Trump’s Blunders Fuel Mideast Conflicts

President Trump’s simplistic siding with Saudi Arabia and Israel – and his callous reaction to a terror attack on Iran – are fueling new tensions in the Middle East, including the Qatar crisis, as ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke explains.

By Alastair Crooke

Have “MbS” and “MbZ” overreached themselves? It is still early in the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar, but yes, it seems so. And in so doing, the hubris of Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the Saudi defense minister and the powerful son of Saudi King Salman, and Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will change the region’s geopolitical architecture.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, May 21, 2017, to participate in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President’s Trump’s (flawed) base strategic premises (and narratives) that Iran is the ultimate source of all instability in the region, and that the smacking down of Qatar, a major patron of Palestinian Hamas, per se, was a good thing, and should be applauded, bear direct responsibility for the direction in which regional geopolitics will now flow.

President Trump returned from his first overseas trip convinced that he had unified the United States’ historic Arab allies, and dealt a strong blow against terrorism. He did neither. He has been badly informed.

The fissure between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is an old, storied affair, which harks back to longstanding al-Saud angst at the original British decision to empower the al-Thani family in their Qatar foothold in an otherwise all-Saudi fiefdom. But if we lay aside, for a moment, the airing of the long list of Saudi and UAE contemporary complaints against Qatar, which for most part, simply serve as justification for recent action, we should return to the two principles that fundamentally shape the al-Saud mindset and strategy – and which lie at the heart of this current spat with Qatar.

The Reactionary Saudis 

Firstly, the al-Saud are convinced that there can be absolutely no legitimate or admissible challenge to the Islamic purity of their credentials as successors-in-authority to the Quresh (the tribe of The Prophet), or as the guardians of Islam’s two holy shrines. And secondly, as followers of Mohammad al-Wahhab, they are convinced that they alone – the representatives of the Wahhabi orientation – constitute the true and only Islam. The Shi’a, by contrast, are viewed as apostates, innovators, revisionists and “rejectionists” (i.e. deniers of this history of legitimate transmission of Islamic authority to the al-Saud).

President Trump shakes the hand of Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman on May 20, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

What has this to do with Qatar (which is Wahhabi too)? Well, a number of things: firstly, the Qatari leadership in the Saudi view, is upstart (i.e. purely a product of British colonial politics), and does not – through its independent actions – show any due respect for the legitimacy and rightness of Saudi authority and leadership. Rather, Qatar sets itself up as a peer rival – as a usurper.

Secondly, Hamas: The point here is not that Hamas is a Palestinian resistance movement, or “terrorist.” It is that it is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that during its Nasserist exile in the Gulf, it gave intellectual polish to the Wahhabist doctrine (i.e. Salafism) at the Saudi behest, but then added a mean “twist” to its tail: Instead of awarding worldly sovereignty to the Saudi monarchs – horror of horror – the Muslim Brothers (MB) ascribed sovereignty to the Umma (the community of Believers).

Qatar, in patronizing Hamas therefore, is seen as empowering the strain of Sunni Islamism, which directly challenges Saudi kingship and legitimacy. They (the al-Saud) want the MB crushed – not because they are “terrorist” (as Trump evidently assumes), but because they disdain hereditary, monarchial rulership.

But additionally, Qatar harbored, and still harbors (and pays for), an irreverent, “disrespectful” press that both questions the status quo and gives play to Muslim Brotherhood “democratic” sentiments. The UAE and Saudi Arabia want Qatar’s irritating media closed. All of it: Al Jazeera, Al Arabi al Jadid, Al Quds al Arabi, and the Arabic edition of Huffington Post, along with the expulsion of Azmi Bishara, a Qatar-based Palestinian public intellectual and author who is now general director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies.

Diplomacy with Iran

And as the final “sin,” Qatar (in company with GCC members Oman and Kuwait), seeks a modus vivendi with Iran (i.e. with the “rejectionists,” themselves), and therefore is putting the very principles of the “Sunni Alliance” at risk.

Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 22, 2016. (UN Photo)

As Dr. Emile Nakhleh, a former Senior Intelligence Service officer, and Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the CIA, notes: “Tensions within the GCC go back to its creation in May 1981. However reluctantly, Gulf Arab emirates acceded to Riyadh’s invitation to enlist because they supported the organization’s three main objectives: to help preserve tribal family rule; stifle all anti-regime democratic protests and preserve autocracy; and enlist Western military support to defend the Gulf Arab littoral from the perceived threat of Iran following its 1979 revolution.”

In brief, this dispute has nothing to do with simplistic Western notions of fighting “terrorism” – it has everything to do with power — restoring and bolstering Saudi power. Saudi Arabia’s leaders are feeling weak and vulnerable. It is time, they feel, to draw “a line in the sand”: The unexpected, but plainly pre-prepared, strike at Qatar represented the drawing of a “line.”

Saudi Defense Minister MbS’s friends, long before this, had begun to frame the conflict with Iran as a religious war against the Shi’a by using the language of jihad both in order to mobilize the base, and to promote a Sunni military alliance (led by Saudi Arabia), that would restore Saudi influence across the Middle East. Call to religious jihad is a well-tried tool for forcing cohesion.

But as Gregory Copley noted in Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy recently, [by the time MbS met President Trump in the Oval Office on March 14] “Prince Mohammad had already committed Saudi Arabia to a path from which it was difficult to retire gracefully. As a result, Riyadh was pushing its erstwhile friends deeper into a commitment to fight its wars, with it – or for it. Prince Mohammad continues to demand that Pakistan enter the conflict in Yemen, despite the fact that this was being promoted by Riyadh as a war against the Shi’a sect of Islam (and therefore against Iran), whilst Pakistan has a significant (20 percent plus) Shi’a minority.”

Sweeping Up Trump    

Copley summed up the March 14 meeting thus: “Prince Mohammad seemed to want to sweep President Trump into the Saudi camp – and to speak for all Muslims [on Trump’s behalf] on how the Trump Administration would be good for them.”

President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of Saudi King Salman, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

But here was the rub, not only Pakistan, but GCC members Qatar, Oman and Kuwait disagreed. They did not want this sectarian war: they wanted accommodation with the Shi’a (Kuwait has a sizeable population of Shi’a). The Qatari leader too, had recently reconciled the Sunni and Shi’a branches of the influential Tamim tribe (which extends into the Saudi Nejd) under his leadership. This represented a direct slap in the face to bin Salman’s deliberately polarizing, “jihad” rhetoric – and to his hope of enlisting Trump to the (weakening Saudi camp).

Why did Trump go along? His two key “tweets” during this week, give compelling evidence of his “capture” by a one-sided “narrative.” Firstly, we had Trump’s tweet claiming credit for the UAE and Saudi ultimatum and blockade of Qatar. It gives the impression that the President thought that this MbS and MbZ ploy was somehow striking a blow at the financing of terrorism, and cornering Iran.

Then as Ishaan Tharoor wrote in the Washington Post in the wake of the assault on Tehran (ISIS attack on Parliament and a shrine), condemnations and condolences rained in (to Tehran) from around the world:

“And then there was President Trump. The White House has made a particular habit of commenting swiftly on Islamic State-related attacks elsewhere, be they in Paris, London, Manchester or even a phantom episode in the Philippines. But for many hours Wednesday, Trump was conspicuously quiet. The State Department’s spokeswoman issued a pro forma condemnation, asserting that ‘the depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world.’

“When Trump ultimately broke his silence, though, his message snuffed out whatever goodwill American diplomats may have wanted to convey [emphasis added].

“‘We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,’ began the statement, before concluding with a startling swipe at Tehran. ‘We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.’”

A Grave Insult

These tweets imply clearly President Trump’s wholesale embrace of the agenda and rhetoric of Iran’s major rivals in the region: Saudi Arabia and Israel. This was a landmark tweet, which neither will be forgotten, nor forgiven in the region. It was not some political slip-up. It was more serious than mere politics, or whether Trump likes or dislikes Iran. It transgresses in terms of human feelings; it disrespects human “being.”

