Category Archives: Uncategorized

Oil Saga on the High Seas: Is Trump Seeking to Recruit Pirates?

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“US offers cash to tanker captains in bid to seize Iranian ships. Washington mixes bait and threats as ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Tehran becomes unorthodox ….” Financial Times

Iran‘s foreign Minister (M. Javad Zarif) tweeted to day:

Having failed at piracy, the US resorts to outright blackmail—deliver us Iran’s oil and receive several million dollars or be sanctioned yourself. Sounds very similar to the Oval Office invitation I received a few weeks back. It is becoming a pattern…..”.

Trump and his administration have resorted to unprecedented, Somali-Pirate style near thuggish measures to strangle the Iranian economy. Something Trump no doubt learned in his shady New York real estate business. First they urged Britain to illegally seize and hold an Iranian oil tanker at Gibraltar then asked them to hand the tanker over to the US government. The Iranians quickly seized a British tanker near the Persian Gulf as a bargaining chip. That forced the British to do the right thing and release the Iranian tanker.

This kind of practice by Trump, forcing or bribing third countries to commit piracy by expropriating an oil tanker and/or its contents, has not been done before by any regime. Even other rogue regimes. Only time will tell how low they will go in trying to strangle the Iranian economy by blackmailing third countries.

Cheers

M. Haider Ghuloum

Middle East Illusions: Gauleiter Kushner’s Futile Thrilla in Manama…..

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Here is what I opined on the social media this week on the Bahrain Economic meeting chaired by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and his Gauleiter for the Middle East:

But Kushner is one-dimensional, does not understand history, emotion, attachment, faith, passion. He only understands what he & his in-laws grew up with: MONEY. Like his Arab royal oil bribers who think they can buy history & geography (and even a war or two).

Shameless Arab rulers betrayed Ottoman Turkey and slept with the British (WWI). The British and French, in turn, betrayed the Arabs by creating new states under their own control.

Now several Arab ruling families on the Persian Gulf are betraying their Iranian neighbors by encouraging Tramp; bribing the West to wage war; starve the Iranian people. In Bahrain, they are trying to set the final betrayal of the Palestinians.

Attendance for conference in Bahrain anointing Jared Kushner as Trump’s Gauleiter of the Middle East is very low, almost all flunkies of ministers of needy statelets. Some Arab states boycotting. The biggest MENA Muslim powers Iran and Turkey, not there.

Nobody in the Middle East wants to be bossed around publicly by this son in law of Trump, Jared Kushner, except maybe the little sheikh (now king) of Bahrain …

As I said earlier: Kushner does not understand history, emotion, attachment, faith, passion. He only understands what he and his in-laws grew up with: MONEY. Just like his Arab royal oil allies who think they can buy history & geography (and even a war or two).

This Bahrain meeting is just another stab at doing something by a group that controls Washington now. A group that confuses Arab oil money with popular will. At least they get some photo-ops out of it, something to serve the illusion of Trump, Pompeo, and their Persian Gulf sidekicks.
The latter know better, but they are hoping the current American administration does not.

Kushner of Arabia addressing guests among the hopeful, the bribed, the intimidated Arab third-tier bureaucrats in Sheikhdom of Bahrain. Promising land to Israelis, and for the Palestinians? Jobs building settlements.
For the Persian Gulf ruling oligarchies? No more Arab Spring.


Earlier, soon after returning from Canada, I had tweeted this:

Breaking! Bolton at large..
Crazy uncle busts out from locked basement…
Armed and dangerous …
Last seen heading towards the Persian Gulf …
Claims he dreamed of a threat to the homeland from 9000 miles away…


Cheers

M. H. Ghuloum

Iran Disinformation, FDD Lobbyists, and Mars the God of Everlasting Muslim Wars……

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“On Friday, the State Department suspended its funding for a mysterious website and Twitter account, IranDisInfo.org and @IranDisInfo, after the project attacked human rights workers, journalists and academics, many of whom are based inside the U.S. But the role of the U.S. government in financing IranDisInfo’s criticisms of Human Rights Watch and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a group that has been outspoken in warning about the Trump administration’s increasingly aggressive military posture towards Iran, appears to have been in collaboration with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. FDD pushes for military confrontation with Iran…..”

