Is President Trump now Mukhtar of America?


In the Middle East the village headman is usually referred to as the Mukhtar, the chosen one, chosen by the ruling force in the country, selected to administer the district with the backing of the government's money.

I watched the show in the reception palace in Riyadh with eyes that may have seen the proceedings differently than many other people.

What I saw was a carefully staged spectacle in which the Saudis brought together most of the political leaders in the Islamic World to witness President Trump's acceptance of Saudi leadership in the Middle East.

In the Arab World when someone submits to you and accepts your money as a follower and tool, the culturally authentic thing to do is to make the experience as painless as possible.

The Saudis will now expect that the US will understand that their $110 billion in defense purchases and $40 billion in contributions from the Saudi state's sovereign wealth fund will buy power in Washington and that their carefully and politely stated demands will be greeted with great receptivity in the future.

The Israelis are a bit shaky about this?  Well, pilgrims, they should be.  They have spent a lot of time and effort and a fairly limited amount of money constructing an apparat in AIPAC that successfully manipulates both US policy and public opinion.   And now the Saudis have simply bought the same thing with all that money?  This must be disheartening for the Israelis and their supporters in the US. 

The "rub" will come of course when the Saudis try to crack the whip over Trump.  pl

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93 Responses to Is President Trump now Mukhtar of America?

  1. wisedupearly says:

    Yes, the image of the American President trumpeting trade deals in the country that nurtured most of the 9-11 attackers was rather disheartening.
    More interesting to me was that the Kushners received rabbinical waiver to fly to the ME on the sabbath. Ivanka substituted for Trump (who pleaded exhaustion) at a social event in Riyadh. Any sign that the substitution was taken as a backhander by the Saudis?

  2. Colonel, why do you assume that Israel and Saudi Arabia are at odds? On most ME policy questions, they’re on the same side. A victory for one party can hardly be considered a defeat for the other.

  3. turcopolier says:

    Seamus Padraig
    Israel and Saudi Arabia are not allies. Thr Izzies seek to use SA for limited purposes of their own but the last thing they want to see is as close a relationship between the US and SA as Trump walked into in Riyadh. pl

  4. DH says:

    “The “rub” will come of course when the Saudis try to crack the whip over Trump.”
    Maybe the spectacle of Trump ‘submitting’ was all they planned on, and anything further will be gravy.

  5. b says:

    Trump is used to such artificial backdrops and insincere flattery. He uses those props himself to convince others to sign deals with him. I doubt that he falls for them.

  6. turcopolier says:

    To clarify, Trump believes in his own control of the situation. The Saudis think they have hired him. pl

  7. YT says:

    “Our responsibility before god and our people and the whole world is to stand united to fight the forces of evil and extremism wherever they are …
    The Iranian regime represents the tip of the spear of global terrorism.”
    “We will never be lenient in trying anyone who finances terrorism, in any way or means, to the full force of the law.”
    their #1 export…
    “Oho!” said the pot to the kettle;
    “You are dirty and ugly and black!
    Sure no one would think you were metal,
    Except when you’re given a crack.”
    “Not so! not so!” kettle said to the pot;
    “‘Tis your own dirty image you see;
    For I am so clean – without blemish or blot –
    That your blackness is mirrored in me.”

  8. Outrage Beyond says:

    Trump has a well-deserved reputation for ripping people off. One hopes he might pull a fast one on the Saudis too.

  9. Annem says:

    And the spectacle includes the fact that he chose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign jaunt as president, not the usual northern and southern neighbors or closest European allies. That can’t be lost on people either.

  10. kooshy says:

    Colonel if I may ask, what do you think the Saudis can do with 110 billion in new arms, what else they can buy that they already don’t have? it was just two years ago they signed a deal with Obama for 60 billion in new arms. Beside Iranians and Shia, who are they going to use these new arms against, when Iran and here allies they don’t even have the current level of Saudis and other gulf states’ sophisticated modern western armaments. IMO what will happen to these arms in future is what that scares the hell out of Izzes more than Iran does. Israelis most be worried what will happen, if like in Iran of 1979, and Shah’ arm purchases, the Saudi monarchy is overthrown, who will become in possession of these arms and what his policy will be toward Israel.

