Category Archives: US Foreign Policy

Mother of All Persian Gulf Miscalculations: Petulant Princes and the Ultimatum that Failed……..

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” Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter Al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a 13-point list — presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis — the countries also demand an end to Turkey’s military presence in Qatar. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute…….— Immediately terminate the Turkish military presence currently in Qatar and end any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar…… If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance……” AP

The princes and potentates along the Persian Gulf region are rarely original. But it seems that on the occasions when they do show some originality, they can be breathtakingly so.

All these countries have foreign military bases on their territories, which is fine. The UAE has several bases on its land: American, British, French, and allegedly imported mercenary forces organized by Blackwater (later renamed Xe then Academi). Bahrain has American, British, and Saudi bases, plus thousands of Jordanian and former Arab Baathist and Asian mercenaries, so far. The Saudis have American ‘bases’ coordinating the war on Yemen, possibly British as well, as well as reportedly humorless Jordanians and other foreign military personnel. Yet they demand that Qatar end the small Turkish military presence of Caliph Erdogan. No mention of the huge US Central Command base at Al Eidid.

The brotherly, or is it sisterly, princes also want Qatar to reduce ties with Iran, yet the UAE is reportedly the main regional trading partner of Iran. Dubai’s ties with Iran precede the rule of the mullahs in Tehran and precedes the creation of the UAE. And Oman has historical and growing trade ties with Iran. Kuwait is normally neutral in disputes among Gulf GCC potentates, and it has normal ties with Iran. Yet the focus is on Qatar, or perhaps Qatar is the first target, with others to follow.

Yet Qatar is also almost umbilically tied to Iran: it shares a huge offshore natural gas field with Iran in the Persian Gulf, and that is something that cannot be broken. Besides, Iran has been on the Persian Gulf since the early Aryan invasions/migrations from the north many thousands of years ago. Long before Bush, Obama, and Trump showed up. Long before Percy Cox and Gertrude Bell and T.E Lawrence showed up. Ironically, the Emirates Airlines (UAE) flights from the United States cross the whole of Iran, over Tehran, to land in Dubai. Yet these petulant potentates have a blockade against the Qatar Airlines, banning it from their airspace.

The oddest demand is supposed to be an imitation of the IAEA nuclear task as part of the Iran Nuclear Deal with the world powers (JCPOA): they want Qatar periodically monitored for compliance with the demands of these silly princes and potentates. Can’t Arab leaders ever be original? Apparently only when they go beyond reason and into the realm of absurdity.


My conclusion? the Saudi-UAE siege of Qatar seems to have failed. Another failure to be added to their adventures in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. Only their huge investment in General Al Sisi seems to have paid off for now, but Egypt is now a monumentally unstable war-torn mess. In Egypt it is like this: they broke it, and now they own it.

They probably thought surprise tough measures combined with hints of military action and attempted internal coup would bring the troublesome Qatari rulers down. That combined with some vague supportive comments from the new Muslim Caliph Donald Trump, a hardly reliable advocate of complex policies. They did not. The ruling princes and potentates of the Gulf have miscalculated, again.

Let us hope these petulant princes don’t keep misreading Donald Trump or James Mattis and make the Mother of All Miscalculations, plunging the region into another war, this time the Mother of All Persian Gulf Wars.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Strategic OCD? America’s Obsessive, Compulsive, Endless Muslim Wars on Cruise Control…..

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“Veteran Given Hero’s Welcome Back To Afghanistan….. KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—Waving flags and breaking into cheers the moment they spotted the veteran, dozens of joyous citizens gave Marine Pfc. Victor Rosas, 23, a hero’s welcome back to Afghanistan, sources reported Tuesday. “I’ve been counting down the hours until Victor came back, and here he is at last!” said local food vendor Anwar Ahmadzai, one of the many familiar faces the young soldier had not seen for the 14 months he was overseas in the U.S………”

This piece by the Onion is almost funny, until you look at a map of the Old World. From Asia through the Middle East to Africa.
American wars, weird wars, endless wars, stupid wars, absurd wars, almost-automatic wars on cruise control. Easy to trigger, easy to slide into. And what you can’t trigger, you can provoke, or the willful regional allies can provoke. Almost impossible to get out of (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, North Africa, Sahel, East Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc etc)……

With more very likely to come, possibly deliberately provoked by the Trump Administration or by local Trump-allied Arab princes and potentates, in the Persian Gulf, possibly Lebanon, and in other Muslim places….

It is almost as if the country has an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) related to Muslim lands and Muslim wars…

As I have suggested more than once: why not bomb some other part of the world for a change?  Become an equal opportunity bomber…..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Fallout of Donald Trump’s Poisonous Middle East Visit to Saudi Arabia……..

