Tag Archives: USA

Ebola and American Sectarianism: the Politicization of Everything……..

_9OJik4N_normal Sharqeya-Baneen-15    DennyCreek2

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“We buy shit we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like….” George Carlin

In these divisive and divided times there is hardly anything, any event, or any phenomenon that is not politicized in America. It is almost like the country is reliving the 1860 campaign of Lincoln: it is deeply divided along political, economic,and cultural lines. That makes the politics venomous in election years, almost sectarian, to use a Middle Eastern reality that many Americans have discovered in the past decade or so. It continues in other years which are not election years but have become pre-election and post-election years. There is so much fuel, so much money to spend on politics: buying candidates, buying expensive airtime on the Boob Tube, and effectively buying voters by financing their favorite television shows.

People here are so busy defeating the terrorists by overworking in order to keep up and to buy more goods and gadgets (some call it more stuff, others call it more shit). That was how George W. Bush succinctly expressed one part of his strategy to defeat terrorism after September 2001: go shopping. So between work and other distractions the people have no time to think politically. They emulate corporations that have outsourced their jobs, factories and customer services, mostly to Asia. Many American voters have now outsourced their political thinking to the television sound-bite industry. I suspect that in many cases the last catchy sound bite on the last weekend before the election wins it all.

As per a decision of the Supreme Court of the USA, money has more than equal freedom of speech and political expression (Citizens United). “Corporations are people, my friend” intoned the Least Interesting Man in the World during the 2012 presidential campaign. So, the politics go viral, more than ever before: the country is divided and money is not a constraint anymore.
Some state governors, ambitious and/or terrified of looming elections, decide that Ebola suspects should be completely quarantined in their states. Other politicians, many from the party that is out of the White House, talk of banning flights from West Africa. Then they wait for their rivals to supply the wrong sound bite and provide a political edge.

In this era, nothing is sacred: from God to National Security to Death. Everything is being politicized: first God, then War, then health care, and now Ebola. Even the HIV/AIDS scare was never so politicized in its heyday. Only sports seem to have stayed above the fray, so far………


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Final Iteration of the Free Syrian Army: End of a Wahhabi Shill in Syria……….

_9OJik4N_normal Sharqeya-Baneen-15    DennyCreek2

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“For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front. This time, Allen said, the United States and its allies will work to strengthen the political opposition and make sure it’s tied to “a credible field force” that will have undergone an intense vetting process. “It’s not going to happen immediately,” Allen said……………..”

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) was from the beginning mainly a creation of foreign Arabs. Almost like the various iterations of the Syrian National Coalition (or Council) that hung around the luxury hotels of Istanbul and Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Keeping close to the sources of money, close to the royal forces of absolute counter-revolution and intolerance in the Arab world.

I called it in 2011 the Free Syrian Salafi Army, knowing were the support and the money and eventually the flow of men was coming from. As the Syrian conflict continued, it became clearer what the FSA was, in spite of royal Arab media on the Persian Gulf raising it to the level o a “liberation” army. They celebrated every colonel and sergeant and corporal who “defected” and hung around the Turkish border.

Yet the FSA became a shill for the true goal of the Wahhabis, and that became clearer with every passing month. It was the others that dominated the field with the FSA doing the cheerleading and excusing. The Jabhat Al-Nusra (I called them from the very beginning Jabhat Al-Qaeda) and the Ahrar Al-Sham, and all the Abu Al-WTF, and Jaish Al-Salafi and Ansar Al McCain, among others. FSA was ineffectual in the field. It became more like a Public Relations arm of the Salafis, defending acts of beheading and desecration and kidnappings of civilians.

Of course, the frustrated Saudis tried a ‘reset’ in Syria in 2013, when they attempted  to create their very own Army of Islam in Syria, along the (humorless) Jordanian border. Probably something like the old Ikhwan Wahhabi militias of their father Sultan King Andulaziz Ibn Saud. But it is hard to imagine any Islamist ‘zealots’ anywhere fighting for the glory of the Al Saud princes and princelings, even if they were well-paid. Predictably it did not get anywhere, so they reportedly focused again on a Jordanian (hence also by necessity also humorless) option.

This is apparently the last and final iteration of the FSA. I am doubtful that this new American ‘reset’ can be as effective as needed against ISIS, especially if the Saudis and Emiratis and Qataris are part of the game, the ‘ground’ game. It is like resorting to “a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you” but much less reliable. They will screw it up again, as only they know how to do, speaking militarily.


Logically, strategically, but probably not politically, the best allies to encircle and defeat the Caliphate of ISIS are the Iraqis and the Syrians. I mean the official armed forces. Do I here a collective gasp from Washington to Riyadh?

Imagine, General Whatishisname, formerly of West Point and Army War College, calling up former enemy Brigadier Qassem Suleimani of Al Quds Brigade and discussing campaign strategy in Iraq and Syria! Suleimani, assuming his pious masters are amenable, will also do as his American counterparts will do. He will grimace and take the call.

