Persuading the king …


I watched Trump's Rose Garden session in which he announced that he would sign the appropriation bill and also declare a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act.  IMO he will win whatever court challenges are made because his authority to do this is clear in "black letter" law and the opposition will have to base their plaints on a judgment as to whether or not there is an emergency.  IMO there is nothing in the constitution or law that makes the judgment or the courts competent to overrule his judgment in this case.  If they don't like the National Emergencies Law, let the Congress repeal it. 

On the other hand, Trump also told the world that because of a personal appeal by a woman from Idlib Province in Syria who came to see him in the Oval Office, he called Putin and argued him into calling off the preparations for a massive Russo/Syrian/Iranian offensive that would IMO have recovered Idlib for the SAG.

I am recalling here roughly what he said.

The lady's argument was that she believed that the millions who lived in the province would be killed or maimed in the process and all the towns destroyed.  Her parents lived in the province.  And, after all, she said, there are only 45,000 jihadis in the province.  I was not in the room, but would be willing to bet that she was; well spoken, well dressed, and reasonably attractive.  Trump was persuaded and Idlib remains a cancer in the side of the Syrian state, the Russians, having listened to Trump, attempted to create a de-militarized zone around Idlib Province within which the jihadis have consolidated power.

Some years ago I was asked to speak at a two or three day discussion of the Middle East at Mississippi State University.  This is a big school.  Attendance was in the thousands. On the program with me (or I with him) was, then TV personality, (later governor of Ohio) John Kasich.  At a pre-conference dinner, Kasich sought to dominate the table talk and me (his principal competition) at this conference.  There were numerous senior faculty present at table.  Kasich sought to belittle whatever knowledge I might have of the MENA region and of the peoples and cultures there.  In particular he said that I did not understand Islam at all because I said that the jihadis were among the various forms of Islam, a religion which I foolishly claimed had no central authority structure and in which the "true Islam" was not to be known except in the consensus (ijma') of various groups of Muslims.

Having heard him out, I explained to him my background and experience.  He grew more and more sober, clearly unused to opposition.  I asked him what the basis was for his opinion that the various jihadis were not real Muslims at all.

He told us that a number of beauteous Muslim ladies had been brought to see him.  He said they were well spoken, well dressed (some in French couture clothing) and that they smelled good.  This last was said after I asked him about it having run into this phenomenon before. 

These ladies were all at pains to explain to him that the jihadis were outside Islam because they did not accept the ijma' of the scholars of whatever "school" (mathab) of Sunni Sharia these ladies adhered to.

The lesson – Beware of well dressed ladies who smell of Chanel #5.  pl

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