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk together prior to President Trump’s address, May 23, 2017, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The Manchester bombing, the London Bridge cutting of throats, were abhorrent, but still – mercifully – exceptional occurrences. Shi’a men, women and children suffer a “Manchester” every day in Iraq, in Syria and Yemen. A total of 163 civilians, including women and children, escaping Mosul, were slaughtered by ISIS just days ago. Hundreds of thousands of Shi’a Arabs, Turkmen and others today sit in refugee camps mourning their beheaded husbands, sons and brothers. And the bodies of those fighting ISIS in Iraq arrive in the Mosques to a daily rhythm.

Trump effectively said these people “had it coming to them” for supporting “terrorism.” Until this point, Iran and the Shi’a world were truly willing to give Trump the benefit of their doubts. That has changed now, I believe. Trump has made himself – unnecessarily – into a callous, ideological enemy of the Shi’a.

There is no one “truth” in the Middle East: Prince Bandar, when still head of Saudi Intelligence, once told the head of MI6 that: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia.’ More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

The MI6 Chief understood from these words that the subsequent anti-Shi’a jihad in Iraq and Syria and the rise of ISIS was not, somehow unconnected with Bandar’s somber warnings.

Trump’s Bad Advice

“Terrorism” is never as straight-forward as it may seem, when observed from a safe distance. The two tweets, in short, make the U.S. President appear naïve and bigoted (which generally, he is not). Trump is quite capable of thinking out of the box – but he needs less self-serving, one-sided, factional advice. A better policy would be for him simply to maintain ties with all the main regional players.

What will be the outcome of this crisis, which is, in fact, a reactionary strike against the forces for change? Reports suggest that the Saudi leadership expected Qatar’s complete capitulation to the blockade within 24 hours. They may have misjudged egregiously. Qatar, may be tiny, but its financial tentacles have real reach, and muscle (in an economically needy time).

It has big friends too (Turkey and, more cautiously, Iran and perhaps Russia and Iraq standing in the background, too). Qatar may try to compromise, and to play it long, but initial reports suggest that MbS and MbZ are immoveable (they treated the Kuwaiti Emir with disdain and discourtesy). We shall see.

In any event, it is questionable whether the GCC as such, will survive such a bludgeoning by Saudi Arabia. We may see a fracture of the Gulf world, with Turkey or Egypt trying to gather up enough pieces to displace Saudi leadership. In any event, the geo-political landscape will shift: either the political center of gravity will displace to the north, with Turkey gaining a strategic foothold in the Arab world, or MbS will attempt to double down.

However, any desperate attempt such as a military occupation of Qatar (on Bahrain lines) by Saudi Arabia, could lead to serious escalation – or even to a military clash. And one may question also, whether the al-Saud family will view a putsch – which is what may be intended – against a fellow Gulf leader, as just a bridge too far.

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

image_pdfimage_print

34 comments for “Trump’s Blunders Fuel Mideast Conflicts

  1. mike k
    June 9, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Trump follows the law that one bad mistake leads to another, which leads to another, and another….ad nauseam. Being a hyper egoist, he does not acknowledge or learn from his mistakes, but just doubles down every time he loses.

  2. Abe
    June 9, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    “under pressure from Saudi Arabia, a number of Arab countries have accused Doha of conniving in and financing terrorist activities, notwithstanding the fact that the international community has long known about these allegations. If the plain truth were to be told, Riyadh is currently fighting at least two wars: indirectly in Syria by destroying the Syrian people, and by direct aggression in neighbouring Yemen, where Saudi ‘hawks,’ in the absence of even a primordial Yemeni air defence, are brazenly shooting civilians from the air – women, children and the elderly.

    “Many in the world are asking a number of legitimate questions on Saudi terrorist activities in the region. For example, could gangs of mercenaries and terrorists have been tormenting the Syrian people for many years and doing terrible things without the financial, military and political support of Riyadh? Of course not. And if the innocent blood of civilians is still pouring on Syrian land, the responsibility for these crimes should be borne by Riyadh, Doha and some other Arab monarchies of the Middle East region.