FDD > (Foundation for Defense of Democracies) is anything but…
It is practically an unregistered extremist lobby for Mars, the God of Everlasting War on Muslim Countries. Especially Muslim countries ruled by regimes that are not friendly to Saudi rulers, other Persian Gulf despots, the Likud, and traditional American warmongers……
Its biggest donor is the de facto leader of the Republican Party Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas gambling casino mogul, who once reportedly (or was it allegedly) called for dropping the “bomb” on Iran. Its board includes many former disgruntled right-wing officials with extremists views, the kind Donald Trump normally would call “losers”.
Ditto its list of advisers and writers, some of them veterans of the Levant’s right wing political and civil wars….


Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Ilhan Omar vs AIPAC: a Democratic Glass Curtain becomes an Iron Curtain…..

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Sometime in early 2015, right after Obama’s State of the Union Address, the Republican leadership of the US Congress and Senate acted to publicly and loudly oppose the foreign policy of a sitting American president. And to openly disrespect him, which is their right. They decided to escalate by using the leader of a foreign country, or maybe the foreign leader decided to defy Obama by using the US Congress. Right-winger Benyamin Netanyahu has had some experience in disrespecting Barack Obama, no doubt at least partly because he is a black man and he knew he could get away with it in a divided Washington dominated by Southern rightists and by his unofficial lobby, AIPAC.

So, they invited the Israeli prime minister to address a joint session of the US Congress, no doubt with the agreement of some Democrats. This foreign leader, the Israeli leader was invited to rebut the Obama foreign policy, with the focus on the pending Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA). Many Democrats also showed up, including the current Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer. Defying their own president to appease a foreign leader, something I know they would not do for Bush or Clinton or any white president. American media of all stripes went along, broadcasting live this racist defiance by a foreign leader of a sitting US president in cooperation with Congress. To their credit 8 senators and 50 Representatives (of all faiths) refused to attend.

It was largely the power of AIPAC that drew so many Democrats to that travesty and abuse of a Joint Session of Congress, although a few probably had real Middle East policy concerns that could have been addressed in a different fashion. AIPAC, the increasingly Likud-ized American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, has managed to hold festival-style, CPAC-style annual conferences while avoiding real public scrutiny. Until now, although many American commentators like Thomas Friedman and Peter Beinart, among others, did occasionally criticize its activities and its political hold. Clearly AIPAC represents an extreme position on the Israeli-Palestinian issue that is not supported by many moderate and liberal Jewish Americans who support Israel and the idea of a Jewish Homeland. These are also the people who know the Diaspora well, and have a traumatic collective memory, centuries old, of what can happen in a society when the freedom of expression is stifled.

There has always been a glass curtain in Washington blocking any open public criticism of Israeli governments. And of AIPAC. Even though the current Israeli PM felt free to speak directly to Americans from the chamber of their elected representatives. Now with this new batch of Democratic lawmakers, the taboo on criticism of Israeli government and of AIPAC is breaking down. The powers that be in the Democratic Party have been called upon, probably warned, to stem this new trend rocking the boat, challenging the groupthink.

The Republicans started the attack on the new batch of Democrat women: Republicans like to demonize women who are threatening, from Hillary Clinton to Michelle Obama and her daughters to Elizabeth Warren to Ilhan Omar and AOC and Rashida Tlaib. It must be a remnant of the old Witch Hunt and witch burning eras of Old Europe. But the Democrats quickly joined the selective attack, focusing now on the two Muslim women of color. AIPAC has a long reach into American politics, that is a fact: you can see it by looking at the attendees of its public events.

Now the glass curtain of taboo has come out into the open. The Democrats in Congress have now been cowed, apparently, into a resolution condemning these two women, particularly one of them, either directly or indirectly. The glass curtain did not do its job, so now it is being replaced. An Iron Curtain is now descending across the Democratic congressional delegation, openly shutting off any open debate of Israel and its influence in America.
The First Amendment is in danger of being watered down not only by the modern Republicans and Donald Trump. Democrats are also doing their best/worst to weaken the First Amendment which has always defined America.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A Christmas Post: Jesus Comes to America, Meets Voodoo Economics………

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I once responded to a poll posted on social media about whether Jesus would be allowed into America. That was a few years ago. I got in the habit of upgrading and modifying the post every year around the Holiday and Christmas time. Here is my modified updated version for this unusual year of 2018:

