At the end of his first mandate as POTUS  Donald Trump is shifting gears in the foreign policy of the USA, playing hardball on four different tables.
The new frontier of Cyber attacks – physical damage
We all know something about cybercrime and cyber attacks, right? Many experienced some kind of virus and/or had one of our accounts violated by some unknown wannabe hacker (the definition of hacker is something different, see below).
The goal of such crimes is about information and money, right? Grab some password, divert money to cryptocurrency account located in another country and so on. End of the story.
No. There’s more than that. Much more.
A game of smoke and mirrors
One of the most recurrent topics in the action movies, back in the ‘70s, was the fighting sequence in a hall of mirrors. Hero and villain chasing each other in a long series of hit-and-miss, until the dramatic end. It’s a good metaphor for what’s going on in the Middle East. A pity that there are a lot of players inside the mirrored maze and I can’t see any hero ready to save the day.
The Syrian Deadlock
Words are important, so choosing the right word for the current situation in Syria is a way to anticipate my position. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a simple definition of deadlock is:
a situation in which an agreement cannot be made : a situation in which ending a disagreement is impossible because neither side will give up something that it wants.
War against ISIS – the role of Saudi Arabia
At the last G20 Summit, Vladimir Putin declares a s follows: “I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members.” At the same table there were seated the envoys from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Both countries have a difficult track record when it comes about terrorism, not to mention a number of high-profile representatives with direct ties with known terrorist and/or terrorist organizations. I was looking at a video about ISIS yesterday on YT and all of a sudden I remembered where I had seen similar black flags in the past. And the connection with the house of Saud became graphically clear.
See this people? They were bedouin raiders, the flags are from the Ikhwan organization. What’s that? A creation of early days Wahhabi Ulama, back in 1913 (see here on Wikipedia) in order to convert potentially dangerous bedouin tribes into allies and muslims.
The parallel is quite tempting. Ikhwan militia was a real force back then, helping a lot the cause of the House Of Saud in its struggle to get control in the country that we now call Saudi Arabia. At the same time they were somewhat indisciplinate and scores of them became difficult to control, forcing the Saud ruler to crush’em in 1929.
The Ikhwan members were quite rigid in the application of the Wahhabi policies, including forced conversion of Shia muslims and enforce more control in the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina. Since they want to be feared from their enemies, they applied a lot of gory practises like execution of male prisoners by cutting their throats. They opposed modernity like the introduction of gas, cars and telegraph – everything non-arab and not Wahhabi-like wasn’t welcome.
Nowadays, seeing similar flags in the Middle East and in other countries and listening to similar messages from ISIS makes me wonder. The House of Saud is actively looking for getting more and more influence all over the Persian Gulf area and the whole of the North Africa. The same for Middle East and the other islamic countries. That happened in decades of financing Wahhabi imam and radical movements all over, without even a single word of disapproval from the USA.
Back in the days Ikhwan turned against its creators and it took a while to get it under control (metaphor for “destroyed”) with the help of foreigners (mostly military advisors and personnel from UK). What will happen this time? Are the House of Saud rulers ready to discontinue their support for their black-clad allies?
Find the difference
We have to congratulate with John Kerry for a rare moment of truth between the federal administration of the USA and the public. The current Secretary of State was attending a hearing in the House of Representatives last Wednesday (September 4th, 2013) and answering a question admit loud and clear that foreign countries have offered to pay the bill for the military intervention in Syria.