Closing Thought–22May17

The Glowing Orb Of Destiny!

The president has made a momentous trip aboard…..first stop….Saudi Arabia.  He made his speech and the world rejoiced…..but that is not the most talked about happening on this first trip…..so far……

The most talked about thing is the handling of the “Orb of Destiny”…or maybe is more like one “Orb to bring them all”……

View image on Twitter
WTF?
Okay somebody has got to explain this…the optics are just too much…and the subtitles can go on and on…..

In reality, Trump was attending the opening of the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology along with Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when the photo was taken.

The state-of-the art centre aims to monitor and combat global extremism in real time.

During the opening, the leaders in attendance placed their hands on an illuminated globe as a gesture of their combined commitment to ending terrorism, and to officially activate the centre by launching a welcome video on the screens above.

Like I said…the MOST interesting thing to happen on his trip……you know maybe this was not the best place for a photo-op….just saying…..

The conspiracy ass/wads should have a field day with this piece of “news”……but like moist of the conspiracies it is nothing more than vomit down the toilet…..

With that I call the day at end……I will return tomorrow with more stuff…TTFN….chuq

Advertisements

The Choreography Of A Visit

Much is being written about the trip that Trump is on ….well not so much from the Right wingers……and analysis abounds.

The below is from the Al-Monitor website……

The choreography of the first day of US President Donald Trump’s visit probably exceeded even Saudi Arabia’s expectations. The United States and the kingdom on May 20 concluded a $110 billion arms deal ($350 billion over the coming decade), the announcement of $40 billion of Saudi investments in US infrastructure projects and pronouncements of a new US-Saudi partnership in the region. Trump will give a speech May 21 that he said will address the “growing concern about terrorism, the spread of radicalization and Iran’s role in funding both.” In addition, Trump is calling for US regional partners “to take more responsibility and a much bigger role in fighting terrorism in their region.”

In a news conference, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir seemed in lockstep in their approach to Iran. Tillerson described the arms package as a means to deal with “malign Iranian influence.” Although the US secretary of state gave priority to a political solution in Yemen, he supported additional Saudi military pressure on Houthi armed groups, which are backed by Iran. According to the World Health Organization, Yemen is suffering from an unprecedentedly rapid spread of cholera and “massive damage to the country’s sewage and electricity infrastructure, which have left the water supply contaminated.”

In Jerusalem, Trump will build on the shared concerns among the Gulf States and Israel about Iran. Ben Caspit wrote here in March that “Israel is determined to maintain its red lines on Hezbollah with the utmost meticulousness. It will do whatever it takes to prevent the transfer of any weapons to Hezbollah that could upset the balance of power.”

There may be a question as to whether Trump is quietly holding, or should be holding, a Russian card in his plans for the region. The Trump visit could, or should, be the sign of a trend in which the US strengthens its commitments and relationships with Israel and America’s traditional Sunni allies, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as a means of putting pressure on Iran and providing support for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, while letting Russia take the lead with the Shiite “resistance axis” — including Iran, Syria and Hezbollah — in seeking a diplomatic process to address the region’s conflicts.

Iran is unlikely to be cowed by the spectacle in Riyadh, and there will of course be no deal with Iran or Syria without the good offices of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has a direct line to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The decisive re-election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran on May 19 is a win for the so-called moderate trend, which will now have Khamenei’s support. In the absence of a diplomatic process, the people of Yemen and Syria can expect even more misery in the coming years.

And this brings us back to the White House meeting May 10 between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Most of the media attention focused on what Trump may have said to the Russian envoy about former FBI director James Comey and on the appropriateness of Trump’s sharing of sensitive Israeli intelligence information about Islamic State’s terrorist plotting. US national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who attended the meeting, characterized the exchange between Trump and Lavrov as “wholly appropriate.” Ben Caspit writes this week about how the United States and Israel acted quickly to mitigate any disruption in intelligence cooperation.

But Syria and Iran were also on the Trump-Lavrov agenda. The White House said, “Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria, in particular, underscoring the need for Russia to rein in the Assad regime, Iran and Iranian proxies. … He also raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. The president further emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.”

