Tag Archives: Camp David

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

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“US President Barack Obama has labeled Iran a “state sponsor of terrorism” and countries in the Gulf region have a right to be concerned about Tehran’s activities. The move comes less than three months after Iran was taken off a US terror list………..”

On the eve of his ill-advised Camp David summit with the kings, princes, and potentates of the GCC, Mr. Obama feels the need to placate his guests. Or so he has been told.

Mr. Obama surprised many today by dusting up and reusing the old T-for-Terrorism word about Iran. No doubt that is how he was advised by some advisers steeped in the nuances of Persian Gulf Game Theory. He is trying to placate the Gulf kings, princes, and potentates some of whom are frustrated that they may not get what they feel they are entitled to. They, his guests, are playing the old game, showing more anger than they feel. A bargaining chip, but hopefully he knows that.

Speaking of state-sponsored terrorism: it is time to lay that silly term to rest as a derogatory term. Almost every state sponsors its own favorite groups of terrorists, whether at home or abroad. As the saying goes: almost “everybody does it”.

You’d think all the ideology, money, weapons, and volunteers for Al Qaeda, ISIS, DAESH, Nusra Front and others have come from Shi’a Iran. Not from Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Persian Gulf Salafis. You’d think Iranians planned and financed and executed the attack on the USS Cole and then on the United States on September 11, 2001 (FYI: Saddam was not involved either, in spite of what Dick Cheney says). You’d think it is Iranian warplanes raining death and destruction over impoverished Yemen and its people. You’d think……………

Coincidentally, it may get the Republican warmongers in the Senate (McCain, Graham, et al) off his back for a day or two.


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Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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Camp David and the Nusra Front Expose the Saudi Inferiority Complex……..

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The media punditry and noise about the upcoming Gulf GCC summit with President Obama at Camp David have exposed certain facts about Saudi Arabia and its relations and aspirations within the region. They have exposed a deep inferiority complex and dangerous insecurity that have exacerbated instability in the Middle East. Just look at the mess that Syria and Iraq and Yemen have become. Let us look at the few countries that the Saudis feel threatened by and create this inferiority complex:
Iran: has some 77 million native people, a diverse economy that has withstood the Western blockade for decades, despite economic mismanagement by the mullahs and lower (deliberately engineered) petroleum prices. It is relatively highly advanced in technology: nuclear and space and medical as well as other industries, probably partly a result of a self reliance forced by the blockade.
Iraq: some 30 million (now), multi-cultural with huge untapped petroleum reserves, and a diverse economy.
Egypt: some 80 million people, a potentially diverse economy and dormant technical knowledge.
Yemen: even poor Yemen has a larger population than Saudi Arabia (26 million citizens against some 16 million Saudi citizens). And an interesting ancient history.
Turkey: a relatively new state with a short history by Middle East standards, but a diverse economy and a gateway to Europe. If only the Caliph Erdogan would stop supporting Jihadi cutthroats in Arab politics.
(Israel: the outlier in the group, but militarily powerful and technically the most advanced in the Middle East. They don’t worry about it because it is non-Islamic non-Arab and hence not a rival; besides, it is either a real or a potential ally against the others).

All these countries have a long history of settled civilization, some of the oldest in the world (with the exception of Turkey).


Is it any wonder the Saudis feel insecure, when they have to rely on foreign labor and foreign products and imported mercenaries to such an extent? When the princes have to pay Sudanese and Moroccans and Senegalese to fight their wars, even against impoverished Yemen? Now they are supreme within the small club of the Gulf GCC. They are assured to remain the largest state, the big man in the club. That is why they will never accept any new members, rivals that are larger and/or more advanced. That is why they will try to make sure other larger states in the region, real and potential rivals, remain distant and weak.
That is why they do the voodoo that they do: try to keep the Western blockade on Iran, keep Egypt weak and politically divided and subservient, try to keep Iraq divided, try in vain to get and keep control of Yemen.

That is why they introduced their strongest strategic weapon so far: politicized modern Islamic sectarianism. They have (re)introduced it into the region and use it extensively to divide and weaken their rivals and maintain their power at home. The alleged Sunni-Shi’a war is in reality an attempt to extend the Wahhabi war on other Islamic sects, on other faiths.
What are ISIS and Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and AQAP and the rest of the intolerant Jihadi gangs but Wahhabism taken literally to its extreme? Speaking of which: reports now tell us that Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Turkey are backing Al Nusra Front in Syria, the certified approved Al Qaeda franchise in that country. Anything for the appearance of an elusive victory on their rivals.

Gulf GCC Comes to Camp David: the Addled, the Wretched, and Emma Lazarus………

Phony Arab Fear of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Catharsis and Kumbaya at Camp David………

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Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Gulf GCC Comes to Camp David: the Addled, the Wretched, and Emma Lazarus……..

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“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
 Emma Lazarus

The Huffington Post headlined (exaggerated) on Monday: “The Great Gulf Back-Out. Saudi King, Other Gulf Nation Rulers To Skip Camp David Summit………..”. Other US media have also repeated this idea of the hesitation of the tired, poor, huddled, wretched of the Gulf to make the trip to Washington. This is a bit of an exaggeration. There are solid non-political reasons why most of the top GCC leaders will not attend; Several of them are physically unable:

