Saudi Royals Bring Trump into Line

Exclusive: Donald Trump once condemned Saudi sponsorship of terrorism but – after his lavish reception in Riyadh and Saudi promises of rich arms deals – he has fallen under the kingdom’s spell, as Daniel Lazare explains.

By Daniel Lazare

Donald Trump’s statements in response to the Qatar, Saudi and Iranian diplomatic crisis have been bizarre even by Trumpian standards. The fun started with a presidential tweet shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday in response to the decision by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to impose a state of siege on Qatar as payback for its funding of the Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups.

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)

“During my recent trip to the Middle East,” it said, “I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” – a favorable reference to the siege.

Then, less than two hours later, came another blast in the form of back-to-back tweets: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

Trump thus sided with two U.S. allies against a third that happens to host the massive Al-Udeid airbase, home of some 10,000 American military personnel.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, the White House issued a graceless statement regarding the Islamic State suicide attack a few hours earlier on the Iranian parliament and the shrine of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini: “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. We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

The evil they promote? This sounded awfully close to “they had it coming,” a stunningly brutal response to an incident in which 17 innocent people died. If Tehran had said anything comparable about 9/11, there is no doubt that the U.S. would have forgotten about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and invaded Iran instead.

It was Trump at his most disconcerting. But what does it all mean? One thing is that while everyone in Washington seems to think that Trump has been captured by the Russians, the real story, it suggests, is that he’s been captured by the Saudis.

Wagging the Dog

There are any number of reasons why, but the bottom line is that if Adel al-Jubeir, the kingdom’s unctuous foreign minister, says that Iran is the number one supporter of terrorism or that Qatar is a prime sponsor, then the orange-haired POTUS will scowl on cue and nod approvingly.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to the Murabba Palace, escorted by Saudi King Salman, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to attend a banquet in their honor. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Henceforth, the U.S. will take its marching orders from Riyadh just as it does from Tel Aviv elsewhere in the region. Never before has the tail more firmly wagged the dog.

But that’s only part of the story. The other part is that Trump has fallen into the rabbit hole of U.S. anti-terrorism policy. He’s trapped in an alternative universe filled with misinformation, false assumptions, and logical absurdities. The deeper he goes, the harder it is to find a way out.

This may sound strange since, at first glance, nothing seems simpler than anti-terrorism. After all, blowing up innocent people or slashing them to death on crowded city streets is something that all decent people abhor, so what could be more obvious than just saying no?

But when you probe a little more deeply, the structure proves surprisingly rickety. Yes, yes, bombing a rock concert is vicious beyond words. But what about firebombing an entire city, something the RAF did with regularity in World War II? Is that any better – and if so, why?

Osama bin Laden was, without doubt, a monster. But what about Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris, the man in charge of the RAF raids, who once boasted, “I kill thousands of people every night”? [See Stephen A. Garrett, “Terror Bombings of German Cities in World War II,” in Igor Primoratz, ed., Terrorism: The Philosophical Issues (Houndsmills, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), p. 156.]

Is he a monster too? If your answer is no because he was fighting the Nazis, then you’ve fallen prey to “consequentialism,” the notion that the morality of any such act is impossible to assess without attention to the final goal. If incinerating women and children is what it takes to defeat Hitler, then we must all put our shoulder to the wheel, or so the consequentialists tell us.

Yet countless politicians have warned against such relativist thinking since 9/11 on the grounds that terrorism can never be justified regardless of its motivation because the act is uniquely evil and only evil people do it. Of course, this absolutism ignores the moral ambiguities of warfare throughout history. But it also locks Americans into a logical conundrum from which there is no escape.

Terrorists are evil-doers, and evil-doers are terrorists. If America decides that someone is evil, then the T-word almost inevitably follows. Since terrorism is impossible to define in a way acceptable to all, the United States, the global sovereign, gets to define it in as self-serving a manner as it wishes.

Trump’s Truth

Once upon a time, Trump seemed to realize, in a dim way, that something was amiss. In 2011, he described Saudi Arabia as “the world’s biggest funder of terrorism” and said it was using “our petro dollars – our very own money – to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people while the Saudis rely on us to protect them.”[Donald J. Trump, Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2011), p. 20.]

The World Trade Center’s Twin Towers burning on 9/11. (Photo credit: National Park Service)

The broad-brush word “terrorism” may have made no more sense in this instance than it did in any other. But at least Trump grasped that the Saudis were the arsonist rather than the firefighter and that it was nonsense to try to cover that reality up.

On the campaign trail, Trump once declared that the Saudis “blew up the World Trade Center,” and said that American firepower was the only thing saving them from disaster. “If it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t be here,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”  “They wouldn’t exist.”

All of which was true. But that was before the Saudis agreed to purchase $110 billion in U.S. military hardware and projected a five-story image of his face on the side of the local Ritz-Carlton during his visit last month to Riyadh. So, in Trump’s mind, the Saudis were transformed. Instead of bad guys, they were now good.

And since they were good, they could no longer be terrorists or sponsors of terrorism. Indeed, they were now so good that they were in a position to say who the real sponsors of terrorism were. When they pointed at Qatar, Trump instantly agreed.

Of course, Qatar’s role as a funder of Al Qaeda and ISIS (also known as ISIL, Islamic State, and Daesh) is also well known, as is the UAE’s. In mid-2014, Hillary Clinton wrote in an email made public by Wikileaks that “Qatar and Saudi Arabia … are providing clandestine financial and logistical support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” while Vice President Joe Biden told an audience at Harvard a couple of months later that “the Saudis, the emirates, etc. … were so determined to take down [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war … [that] they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” (Quote starts at 53:35.)

Yet, U.S. officials continued to provide cover for these funders, as Donald Trump eventually did as well.

