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25 November 2017

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b

"Bottomline, we have been arming and assisting both sides of the conflict in Syria. That kind of duality, if present in a person, would normally be described as a raging case of schizophrenia or, even worse, multiple personality disorder.

I do not know if Donald Trump is mentally ill. But his foreign policy in the Middle East certainly is crazy."

It wasn't Trump who started arming and assisting "both sides" (both anti-Syrian sides I would say) in Syria. It was Obama who started this. He and his mentor (and Saudi agent?) Brennan. Trump shut down parts of the CIA operation and now it is the military which is doing the dirty work - rescuing ISIS from the R6+1.

It is the same with most policies that Trump is now pursuing. Shipping out illegal immigrants? Pampering the rich and the banks? Obama has done way more in those directions than Trump had time to so.

Don't get blinded by the perceived personalities. Look at the factual programs and outcome.

Roy G

Well said, PT. AFAIR, the only link of Hizbullah to 'international terrorism' was the putative attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992. Given the Israeli proclivity to engage in lawfare and their well known desire to control the narrative, is there any truth to that claim? Are there legitimate instances of Hizbullah engaging in any such activities outside of Lebanon and Syria?

ToivoS

I find tacitus a useful source of information. But this statement jumped out to me: Paul Pillar, the former senior intelligence analyst who signed off on the U.S. conclusions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction programs

This is news to me. The links in the article do not make it clear what Pillar's role in this was.

Tel
"That kind of duality, if present in a person, would normally be described as a raging case of schizophrenia or, even worse, multiple personality disorder."

What's wrong with traditional duplicity?

"I do not know if Donald Trump is mentally ill. But his foreign policy in the Middle East certainly is crazy."

I don't think Trump cares too much what happens in the Middle East, his whole policy is "Make America Great Again" and if there's some temporary economic boost selling weapons to both sides in a conflict, that's good for America, isn't it? Make sure neither side wins and next year they will be back asking for more weapons.

Russia does the same. So do the Europeans.

Lemur

Turning Imperial policy within a 12 month period is next to impossible. Trump is one guy. But let's take a look at hostile actions vs hostile rhetoric.

Trump has had multiple chances to escalate with Iran.

Where was the US response when Shia forces attacked Iraqi Kurdistan?

Where was the US endorsement of the Saudi-Israelia demarche in Lebanon?

Where was the US response to the emergence of the so-called Shia corridor along the Western Euphrates?

Where was the Zio-hawk content in the deal hashed out with Russia pertaining to southern Syria?

We've seen magic glowing orbs, fiery speeches to the UN, praying at that wall in Israel, threats on the Iran deal; but nothing where the rubber hits the road. In fact, if you look for the stories, you find the opposite:

- Trump is negotiating with Turkey about distancing the US from the YPG in Syria.
- There are allegations Trump is fed up with Bibi's reluctance to compromise on the Palestinian issue
- There is evidence of a reasonable and understanding relationship between Putin and Trump.
- There are the reports of Israel sending high echelon security delegation to Washington to whine about Russia and Iran, and receiving nothing more than a lunch from McMaster.
- Trump cancelled the CIA training program in Syria.

The reality is that Trump has an entrenched pro-Israel pro-Saudi institutional culture to deal with, a large swathe of his base that still think the Israel-US relationship is the greatest thing since sliced bread (go read Conservative Tree House comments). And since Americans don't really care all that much about foreign policy, there's a pattern of compromising on that in exchange for wins on the domestic front. Nonetheless, Trump has been a far more even handed and cautious President so far *in practice* than anybody since Reagan (who likewise talked a big game and enacted cautious policy)

Kutte

Whilst you are writing from the comfort of your armchair, Donald Trump is surrounded by a dozen thugs with drawn knives. He is the President and has much power, but also many, many restrictions. If Trump did all the clever things you are suggesting he would be toast by now. I still think he knows what he is doing and will (hopefully) stitch up all the obnoxious people you are describing so accurately.

Dr. Puck

"Trump has been a far more even handed and cautious President so far *in practice* than anybody since Reagan."