    “On the other hand, if we analyse the course of events, it turns out that the deterioration of the situation and its escalation began on the initiative of Riyadh after the visit of the President of the United States Donald Trump. Mr. Trump authorized the Saudi rulers’ sole discretion in their continued rule of the Arab world. Nevertheless, it is correct to say that it cost Riyadh a fortune to receive such authorization by winning off the President of “the most democratic country” Donald Trump. This is the Saudi regime that has established medieval laws in its kingdom that do not even smell of democracy, and it is only for mentioning this foreign word that the subjects of the king are imprisoned or publicly beheaded so that the others are dissuaded from perusing a foreign way of life.

    “Another question thus arises: why has Qatar got its head under the Saudi chopping block? The answer is quite simple. Wherever possible, Doha seeks to protect its own interests in defiance of the Saudi interests. For example, it is sponsoring its own terrorist group in Syria and is playing its own game in Yemen. But the main issue is that the Qatari ruler placed his main political bet on the European powers, with which he has established good economic and political relations. It is quite natural that Mr. Trump, who is somehow criticized for lack of experience and knowledge in conducting foreign policy, could not tolerate this, and during his visit to the Kingdom, made a ‘personal errand’ to the king’s son Muhammad Ibn Salman to deal with Doha. And we are already seeing the first rounds of this ‘boxing match.’

    “However, not everything is as simple as it might seem at first glance. A number of the closest allies of Riyadh, namely Jordan, Oman and Kuwait (the latter two are members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) have refused to follow the Saudi lead and preserve their national interests. In addition, and this is perhaps not quite the last fact, Qatar has supported Iran, which has maintained good relations with the small Emirate […]

    “It is quite clear that Qatar has become a scapegoat in the war against terrorism that must be used as a cover for all the Saudi shady affairs. On the other hand, it is also obvious that the leadership game has been accelerated on the Gulf region. In this match, Riyadh is determined not to surrender its positions under any conditions. Rather, it is seeking to harness the help of the United States”

    Persian Gulf – What is Happening in the Region?
    By Viktor Mikhin
    http://journal-neo.org/2017/06/09/persian-gulf-what-is-happening-in-the-region/

    • John P
      June 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      I like your input Abe, but I also think you have to add that Zionists are loving every minute of this as it distracts from their ugly dealings and land grabs. Israel, Saudi Arabia and neocons form a group with no common interest but their own and seem to have no conscience concerning the grievances they cause to others.
      Saudis are looking for regional power under their Sunni leadership. Israel likes the distraction which hides their evils as well as aiding forces against the Shia and Iran. Iran protects the Shia from Saudi aggression and Israeli land grabs (southern Lebanon).
      Trump has no idea where he is leading us all, a calamity!

  3. Virginia
    June 9, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Why is the United Nation saying and doing nothing? Especially in Syria?

    • Gregory Herr
      June 9, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Feckless is a word that comes to mind.

    • tina
      June 9, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      Remember when the United Nations was going to land black helicopters in every town, in the USA, and take the guns and impose international law? Remember when DJT said we will not support the UN , NATO? Remember when DJT put Ms. Haley as ambassador to the United Nations.? Yes , a very experienced person in the art of diplomacy. The USA has a disproportionate amount of influence in the UN, So, of course not , the UN will do nothing because the USA controls the UN. It is not in our interest to
      do anything. Get it?

  4. Joe Tedesky
    June 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Two events went barely noticed or were otherwise rudely recognized this week, one was the terrorist attack in Tehran with the Presidents rude reply, and secondly was the once again ignorance towards recognition of the Israeli attack upon the USS Liberty 50 years ago this June 8th. To top off insult upon injury the Saudi soccer team ignored the game observance of the London terror attack, which drew loud boos from the Australian fans who were in attendance.

    • Realist
      June 9, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      So why is the Deep State after Trump’s hide when he carries our their agenda and mouths their platitudes? See my remarks below.