“Our relationship is extremely good,” Trump told the press as he sat down with Qatari Emir Hamad al-Thani in Riyadh on May 21. “We have some very serious discussions right now going on, and one of the things that we will discuss is the purchase of lots of beautiful military equipment because nobody makes it like the United States. And for us that means jobs, and it also means, frankly, great security back there [i.e. in Qatar], which we want.”

In other words, Qatar was a friend just a couple of weeks ago. But since the emirate (population 313,000 not counting foreign workers) is in no position to buy as many “beautiful” weapons as the Saudis (population 33 million), it can’t be as good a friend and thus wound up on the defensive when the Saudis accused it of aiding and abetting the enemy.

Blaming Iran

As for Iran, this is where U.S. officials make the “terrorism” word mean whatever they want. In February, Secretary of Defense James Mattis called Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world” while Trump followed up on May 21 with the charge that it “funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.”

President Donald Trump touches lighted globe with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman and Donald Trump at the opening of Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology on May 21, 2017. (Photo from Saudi TV)

This was standing truth on its head since the Saudis, the prime source of sectarianism in the Middle East, ban all religions other than Islam, routinely arrest Christians for the “crime” of praying and possessing Bibles, and have imposed a state of siege on Shi‘ites in their own Eastern Province.

This is not to say that Iran is not also guilty of religious discrimination. But while its treatment of Bahais is despicable, at least it allows Christian churches and Sunni mosques to operate openly while, according to the U.S. State Department, there is “little interference with Jewish religious practices.” While Tehran has 13 active synagogues, Riyadh, needless to say, has none. Iran’s sins, in other words, are of a different order of magnitude than those of its rival across the Strait of Hormuz.

But if Saudi Arabia is now “good” and therefore “anti-terrorist,” then its enemy, Iran, must be a terrorist state par excellence and very, very evil. And, thus, Shi’ite-ruled Iran must be responsible for ISIS even though ISIS views Shi‘ites with the same genocidal fury as state-salaried Wahhabist mullahs do in Riyadh.

By looking at terrorism through this peculiar prism, you can understand Trump’s statement that Iran had it coming. It’s at fault even if it’s the victim.

Needless to say, Iran sees things differently. Turning tables on the U.S., Mohammad Hossein Nejat, deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards intelligence branch, charged that the incident was obviously the fault of America and the Saudis because it occurred just a couple of weeks after Trump’s sit-down with the royal family in Riyadh.

“For these two actions to happen … after this meeting means that the U.S. and Saudi regimes had ordered their stooges to do,” he said according to the Fars news agency.

Unfortunately, Nejat provided no evidence, so we have no idea whether what he’s saying is true or just speculation. But since ISIS is plainly a Saudi asset, it’s hardly implausible that a Saudi official might have telephoned a friend in Islamic State to let him now that such an operation would not be viewed with disfavor.

Or perhaps ISIS reached the same conclusion on its own after reading Trump’s Riyadh speech on the Internet. Regardless, it’s an example of how America’s “Alice in Wonderland” war on terrorism is fanning the flames of sectarianism. The slaughter in Tehran, like that in Manchester and London, is a sign of a things to come.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace). 

74 comments for “Saudi Royals Bring Trump into Line

  1. UIA
    June 14, 2017 at 15:08

    Like Tom Paine said, that’s like having an operation done by the guy who had a father for a surgeon. It turns into a royal pain real fast. Throw fastballs. Press is keeping score and Trump is getting more sore. Gold is the corpse of value.

    …Juanita’s going to hire him, right? — he slams the button for LAVATORY GRANDE ROYALE.
    Never been here before. It’s like something on the top floor of a luxury high-rise casino in Atlantic City, where they put semi-retarded adults from South Philly after they’ve blundered into the mega-jackpot. It’s got everything that a dimwitted pathological gambler would identify with luxury: gold-plated fixtures, lots of injection-molded pseudomarble, velvet drapes, and a butler.

    Hiro opts for the upgrade in his local pay-bathroom, Chapter 24

    Gold toilet is missing. Might be in DC!

  2. R Davis
    June 13, 2017 at 05:01

    Reg,. “promise of rich arms deals” – all that glitters is not gold.

    Interesting article on –
    Wolf Street – by Wolf Richter
    article title – “Largest Single Arms Deal In US History” Turns into “Fake News”

  3. Abe
    June 11, 2017 at 15:25

    “The Islamic State represents the perfect ‘proxy,’ occupying the ideal conduit and safe haven for executing America’s proxy war against Iran and beyond. Surrounding the Islamic State’s holdings are US military bases, including those illegally constructed in eastern Syria. Were the US to wage war against Iran in the near future, it is likely these assets would all ‘coincidentally’ coordinate against Tehran just as they are now being ‘coincidentally’ coordinated against Damascus.

    “The use of terrorism, extremists, and proxies in executing US foreign policy, and the use of extremists observing the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s brand of indoctrination was demonstrated definitively during the 1980’s when the US with the assistance of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – used Al Qaeda to expel Soviet forces from Afghanistan. This example is in fact mentioned explicitly by Brookings policymakers as a template for creating a new proxy war – this time against Iran.

    “For the US, there is no better stand-in for Al Qaeda than its successor the Islamic State. US policymakers have demonstrated a desire to use known terrorist organizations to wage proxy war against targeted nation-states, has previously done so in Afghanistan, and has clearly organized the geopolitical game board on all sides of Iran to facilitate its agenda laid out in 2009. With terrorists now killing people in Tehran, it is simply verification that this agenda is advancing onward.

    “Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict illustrates that Tehran is well aware of this conspiracy and is actively defending against it both within and beyond its borders. Russia is likewise an ultimate target of the proxy war in Syria and is likewise involved in resolving it in favor of stopping it there before it goes further.

    “China’s small but expanding role in the conflict is linked directly to the inevitability of this instability spreading to its western Xianjiang province.

