Trump signed an executive order. Airports filled up with protesters. The media screamed about a Muslim ban. Federal Judges intervened. Anger and chaos erupted.
What is actually going on? The answers from both sides of the political spectrum are loaded with emotion and lacking truthful content.
“Trump is trying to protect us from terrorists! He’s keeping the Muslims out of our country!” shout Trump’s defenders. Well, no terrorist attack on US soil has ever been carried out by anyone from the 7 countries restricted. The countries that have been linked to recent terrorist attacks, such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, are not included.
“Trump is a racist! He’s banning Muslims! We can’t block people because of their religion!” Scream the liberal protesters. Well, many Muslim majority countries such as Turkey and Indonesia are not included in the ban. Furthermore, the ban applies to all people from these countries, not just Muslims. The Syrian Arab Republic, for example, is home to many Christians, Druze, and even a small Jewish community. The Islamic Republic of Iran has a large population of Armenian Christians, Jews, and many adherents to an ancient faith called Zoroastrianism. All of these non-Muslims are also subject to the ban.
One contributing factor to the outburst of rage is the crass, sudden, “slap in the face” nature of the executive order. Until the administration backed down, even green-card holding permanent residents were being turned away at airports, something that definitely caused anguish and panic among many people.
Calling It A “Muslim Ban” – Good for Trump & the Democrats
Throughout his Presidential election campaign, Trump repeatedly appealed to contempt and distrust of those who practice Islam. He talked about “banning Muslims” from entering the USA. His speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee included a lot of pandering to Anti-Islamic sentiments. Millions of working class people in rural and suburban areas voted for Trump, because of these very statements. In the aftermath of 9/11 many Americans have come to see all adherents of the Islamic faith as a single scary, foreign, violent group.
The idea that Trump would enact a “Muslim ban” is something that will increase, not decrease his credibility to millions of the middle aged right-wing working class whites who voted for him in rustbelt and southern states. It plays into Trump’s well crafted image as a bold defender of the common man, who is not politically correct, and unafraid of being scorned by elitist urban liberals.
However, as much as it would please his right-wing, anti-Islamic base, and as much as his opponents proclaim it in condemnation, the reality is that Trump has not enacted a Muslim ban. Donald Trump has temporarily suspended entrance to the United States from seven countries: Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Sudan. Now the US public is having a heated argument about a “Muslim Ban.” Opponents call it bigoted, supporters call it bold, and neither side acknowledges reality.
Observers of American politics should be reminded of the healthcare debate in the early years of the Obama administration. The Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” was not universal healthcare or socialized medicine, and did very little to change the country’s private healthcare system. However, the right-wing rallied against it, proclaiming it was socialism, and the left rallied in its defense, employing socialistic rhetoric. Both sides of the American political spectrum clashed with each other, accepting a similar fictional narrative about the Affordable Care Act.
The Non-Spontaneous Airport Protests
After this sudden action, much like the healthcare debate, “the gloves have come off.” In 2009, Tea Partiers responded to the Affordable Care Act by displaying firearms at townhall meetings and engaging in other acts of protest that are normally considered “out of bounds.” In response to Trump, the Democratic Party apparatus mobilized its supporters to protest inside of airports. The demonstrations were mobilized very rapidly, and got intense with people being arrested, and maced with pepper spray at various locations.
Those who pretend that the protests were completely random, unplanned, or spontaneous are completely delusional. Airports are among the most free speech restricted locations in the country. While decades ago it was permitted to pass out political leaflets or petition at airports, courts long ago forbid such things. Under normal circumstances it is illegal, not only to engage in protest or “public disturbance” at an airport, but even to video record inside one.
Yet, without any widespread public announcement or organizing, thousands of Democratic Party activists flooded into airports for some rather rowdy protests. Under normal circumstances doing such things would result in immediate arrest and perhaps even terrorism charges. Not only did the police not arrest the initial protesters, but they allowed the demonstrations to grow bigger and bigger. Though videotaping is not permitted in airports, live streaming videos found their way on to social media, and TV news cameras conveniently found their way in as well.
In many countries when the elected government is toppled by the military, one of the first actions taken is seizing the airports. One could even read into the sudden mobilizations, clearly supported by some of the most powerful people in Democratic Party, a veiled threat of a military coup d’etat.
The CIA Strikes Back
But why was there such a swift response to Trump’s action? Why did the Democratic Party unleash its forces so rapidly in response to Trump’s move? Are the Democrats like Hillary Clinton, who tweeted in support of the protests, simply humanitarians who hold deep compassion for immigrants?
The real answer can be found, subtly, in the news coverage surrounding the opposition to the ban. This mainstream news reports shows an Iraqi family blocked by Trump’s move, and describes how the father had “risked his life to support the United States” and his family was rewarded with a visa. This is not an uncommon practice. Allies of the United States in conflicts around the world are routinely rewarded with visas. The US military has many “green card soldiers” from Latin America, who are attempting to gain legal residency in the USA by serving in the military.
In each of the 7 countries listed in the ban, there are thousands of individuals who have collaborated with the United States in order to carry out foreign policy goals. In Syria, for example, hundreds of thousands of Wahabbi extremists have been working to topple the government. In Iraq, Saudi Arabia has cooperated with the United States in efforts to roll back Iranian influence among the Shia communities. In Yemen, Al-Queda, Saudi Arabia, and the United States are all working to topple the Revolutionary Committees aligned with the Ansarullah organization, commonly called the “Houthis.”
