The Small Horn Al-Sadr Rises Up (Daniel 8:9)

Firebrand Cleric Turns on U.S. Enemies

Michael Weiss04.13.17 11:00 PM ET

The Syrian Truth Finally Comes Out

Assad says US ‘not serious’ about fighting terrorism

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said a suspected chemical weapons attack was a “fabrication” to justify a US strike on his forces, in an exclusive interview with AFP in Damascus.
The embattled leader, whose country has been ravaged by six years of war, said his firepower had not been affected by the attack ordered by US President Donald Trump, but acknowledged further strikes were possible.
Assad insisted his forces had turned over all their chemical weapons stocks years ago and would never use the banned arms.
The interview on Wednesday was his first since a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun.
“Definitely, 100 percent for us, it’s fabrication,” he said of the incident.
“Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists. They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack,” added Assad, who has been in power for 17 years.
At least 87 people, including 31 children, were killed in the alleged attack, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.
But Assad said evidence came only from “a branch of Al-Qaeda,” referring to a former jihadist affiliate that is among the groups that control Idlib province, where Khan Sheikhun is located.
Images of the aftermath, showing victims convulsing and foaming at the mouth, sent shockwaves around the world.
But Assad insisted it was “not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video? You have a lot of fake videos now.”
“We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhun. Were they dead at all?”
He said Khan Sheikhun had no strategic value and was not currently a battle front.
“This story is not convincing by any means.”
A handout picture released by the Syrian presidency's press office shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an interview with AFP in the capital Damascus on April 12, 2017© Provided by AFP A handout picture released by the Syrian presidency’s press office shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an interview with AFP in the capital Damascus on April 12, 2017The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has begun an investigation into the alleged attack, but Russia on Wednesday blocked a UN Security Council resolution demanding Syria cooperate with the probe.
And Assad said he could “only allow any investigation when it’s impartial, when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won’t use it for politicised purposes.”
He insisted several times that his forces had turned over all chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013, under a deal brokered by Russia to avoid threatened US military action.
“There was no order to make any attack, we don’t have any chemical weapons, we gave up our arsenal a few years ago,” he said.
“Even if we have them, we wouldn’t use them, and we have never used our chemical arsenal in our history.”
The OPCW has blamed Assad’s government for at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015 involving the use of chlorine.
The Khan Sheikhun incident prompted the first direct US military action against Assad’s government since the war began, with 59 cruise missiles hitting the Shayrat airbase three days after the suspected chemical attack.
Assad said more US attacks “could happen anytime, anywhere, not only in Syria.”
But he said his forces had not been diminished by the US strike.
“Our firepower, our ability to attack the terrorists hasn’t been affected by this strike.”

Antichrist Tells Assad To Step Down

Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power in the wake of a chemical attack that killed more than 80 people in Idlib province April 4.
Sadr is the first Shiite political leader to urge Assad to give up power, Reuters reported. The religious leader has a huge following particularly among Baghdad’s majority Shiite community, but holds no official political office.
The cleric also commands the allegiance of a number of militias in Iraq—co-opted into the Iraqi Army as ‘Popular Mobilization Units’—some of which have fought alongside Assad’s forces in Syria.
Sadr called on the Syrian president in Damascus to “take an historic, heroic decision” to step down, a move he said would spare the country further bloodshed. “I think it would be fair for President Bashar al-Assad to offer his resignation and step down in love for Syria, to spare it the woes of war and terrorism… and take a historic, heroic decision before it is too late,” he said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
However, Sadr did not openly condemn Assad for his use of the nerve agent sarin, dropped April 4 on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Syrian government has denied any involvement in the attack, as it has consistently denied the use of chemical weapons throughout the six-year-long civil war, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Rather, the cleric warned Assad that further U.S. strikes would “drag the region to war” and could lead to the “the expansion of Daesh,” the Arabic name for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).
Sadr has been a fierce opponent of the United States since America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. The firebrand preacher rose to prominence, denouncing the occupation and created the Mahdi Army, an Iraqi militia, which launched attacks on the U.S. military.
The most recent and principal version of the Shiite Mahdi Army, the Saraya al-Salam, was remobilized to fight ISIS in 2014 as the militant Sunni group threatened the security of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. A number of the so-called Popular Mobilization Units, co-opted into the Iraqi Army in 2016, have links to the Mahdi Army.
In 2014, the Guardian reported that the Iran-backed militia, the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq formerly part of Sadr’s Mahdi Army, was fighting alongside Assad in Syria.
The Iraqi government, backed by Iran and allied with the U.S., has itself had to tread a careful line over the chemical weapons attack. The government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned the chemical attack—without naming Assad—and called for an international investigation into the deaths.
The statement from Baghdad also criticized “the hasty interventions” that followed the chemical attack, a reference to U.S. air strikes launched late Thursday.