    “While terrorism in Europe, including the recent London attack, is held up as proof that the West is ‘also’ being targeted by the Islamic State, evidence suggests otherwise. The attacks are more likely an exercise in producing plausible deniability.

    “In reality, the Islamic State – like Al Qaeda before it – depends on vast, multinational state sponsorship – state sponsorship the US, Europe, and its regional allies in the Persian Gulf are providing. It is also sponsorship they can – at anytime of their choosing – expose and end. They simply choose not to in pursuit of regional and global hegemony.”

    Tehran Was Always America’s and Thus the Islamic State’s Final Destination
    By Tony Cartalucci

  4. Bill Bodden
    June 11, 2017 at 14:43

    With friends like these there is little prospect of making America great – never mind again:

    Execution-Crazy Saudi Gov’t railroads 14 Shiite Dissents with unfair Death Penalty –

  5. backwardsevolution
    June 11, 2017 at 14:00

    Meyssan says it will take awhile to know what came out of the 2017 Bilderberg conference (as it’s all kept secret from us stupid public), which side won.

    “On the anti-Islamism side (that is opposed not to the Muslim religion, but to political Islam as formulated by Sayyid Qutb), we noted the presence of General H. R. McMaster (President Trump’s National Security Advisor) and his expert Nadia Schadlow.

    On the pro-Islamism side, we note the presence, for the United States, of John Brennan (ex-Director of the CIA) and his ex-subordinates Avril Haines and David Cohen (financing of terrorism). For the United Kingdom, Sir John Sawers (ex-Director of MI6 and a long-time protector of the Brotherhood) and General Nicholas Houghton (ex-Chief of Staff, who prepared the land invasion of Syria). For France, General Benoît Puga (ex-Chief of Staff for the Elysée and commander of the Special Forces in Syria) and Bruno Tertrais (neo-conservative strategist for the Ministry of Defence). Finally, for the private sector, Henry Kravis (Director of the investment fund KKR, and unofficial treasurer for Daesh) and General David Petraeus (co-founder of Daesh). […]

    The only thing upon which the Allies seem to agree is the necessity of abandoning the principle of a jihadist state. Everyone admits that the devil has to be put back in his box. Which means getting rid of Daesh, even if some people keep working with Al-Qaïda. This is why, worried about its survival, the self-proclaimed Caliph has secretly transmitted an ultimatum to Downing Street and the Elysée.”

    Good God, John Brennan rears his ugly head again!

  6. backwardsevolution
    June 11, 2017 at 13:41

    The above text is from three articles: Confrontation at Bilderberg 2017, Trump Advances His Pawns, and Donald Trump Against Jihadism (top three articles at the link).

  7. backwardsevolution
    June 11, 2017 at 13:37

    Voltaire Network had this to say:

    “Thierry Meyssan observes the actions that President Trump is taking to convince his allies and partners to drop the jihadists that they support, arm, and supervise. Contrary to the picture painted by the international Press and its political adversaries, for the last four months, the White House has been pursuing an anti-imperialist policy which is beginning to bear fruit: the process of the cessation of Saudi support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the end of the coordination of the jihadists by NATO, and the process of the cessation of Western financing of the Muslim Brotherhood.’


    “The accusations against Iran have no importance, since Teheran knows which way the wind is blowing. For the last 16 years, Washington – which never misses an opportunity to spit in their faces – has been destroying, one by one, all their enemies – the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and soon Daesh.

    What is now in play, as we announced eight months ago, is the end of the “Arab Springs” and the return to regional peace.”


    “As a result, while Washington has renewed its alliance with Saudi Arabia, and has convinced it to break with the Brotherhood in exchange for 110 billion dollars worth of armament [7], London is pushing for an agreement between Iran, Qatar, Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood. If this project were to be realised, we would experience the abandon of the Sunni/Chiite conflict and the creation of a « croissant of political Islam » encompassing Teheran, Doha, Ankara, Idleb, Beyrouth and Gaza. This new distribution would enable the United Kingdom to maintain its influence in the region.”

    • mike k
      June 11, 2017 at 15:13

      In your dreams Voltaire.

      • mike k
        June 11, 2017 at 15:16

        You left out a player in your calculations: Israel.

        • mike k
          June 11, 2017 at 15:19

          ” for the last four months, the White House has been pursuing an anti-imperialist policy which is beginning to bear fruit:” Please. Your crystal ball needs replacing.

          • backwardsevolution
            June 11, 2017 at 15:59

            mike k – no one knows for sure, but it’s worth putting other opinions out there. Or do you have a crystal ball, mike?

    • June 11, 2017 at 17:07

      Historically Saudi’s have opposed the Brotherhood , because the Brotherhood promotes democracy not theocracy. Saudi’s aided the Egyptians in overthrowing the democratically elected Brotherhood. Russia has been destroying ISIS , USA not so much, in fact recently, direct air support for ISIS by the USA besides years of direct and indirect support by the USA and it’s middle east allies.

  8. June 11, 2017 at 13:15

    Well, Mr Meslin, Trump is not the monster you see, more of a foolish businessman who definitely doesn’t have the cojones to play the president, isn’t in the know about how USG power plays are done. I loved Mrs. Fuxit’s typo, or maybe it wasn’t a typo, that Trump is a “Great Fondling Father”! I laughed out loud. Maybe there was some entity in that glowing orb in Saudi Arabia that grabbed him!