  • He, Jesus Son of Maryam the Virgin as we call him, wants to come to America. They call him Christ, the anointed, or Messiah/Massih in Hebrew/Arabic/PersianHe has heard that this new land is the last bastion of his true-blue red followers, those who truly adhere to his small sect of Judaism, or so he thinks. He knows they call themselves Christians now. He wants to come visit his true believers in what was and is called the Old Confederacy and the Bible Belt West, once called fly-over land. As well as some inland pockets on the two coasts. 
  • He, Jesus Christ, would probably not be allowed on a connecting flight from Europe (back in the Middle East there are many who look like him). Eventually, After some agitation, he will likely be put on a no-fly list as a potential terrorist.
  • If not, or if he manages to sneak through the controls, he will face the next obstacle. Some other passenger (most likely an American) would complain that he/she feels uncomfortable with someone dressed in long a robe, a hairy man mumbling in some strange language, a typical raghead, on the same airplane. So, Jesus would likely be bounced off the flight anyway (maybe he’ll be handed a check for $300 as compensation).
  • Let’s assume that he manages to make it after all, perhaps walking across from Mexico or Canada. He will not be allowed into many churches because his attire (robe & sandals) is deemed un-Christian. The first Mega-Buck Church would throw him out because he does not fit the image of a “member” of their House of God.
  • Besides, he wouldn’t know what a church is. Jesus would look for a synagogue upon arrival. Lucky for him, he’d most likely land in New York City.
  • He wouldn’t be any more welcome in a synagogue than in a church. Memories of the Diaspora and pogroms and massacres and the Holocaust perpetrated by his alleged later followers do not fade easily. Besides he has no money to pay the very high New York annual fees required for joining. 
  • He, as Son of Maryam and fruit of Immaculate Conception, might be allowed into a mosque (no fees usually needed there; Mosques are not used as exclusive or exclusionary private clubs). But that welcome of a non-Muslim would be only with the hope of converting him to the teachings of the illiterate Arab shepherd from Mecca who came after him. It wouldn’t last long. 
  • He would also wonder who this blue-eyed blond namesake of his was, whose alleged birthday is celebrated by corporate America so eagerly every year. From September to January of each year. Whose image is posted all over towns and museums. And he would wonder what he has to do with a fat jolly Germanic man who likes to wear red and white tights, and jingle his bells, his only utterances: ho ho ho.
  • Once enlightened, Jesus would wonder what do Amazon and Apple and Macy’s and gas prices and NASDAQ have to do with his birthday.
  • Most of all, he is intrigued about this new noisy Roman governor of America who is all orange, who is pushing a vague new creed that he calls MAGA. He knows it involves some kind of new miracle or, as someone explained: Rich people elected mainly by poor people taking money from the poor and giving it to the very rich, in the hope of somehow making the poor richer“.
  • Makes sense?

Cheers & Have a Merry One……
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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New American Winning vs Normalcy: from Europe to the Gulf to Pyongyang……

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Riots in France.

Britain in disarray over Brexit.

Poland and Hungary ruled by Neo-Nazis; Ukraine has many longing for the days of occupation and mass graves and Babi Yar……

Europe is now in disarray, which will force America’s hand at some point in the future…..

The Afghan war in its 18th year..
Yemen
genocide in its fifth year…..

Financial Markets tanking…

Kim Jong Un speeding up his nuclear arsenal even as Trump utters public love-sick letters to him….
China
(a k a Chi-Coms to conservatives) is resurgent…

A tin-horn Arab oil prince is threatening stability in the Persian Gulf. He has his own highly placed-agent inside the White House……

So much winning, Mr. Trump repeats…..

I say, screw all this winning. How about some good old American normalcy…..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Trump as the Sixth Pillar of Wahhabi Islam? Sisters of the Faithful…… Redux

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It is the first anniversary of the absurd Arab-American-Islamic Summit that was held in Riyadh one year ago. The Summit of the buyers (Arab kings, princes & potentates), the bought (Donald Trump & the Kushners), and the hired (poor African & Asian countries). So, I am copying my old post here:

At the Riyadh Wahhabi-American Summit, it looked like the princes and potentates were ready to change the basic tenets of Islam to appease the man who has made Islamophobia more acceptable in America. Their new American Idol, Donald J Trump.