Antichrist Orders Assad to Step Down


Iraq’s Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urges Syria’s Assad to step down
Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, also calling on Washington and Moscow to stop intervening in the conflict.
The Najaf-based Shiite cleric condemned the killing of 87 people, including 31 children, in a suspected chemical attack last week in a rebel-held Syrian town that has been widely blamed on Damascus.
“I would consider it fair for President Bashar al-Assad to resign and leave power, allowing the dear people of Syria to avoid the scourge of war and terrorist oppression,” he said in a statement.
The United States fired a barrage of 59 cruise missiles at Shayrat airbase in Syria early on Friday to push Damascus, despite its denials of responsibility.
Sadr, who led a militia that fought the US occupation of Iraq, also condemned the American missile strike, urging all foreign parties involved in the Syria conflict to pull out.
“I call on all sides to withdraw their military assets from Syria so that the Syrian people take things into their own hands. They are the only ones with the right to decide their fate — the alternative will turn Syria to rubble,” he said.
Several Iraqi Shiite militias, some of them directly supported by Iran, are helping Assad’s camp in the Syria conflict by sending fighting units across the border.
Sadr’s forces have focused on protecting the holy sites and his drive against corruption and nepotism has drawn support from beyond his traditional base.
The Iraqi government on Friday condemned the suspected chemical attack and said it supported any initiative aimed at punishing those responsible.
Last Update: Saturday, 8 April 2017 KSA 22:43 – GMT 19:43

Antichrist Orders Assad to Step Down

The Najaf-based Shiite cleric condemned the killing of 87 people, including 31 children, in a suspected chemical attack last week in a rebel-held Syrian town that has been widely blamed on Damascus.
“I would consider it fair for President Bashar al-Assad to resign and leave power, allowing the dear people of Syria to avoid the scourge of war and terrorist oppression,” he said in a statement.
The United States fired a barrage of 59 cruise missiles at Shayrat airbase in Syria early on Friday to push Damascus, despite its denials of responsibility.
Sadr, who led a militia that fought the US occupation of Iraq, also condemned the American missile strike, urging all foreign parties involved in the Syria conflict to pull out.
“I call on all sides to withdraw their military assets from Syria so that the Syrian people take things into their own hands. They are the only ones with the right to decide their fate — the alternative will turn Syria to rubble,” he said.
Several Iraqi Shiite militias, some of them directly supported by Iran, are helping Assad’s camp in the Syria conflict by sending fighting units across the border.
Sadr’s forces have focused on protecting the holy sites and his drive against corruption and nepotism has drawn support from beyond his traditional base.
The Iraqi government on Friday condemned the suspected chemical attack and said it supported any initiative aimed at punishing those responsible.
Last Update: Saturday, 8 April 2017 KSA 22:43 – GMT 19:43

Antichrist Lectures Trump and Assad


Muqtada al-Sadr calls on US to stop meddling, Assad to resign

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr speaks to a gathering of supporters in Baghdad. AP photo
Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The firebrand Shiite leader in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, says the Syrian people are the only victims of the United States’ meddling in the country’s affairs, and describes the US role in the region as negative. Sadr also called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign and external parties and forces to withdraw.
“The US should stay away from the crossfire of war in Syria,” said Sadr.
Sadr issued a statement on the US attack on the Syrian government’s Shayrat air base in central Syria from where warplanes allegedly carrying chemicals weapons had taken off and later dropped on the city of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province.
“All the external parties and their forces must withdraw from Syria,” he reiterated. “I also call on Bashar al-Assad to resign.”
He also said Syria would turn to another Vietnam for the US if it continues to act militarily.
In part of the message, he said the US on the one hand kills civilians in Mosul, while on the other hand, it condemns chemical attacks in Syria.
The United States struck the Syrian base with 59 cruise missiles launched from the USS Ross and USS Porter in the Mediterranean Sea early Friday morning in retaliation to suspected gruesome chemical weapons attack on Tuesday.
The White Helmets, a Syrian Civil Defense volunteer group which goes into areas immediately after they’ve been attacked stated in a press release on Friday that 89 people, including 33 children and 18 women, had been killed and 541 injured in Khan Sheikhun.
The World Health Organization stated that the cases are consistent with nerve agent exposures.
President Donald Trump cast the US assault as vital to deter future use of poison gas and called on other nations to join in seeking “to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.”
It was the first direct US assault on the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president just over two months ago. The strikes also risk thrusting the US deeper into an intractable conflict that his predecessor spent years trying to avoid.
Trump said there was no doubt Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the chemical attack.
“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” Trump declared.
The move drew condemnation from Russia and Iran and praise from many western countries including France, Britain and Germany.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria to in a telephone call with US Vice President Mike Pence, according to a readout from the office of the PM.
“[The] Prime Minister assured [Pence] that Iraq considered the use of the chemical weapons in Syria is a convicted crime and condemned them,” the statement read.
“We stand with the Syrian people who are victims just like Iraqi were victims of ousted regime’s chemical strikes,” it added. “For that we call for urgent and precise international investigation and condemn any side made such an act.”