  11. Lurker says:

    The Saudis can crack the whip by whitholding payment (the old Stop Payment phone call to the bank). The most interesting obsevation is the order of the visit: Mecca, Jerusalem and finally Vatican city Rome. Netanyahu is pissed that Trump didn’t move the embassy as promised. He is also unhappy that he now has to make some concessions at the Palestinians. If KSA gets Patriots and THAAD, there goes an arm race for Syria an Iran ( maybe also Turkey) will get upgraded S300s and there goes the IDF invincibility.
    Forget North Korea, it is too onerous even for DJT. USA-UK-Saudi-UAE-Israel-France-Germany-Turkey to attempt instead their desired land invasion of Syria from Jordan. Damascus may be hit big time ……An impending regional war with Iran (Elam & Media) possibly hitting back at Saudi Arabia (Isa 21)…..Will this end up with a global war at Har Meguido, Israel?

  12. Sam Peralta says:

    Why do you think US administrations of both political parties want to be so deeply enmeshed in the affairs of the ME?
    Please don’t pitch the petrodollar conspiracy theory as it has no factual validity from an economic, financial and forex perspective.

  13. Laura says:

    Colonel – Thank you for this perspective. It is new to me and I appreciate your knowledgeable input.
    Question, if Trump doesn’t “deliver” or “perform” (what is the correct word?), what would be Saudi response…what
    is their leverage in this situation?

  14. Kunuri says:

    There is a Muhtar(Turkish spelling for Arabic “Mukhtar”) in urban, westernized precinct of Istanbul where I live. As far as his influence and power is concerned, he is a joke. However, in the remote, eastern country regions, where civilization and urbanization levels are low, and where the state and the law can not exercise immediate control conveniently, the Muhtar is the top dog. The most powerful official in the region.
    There is a point in this difference with distinction which I have not been able to relate to the good Colonels’s analogy regarding Trump and the Saudis.
    Maybe someone can help.

  15. Randy says:

    The Saudis think they bought and now own Trump. Trump is too stupid to realize that. When Trump realizes what happened he will use the excuse that he was jet-lagged and too tired to realize what was going on.
    Trump thinks he is pretty smart but he is a one trick pony. He was born on third base which got him into NY real estate. He knows NY real estate and how to hire the right lawyers to accomplish his goals there and to fix/cover for his mistakes. That’s it.
    He really needs somebody like pl to advise and set him straight on some of this complicated Middle East stuff. Trump is in way, way over his head. It is amazing that his supporters are OK with him sucking up to the Saudis, simply amazing.

  16. Liza says:

    Former Indian diplomat MK Bhadrakumar has offered his take on Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
    Bhadrakumar cites comments made by Secretary of State Tillerson during the visit regarding American relations with Iran. Particularly interesting is this remark:.”In all likelihood, we will talk at the right time.”

  17. TonyL says:

    Thank you for this statement. Exactly my thought.
    “The Israelis … have spent a lot of time and effort and a fairly limited amount of money constructing an apparat in AIPAC that successfully manipulates both US policy and public opinion. And now the Saudis have simply bought the same thing with all that money?”

  18. plantman says:

    It’s pretty disheartening to see the USA aligning with vicious cutthroats like the Saudis.
    I guess I’d better get used to it.

  19. b says:

    “bolivars” – sorry – I don’t know that word and don’t find it in any dictionary. Nor does it seem mistyped. Could someone care to explain it to this foreigner?

  20. LondonBob says:

    Saudis know how Trump feels about them and they don’t own him they way they did Clinton. They have to suck up to him to minimise the damage. I don’t see Trump changing his opinions on Syria, Russia or Iran, rhetoric is just that, but Palestine could be an area he might be flexible on for the Saudis.
    That said I think this under estimates the power of the Israel lobby, media, finance etc.

  21. luxetvritas says:

    Saudi Arabia and Israel are allies in the material and psychological war against secular, modern Arab countries. It is a war which the United States has been fighting on behalf of Riyadh and Tel Aviv for decades.