    • borat
      June 12, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      this is the conspiratorial mindset of the far left whose convergence is complete. Unfortunately in any war, friendly fire happens.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident

  5. susan sunflower
    June 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Apparently the UK also gets 1/3 of its gasoline from Qatar … and at last report two tankers are circling the horn in order to avoid the Gulf …

  6. bogart
    June 9, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    To top off insult upon injury the Saudi soccer team ignored the game observance of the London terror attack

    Outrageous! And on a more light hearted note…

    8 June 2017
    UN Confirms US Airstrike Killed Up to 80 Civilians in Mosul

    No one minute virtue-signalling silence for them.

  7. D5-5
    June 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    I don’t see this moment re Qatar as kind to Trump, including Tillerson’s efforts today to back off the escalation and smooth the boss’s blunderings. Trump is apparently unaware of being played by the Saudis to go after Qatar based on its rogue notions challenging Saudi pretension, indicated in Crooke’s fine analysis above. Trump has evidently bought KSA’s pointing the finger at Qatar as the den of ISIS terrorism, simplifying it as usual, and being self-righteous as usual. The man is freely being called “madman,” “idiot,” and “ignorant” across the internet. Seems to me dignifying him as though he’s a serious diplomat is likely mistaken.

    Another take from Glen Ford at Clearing House:

    “If the jihadists are defeated in Syria—and especially, if they feel they have been betrayed—they will vent their most intense fury on their co-religionists and former sugar daddies in the Gulf. Al qaida will become ISIS, with no mercy on its former patrons.

    “So, don’t believe for a second that the Saudis are abandoning ISIS and al-Qaida, or are forcing Qatar to do the same. Neither is the CIA, which simply rebrands its jihadists when their names become too notorious.

    “Does Donald Trump know that the Saudis are blowing smoke in his face? Does he realize that his own CIA and military have no intention of giving up their jihadists, whom they cannot do without? Who knows? Does it really matter? The criminal war against Syria will unravel from the weight of its own contradictions. In the end, Washington’s Gulf ‘partners’’ necks will be on the chopping block.”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47206.htm

  8. June 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I don’t believe ‘trying to keep other nations as friends’ and ‘trying to eradicate ISIS by all means and by all hands’ are mistakes.

  9. Realist
    June 9, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    With the biases he displays and the choices he makes, especially in foreign affairs, it is hard to fathom why the Deep State and its cadres of insiders of both political parties are so eager to cast Trump out of office, even to the point of shredding the constitution and exposing the charade that has been American “democracy.” Does it really all come down to their crazed desire to destabilise and dissect Russia, or are they so single-mindedly eager for nuclear war? The guy has been reading from their script for most of his term, and yet they want his hide on the wall.

    All the millions of dead bodies and displaced refugees are a consequence of policies made by the neocons embedded throughout our government–both its public and shadow branches. Yet neither the congress nor the media have the slightest interest in even questioning let alone investigating any of that. It is more expedient to persecute Trump (and blame Russia) because he briefly mouthed the desire for peace that most Americans, if they were properly informed of actual reality, would most certainly prefer to all this chaos and carnage carried out in our name.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 9, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      You are right. Trump is what the NeoNuts have been waiting for. I guess insulting McCain not my war hero, and Jeb & W with being critical of their Bush Schtik, will get you the wrong kind of enemies. Although as you rightly point out, increasing the DOD budget by 10%, along with he fires off 59 missiles into the sovereign state of Syria, MOAB for giggles, going Sunni with the Saudi’s, then hug Israel & the Saudi’s by damning Iran and throw in warning Qatar how they are acting badly, yes so you could say Trump is a NeoNut favorite. So what in the hell is wrong? I’m starting to believe that the ‘Skull & Bones’ thing is some real heavy you know what….is Trump registered at the CFR? The other group Trump spent a lifetime pissing off, is the television executives who now with their bulldog media are going after the Donald with a vengeance. Exiting TV that’s for sure.

      I didn’t mention Hillary because I’m trying to forget her.

    • Dave P.
      June 9, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Excellent observations. The only reassuring thing I find these days is calmness Russian President Putin has displayed all through this very disturbing period. And, how he has kept his country reassured and calm. He deserves World’s admiration.