On May 19, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, hinted at a possible division of labor with the Russians in Syria, while noting the expansion of reducing the possibility of conflict between the US and Russian militaries. “We are looking for the Russians to — to work with the regime, to deconflict our operations. I think what you’re highlighting is absolutely a fair point, which is the ground is becoming increasingly complex and constrained. But to date, we have — we have been able to deconflict operations. … We had a proposal that we’re working on with the Russians right now. I won’t share the details. But — but my sense is that the Russians are as enthusiastic as we are to deconflict operations and ensure that we can continue to take the campaign to ISIS [Islamic State] and ensure the safety of our personnel,” Dunford said.

Laura Rozen reports that just five days after the Trump-Lavrov meeting, in a little-noticed shift, “The Trump White House suggested it was willing to work not only with Russia but also with Iran to try to end the killing in Syria and advance a political transition if they helped bring an end to Assad’s atrocities. Trump has previously lambasted the nuclear deal with Iran and supported calls for additional sanctions over the country’s ballistic missile program. ‘The United States remains open to working together with both Russia and Iran to find a solution that leads to a stable and united Syria,’ Spicer said [on May 15]. But in order for us to work together to bring an end to the violence in Syria, Russia and Iran need to acknowledge the atrocities of the Assad regime and use their influence to stop them.”

Although Tillerson’s remarks in Saudi Arabia could hardly be characterized as a gesture for dialogue, the US secretary of state added, “In terms of whether I’d ever pick the phone up, I’ve never shut off the phone to anyone that wants to talk or have a productive conversation. … In all likelihood, we [Iran and the US] will talk, at the right time.”

As we wrote in this column in November 2013, a shift in Israel-Iran ties “is not so far-fetched when one considers the role that Russia can play as a broker in this exchange. … The United States alone does not yet have all the keys to close a deal between Israel and Hezbollah, but the pieces are coming together. Any negotiation on Hezbollah will run through Damascus as well as Tehran, and here again we get to Moscow’s role, with its newfound credibility in Damascus, Tehran, Jerusalem and Washington.” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told Caspit in February that he was unsure of Russia’s support for Israel’s objectives of a withdrawal of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from Syria, while acknowledging the need for US-Russian coordination. Israel, Liberman said, is in “a complex and complicated dialogue” with Russia.

These trends toward a fresh start are often fragile and ultimately depend on the courage and convictions of leaders willing to take risks and chart a new course. US-Russian collaboration is essential to the endgame in Syria, as we wrote in our second column in December 2012. As Akiva Eldar wrote last month, “If there’s a common denominator that transcends all the disputes between the United States and Russia, it is the belief in the need to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict that was fanned by their Cold War. For a change, Israel can show these two powers the road to peace.”

This trip will make for some great photo-ops…..and is that not what it is really all about in the first place?

Optics my friends optics.

Turn the page!

The Speech Of Speeches

Trump made his much anticipated speech to the Islamic Conference…and I have two questions.

One, Who the Hell wrote this speech?

Two, Was this a campaign speech?

First, the speech was not a Middle East reset….it is business as usual since 1943

Second it sounded more like an American campaign speech than one for an international audience.

I can say with some certainty that Mr. Trump delivered a speech and it was subdued and as respectfully as he can be.  The one problem is he said he was not there to lecture the region and then set about doing just that.

As for it being a “game changer”….I think not.

IN case you would like to read the speech for yourself……(please do especially if you think you have something to offer)

Source: Full transcript of Trump’s Riyadh speech, as released by White House –

He gave some big lines as he worked his way around the room…..

President Trump addressed the Muslim world on Sunday, taking a more moderate tone than he did as a presidential candidate, when he declared that “Islam hates us,” reports the New York Times. On Sunday, in his speech in Saudi Arabia to Muslim leaders from around the world, he said that the US is “not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.” Instead, he added, “we are here to offer partnership—based on shared interests and values—to pursue a better future for us all.” The Washington Post has a transcript. Highlights:

  • Trump also made headlines for what he didn’t say, specifically the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” Story here(It will be interesting to see if Trump as much grief as Obama for NOT using the term)
  • “A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists. Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this earth. (See this clip here.)
  • “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion—people that want to protect life and want to protect their religion. This is a battle between good and evil.”
  • “The nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them.” They “will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries and, frankly, for their families and for their children.”
  • The US will “make decisions based on real-world outcomes, not inflexible ideology,” and “wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms, not sudden intervention.”
  • He called Islam “one of the world’s great faiths.”
  • Trump criticized Iran for spreading “destruction and chaos” throughout the region.
  • There is one point he neglected to point out……The Saudis export an extremist interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, around the globe. Over the past three decades, Saudi Arabia has spent about $4 billion per year on mosques, madrassas, preachers, students, and textbooks to spread Wahhabism and anti-Western sentiment. Let’s not forget that 15 of the 19 fanatical hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Saudis, as was Osama bin Laden himself.
  • The Saudis fund terrorism worldwide. A Wikileaks-revealed 2009 cable quotes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide … More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayyiba and other terrorist groups.”