  22. turcopolier says:

    That is much too simple a view of the situation and it misses all the nuances of the relationships. pl

  23. turcopolier says:

    You don’t seem to have understood my post. The Saudis think they will either get his compliance with their wishes or they will start dragging their feet on all this money. they will do this by delaying projects, trenches of payments and all the other tricks that they and their foreign kafir advisers will come up with. None of Trump’s people seem to have ever done business with Arabs. I am surprised that Tillerson does not see this. You can be sure that the Israelis see it. pl

  24. turcopolier says:

    Sorry. Damned auto-correct. The word was supposed to be “believes.” Actually “bolivars” are a unit of currency in S. America. pl

  25. Les says:

    Trumps speaks openly about what many have observed about Israel and Saudi Arabia. They have common geopolitical aspirations.
    While the Saudis aspire to dominate the region, US and Israel may prefer extended chaos as it would further arms sales and force the Arab states to produce more oil.

  26. Barbara Ann says:

    Just Googled use of ‘bolivar’ as a verb, thought it must be an obscure reference to Simon Bolivar-like behaviour I’d not heard of!

  27. eakens says:

    If I were sitting in Tehran, I would probably be viewing this with pleasure. I mean, how much easier does it make their job if they need to stir the pot in KSA when they are seen shoveling money, hand over fist, over to the US.
    In preparation for this deal, just last month King Salman cancelled all the austerity measures SA had put into place and reinstated all benefits.
    They obviously knew that this deal would lead to some disgruntled elements if it were being made when benefits were being cut. That seems to show where they are vulnerable.

  28. Will says:

    You are absolutely right and spot on….. they have turned this tactic into Saudi Art…….

  29. Will says:

    They don’t give a damn because any dissent will be crushed with tanks and aircraft if needs be, and no one will say a word in condemnation….. CIRCA Yemen and Bahrain, Syria and Iraq….where ALL the car bombs are Saudi actions…..

  30. turcopolier says:

    They will leverage the projects and the delivery of trenches of the money. I worked for a large Arab owned company for ten years and this is an old story for me. Did you notice that in the picture they have him dancing with the servants? pl

  31. turcopolier says:

    Sam Peralta
    IMO we are the victims of a massive IO campaign that started back in the 50s. pl

  32. turcopolier says:

    He did not go to Mecca. He is a kafir, at least for now. pl

  33. Allen THomson says:

    > Did you notice that in the picture they have him dancing with the servants?
    Wow, that’s why I read this blog, because I know nothing of the context of things in that part of the world. Really servants, low status folk rather than soldiers or palace guard or similar? Or are servants different there?

  34. Kooshy says:

    I think colonel Lang is right, Israelies and monarchy Arabs only can have a tactical goal which is both countries survival is dependent on US hegemony and keeping the US glued to MENA, if it wasn’t for US both of these countries will not survive, KSA internally and Israel externally. Both KSA, and Israel’ enmity with Iran is strategic, because, their main supporter of thier existence US, view an independent Iran as an strategic enemy against her goals and plans, (for now). They are woried of any US change, or if US makes any change on her pasture on Iran.

  35. turcopolier says:

    You are correct in thinking that the Saudis cannot employ the new military equipment. They have a permanent demographic problem in that they do not have enough men of Saudi nationality to man their present forces. As a result their units are always very undermanned and have little military utility except for the regular force of SANG who are all desert beduin with a record of tribal loyalty to the Saudi regime. They are always forced to rely on seconded foreign military like Pakistanis or Bangla Deshis or on mercenaries. You can see how well they are doing in Yemen. pl

  36. turcopolier says:

    Allen Thomson
    No status beduin servants. If you watch the tapes carefully you will see these white robed men serving coffee. pl

  37. Sam Peralta says:

    Col. Lang
    In your opinion what made our political and media establishment susceptible to this IO campaign, particularly in the 50s & 60s, when I believe there were more people with character in the upper echelons?