Iran-Contra was cautious? The proxy wars in Central America and Africa were cautious? The marines killed and wounded in one fell swoop in Lebanon were not an aspect of the 'practice?'

"wins on the domestic front"

Such as endorsing a full-on supply-side oligarchy with Goldman-Sachs seated at the table?

(slaps head)

elev8

"Nonetheless, Trump has been a far more even handed and cautious President so far *in practice* than anybody since Reagan (who likewise talked a big game and enacted cautious policy)" (Lemur)
True. I don't think there will be any kind of massive new war under Trump. That could only happen if the players interested in starting one substantially upped their game - i.e., their trickery and deceit - to levels beyond what they have proven themselves to be capable of so far.
(So some risk remains, as it always does).

Blowtorch_bob

Huh? Hezbollah is moving drugs for the Latin American cartel? A few paragraphs down ISIS is identified the culprit. What's going on?

Hezbollah and ISIS are mortal enemies. Hezzbeloh is Shia, backed by Iran. ISIS is a Suni-extremist group backed by Saudi Arabia.

Peter AU

"I do not know if Donald Trump is mentally ill. But his foreign policy in the Middle East certainly is crazy."

After the recent play in Saudi Arabia, I bought the book "The art of the deal" written or first published in 1987.
Chapter two "Elements of the deal" is interesting to compare what he is doing now.
A couple of paragraphs from the 1987 Trump...

"One of the keys to thinking big is total focus. I think of it almost as a controlled neurosis, which is a quality I've noticed in many highly successful entrepreneurs. They're obsessive, they're driven, they're single minded and sometimes they're almost maniacal, but it is all channeled into their work. Where other people are paralyzed by neurosis, the people I'm talking about are actually helped by it.
I don't say this trait leads to a happier life, or a better life, but it's great when it comes to getting what you want. This is particularly true in New York real estate, where you are dealing with some of the sharpest, toughest, and most vicious people in the world. I happen to love to go up against these guys, and I love to beat them."
......

Although I haven't read right through the book as most chapters seem to be about various deals, from what I have read, much of what he wrote back then seems to fit what he is doing now.

anobserver

"Hezbollah is partnering with Latin American drug lords to raise money for terrorist activity. This includes participation in drug trafficking, gun running, and trade-based money laundering"

This statement rings a bell. I seem to remember that, several years ago, a similarly preposterous accusation was spread against Hezbollah, which was supposedly setting up lucrative networks in cahoot with local drug traffickers and smuggling rings in the region of the triple border Paraguay-Argentina-Brazil.

Anybody remembers that one?

ex-PFC Chuck

He can't "make America great again" as that phrase is generally understood unless he confronts the FIRE sector (finance, insurance, real estate) and he is too much of a creature of that sector to do so.

LeaNder

Yes, has been on my mind too. But shouldn't it really be 1992 and 1994? Iran & Hisbollah as main suspects?

It surfaced post "Mission Accomplished", amidst the push 'further please: let's first take Syria and then Iran'. Even the drug trafficking 'cum' terrorism' angle may not be completely new. If I recall correctly it surfaced in some type of combination in Lebanon. Never knew if one could trust it. And definitively did not seriously study matters. And in that context there always already were these assumed Iran links versus Hezbollah.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/terrorist-bombings-in-argentina

Random pick concerning the vague combination of drugs, terrorism Hezbollah/Iran, Lebanon would be Lockerbie. Random pick Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/jun/27/lockerbie.features11

blue peacock

Publius Tacitus

Duplicity among the highest levels of our government seems to have been going on for a long time. And it seems that the average American has faced a lot of duplicitous propaganda from their government for decades.

In watching the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary I learned that JFK harbored private beliefs that involvement in Vietnam did not serve US national interests yet he ordered US soldiers as advisors into Vietnam primarily because he did not want to be attacked as weak on communism by his political opponents. Lyndon Johnson was even more cynical. So, one could say the Vietnam war escalation was a Democrat project, but the coastal liberal partisans will never acknowledge they have blood on their hands. They keep doubling down on their PCness however, notwithstanding Harvey Weinstein and predatory Hollywood as the anti-thesis of their PC ideology!

