Tag Archives: Jerusalem

Marx, Bonaparte, and the New American Opiate of the Masses: Foreign Wars, Muslim Wars………

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More than a hundred and fifty years ago, a very hairy European, a German Jew-ish man, opined succinctly that “Religion……. is the Opiate of the People (Masses)

No, Marx was not thinking of ISIS or the Arab Wahhabi version of Islam. They say he was critiquing some thoughts of Hegel. He was not even a Zionist. Hardly anybody thought of our native Middle East region in those days, although Napoleon Bonaparte paid a very long visit and the crafty British trolled him across the Mediterranean, just to make sure he wasn’t having too much fun. He wasn’t, knowing that Josephine was otherwise occupied in Paris.

In those days, nobody from outside even wanted Holy Jerusalem anymore, except maybe some insecure Jews huddled in their Russian or Polish shtetls.

Now, with religion waning everywhere except in the Middle East and in the Red Flyover States of the United States, we can ask: “What is the new opiate of the people?

Are foreign wars the new opiate of the masses now? I mean officially and with widespread general acceptance? I mean as a political tool of any administration that fails to achieve progress in its domestic agenda? I mean in the United States over the past few years and especially from this year on? I mean especially for this new Trump administration that seems lost in the translation between conflicting domestic economic promises and the availability and expediency of foreign adventurism?

Are Arab and Muslim lands now the silent unspoken scapegoat and the excuse for domestic economic and other failures of any American administration?
You betcha…..

At least this seems to be the case…..


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Hospitable Jordan: Risky Geography and Questionable Alliances…….

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“He added that “this is also happening in Afghanistan,” warning that if the Islamic State (IS) was degraded in these countries “Iran will come in to fill the gap,” according to MEE’s source. Jordan has backed Saudi Arabia in its long-running rivalry with Iran……….. In the congressional meeting, Abdullah said that Shia Muslims had been “lumped in” with the executions carried out that day. To purely kill Sunnis would have “looked bad domestically,” he said. He added, however, that it was unfortunate that Nimr had been included among those executed……………”

Jordan, an early child of Sykes-Picot, is in a bind. It is a small country with a divided population and few economic resources, like most other Arab countries. It is sandwiched between large unstable neighbors (Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia), as well as Israel/Palestine. Jordanians have had a long history of unfortunate and failed alliances within the Middle East.

It goes back to 1967, when the King of Jordan joined the Six Day War, apparently without being prepared for the consequences. As a result, the Jordanians handed the West Bank and East Jerusalem (including the Al Aqsa Mosque) to Israel with barely a fight, and within two days. The biggest and most important loss of Arab “property” in modern history. That disaster in itself is sufficient to make any nation lose its sense of humor, assuming it had any such sense before.

In 1980, the Jordanians repeated their mistake. They sided with Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran. They did not fight directly, but King Hussein made occasional visits to the Front and fired some symbolic shots towards the Iranian lines. Not very kingly behavior, but it stopped once Saddam started losing that war. Another defeat ensued eight years later, but by then King Hussein did not get involved directly, a wise decision.

In 1990, the Jordanians sided again with Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait. They lost big in that one economically, although they were not involved directly in a military sense.

Then came the Syrian civil-proxy-Jihadi war after 2011. The Jordanians helped the Syrian Jihadist “opposition” that was sponsored by the Saudis and some other Persian Gulf autocrats. They also at one point reportedly allowed the US and the Saudis to start training some new opposition groups near the Syrian border. But apparently that did not last long, perhaps it petered out.

In Yemen the Jordanians threw their support more directly behind the Saudi paid alliance that has been bombing Yemen’s cities and infrastructure for over a year. And blockading the country. A futile and hopeless war. But that is a low-risk venture for them: limited military involvement in a faraway country, with the cost paid by the Gulf princes and potentates.

A long record of betting on the losing side. No wonder the king is often welcome to address the U.S. Congress under Republicans. No wonder Jordanians are among the most humor-challenged in our humorless region. Now the humorless Jordanians have gotten more wary of involvement in foreign adventures of other sisterly and brotherly Arab countries, and wisely so. They especially stay away from disputes that are on their border, lest they spill across into their country (the example of the growing instability in Turkey provides a good lesson).