  38. turcopolier says:

    Sam Peralta
    Americans knew and still know little of the outside world and the culture of foreigners. if you want a start point think of the movie, “Exodus.” pl

  39. Kooshy says:

    There’s zero chance that either Israel or KSA can dominate the MENA region. IMO, the MENA region ( excluding the Shia area) which majority are young, can not be dominated militarily by Israel, KSA, or mommy USA. This task only can be done culturally, meaning if a acceptable modernity cor the young could be glued and put in Sunni Islam. For obvious reasons KSA can’t even think of that, they view modernity against thier survival. IMO only Turkey and Egypt are able to do this, but not under thier curent leadership.

  40. Augustin L says:

    100 millions dollars for Ivanka’s women initiative. They’re in the big leagues now, the debt will be repaid with the blood deplorables…

  41. wisedupearly says:

    LOL. NPR in captioning a photo of Trump bowing to receive his well earned decoration from the Saudi King,
    “Saudi King Salman presents President Donald Trump with The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace,”

  42. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Is there any reason for the U.S. hostility to Iran
    other than the fact that
    Iran is the gravest external threat Israel currently faces?
    From the economic POV,
    there would be significant advantages to the U.S. to good U.S.-Iran relations.
    Why, we could even sell them military equipment.

  43. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Mr. Peralta, you didn’t ask my opinion, but I’ll give it anyway.
    Precisely the same reason that accounts for
    the vast social changes that have occurred in the U.S. since the 50s and 60s.
    The rising economic, political, and social power of American Jews.
    If you want documentation/substantiation on how vast that rise has been,
    see the book
    Jewish Power: Inside The American Jewish Establishment
    by J.J. Goldberg

  44. ked says:

    “… this deal would lead to some disgruntled elements…”
    well, as long as they don’t get so disgruntled they start flying into buildings or something crazy like that.

  45. VietnamVet says:

    No doubt the USA has been bought. Now, it is out in the open. Fees for services.
    Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have an enemy in common, Iran. Four more years of war in Mesopotamia have been paid for. Neither, Russians or Iranians can back down since Sunni Islamists are an existential threat to their nations. The Sunni Shiite Holy War will continue unabated until there is a fiscal crisis, a populist uprising or the West stumbles into a NATO/Russia World War.
    “Peace and Prosperity” is such an archaic phrase in the second decade of the 21st century.

  46. jonst says:

    “Get used to it”? You mean you are not by now? What world are you living in? Look at history. Everyone one, everywhere, at some time or other has aligned with “cutthroats’. We’re cutthroats, when we have to be. Its a rough world and always has been. Those cutthroats in the Red Army killed a lot of Germans, that otherwise would have been facing our men on the Western Front.

  47. Barbara Ann says:

    It’s the timing of the “rub” that interests me. All politicians like to announce a piece of good news. It should be ‘news’ as often as possible in fact. For now Trump has his paper billions and we can expect to hear lots about how MAGA is right on track as a result.
    If tomorrow the Saudi’s said something like “hey Muktar (I’m paraphrasing) you remember the orb-thing we did? Well the guys at the GCCEI tell us that there is a whole lot of Extremist Ideology going on with those terror-supporting Iranians in Syria – would you be kind enough to Combat that for us?” I’d expect DT to do a quick cost/benefit analysis before politely declining. When the promised investments consequently fail to materialize, he’ll probably figure a bit more deal-making will easily straighten things out.
    Once the penny drops that the attached strings are non-negotiable and when Trump really needs the actual billions, he will of course be far more receptive. But by then the cost side of this particular equation will hopefully have changed to such an extent that even the real billions are not worth the war. Who knows, DT may not even still be Muktar by then.

