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The US empire spans the globe; it expands and contracts, according to its ability to secure strategic assets, willing and able to further military and economic power to counter emerging adversaries. The map of empire is a shorthand measure of the vectors, reach and durability of global power and wealth. The map of empire is... Read More
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True believer Mike Pence could be a whole lot worse
When President Donald Trump traveled to Davos last week, the second foreign head of government he met with was Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. When the expected groveling before Bibi was concluded the rest of the world learned that Trump is right on board the Netanyahu bandwagon when it comes to making sure that the Palestinians somehow... Read More
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Just a few days shy of the first year since the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States I think that it would be reasonable to say that pretty much everybody, besides the Neocons and a few unconditional supporters, is now feeling quite appalled at what the past year brought to the... Read More
Israeli jets and ground-to-ground missile attacks on targets in the outskirts of Damascus are a mark of Israel’s heightened concern as President Bashar al-Assad comes close to winning the civil war in Syria. Israel’s security cabinet has held meetings several times in recent days to discuss how it should respond to the “day-after” the war... Read More
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It's fact: Neoconservatives are pleased with President Trump’s foreign policy. A couple of months back, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake let it know he was in neoconservative nirvana: "… for Venezuela, [Donald Trump] came very close to calling for regime change. 'The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,' Trump said. 'We are... Read More
In the run-up to Christmas, President Donald Trump has been the beneficiary of some surprisingly good news and glad tidings. Sunday, Vladimir Putin called to thank him and the CIA for providing Russia critical information that helped abort an ISIS plot to massacre visitors to Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Monday found polls showing Trump... Read More
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Jerusalem is first of all a symbol, and a potent one; the American recognition of Jewish sovereignty over the Holy City is a sign of the final Jewish victory over Christianity, and it is to be deeply regretted. Richard Coeur de Lion and Tancred would not understand this surrender of the city they fought for,... Read More
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) of Saudi Arabia is the undoubted Middle East man of the year, but his great impact stems more from his failures than his successes. He is accused of being Machiavellian in clearing his way to the throne by the elimination of opponents inside and outside the royal family. But,... Read More
President Trump and the Israeli government will have foreseen and discounted a Palestinian “day of rage” and protests among Muslims everywhere in the wake of the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move its embassy there. They assume that this will all blow over because US allies such as... Read More
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I am often asked if the US and Russia will go to war with each other. I always reply that they are already at war. Not a war like WWII, but a war nonetheless. This war is, at least for the time being, roughly 80% informational, 15% economic and 5% kinetic. But in political terms... Read More
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Introduction Saudi Arabia has built a powerful network of regional and local political, military and economic relationships incorporating a shared extremist-religious affiliation. As a result, despite its reputation as a backward despotic clerico-monarchy with an extreme dependency on oil sales, it has become a deadly political force in the Middle East and beyond. To understand... Read More
President Trump’s stance on conflict in the Middle East is a mixture of bellicose threats and demonisation of opponents combined with rather more cautious and carefully calculated action or inaction on the ground. Leaders in Baghdad, Damascus, Riyadh and Tehran face the same problem as those in Tokyo and London, uncertain where the rhetoric ends... Read More
"The Kurds have no friends but the mountains," is an old lament. Last week, it must have been very much on Kurdish minds. As their U.S. allies watched, the Kurdish peshmerga fighters were run out of Kirkuk and all the territory they had captured fighting ISIS alongside the Americans. The Iraqi army that ran them... Read More
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Trump fans, that endangered and vanishing species, are going through hard times. Even a devoted admirer of the Orange Man couldn’t swallow his strange battle of words with Kim, his threats to Iran, his UNESCO farce – and keep a straight face. The only comfort is that Hillary would have been even worse. Is he... Read More
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Erdogan’s Turkey and Seven Deadly Sins
Introduction Multiple wars ravage the Middle East. Turkey has inserted itself into the middle of most of these regional conflicts and ended up a loser. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has intervened and formed alliances with a rogue’s gallery of imperial warlords, terrorists-mercenaries, Zionist expansionists, feudal potentates and obscure tribal chiefs, with disastrous economic,... Read More
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Sixteen Years, But Who’s Counting?