Keep in mind he made a speech last year about fighting terrorism (if you would like to compare the two)…..

Source: Full text: Donald Trump’s speech on fighting terrorism – POLITICO

All in all it was a good speech…not a great one but adequate and no bonehead slogans or diatribes…..but the speech was written by someone with very little knowledge of the Middle East…..did I expect more?  No pretty much what I though it would be……

I am waiting to see if there is any blow back from those half witted supporters…..(of course there won’t be)……he refused to use “radical Islamic terrorism” and a more damnable sin was he bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia….will these get him criticized? (Don’t hold your breath)

“Hypocrites get offended by the truth”

“Hypocrites are those who apply to others the standards that they refuse to accept for themselves”

Need we say more?

Donald of Arabia

He Came….He Saw….He Gave A Speech!

Pres. Trump has made his first international trip as the leader of the free world and he decided to start with Saudi Arabia….why?

Has there been a more disgusting spectacle during the four months of this presidency than the sight of Donald Trump slobbering all over the barbarous Saudi monarch and his murderous family of petty princelings? It’s enough to make any normal American retch, especially when one remembers what Trump said about them during the election:

“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

Source: Donald of Arabia: A Disgusting Spectacle by — Antiwar.com

His main concern should have been to try and end the bloody attacks on Yemen….but instead it is about sending them more cash and resources so they can continue to “confront terrorism”……

There are good reasons why we should not be massaging their genitals for them…..

Source: 10 Reasons Trump Should Not Strengthen U.S.-Saudi Ties | Alternet

One of the only things that this trip will accomplish is to tap down the conversation around the Russian stuff…..at least for a couple of days….it will not go away just not be the lead unless something major breaks….

The biggest lie was told not by Trump but by the moron the  hued to be SecState, Tillerson…..Tillerson said on “Fox News Sunday” that the visit was meant to confront the threat of terrorism. He said that human rights would improve as security and stability in the region did.

Now that is the whopper of the trip so far!  (just re-read the 10 reasons in above link)

And then Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC stated the Trump now feels like he understands the Middle East….seriously?  After two days he fully understands?  I lived and worked in the Middle East for 3 years and there are times when I do not fully understand the Middle East…..so this dude is si sharp that he has it all at hand now after two days……

May I interject here…BULLSHIT!

And we all wait.

Mueller: Man Of The Hour

A Special Counsel has been named…Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI has been tasked with the duties surrounding the Russia thingy…..and he quickly became the talk of the town….DC that is…….

(Don’t worry this will not be the story it was a couple of days ago….but it will make a comeback….in due time)

And as usual the Right wing dolts are doing their hatchet job in protection of their petty dictator….

There are pros and cons about this person….since few will give you both at the same time then let me be the first…..

Robert Mueller is getting bipartisan praise, but President Trump thinks the appointment of a special prosecutor over the Russia-Trump campaign probe is a “witch hunt.” What does the media say? Dueling editorials from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times offer opposite takes:

  • The WSJ argues that special prosecutors are almost always a bust, largely because they’re basically accountable to no one. This appointment “opens up years of political risk to the Trump Administration with no guarantee that the public will end up with any better understanding of what really happened,” the paper’s editorial says. What is really needed is a counterintelligence investigation, but “Mueller will be under pressure to bring criminal indictments of some kind to justify his existence.” Full editorial here.
  • The NYT, though, says this is the only way Americans will have confidence that any alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia are fully investigated. “Even before the stunning events of the past week, Mr. Mueller would have had plenty to work with,” its editorial states. “But after the president’s abrupt firing of Mr. Comey on May 9—followed by his apparent admission that he did so with the Russia investigation in mind, followed by reports that he previously pressed Mr. Comey to pledge his loyalty and asked him to drop a related inquiry into Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser—it became clear that the investigation needed to be kept alive at all costs, and as far from Mr. Trump as possible.” Full editorial here.

This was a smart move….now the GOP can get back to discussing policies and issues and stop being bombarded with the mundane crap from the media.

But I am sure that the Righties will keep this situation alive as long as they can try and blame Obama and even GW when they can……

But as far as reality goes…..we all have to let this play out….for better or for worse……it MUST play out!

New Plan–A Middle East NATO

After the last election every American knows about NATO….at one point if elected Trump was going to pull our support for the organization….but that was jusr an idle threat.

What is the mission of NATO?

Originally NATO was started to counter the moves of the USSR into Western Europe…..but after the collapse its mission was expanded.

NATO’s mission is to protect the freedom of its members. For example, on July 8, 2016, NATO announced it would send up to 4,000 troops to the Baltic states and eastern Poland. It will increase air and sea patrols to shore up its eastern front after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. (Source: “NATO Agrees to Reinforce the Baltic States,” Reuters, July 8, 2016.)

Its targets include weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and cyber attacks. On November 16, 2015, NATO responded to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

It called for a unified approach with the European Union, France and NATO. That’s because France did not invoke NATO’s Article 5. That would be a formal declaration of war upon the Islamic state group. France preferred to launch air strikes on its own. Article 5 states, “an armed attack upon one…

shall be considered an attack upon them all.” (Sources: “NATO Addresses European Defense Agency,” NATO, November 16, 2015. “Will NATO Respond to the Paris Attacks?” The Atlantic, November 15, 2015.)

I point out this because there seems to be a move to form some sort of Middle East NATO…it stated purpose is to confront terrorism in the region and head it off at the pass…..basically it is to confront Iran’s ambitions in the region…..

President Trump will reportedly unveil plans for an “Arab NATO” during his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia this weekend.  While possessing an innate appeal to many, Trump’s security team will need to develop answers to some basic questions about the role and functions of this organization and should carefully weigh the potential downside risks associated with this proposal.

An announcement to create an “Arab NATO” would represent the culmination of a project that the Trump administration has been pursuing since coming to office in January 2017.  Initial plans apparently envision an alliance centered around traditional U.S. allies including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Egypt, although others could presumably join.  The United States itself would not be an official member of the pact but would contribute substantial military, intelligence, and diplomatic support to the alliance. It would not directly involve Israel.

Source: So What’s Wrong With an Arab NATO? | RealClearDefense

This is not a bad idea but there is already a mechanism in place to deal with this through the Arab League……all they would have to do is expand the part of the League’s charter to deal with the rise in terrorism……I wrote about it awhile back…..I pointed out the wording of the League’s charter…..

According to its charter, the founding members of the Arab League (Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Yemen) agreed to seek “close cooperation” on matters of economics, communication, culture, nationality, social welfare, and health. They renounced violence for the settlement of conflicts between members and empowered League offices to mediate in such disputes, as well as in those with non-members. Signatories agreed to collaborate in military affairs; this accord was strengthened with a 1950 pact committing members to treat acts of aggression on any member state as an act against all.

This appears just a cover for a massive arms deal…..as noble it may sound….it is a wealth generation scheme…..not a confrontation of terrorism in all its forms.

Why would we trust the Saudis with this organization?

The Saudis export an extremist interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, around the globe. Over the past three decades, Saudi Arabia has spent about $4 billion per year on mosques, madrassas, preachers, students, and textbooks to spread Wahhabism and anti-Western sentiment. Let’s not forget that 15 of the 19 fanatical hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Saudis, as was Osama bin Laden himself.

The Saudis fund terrorism worldwide. A Wikileaks-revealed 2009 cable quotes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide … More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayyiba and other terrorist groups.” In Syria the Saudis are supporting the most extreme sectarian forces. And while the Saudi government condemns ISIS, many experts, including 9/11 Commission Report lead author Senator Bob Graham, believe that ISIS is a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money and Saudi organizational support.

This scheme by Trump and his Saudi buddies does not pass the smell test….what is Trump’s deal with this proposal?

I believe that this is more about building an armed bloc against Iran….give it a cute name and sell it to the Americans.

To me this is the appearance of doing something while doing nothing.

Only a crook or a bonehead would fall for this con.

More on Trump’s big speech in a later post…..stay tuned….