Tag Archives: USA

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

Jeff Beauregard Sessions III Visits Mexican Border, Refrains from Mooning Neighbors…….

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“Attorney General Jeff Sessions toured the US-Mexico border Tuesday and unveiled what he described as a new get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions under President Donald Trump. The nation’s top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as “filth” brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations. The tour included visiting a port of entry, where Sessions exited an SUV in a white shirt and baseball cap before entering a restricted area……..”

Jeff Beauregard Sessions (The Third) is the Attorney General of the United States. He was named after a good Southern gentleman: Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. That earlier Beauregard was a man of many talents, but he is best known for starting the American Civil War at Fort Sumter (where he won a Pyrrhic victory), and he went on to fight other battles for the Confederacy.

Now, back to the current border.
On another border of another country, at another time, the following happened. A very high security official went on an inspection visit of the tense border between his country and a neighboring country. He ended up making a speech facing the border. At one point he got carried away, turned his back on the neighboring country, pulled down his pants and mooned the befuddled neighbors on the other side.

Some of the soldiers among the neighbors across the border were offended, and aimed their rifles at his rear end. But alas, they decided not to create an international crisis by shooting his arse.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

American Illusions: From ‘No More War’ to ‘One More Muslim War’…….

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“One Two Three Four
We Don’t Want Your F–king War…”

I remember this old refrain fondly now. I used to hear it almost on a daily basis during my undergraduate university days. It is about time to dust it up and hear it again.

That replaced what it should have been:
“One, two, three, four
Tell me that you love me more”

This time it is not just the political classes, not just Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex that own the politicians, it is also the corporate media that is daily pushing one Muslim war or another. Much of it is also funded by foreign lobbyists, their loyal think-tanks, and other interests.

The old mantra “No More War” has been co-opted. During the George Bush (fils) and Obama eras, the United States gradually got engaged in several Middle East civil and uncivil wars. September 11, which had its genesis in the old Afghan War against the Soviets: American weapons and Saudi money and Wahhabi ideology created Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Opened the door to the second (or third) Afghanistan War that is still going on, sixteen years later. Then the Iraq war came with much fanfare (and eventually much embarrassment).

Soon other wars snuck in by stealth: Islamic State, Somalia, Libya, African Sahel countries, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. The United States is now involved in wars in some 10 Muslim or Muslim-majority countries. And the American political classes and the hungry media seem eager for more war. They castigated Obama for not getting into just one more war in Syria, and now they are glorifying Trump for putting one foot into a potentially disastrous Syrian war.
The sights were set on Syria early on, not for the benefit of the Syrian people, but for strategic regional reasons. Before the Arab Uprisings of 2011. For a while the sights were set on Iran, a truly foolish idea. Lebanon is not far from their thoughts, not with Netanyahu, the Guru of the American right and assorted chickenhawks, egging them on. On the other hand, the Jihadis get some mileage by talking about the “new crusades”.

Nowadays, it is always “One More Muslim War”: one more Muslim war to end all Muslim wars. That old illusion of the 20th century. Except that it doesn’t end all Muslim wars, just sets the stage for the next one…….

I really long for “No More War“. I find myself longingly humming the old refrain: One Two Three Four…. and I wish I could end it differently, with the clean version, with no four-letter word. Fat chance……

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

American Economic and Political Dilemma: Robots Replace Workers, Idiots Replace Political Leaders……..

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“U.S. workers face higher risk of being replaced by robots. Millions of workers around the world are at risk of losing their jobs to robots — but Americans should be particularly worried. Thirty-eight percent of jobs in the U.S. are at high risk of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next 15 years, according to a new report by PwC. Meanwhile, only 30% of jobs in the U.K. are similarly endangered. The same level of risk applies to only 21% of positions in Japan. The U.S. and U.K. labor markets are both dominated by services jobs, and roughly the same share of workers are employed in key sectors including finance, transportation, education, manufacturing and food services……..”

No real surprise here, and not only robots. If you have not been living on a faraway planet in another galaxy, you’d notice something happening, a trend, for several years. It is not only an issue of robots replacing workers.

Some of the most important jobs in the United States, the most important jobs, all the way to the top, have been taken over by idiots and fools, especially in Washington DC. Most of the political jobs and especially the jobs of their leaders in both the U.S. Congress and the White House have now been taken over, almost completely, by utter idiots. Or so it seems.

