Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Trump’s Jizya (جزية ترامب ) : First American Emperor of Arabia, First Orange Caliph of Sunni Muslims……..

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Jizya is a term used from the early days of Islam, more than 1400 years ago. It was a form of added tax that non-Muslims paid the Muslim ruler in ancient times. It also meant money paid by weaker neighboring infidel sovereigns to the Islamic Caliphate as a substitute for a ghazwa, or an invasion. A form of tax, or even ransom.

Yesterday, U.S. President Donald Trump got paid a huge Jizya by the Saudi monarchy. Some claim it is to the tune of $460 billion over a period of ten years. More than half the total current value of the Saudi Sovereign Fund which is supposed to make up for future depletion of oil reserves. Much of this money is for the purchase of more weapons and their service contracts, almost certainly including American technical operations and maybe even aiming and launching. So much weaponry for a country with about 16 million citizens (plus about 10 million imported temporary foreign laborers and housemaids and/or quasi-slaves).

No doubt, Mr. Trump (and his family) seem to have made out like a bandit, or should I say he made out like a Saudi prince? The devil, however, is in the details. Just what adventure, if any, has he committed the United States to undertaking. What new war in the Muslim lands, especially in the Persian Gulf have they talked him into promising?

If the Saudi princes are foolish enough to want to repeat their failed Yemeni adventure on a much larger scale in the Persian Gulf. They will no doubt fail again, and more spectacularly so: that has been their record. Then will Trump and his inexperienced foreign policy minions get into another Gulf War to save the princes from their own folly? Another endless war? As they seem to be planning for Yemen now?

Donald, Melania, and Ivanka seem to have conquered the elites of Riyadh, as well as the extremely controlled Saudi media. No wonder, the odds were in their favor, with no Saudi women within sight. They will come home laden with gifts that rightfully belong to the poor of Saudi Arabia (yes, there are many poor people and poor places, shockingly many, that the media cameras did not cover).

So the Arab world now has its first American emperor.  The Sunni Muslim world now has its first orange non-Muslim Caliph. Congratulations to both.

FYI: Many religious Muslims, including many of the Wahhabi sect of Saudi Arabia (the same sect of Al Qaeda and ISIS) will treat this as a new Crusade by what they call infidels. Secular Arabs and Muslims will consider Trump’s new anointment as a return of the old European imperialism of past centuries.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Donald Trump’s AI War: Alexa, What Should I do about Iran?……

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I can imagine it.

Donald Trump in the Oval Office, or maybe in his official bedroom (not the real one at Mar A Lago). Rapping his fingers on the desk, finally turning to a little blinking cylinder (black or white? probably Bannon-white):

Alexa? Siri? Google? How many missiles should I fire at that empty airbase in Syria to keep the media happy? (Aside): Or maybe I can just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway. Sheldon Adelson would love it too, worth millions for 2020.

Alexa? Why is the Iranian Navy always prowling in the Persian Gulf? Why is it provoking us barely 8,000 miles from Tampa Bay? (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? What do I do about Putin? How long will the Good Cop (me) vs Bad Cop (Nikki Haley) routine last before Vladimir catches on? (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? How can I turn down another request by Netanyahu to visit the White House? By the way: what the fuck do my fellow Republican Congressmen see in this guy? I swear they seem to love him more than they love me. Love is blind.  (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? What do I do about Kim Jong Un? The ChubbtyLittleFuck is messing up my foreign policy plans. I’ve got him sanctioned up to his YouKnowWhere. Next step would be to sanction the Chinese banks and businesses that keep him going. But Ivanka and Jared tell me that is a no no. (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

King Salman? Hi there, Sal. Salam Aleikom, King, I love you Muslim guys, especially the Wahhabis: my kind of Muslims. Shook hands with one greas….,er, Muslim once in Brooklyn. Sal? I’ve got a problem. Oh, no never mind Yemen. JASTA? not today. I need some advise…….
Salman:  Just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on the heretic Magi in Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Bannon? Steve? What do you think I should do? Will the stiffs in Congress tightening sanctions on Iran help make it all go away?