Islam has five pillars that define a Muslim (all Muslims be they Sunni, Shi’a, or Wahhabi):

  • Shahada, Assertion, that Allah is the One God and that Mohammed is his Prophet.
  • Donating the Zakat (Alms) for the poor and needy. (I can almost hear American Republicans groaning).
  • Fasting the Holy Month of Ramadan (no food, drink, lies, and sex: from dawn to dusk).
  • Five daily prayers facing Mecca (originally Muslims prayed while facing Jerusalem, until they conquered the Prophet’s hometown and disposed of the idols).
  • Making the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca/Madinah. But this last one is not completely mandatory: it is only for “those who are able and can afford it”.

Now there may have been a subtle change, given the Wahhabi festival last week celebrating Donald Trump and his clan at the Summit in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Trump was treated like more than a new Caliph, more like a combination Caliph and Angel. The Saudi princes’ generosity with their people’s money and their controlled media saw to that. Trump’s wife and daughter, the only women at the various meetings and parties, were almost elevated by the Wahhabis to the rank of “Sisters of the Faithful” (in Arabic: اخوات المؤمنين ).

Not necessarily bad in itself, if Donald himself wasn’t around to bask in the glory and to believe what they said about him. Melania and Ivanka: as Catholic and Jewish ‘Sisters of the Faithful’. It is not the first time in the history of Islam. But Donald Trump is the first of his kind in the history of the American Republic.

In Riyadh, his eyes were so focused on the money, hundreds of billions of petro-money, that he may have unwittingly handed America’s foreign policy, and her future wars in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to a bunch of incompetent, corrupt, and greedy princes.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Logical Nuclear Thinking of North Korea: Lessons of Iraq, Libya, and Iran…………….

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This is a reprint of a post of mine from last July:


In the beginning…..
Donald Trump ignored North Korea and its petulant young dictator. Mr. Trump has been focusing on his “other” foreign policy issues. In fact up to recently he has been taking a long victory lap celebrating his own alleged self-styled loot of billions of Saudi oil money during his coronation by desperate Arab and Muslim princes and potentates in Riyadh last May. All he had to do was tell them that he does not care about human rights and that Iran exports terrorism (but apparently not the nice Wahhabi type of terrorism of ISIS and Al Qaeda and AQAP and Nusra).

Trump has also been focusing on the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), since before the election. Trump of course does not know much about it, that it is a good deal for all sides according to international consensus (with the exception of the ruling princes of Saudi Arabia, the Empire of Bahrain, Israel, and the paid-for US Congress). Apparently the one draw-back of the Iran deal for Trump, the Republican Party, (and hawkish Democrats) is that it is a signature achievement of President Barack Obama. So Mr. Trump had promised to revisit the deal, perhaps to “withdraw” the USA from it. His first National Security Chief Mike Flynn, a Turkish agent and possibly a Russian agent as well, threatened more serious action against Iran. Before Trump was forced to fire him.

Among the Iranians themselves there are many who are also disappointed by how the nuclear deal has turned out. And by the ratcheted up threats from Washington and the nearly monthly new sanctions being voted by the US Knesset Congress and Senate. They also remember what happened in Iraq and Libya.

Back to Kim Jong Un: he could not be denied his share of American attention for long. He is that kind of dictator. Not long after Trump was inaugurated Kim started tossing around warhead-capable medium-range and long-range missiles. He or his henchmen also murdered a young American student-captive in Pyongyang.
And one more thing that can be unforgivable from my point of view: he gave Dennis Rodman another opportunity to be seen on network news.

Kim Jong Un also certainly well remembers what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.  Apparently Saddam had given up his WMD, but Iraq was invaded and he was overthrown anyway.

Libyan dictator Gaddafi gave up his WMD and paid billions in “compensation” to Western citizens and corporations. He was attacked and overthrown by NATO. He and one of his sons were allowed to be tortured and killed by some rebels. Now Libya is a failed and divided state.

Kim must have started thinking:

  • Gaddafi (of Libya) gave up WMD. He also gave up billions of dollars to Western countries and to victims of the Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie in 1988. But what did he get? His new friends in NATO overthrew him then got him killed as soon as they got a chance. He and one of his sons were tortured and murdered by possibly the same people who later murdered four American diplomats in Benghazi. His country is now a failed state beset by Islamic Fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect and by tribal infighting.
  • Iran heeded world power demands and reduced its nuclear program- and according to IAEA and world intelligence services it is abiding by the JCPOA Nuclear Deal. And Iran now is being seriously threatened by Donald Trump who is also hopelessly trying to form a futile alliance of hapless Arab and Muslim despots and potentates against it. These are mostly the countries whose citizens have actually committed terrorism in the Middle East and in the West. And both houses of the US Congress keep piling up sanctions against Iran, Kim knows….