In more recent decades it has been a bi-partisan affair, where under the guise of R2P and other "humanitarian" interventions, our government has destabilized many regions in the world and in particular the middle east. From Clinton to W to Obama, their administrations have obfuscated, and even lied as they have created chaos across that region. Unlike them, Trump has not yet launched any new war and at least his rhetoric at times acknowledges the colossal waste in resources in our military interventions and the need for better relations with Russia. Which recent American president even had any rational rhetoric, let alone actions?

james

thanks pt... i found this article challenging to read.. right off the start, i wanted to comment on the disconnect "hezbollah partnering with latin american drug cartels" and immediately after - "As its funding sources dry up and its so-called caliphate shrinks, a desperate ISIS is reportedly resorting to drug trafficking to fund its terrorist activities."

of course - hezbollah and isis are avowed enemies...i guess conning the usa public on how they might be the same as the task of all those folks under the payment of the propaganda masters, but it won't fly with anyone paying attention... and i say this in spite of all the liars in the us political system that can be counted on to lie or obfuscate 24/7...

i think most folks can see the country where headchopping is an accepted form of justice and just how that connects to isis... hezbollah has been on the opposite side of that and continues to be on the opposite side of that.. i just don't see the lying confusing too many people, but maybe i underestimate the ignorance of the american people...

your article is like a drive thru smorgasbord.. it might be easier to pick one topic - guess you did - iran propaganda - but it is a big and scattered one..

Christian Chuba

We are taking all of the credit for defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq while ignoring the productive role of Iran, the PMU, the Iraqi govt, Assad's forces, and Hezbollah. This is not just a matter of fairness, but a matter of perceiving reality correctly and avoiding messing things up again as we are prone to do. If our version of reality is correct then how will we explain why our efforts in Afghanistan continue to fail? Had we chosen to embrace reality there, we would do as Iran and Russia are doing and not equate the Taliban with ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Regarding reality, has anyone else noticed that Al Qaeda in Syria has disappeared from our narrative?
The party line in the U.S. MSM is, 'the physical Caliphate has been destroyed but now we have to deal with the online version of ISIS and their local affiliates'. I wonder if and when the presence of Al Qaeda will be recognized again in N. Syria. The really nauseating thing for me to watch will be how the MSM will just pick up the ball and go with the latest govt narrative as if this collective amnesia never occurred.

Babak Makkinejad

Iranian officials are very clear that they have won.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree, specially Finance.

Patrick Armstrong

I read it too. My takeaway is that he is patient, that he sees things that others do not and when he moves, he does quickly and decisively. I also do not start with the assumption, as most of the nincompoops in the MSM do, that he is an idiot. He obviously is not. I also believe that we should watch what he does and not what he says -- much of what he says is cover and prestidigitation.

Eric Newhill

Peter and Patrick,
Agree 100%. I also read Art of the Deal when I first began to consider voting for Trump. Trump may come off as a little odd in some public appearances and utterances or incurious or clumsy upon occasion, but I am convinced that he is an extremely intelligent person; the 4D chess player that his fans claim he is. IMO, Some of the aspects that others criticize are indeed a smoke screen to confuse and/or cause his opponents to let their guard down.

turcopolier

Blowtorch Bob

PT argued in the post that it is stupid and in error for anyone to say that Hizbullah and ISIS are in the drug business together. That is his point. pl

Roy G

Thanks Leander. I see the same innuendo and self-referencing / self-interested sources at work. Particularly interesting are the 'Hizbullah t-shirt' supposedly found at the Lockerbie crash site (foreshadowing the 9/11 passports and other such 'finds'), and the criminal Natanyahu appearing at ceremonies held at the Argentinian bombing sites on September 11, 2017. Too clever by half, yet I worry about the corrosive effect of the engineered narrative on the truth.

Richardstevenhack

It's interesting if not too surprising to see how many Trump supporters continue to insist that he either 1) has some master game plan to "drain the swamp", or 2) is trying but too weak and too constrained to do anything.