  48. Haralambos says:

    Col. Lang and Kooshy,
    I have a friend who has taught English in the Gulf for 30 years, the last 25 of which are in Saudi. His take is that the Saudi military (whose members he has trained) are not even prepared to effectively use what they already have for the reasons noted by you, Col.
    He has trained what he describes as the cream of the cream; these are the folks tasked with delivering the goods from the sky. Yemen is an example of their military prowess.
    Patrick Cockburn has an interesting piece up today on the intersection of Iran under the Shah many years ago and this recent Saudi PR exercise:

  49. Croesus says:

    “He did not go to Mecca.”
    Nor did any high-level American represent USA at One Belt One Road Conference May 14. Matt Pottinger, Marine and former journalist that Michael Flynn wanted on his staff, represented USA. Majority of the other 56 nations present were represented by their highest dignitaries, i.e. Erdogan, Italy’s prime minister, etc. Israel appears to have had no representation at all at One Belt conference.
    My view is that the Yemen war is about Saudi control of all of Yemen to ensure control over the Bridge of the Horns initiative. I view the Bridge project as the Saudi – US answer to One Belt One Road; American corporations and major American families are invested in Bridge project; Madeleine Albright’s consultancy represented them, even as her partner, Wendy Sherman, negotiated the Iran deal.
    Col Lang’s insight is very much appreciated; my views are based on reading-from-my-armchair vs knowing the persons and customs of the actors. Nevertheless, the Bridge project, spearheaded by Bin Ladens, is real and significant.
    I would have thought Israel would be pleased that Saudi will be armed to the teeth (tho with no one to use the weaponry); it seemed to me the entire point is to keep Iran in check, to establish even more extensive means of spying on Iran and controlling Persian Gulf.
    Israel not having sent a rep to One Belt conference (tho it is involved in the Development bank) suggested to me that Israel is counting on participating with KSA in a hegemonic role over the Arab-Africa linkage that Bridge of the Horns will create.

  50. Croesus says:

    Perhaps they can peel off a few thousands to hire Iranian women who own taxi cab companies in Tehran. The Iranian women can teach Arab women how to drive?? Or create their own businesses??

  51. eakens says:

    They’ll need a lot of tanks and aircraft if the pot stirring occurs when 4M people flood Mecca during Hajj.

  52. ancient archer says:

    I think there is a qualitative difference between Israel and any other country in regards to their influence on the USG. Israel controls the individual decision makers (senators, congressmen, etc) or enough of them to make a difference. The others, including the Saudis, seem to want to buy control through one-off deals for arms. The Saudis, in this instance are dealing with the institutional USG, which to me is impersonal, and hence the level of influence is lower than that of the Izzies who has senators/congressmen at its beck and call thru AIPAC and its control of the MSM.
    More interesting is the thought that Trump wants to play these tactical allies (Saudis and Israel) against each other by giving so much importance to the arabs. Everyone knows that whatever influence is bought through these one off payments will last until the money is spent – and then maybe not even till then.

  53. Serge says:

    How about that scene with the orb at the opening of the James Bond villain anti terror center?
    The James Bond villain HQ in question:
    What a setup. The optics couldn’t be worse

  54. Haralambos says:

    Dear Keith Harbaugh,
    I can only surmise that you do not recall the 1970s. The Munich hostage crisis in 1972 was one, and the Entebbe hostage crisis was another. The oil crises of the 1970s threw US policy into supporting Iran which was one of our closest allies/clients under the Shah as well as the Saudis if my aging brain recall this. The hostage crisis from 1978-79 to 1980 leading up to President Reagan’s election was another as were the later Irangate and the war between Iran and Iraq during that period over many years.
    This was at the height of the Cold War.

  55. Fred says:

    “Did you notice that in the picture they have him dancing with the servants?”
    That doesn’t say much for the knowledge and skills of the professionals in the State Department nor do I think he’ll be happy to have been slighted this way once he finds out.

  56. Thirdeye says:

    I’m willing to be optimistic and predict that competition between AIPAC and Saudi interests for influence in the US will get extremely dirty. KSA has the money, AIPAC has the insider connections and the IO capabilities. They can do some major damage to each other and it may spill over to the Borg.

  57. different clue says:

    If the al-Sisi government and the Egyptian Nation can survive upcoming geo-physical and ecological/ food-security pressures over the next couple of decades, then a carefully Sisi-selected and guided post-Sisi government may be able to guide Egyptian society’s move into some of the modernity I think you speak of.
    Whereas the Erdogan government and its post-Erdogan successors will throw Turkey down the staircase one stair at a time till Turkey is all the way in the basement of neo-utter-primitivity.

