allah doesn’t play dice

At CNN, Imagining an Absurd Iran-Daesh Alliance
Jim Naureckas, FAIR, May 19 2017

Pro-torture legal scholar Alan Dershowitz was on CNN Anderson Cooper 360 the other night (5/17/17) arguing that the person who told the WaPo that Donald Trump had disclosed classified information about Daesh to Russian visitors in the Oval Office was “a felon, a criminal and should go to jail.” After former Obama strategist demurred that publishing leaks was sometimes in the public interest, Dershowitz replied:

I have no problem with the WaPo publishing it or the NYT publishing it. I do have problems with the people who work for the national security agencies leaking confidential information that may cost lives, may make it much more difficult to detect laptops. Remember, the only way Daesh got this information is through the leak.

CNNDershowitz-e1495222991776Alan Dershowitz denounces Trump whistleblower as “a felon, a criminal.” (5/17/17)

Anderson Cooper took issue with this last claim, insisting:

You can’t say definitively what Russia would have done with the information!

To which Dershowitz replied, accurately enough:

They’re not giving it to Daesh! They’re not on talking terms!

Axelrod chimed in:

What about Iran? Professor, what about Iran? Assad has certainly done things which are actually helpful to Daesh in Syria. It’s not as if Assad is fighting a war against Daesh.

Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin attempted to clarify:

David is saying he’s allied with Iran.

It’s not clear whether the “he” in question was Assad or Putin. Leading to this finale of the discussion:

DERSHOWITZ: That’s very speculative!
COOPER: Oh, we just don’t know!
DERSHOWITZ: We know the first public disclosure of it came from the leaks from within the national security agencies, and those leaks should be plugged.

CNNAndersonCooperAnderson Cooper suggests that Russia would give secret intelligence to Daesh. (5/17/17)

We do know, contra Cooper’s assertion, that Assad is fighting a war against Daesh, along with a variety of other rebel factions. As Newsweek (5/5/17) reported earlier this month:

With support from Russia, Iran and pro-government militias, the Syrian military has secured most of the country’s population centers taken over by insurgents and Daesh earlier throughout the nation’s six-year war. After retaking the former rebel bastion of Aleppo in December, Syrian troops and their allies ousted Daesh from the historic city of Palmyra earlier this year. Assad’s forces pushed further Thursday, capturing four areas from the Jihadis in Palmyra’s south-eastern countryside, according to pro-government al-Masdar News. The SAA is aiming to relieve an enclave of fellow soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians under siege since 2014 in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour by Daesh.

ReutersISISMass videotaped executions of Syrian soldiers by Daesh. (8/28/14)

Axelrod’s suggestion that Iran might be sharing intelligence with Daesh is absurd. Daesh’s stance toward Shia Islam is openly genocidal: “Shi’a have no medicine but the sword,” an ISIS video proclaimed, showcasing Shi’a decapitated by Daesh militants (3/20/14). The Iranian government is predictably hostile toward a movement that would exterminate 90% of its citizens. Gen Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC Quds Force, called Daesh “a plague and a grave catastrophe in the world” in explaining why Iran was supporting the government in Syria’s civil war (3/8/15):

We need to quarantine our borders and aid our neighbors so this cancer does not spread to our country.

Donald Trump was rightly scorned when he gave a foreign policy speech which seemed to not understand the Shia/Sunni division in the Muslim world. The NYT editorial board (8/16/16) lectured him:

Lumping Iran, which is a Shi’ite nation, with the Sunni militants of Daesh and AQ makes no sense. In fact, Iran and the Sunni groups are enemies.

Indeed, it’s the kind of thing you’d want a presidential candidate to know. But it’s also something you’d hope that hosts and leading analysts on national cable news networks would understand as well. Dershowitz’s proposal to put journalists’ sources in prison deserves a better retort than this geopolitical nonsense.

Trump’s speech in Riyadh signals escalation against Iran
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, May 22 2017

Riddled with hypocrisy, clichés and absurdities, Pres Trump’s speech Sunday before an assembly of monarchs and despots chez Toads spelled out an agenda of escalating militarism throughout the Middle East and a buildup in particular toward war with Iran. Hailed by a fawning MSM as “presidential,” supposedly eclipsing for the moment the crises and factional struggles engulfing the administration, the speech was reportedly drafted by Stephen Miller, the extreme right-wing ideologue credited with being the chief architect of Trump’s abortive executive order banning people from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering Pindostan. Much in Trump’s half-hour address echoed the speech delivered by Obama in Cairo eight years earlier. Both presidents declared their desire to reset relations with the Middle East, while absurdly posturing as leaders of a pacifist nation seeking only good for the region and offering to head up a united struggle against “violent extremism.” In what was meant as a rhetorical invocation to action against terrorism, Trump told his audience:

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!

Like Obama before him, Trump had no interest in dealing with who brought AQ and similar forces in, as the historical trail leads directly to the CIA in Afghanistan, and Pindostan’s long-standing support for right-wing Islamist organizations and terrorist groups as a counterweight to left nationalist and socialist influence in the Arab and Islamic world. Jointly, the Pindos & the Toads continue to fund and arm such forces in their drive for regime change in Syria. Both speeches were laced with flowery tributes to Islamic culture. Trump noted in particular how impressed he was with “splendour” chez Toads and the “grandeur” of the palace in which the so-called Arab Islamic Pindosi Summit had been convened. What separated the two addresses were the different shifts in strategy by Faschingstein. While Obama sought to repair the damage done by the Bush administration’s criminal war in Iraq, Trump wanted to make clear his administration’s break with Obama’s policy of seeking a rapprochement with Iran based on the 2015 nuclear deal. He adopted an openly confrontational stance toward Tehran, proclaiming in what stood out as the most blatant of the many lies in his brief address:

Above all, Pindostan seeks peace, not war!

The reality is that Pindo wars in the region have killed millions over the past decade and a half. And the thrust of Trump’s visit to the Toads, his first stop in a nine-day foreign tour, is the preparation for new and even bloodier conflicts. This was made plain by the principal agreements forged between Trump and the Toads, which included a $110b arms deal that incorporates the option to purchase $350b worth of weapons over the next 10 years. Tillerson told reporters in Riyadh:

This agreement supports the long-term security of the Toads and the entire Gulf region, in particular in the face of the malign Iranian influence and Iranian-related threats which exist on Toad borders on all sides.

In his speech, Trump painted Iran as the principal state sponsor of terrorism, accusing Tehran of providing terrorists with “safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment … (stoking) the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” charges that could be leveled with justification against the Toads. He portrayed his cruise missile attack on Syria last month, followed just last week by his bombing of a pro-government militia in the south-eastern part of the country, as part of a wider struggle against Iranian influence. He went on to call upon “all nations of conscience” to “isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.” That he was speaking chez the Toads, a brutally repressive absolute monarchy, just two days after more than 70% of Iranian voters participated in a sharply-contested election, did nothing to blunt Trump’s call for regime change. He specifically praised the Toads and their vassals for having “taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen.” The near-genocidal Toad war has killed some 12,000 Yemenis, while destroying basic infrastructure in the Arab world’s poorest country, leaving over 7 million people on the brink of starvation and unleashing a cholera epidemic that threatens a massive death toll. In March, Mad Dog Mattis issued a memo calling for stepped-up support for this criminal war, in which the Pentagon is already supplying intelligence and logistical backing to the Toads. Part of the weapons deal signed by Trump involves the shipment of precision-guided munitions that had been cut off in a highly-limited gesture of disapproval of Toad tactics in Yemen by the Obama administration, which itself concluded over $100b worth of weapons deals with Riyadh. Also included in the new deal are tanks, artillery, helicopters and other weaponry that can be directly funneled into the slaughter in Yemen.

In addition to his speech and the signing of arms and investment deals, Trump participated in a meeting of the GCC, the Toad-led coalition of Gulf oil sheikhdoms. Trump administration officials have raised the objective of using the GCC as the foundation of a Sunni Arab version of NATO directed at military confrontation with Iran. Beyond the drive to militarily confront Iran, a principal regional rival to Pindo imperialism in the Middle East, and the huge profits that Toad arms purchases reap for the Pindo military industrial complex, there are broader strategic considerations in the Pindo turn toward a closer alliance with Riyadh. Some of these issues were outlined on the eve of Trump’s trip in a piece published by CSIS and authored by Anthony Cordesman. First among them is “the continued level of Pindo dependence on Toad help in securing the stable flow of Gulf oil.” While Pindo imports from the Gulf have fallen sharply over the past quarter century, Cordesman cites “indirect dependence” in terms of the impact a disruption in oil exports would have on global energy prices and the world capitalist economy. In particular, he points to the dependence of Asian economies on Gulf petroleum exports. Cordesman continues:

If we fail in providing power projection forces and arms to the region, China may fill the void. China may not yet be ready to try to assume the role, but the entire South China Sea crisis would pale to near insignificance if China became the de facto guarantor of Gulf stability. The real-world nature of Pindo influence and power in the Pacific would be cut massively, China’s leverage over other major Asian economies like Japan and South Korea would be sharply increased, and the potential rise in tension between China and India, and cut in India’s relative position, would have a massive impact on the balance of power in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

In other words, the turn toward closer relations with the Toads and the related Gulf oil sheikdoms is bound up with Pindo imperialism’s mounting conflict with China, which it has identified as the principal challenge to the drive for Pindo global hegemony. Faschingstein is determined to dominate Asia, including China, by maintaining the military power to choke off the region’s energy imports. The fact that the sclerotic Toads, among the world’s last absolute monarchs, have become a lynchpin of Faschingstein’s imperialist strategy, not only in the Middle East but globally, is a measure of the crisis of Pindo & world capitalism. Oil revenues, which account for fully 90% of the KSA’s export earnings, have been cut nearly in half since 2014. Last month, the government was forced to reverse itself on austerity measures that hit the military and public employees, over fear that declining living standards and rising unemployment are creating the conditions for social revolt. In the predominantly Shi’a Eastern Province, the center of the KSA’s oil production, security forces laid siege to the town of Awamiyah, a center of resistance to the regime, during the week preceding Trump’s visit. Combined with the failure of the Toad bid to topple the Assad regime in Syria by supporting AQ-linked militias and the regime’s inability to retake Yemen from the Houthis, the deepening domestic crisis is creating the conditions for revolutionary upheavals against Faschingstein’s principal ally in the Arab world.

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