Syrian Chemical Attack Not Due To Assad

Ex-UK Ambassador To Syria Questions Chemical Attack; “It Doesn’t Make Sense, Assad Is Not Mad”

 The former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, has joined the chorus of folks implying that the chemical attack in Syria wreaks of a ‘false flag’ operation.  Speaking on BBC Radio earlier, Ford said there is no proof that the cause of the explosion was what they said it was” and that it simply wouldn’t make sense for Assad to launch such an attack as it would be totally self-defeating.”
There is no proof that the cause of the explosion was what they said it was.  Remember what happened in Iraq…I’ve seen testimony alleged from witnesses who said they saw chemical bombs dropping from the air.  Well, you can not see chemical weapons dropping from the air.  Such testimony is worthless.”
“But think about the consequences because this is not likely to be the end of it. It doesn’t make sense that Assad would do it.  Lets not leave our brains outside the door when we examine evidence.  It would be totally self-defeating as shown by the results…Assad is not mad.”
 

As we pointed out yesterday, Ford’s comments seemingly align with the opinion of former Representative Ron Paul who argued that there was a 0% chance that Assad deliberately launched a chemical weapons attack on Syrian citizens.

 “Who benefits?”

Meanwhile, this CNN anchor was left speechless Wednesday during a televised interview when a congressman questioned the mainstream narrative that Bashar al-Assad attacked his own people with chemical weapons.

“It’s hard to know exactly what’s happening in Syria right now. I’d like to know specifically how that release of chemical gas, if it did occur — and it looks like it did — how that occurred,” Representative Thomas Massie told CNN’s Kate Bolduan. 
Because frankly, I don’t think Assad would have done that. It does not serve his interests. It would tend to draw us into that civil war even further.”
I don’t think it would’ve served Assad’s purposes to do a
chemical attack on his people…It’s hard for me to understand why he
would do that — if he did.”

Assad Not Behind Chemical Attack

Ron Paul: Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria Likely a False Flag

Ron Paul: Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria Likely a False Flag

“Zero chance” Assad behind attack, says former Congressman

Paul Joseph Watson | Infowars.com – April 6, 2017 1089 Comments

Pointing out that the prospect of peace in Syria was moving closer before the attack, with ISIS and Al-Qaeda on the run, Paul said the attack made no sense.
“It looks like maybe somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode,” said Paul, asking, “who benefits?”
The former Congressman went on to explain how the incident was clearly being exploited by neo-cons and the deep state to enlist support for war.
“It’s the neo-conservatives who are benefiting tremendously from this because it’s derailed the progress that has already been made moving toward a more peaceful settlement in Syria,” said Paul.
Many have questioned why Assad would be so strategically stupid as to order a chemical weapons attack and incite the wrath of the world given that he is closer than ever to winning the war against ISIS and jihadist rebels.
Just five days before the attack, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “The longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,” implying a definite shift in U.S. foreign policy away from regime change in Syria.
Why would Assad put such assurances in jeopardy by launching a horrific chemical attack, allowing establishment news outlets like CNN to once against use children as props to push for yet another massive war in the Middle East?
The narrative for the August 2013 attack in Ghouta, which Barack Obama cited as the pretext for a long awaited U.S. attack on government targets in aid of jihadist rebels, completely collapsed after it emerged that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.
The United Nations’ Carla Del Ponte also said that evidence suggested rebels had used sarin nerve gas.
As journalist Seymour Hersh reported in December 2013, intelligence officials told him that the entire narrative was a “ruse” and that “the attack was not the result of the current regime.”
It’s particularly rich to see the same establishment media who were responsible for peddling fake news about “moderate rebels” for years now pushing the same agenda for another giant, endless, bloody war in the Middle East while acting like they have the moral high ground by exploiting images of dead and dying children.