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Donald Trump‘s Middle East visit was not only the most expensive ever for his Saudi hosts, reportedly to the tune of about $460 billion that they cannot afford. The princes may even be forced later to scale down and stagger payment of some of what many natives consider a “ransom” paid to Trump. If and when the dust from his unfortunate and disastrous visit to the Arabian Peninsula ever settles down. (Already some independent Arab media claim the Saudis are canceling big weapons deals with Turkey, presumably a result of the Trump holdup)

The visit is proving a most poisonous event, one that has raised passionate sectarian tensions to levels that even Al Qaeda and ISIS could not do. Having a world superpower take direct sides in a sectarian conflict largely created by Trump’s new regional allies and urging one side side to “go for it”. That will also prove disastrous for US foreign policy. If the princes are foolish enough to take Trump at his words, they would see his speech as an invitation for them to escalate, with a promise of American collusion and participation in the event of a new war.
(Of course, some of the princes may know, like we do, that Trump is prone to exaggeration, that his word can’t be taken seriously. Hopefully that is the case, but still, so much lethal hardware in the hands of a spoiled young prince….).


First came the accession of King Salman and his rash son. Almost a future reckless Saddam Hussein of the Arabian Peninsula, if the past two years are any indication.

Then enter Donald Trump, whose knowledge of the region is focused on how much money he can extort from the native princes and potentates. An incompetent and greedy Western leader who is after loot: that is how most Arabs and Muslims see him. Regardless of the propaganda headlines of the controlled and royally-owned media of some Gulf GCC states.


Trump‘s Saudi visit was the most poisonous event for the Middle East since the accession of Saudi King Salman and his son, in itself retroactively an event that started the slide towards deeper more open sectarian conflict in the Persian Gulf and the wider Arab World.

The American visitor and his clan were not even out of Riyadh before the fallout from his visit started to poison the air over the Persian Gulf to a degree unprecedented in modern times.

More on this later…..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Axis of Corruption: Happy Ramadan and Many Wahhabi Returns, Imam Trump, Haji Gauleiter Bannon, et al……..

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The Holy Muslim month of Ramadan may start on Friday (or maybe Saturday for some more ornery Muslims). Saudis claim they will start on Saturday because they can’t confirm seeing the moon crescent yet. So Ramadan will most likely start in most Muslim countries on Saturday (on Shabbat as our Jewish neighbors would say).

So in the spirit of Donald Trump’s recent initiation in and conversion into the joys of Wahhabi regional sectarian politics, and many billions of money, in Riyadh. He is now an honorary Wahhabi. All during that first meeting of his Axis of Corruption, so:


Happy Ramadan, Mr. Imam Shaikh Trump.

Happy Ramadan, Haji Gauleiter Bannon.

Happy Ramadan, Shaikh Herr Sturmbanfuhrer Miller.

Happy Ramadan, Melania and Ivanka for surviving the staged stag events of last week and withstanding the thick air of hypocrisy and corruption. Just scrub yourselves well, ladies, use disinfectant if you must.

Happy Ramadan, to whoever else is lurking in the Dark Side.

Donald, may those many billions of dollars stolen by the Arab potentates from the Persian Gulf peoples always be with you. You are now an Honorary Muslim, although of the Wahhabi Sect. A founding father of a new axis, your very own Axis of Corruption extending from the Persian Gulf to Africa and beyond.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Trump’s Seminal Nonsensical Riyadh Speech to Muslim Sunni Potentates and Despots to go K-12 ?……

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There are unverified reports that President Donald Trump’s sectarian speech in the Saudi capital Riyadh last week will be edified and made into an integral part of modern Wahhabi history.

The unverified say Trump’s nonsensical but seminal speech to the Wahhabi and Muslim Sunni potentates and dictators on Islam (or was it on Iranian roots of Wahhabism? or maybe it was on money, as in $460 billion? or Alibi-for-Jihadi-terrorists speech?) will be taught at all schools in the kingdom, K-12.

It will be published, allegedly, in a booklet, with the following picture cover that was inspired by the witches scene in Macbeth—–>

It is just something to consider. Oh, and my reporting source is not necessarily credible. Not yet……

More on this later……

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Ugly Travelers: Wilbur Ross and His Boss Do Riyadh with No Protests, Is America Doomed?………

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“Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday he was heartened by the absence of even a single protester during President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia over the weekend…… ‘I think the other thing that was fascinating to me, there was not a single hint of a protestor anywhere there during the whole time we were there, not one guy with a bad placard….…”


Wilbur, if you had asked, perhaps even the orange Mr. ED could tell you what is going on.

Why no protests in Riyadh? There are no rights of speech or expression or religion in the Kingdom. But there are many more protesters than you can imagine, but it is all in the heart. Those who did actually protest or would protest or are suspected of possibly thinking of protesting are in prison, in dungeons, being flogged, dead, or in exile.