Thanks to its new generation of leaders and their backers and their owners, America may well be on its way to rejoin the Third World. In Congress, each side has been engaging in self-gratifying political ideological masturbation. Partner-less of course by definition. Class distinctions are already sharpening, ethnic and religious distinctions are being encouraged, and self-serving Think Tanks of Hate are rolling in dark money.

All this is probably a bit of an exaggeration: no country in the world, or in its history, has been or is as resilient as the United States of America. This shall pass. There is always hope, as long as there are free and “unfettered” elections coming. As long as the people remain educated. Politics is a series of experiments, an exercise in trial and error.

More on this later, stay tuned.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Do They Really Hate “US”? Rudyard Kipling and Misplaced American Phobia……..

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Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need

To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child

Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide
To veil the threat of terror      Rudyard Kipling (on America)

CNN network has been pushing a documentary show with a totally silly but sensational attention-grabbing title Why Do They Hate Us. Complete with a couple of the usual well-worn “Islamic” or “terror” experts from the Indian Sub-Continent.

I saw only parts of the show (or program). It gives the impression that Americans are agonizing over Islamic terrorism, which is real, and over why they are not loved over there. I got some news for all Americans: it is true that many of the Salafi Wahhabi Muslims hate Americans (and Europeans as well); but not nearly as much as they hate other Muslims of different sects.

Almost on any single day, the Muslim victims (Shi’a and Sunni) of terror bombings in Baghdad exceed the total the number of Americans killed by “terrorism” since after September 11; that is fifteen years of American agony and Islamic phobia. The same goes for most European countries. Last June, a Saudi ISIS agent blew himself up inside a crowded Muslim Shi’a mosque in Kuwait City. The total dead were 27, plus hundreds wounded and crippled. That is probably more than the number of Americans killed by Muslim terrorists in the USA since September 11, 2001.

If you could read Arabic, a beautiful one of the most expressive of languages, you’d know that most of the vitriol and hatred is usually directed at Shi’a Muslims, and maybe Alawites and other Muslim minorities. Not at Americans. Most of the exhortation in Arabic Wahhabi social media is to kill Shi’as or the Magi (Persians). Or Arabs of another faith. Most of the complaints about America are mainly that this country is helping “the enemy” or the “other” with bombing terrorist hideouts.

It is true that many in “allied” countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and surprisingly many in Egypt, either hate or dislike some vague identity called “America”. But that is the product of Wahhabi ideology, a once-small Islamic sect that has spread from Central Saudi Arabia and across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Fed with oil money and Salafi clerics from the Arab world and South Asia.

Across the Arab and Muslim worlds there is a kind of love-hate attitude toward America. A large part of the people wish to evolve civil societies where institutions rule rather than entitled dictators or clerics or a handful of tribal families. That is an American ideal, at least that was the American trajectory for a long time, although this has become debatable now.

And the fact is, many Arabs also seek (some even yearn) to be recognized by the West (America) as moving toward some local version of that ideal, be it real or illusory. I know, I know, some Arabs would complain that this is pandering to the “white man”.

But facts are what they are: facts.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Yemen: Hadi Escapes again, the Bought Coalition Shrinks in Stature…….

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Yemen is becoming more complicated, as civil-proxy wars are wont to become. Yemen is also being set back about a century, through destruction by native rivals and foreign Arab invaders. The Saudi-United Arab Emirates (UAE) bombers/invaders have acquired, bought or rented, a gaggle of questionable hungry allies (Sudan, Eritrea, humorless Jordan, among other Arab payees). The Western powers, especially the US and Britain, are also helping the attackers.  They are siding against the wild Houthis and the Yemeni army, the side that fights Al-Qaeda (AQAP) and the Islamic State. The Westerners don’t get paid directly, but they expect fat contracts from the Saudis and Emiratis for weapons and their services.

Now, in the service of the Saudi princes, the two Western powers are direct war allies of Sudan, whose dictator has been convicted by the ICC and is a wanted war criminal. The Sudanese soldiers under dictator Omar Al Bashir are probably among the least professional in the Arab world, and have a well-deserved reputation for raping and pillaging in their own country. And they are being used in the contested and divided city of Aden.