  58. pano says:

    In my view, this was largely a response to the Iran deal Obama had achieved. This is in a sense the anti-Iran deal.
    I also believe that the Saudis and others are afraid of the consequences of JASTA. Nowhere did Trump accuse the houses of Saud and Thani (among others) of supporting terror, specifically ISIS, when they obviously have, but Trump did accuse Iran of supporting terror. And Assad was described in the worst terms. This is a very different response and stands in contrast to some of the attitude of candidate Trump.

  59. Razor_Edge says:

    Interesting to watch that video. I notice that the uniformed security people, in what surely should be a sterile indoor area, are watching carefully for any threat. It suggests to me that there is not complete confidence that insiders are not a threat. Shades of the attack on Sadat that killed him. I recall that especially because the Irish Defence Minister of the time was on the reviewing stand beside Sadat and took shrapnel to the face during the attack.

  60. different clue says:

    Bridge of Horns would be so far from anything in Africa or Asia or Europe of any economic value that I wonder who would be incentivized to build many hundreds of miles of road/railroad through trackless wastes full of nothing of value just to get to it.
    I doubt it would be any answer or any attractor of people away from the Chinese One Belt One Road Co-Prosperity Sphere.

  61. different clue says:

    Keith Harbaugh,
    Legacy-hostility for Iran’s seizing the Embassy and holding the Americans hostage, and also legacy hostility for Islamic Revolutionary Iran’s perceived part in various bombings against American service-people. If Iran is considered to blame for killing American soldiers in Iraq at times, that would be a more recent source of legacy-hostility.
    Anyone holding these things against Iran might act from this hostility if they were in a position of power.

  62. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Per Croesus: “Nor did any high-level American represent USA at One Belt One Road Conference May 14. Matt Pottinger, Marine and former journalist that Michael Flynn wanted on his staff, represented USA. Majority of the other 56 nations present were represented by their highest dignitaries . . ”
    Look on the positive side! At least we sent somebody, unlike 62 years ago when the DullesEisenhower Administration shunned the first non-aligned nation conference in Bandung, Indonesia. Per Wikipedia: ” The US security establishment also feared that the Conference would expand China’s regional power. . . . . The United States, at the urging of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, shunned the conference and was not officially represented.”

  63. SR Wood says:

    Is part of their demographic problem the sizable number of Shiites in the eastern part of SA where most of the oil is?

  64. Laura says:

    Colonel — Ah, no, I couldn’t have told a servant from a savant–thank you for the tip.
    I see what you mean about the money and the projects and they way they can manage their end of the deal.

  65. iowa steve says:

    The money quote from the cited article:
    “He [Trump] should also understand that Saudi Arabia and Israel may be keen to lure the US into war with Iran – but they have no intention of doing much fighting themselves.”

  66. DianaLC says:

    I am nervous any time we deal with a ME country. I just don’t feel that their sense of honor and honesty is the same as what we think is honorable and honest. It always feels to me that they are crossing their fingers behind their backs as they make deals.
    That said, as for the SA students I have had in some of the classes I taught on several campuses in my state, I found them to be intelligent and eager to learn. I taught research writing and so always began with an assignment which forced the students to learn the library databases in order to find their sources.
    On one occasion, my SA student that semester asked me after class if he could research whether or not the House of Saud had been good for the country. Without thinking, I said it would be a fine topic for him.
    Half way through the semester I would ask them to bring in their note cards, materials, etc. and then I would go over the first draft of the first half of the paper which they had turned in before the conference.
    This student turned in an entire paper. He had done everything very well in regard to documentation, outlining, etc. But the paper made no sense to me. He had come to the conclusion that the House of Saud was NOT good for the country. But throughout the draft of the paper only the two paragraphs before the conclusion conclusion provided information negative in regard to the ruling family. The rest of the paper was a report of a lot of Public relations projects that the ruling family had done.
    When I confronted the student about this, as usual he kept looking down and not making eye contact–as I am female. Then I realized what was happening. I told him that if ANYONE came to me and asked me for his paper, I would say I didn’t have it.
    Then he gave me the real paper.
    That is the most dramatic incident with a SA student. Several of the others often felt some sadness, especially the women, when it was time to return to SA. The family ties and obligations, however, kept them committed to return.
    I wonder, with all the many returned students if there might be a growing displeasure with the severe restrictions in that country for personal choices.

  67. kooshy says:

    Actually the orb worked, King Solomon of SA and President Trump with help of locally paid dictators were able to exercise their exorcism and bring out the demon in Manchester today.

  68. Lemur says:

    The US wants global hegemony and for that you need levers (as many as possible) on the world land island in concert with a powerful navy. Europe, the ME, and Airstrip 2 (Japan) all fulfill the land side of this equation.
    Within the specific context of the ME, a policy that is perpetually at odds with the actual US national interest (i.e., what’s good for Joe Citizen) should be squarely laid at the feet of certain (((ethnic minority))) who cynically distort culture and politics for their own ends.

  69. kooshy says:

    Thank You colonel, IMO a nuclear pakistan is more dangerous, than all sunni Arabs combined, considering all Saudi bought and schooled ideologue islamists. Sir, IMO it is carry as hell how west prioritizes her day to day economy over her day to day security.

  70. kooshy says:

    Colonel you must mean a IO campaign by Izzes to take over US’ FP.

  71. TonyL says:

    > Did you notice that in the picture they have him dancing with the servants? pl
    First Obama, now Trump.

  72. LondonBob says:

    I wonder how much of that will be of necessity, the Saudis seem to have stabilised their finances somewhat but the oil price is still a long way off from the frenzied days of ‘peak oil’ theorising and won’t be going much higher for the foreseeable future.

  73. LondonBob says:

    Goes farther back than that, take off another 50 years. Just finished reading a book on the Great War, the authors were criticising the decision of the British government to send troops from the decisive Western front to the Middle East in 1917, in the face of fierce opposition by the military. There were reasons for that, namely the Balfour declaration and the promise of US entry in to the war and the opening up of new sources of finance to fund the war.

  74. Confusedponderer says:

    The more amusing part of the saudi arms deal for 136 something billion or so is that iirc a part of it is going to the corporation Northrop Grumman. Well, iirc Mr. Trump owns NG shares, and thus quite likely profit from it. Foreign pooicy at the worse.

  75. Barbara Ann says:

    You know that photo-op. resulted in a denial from the church:
    Yes, that church.

  76. turcopolier says:

    “Salman” is not “Solomon.” “Suleimen” is “Solomon.” pl

  77. turcopolier says:

    SR Wood
    There is no conscription in SA. If you are a member of a barely tolerated sect like the Shia why would you sign up to be a henchman of the al-saud?
    I doubt if there are any Shia in the military or the police.
    there certainly are none in the SANG. pl

  78. kooshy says:

    Good morning and sorry sir, like me, I phone autocorrect is not Salman Friendly.

  79. LeaNder says:

    Saudi Arabia and Israel are allies in the material and psychological war against secular, modern Arab countries.
    would you be able to give me a little more mental fodder on that thesis? Hmm complicated, luxetvritas?

  80. LeaNder says:

    populist tunes versus their ultimate realities?
    Just followed commenter’s links on an Al-Tanf post by b, which led me to Max Blumenthal on InformationClearingHouse. Same focus:

  81. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Iran was essentially a client state of Britain beginning early in the 20th century, when it became the primary source of oil for the Royal Navy. That role devolved to the USA when early in the Eisenhower administration the US, at Britain’s behest, instigated the coup against Iran’s Mossadegh democratically elected government, which had nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP). That relationship ended in 1979 when the Shah was overthrown and after some instability, Ayatolla Khomini became the leader.

  82. LeaNder says:

    curious, what makes you fold the Munich hostage crisis and Entebbe into the larger “hostility to Iran” narrative?

  83. Fred says:

    He owns stock in a company, that’s why he made all these deals! You sound as bad as CNN.

  84. sid_finster says:

    A good question. This is one explanation, albeit not fully satisfying.

  85. sid_finster says:

    I hope to God that you and Sri Bhadrakumar are right.

  86. Lurker says:

    Colonel, thanks for the correction, yes that was a blow below the belt with sarcasm. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  87. Venezuelan currency.

  88. Keith Harbaugh says:
    • The Iran hostage crisis of 1979-81
      certainly caused U.S. anger with Iran,
      but (and I realize this is still controversial)
      I can see how the U.S. efforts to modernize and Westernize Iran under the Shah
      very deeply offended those Iranians who wished to preserve their culture.
      I am sympathetic towards such Iranians (and other cultural conservatives in the Middle East).
      Are we to be hostile towards all Islamic states that oppose adopting the current values of the U.S.?
      I, for one, hope not.
      In any case, that hostage affair was nearly 40 years ago,
      and no one died in it.
      It hardly seems cause for continuing hostile relations.
    • Re Irangate, aka the Iran-Contra affair
      I don’t see why Iran was guilty of anything in this affair.
    • The war between Iran and Iraq was started by Iraq.
    • Re the documented Iranian support for terrorism:
      This needs to be examined on a case-by-case basis.
      In the case of the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon
      this bombing was not motivated by a general hatred of “the West” or the U.S.,
      but was specifically a reaction to the MNF presence in Lebanon.
      Should the U.S. retaliate appropriately against Iran for this act? Sure.
      But I think letting it permanently ruin U.S./Iran relations would be a grave overreaction.
  89. Chris Chuba says:

    More evidence that Trump has been taken over by the Borg. Like Theon (or Reek) in Game of Thrones, he gets a nice warm bath when he does what they want but if he does something bad, such as have a normal meeting with the Russians, he gets flayed. This is the second time Trump got lavish praise from the Borg and their echo chamber in the press, the first time being when he bombed Syria. I think this is the perfect strategy to manipulate him.
    If the interests of the Saudis conflicts with Israel the Borg will choose Israel. It doesn’t matter what the Saudis think they bought. The Borg don’t honor agreements. Saddam gave up WMD, we got him hanged. Gaddafi gave up whatever he had and he was killed by a mob after R2P intervention, Russia gave up eastern Europe, we put NATO next to St. Petersburg.

  90. J says:

    So the President didn’t get an inbrief from State regarding the liabilities of interaction with the Saudis et. al.. Sad, it would have been better served if Trump had had the Saudis and the Israelis come to the White House.

  91. Lurker says:

    Trump the deal maker went to Saudi Arabia to sell a few hundred billion weapons contracts. The Saudis can’t use them with success anyways (not even in impoverished Yemen) and don’t need them. They only needed the fig leaf of parading Trump. He didn’t mind to be seen with dancing swordsmen and rubbing their crystall ball. This scene is reminiscent of Alladin’s lamp and the 40 thieves. Hezbollah chief, Nasrallah, has written an objective analysis of the bizarre spectacle. The Saudis are scared and desperate. Their power projection failures continue to mount and the whole world is watching their jihadism explode in their face. Mean while, bogey man Iran went to the polls thus legitimizing their government. When was the last time the Saudis had elections? After the grotesque show, Qatar had a change of heart towards Iran and broke ranks with the Saudi led charad:. “Iran is not the enemy.” Trump also went to Riyadh to lay the law of the land: “ISIS is finished!” John McCain notwithstanding. Understandably, Erdogan didn’t even show up in Riyadh as he knew better. The Kurds are receiving all the attention now and he is not happy. The house of Saud is a creation of the British foreign services and Lawrence of Arabia. There is open rebellion against the Saudis all around in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Qatar, Egypt, etc. Perhaps the house of Saud has outlasted its shelf life and usefulness. This has them running around scared shitless, so they bribed Kushner, Ivanka &Trump himself through Goldman Sachs’ peddlers and temple moneychangers to show his face in Riyadh as a much needed fig leaf.

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