  9. June 11, 2017 at 12:36

    Conclusions Trump is a fucken idiot; we could even say a monster and his country a phony deceitfull state becoming in spite of its people the planet Earth’s new Nazi Empire. Decent American people, it is time for you to wake-up and clean the mess…

    • June 11, 2017 at 12:49

      Good Americans ! Nobody else can do that clean-up for you. If they were smart the humans being not US Citizen could boycott everything made in America (Boeing jets, Microsoft computers etc.) to hurt you in the Pocket-book. You are Lucky ! people are too stupid and money”s hungry; beside not smart enough to initiate and understand the need of such an embargo…

  10. June 11, 2017 at 12:33

    Iran needs to send a diplomatic note to Riyad, phrased in polite diplomatic terms of course. That note should state categorically that in the event of war with iran , no matter who starts it, that those beautiful palaces will be a priority for Iranian missiles. As will that 500 million dollar yacht that a Saudi prince bought the other month. Then after that will come the Saudi oil refineries. After that the Saudi oil fields. This followed by the total destruction of the Saudi Military. In short if the Saudis instigate a war with Iran Iran will shove them back to riding camels and lving in tents in the desert.

    That I believe would focus the Saudia mind on the consequences of going to war with, and or instigating a war with Iran.

    • SteveK9
      June 11, 2017 at 16:21

      I think they beat you to that. The head of the Revolutionary Guard (I believe) said that in the event of war with Saudi Arabia, Iran would leave nothing standing except Mecca and Medina.

  11. Mike
    June 11, 2017 at 11:39

    Make no mistake, they are strategically pushing terrorism into iran.

    Can we get an investigation into the link between for profit detention centers and the ice immigration roundup?

    I suspect immigrants are being collected to fuel a for profit prison expansion across the us and into Latin anerica.

  12. June 11, 2017 at 10:00

    Foreign and domestic enemies of the United States Constitution are avowed enemies of DONALD J. TRUMP, the World’s Greatest Negotiator, and a Great Fondling Father.

    • Cal
      June 11, 2017 at 23:42

      .” Trump is a “Great Fondling Father’

      There is something weird about Trump and his daughter. In reading about Trump’s trip to the ME I saw that his daughter Ivanka went on the ME trip with Melania and Trump. I started goggling around for more on Ivanka’s place in the grand scheme of the Donald’s WH….and came cross the pictures below from a link on msnbc. I have sons and no daughters so maybe I am not good judge of what is appropriate for fathers- daughters and so forth but a lot of these pictures struck me as …well, ….not typical father daughter poses.
      I see Trump’s sons have been called out to defend their daddy–why are they not as favored as Ivanka and Jared? You don’t hear much from or about them.

      20 Awkward Photos Of Donald And Ivanka Trump That’ll Make You Cringe All Over

      The expression on Melania’s face is revealing .

      And this is not a typical father daughter pose—-looks like an old man and his teenage Lolita.

  13. mike k
    June 11, 2017 at 08:08

    Trump seems to have no lasting solid convictions about anything. He is impulsive, reactive, and unreliable. The latest screed on Fox News can cause him to do a one-eighty on any previous belief. He shoots from the hip, operating from momentary hunches that have very slender connection to reality.

    • June 11, 2017 at 09:27

      Good analysis, and exactly why T opposition needs to strategise and not simply oppose. Backing T into a Bellicose Neocon corner is counterproductive. One must massage T into acting positively through rewards and incentives. Almost all presidents create more war when under domestic political threat. T is extremely malleable. Work influence through his family and associates. And if one does indict him, do it for a capital crime such as War Against the Peace as described in the Geneva Conventions and blatantly committed in Syria. A despairingly number of Citizens in the USA blithely accept their nation murdering 100,000’s / millions of other humane beings for profit and power.

      • mike k
        June 11, 2017 at 10:29

        I like your viewpoint Bboat. Maneuver T towards peace. Use rewards rather than threats curses, and punishments. Like Aikido – gentle persuasion. Let’s be friends of peace together, instead of enemies making war. Honey instead of vinegar….. It’s not guaranteed to work, but neither is beating up on him. At least give him the chance to make a positive move, rather than only reacting against pressure.

    • Dave P.
      June 11, 2017 at 11:34

      mike, you are right , Trump has no solid convictions, and the rest is true as you described. All his life his goal was to make money – not politics. or any other area of human enlightenment.

      But who had real convictions, Obama?. I have come to realize, he has/had none, except power, fame, money, and some fascination with Women too! But he was slick, polished,well read in History, Politics, Law. And a great actor, could fool the masses – he is back again. He knew what he was after, and how to get it.

      And Clinton? Convictions!. Clintons were/are after Power, Money, and Fame – utter depravity of human souls. We worked for their election – Clinton, Gore. Clinton turned out to be the biggest disappointment.

  14. Syed M Musanna
    June 11, 2017 at 08:00

    Saudi royals (the beggars) at the cost of God given oil wealth, which according to Divine books is to be spent for the benefit of humanity have forgotten, the power of God, have become destroyers of humanity. Through terrorism they intend to control the world which will ultimately gulp them up. Debris of bygone paranoid dynasties have become places of tourism.The truth of justice will prevail. America to save its identity must abstain becoming part of it. Must become humble servants of humanity not its destroyers. Americans must take a stand against becoming part of it.

    • mike k
      June 11, 2017 at 08:12

      I am afraid that America is just as deaf to the voice of Truth as the Saudi Royals.

  15. Cal
    June 10, 2017 at 21:44

    ” Once upon a time, Trump seemed to realize, in a dim way, that something was amiss. In 2011, he described Saudi Arabia as “the world’s biggest funder of terrorism” and said it was using “our petro dollars – our very own money – to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people while the Saudis rely on us to protect them.”[Donald J. Trump, Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2011), p. 20.]”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Anyone want to take a shot at guessing what has made Trump do a 180 on Saudi?
    Blackmail by the neos or zios?

    What would make someone who never admits he is or ever could be wrong on anything go from night to day on his Saudi opinions.

    • Realist
      June 11, 2017 at 02:12

      Say hello to my lil’ friend… or words to that effect.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 11, 2017 at 06:47

      Cal – what Sanford said above: “With twenty trillion dollars in debt, is there really any other way out?” Debt is money.

      • Kiza
        June 12, 2017 at 02:04

        I heard that those 20 trillion were spent on schools, healthcare and infrastructure in US, for the future of the country.

  16. Ariel Ky
    June 10, 2017 at 21:18

    The claim that Trump made about Iran being “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world” and that it “funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region could more convincingly be made about the U.S.

    • Realist
      June 11, 2017 at 02:11

      It’s the U.S. which forced him to read that script. What he personally believes on the matter, I have no idea.

  17. F. G. Sanford
    June 10, 2017 at 19:55

    This article and the previous one by Dr. Davidson, as well as many of the comments are predicated on the speculative assumption that President Trump is actually “in charge”. I think that’s dubious at best. All of the mainstream propaganda mills are pumping out anti-Iran rhetoric. That observation – coupled with General Wesley Clark’s tale of seven countries in five years – suggests that the neocon plans are back on track after a minor hiatus. We’re back on the same old “roadmap” to the “New American Century”. Some scenario will emerge. For instance, Iran’s purported ties to Qatar may be spun into a fictionalized threat to America’s airbase. That would constitute a threat to “regional stability”. Never mind that there hasn’t been any regional stability since 1947. Intervention of some kind will be “necessary” to preserve it. Note that there have been lots of stories in the news along the lines of the Kathy Griffin episode. Those will make “lone nut” scenarios seem more plausible should the “deep state” decide that there’s too much independent thought or creativity emanating from the Oval Office. Real men go to Tehran. Jack Kennedy went to Arlington. It’s one of those offers that’s hard to refuse. With twenty trillion dollars in debt, is there really any other way out? I certainly hope so, but the signs ain’t pointin’ in that direction.

    • Dave P.
      June 10, 2017 at 20:22

      F.G. : Excellent. What you said is very interesting, some thing to think about.

    • mike k
      June 10, 2017 at 21:02

      Of course no one player is in charge of this game in any definitive way. It would be a mistake to think the neocons, or MSM, or MIC, or Intel., or the bankers, or others represent a unified force even within their own unclearly defined ranks. There is a lot of jostling for position and factionalism across the board. Then there are all the International power players to account for, with their various agendas and inner wrangling. So we can definitely say that nothing definite can be said or predicted beyond imprecise generalities and possibilities. It’s a mess.

      When no clear equations can be generated, we are in the realm of chaos theory, where imprecision is the rule, and often intuition is a better guide than attempts at clear and certain answers. The power players themselves have a vague understanding of this, and make their moves on hunches and fly by the seat of their pants quite often. And of course this serves to exacerbate the uncertainties of the whole affair even more One reason the deep state players want Trump out is they really don’t trust his intuitions, which are more like cluelessness. Whatever apple carts they may try to prepare don’t feel safe with him around to suddenly scotch the game.

      • Realist
        June 11, 2017 at 02:08

        All that is probably true. The Communist Party which ran the Soviet Union had factions and the struggle for succession was usually one of assassinations. Some disaffected Nazis high up the food chain tried to assassinate Hitler. JFK was definitively assassinated, along with RFK and MLK, but quite a number of American pols on the brink of success have died in suspicious plane crashes (at the risk of sounding like the Polish government).

        On a functional level, the buck does ultimately stop somewhere and that is usually someone with the means and the will to carry out assassinations, also to start wars (to make them fact on the ground), someone in an agency authorised to use legitimate force. According to the conventional narrative that someone should be the “commander-in-chief,” the president, the only executive with duties described in the constitution. But we all suspect that is a glib fiction. In the Neocon-led Deep State, I would surmise that is someone in the CIA–perhaps not the front man Brenner, but someone in the organisation whose identity is purposefully masked.

        • Kiza
          June 12, 2017 at 01:47

          I loved your previous analysis of top insight value, but I respectfully disagree on this one – there is no single person running this sh-show, I vote for chaos of a group of like-minded-person decision making. Which is the definition of the Deep State. Does this not show in the outcomes?

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 11, 2017 at 02:44

      “Some scenario will emerge. For instance, Iran’s purported ties to Qatar may be spun into a fictionalized threat to America’s airbase.”

      Wow, that sounds right out of Brookings. Your bringing that aspect of Qatar, hate Iran, and a cockeyed enough reason to go bomb Iran is believable, coming from what we know these Pnac Neo’s are capable of.

      LBJ had HL Hunt and Clint Murchison Sr. among a small circle to keep him focused, so who do you think Trump has? You don’t have to answer that, but my point being there is always a Oz behind the curtain. I think Quigley kind of proved that, right? Here’s a thought, do you think clumsy Trump upset the pecking order? Man, wouldn’t that be funny if he did? I mean sometimes history being made has come down to such simple things, like being in the right place at the right time.

      That 20 trillion should be nationalized, and put some oligarchs out of business….like predator bankers, and these scoundrels who are making money on these wars. I have a better chance of making that into a successful screenplay as opposed to putting it into our reality.

      • Kiza
        June 12, 2017 at 02:00

        Sorry to throw a wrench into your and Sanford’s cogs, but I disagree with this theory of Al Udeid as a convenient excuse for attacking Iran. Once they arrange the critical mass of brainwashed dumbed down Americans through the use of MSM, they will easily find some excuse, any excuse to attack. If everything else fails, they will do a quick false-flag to justify it (I heard that some Iranian military uniforms went missing, lol). The importance of the US base in Qatar is too complicated a point for the average US mind to become the casus belli. Something simpler would work much better, once everybody has been conditioned like a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs: Iran – rings the bell of hate, Russia – hate, Syria – hate and so on.

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 12, 2017 at 12:09

          You opinion is good, I’m just throwing out anything, and everything to be considered. I also think that F.G’s theory sounds a lot like something that Brookings would have cooked up. Nice to hear from you Kiza.

    • Abe
      June 11, 2017 at 14:50

      How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love “The New Middle East”:

      That minor hiatus in the neocon plan was created by Iraq’s refusal to “Greet Us As Liberators” and immediately fragment into three rump states. COIN Plan B: Al Qaeda in Iraq, now Islamic State.

      In the end, the America are always left muttering

      During the 1990s, the neocon “Clean Break” strategy required an Israeli-Saudi alliance to mutually “Secure the Realms”, with ever more fabulous American arms deals for all.

      The Saudis are reliable suppliers of “threats to Israel” in New York, London, Paris, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and coming soon to Iran. Everyone agrees to keep their mouths shut or else, while the media very precisely do as they are told.

      Damn those Russians!

  18. June 10, 2017 at 17:40

    Is it possible that Trump and America have been Saudi-mized?

  19. June 10, 2017 at 16:43

    Another explanation of “THE GAME” Something the Constitution advise against but we were dragged into it full force by our political demand of major Religious faith in the US.
    Faith that also fell to the lure of political justification of every thing. Even Mr. Lazare did not
    reveal the super star of the game, presently Netanyahu who followed the historical position of its people as advisor to the thrones, hence, having those with big army and influence fight the wars for the “liberation” of Greater Israel and recover the Land of David (and as much more as they can get, an old Jewish tradition. Way settle for less when you can get more. This is not criticism of the Jewish people, or Arab or America, or any one using the grand old method “may the best brain win”. America is behind its fellows players. Trump is applying the business game, “the art of the deal”, a decent method if played honestly. There is NO HONESTY expected in war. So far Trump played the Middle Easter game quite well. No one there expect religious honesty, it is a game of “smart” if you can’t handle it do not play it. So far Trump did very well, he turned the problem over to them to solve.

  20. Danny Weil
    June 10, 2017 at 16:42

    War with Iran is the Zionist/US imperialist plan. We can only hope the elections in Britain can help staunch the bleeding

  21. Joe Tedesky
    June 10, 2017 at 16:25

    Trump better watch out, if he turns enough of his trusted nation coalition off, then these disgruntled country’s may start pegging their oil sales to a different currency.

    Another thing I thought about today, was that if every general and admiral, along with all state diplomats were to keep their oath to abide by the U,S. Constitution, then none of these invasions could have taken place.

    Trump is too caught up in being Trump. His embarrassing display of sword dancing with the Saudi’s, and his falling all over the Israeli’s, only to follow up by pissing off every European he could, goes to show just how vain and stupid he really is. The only good thing about Donald Trump, is he isn’t Hillary Clinton.

    • Realist
      June 11, 2017 at 01:44

      Part of being Trump was never having been a politician. He knows how to negotiate in business from a life time of bluffing and posturing amongst partners and rivals there. I gather that the sparring in business is accomplished in a shorter time period, more forcefully and directly without all the public so-called “Kabuki” dance. Anyway, I gathered that is what he promised during his campaign and what his supporters expected: that he would be the “boss” and what he says goes. I suspect that he didn’t appreciate how much lying, renegging, back-stabbing and rank hypocrisy goes on in politics without ever using those terms to describe the reality.

      Trump certainly had no idea how much obstruction he would encounter from the entrenched Deep State, especially from the ranks of Obama holdovers who overtly set about to embarrass and thwart him at every turn. Now this includes Obama himself. Their “Logan Act” ploy, which successfully set the stage for the whole General Flynn/Russia Gate imbroglio, will go down in the history books as a particularly facile attempt to stage a coup using blank ammunition and a conniving media to confect illusory kill shots. If he can survive the next few months of this naked coup attempt under the guise of a quasi-constitutional impeachment campaign, I think he is smart enough to have learned some valuable survival skills.

      Trump is ignorant and inarticulate, but he is not unintelligent, which is why the bipartisan opposition to him wanted to kill his administration in the crib before he ever displayed a learning curve. I guarantee you one thing: he will discover how the Attorney General’s office can be used as a counter weapon, which is why JFK inserted his brother into that slot. Whereas Loretta Lynch was used by Obama to paper over a lifetime of skirting the law by Hillary, Jeff Sessions will not recuse himself against further insurrectionist activities or he will not retain the office. Big mistake by the politically naive Trump on that appointment. I’m not for his agenda or his party, but if I were, I would have named Rudy Giuliani to that post. The courtroom is where Giuliani first made his bones. Plus he’s a partisan bulldog with no intention of being rolled by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton surrogates.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 11, 2017 at 02:27

        I think it’s a matter of time until good sense would be for Sessions to resign. I don’t have his replacement in mind.

        Yes Trump is up against a lot. Yet Trump doesn’t seem to help himself either. Probably Trump is very aware of the optics, and he got his eye on another outcome which I can’t see, but none the less Trump puts the meaning into the word ‘character’.

        When it comes to Trump dealing with the swampy creatures, I pity him.

        In time Trump should be able to be judged on his economics, if trends are in his proposed good direction then he’s a hero, on the other hand if we are living on the ‘hey buddy have ya got a dime’ well then his days are numbered.

        What Trump needs is people around him who will make everything run right and with the protocol of the highest order, like Reagan had. My one worry is to how much power has Trump given to the generals? Like you said the other day Realist, why don’t the Neocons love Trump?

        We are living in a time of reality tv, and I must say it feels strange. Our cable news media is 24/7 with Trump, our late night talk show hosts (all of them) are bashing Trump, I mean we are living in a all the time Trump world….we have gone bizarre as a Nation, and most will say, ‘where in the hell is Saudi Arabia & who’s this guitar’ oh and Bill Maher apologized.

      • backwardsevolution
        June 11, 2017 at 06:42

        Realist – or Trey Gowdy. That guy is incredible. Give him the Attorney-General’s job. I think Trey Gowdy was offered the FBI position, but he said he wouldn’t have gotten through the nomination process as the Democrats would have deemed him to be too biased. But he would be my pick.

      • Virginia
        June 11, 2017 at 11:33

        It’s a good thing Trump put in his fire-letter to Comey that he had told him 3 times that he wasn’t under investigation. And also he let it be known that Comey better hope there were no tapes of their conversations. Otherwise, would Comey have come clean about the fact that he really had told Trump’s that?

        • backwardsevolution
          June 11, 2017 at 13:44

          Virginia – exactly. Trump was brilliant when he mentioned the tapes because it left Comey wondering, “If I go in there and lie and there are tapes, then I am in a world of trouble.”

      • Dave P.
        June 11, 2017 at 15:27

        Realist: Excellent. Your analysis is very informative. All the points you made are on the mark. I agree with your Rudy Giuliani comment. Obama was very clever in his A.G. choices – Eric Holder, and Loretta Lynch. Loretta Lynch was actively involved in all the Obama’s shenanigans to undo Trump during Nov.-Jan. period after election, and prior to that too. So was Rice – and many others.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 11, 2017 at 06:37

      Joe – the Deep State has Trump’s head in a bench vise and they’re turning the crank.

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 11, 2017 at 09:30

        I saw that on the 3 Stooges.

        • F. G. Sanford
          June 11, 2017 at 13:09

          I think I saw that episode too. It was called “Ayatollah You So, Moe”. They played three rogue state finance crooks: Uncle “Sam the Sham” Curly, Sultan Moe Hammed and Izzy “The Lizard” Larry Schwartzman. The sequel was pretty good too – “Hair ’em Scare ’em”, or “Toupee Or Not To Pay”. They arranged an arms deal, but Sultan Moe wanted legs too. Izzy wrote a rubber check. Then Moe asked him how he liked his camels – one hump or two, and hit him with a rubber hammer…nyuck nyuck nyuck. Then, they disguised themselves as three harem girls and hid in the Sultan’s tent. Meanwhile, the Sultan was entertaining head-chopping Bedouins from the desert, and offered them some hospitality…in the harem tent. The three slipped out and sent in three American diplomats. The negotiations produced astounding results! Woob-woob-woob-woob-woob! Oil’s well that ends well!

          • backwardsevolution
            June 11, 2017 at 13:46

            Sanford – very funny writing!

          • Joe Tedesky
            June 11, 2017 at 14:38

            F.G. Funny thing was Paul Shannon’s grandson was here at my house today. I will be sure to tell this younger Shannon how I just found another Stooges fan, the grandson will be overjoyed.

  22. Dave P.
    June 10, 2017 at 16:24

    Whatever foolish things Trump does or is driven to do to save his hide in his capitulation to the The Deep State, it matters little now. Trump his history now. He has been on the hit list of Neocon Establishment – which is just about all Washington Establishment and beyond, except a few brave souls – since day one, after his election.

    We just have to wait for Mueller’s Neocon planned inquest now. Trump will be gone in a month or two. And beyond in the wide World, there will be more fireworks shows coming for the Weak Nations. But the ultimate target, and the Prize is Russia.

    • mike k
      June 10, 2017 at 16:58

      Trump may prove to be a tougher nut to crack than we would like to believe. He is lawyering up now for the fight. The republicans will risk losing his supporters if they assist in deposing him, or even if they refuse to give him adequate support. With enough of their votes he cannot be impeached. It might take the time honored route of assassination to get rid of him, and the reaction of a large segment of those who supported him to that might be pretty volcanic.

      • Dave P.
        June 10, 2017 at 17:49

        mike, you are right, there are dangers in deposing Trump. But The Establishment, which includes Republicans, and Democrats, Media, MIC, Intelligence Apparatus, Wall Street, and all that can not afford to continue this bizarre drama for much longer. It will erode dangerously the American prestige in the World, and its’ hegemony – though the Vassal States of Europe will fall in line right away.
        How long can this completely fabricated “Russia Gate” show implicating Trump and his associates go on? With respect to Trump, they will conclude it before end of summer.

        What they do with Russia, it is hard to say, but the “Deep State” must be having some plans.

    • Realist
      June 11, 2017 at 01:06

      Re my response to Andrew (above): this is an analysis of Trump’s motives that I find much more plausible than simple “greed” as an explanation for his actions. Forces of the Deep State that want him removed from the presidency have cornered him and are trying to destroy his credibility even though their narrative is incredibly flimsy and ad hoc. Apparently that’s okay because most Americans are not deep thinkers. One action that a person so cornered might take would be to attempt to placate his enemies, as Dave suggests Mr. Trump is doing.

      • Dave P.
        June 11, 2017 at 02:44

        Realist, you are right on this. Yes, Trump Loved to make money, but it is not greed which is the case for his actions. He knows what he is doing. It is not what he wanted to do – the man is cornered, and he has lost his balance, getting very erratic in his actions. Look at his face in pictures, while in Saudi Arabia or here, he is not all with it – he seems distracted, a little anguished, a bit scared too, but trying to look different.

        He thought it will be simple, his theories and ideas will prevail. But can you imagine him sitting in between those two advisers, Mattis and McMaster, going at him with their plans – how they are going to set the World right.

        They, the whole cabal – Intelligence Apparatus, Media,Think Tank Pundits, Political Establishment, all of them, have not let him rest for a second since the day he was elected. Sometimes, his situation elicits sympathy from the audience. I feel that way, sometimes.

        The whole thing is bizarre.

  23. Norma Price
    June 10, 2017 at 16:18

    Sometimes I wonder what the motivation for attacking the Twin Towers was all about. Given Trump’s new affection for the Saudi Arabians, and the many deals Trump has struck,including his fondness for building big towers, I am imagining that the Twin Towers of the WTC were destroyed out of competition and jealousy by someone resembling our POTUS in spirit. I got this feeling from reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

  24. Andrew Dabrowski
    June 10, 2017 at 15:05

    “…while everyone in Washington seems to think that Trump has been captured by the Russians, the real story, it suggests, is that he’s been captured by the Saudis.”