      With military and Political decisions seemingly made by advisers like McMaster, Mattis, and other Neocons, it does not bode well for the World. It is very clear by now, that the NeoCons believe in Full Spectrum Dominance uncompromisingly, and Russia is the target.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 10, 2017 at 1:03 am

        Putin should be an ad for why to eat ‘Organic Food’.

        Realist is right though, Trump should be the poster President for the Neocon’s etc.. I mean just look at him. He’s blustery, shallow, vain, why he is a picture of modern day U.S. Foreign Policy.

        My guess the reason D.C. doesn’t like Trump is because this is all really about going after Russia. Think of how little Trump is to Russia’s land mass alone, and imagine Russia’s vast resources. NASA rocket engines, Russia is endless…so let’s loot it. This mentality will fail ya every time, but let’s do it again, because it’s good for business.

        What was that Einstein said?

    • D5-5
      June 9, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      I agree with much of this conversation, and see it that Deep State enmity derives from two factors–his sentiments, such as they are politically, are a threat to block their global dominance program, including his unpredictability (suppose he actually begins to learn things!); and second, they loathe him for personal reasons, that irk their essential hubris and pride as superior human beings. He is a threat and a nuisance; they want somebody well-oiled like Pence, I think.

  10. Dave P.
    June 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    An interesting article about the Middle East politics. By looking at the picture – Trump closeted with Netanyahu – explains how some of the Trump’s Policy is made. A few days ago, in the Consortium article “Will the Neocons’ Long War End” , There was a picture of Hillary Fawning on Benjamin Netanyahu. And not long ago during the Iranian Nuclear Deal negotiations, Banjamin Netanyahu was invited to address the Congress -what a fawning audience to have. And not long ago, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi running to AIPAC at every opportunity – and anxious to having those fawning pictures at AIPAC beamed to the Country.

    By watching it all, disgusting as it is, one can understand all these Kings, Princes, and Sheikhs – all toadies of The West – why they are doing it. They have to protect their Throne, and the Wealth – same as the Politicians do.

    It feels good to see, that a few like Rand Paul, Tulsi Gabbard have the courage to stand up for their beliefs.

  11. D5-5
    June 9, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I’m a little upset that CN has taken so long on a post I made with a live link to an Information Clearinghouse article this morning. I had an even lengthier delay last week, so that by the time the post appeared the discussion was over. Conflicted on bitching. It’s starting to make me hesitate on coming here.

    Here’s what I said, without the link:

    I don’t see this moment re Qatar as kind to Trump, including Tillerson’s efforts today to back off the escalation and smooth the boss’s blunderings. Trump is apparently unaware of being played by the Saudis to go after Qatar based on its rogue notions challenging Saudi pretension, indicated in Crooke’s fine analysis above. Trump has evidently bought KSA’s pointing the finger at Qatar as the den of ISIS terrorism, simplifying it as usual, and being self-righteous as usual. The man is freely being called “madman,” “idiot,” and “ignorant” across the internet. Seems to me dignifying him as though he’s a serious diplomat is likely mistaken.

    Another take from Glen Ford at Clearing House:

    “If the jihadists are defeated in Syria—and especially, if they feel they have been betrayed—they will vent their most intense fury on their co-religionists and former sugar daddies in the Gulf. Al qaida will become ISIS, with no mercy on its former patrons.

    “So, don’t believe for a second that the Saudis are abandoning ISIS and al-Qaida, or are forcing Qatar to do the same. Neither is the CIA, which simply rebrands its jihadists when their names become too notorious.

    “Does Donald Trump know that the Saudis are blowing smoke in his face? Does he realize that his own CIA and military have no intention of giving up their jihadists, whom they cannot do without? Who knows? Does it really matter? The criminal war against Syria will unravel from the weight of its own contradictions. In the end, Washington’s Gulf ‘partners’’ necks will be on the chopping block.”

    • Gregory Herr
      June 9, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      This is an interesting, forward-thinking take by Glen Ford. Thanks for the heads-up.