If the Trump administration falls into the trap of following that same disastrous policy, many more innocent people will die than those who sadly lost their lives in Khan Sheikhoun.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

Sleeping With The Enemy (Ezekiel 17)

| The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON ― Recently released photographs from Aleppo cast fresh doubt on President-elect Donald Trump’s apparent plan to align with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, the leaders of the alliance that has killed thousands of civilians in the shattered Syrian city.
Suleimani has been blamed for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in Iraq through funneling Iranian support to trusted militias and aiding Al Qaeda when useful.
Since 2014, Suleimani has used increasingly frequent appearances at Middle East battlegrounds to boost the idea that Iran — not the U.S. or its traditional partners, such as Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia — is the most important power in the region. His name has come to represent Iran’s ambitions even in U.S. congressional debates, in which lawmakers have railed against benefits he could receive from President Barack Obama’s nuclear diplomacy with Tehran. So analysts and social media accounts rushed to highlight the photographs over the weekend as a signal of Iran’s policies and assertiveness at a moment of triumph for Assad. The State Department confirmed Monday that the images are real.
Now the incoming Trump administration faces an awkward choice.
Trump has indicated that he wants to work with the pro-Assad alliance — and, by extension, the Iranians. But his party’s top foreign policy figures have spent years condemning Iran, particularly Suleimani’s wing of the hard-line Iranian military. And retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the president-elect’s choice for national security adviser, has a long history with the Iranian general.
Flynn spent years in Iraq, serving under Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top intelligence officer at the Joint Special Operations Command. He was there as Suleimani trained and armed Iraqi Shiite militias, then began to funnel roadside bombs across the Iran-Iraq border. Once inside the U.S.-occupied country, those weapons killed hundreds of American soldiers.
McChrystal held Iran responsible for the American deaths, he told The New Yorker. In the fall of 2006, Flynn’s boss established a task force to lead U.S. operations against the Iranian proxies and Suleimani’s division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Quds Force. After the U.S. team targeted Suleimani in a January 2007 raid and captured a group of Quds Force agents, the “Erbil Five,” one of Suleimani’s militias promptly killed five Americans. In the years that followed, the top U.S. general in Iraq, David Petraeus, developed a deep understanding of Suleimani’s effect on his forces and on Iraqi politics. He called the Iranian “truly evil.”
Flynn has cited his experiences in Iraq, with obvious references to Suleimani, in criticizing the rise of Iranian power under Obama’s watch. In a 2015 interview with Fox News a few months after the release of a string of photographs of Suleimani on Iraqi battlefields, he said Iranian “leadership are actually acting as sort of field commanders in some of these battles inside of Iraq.” Flynn went on to say he would be more worried about Iran controlling Iraq than he would be about the vicious Islamic State group running Baghdad. In congressional testimony on June 10, 2015, he bashed the nuclear deal with Iran by saying, “Evil doesn’t recognize diplomacy.”
Now Flynn is working for a man who appears to be willing to cut a deal with any foreign power so long as it might bring some benefit to the U.S.
The president-elect has consistently presented himself as tough on Iran. He has said he would tear up the nuclear deal, an outcome even opponents of Iran, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, now oppose.