Bannon: Sir? Call Kim Jong Un. You did say during the campaign you’d meet with him. Call him secretly.

Hello, Kim Jong Un? Kimmyyyyyy babe! I’ve got a question for you…

Kim Jong Un: And I’ve got you by les gonades, Donald. Don’t waste my time, Donald. Don’t be wishy-washy. The answer is simple. Just bomb Iran…… Sheldon Adelson would love it, worth tens of millions for 2020 campaign.

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

A Second American Century, But Trump Can’t Lead the Free World: Und Warum Nicht?…….

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The United States has been leading the “Free World” since the second week of December 1941. Seventy Six years of uninterrupted U.S. domination of the West and of the world. It has managed to do so through various presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. All based on the strength of the US economy, US military, and the attractive American ideals.

But with this last election of 2016, the Shining City on the Hill looks less shiny to more in the world. Don’t get me wrong: the American ideal and its attraction still exist, its pull beckons both the needy and the persecuted and oppressed from across the world. Its freedom of speech and expression is unequaled, so far. But the new American ruling classes are not in sync with the rest of the Industrial World, with the rest of the Western World.

Some years ago in Paris, in my other carnation, I was at a lunch near Avenue Georges V with some French associates. They were curious what I thought the new 21st century would be like. They had doubts about another American Century. Europe was consolidating, asserting itself; China was grown, opening. I surprised and seemingly displeased them by asserting that this new century will also be an American Century, a Second American Century. I said that I can’t see any challenger in Europe or in Asia to the United States of America. The allure, the values, and openness of America continue.

I still do: I can’t see any challenger to America as the world’s dominant power. Nor as the world’s ideal destination, and as the main source of human innovation. Emma Lazarus endures……

But the new ruling classes that took power in January are small and mean by normal American standards. Possibly the worst in the past hundred years. The louder he praises his appointees, the smaller they look. They are not what the world is used to. They are not what most Americans are used to. And they are not nearly as honest as Americans are used to in their ruling classes.

Trump is no Roosevelt, and no Kennedy: a comparison would be an insult to both those dynasties. He has no vision of a New Deal type restructuring. He has no group of the Best and Brightest advising him. No “we are going to the moon” ideal. And he is no war hero, on the contrary…… Instead he has a gaggle of the meanest, greediest, and most selfish people advising him and running government departments. He appeals to some baser instincts in America (every nation in the world has them).

His first legislative act was to try and deprive millions of Americans of their health care coverage. With the goal of clearing up billions of dollars to finance tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, like himself and his associates. That has failed spectacularly. By executive order he has sought to destroy the beautiful natural treasures of this country, turning the treasures over to developers. Making the United States into another Brazil.

I can go on and on. The Second American Century is here. Unfortunately Mr. Trump and his gaggle of extremist ideologues and small thinkers can’t lead it. They are not qualified, and the rest of the world will not follow. His administration is the only Industrial Country Government that denies Climate Change and Evolution and Healthcare as a human right.

America‘s best chance now is that Donald Trump will do something stupid that gets him impeached and convicted.

As he liked to yell during his noisy campaign rallies: Get Him out of Here!

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Donald Trump’s Brief Airborne Syrian Fling: My Fatwa for Next Year………

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President Trump has managed to gather some sort of consensus, at least within the media and among politicians, around his brief air-war fling with Syria. As usual in the initial phase of a military action, both parties and the media have managed to praise his action, in some cases for fear of looking unpatriotic or “too outlier” (fear of bullying is not confined to school children).

Soon they will be asking: what next? What? No more? Especially cable media will go through severe withdrawal symptoms, being used to some thirty years of covering (ad nauseam) non-stop foreign wars. Some are already beginning to ask the question. Then the absolute rulers of the allied Muslim countries will push him to support a “democratic” Syria (where power can be shared between the Wahhabi Salafists attached to Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood attached to Turkey’s strongman Erdogan). A claustrophobic democratic experience they would never allow their own peoples to enjoy. Apparently Trump has been listening to the potentates lately, and he seems to be impressed.