If I were Kim, I would possibly perhaps per chance think that it is not just the WMD and nuclear stuff that the West, and the US government, has a beef with. Maybe it goes beyond that. If Iraq and Libya were attacked after they gave up their WMD, and if Iran is being threatened after it reduced its nuclear capability……
You get the drift: Kim will think that as soon as he gives up his nuclear and missile program, he might as well give up the ghost….

And it is hard to blame him for thinking along these lines, if you think about it (or you can start reading this post from the beginning)……..

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

New Trump Team: Tea Party Men, Chickenhawks, and a Cavalier Rah Rah Economist Ascendant…..

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Trump is going fully hard right now, on cruise control:


Tea Party war hawk Mike Pompeo nominated for top diplomat (oxymoronic). Tillerson was fired with a tweet yesterday as he was flying from Africa, as I mentioned here yesterday……..

Alleged supporter of Enhanced Interrogation/Rendition Gina Haspel to head the CIA……

Larry (Rah Rah Rah) Kudlow as chief Economic Adviser (but he can’t guarantee 4% GDP growth off CNBC programs)…….Here is how cavalierly Kudlow diagnosed the pre-crash economy of 2007: What’s more, the entire market in sub-prime debt is just 1.4 percent of the global equity markets. On any given day, a 1.4 percent drop in world stocks would erase the same amount of value as the collective markdown of all sub-prime-backed bonds to $0. It’s just not that big a deal……”

Possibly chickenhawk/Vietnam evader John Bolton for National Security chief….

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Benyamin Netanyahu as Trump co-nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize…..

Kim Jong Un for ambassador to Pyongyang…… ?
Thomas Friedman as ambassador to the Court of Saint Saud in Riyadh…..?

Anthony Scaramucci is making the cable TV rounds again, whatever that means for now…..

It is Stormy Days at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (pun intended)…….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The Body Snatchers of Arabia: It Is Not Just ISIS……

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“The families of 14 Saudi Arabian men sentenced to death fear that they are at risk of execution after they were transferred to Riyadh on 15 July. The men were sentenced to death on 1 June 2016 after a grossly unfair trial based on “confessions” they said were obtained under torture


I have been reading Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and other reports that Saudi Arabia plans to execute 14 young Saudi (Shi’a) men by beheading and/or crucifixion. Any day now. The princes have accelerated the rate of executions of Shi’a men specifically as a political tool to stifle protests, and there is fear that other Persian Gulf states may follow their example.

Saudi Arabia has a peculiar way of dealing with those it executes. Especially if they are Shi’a. In fairness, others get executed as well, and not only for staging public protests. Some are considered sorcerers or users of magic and witchcraft. Some of them are even convicted killers, although the method of obtaining confessions is not considered up to acceptable humane standards.

Wahhabis who plan to join terrorist groups are often sent to re-education schools. They are allowed to pretend that they have reformed, given jobs, and even encouraged to take appropriate Wahhabi wives. Their weddings are financed by the regime. But not the Shi’as.

Execution for men is done in public squares, by beheading and/or crucifixion. Nobody knows when someone will be executed, they announce it after the fact. And the Shi’a bodies are never returned to their loved ones.
All civilized regimes announce the date of execution. Even not so-civilized regimes usually return the bodies of those executed to their families. That is a human right.


Saudi Arabia often returns most bodies of those executed, unless they are Shi’a. This has been a consistent policy. Shaikh Nimr Al Nimr, the Shi’a dissident cleric was executed by beheading in January 2016, but his body was never returned to his family. Other Shi’a, Saudi or foreigner, faced the same fate. Years ago about 16 Kuwait Shi’as were beheaded on charges of plotting. Their bodies were never returned to their country or to their families. There have been other cases. And I know the Saudis do not use these bodies as (practice) cadavers for their medical students.

They usually just announce that so many were executed, a day after the fact. The bodies are presumably thrown in some hole in the desert.

The Caliphate of ISIS also does that sort of body snatching…..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum