In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Crown Prince Calls Iran’s Ayatollah “New Hitler Of The Middle East”

Godwin’s law states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.” Saudi Arabia’s powerful, and controversial, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who in just a few months has made more local (and foreign) enemies than most of his predecessors accumulated over a lifetime, decided he does not need to wait that long, and in a glowing interview with the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman, which touched on everything from the accommodations of the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, to the recent power grab anti-corruption campaign, to Donald Trump, to the Saudi social and religious revolution, called the Supreme Leader of Iran ‘the new Hitler of the Middle East’, escalating the war of words between the arch-rivals. For his part, Khamenei has referred to the House of Saud as an ‘accursed tree’, and Iranian officials have accused the kingdom of spreading terrorism.
MbS, as he is also known, and who after the recent purge is also Saudi defense minister, also slapped down the ISIS card and suggested the Islamic Republic’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needed to be confronted.
‘But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,’ the paper quoted him as saying.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

The Saudi-Iran Brewing War

The turmoil in the Middle East has been instigated in part by fiscal mismanagement. When the money was rolling in with high oil prices, it was assumed, as always, that whatever trend is in motion will remain in motion. Consequently, the government expanded their spending assuming money would continue to flow in. When oil broke, the fiscal mismanagement has been exposed for all to see if they care to look.
Falling oil prices have decimated revenues and trade in the region. Security worries about terrorism, particularly in the US, have led to cuts in airline routes. Then there has also been a long-running diplomatic and trade impasse between Saudi Arabia and its allies on the one hand, and Qatar on the other. Now the good-old-days of easy money and rapid growth has led to concerns about over-capacity, waste, and corruption that nobody cared about when money flowed like oil.
We are witnessing the beginning of a Middle East War between the Suni and Shite where the latter opposes kings and the state should be ruled by religious leaders. Iran and its Lebanese ally, the militant Shia group Hezbollah, claim the Saudis detained Mr. Saad El-Din Rafik Al-Hariri is a Lebanese-Saudi politician who has been the Prime Minister of Lebanon since December 2016. They allege that Saudi Arabia forced his resignation. Rex Tillerson said he had received assurances that Mr. Hariri was free to leave anytime.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 12, 2017.

The End Of “The End Of History” – US Mid-East Policy’s Fork In The Road

Authored by Tom Luongo,
In 1989 Francis Fukayama declared that we had reached ‘The End of History.’ Democracy as a form of government would, in fact, be the end of the evolution of human interaction. The West had triumphed and that the rest was ‘just a chase scene,’ to borrow a phrase from Neal Stephenson’s brilliant dystopian novel ‘Snow Crash.’
But, this past week’s events in the Middle East tell me that autocracy has replaced democracy and the trans-national parliamentary system of the European Union that Fukayama championed in his 2007 article in The Guardian.
The EU no longer practices representative Democracy today. Diktats come down from unelected technocrats in Brussels. They are wholly-owned by stateless rent-seeking oligarchs (i.e. George Soros). Everyone in and around the EU is expected to obey or face tanks in the streets (Spain) or endless legal entanglements from captured international courts (Poland).
If you circumvent the rules, the EU will change them to suit its masters’ needs. Just look at any proposed Russian pipeline into Europe over the past five years.
In the U. S. we have been subjected to the worst form of operant conditioning by an unelected Deep State and its quisling media for a year. They created the mass delusion that President Donald Trump is a secret Russian agent.
The goal was to overturn a democratic election, which itself the people had to overcome systemic voter fraud to win.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.

Are Saudi Shenanigans a Prelude to a New Battle Front in the Middle East?

21st Century Wire says…
The Saudi generated cycle of insanity continues. Reports that are hard to confirm or deny are circulating on social media, spreading a degree of panic and reactionary responses from all concerned.
‘Events in Saudi Arabia are unfolding at a blinding pace, with a radical shift taking place within the upper echelons of government. Last weekend, King Salman announced the set-up of a special anti-corruption force that wasted no time in rounding up more than a dozen government officials – both former and current – five members of the royal family, and several businessmen. Since then, the list has been growing, to more than 60 as of today.’ ~ Oil Price – Kingdom of Fear
On fireworks night, Bahrain allegedly put out the following announcement:
BREAKING: #Bahrain calls its nationals not to travel to #Lebanon and Bahraini residents there to leave immediately. pic.twitter.com/g5yjMh8Zpa
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) November 5, 2017

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on NOVEMBER 10, 2017.