      It seems to my likely naive mind that the problem with terrorism and terrorists stems from a lack of law enforcement. If all nations could be secure in the knowledge that borders are respected by all other nations, that national sovereignty is respected under an agreed upon fair rule of international laws based in a fair respect for what we call “human rights” for all individual citizens of the world…well then, the flow of people (and the wonderful opportunities that travel and cultural experiences affords) could be a reasonably regulated and secure endeavor.

      Law-abiding citizens are already regulated in all sorts of ways. Certainly something as obvious as operating militias on the level of “terrorist factions” can be identified and eliminated by nation states working in concert. I mean, it’s a War on Terror, right? I guess some nation states like to inflict terror more than they like to fight it. I guess it’s a matter of priorities.

    • Gregory Herr
      June 10, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Good article D5-5.

      “Donald Trump seems honestly giddy, apparently believing he has forced the Saudis to reject jihadist terror and to punish Qatar for its support of ISIS and al-Qaida. Perhaps he truly does not know that the main actor in the proxy war is not Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, or Qatar –- it is the CIA, the other, and most important, godfather of Islamist jihad. (The CIA is not a friend of Trump, so maybe they are not talking to each other.) The United States has become dependent on al-Qaida and its cousins as foot soldiers of imperialism in southwest Asia. If the fighters are decommissioned, through the denial of arms, money and protection, then the war against Syria is lost, and the U.S. military offensive begun by President Obama in 2011, with the unprovoked attack on Libya, will have ended in defeat. Without the jihadists, the U.S. would have to resort to massive deployment of its own troops to the region — a mission that the American people will not accept.”

      from Glen Ford: https://www.blackagendareport.com/trump_thinks_he_pulled_isis_plug

  12. Mark Thomason
    June 9, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    So it is absolute monarchy against democracy, and the US is on the side of monarchy against democracy.

    This is too common, but rarely this overt.

  13. Paranam Kid
    June 10, 2017 at 2:49 am

    “….the U.S. President appear naïve and bigoted (which generally, he is not)…”
    You are joking, aen’t you?

  14. Stiv
    June 10, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Mr. Crooke,

    Thank you for your insight into this situation. If you’re who I think you are, you’ve certainly seen enough ( and maybe participated in ) enough dysfunction in the middle east to readily recognize trends…and with Trump feeding arms to SA…I say stop that now! I will be reading more on this, so thanks again.

    One ..disturbing?…line.

    “The two tweets, in short, make the U.S. President appear naïve and bigoted (which generally, he is not). Trump is quite capable of thinking out of the box”

    Do you honestly think so? I admit, I’m a Trump hater. I haven’t liked him…as a human…since the 80’s, but I think your premise that he’s anything more that a bigoted old man whose mantra of enforced ignorance keeps him steadily inside his comfort zone…of depots and authoritarian thinking and personalities, is bogus. Trump has the mind set of “doubling down” on just about everything, guaranteeing a place in the back of the line on just about any issue. And we’ll be paying the price well after his pathetic piece of shit soul hits the dirt, which will hopefully be soon. No apologys there.

    I’d look forward to more from you as you see things progress/regress.

  15. June 10, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Trump, ever the blunderbuss, should apologize to Iran for going too far, but his advisers probably wouldn’t think of that. He should not be his own emissary for ME politics, complicated as they are, doesn’t have anyone savvy enough to comprehend the incredibly complicated issues over there. But he is not prone to say “I’m sorry”.

    • Mild-ly Facetious
      June 11, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Brilliance cannot glow
      in the realm of Authoritarian Control

      Dominent positions cause frictions
      that incapacitate good karma

      Accord brings radiant light, joy,
      tranquillity, peace w/pleasant
      out-comes / see Psalm #133.