One good thing about Jordan: they (and Lebanon) do welcome many refugees, which is a good thing and almost a national industry now in Jordan. Unlike the richer Arab countries that have provoked and instigated many of these civil wars but refuse to accept the resulting refugees. In that sense of hospitality, they are more characteristically Arab than most of the rest.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Tale of Three Dysfunctional Cities: Sanaa, Aden, and Washington…….

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They say Yemen is threatened with division again. They say there are now two capitals in that blighted country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Sanaa in the North, and Aden in the South. They say that former president Hadi (bin Zombie) is claiming he is back in power from Aden, that he and his local southern allies and the GCC countries run whatever they can run from Aden. That the Houthis and their allies now rule from Sanaa. Two capitals and two rival claimants to power, each claiming the other is not legitimate (they are probably both right). While the AQAP-hunting drones rule the skies. That is Yemen for now.

Now we have two regimes and two foreign policies in the United States as well.  Both rule from the same city, geographically speaking. One is Likudnik, largely Republican, but also bi-partisan to some extent, and it takes its signals from Tel Aviv (okay, West Jerusalem) via AIPAC and Las Vegas and other campaign money centers. It follows the cult of Netanyahu, a demagogue that reminds me of a softer gentler version of (dare I say it?) another ruthless demagogue (or two, my alibi). The other regime is Democrat and also claims Washington. They diverge in many ways, but now especially in foreign policy. Each is pinning its hopes on 2016 to sweep into absolute power. Neither looks set to realize that hope, not in that year.

Let’s see which of the three cities can stop being dysfunctional, can manage to become functioning, first………

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

American Christian Terrorist Wingnuts Hit Jerusalem?………..

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Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday 

“Adam Everett Livvix may or may not be a Christian Zionist from Texas, or he may be a fugitive from Illinois, or both. He also has claimed he was a U.S. Navy SEAL. And he was indicted in Israel last week on charges he plotted to blow up sites holy to Islam. Livvix, 30, is now in solitary confinement in the maximum-security Ayalon prison in Ramla, a city near Tel Aviv. According to the prosecutor’s submission to the court outlining reasons for the indictment, which was obtained by The Daily Beast, there would seem to be ample incriminating evidence, but there also remain quite a few mysteries. Much of the material in the dossier was gathered by the Shin Bet………..”
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Shifting Limelight: Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Nuclearless Iran, Congressional Wildcatters……..

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Where is Benyamin Netanyahu?
Where is the Iranian “threat”?
Where is the nuclear watchdog IAEA (Amano who?)?
Where is Waldo?
Accelerating and competing events in far-flung places like Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Hong Kong, and the regional mayhem caused by the well-financed wild Salafi Abus, possibly others, have sucked the air out of these normally reliable stealers of limelight and world attention.
For Netanyahu, it can be a double-edged sword. He likes the attention being diverted from Israel and its illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem (annexation, including East Jerusalem is illegal according to international law and the UN, regardless of what the wildcatters in the U.S Senate and Congress think).
All these shifting world headlines have emboldened Netanyahu, enough to, yet again, poke a finger in Barack Obama’s eye even as he visits with him. That finger came in the from of reports about new plans for more illegal settlements in East Jerusalem while he was visiting in New York and Washington.
Yet Netanyahu does not like attention moving away from Iran and toward his landgrab. He professes loudly that he worries they will move closer to the nuclear weapons they do not have, the weapons they swear they do not want to develop. Unlike Israel. He also wants any attention on the Middle East to focus on Iran and not on the Palestinian land issue. To have his cake and eat it too (or vice versa).
At the UN, there was not much extensive coverage of his annual speech (I assume he gave his usual speech). Clearly there were no funny Looney Tunes cartoon drawings and amusing graphs of the type he used in past years. The same cartoons the anchor ladies on CNN and MSNBC and Fox had swooned over in the past.

Yet he is stirring again, pulling his many strings in Washington, warning against complacence. Complacence is a dangerous thing, be it about nuclear proliferation or illegal annexation.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com