Enough to give any potentate in Riyadh or Abu Dhabi a royal tribal kleptocratic infarct. Enough to give many in the newly-to-be-elected U.S Congress some lobbyist-financed and inspired palpitations.

It is unlikely to happen, but the sheer amusement of thinking about it……………

Cheers
MHG

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

1. Blame Game Saga from the Caliphate to the U.S. Congress………

_9OJik4N_normal Sharqeya-Baneen-15    DennyCreek2

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The Middle East Iraq-Syria blame game has gotten frantic in the past few months, since the fall of Mosul. Yet almost nobody in the region between the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean is innocent of blame. First, the American stance:

  • American politicians have shifted the blame for the Iraqi mess to Iraqis themselves, which is fair enough but up to a point. Keep in mind that almost everybody else in the region is meddling in Iraqi affairs and should get some of the blame.
  • Over the past few months, American blame has focused on former prime minister Al Maliki. If only Al Maliki would/could do certain things, then everything would be fine in Iraq. Now he is out of his old office.
  • Americans also blame other Americans, a favorite political pastime. President Obama is handed the biggest share of the blame. Mainly for failing to keep U.S. troops in Iraq beyond 2011, which is the date agreed to between Al Maliki and George W Bush.
  • Republicans especially prefer to blame Obama for the mess in Iraq, but in fairness they also blame him for everything else under the sun. Including possibly the Ebola epidemic as well as Benghazi, Benghazi. On the up side, they don’t blame him for global warming, because they don’t believe in it.
  • Democrats prefer to blame Al Assad, Al Maliki, and the Republican House of representatives.
  • Speaking of Benghazi, Hillary Clinton is edging toward blaming Obama as she weighs her options for 2016. She would rather not travel anywhere near the Middle East these days, not for another two years.
  • Jingoists like John McCain and his allies blame it all on the reluctance of the Obama administration to join the Syrian civil war. It is this ‘wussiness’, they assert, that has led to the emergence of the Wahhabi-Baathist Caliphate across the Iraqi-Syrian border.
  • Fox News blames the whole mess on the elections of 2008.
  • It looks like America is edging back into Iraq, kicking and screaming. Nobody wants to be seen between now and 2016 as punting on ISIS.
  • FYI: the U.S. Congress is punting on Iraq, since they refuse to vote on it before the 2014 elections. Before elections: Democrats are scared of voting for war, Republicans are terrified of being seen to vote ‘yes’ for anything that Obama supports. No Profiles of Courage there. Courage, courage, as Dan Rather used to shout inexplicably on TV .

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The New Black Flag of Khorasan: Back to Abbasid History…….

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“‘Imminent Attack’ in U.S. Prompted Airstrikes on Khorasan…..” Bloomberg

This is the type of headline I woke up to early this morning. It can be shocking to read that U.S. warplanes have bombed an Iranian place with historical significance. But this is a new Khorasan, a Wahhabi Khorasan with an Iranian name that had deep impact on Islamic and Arab history. A concept.

Suddenly this new Middle East term is making headlines in the USA: part of the continuing dubious education of America on things Middle Eastern and Islamic. Courtesy of an Al Qaeda affiliate.

Khorasan is a large scenic province in northeastern Iran: it includes Nishapur, the birthplace of Omar Khayyam. The province has significance in Islamic history and in the past it encompassed parts of Afghanistan and other nearby countries. It was from eighth century (A.D.) Khorasan that the flames of the Abbasid revolution spread from Persia across to Iraq and eventually to overthrow the brief Umayyad dynasty of Damascus. The rebellion was strongest among the ‘disenfranchised’ Persian subjects and various Shi’a Arabs, especially in the homeland of Shi’ism in Iraq. The Abbasids carried a black flag throughout their campaign. The Abbasids also moved the Islamic capital from Damascus to Baghdad from which they ruled until the Mongol invasion in the 13th century.

It can be amusing to see the Wahhabi terrorists of Al Qaeda call this cell by the name of an Iranian place full of Shi’as and mullahs.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A New Dickensian American Century?………..

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“From early in its history, the United States rested on the notion of a large class of small proprietors and owners. “The small landholders,” Jefferson wrote to his fellow Virginian James Madison, “are the most precious part of a state.” To both Jefferson and Madison, both the widespread dispersion of property and limits on its concentration—“the possession of different degrees and kinds of property”—were necessary in a functioning republic. Jefferson, admitting that the “equal division of property” was “impractical,” also believed “the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind” that “legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property.” ………. For this group, the rest of society, he suggested, exists only “as images and stereotypes.” Progressive theorists, such as Ruy Texerira, have suggested that, in the evolving class structure, the traditional middle and working class is of little importance compared to the rise of a mass “upper middle class” consisting largely of professionals, tech workers, academics, and high-end government bureaucrats……………This trend has continued even in the recovery. Between 2010 and 2012, the middle sixty percent of households, did worse not only than the wealthy, but even the poorest quintile between 2010 and 2012. In the years of the recovery from the Great Recession the middle quintiles income dropped by 1.2 percent while those of the top five percent grew by over five percent.………..….”

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com