Trump has been neutered. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
I knew there was something wrong with Donald Trump’s presidency the day he bombed the airbase at Al-Shairat in Syria. It was a turning point. I knew it was a mistake the moment he did it and argued as such at the time.
No act by him was more contentious.
It cost me hundreds of followers gained throughout the campaign who wanted to believe Trump was playing 4-D chess. My Periscopes went from being events to afterthoughts.
Those that left needed to believe this because they had invested so much in him.
They had to believe he was playing some deep game with Putin to bring peace to the region.
I was right and truth is painful. The need for him to be Orange Jesus was so strong they created Qanon and the ‘science’ of political horoscope as slowly but surely Trump was stripped of all of his power except that of complaining about how unfair it all is.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Insurrection, Military, Politics, Trade
Tagged Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin
A Washington Post columnist is murdered and America’s politicos and media finally notice that Saudi Arabia isn’t a peaceful libertarian paradise. From Peter Crowley at antiwar.com:
Jamal Khashoggi’s death has captured the American news cycle for nearly two months. During this time, we have seen Saudi Arabia try to unsuccessfully try to bury the story, conduct their own “investigation” and, ultimately, determine that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had nothing to do with it. President Donald Trump buys the Saudi government’s narrative, or at least wants to, in so far as any other conclusion would damage the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Other elements in the American political establishment, including the relatively new Trump faithful Lindsey Graham, would like to mildly punish the Saudi government and have become leery of MBS.
On the intelligence front, the CIA has come to view MBS as a liability and, not unrelatedly, considers him the mastermind of the Khashoggi killing, which there’s little doubt he is. Bin Salman’s status as a liability is due to his rash behavior in kidnapping and extorting money from members of the Saudi elite last year, kidnapping the Lebanese prime minister, igniting tensions with Qatar and now this. MBS may be virulently anti-Iran and pro-Israel, but what does that matter if he causes social instability and then the House of Saud goes under? Then Christmas will not come for American arms dealers and the politicians whose campaigns they helped finance.
Khashoggi worked for an American newspaper, The Washington Post. The fact that he’s associated with an American organization seems to be the main reason why the story has stuck around for two months. Other Saudi killings of dissidents have hardly raise eyebrows, including Saudi state prosecutors’ seeking the death penalty for women human rights activists and the Saudi government’s killing of the nonviolent Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr in early January 2016.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Crime, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Media, Military, Politics
Tagged Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Senator Rand Paul breaks with Trump on Saudi Arabia. From Paul at townhall.com:
The brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi has opened a window into the world of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and reminded us that there are many places in the world where disagreeing with your government is a death sentence.
I break with the administration on their response to this killing for many reasons. If Saudi Arabia is not held accountable for the barbaric murder of Khashoggi, what will it mean for the fate of other dissidents held in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere who are being held without trial? What message does it send to kingdoms and dictatorships around the region and the world that America considers its defense sales paramount to its stand for human rights?
What will it mean for Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of Nimr al-Nimr, the Shia sheik executed by the Saudis in 2016?
Posted in Civil Liberties, Crime, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Military, Morality, Politics
Tagged Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Trump’s not going to let the Jamal Khashoggi murder get in the way of the mutually advantageous US-Saudi Arabia relationship. From Middle East Eye at theantimedia.org:
US President Donald Trump’s latest statement on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder is an extraordinary example of political sincerity – although backed by a completely wrong analysis.
Trump departed from the usual empty and generic rhetoric made by former American presidents about Saudi Arabia. He made it very clear that the US will condone what Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did, i.e ordering the killing of Khashoggi, because the kingdom is containing Iran, purchasing American weapons and is helping to control oil prices in line with American interests.
In other words, when American values, such as defending human rights and the rule of law, collide with American interests, Trump will opt for the latter. In fact, Trump statement confirms indirectly Middle East Eye’s report on the US intention to offer a way out to the Saudi crown prince from the Khashoggi quagmire.