But Trump may have gone so far in his pledge simply because he knew he needed to sound aggressive — the way he tried to court the right by going far beyond GOP talking points on reproductive rights and immigration, suggesting he would punish women who had abortions and ban Muslims from entering the U.S. He eventually softened both statements.
There is no guarantee Trump’s statement indicates a real fear of Iran’s potential danger to the U.S. or a true desire to rein it in. In fact, Trump attacked Obama’s deal in a way few others have: He said it does not provide enough money-making opportunities for U.S. companies. That suggests a more lucrative agreement might assuage his concerns.
Moreover, Trump has already shown a tolerance of unsavory regimes — including the one in Tehran. Trump did business with an Iranian bank for five years, from 1998 to 2003, despite a U.S. Treasury guidance that the entity was controlled by the government he now calls a “big enemy,” the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed in October.
Trump has also long admired strongmen such as Iran’s allies Assad and Putin. Over the past quarter-century, the president-elect has praised Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (angering the Kurds that Hussein massacred and that Trump now says he wants to befriend), China’s Communist rulers, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and, of course, Iran’s partners in Syria, noted Tom Wright, a scholar at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution, in an interview with The Atlantic. Although Assad has destroyed his country by pummeling his own population and encouraging the rise of the Islamic State, Trump has said the Syrian leader is “much tougher and much smarter” than Obama.
Aleppo’s Umayyad mosque following Syrian President Bashar Assad’s capture of the city.
So many in the Middle East doubt that Suleimani’s history will prevent the Trump administration from helping Iran and Assad. Last month, an influential Iranian general publicly described Trump’s rise as an opportunity for Tehran in Syria.
Damascus sees Flynn, a skeptic of the opposition in Syria, and potential secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a critic of the kind of sanctions Iran is currently under, as figures who could guide an Assad-friendly policy, Kamal Alam, a scholar at the Royal United Services Institute in London and Levant consultant for the security firm Hoplite Group, told The Huffington Post. The Syrian leader appears keen to engage with Trump.
There is “cautious optimism” in Iran because of Trump’s deal-making inclinations and his relationship with Putin, according to Matthew McInnis at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
It’s unclear whether Flynn, Iran skeptics tapped to lead the Pentagon and CIA or Republicans on Capitol Hill can force a different path.
Some action against Iran is inevitable in the post-Obama era, argued Brian Katulis, a scholar at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress. Congress pushing through new sanctions on Iran’s missile programs, U.S. officials demanding tighter enforcement of the nuclear deal after repeated Iranian violations in its first year, the Treasury Department forming interpretations that make trade with Tehran even more difficult, and U.S. military routines becoming more robust in the Persian Gulf are all possibilities, AEI’s McInnis said.
But Trump will ultimately prioritize counterterrorism and combating the Islamic State above pushing back Iran, McInnis predicted, and that necessitates some degree of coordination. That could mean Suleimani’s triumphant travels around the region — a bugaboo for Republican senators such as Arkansas’ Tom Cotton, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Texas’ Ted Cruz — are far from over.
Still, U.S. officials considering closer cooperation with the Iranian general should be cautious, McInnis warned.
“He’s not crazy. He’s not a wild-eyed mullah. He’s not that type of person,” he said. “There may be certain tactical points, like when it comes to ISIS, when our goals can align. But not long term…. I could never really see some type of strategic alliance.”
Trump’s transition team did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Flynn.
Also on HuffPost

Preparing For The Great Holy War

 
Photo Credit: Flickr, Noticias Virtuales Follow
Isis is under pressure in Mosul and Raqqa, but it is jubilant at the election of Donald Trump.
Abu Omar Khorasani, an Isis leader in Afghanistan, is quoted as saying that “our leaders were closely following the US election, but it was unexpected that the Americans would dig their own graves.” He added that what he termed Trump’s “hatred” towards Muslims would enable Isis to recruit thousands of fighters.
The Isis calculation is that, as happened after 9/11, the demonisation and collective punishment of Muslims will propel a proportion of the Islamic community into its ranks. Given that there are 1.6 billion Muslims – about 23 per cent of the world’s population – Isis and al-Qaeda-type organisations need to win the loyalty of only a small proportion of the Islamic community to remain a powerful force.
Blood-curdling proposals for the persecution of Muslims played a central role in Trump’s election campaign. At one moment, he promised to stop all Muslims from entering the US, though this was later changed to “extreme vetting”. The use of torture by water-boarding was approved and applauded, and Hillary Clinton was pilloried for not speaking of “radical Islamic terrorism”.
Trump and his aides may imagine that much of this can be discarded as the overblown rhetoric of the campaign, but Isis and al-Qaeda propagandists will make sure that Trump’s words are endlessly repeated with all their original venom intact.
Nor will this propaganda about the anti-Muslim bias of the new administration be so far from the truth, going by the track record of many of the people in its security and foreign policy team. Trump is reported to have offered the post of National Security Adviser to General Michael Flynn, who was sacked by President Obama as head of the Defence Intelligence Agency in 2014. Flynn notoriously sees Islamic militancy not only as a danger, but as an existential threat to the US. He tweeted earlier this year that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL”.
There is an obsessive, self-righteous quality to Flynn’s approach that led him to join chants of “lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton during election rallies. Former associates complain of Flynn’s political tunnel vision that could wreak havoc in the Middle East. His consulting company, the Flynn Intel Group, appears to lobby for the Turkish government and Flynn recently wrote an article calling for all-out US support for Turkey, who Washington has been trying to stop launching a full scale invasion of Syria and Iraq. Unsurprisingly, the Turkish president welcomed Trump’s election with enthusiasm and sharply criticised protests against it in the US (something that would be swiftly dealt with by police water cannon in Turkey).
A striking feature of the aspirants for senior office under Trump is a level of personal greed high even by the usual standards of Washington. Trump famously campaigned under the slogan “Drain the Swamp” and castigated official corruption, but it is turning out that the outflow pipe from swamp is the entry point of the new administration.
One grotesque example of this is Rudy Giuliani, who exploited his fame as mayor of New York at the time of 9/11 to earn millions in speaking fees and consultancy for foreign governments and companies. Apparently, none were too dubious for him to turn down. In 2011 and 2012 he reportedly made speeches defending the sinister Iranian cult-like movement, the Mojahideen e-Khalq, that had been on the State Department’s list of terrorist organisations.
Giuliani is a swamp creature if ever there was one, yet this week he was publicly turning down the post of Attorney General and was, at the time of writing, being considered for the post of Secretary of State.
Isis and al-Qaeda may underestimate the degree to which they will benefit from Trump’s election, which came at a bleak moment in their fortunes. He and his henchmen have already frightened and enraged hundreds of millions of Muslims and vastly expanded the constituency to which the jihadis can appeal.
A clampdown against them that, in practice, targets all Muslims plays straight into their hands. What made 9/11 such a success for Osama bin Laden was not the destruction of the Twin Towers, but the US military reaction that produced the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This could happen again.
There are other potential long-term gains for the beleaguered Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whatever the outcome of the siege of Mosul. The Taliban, al-Qaeda and Isis are all militarised fanatical movements born out of the chaos of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they are flourishing in similarly anarchic conditions in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and beyond.
In theory, Trump is a non-interventionist; opposed to US military involvement in the Middle East and North Africa, he wants to bring the war in Syria to an end. But he has simultaneously opposed the agreement with Iran on its nuclear programme and criticised Barack Obama for pulling the last US troops out of Iraq in 2011 (though in fact this was under an agreement signed by George W Bush).
But Bush and Obama were both non-interventionists when first elected – until the course of events, and the enthusiasm of the Washington foreign policy establishment for foreign military ventures, changed all that.
The US army and air force is today heavily engaged in Iraq and Syria and that is not going to end with Obama’s departure. In contradiction to Trump’s non-interventionism, leading members of his foreign policy team such as John Bolton, the belligerent former US ambassador to the UN, has been advocating a war with Iran since 2003. Bolton proposes carving out a Sunni state in northern Iraq and eastern Syria, a plan in which every sentence betrays ignorance and misjudgements about the forces in play on the ground. As a recipe for deepening the conflict in the region, it could scarcely be bettered.
There have always been crackpots in Washington, sometimes in high office, but the number of dangerous people who have attached themselves to the incoming administration may be higher today than at any time in American history.
For instance, one adviser to the Trump national security transition team is, according to Shane Harris and Nancy Youssef of The Daily Beast, one Clare Lopez, author of a book called See No Sharia, which says that Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular have infiltrated the White House and the FBI, as well as the US Departments of State, Justice, Defence and Homeland Security. Lopez believes that terrorists caused the 2008 financial crash by short-selling stocks.
Optimists have been saying this week that Trump is less ideological than he sounds and, in any case, the US ship of state is more like an ocean liner than a speedboat making it difficult to turn round. They add privately that not all the crooks and crazies will get the jobs they want.
Unfortunately, much the same could have been said of George W Bush when he came into office before 9/11. It is precisely such arrogant but ill-informed opportunists who can most easily be provoked by terrorism into a self-destructive overreaction. Isis is having a good week.
Patrick Cockburn is a Middle East Correspondent for the Independent. He has written four books on Iraq’s recent history—The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the Sunni Revolution, Muqtada al-Sadr and the Fall of Iraq, The Occupation, and Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession (with Andrew Cockburn)—as well as a memoir, The Broken Boy and, with his son, a book on schizophrenia, Henry’s Demons, which was shortlisted for a Costa Award.