Now there are also some media reports of the UAE recruiting more Colombian mercenaries to send into the parts of Aden they are trying control. UAE, with a tiny citizen population of about one million who are unwilling to fight abroad, had started to hire a largely Colombian mercenary army after the Arab uprisings of 2011. Now some of these are reportedly poised to enter Yemen, if they re not there already.

To further complicate matters, or perhaps simplify them depending on your point of view, two new not-unexpected developments have occurred. Deposed former president Generalissimo Hadi Bin Zombie and his prime minister Bahah had managed to be flown into Aden by the Saudis. But the much-publicized return did not last. Soon both Bahah and Hadi fled Aden again to the safety of their Saudi hotels in Riyadh.

In the meantime, the Yemenis are countering the Saudi-UAE bombing and attempted invasion of their country in their own favorite way. They are making successful incursions into Saudi territory, often ejecting the inept Saudi garrisons and controlling towns and villages (that used to be part of Yemen some eighty years ago).
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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War on Yemen: Neither Shock Nor Awe, Allah Be Praised and Alhamdulillah……..

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“The US Navy has sent two warships to Yemeni waters to conduct ‘maritime security operations.’ However, Washington denies they have been sent to intercept an alleged Iranian naval convoy carrying weapons for Houthi anti-government forces. The Pentagon said in a statement on Monday that the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escort cruiser USS Normandy have transited from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea on April 19. “Theodore Roosevelt and Normandy have joined other US forces conducting maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb and the Southern Red Sea,” the statement reads………………”

They have called their air assault on Yemen Decisive Storm, a cheaper imitation of Desert Storm, what Americans usually call the Persian Gulf War. But this operation has been anything but decisive: early on I correctly called it Faltering Storm.

Don’t expect the Saudi King, or a gaggle of other Arab princes and potentates and kleptocrats in military garb to soon land on some battleship, with a huge sign behind them proclaiming: “Mission Accomplished. Alhamdulillah: Allah be Praised

There has been no Shock or Awe in the war on Yemen. What has happened was what was expected by anyone but the delusional attackers. It was always known that Yemen is no match for the best warplanes and missiles the West can manufacture and sell, nor for the best electronic and communications and tracking devices the West can sell. Almost nobody outside the delusional cities of Riyadh or Abu Dhabi or Doha expected the one-sided air war to achieve any goals, besides destruction of Yemen’s poor infrastructure. 

It has also been generally known that the attackers are no match for the Yemenis, Houthi and allies, on the ground. That the rugged land of Yemen could chew them up and spit them out. That is why they have been seeking paid mercenary forces from faraway poor places as cannon fodder.

It has been almost a month of bombing now, with the rich petro-princes throwing everything at the lightly armed Houthis and their allies. Whatever goal they had for their assault has not been achieved. The Houthis are as defiant as they were months ago, perhaps more now that their civilians have been murdered by the hundreds, perhaps by the thousands. The brotherly and sisterly attackers have no option now but to continue the bombing until some face-saving formula is offered or give up.

The Western powers are willing to resupply the weapons, provide more intelligence, send more warships, clamp more sanctions. All for a price. There is talk of American mid-air tankers feuling Saudi warplanes so that they can destroy more Yemeni homes faster. New ships are being sent to the Yemeni region, both American and Iranian. The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, no less, seems ready to join the Saudi bombing of Yemen. Which would put Mr. Obama even more squarely on the side of aggression. The bombings are becoming more ferocious, more insistent, more desperate.

A long war of attrition of the kind that invaders usually don’t win.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Fog of War: Iraqi Militias, American Militias, Mercenary Militias……..

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Militias have suddenly retaken the center stage in media and in public official discussions of recent developments in Iraq. Apparently Shi’a ‘militias’ are now taking an important role in the Iraqi counteroffensive against the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State, ISIS.

There is no denying that some of the Iraqi Shi’a militias can be as nasty as the other armed factions in Iraq. The experience of the mini-civil-war of 2006-2008 showed that. But they are in no way comparable to the Wahhabi cutthroats of Al Qaeda or ISIS, regardless of the nonsensical stuff Gen. Petraeus said recently. Yet there is now a bigger storm of foreign criticism of Iraqis hiring or allowing ‘militias’ to fight government battles. This is especially true in the United States.