Oh, and welcome home soon to the land of protests and placards and the First Amendment….. Remember, Mr. Wilbur Al Wahhabi, there are many people who move to the USA because they can protest publicly without being severely punished…..

No, America is not doomed, this is just a nightmare, shameless panderers like Wilbur and his boss are part of a nightmare from which all will wake up soon………

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A Farce in Riyadh: Can Trump’s Greed Buy the Princes a Gulf Sectarian War that Bush and Obama Rejected?……

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There will be another farce going on in Riyadh this weekend…..

Saudi Arabia has mostly given up on the Arab World. They have tried over the past few years to form various military (and political) alliances with different Arab states, to no avail. They almost always fail, even with the billions of dollars offered to those willing to take the bait.

Even the murderous dictator of Sudan, the  criminal Omar Al Bashir (wanted by ICC), had reportedly pulled out of his participation in the Yemen war, although he is now sending mercenaries again to South Yemen, for a nominal fee. The Pakistanis have refused the invitation to send troops to fight Saudi wars, as have the Egyptians. The Turks of Caliph Erdogan are the least reliable ally for anyone: they play all sides against each other, be they Saudis, Iranians, Russians, Americans, Europeans, etc. Erdogan fancies himself the heir of the Ottoman Caliphis, therefore the true leader of the Arabs. The oligarchs of Malaysia pocket the Saudi money but no troops are forthcoming. Ditto for Indonesia. The humorless King of humorless Jordan pockets the sparse Saudi money but awaits the American initiative (he knows his fellow Arab potentates are unreliable at best).

The princes have tried various iterations of an Arab alliance, an Islamic alliance, a combination of both. To no avail. Nobody wants to send their soldiers to fight in the quagmires of Yemen or Syria. Only stupid Westerners might do it, an only in the name of terrorism (and maybe the Americans in the name of reining in the Iranians). Greed also helps a lot.


So the Saudis think they may have found a way now: get America to lead a sectarian Sunni coalition to do their bidding in the Middle East and specifically in the Persian Gulf region. They realize American leaders, even Trump, may have more credibility than their princes. Mainly it would be Saudi/UAE money backing one or two more wars fought by America’s boys and girls in foreign lands. That approach was tries before and rejected under George W Bush and Barack Obama (both were much smarter than Mr. Trump).

This time the princes think they have found the American weak point: greed is the word. They think the new man in the White House is an uber capitalist, and like them he is defined mainly by GREED.
So since most Muslim and Arab leaders reject direct Saudi leadership, they can now do it through American leadership. Get the man who made Islamophobia and Arabphobia mainstream in America to lead an Islamic and Arab alliance, a sectarian alliance that serves the goals of the absolute tribal kings and princes.

But he fact is this: all Saudi deals and alliances aimed at reshaping the Middle East have failed in the past. This one will also fail. The handful of princes and dictators who will kiss Mr. Trump’s ring in Riyadh this weekend do not represent most Arabs and Muslims. They do not represent many Arabs and Muslims. They represent a very small minority.

So, my Fatwa on this latest farce in Riyadh? It will fail as well….

More on this later, as the farce in Riyadh unfolds……

Some earlier recent postings on this topic:
The Obama Doctrine….

Persian Gulf Game Theory at Camp David: Obama and State-Sponsored Terrorism….

The Arab Islamic American Summit Comes Up With a Trump Motto: Holy Art of the Deal….

Trump Visits His Wahhabi Empire: Saudis Summon Sunni Arab and Muslim Satraps and Viceroys to Riyadh….

Ignorant Abroad: is Trump Encouraging a Foolish Prince to Start a Sectarian War in the Persian Gulf?….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Big White Father Does the Umrah: Imam Trump Preps for Saudi Trip by Immersing in Studies of Quran and Hadith……

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The Big White Father is heading to the Middle East to bless the natives this week. And the potentates are excited that finally they can deal with a man who “looks real American”, like a Good White Father should look. A man more willing to accommodate their sectarian agenda than the more clever dark one that preceded him. For a stiff nominal fee, of course.
President Donald Trump is flying to Saudi Arabia this weekend, as I posted earlier. His first official visit abroad since taking office, and it will cost his royal hosts dearly. They are already throwing many billions his way in gratitude for the honor of a visit.

But there may be a catch for Donald: the hosts just might want him to fight a couple of new regional sectarian wars on their behalf (something they tried with Barack Obama and failed). While American courts dismantle his first Executive Order banning Muslims from Muslim countries that are not absolute monarchies and/or big weapons buyers from the West.