Saudi “Deep State” Prince Bandar Among Those Arrested In Purge: Report

According to a new report by Middle East Eye, Prince Bandar bin Sultan – Saudi Arabia’s most famous arms dealer, longtime former ambassador to the US, and recent head of Saudi intelligence – was among those detained as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) so-called “corruption purge” that started with the initial arrests of up to a dozen princes and other top officials last weekend.
If confirmed, the arrest and detention of Bandar would constitute the most significant and high profile figure caught up in the purge – even above that of high profile billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal – given Bandar’s closeness to multiple US administrations and involvement in events ranging from Reagan’s Nicaraguan Contra program (including direct involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal), to making the case for the Iraq War as a trusted friend of Bush and Cheney, to directing US-Saudi covert operations overseeing the arming of jihadists in Syria.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.

Pepe Escobar: The Inside Story Of The Saudi Night Of The Long Knives

Princes, ministers and a billionaire are ‘imprisoned‘ in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton while the Saudi Arabian Army is said to be in an uproar…
The House of Saud’s King Salman devises a high-powered ‘anti-corruption’ commission and appoints his son, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, as chairman.
Right on cue, the commission detains 11 House of Saud princes, four current ministers and dozens of former princes/cabinet secretaries – all charged with corruption. Hefty bank accounts are frozen, private jets are grounded. The high-profile accused lot is ‘jailed’ at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton.
War breaks out within the House of Saud, as Asia Times had anticipated back in July. Rumors have been swirling for months about a coup against MBS in the making. Instead, what just happened is yet another MBS pre-emptive coup.
A top Middle East business/investment source who has been doing deals for decades with the opaque House of Saud offers much-needed perspective:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 7, 2017.

Rex Tillerson Confirmation: ‘Exxon State Dept… Like Appointing Ronald McDonald to Agriculture’

A very powerful man is now facing the whole country in a very public way for what may be the first time. He appears a bit nervous and perhaps rehearsed.
Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, is facing confirmation hearing today as the next administration prepares to begin. Here’s some biographical info.
Nevertheless, it seems that former Exxon Mobil CEO will likely be confirmed as Secretary of State with ease. Many of the questions have been quite friendly, and perhaps even soft ball.
Key issues include foreign policy, his past ties with Russia, Middle East issues, a commitment to defense and use of war ‘to back up diplomacy.’
Also discussed were potential conflicts of interest with ExxonMobil, the company he spent his entire career with, as well as climate change policies. Oil (and natural gas) as a weapon of foreign policy has been little appreciated until now, but has played a huge role in Venezuela’s volatile economic crisis, and has stoked tensions with Russia.

This post was published at shtfplan on January 11th, 2017.

European Temper Tantrumps: “A World Is Collapsing Before Our Eyes”

Submitted by Juduth Bergmann via The Gatestone Institute,
The arrogant claim to the moral high ground by European elites has no basis in reality. There is no respect for freedom and democracy on a continent where citizens, such as the politician Geert Wilders, are arrested and prosecuted by in a court of law for speaking their minds freely about topics that the authorities find it expedient not to debate in public. Freedom, respect for the rule of law, and people’s race, religion and gender have never been less respected and protected in Germany during the post-WWII era than under Merkel. German authorities have completely failed to protect women, Christians and others from the chaos unleashed by the mass, unvetted, immigration of mainly Muslim migrants from Africa and the Middle East. The rule of law is anything but “respected” in Germany. Not everyone is “panicking”. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, rejected the invitation and told his colleagues to end their “collective whinge-o-rama” about the U. S. election result. Critics of the U. S. election omitted, however, the runaway lawlessness, divisiveness and corruption that American voters declined to reinstate. “A world is collapsing before our eyes”, tweeted the French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, as it became clear that Donald Trump had won the US presidential election. Although he later apparently deleted the tweet, the sentiment expressed in his tweet encapsulates the attitude of the majority of the European political establishment.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2016.

Julian Assange Says Trump Won’t Be Allowed To Win, “Clinton And ISIS Are Funded By The Same Money”

One day after Julian Assange officially revealed for the first time that the source of hacked Podesta and DNC emails in Wikileaks’ possession is not Russia, in the second excerpt from the John Pilger Special, to be broadcast by RT on Saturday Julian Assange accuses Hillary Clinton of misleading Americans about the true scope of Islamic State’s support from Washington’s Middle East allies.
As previously reported, in an August 17, 2014 email made public WikiLeaks last month, Hillary Clinton, who had served as secretary of state until the year before, urges John Podesta, then an advisor to Barack Obama, to ‘bring pressure’ on Qatar and Saudi Arabia, ‘which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIS and other radical Sunni groups.’
“I think this is the most significant email in the whole collection,’ Assange, whose whistleblowing site released three tranches of Clinton-related emails over the past year, told Pilger in the interview. ‘All serious analysts know, and even the US government has agreed, that some Saudi figures have been supporting ISIS and funding ISIS, but the dodge has always been that it is some ‘rogue’ princes using their oil money to do whatever they like, but actually the government disapproves. But that email says that it is the government of Saudi Arabia, and the government of Qatar that have been funding ISIS.’
As recounted by RT, Assange and Pilger, who sat down for their 25-minute interview at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where the whistleblower has been a refugee since 2012, also talked about the conflict of interest between Clinton’s official post, her husband’s nonprofit, and the Middle East officials, whose stated desire to fight terrorism may not have been sincere.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 4, 2016.

Middle East ‘Peace’ Report: Turkey Risks Kurdish War on Two Fronts as Army Advances in Syria

Mustafa Denktas had twin sons. One of them, a Kurdish militant, was killed fighting the Turkish army in 2012. Denktas was still in mourning when news arrived three weeks later that the other son had met the same fate.
Back then Turkey’s war with separatist Kurds, however bloody and protracted, was essentially a domestic issue. Now it’s an international conflict. When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his army into Syria last month, he wasn’t just striking a blow against Islamic State: a second goal was to stop Kurds from creating a de facto state.
That’s the element of Erdogan’s Syrian gambit that poses the biggest political risks. It threatens to ensnare his soldiers in a civil war that’s already lasted 5 1/2 years, and drive a wedge between Turkey and its NATO allies – especially the U. S., which considers the Syrian Kurds an ally against Islamic extremists. When Moody’s Investors Service cut Turkey’s rating to junk last week, it cited ‘the persistence of geopolitical threats’ among other reasons.
Erdogan is trying to stem a tide that turned more than two decades ago, when war in Iraq left Kurds in charge of that country’s oil-rich north. Since 2011, civil war has given a similar opportunity to Syrian Kurds, who now control of much of the territory along the 900-kilometer border with Turkey. Among the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state of their own, the Kurds can now glimpse a viable one.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Selcan Hacaoglu, Bloomberg Business ‘ September 29, 2016.

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Presidency’ has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War on Syria

21st Century Wire says…
One glaring conclusion from last night’s US Presidential debate between is that there is virtually no difference between either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton’s view on what the US should do in Syria. Both are advocating for more war – for more airstrikes in Syria, and for ‘building safe zones’ which are actually ‘No Fly Zones’ (where only US Coalition aircraft are allow to fly).
There is one vast difference however, between these two candidates. During her tenure Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was both the architect of the US-led destruction of the Libyan State, and also of Washington’s secret war against Syria, officially from 2011. Clinton led the notorious ‘Friends of Syria’ lobbying tour through Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, which was used to promote the US policy of ‘regime change’ for Syria by bringing together Gulf Arab Monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UEA and others) and other US client states to create a policy of economic, military and social subterfuge which, with the help of the CIA and others, has since destroyed large parts of Syria now occupied by Terrorist fanatical groups – who are backed by the same ‘Friends of Syria’ member nations managed by Clinton. From start, these two war were managed by what is allegedly a ‘liberal’ or left-wing Democrat Party. They are anything but.
What this really means, is that the next ‘President Clinton’ is already priming Americans for a escalation of warfare in Syria come this January. Here’s why…

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 27, 2016.

Bombs Away! A 9/11 Retrospective On Washington’s 15-Year Air War

On the morning of September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda launched its four-plane air force against the United States. On board were its precision weapons: 19 suicidal hijackers. One of those planes, thanks to the resistance of its passengers, crashed in a Pennsylvania field. The other three hit their targets – the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D. C. – with the kind of ‘precision’ we now associate with the laser-guided weaponry of the U. S. Air Force.
From its opening salvo, in other words, this conflict has been an air war. With its 75% success rate, al-Qaeda’s 9/11 mission was a historic triumph, accurately striking three out of what assumedly were its four chosen targets. (Though no one knows just where that plane in Pennsylvania was heading, undoubtedly it was either the Capitol or the White House to complete the taking out of the icons of American financial, military, and political power.) In the process, almost 3,000 people who had no idea they were in the bombsights of an obscure movement on the other side of the planet were slaughtered.
It was a barbaric, if daring, plan and an atrocity of the first order. Almost 15 years later, such suicidal acts with similar ‘precision’ weaponry (though without the air power component) continue to be unleashed across the Greater Middle East, Africa, and sometimes elsewhere, taking a terrible toll – from a soccer game in Iraq to a Kurdish wedding party in southeastern Turkey (where the ‘weapon’ may have been a boy).
The effect of the September 11th attacks was stunning. Though the phrase would have no resonance or meaning (other than in military circles) until the U. S. invasion of Iraq began a year and a half later, 9/11 qualifies as perhaps the most successful example of ‘shock and awe’ imaginable. The attack was promptly encapsulated in screaming headlines as the ‘Pearl Harbor of the Twenty-First Century’ or a ‘New Day of Infamy,’ and the images of those towers crumbling in New York at what was almost instantly called ‘Ground Zero’ (as if the city had experienced a nuclear strike) were replayed again and again to a stunned world. It was an experience that no one who lived through it was likely to forget.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 12, 2016.

The Woes Of Interventionism – – Turkey And Saudi Arabia Are Learning The Hard Way

VIOLENTLY INTERVENING IN the affairs of other countries has brought the United States much grief over the last century. We are hardly the only ones who do it. The club of interventionist nations has a shifting membership. During the current round of Middle East conflict, two new countries have joined: Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Both have succumbed to the imperial temptation. Both are paying a high price. They are learning a lesson that Americans struggle to accept: Interventions have unexpected consequences and often end up weakening rather than strengthening the countries that carry them out.
Turkey’s long intervention in Syria has failed to bring about its intended result, the fall of President Bashar Assad. Instead it has intensified the Syrian conflict, fed a regional refugee crisis, set off terrorist backlash, and deeply strained relations between Turkey and its NATO allies. As this blunder has unfolded, Saudi Arabia has also been waging war outside its territory. Its bombing of neighboring Yemen was supposed to be a way of asserting regional hegemony, but it has aroused indignant condemnation. The bombing campaign has placed Saudi Arabia under new scrutiny, including more intense focus on its role in promoting global terror, which the Saudi royal family has managed to keep half-hidden for years.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia intervened in foreign conflicts hoping to establish themselves as regional kingmakers. Both miscalculated. They overestimated their ability to secure quick victory and failed to weigh the strategic costs of failure or stalemate. If the Turks and Saudis had studied the history of American interventions, they would have been more prudent. We know the sorrows of empire. From Iran to Cuba to Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq, the legacy of our interventions continues to haunt us. Ambitious powers, however, continue to ignore the stark lesson that American history teaches. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the latest to repeat our mistake. It is the same mistake that has undermined many nations and empires. They overestimated their ability to shape events in foreign lands. Now they are paying for their delusional overreach.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 6, 2016.

The National Security ‘Experts’ Denouncing Trump Are a Who’s Who of Disastrous Neocons

This piece first appeared at TomDispatch.com.
It’s not every day that Republicans publish an open letter announcing that their presidential candidate is unfit for office. But lately this sort of thing has been happeningmore and more frequently. The most recent example: we just heard from 50 representatives of the national security apparatus, men – and a few women – who served under Republican presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. All of them are very worried about Donald Trump.
They think we should be alerted to the fact that the Republican standard-bearer ‘lacks the character, values, and experience to be president.’
That’s true of course, but it’s also pretty rich, coming from this bunch. The letter’s signers include, among others, the man who was Condoleezza Rice’s legal advisor when she ran the National Security Council (John Bellinger III); one of George W. Bush’s CIA directors who also ran the National Security Agency (Michael Hayden); a Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq (John Negroponte); an architect of the neoconservative policy in the Middle East adopted by the Bush administration that led to the invasion of Iraq, who has since served as president of the World Bank (Robert Zoellick). In short, given the history of the ‘global war on terror,’ this is your basic list of potential American war criminals.
Their letter continues, ‘He weakens U. S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.’
There’s a sentence that could use some unpacking.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 24, 2016.

Trumpism – – The Benefits and Hazards of It

Donald Trump’s most recent foreign policy speech, in which he explained how he would deal with the Islamic State (ISIL) and the Middle East in general, contained multitudes – everything good and everything questionable about his brand of ‘America First’ nationalism. Here is Trumpism on full display, the common-sensical and the nonsensical intertwined. While I realize a presidential election campaign is not the time for nuance, it behooves us to pull apart these disparate strands if we want to understand this moment in our history.
He starts out by defining the problem: the series of attacks that have horrified the world and flummoxed our law enforcement agencies. And what’s notable here is that he just doesn’t talk about what’s going on overseas, as you might expect in a speech ostensibly about foreign policy: he talks about San Bernardino and Orlando alongside Paris and Brussels. In short, he brings it all home.
This underscores his entire orientation: it’s what ‘America First’ is all about. Why should Americans care about ISIL? Well, folks, says Trump, it’s because they’re attacking us right here on the home front. Contrast this with the usual neocon-Hillaryite politically correct gobbledygook: we have to spread Democracy and Goodness throughout the Middle East! They don’t have gay rights in Afghanistan! We must defend the ‘international order’!
There’s the problem: ISIL. So what caused it? Trump’s answer:
‘The rise of ISIS is the direct result of policy decisions made by President Obama and Secretary Clinton.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo ‘ August 17, 2016.

Are Negative Rates Backfiring? Here’s Some Early Evidence

KORSCHENBROICH, Germany – Two years ago, the European Central Bank cut interest rates below zero to encourage people such as Heike Hofmann, who sells fruits and vegetables in this small city, to spend more.
Policy makers in Europe and Japan have turned to negative rates for the same reason – to stimulate their lackluster economies. Yet the results have left some economists scratching their heads. Instead of opening their wallets, many consumers and businesses are squirreling away more money.
When Ms. Hofmann heard the ECB was knocking rates below zero in June 2014, she considered it ‘madness’ and promptly cut her spending, set aside more money and bought gold. ‘I now need to save more than before to have enough to retire,’ says Ms. Hofmann, 54 years old.
Recent economic data show consumers are saving more in Germany and Japan, and in Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden, three non-eurozone countries with negative rates, savings are at their highest since 1995, the year the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development started collecting data on those countries. Companies in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Japan also are holding on to more cash.
Economists point to a variety of other possible factors confounding central-bank policy: Low inflation has left consumers with more money to sock away; aging populations are naturally more inclined to save; central banks themselves may have failed to properly explain their actions.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 9, 2016.

US Has Spent $11.5 Million A Day For Past 542 Days Straight In Fight Against ISIS

After two years of bombing, the U. S. recently marked a horrendous milestone in a war with no clear end in sight.
Vocativ reported that the American-led coalition in the Middle East has now dropped 50,000 bombs in the ongoing campaign against Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS or ISIL in the West) that began in August 2014.
The analysis noted that bombing has increased with time, peaking in June when coalition forces dropped 3,167 bombs on Iraq and Syria.
‘By comparison, U. S.-led forces in Afghanistan have dropped just over 16,000 bombs in the last six years, military data shows,’ Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, a senior writer for Vocativ, wrote on Tuesday.
Although reports suggest Daesh is losing to ground forces in the region, the conflict still has no clear end in sight. And despite U. S. government denials, Kavanaugh reported it’s become increasingly clear that civilians are frequently killed by bombs dropped by the U. S. and coalition forces:
‘Airwars estimates that at least 1,422 civilians have been killed by weapons deployed by coalition warplanes through July 18, a figure far greater than the 41 civilian deaths acknowledged by the Pentagon to-date.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on MintPress’ Kit O’Connell via TheAntiMedia.org, Jul 22, 2016.

Saudi Clerics Issue Fatwa No. 21,758 – – -Ban Pokmon Go!

Top clerics in Saudi Arabia have issued a fatwa banning the playing of Pokemon Go as a form of gambling.
The decree was issued by General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars on the website of the General Presidency for Scholarly Research and Ifta, Arab News reported Wednesday.
The edict actually updates an existing ban on the Pokemon card and video games before they morphed into the mobile phone virtual reality game that has swept the world.
The clerics issued the old fatwa, (No. 21,758), 16 years ago, declaring the original Japanese game a form of gambling, which is forbidden in Islam,
Sheikh Saleh Al-Fozan, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said the virtual reality version of the game is the same as the old one.
The game has not been officially released regionally, but is nonetheless popular in the Middle East among gamers who have downloaded the app, the Associated Press reports.
Although Pokemon Go does not involve the winning or losing of money, the fatwa notes that it nonetheless violates the gambling ban.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Doug Stanglin, USA Today ‘ July 21, 2016.

Turkey in Crisis: Another Painful Lesson Why U.S. Should Avoid Foreign Meddling

This article appeared in Forbes on July 18, 2016. Turkey was convulsed by an attempted coup last week. Nominally democratic but in practice increasingly authoritarian, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has initiated a broad crackdown that goes well beyond the military. He has the makings of becoming another Vladimir Putin – except supposedly on America’s side, but even that is up for debate. Turkey’s dubious evolution should remind Americans how hard it is for U. S. officials to play social engineers to the world. Instead of constantly meddling in hopes of ‘fixing’ other nations, Washington should step back when its interests are not vitally affected, which is most of the time. The physicians’ injunction, ‘First do no harm,’ would be a good principle for American foreign policy.
Ankara joined NATO during the Cold War. The U. S. was not much concerned about whether Turkey was a democracy. Washington wanted to secure the Balkans and project U. S. power into the Middle East. Containment of the Evil Empire was the principal objective.
That policy should have expired with the collapse of the Soviet Union and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Friendship rather than alliance should have become America’s objective. By then Turkey was nominally a parliamentary democracy, but the military still wielded extraordinary power, overthrowing an elected government as late as 1997.
Unfortunately, Washington decided to use its new ‘unipower’ status to attempt to micro-manage the Middle East. Consecutive administrations launched a succession of ill-considered interventions.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 20, 2016.

Debunking Washington’s Big Lie – – Why Iran Is Not Our Enemy

Where are you from?’ the elderly man asked politely, as my wife and I strolled through his small Iranian village in early May.
‘America,’ I answered.
‘Wonderful,’ he said, grabbing my shoulders and giving me the traditional three kisses on my cheeks. ‘I am so glad you are here.’
Then he asked, ‘But why does your government hate us so much?’
I am not shy about criticizing US government policies – when I’m home in America. But, when I’m abroad, I tend to get defensive about my country. So, I muttered something about the importance of people of different nations getting to know each other independent of their politicians, and turned our conversation to the history of his ancient town.
Demonization of Iran runs wide and deep in our mainstream politics. But his question – asked of us by many other ordinary Iranians happy to meet American visitors – deserves a better response. Not so much to explain our foreign policy to Iranians, but to ourselves.
Demonization of Iran runs wide and deep in our mainstream politics. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tell us that Iran is the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism, aimed at taking over the whole Middle East, if not the world (this echoes the State Department, which in its recently released annual reportcalls Iran the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism). Both have declared themselves ready and eager to ‘strike’ and ‘obliterate’ Iran. Republican Senator Ted Cruz says flatly that Iran intends to launch a nuclear attack against the United States. Mike Huckabee and Benjamin Netanyahu, who must be considered an American as well as an Israeli politician, say that Iran is preparing the ovens for another holocaust of the Jews. In 2013, when there was no evidence that Iran was building a nuclear bomb, Vice President Joe Biden announced that – just in case – ‘all options, including military force, are on the table.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 16, 2016.