupid shit” does not a strategy make, though she, too, vigorously opposes stupid shit. And television’s favorite administration critics—Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham—continue their heartfelt advocacy of stupid shit, i.e. more bombs dropped on the bad guys and more arms supplied to the good guys, without any thought whatsoever of what they’d do next in the likely event that this hardly decisive intervention failed. Please convince me that the lunatic jihadis………….”

An appropriate scatological analysis of a truly fecal situation, since it is not only Iraq that now faces going up shit creek. Here is my interpretation of Leslie Gelb‘s excellent piece of political frustration:

Mr. Obama is accused by Hillary, in a softer Clintonian way, of applying the kind of Stupid Shit he himself had criticized earlier in U.S. Middle East policy. Mr. Obama responds politely that Mrs. Clinton is peddling Horse Shit to American voters. Senators McCain and Graham ignore the gross Obama and Clinton metaphors. The senators are above all that watered-down shit: they continue to peddle their same old pure unadulterated plain shit they have been trying for years from Iraq through Syria, Iran and Ukraine.

Meanwhile the Wahhabi cutthroats of ISIS (a.k.a ISIL)continue to spread some real blood-stained shit from the outskirts of Damascus to the outskirts of Baghdad. They also threaten to spread more of it to the outskirts of the capital(s) of the Wahhabi princes and shaikhs who had initially recruited, armed, and paid them to start on their Ghazwat of Shit. That other Caliph, Erdogan of Turkey, who for three years did not meet a terrorist Jihadi or his weapons and money that he would not allow through into Syria, he also faces some challenges on that front.

Wait, that is not all; there is a bonus! The battle-hardened Jihadis might bypass Baghdad and Damascus and have their shit hit the fan in Berlin and Paris and London and New York first. Before they turn on to pay back the fellow Wahhabi princes and potentates who got them on their way.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Spineless in Gaza: One Barbaric Kidnapping of a Prisoner of War, Thousands of Civilized Killings………


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“The Obama administration on Friday condemned “outrageous” violations of an internationally brokered Gaza cease-fire by Palestinian militants and called the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier a “barbaric” action. The strong reaction came as top Israeli officials questioned the effort to forge the truce, accusing the U.S. and the United Nations of being naive in assuming the radical Hamas movement would adhere with its terms. The officials also blamed the Gulf state of Qatar for not forcing the militants to comply……………”

Watched a CNN news program (too) early this morning. The topic was Gaza. The guest-pundits agreed that the “kidnapping” of an Israeli soldier was a “game-changer”. The media here loves to use terms like “game-changer” or “red-line”. The guest-pundits agreed the “kidnapping” of one Israeli soldier during battle would shift world opinion about the massacres and destruction visited by Israelis on the people of Gaza. I wondered what shell these pundits live in, that they are so insulated from the world outside Washington and New York as to presume they speak for it.

The capture of one soldier presumably in battle was called “a barbaric act” in an Orwellian twist by a spineless White House that has been silent on thousands of Palestinians killed and wounded, tens of thousands made homeless by Israeli bombs. Are we talking about a new “master race” here? In the U.S. media and especially in the once-hallowed halls of Congress, this may be the case. Nay, as far as Congress is concerned this IS the case.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Left-ish in Congress, Rightist in Gaza: Torn Between AIPAC and Principles ………


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“Much of the American left is critical of Israel, particularly since its incursion into Gaza. But in the halls of Congress, even progressive Democrats beloved by grassroots activists are loath to criticize the Jewish State’s ongoing military offensive. A Pew Research Center poll released Monday showed that a plurality of Democrats across the country, 35 percent, and liberals, 44 percent, said that Israel had “gone too far” in its response to its conflict with Hamas. Meanwhile 47 percent of Democrats told Gallup that Israel’s actions during the current conflict were “unjustified,” compared to just 31 percent who thought the opposite. But these opinions are nearly impossible to find in Congress. Democrats, when asked a question about Israeli operations in Gaza, had two standard responses: irritation, or else a statement of their broad support of Israel………….”

The article asks: why can’t Congress (meaning its relatively left-ish members) criticize Israel?

Silly question: criticizing Israel publicly in Washington is taboo. It is, well, like throwing the apple pie that your mom baked right into her face then adding insult to injury by burning old glory at the table.

The answer to that question is mainly spelled A-I-P-A-C (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee). Mainly, because Hamas, like many other Islamic fundamentalist groups, is not known for great public relations, not the positive kind of PR. Any criticism in the West of the Israeli conduct of this onslaught on Gaza has nothing to do with any case that Hamas makes. The criticism, mostly in AIPAC-less Europe, is mainly related to the mass killings of civilian people in Gaza by Israeli forces.

This is the Congress that gave Netanyahu many more standing ovations than it would give a U.S. president. On both sides of the aisle, as they like to say. As for the Right-ish (scratch that, make it extreme rightist) majority of the Red Congress, this blind pro-Israeli (right or wrong) stance might be just another political IOU. They are eagerly awaiting the time when all Jewish people convert to the true faith that persecuted them for two thousand years. That would be when the Rapture comes. At that time, the Red politicians anticipate a restoration of universal virginity rather than universal health care, end of Planned Parenthood and Welfare for the tykes, and the final eradication of HIV and other forms of STD.

Some of the more pious among them may still get to keep their place in those little black books (Psssst: they are safer than a digitized database, the Feds can’t get into any little black book unless they are also clients).