Yet hiring and/or using private militias is a worldwide phenomenon in this era of war-for-profit. Apparently there is no stigma on hiring private militias if the militias are Westerners and those who hire them are Western governments. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have been known and reported  to rely on private contractors (the Western equivalent of militias) in battle zones. We have read about the American millionaires that were made in Iraq. So, the complaints about Iraqis using militias when they have an army of 200 or 300 thousand sound hypocritical and hollow. The United States has a standing military of millions, yet there is increased dependence on contractors in military zones and even in protecting diplomats and high military officials (as reportedly happened in Iraq).

I shall not speak extensively here about those other hired foreign militias down the Persian Gulf. They are hired by the princes and potentates from humorless places like Jordan, often through the government and certainly with its approval, as well as from Pakistan and other distant lands. These are used to keep the people repressed in such places, and to conduct thorough and ‘enhanced interrogations’ of the restive ones among the native populations. So it can be irksome that princes and potentates who hire foreign mercenaries (essentially militias) to torment their own people complain about Iraqi militias.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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American Education: from Czechoslovakia to Houthi……….

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Poor American public. They had thought Ahmadinejad was a tough one to pronounce. Was just beginning to get comfortable with him, if that is possible, when our region provided new distractions. They had to learn how (not) to say Shi’a (or Shi’ite) and how to spell AlZarqawi and Abu Bakr Al Samarrai. Now with Yemen in the headlines they have been hit with how to pronounce ‘Houthi‘, which makes any American feel like they have a sore throat and maybe streptococcus (only if they say it the correct way).

But that is okay. A people that weathered Dzhugashvili (remember Joe?) and Czechoslovakia (phew, that one is over) and Shevardnadze (so is he) and Brzezinski and Gronkowski (of the losing team of upcoming Super Bowl XLIX) can learn to spell and pronounce anything, especially simpler Muslim names like mine and ours……….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Middle East Love-Hate: Iran and America, Islamic Republic Blues………..

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“One of the reasons this episode is deeply confusing might be because the “vibe” in Iran, the general feeling of walking down the streets, through the markets, the way we were received everywhere by total strangers and passersby, was overwhelmingly friendly. I have said that Iran is the most outgoingly warm, “pro-American” place we’ve ever shot—and that’s true: in Tehran, in spite of the fact that you are standing in front of a giant, snarling mural that reads “DEATH TO AMERICA!”, you will, we found, usually be treated better by strangers—meaning smiles, offers of assistance, curious attempts to engage in limited English, greetings and expressions of general good will—than anywhere in Western Europe, It would be hard to imagine strangers in Germany or France or England, on recognizing you as American, giving you a thumbs-up and a smile simply for your nationality. That was overwhelmingly the case in Iran…………”

This is a love-hate relationship: more love on the popular level, more hate on the political level. I have seen it in the Middle East and even among some Iranians in America. Many Iranians dislike American foreign policies in the region. They especially hate the unilateral economic blockade that they correctly believe Israeli leaders and their American political allies have pressured and browbeat Mr. Obama into imposing on their country.

Many mullahs and hardliners also naturally suspect and fear an opening to America. After all, they see how China has changed under Chairman Mao’s heirs so that it is now a “people’s republic” and “communist” only in name. Can the “Islamic Republic” be far behind? Probably not: many people in Iranian cities hope so. It is already changing profoundly from the inside.

Iran still probably has the most pro-American people in the whole Middle East. Many Iranians have relations, family ties, among the huge Iranian-American diaspora. They are also a relatively young population reacting to an orthodoxy their government has tried to impose on them, with waning success. They welcome mainstream American journalists who often visit, then go back home and declare their undying support for the economic blockade. (No surprise there: few if any would dare declaring against the sanctions and keep their jobs with the New York Times or Washington Post). Talking on a popular level, not on a government level: most mullahs and Revolutionary Guards are hardly pro-anything American and the U.S. Knesset Congress is violently anti-Iranian.

It is different from the Israelis that media propaganda here routinely picture as the most pro-American. Maybe they mean some shared ‘Western’ political and social values, and in many cases shared citizenship. Maybe the Mossad and the CIA and the military have some close cooperation, maybe, but that is government. The Israeli ties also reflect a degree of dependence, what many Muslims see as a one-way street that is often shaped by domestic American politics.

Nor do many others in the region feel friendly toward American policies. After all, the biggest attacks on the American homeland were planned and executed mainly by terrorists from two major allied Middle East countries. No doubt more are being planned and thwarted even now.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com