    No, Trump has been in thrall since birth to Money.

    • Realist
      June 11, 2017 at 00:58

      You see, that’s what the American MSM does as part of the demonisation process when they set out to destroy a public figure: they reduce him to one or a handful of despicable traits that may have absolutely no grounding in reality, but they make it simple so the American public doesn’t have to cogitate long on the matter. In Trump’s case you have blithely been led to believe that he’s greedy and that personal profit is the motive behind his every action. Solves the problem of having to apply a more fair and nuanced analysis of his actions. The Deep State just loves having citizens like that.

      • Kiza
        June 12, 2017 at 00:54

        Agreed. No matter how boorish and rough his behavior may be, the man won the Presidency by stating clearly before the election what was wrong with the US domestic and international policies (as Daniel quotes here as well). Therefore, reducing him to the MSM-favorite one-dimensional cartoonish character does not help. It would be much more appropriate to sigh in desperation how impossible it is to reform US. I regularly wonder if some Romans or some Chinese felt the same when their empires were heading in the same direction as the US one.

  25. jfl
    June 10, 2017 at 14:51

    it’s not the israelis and saudis who have ‘hacked’ our government – they use axes rather than nsa/cia derived malware – it’s … the russians.

    i’m amazed at the dogged stupidity of the tnc msm to keep pushing their patently bogus point while the twin carcasses of the 800 kg saudi & israeli gorillas lay on the floor of the whitehouse and congress, stinking up the place.

    is there anyone in the usofa who does not see through this tawdry fraud?

    the real damage to not only our united states but to the world comes from the dominance of the us government by the genocidal, terrorist twins : israel and saudi arabia.

  26. TomB
    June 10, 2017 at 13:40

    This article is worthless because it fails to mention the real tail that wags the US dog. Clue: it’s not Saudi Arabia or Russia.

    • Guy NonPlussed
      June 10, 2017 at 15:33

      @TomB, Lazare mentions Tel Aviv in the second paragraph under ‘Wagging the Dog’. Just sayin’…

  27. Patricia Victour
    June 10, 2017 at 13:29

    Two minor things missing from this, for what they are worth except as interesting sidelights, are (1) Iran and Qatar share a gigantic gas field that funds Qatar’s uber-lavish lifestyle, and (2) Qatar funds Al Jazeera.

  28. D5-5
    June 10, 2017 at 13:03

    Daniel Lazare adds to the disturbing portrait of Trump that continues to emerge as, yes, having been played for a sucker by Saudi Arabia on this Qatar business. Whether he knew the US has possibly the largest airbase in the world located in Qatar, key to air missions against ISIS, is a good question, along with so much else he doesn’t seem to know. His recent behavior in Europe is extensively shown by Vijay Prashad currently in Counterpunch, and again indicates the man is not only ignorant, his behavior is boorish and alienating. The US is at its lowest point, I surmise, in many decades in terms of global respect, and sinking.

    On the one hand we’re left with the idea that impeaching Trump is a sign of the banana republic, to which the nation has sunk, and odious as any way to deal with him versus maintaining a semblance of a country ruled by its citizens. On the other hand we have a person clearly incompetent and damaging to US interests, as well as dangerous in pursuit of his narrow and egotistical take on what he should be doing. Dealing with such a mistake–his appointment to this powerful office–seems out of reach from the System as it has evolved.

  29. D5-5
    June 10, 2017 at 12:53

    The Saker at the Unz Review June 10 is a valuable companion piece to Daniel’s take here, including the list of demands by Saudi Arabia on Qatar.

    He sees going after Iran as the main reason for SA’s assault on Qatar, due to its failure to cooperate.

    The Saker at his conclusion:

    “I see this latest attempt by the Three Rogue States [Saudi Arabia, Israel, the US] to prove that they are still the biggest and baddest guys on the block, and just like the previous ones, it will fail.”

    And ‘If anything this crisis will only serve to push Qatar further into the warm embrace of other countries, including Russia and Iran, and it will further weaken Saudi Arabia.”

    In an update, Saker adds:

    With Tillerson’s telling SA “to cool it” their plan is collapsing.

  30. evelync
    June 10, 2017 at 12:21

    Thanks Daniel Lazare!

    “Then, on Wednesday afternoon, the White House issued a graceless statement regarding the Islamic State suicide attack a few hours earlier on the Iranian parliament and the shrine of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini: “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. We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

    The last sentence is a mouthful:

    Regime change wars, anyone?
    Our whole Mideast failed policies for the last 30 years?

    Andrew Bacevich adresses it very very well in his talk that I often post here:

    Here’s a more recent talk by Bacevich on militarizing foreign policy that I’m watching right now – I hope it also sheds light on this subject. He’s so interesting.

    • Kiza
      June 12, 2017 at 01:02

      Re the abuse of the word terrorist, my personal favorite is when a US general comes on TV and calls the people who just shot at his soldiers – terrorists. In his deep sunken stupidity he fails to realise that he just diminished “the finest military in the World” to a bunch of fearful pussies terrorised by a couple of pot-bellied Arabs in sandals. He who shoots at soldiers could not even in its widest form fall under the definition of terrorism, in the normal world.

      • Kiza
        June 12, 2017 at 01:20

        I understand that you would not want to call him “a freedom-fighter” or “home-defender”, which is exactly what you would have called a US person fighting an Iraqi, Libyan or Syrian occupying force on US land, but how about a resistance-fighter, a rebbel, or a currently fashionable – a moderate? Nah, not sufficiently vile a title for someone resisting your army of conquest, murder and pillage.

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