  16. Mark Petersen
    June 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I too am at a loss with Crooke’s comment of Trump appearing to be naive and bigoted, (generally which he is not.) “Generally?” Really? To conclude this is all about the bad advice he is receiving is hideous. I appreciate the care and thoroughness of this article explaining what is at stake and why we are at this precipice in history, but to imply he is not responsible for what will surely be decades of mayhem and violence throughout the world is obscene. There can be no mistake about this. Trump is dangerous because he does not operate from a healthy well adjusted psyche. He is making decisions that are based on the twisted and egotistical narratives that have always possessed him. Shakespeare could not have written a more disastrous tragedy than President Trump. This will not end well.

  17. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Reality T V & Trump-ism

    “The Guiding Light”
    as Presidential Tweets

    “The World Turns” =
    New Holocaust/Yemen

    The Year 1984 vs

    ,all the news that’s fit to print
    f/ massive distortion as
    from artificial intelligence/
    stage-managed media’s
    multiplying effect within a
    realm of Arts & Sciences

    The Trump Brand-Effect
    f/ Obfuscation of truth
    spoken to ‘true believers
    so corralled into the camp
    and woe-begotten faith in
    widely broadcast distortion.

    “Woe is me, for
    I am undone because
    I am a man of unclean lips
    and I dwell int the midst
    of a people of unclean lips /”
    Search’n/ – – Isaiah 6:5.

  18. john
    June 14, 2017 at 6:11 am

    It seems we succeeded in electing another Israeli Viceroy as the United States president. Trump is officially in the neoconservative camp, but they will drop him as soon as possible. He has guaranteed himself a one time presidency if his own advisers do not succeed in impeaching and removing him before his term ends. The man who promised to drain the swamp has become a swamp creature. Unfortunately, those who will pay the price will come from the poverty draft, while the children of Trump and the neocons will be vacationing in the Hamptons and the such retreats this summer.

  19. bozhidar balkas
    June 14, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Is US going to lose control of Qatar? Not likely! But it can lose it to Saudis. And with US tacit approval!
    And if that happens, Trump can say, I have done it! I have preserved peace and finally am beginning– what UK fragmented, to again reunite.
    And once Trump wins his war in Iraq, he can even reunite Iraq and Kuwait. Kuwait was part of ancient Sumer, Akkad, and Chaldea for millennia, so why not reunite Mesopotamia?

    Do we now think that Trump would go on with his peace–and common-sense making tourism and reunite Palestina with Jordan?
    And call Jews back home in New York or Russia?

  20. Jamie
    June 14, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    What a ridiculous article. It was Obama’s blundering that led and still leads to many conflicts. He massively escalated Afghanistan, ‘the good war’ — and then preceded to arm jihadists and bomb Libya. This destroyed the Libyan state. Then Obama transferred arms through the ratline to Syria, arming ISIS and other radical groups. It was only when ISIS went off script and invaded Iraq that Obama declared them the bad guys. Obama’s blunders were so acute, jihadists we armed began fighting each other:

    http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-cia-pentagon-isis-20160327-story.html

    “There is no question that Libya -– and the world –- would be better off with Qaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal.”

    – Obama

    “Assad Must Go!”

    – Obama

    This whole mess led to the refugee crisis. All Trump is doing is fighting in the rubble of the Bush/Obama wars.

  21. UIA
    June 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. They had cake and a Tomahawk strike. Now Hope can hand them their heads on a silver platter. The White House keeps getting more hopeless. Comey is no lamb. Silence of The Trumps would be a break. Silence of The Post plan backfired too. Playing checkers on this board like a cutting board. Meet the Flynn Stones. We’re the Jetsons. I’ll provide the knife Hope.

  22. UIA
    June 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    “But several hundred thousand Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation. Assured by General Douglas MacArthur that they would be home by Christmas, the soldiers and Marines fight for their lives against the most brutal weather conditions imaginable—and an enemy that outnumbers them more than six to one.”
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L5PA6WU?psc=1

    They didn’t fight that battle to have some idiot clown screw everything up. US should get rid of president and have a prime minister. We should have a society with newspapers and no government. The government and no newspaper idea is not working. When the formal bonds of government are broken, a sudden organization takes place and common interests promote common security. Tom Paine was right on the money. We have Don Pain and the DC mafia. Drop dead!

Comments are closed.