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

ISIS and Her Sisters: New Wahhabi Attractions Coming to a Shopping Mall Near You……


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““There are clear signs that what they are doing now is to test Baghdad’s defenses and to gauge the reactions from Shia militias and the Iraqi army,” says a senior U.S. intelligence official based in the region. The information the jihadists glean from these operations can help them formulate specific attack plans. What impresses the official, and other analysts in the region, isn’t just how expert and disciplined the jihadists are being in their approach to Baghdad, but they are doing this at the same time they are consolidating their hold on towns they have seized elsewhere—and they have launched a major offensive against the forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Last week, the caliphate seized another major oilfield in Syria. On Thursday the group’s fighters targeted Syrian army bases outside Raqqa and in Hasaka and Deir el Zour. IS celebrated the assaults by posting online photos of headless ………………..”

This is not the main course, what the Wahhabi terrorist group is doing in Iraq and Syria. This is just the appetizer for what will come whether ISIS succeeds in keeping its foothold in the ‘Levant’ or not. Appetizers don’t last long. The domain or Caliphate of IS itself will not go beyond certain regions of Iraq and Syria; in the end it will control much less territory than it has now, if any.

It is not even IS itself, but the terrorist groups and activities it will soon spawn (is now spawning) across Europe and North America. The longer IS remains ascendant, the more groups it will spawn around the world, and the more affiliated and unaffiliated copy-cat terror groups will emerge inside and outside the Middle East, including in the West.

Al Qaeda may now be just another fish in the pond, the Mediterranean or the Atlantic pond, the gateways to the West. IS itself will be eclipsed, even if it survives in some form. There will be others competing for the honor of being the bloodiest Wahhabi mass killers in the West.

The title of this post: New Wahhabi Attractions Coming to a Shopping Mall Near You……… may not seem so far-fetched in a few months or years.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Sticks and Stones: the Brilliant Red Senator and the Russian Thug………..


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“Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words will never hurt me………”
(senatorial nursery rhyme)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), was asked by the moderator of “Meet the Press” what Obama should have done about Ukraine-Russia dispute.

His reply? “He didn’t call Putin the thug that he is………..

He seemed truly offended that the President of the United States, POTUS himself, Leader of the Free World, wouldn’t call the leader of the Russian Federation “a thug”.

Brilliant……….

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Israeli Lobby in the Washington Knesset Works to Derail Nuclear Talks……


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“In a letter obtained by Foreign Policy, Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, demand that any deal allow international inspectors to probe Iranian facilities for “at least 20 years.” It also says the inspections “must be intrusive,” with the International Atomic Energy Agency gaining “access to any and all facilities, persons or documentation” necessary to determine Iran’s compliance with the deal……… The letter, which is addressed to the president, went out to members of the Senate Banking Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, and Armed Services Committee on Friday, July 11. It has the support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, an AIPAC official confirmed……………”

Nothing new here, just something worth revisiting briefly. We all know that an unregistered all powerful omnipotent lobby for a foreign government now shapes Obama Administration and U.S. Congressional foreign policy about anything that has to do with Iran, Lebanon, and Palestinian-Israeli issues. AIPAC has a virtual veto over U.S. policy on these issues: its tools are truly bi-partisan.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Birth Pangs of a New Middle East? American Delusions about Gaza as a Turkey Shoot…….


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This new Israeli war against the people of Gaza is reminiscent of an earlier Israeli war and of the delusions of the US political classes regarding its outcome.

In July 2006, two Israeli soldiers were captured near the Lebanese border. The Israeli military waged a fierce war on selective parts of Lebanon. It became a major incursion back into a land that the IDF had been forced by Hezbollah to leave six years earlier. The Litani River was crossed and parts of Beirut were bombed, including with Cluster Bombs. Many Arab regimes, from Egypt through to the Saudi princes, not-so-secretly supported the Israeli case against the Lebanese Arabs. Not only that, there have been indications that some Arab regimes shared intelligence with the Mossad and the Israeli military. In fact some Lebanese factions and militias of the pro-Saudi March 14 bloc also sided with the Israelis: public figures among them even gave some advice on how to defeat Hezbollah.

As the attack on Lebanon continued for days and weeks, there were calls for a ceasefire. George W Bush’s Secretary of State Condi Rice responded to those calls with her famous statement that the sounds of bombs and exploding Lebanese buildings were “the birth pangs of the new Middle East”. Rice did not want to “return Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante“. Well, it did not: that war created what I called ‘a balance of terror’ with both Israel and Hezbollah militarily stronger. We all know what happened: that war was stopped, the IDF withdrew after another failed mission unaccomplished. Hezbollah became politically and militarily even stronger than before. Most Lebanese, if not all of them, looked on that war as their second victory over invading Israelis.

Now this new Gaza assault has similar roots, although it is questionable who was responsible for the three killings near Hebron, an area controlled by the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority. Otherwise it resembles the attack on Lebanon, but with its own set of goals. A similar attack on Lebanon nowadays would be prohibitively costly for the Israeli population centers and with doubtful military and political results, but apparently the assessment is that Gaza is “do-able” and at a much lower cost. Early reports of the casualty ratio seem to support this for now: too many Palestinian deaths and casualties and destroyed buildings but hardly any on the Israeli side. Regardless of some propaganda statements from Hamas and others.

So far it is shaping as what Americans would call “a turkey shoot”. There are again some reports that the Obama administration hesitates to push forcefully for a cease-fire before certain political and/or military goals are achieved. That can only be done with a ground invasion, a new quagmire. Even if the Al Sisi regime in Cairo and the Saudi princes cooperate more closely, and perhaps more openly, with the invaders of Gaza, the results would still be in doubt.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com