My guess? My Fatwa: sometime well before the summer of 2018, Democrats will look back and say that Trump did his Syrian fling in order to divert attention from “other” more pressing “America First” issues he could not handle. The quick disenchantment happened with LBJ, Bush (pere et fils), and perhaps others.

A one-week apparent success (meaning no American casualties) while his foes’ knives are being temporarily hidden. Foreign action trumps domestic failure, but only for a while (just ask George H W Bush who presided over the end of the Soviet Union and a swift American victory in the Persian Gulf War).
The infrastructure will still need to be dealt with, and Trump may soon have some Obama-style stonewalling by the Republican Congress on the required spending. Then there is Healthcare, then a mechanism to keep and create jobs inside the USA, then a mechanism to encourage young people to enroll in STEM education (preferably within the excellent traditional mode of a broad American undergraduate college education that we all enjoyed).

The risk is that America First may become America Later. Looks like George Dubya Bush was right: being US president is a hard job……

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

America and the Saudis: Current ‘Operations’ in Yemen and Syria to Become the Next Endless War………

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“Yemen is a war inside a war inside another war, right next to & overlapping several other wars”  Me

“The Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda (AQ) is stronger than it has ever been. As the country’s civil war has escalated and become regionalised, its local franchise, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is thriving in an environment of state collapse, growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums and a burgeoning war economy. Reversing this trend requires ending the conflict that set it in motion. This means securing an overarching political settlement that has buy-in from the country’s diverse constituencies, including Sunni Islamists. As this will take time, steps must be taken now to contain AQAP’s growth……..” Crisis Group

“The attack (in Aden) struck troops loyal to the airport’s chief of security, who had refused to accept a government order that he be replaced. The incident was yet another sign of the inability of Yemen’s internationally recognized government to enforce order. But it was the first time its allies, the coalition of mostly Gulf Arab states, had intervened militarily in power struggles within the Yemeni armed forces. The Saudi-led coalition has launched thousands of air strikes against the government’s foes, the Iran-allied Houthis, in a campaign to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. It helped wrest Aden from the Houthis, who control the capital, Sanaa, in the summer of 2015……….” Reuters

During his first week on the job White House spokesman Sean Spicer claimed that Iranian forces had fired missile at the US Navy from Yemen on the Red Sea. An un-truth, since there are no Iranian forces in Yemen: the only foreign forces in Yemen are with the Saudi coalition. Actually the Yemeni Houthis who control the capital and North Yemen had fired a missile (or was it a Yemeni drone that fired) at a Saudi warship that had been shelling their coastal towns. The Saudis claimed it was a suicide attack against one of their ‘peaceful warships’ (you don’t need to read Orwell to speak Orwellian).

This week, on Monday, President Trump had a lunch meeting with the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. He is the king’s son and widely expected future king, if his dad can swing it before he dies. He is also the minister of defense and architecture of the War on Yemen, a quagmire which just entered its third year. The Yemen war has enabled AQAP to expand in spite of American drone attacks. The war also introduced Islamic State (Daesh/ISIS) into Southern Arabia.

It is likely the Prince may have talked Trump into a more vigorous America role in the Saudi war on Yemen. Perhaps a more direct US role, this time not against the Jihadis, but against the coalition ruling most of Yemen. Which would be an act of desperation, since the Saudis have some of the best and most lethal American and British weapons and could not defeat the lightly armed Houthis and their allies ruling Sanaa. It would be just another never-ending Muslim war. Another twilight war.

The announcement indicated the Saudis will invest $ 200 billion in the United States (presumably new money). The prince also is quoted as having said that he supports the Muslim Travel Ban and that “Trump is a true friend of Muslims“. Such shameless groveling may indicate they got something from Trump: perhaps a promise to inch closer to the Mother of All Muslim Wars, a war of choice against Iran. That should be a doozy: it will certainly last through Trump’s tenure and will define his so-far unpromising legacy. The Prince may have gotten promises related to Syria, particularly Eastern Syria, or Iraq or Lebanon: risky promises the inexperienced Trump could have made in the absence of his secretaries of State and Defense.