Consider, if you will, these two indisputable facts. First, the United States is today more or less permanently engaged in hostilities in not one faraway place, but at least seven. Second, the vast majority of the American people could not care less. Nor can it be said that we don’t care because we don’t know.... Read More
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When It Comes to the War in the Greater Middle East, Maybe We’re the Bad Guys
I used to command soldiers. Over the years, lots of them actually. In Iraq, Colorado, Afghanistan, and Kansas. And I’m still fixated on a few of them like this one private first class (PFC) in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2011. All of 18, he was short, scrawny, and popular. Nine months after graduating from high school,... Read More
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With the Neocon coup against Trump now completed (at least in its main objective, that is the neutralization of Trump, the subsidiary objective, impeaching Trump and removing him from office remains something for the future) the world has to deal, yet again, with a very dangerous situation: the AngloZionist Empire is on a rapid decline,... Read More
Newt Gingrich, Credit: Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
"Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender." Thus does our Churchill, Newt Gingrich, dismiss, in dealing with Iran, the policy of containment crafted by George Kennan and pursued by nine U.S. presidents to bloodless victory in the Cold War. Why is containment surrender? "Because freedom is... Read More
Precision Warfare? Don’t Make Me Laugh
You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and tracked human being just about anywhere on Earth; special operations raids so pinpoint-accurate that they would represent a triumph of modern military science. Everything “networked.” It was to be a glorious... Read More
Photo by Debra Sweet | CC BY 2.0
Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 as a peace candidate. He signaled that he would fundamentally change America’s course after the reckless carnage unleashed by the George W. Bush administration. However, by the end of Obama’s presidency, the United States was bombing seven different foreign nations. But Obama’s warring rarely evoked the protests... Read More
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Donald Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East
The superhighway to disaster is already being paved. From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported U.S. global power for the past 70 years... Read More
The Saudi-American-Iranian-Russian-Qatari-Syrian Conundrum
The Middle East. Could there be a more perilous place on Earth, including North Korea? Not likely. The planet’s two leading nuclear armed powers backing battling proxies amply supplied with conventional weapons; terror groups splitting and spreading; religious-sectarian wars threatening amid a plethora of ongoing armed hostilities stretching from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. And... Read More
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The first date is a decisive one, as we learned in college, while courting Nancy or Alice. The coming first date of two Presidents, the two superheroes of our generation is likely to set the trend for coming years. How will it go? What will they say? The consequences can be joyous – or fatal.... Read More
What a scary week in the Mideast. The epicenter of the world’s energy resources and the land-bridge between Asia and Africa is spinning out of control as the danger of a shooting war between the US and Russia grows daily. A US F-18 warplane shot down a Syrian Air Force SU-22 ground attack aircraft over... Read More
The Saudi Regime Is Playing Donald Trump With Potentially Disastrous Consequences
At this point, it’s no great surprise when Donald Trump walks away from past statements in service to some impulse of the moment. Nowhere, however, has such a shift been more extreme or its potential consequences more dangerous than in his sudden love affair with the Saudi royal family. It could in the end destabilize... Read More
Not that anyone in a position of power seems to notice, but there’s a simple rule for American military involvement in the Greater Middle East: once the U.S. gets in, no matter the country, it never truly gets out again. Let’s start with Afghanistan. The U.S. first entered the fray there in 1979 via a... Read More
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov in 2015
Connecting the Dots and Discerning the Future
Russia has often been in the news over the past years, mostly as the demonized “Empire of Mordor” responsible for all the bad things on the planet, especially Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton, the Russian intervention in Syria and, of course, the “imminent” Russian invasion of the Baltics, Poland or even all of Western Europe.... Read More
The Age of Grief
“This is a war against normal life.” So said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, describing the situation at this moment in Syria, as well as in other parts of the Middle East. It was one of those remarks that should wake you up to the fact that the regions the United States has, since September 2001,... Read More
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Introduction US policy in the Middle East and South Asia is shaped by several basic considerations: 1) US Imperialism is the force of global domination 2) US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran’s allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi’a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing... Read More
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The Irrationality of Iran Vilification
“Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on a mid-April visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, “you find Iran.” I must admit that when I stumbled across that quote it brought up uncomfortable personal memories. East Baghdad, January 25, 2007: my patrol had missed a turn... Read More
When we think about terrorism we most often think about the horrors of a Manchester-like attack, where a radicalized suicide bomber went into a concert hall and killed dozens of innocent civilians. It was an inexcusable act of savagery and it certainly did terrorize the population.What is less considered are attacks that leave far more... Read More
The massacre in Manchester is a horrific event born out of the violence raging in a vast area stretching from Pakistan to Nigeria and Syria to South Sudan. Britain is on the outer periphery of this cauldron of war, but it would be surprising if we were not hit by sparks thrown up by these... Read More
The Great White Father came to Saudi Arabia last week to harangue some 50 Arab and African despots on the glories of Trumpism, democracy and the need to fight what the Americans call terrorism. Having covered the Mideast for many decades, I cannot think of a more bizarre or comical spectacle. Here was Saudi Arabia,... Read More
Robert Fisk put it best: “Trump Is About To Really Mess Up In The Middle East”. Following his fantastically stupid decision to attack the Syrian military with cruise missiles, Trump or, should I say, the people who make decisions for him, probably realized that it was “game over” for any US policy in the Middle-East... Read More
In the wake of the massacre in Manchester, people rightly warn against blaming the entire Muslim community in Britain and the world. Certainly one of the aims of those who carry out such atrocities is to provoke the communal punishment of all Muslims, thereby alienating a portion of them who will then become open to... Read More
President Trump leaves the Middle East today, having done his bit to make the region even more divided and mired in conflict than it was before. At the same moment that Donald Trump was condemning the suicide bomber in Manchester as “an evil loser in life”, he was adding to the chaos in which al-Qaeda... Read More
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President Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, mere hours after US bombers attacked pro-Assad militiamen whom the US military say were threatening a base in southern Syria where US and British Special Forces are training rebel fighters. It would be naïve to imagine that the timing of the US attack, the first intentionally made against... Read More
Introduction Over the past two decades Washington has pursued the age-old imperial strategy of divide and conquer throughout the Middle East, Southwest Asia and East Africa. Unable to dominate and dictate national policy of the nation-states, Washington has worked to break-up central governments and sub-divide them into ethno-mini-states amenable as imperial rule. Washington’s strategy of... Read More
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The Short Answer: Fight it!
Make no mistake: after 15 years of losing wars, spreading terror movements, and multiplying failed states across the Greater Middle East, America will fight the next versions of our ongoing wars. Not that we ever really stopped. Sure, Washington traded in George W. Bush’s expansive, almost messianic attitude toward his Global War on Terror for... Read More
Recently, historians Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim wrote an interesting New York Times op-ed on why the last 15 years of failed American wars across the Greater Middle East seem to have taught our military and civilian leadership absolutely nothing. Hence, the recent 59-missile strike against a Syrian airfield -- just the latest act that... Read More
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)" Those are among Jesus' last words on the Cross that first Good Friday. It was a cry of agony, but not despair. The dying Christ, to rise again in three days, was repeating the first words of the 22nd Psalm. And today,... Read More
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Onward and Upward with U.S. Central Command
By way of explaining his eight failed marriages, the American bandleader Artie Shaw once remarked, “I am an incurable optimist.” In reality, Artie was an incurable narcissist. Utterly devoid of self-awareness, he never looked back, only forward. So, too, with the incurable optimists who manage present-day American wars. What matters is not past mistakes but... Read More
U.S. Marines are, for the first time, deploying to Syria (with more to come). There’s talk of an “enduring” U.S. military presence in Iraq, while additional U.S. troops are being dispatched to neighboring Kuwait with an eye to the wars in both Iraq and Syria. Yemen has been battered by a veritable blitz of drone... Read More
Latin America, the Middle East and Ukraine
Introduction: Over thirty year ago a savvy Colombian peasant leader told me, “Whenever I read the word ‘peace accords’ I hear the government sharpening its knives”. In recent times, ‘peace accords’ (PAs) have become a common refrain across the world. In almost every region or country, which are in the midst of war or invasion,... Read More
We are now moving rapidly into stage II of Levantine Madness as the US boosts its intervention in the war-torn Mideast. Five thousand US troops are back in Iraq to bolster the shattered nation’s puppet regime that is propped up by American bayonets. New Iraqi military formations have been formed, totally equipped with modern US... Read More
Let’s face it: since 9/11 everything in our American world has been wildly out of proportion. Understandably enough, at the time that attack was experienced as something other than it was. In the heat of the moment, it would be compared to city-destroying or world-ending Hollywood disaster films (“It was like one of them Godzilla... Read More
The Terror Inside Trump’s White House
What kind of national security policy will the Trump administration pursue globally? On this issue, as on so many others, the incoming president has offered enough contradictory clues, tweets, and comments that the only definitive answer right now is: Who knows? During his presidential campaign he more or less promised a non-interventionist foreign policy, even... Read More
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President Trump is adding further venom to the raging sectarian hatreds tearing apart Iraq and Syria by his latest ill-judged tweets. These have far greater explosive potential than his better known clashes with countries like Australia and Mexico, because in the Middle East he is dealing with matters of war and peace. In this complex... Read More
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It is a rare privilege to be able to criticize a politician for actually fulfilling his campaign promises but Donald Trump is a unique President and this week he offered us exactly this opportunity with not one, but three different SNAFUs to report. First, there was the botched raid against an alledged al-Qaeda compound in... Read More
Category Classics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
While other top brass played press agents for the administration’s war, William Odom told the truth about...
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?