Guess who had the same appearance for nine years? Obama.

Anyone remember "Change We Can Believe In?" How'd that work out for you?

I had Obama pegged as "Bush Lite" long before Stephen Walt termed him that. I termed Obama that during his first Presidential campaign based on statements in his platform and statements he made to the New York Times about putting a gasoline embargo on Iran.

I was right. Everyone else was wrong. But it's amazing how many people - even "antiwar" types like Gareth Porter and Ray McGovern - continued to carry Obama's water for nine years. They constantly tried to explain away Obama's actions by declaring that he was "conflicted" about them. Even after he deliberately lied to the Presidents of Turkey and Brazil over the 2010 Iran deal they were trying to get (and did get, despite Obama's reneging on it.)

A few fools - actually, most of the fools who voted for Trump - thought that a few comments about "making nice with Russia" was enough to make him some sort of right-wing version of "Change You Can Believe In."

Anyone with a brain saw Trump as a no-nothing blowhard during his campaign. His only reasons for running for President were: 1) ego; and 2) he knows he will make billions in business deals after he leaves office.

Trump hasn't escalated against Iran? Oh, yes, he has. He has upped the rhetoric, he has refused to certify Iran's compliance with the Nuclear Deal, and most importantly, he has upped sanctions on Hizballah in Lebanon.

You want to know why we aren't at war with Iran NOW? Two reasons: Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon and Vladimir Putin in Syria. People should get on the knees and beg forgiveness from those two leaders for preventing a total Mid-East meltdown - so far.

Trump has absolutely nothing to do with it. Quite the opposite.

Trump is weak? As the Colonel has explicitly said, Trump could fire most of these morons who are "undermining" him in a heartbeat and take whatever heat that generates. A great President would do that. All we've seen from Trump is he throws almost literally ALL of his actual supporters under the bus.

Stop thinking Trump has some master plan to save us all. Obama didn't and neither does Trump. It's delusional. All Trump wants to do is fake being "Presidential" until he can leave office and make some real money, meanwhile tweeting aggressive blowhard nonsense to the fools who think that sort of behavior represents a "strong President."

Trump will start a war with Iran because he thinks Iran is a weak nation he can "pick up and throw against the wall" - as someone once said - so he can look like a "war President". And his family members are working for Israel. Trump is indeed a businessman. He knows from that experience that you don't cross rich Jews in America.

Trump may well start a war with North Korea because his cronies and handlers see six to ten trillion dollars worth of undeveloped resources they'd like to get their hands on and he has zero clue as to the potential devastating consequences for the people of Korea - nor does he care - let alone the potential consequences vis-a-vis China.

If Trump does anything right with Russia - which so far he has not, aside from his (allegedly) "fruitful" talks with Putin - it will be for the same reason Obama made the Iran Nuclear Deal - to have at least one foreign policy "success" to offset the rest of the foreign policy disasters Obama created during his nine years - while knowing that "success" would be undermined in the very next Administration.

Obama assumed Clinton would start a war with Iran. Instead, we got Trump. "Meet the new boss; Same as the old boss." Anyone who thinks this dynamic is going to change in this country is on crack.

outthere

this was one of Gareth Porter's best ever articles
he did a lot of research over many years

Hezbollah Didn’t Do Argentine Bombing (updated)
1979 Views January 22, 2008 8 Comments
Bush’s Iran/Argentina Terror Frame-Up

by GARETH PORTER

this article originally ran in the Nation, reprinted here:
https://thesaker.is/hezbollah-didnt-do-argentine-bombing-updated/
Interview with Gareth Porter
Gareth Porter's Investigation into the AMIA Bombing in Buenos Aires
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkC4wvRK5OI

outthere

original article in the Nation
Bush’s Iran/Argentina Terror Frame-Up

The Bush Administration cites a 1994 bombing in Argentina to tar Iran as a sponsor of global terror. But a fresh probe finds no evidence of an Iran connection.
By Gareth Porter
January 19, 2008

https://www.thenation.com/article/bushs-iranargentina-terror-frame/

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