Mr. Trump has made Islamophobia acceptable and even cool among a large sector of the U.S. population, especially in certain states that cleaved to him in the elections. He has brought it into the White House. Yet he is chairing a summit of many Muslim and Arab countries whose rulers tend to obey or listen to the Saudi royal commands. A coalition of the willing, the bribed, and the coerced. Now, hold onto your seats when you start the next paragraph.

Mr. Trump is reportedly going to make a speech about Islam!
I assume that means he will delve deep into Islamic Sharia, its evolution, the Five Pillars, and how the Quran and the Prophet’s Hadith form the Islamic Faith and its Culture. How it is also to some extent an extension of the Old and New Testaments. He may try to explain its evolution over the fifteen centuries, from the days of Halima Al-Saadiya and the Prophet Mohammed to the current Ottoman Caliph Erdogan the First (why do I feel that I have left out one or two recent Caliphs?).
Which means he will have to cram for it, and Donald doesn’t seem like a cram-able type of student.

He will no doubt focus on the Orthodox Sunni version of Islam, perhaps more specifically on the Wahhabi sub-sect that dominates in Saudi Arabia and all the mosques and Madrassas it builds to spread its ideology of love and freedom around the world. The same sub-sect that spawned the Taliban, Al Qaeda, AQAP, ISIS, and all the terrorist attacks in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.

As a gesture to his best client princes, those who spend hundreds of billions buying weapons, Mr. Trump might feel characteristically comfortable enough to issue his own Fatwa: that henceforth Wahhabism is the mainstream sect and that it is the closest Muslim faith to Christianity (be it the Las Vegas, New York, or Evangelical version of Christianity).

That in itself should get him more clients for his exports. No doubt his family, kids and in-laws, will make a bundle expanding into the Arabian Peninsula. We might even see a Trump Tower Hotel in the heart of Mecca, catering to faithful pilgrims during the Hajj and the Umrah. Being something of a practical joker, Mr. Trump may even don the Ihram white Toga of the pilgrims and circumambulate the holy Kaaba by special permission, to the serious approval of Their Highnesses the omnipotent Princes.

More on this later…..

Here are a few relevant recent posts of my blog:

The Obama Doctrine….

Persian Gulf Game Theory at Camp David: Obama and State-Sponsored Terrorism….

The Arab Islamic American Summit Comes Up With a Trump Motto: Holy Art of the Deal….

Trump Visits His Wahhabi Empire: Saudis Summon Sunni Arab and Muslim Satraps and Viceroys to Riyadh….

Ignorant Abroad: is Trump Encouraging a Foolish Prince to Start a Sectarian War in the Persian Gulf?….


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

When the Moment is Right for a Nebulous Axis of Man Crush: Trump, Duterte, and Kim……

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Donald Trump has invited the Phlippines’ quirky leader Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House. Duterte, who apparently like to leave dead men in his wake, has not decided whether he will show up yet. He famously called Barack Obama a “son of a bitch”: I doubt that Duterte would call any “white” US president by such an epithet. He probably figures there is nothing new that Donald can show him.
News media also report that Trump has told a news agency (Bloomberg) that he is also willing to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, “when the moment is right

What can we call this vague nebulous axis?
New Axis of Evil? Axis of Nuts? Nebulous Axis of Man Crush?
Donald, Kim Jong Un, and Duterte…..

(I left out newly anointed humorless Turkish dictator Erdogan)

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Wyatt, Doc, Calamity and Beautiful Science: a Day in the Life of Trump Administration…….

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More recent potential Trump Administration news:

An uncharacteristically exasperated Attorney General Jeff Sessions has finally put Sanctuary Cities “on notice”, by yelling: Basta! (actually he did a combo Mexican-Rebel yell: Byeesta!).
Sessions also has temporarily changed his name to Wyatt Earp, and started calling Trump ‘Doc Holliday‘, calling Betsy DeVos ‘Calamity‘. No comment on Elaine Chou yet…….

For his part, Donald Trump asserted from Mar A Lago that: “I love Science. I believe in Science. I have here–> some beautiful Science to share with the American people. Wait for some big news on Science sometime next week, or maybe the week after. Will knock your socks off….”

Secretary of, er, State Rex Tillerson grunted again (at his usual speed of 0.5km/hr) that : “Eyeran represents an imminent danger to the United States national security, piling up their naval warships in the Gulf of Mexico, Oops, I meant the Persian Gulf“.

Rexy was leaving too quickly for a big man, as he is wont to do, when Andrea Mitchell asked if that means Trump is ready to start yet another stupid war. His parting shot was: “all options are on the table, we’re betting the farm on this one. The mullahs should remember what we did to Eyeraq! It took some fifteen years but we totally screwed up their country, our credibility and our economy. Created ISIS too. Never underestimate President Trump.”

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum