Saturday 2 November 2019

Donald Trump and Ilhan Omar unite for Erdogan (Sunday Guardian)

By M D Nalapat

The same Trump who had headed the global campaign against Wahhabism has joined forces with the only Wahhabi ever elected to the US Congress.

WASHINGTON: The first warning sign that US President Donald J. Trump had thawed towards the Wahhabi International came when he appointed Zalmay Khalilzad as his envoy in Afghanistan. “Zal” had worked there as a representative of Unocal in the 1990s. President Bill Clinton’s role in building up the assets of the Wahhabi International prior to 9/11 has never been seriously investigated, nor of course have the actual sources of much of the funding received by the Clinton Foundation during the period when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Before “Zal” could ensure that the Taliban march into Kabul in 2019 the way he helped them to do in 1996, saner voices managed to persuade Trump to reverse Khalilzad’s policy of surrender to the Taliban, although the steady weakening of the US military footprint in Afghanistan continues. Should US forces abandon Afghanistan the way Soviet troops did in 1988, India will need to ensure that the Afghan National Army prevail against the Taliban, by assisting the ANA in a much more robust manner than the limited assistance given to the Northern Alliance in the 1990s. In another abject surrender to the dictates of the Wahhabi International, President Trump has now betrayed the Kurdish forces that had helped destroy much of ISIS. He first forced the Kurdish militia to abandon their forward defences on the Turkish border, promising them that R T Erdogan’s forces would not thereafter walk in, which is exactly what the Wahhabi leader of Turkey did. History will record Trump’s 2019 sacrifice of the Kurds as similar to the Franco-British betrayal of Czechoslovakia in 1938. The Czechs were made to give up their forward fortifications on the promise by Paris and London that Adolf Hitler would not invade the weakened Slav republic, a promise that Hitler broke within days of the Czech pullout. The same Trump who had headed the global campaign against Wahhabism has morphed into an apologist for that 300-year-old creed, joining forces with the only Wahhabi ever elected to the US Congress, Representative Ilhan Omar, on issues such as blocking the effort by the US Congress to impose sanctions on Erdogan. Shamefully, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is assisting President Trump and Representative Omar in their joint efforts at preventing sanctions legislation against Turkey from being passed. Despite Trump and Omar, HR 4695 passed in the House of Representatives by 403 votes to 16 on October 16. A panicky Mitch McConnell is now working to ensure that the US Senate not pass the same legislation. Interestingly, just when President Trump has embraced the Wahhabis, Senator Lindsey Graham has redeemed his honour by moving away from them, working together with Senator Christopher Van Hollen to try and get passed the same sanctions legislation that was passed by the House of Representatives.
Senator Graham has ignored calls from the Trump-Omar duo to protect Erdogan, and has tabled that the same “Protect Against Conflict by Turkey” Act passed by the House of Representatives be brought forward for adoption by the US Senate. This move is being opposed by Erdogan backer  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The argument used by him is that Turkey is a NATO member and hence should not be sanctioned, even when acting in a manner hostile to NATO, as Erdogan has been doing for the past six years. This includes his backing of elements in the Middle East that are indistinguishable from ISIS. The only way for Turkey to de facto (rather than merely de jure) return to NATO and to act in congruence with US security interests (rather than against them as now) is for Erdogan to be removed from office. This will happen once the Turkish economy goes into free fall as a consequence of sanctions. At present, Trump (to the relief of Omar) is refusing to impose even sanctions mandated by US law, such as those needing to be applied now that Russian S-400 missile batteries have been installed in Turkey and are being manned by Russian crew. The departure of Erdogan from power is the only method of returning Turkey to the Kemalist path and away from the adventurism and support for extremism that Erdogan has steered his  country into. As for the fear that Erdogan may walk out of NATO should sanctions be imposed, the country is already in effect linked to the China-led military alliance that now rivals the US. The reality is that the sanctions listed in HR 4695 are essential to return Turkey to its anti-Wahhabi past. Should Mitch McConnell have his way and the US Senate avoid backing HR 4695 expeditiously, the US alliance system in Asia would begin to unravel, with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar installing S-400 units and thereby moving away from  21st century high-tech defence cooperation with the US. It is, therefore, essential for the US Senate to overcome the obstacles created by Trump in the passage of sanctions legislation against Turkey.
Erdogan and some ill-intentioned billionaire interests in the Middle East are working at speed to assist the Muslim Brotherhood to retake power in Egypt and to remove the royal houses of the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and finally Qatar (although the Al Thanis seem to have forgotten the warning that assisting Wahhabis will ultimately result in their replacement with the very same Wahabbi elements they are so generously assisting). This would be a strategic disaster not only for the US but for India. The leader of the ongoing Wahhabi counter-attack on the growing list of those who seek their emasculation is Erdogan, and the way to ensure his downfall is to send the economy of Turkey into a downward spiral through the imposition of US-EU sanctions. In this contest, the unnatural alliance of Donald J. Trump and Ilhan Omar must not prevail. The US Senate needs to immediately approve HR 4695 with as overwhelming a majority as secured in the House of Representatives a few days ago. Hopefully, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not allow his name to emit a rancid odour in history by continuing to block sanctions on Turkey at the behest of the Wahhabi International.

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