Saturday, April 11, 2015

Yemen: Gunfight at the OK Corral -Young Saudi Prince vs. Old Iranian Gunslinger!
For some time now, there has been a civil war wrapped within a regional conflict populated with internal ethnic strife—all occurring in one desolate place: Yemen!
Now, if I tried to explain the different factions involved in the chaos called, “The War in Yemen”, both you and I would be so confused that we would agree that it would be best if I did not attempt to even describe the real situation. In turn, I decided to extract that essence of this chaotic situation bordering on Saudi Arabia as a conflict between two sects of Islam trying to deny the other an opportunity to encroach on the mental territory of other.  

More specifically,  the wise old religious leaders of the Iranian Shi’ite Revolution want to embed their beliefs both geographically and intellectually into a failed nation state, Yemen, that borders Saudi Arabia, a Sunni faction of Islam with variations of a theme on Shi’ite philosophy. Now a young Saudi Prince [all names withheld in the interest of clarity] refuses to allow this old Shi’ite interloper to tread on his territory with his gunslingers, the Shi’ite proxy fighters. This young Saudi “whipper-snapper” has amassed his troops, guns and artillery with the help of the US Cavalry in order to stop the old man and his gunslingers.

As many of you already know, gun fights over different territories and beliefs was an integral part of establishing the Republic of America. When it was convenient, we sent out our Buffalo Soldiers to slaughter indigenous natives in order to annex more property to the west and south of the growing American territories. Our philosophy was simple. If it moved we killed it. If it did not move we buried it. This is how we became a nation of God Fearing people.
How the gun and God came to be the symbol of our Republic is steeped in legends, fairy tales and mainly history books [which were the equivalent of fiction]. Now, we see the rise of guns and God once again. However, this time, we made certain that the confluence of these two disparate elements did not encroach in our own territories. Instead, we described the confluence of these two factors as part of the world wide war on terrorism  [which by definition was and still is an oxymoron]. Nevertheless, Americans made certain to fight alongside the old Iranian gunman in Iraq [another failed state which we helped to demolish with God and gun]; and, at the same time, we allied with the young Saudi to fight the old man in another territory [also failed state]—Yemen.

Americans have become the most pervasive gunslingers around the world trying to shoot our way into the hearts and minds of foreigners without having the vaguest idea of how to stop these inane series of Gunfights at the OK Corral. In reality, we are confused and completely disoriented by any sense of purpose, goal or ability to extricate ourselves from endless battles in very far-away places. Our leaders have fled south to Panama and Cuba to find some respite from the daily conundrum they had created but do not know how to extricate themselves from.  Instead they offer us, the palaver of “God”, “National Security” and “Freedom’ as token efforts to ease our queasy questioning concerning death and mayhem in territories that we didn’t know even existed. 

Until that day when “God” and “gun’ are no longer associated with each other, I then offer you the simple lesson of the Gunfight at the O.K Corral.  The fight lasted only 30 seconds and took place at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona Territory--- everyone was shot or killed eventually. There were no winners; only losers. Yet the world of fiction blossomed with narratives that have distorted this episode beyond any semblance of reality.
Let us pray that the conflict in Yemen be terminated as quickly as possible with the help of the USG, UN and the Gulf States. In time, they will all realize that the true value of the conflict will lie not in the reality of its horror and mayhem; but in the tales of fictitious heroism and virtue that will be elaborated accordingly by both the Sunni and Shi’ites who have need for more conflicts in order to maintain their conflicting narratives of “God” and his Prophet Mohammed.

As for me, I will watch more movies in order to drown out the noisy pleas for peace made by all and listened by none, in order to better understand who is really the ‘good guys’ and who are the ‘bad guys’. Truthfully, I am still confused. Only the word, “Vendetta”, seems to scream in my ear.
Maybe I have been watching reruns of “Gunfight at the OK Corral” too many times. It’s time to find God somewhere in this smoke-ridden world of  gunpowder and rotting flesh.


Friday, April 10, 2015

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Six Years After President Obama Reached Out to Iran, He Made a Historic Deal!
Congratulations to Obama, John Kerry, State Dept. Team, Military/Intelligence Community.
Historic Day for America/Hysterical Day for Bibi and Republican ChickenHawks!
For over 37 years, I have waited for this rapprochement with Iran. I knew that Obama would eventually reach it with this country. Obama had taken the initial risk as did Nixon with his unexpected shift to recognize China. Silent leaders make bold movements. Loud leaders or histrionic leaders like Bibi and McCain do nothing but create unnecessary wars which slaughter countless innocent victims.  Neither of these men will go down in history for anything more than ‘saber rattling’ ad infinitum.
Obama understood that Iran has been helpful to the US ground troops both in Iraq and Afghanistan by extricating them from a very dangerous, complex situation. Our military leaders had informed me for years that this was the case.
However, the Iran deal is important suis generis. For the most part, it really has nothing to do with nuclear capabilities. Iran really does not want a nuclear bomb. It is totally useless. Please ask the Pakistani leadership, both civilian and military, whether their having the Islamic Bomb in any way curtailed their corrupt political, incendiary practices in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and India? Funny how Bibi never brings up Nuclear Pakistan when he rants about the dangerous of a Nuclear Islamic State. That’s because neither he nor the IDF care about nuclear capability.
As for Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni states, they have failed to maintain a civil society based on secular laws and transparent economic incentives. Instead of coming to terms with Iran, a very powerful Persian state, Saudi Arabia has decided to act out like a spoiled brat in kindergarten who has not been able to get the continuous attention of their surrogate father, America. For too long, Americans have tolerated Saudi Arabia’s nonsensical religious interpretation of the Holy Koran with narratives that emphasized the religious extremism and barbarism of a tribal sect, the Wahabbis. 
Now times have changed. Obama along with his negotiating team understood that inevitable transformation where America no longer would pamper the spoiled oil drenched hooligans of the Middle East—Dubai, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and their poorer cohorts Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, etc.

Obama and Iran have signaled to the world that trade will once again travel through the Silk Roads of China, Russia and Iran in a vast infrastructure yet to be built by the different private corporations that will be bidding for the necessary contracts. New enterprises will arise where once sands and ruins have stood. Once again, our corporations—Bechtel, Boeing, Northrup Grumann, and Halliburton will descend into Persia and start up much needed businesses. Persian students will continue to flood our universities in the USA as they have had in the past and become the new leaders of a different type of democracy in Iran.

Germany, France, Russia and China will have the advantage of doing trade with the Iranians on a real competitive basis without fear of legal sanctions. Even the sneaky state of Israel who supplied the Ayatollah Khomeini with arms, guns, pilots, fighter jets and artillery shells [in Hebrew] during the 1989 Iran/Iraq Wars will make their necessary shekels without having to transfer goods to a third country as they have in the past four decades [especially  gas/oil/ telecommunications equipment/ military assistance, etc].
Finally, the Middle East hypocrisy of long-abiding allies: Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Dubai, etc. will be attenuated for real d├ętente without pretext that that those countries really need us for more than military hardware and assistance. Iran will dominate the Middle East Crescent as I have predicted for years. They will effectively displace the Sunnis and try to maintain a hegemony akin to what they had during the times of Cyrus the Great and Darius.
The only fly in this seemingly halcyon ointment is Turkey which for the present is completely besieged on all of its major geopolitical borders. But its Prime Minister, Erdogan, can no longer bluff his way forward. He will have to declare whether Turkey is a secular or religious state. Did Ataturk fail in the long run? Or did Sunni Islam rise again? Either way, Erdogan will have to deal with a Shi’ite Persia. He knows that and he has no choice.
As for America, we are in very good shape. Obama has corrected our financial markets so that we are no longer in a recession or economic abyss a la Bush Family. Obama has made us as of the past year, a net exporter of gas/oil. Obama has recognized Communist Cuba. And finally Obama has made peace with a three scores and seven year enemy: Iran. Even Stupid Republicans who want to destroy/diminish Obama’s accomplishments by inviting American trained con man Bibi to speak in front of congress, can’t stop the momentum.

As for me, as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Navy Captain, I resigned over President Carter’s orders in 1978 to accompany Ramsey Clark to visit Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris. At the time, I believed this opening movement would cause the USA major problems.  So I left. Sec. State Cyrus Vance resigned six months later. How would I know then that it would take five different Presidencies to finally accomplish what we should have done back in 1978----make peace with Ayatollah Khomeni?
Congratulations to all those members of this incredible American and Persian team that made this deal possible. The American people are no fools and we will not let anything stop this treaty from finally being ratified in June 2015.
As we say in Persian, “Merci”! 

As we say in Harlem, “Don’t Mess With The Man!” as a warning that should be heeded by all who think that they can spoil this deal. Just ask Petraeus, Hillary, Republicans and others what happens when you do.
Criticism of this deal is pretty much like worthless Book Reviews:
“Book Reviewers [critics] are little old ladies of both sexes.” John O’Hara [American Novelist]. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Congratulations Nigeria on your New Democracy! 
The New Leader of the Opposition Party has Become the President of Nigeria!
Since 1999, Nigeria has been ruled by one major party—People’s Democratic Party, led by Goodluck John.

On March 31, 2015 , Goodluck met his bad luck when Buhari of the opposition All Progressive Congress defeated him by a wide margin. What this election victory portends for the Nigerians is a period of economic and political stability which they have not had for some time. Buhari was once the military ruler of Nigeria from 1983-1985 so he is quite familiar with the use of military force to extricate ISIS associated with the Boko Haram group that has been terrorizing the northern part of Nigeria where the unemployed youth have been heavily recruited. At the same time, he will attempt to maintain some economic stability in the Niger Delta in order to suppress the indigenous militancy groups that have arisen when citizens from that region believed they did not receive their proper share of oil.

The election of Buhari should presage a much needed period of economic and political stability in a country rife with Christian-Muslim divisions and poverty. A certain amount of gratitude should also be expressed to the South African Mercenaries who fought on behalf of the Nigerian Military and inflicted serious military defeats against Boko Haram. Although somewhat controversial in nature, South African “mercs” are still one of the most effective fighting forces in all of Africa.

Clearly, it will take some time for Buhari to instill the necessary mechanisms he will need to attain his goals. But even if political patronage and oil subsidies will be required, that is a small price to pay for peace in Nigeria. I wish all my Nigerian readers the best for a prosperous and safe decade of peace.