  • King Salman of Saudi Arabia: the Saudi princes are as unhappy about the Iran nuclear deal as Netanyahu claims to be. Maybe even more so, given that Netanyahu is a faker: he uses it as a red herring. Saudis want Iran under blockade, impoverished and preferably attacked by Americans or Israelis or both. Because it is the only way they can be the most important player in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian population is about 77 million, almost all native, and they sit over the world’s largest gas reserves. The Saudi population is about 16 million citizens (plus about 9 million temporary foreign laborers who rotate). Some Saudi (Wahhabi) opposition groups claim that King Salman is suffering from Alzheimer’s and that he will never attend any foreign summit anyway. This self-serving rumor has not been totally corroborated yet.
    (Bahrain doesn’t count as completely independent here. The rulers of Bahrain ape the Al Saud: with thousands of Saudi troops in their country, they do as they do and probably they do as they are told).
  • Oman: the Sultan of Oman has had surgery and lengthy medical treatment in Europe. In recent years he has had someone else represent him at all foreign summits. Besides, he maintains friendly relations with both sides of the Iranian-Saudi rivalry.
  • United Arab Emirates: the president of UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed is ill, and he has been absent from all summits. The real power is with his brothers, especially crown prince Shaikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, who will attend. Nothing new here. So, in spite of claims by some UAE minor officials and professors about a reaction to the Iran deal, this is not exactly true: the ruler has not attended any summit for several years, nor should he, and he would not attend Camp David anyway.
  • The Emir of Kuwait and Emir of Qatar apparently are the only two healthy rulers of the GCC. They will attend.

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Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Democrat Obama and Socialist Hollande: Tale of Two Leaders………..

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“His visit comes as Paris strengthens its political and economic relations with the oil- and gas-rich Gulf monarchies. He arrived in Riyadh from GCC member Qatar after attending the signing of a 6.3-billion-euro ($7-billion) deal between French aerospace firm Dassault and Qatari defense officials. The agreement includes an order for 24 Rafale fighter jets, with an option on a further 12. On Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Paris and Riyadh are also discussing 20 economic projects worth “tens of billions of euros.” Hollande’s Riyadh trip comes just over a week before the GCC leaders visit their traditional ally Washington. President Barack Obama called that meeting to brainstorm on reducing regional conflicts and to try to allay Gulf fears over any U.S. rapprochement with Iran…………….”

Little Francois Hollande of the Parti Socialiste of France has grabbed an opportunity to take some business away from Les Americains. Flying, nay shuttling, back and forth to the Persian Gulf, you’d think he was what he actually is, a traveling salesman. Not even as lofty as a foreign minister. He is not achieving any diplomatic breakthrough over Palestine or the Iranian nuclear deal. He is selling, at any price.

Hollande shuttles back and forth between Paris and his newly discovered lucrative market on the Persian-American Gulf, allowing himself to be summoned by the kings, princes and potentates. Meanwhile, Barack Obama plays the lofty true world leader that he is, that Hollande can never be, that no current European leader can be: he summons Gulf GCC leaders to Washington DC.

But that is okay with the Frenchman: he laughs all the way to the bank. He has been signing weapons contracts at a faster rate than anyone else. Now nothing can be more French Socialist than selling more weapons to absolute rulers.

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Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Phony Arab Fear of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Catharsis and Kumbaya at Camp David………

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“The Obama administration is scrambling for reassurances it can present this month at a Camp David summit meeting to persuade Arab allies that the United States has their backs, despite a pending nuclear deal with Iran. Officials at the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department have been meeting to discuss everything from joint training missions for American and Arab militaries to additional weapons sales to a loose defense pact that could signal that the United States would back those allies if they come under attack from Iran. Over mahi-mahi at the Pentagon two weeks ago, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter polled a select group of Middle East experts for advice on how the administration could placate Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, all of which fear the nuclear deal, according to several attendees………………..”

First (of all): it is not an “Arab” fear of the nuclear deal. Ask most Arabs from Baghdad through Amman to Algiers and Tetouan, ask 250 million of them and they will not express any fear of this deal. Arabs have lived with a nuclear and aggressive Israel for decades without expressing any fear of it either.

Second: a part of the small minority of all Arab who live on the Persian-American Gulf express disapproval of the nuclear deal (not counting the majority of the population who are South Asian expat laborers). Many of them don’t know its details and look at it from a sectarian view and in some cases whatever their government propaganda tell them.

Third: the rulers of the GCC Gulf states are not afraid of the “nuclear” deal either. They are worried about expanding Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria and Lebanon, and potentially in Yemen. A legitimate worry. Only about three of them (only about three regimes) are also afraid of lifting the Western blockade from the Iranian people which will strengthen their economy.

Fourth: These three (or four) regimes are pretending to be afraid of a nuclear deal only as a bargaining chip: the same position as Benyamin Netanyahu takes. The last time Iran attacked a neighbor was almost three hundred years ago. When was the last time Iran was attacked by a neighbor? In 1980, by Baathist Iraq with active help from others in the neighborhood. The Baathists used WMD in that war.

Fifth: the mullahs don’t directly attack a neighbor, unlike Baathist Iraq (attacked Iran and Kuwait), unlike Saudi Arabia (attacked Yemen at least three times: 1930s, 2009, 2015 and attacked Kuwait once in 1920). Even so, the Persian-American Gulf is clogged with powerful Western navies that can deter any conventional attack.

Sixth: Even if we ‘buy’ the claims about Iran’s nuclear program. When was the last time a country used nuclear weapons in ts own neighborhood? Is there a regime so stupid as to contemplate doing that, across its border? Are there regimes audacious enough to use it as an excuse to keep an economic blockade on a neighbor?

No doubt Mr. Obama knows all this, or he should know it when he sits down with his guests. Which also makes one wonder: why not also invite Netanyahu to Camp David, since he claims the same worries and concerns? Then Mr. Obama can have his catharsis with both. It should be fun: Likudniks and antisemitic Wahhabis singing Kumbaya at the camp. 

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Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com