Posted in Crime, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Investigations, Law, Money, Morality, Politics, War
Tagged Arms Sales, Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump
Trump has given the green light for Saudi Arabia to continue its war in Yemen. From Randi Nord at theantimedia.org:
Washington has chosen to diverge from its European allies and continue support for the Saudi led-coalition against Yemen. Following a White House statement that reaffirms US commitment, the Saudi coalition has continued with its assault on Hodeidah port and civilians in Yemen.
- Germany, the United Kingdom, and other European nations have recently put forth effort to stop the war against Yemen.
- The White House has issued a statement doubling down on its seemingly unconditional support for Saudi Arabia — particularly its assault on Yemen.
- Saudi Arabia has since continued its attacks on Yemen’s Hodeidah port and civilian areas.
- Yemenis hold out hope for the European effort and UN envoy’s recent visit to Hodediah port.
Washington Diverges from European Allies, Doubles Down on Support for Gulf Monarchies
On November 20th, the White House issued (yet another) statement blaming Iran for the ongoing bloodshed in Yemen. It’s worth noting that Iran has no troops in Yemen. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia and the UN inspect all aid shipments entering Yemen for weapons and missile parts. There is absolutely no concrete evidence of Iran providing support to Ansarullah (aka. Houthis) in Yemen.
Posted in Collapse, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Imperialism, Media, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Arms Sales, Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
President Trump has made a huge mistake placing all his chips on Saudi Arabia and Mohammad bin Salman in the Middle East. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
“Mr. Trump, nor anyone else in his administration, has announced any conclusions about how Mr. Khashoggi died, or who bears responsibility for ordering the killing”, a Washington Post editorial fulminates. “Instead, they have pretended to be waiting for the results of a Saudi investigation… the obvious problem with that stance is it assumes that Mohammed bin Salman himself is not at the bottom of the Khashoggi plot — though abundant evidence points to the crown prince. In truth, as the administration surely knows, there is no Saudi investigation — only a cover-up operation that has clumsily tried to disguise itself as an inquiry”.
One aspect to this affair is the US domestic issue. The White House is increasingly perceived – as the Washington Post implies – as engaged in a ‘soft’ cover-up of a cover-up. That is to say, the White House is being viewed as so set on keeping MbS in position as lynchpin to Trump’s entire Middle Eastern strategy that the White House and Mr Bolton will try to turn a Nelsonian ‘blind eye’ – or a ‘selective ear’ – to any audio evidence provided by the Turkish government that seems to implicate MbS.
President Trump is keeping his powder dry. He said: “I’ll have a much stronger opinion on that subject over the next week … I’m forming a very strong opinion.” But caution on his part might be wise: leading Turkish daily, Yeni Safak, which is close to the Turkish government, and which has been covering leaked details of the Khashoggi investigation day by day, has reported that Maher Mutrib, the Saudi intelligence official who led the 15-man assassination team in Ankara, spoke to Badr al-Asaker, the head of the Crown Prince’s private office, four times directly after Khashoggi was killed (if it was Mutrib who said “tell your boss” to MbS’ chef de cabinet, then the implication is clear). This has not been officially confirmed, but it is possible (and likely) that Turkish intelligence has yet further details to trickle out, piecemeal, to discredit the Saudi ‘line’ each time the kingdom tries to ‘draw the line’ under the case. Erdogan is determined to get MbS’ scalp, it seems.
Saudi Arabia does what’s best for Saudi Arabia. US involvement in the Middle East, and its alliance with Saudi Arabia, has been very good for Saudi Arabia (or at least the dynasty that rules Saudi Arabia), but not so good for the US. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:
The 633-word statement of President Donald Trump on the Saudi royals’ role in the grisly murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi is a remarkable document, not only for its ice-cold candor.
The president re-raises a question that has roiled the nation since Jimmy Carter: To what degree should we allow idealistic values trump vital interests in determining foreign policy?
On the matter of who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, Trump does not rule out the crown prince as prime suspect:
“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder… (but) it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge.”
Posted in Crime, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Investigations, Money, Morality, Politics
Tagged Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump, Saudi Arabia, Weapons contracts