As for Yemen, it is not “a” war, it  is a complex set of parallel and intersecting wars. I once called it “a war inside a war inside another war, right next to & overlapping several other wars”. Now even the Saudi proxies (mostly Islah Muslim Brotherhood and allies) and the UAE proxies are fighting each other. You get into Yemen, you get involved in all these wars and sub-wars. You can’t pick and choose in such a battlefield.

And you get stuck, losing soldiers and money, a lot of money, just like the Saudis have for more than two years, so far. Like Afghanistan all over again, only a fiercer war.

Back to the promise of $200 billion Saudi investments. I am not sure they can afford this when they are cutting back on their domestic spending. Maybe by moving funds from their sovereign fund that SAMA manages. And can you imagine Donald Trump touting it in, say Tennessee or Alabama, bragging to his Muslim-challenged ‘base’ they he’s gotten Muslims (and Wahhabis at that) to pay out hundreds of billions?

Interesting times coming soon to a war theater far away from you.

Cheers
M. Haider Ghuloum

Trump State Department: Apes Taking Over the Zoo……..

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“A handful of senior U.S. diplomats are resigning their posts during President Donald Trump’s first week on the job, creating more high-level openings that the new president must fill. State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, a career foreign service officer, planned to retire effective Friday, the State Department said. He was joined by two assistant secretaries, Joyce Barr and Michele Bond, who both resigned Wednesday. Gentry Smith, who directs the Office of Foreign Missions, was also departing.………..”

These are the men and women who keep the State Department bureaucracy functioning every day. Sort of like the wardens or curators do at a zoo. What was that common saying about the wardens quitting after the apes take over the zoo?……..
Cheers
M. Haider Ghuloum

Republican Establishment is Transforming a Victorious Trump into their Tool……

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Only a few weeks ago everybody was amazed, gushing at how Donald Trump had so quickly and so easily taken over the Republican Party. Most Party leaders and politicians avoided his rallies and his visits to their states, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. They did not want to be tainted with the stigma of Trumpism.
Fast forward to the post-election. Now the Republican Party establishment, in a shorter time period, has performed a feat much greater than what Trump did in winning the nomination and the election.They have absorbed the winner.

How has the Republican establishment so quickly taken over Trump and his movement, and made it their own? To be used to implement their long-held economic and other policy goals? All within two weeks.
In the end Trump “the outsider” is not the winner: he may have become a tool of the “insiders”. The real outsiders, the voters, remain outside.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

 

Donald Trump and the Pussycats: from Washington to Jerusalem……

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Everybody has been following the debates, arguments, and food fights between Donald Trump and “others”. From his Republican rivals to the Pope to the Bush family to the Clintons and former Mexican leaders/oligarchs. He certainly does not back down from a fight, he usually doubles down. In the process, he calls his detractors and rivals some choice words (some of them well-deserved).
Tsk, tsk: politics were supposed to be served discreetly, like a slow Borgia poison, not so bluntly as a broadsword or Roman gladius.

Can you imagine Senator Mitch McConnell, majority leader, saying of a President Trump what he has been saying of President Obama for seven years? Trump would almost certainly call him what he exactly thinks of him: a pussy from Kentucky at best.

Can you imagine Israel’s Benyamin Netanyahu coming to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in order to openly sabotage American foreign policy as he did last year? A right-wing foreign leader? A President Trump would openly call for his deportation, adding the “pussy” and “liar” epithets as well.

Can you imagine a President Trump bowing down to some tribal autocratic  kleptocratic prince? Or walking around holding his hand as Bush did in Crawford?

Can you imagine him politely, too politely, deferring to a foreign leader, be they Chinese or Russian or Middle Eastern?

This is not to endorse him or overlook the tools of bigotry he has been conveniently using against easy targets like Muslims, refugees, and desperate Latin workers that his own businesses probably hire. Cheap shots he takes, but that has become one tool of American politics these days.

As for the nonsense he utters about Obamacare and the Iran Nuclear Deal, it is just political posturing. The horse has already left the barn on these issues, as all Republican candidates know but pretend not to know.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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