The individuals who have collaborated with the United States in the 7 countries are often Muslims, who adhere to an interpretation of the faith similar to that of Saudi Arabia or of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the aftermath of the executive order, it has been revealed that Trump is openly discussing a formal ban of the Muslim Brotherhood, and designating it as a terrorist organization.While many countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, already outlaw the Brotherhood, the USA does not.
In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood has been a key ally of the United States in the Middle East for decades. The Brotherhood worked with the CIA to destabilize Abdul Nasser’s anti-imperialist, socialist government in Egypt. The Brotherhood staged a violent uprising against the Syrian Arab Republic during the 1980s, and has been aligned with anti-government militants in the current Syrian civil war. The Muslim Brotherhood enthusiastically worked with the Obama administration to topple Moammar Gaddafi and reduce Libya to chaos and poverty.
The Muslim Brotherhood functions across the Middle East. The reigning monarchy of Qatar, which also sponsors the TV network known as Al-Jazeera, is a key financial backer of the Muslim Brotherhood. The CIA has worked for decades to maintain the US government’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, seeing them as allies or proxies in the fight against anti-imperialist, nationalist, and socialist governments in the region.
While the CIA sees the Muslim Brotherhood as a useful ally, other key players in US society disagree. The Israeli government and its network of supporters have deep contempt for the Muslim Brotherhood, due to the fact that its Palestinian affiliate, Hamas, is their battlefield enemy. Other figures in the security apparatus and the military see the Brotherhood as a threat due to its record of assassinations and terrorism.
Trump’s recent move indicates that he may represent a section of the US elite that wants to terminate the relationship between the US government and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as various Wahabbi fanatics. The CIA, on the other hand, feels that is very important to maintain these alliances which it has worked on for many decades. This disagreement among the most powerful leaders in the United States is the basis on which the sudden executive order, and the sweeping protests at the airports, has taken place.
Soros, Brzezinski & Brennan
In the rhetoric of Trump supporters and the right-wing, the name “George Soros” shows up frequently. Those who defend the airport protests have mocked this rhetoric, saying things such as “He owes me money, I haven’t been paid” etc. Though liberals often want to reduce him to a gag-line, George Soros is a very real person, not a fixture of the right-wing’s imagination. The far left, especially socialists and communists, should know him very well.
Soros is one of the CIA’s most important allies. He is a billionaire who helped to topple the various Marxist-Leninist governments across Eastern Europe. Soros funneled money to the Polish anti-Communist “Solidarity” trade union movement. He also funded the anti-Communist “Charter 77” movement in Czechoslovakia, as well as dissidents who worked toward bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Soros, like those who run the National Endowment for Democracy, the Tides Foundation, the Open Society Institute and other liberal foundations, appears to have coordinated his funding of activism around the world with the strategies of the Central Intelligence Agency. When the CIA was working against the Serbian government, Soros funded the Kosovo Independence Movement. When US foreign policy strategists targeted Alexander Lukashenko, calling Belarus ‘the last Soviet Republic,’ Soros money went to “activists” in that country.
CIA operative and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Zbigniew Brzezinski, like Soros and Brennan, cannot be described as “conservative” or “right-wing.” Brzezinski bragged that he gave the Soviet Union “its Vietnam” by luring them into Afghanistan. Today, his daughter Mika Brzezinski is a host on the liberal, Democratic Party aligned cable TV network MSNBC.
George Soros and Zbigniew Brzezinski are identified with specific foreign policy strategies developed during the Cold War. The strategy is that rather than directly attacking countries with the military, governments and leaders that are disliked by Wall Street can be toppled through the funding of dissident movements, information warfare, economic sanctions, the facilitation of chaos, and “color revolutions.”
Deceptions About Iran
Trump’s swift moves and those within the state apparatus who oppose it hold strategic disagreements with each other related to world events. One obvious disagreement between Trump and his predecessor relates to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Trump’s executive order was followed up by an announcement that Iran is “on notice.” New sanctions were placed on Iran. Many times throughout his campaign, Trump spoke against Iran with very heated words.
Many of Trump’s supporters believe that somehow the Islamic Republic of Iran, Al-Queda, and ISIL are cut from the same cloth or somehow linked to each other.
The reality is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of ISIL’s biggest enemies. ISIL, Al-Queda, and other Wahabbi extremists call the Iranians “Shia Apostates.” They seek to violently overthrow the Islamic Republic and slaughter those who live within its borders. Iranian Revolutionary Guards are on the battlefield in Syria each day, alongside Syrian government forces who are fighting against ISIL.
Iran is one of the most stable countries within the region. Inside Iran’s borders, Sunnis, Christian, Zoroastrians, and Jews are free to practice their faith under the Shia-led government. Consistent with its founder Imam Khomeni’s calls for “Not Capitalism, But Islam” the Islamic Republic has an economy that is tightly controlled by the state and ensures housing, education, and healthcare for the population. Iran’s state owned oil corporations competes with Wall Street on the global markets, and uses the proceeds to develop its independent economy. Iran supports the Syrian government in an effort to end the wave of Wahabbi terrorism that has flowed into the country.
Obama and the CIA seem to have believed that the best approach toward Iran involved negotiations, support for internal dissidents, and friendly diplomatic gestures. The Trump administration, by including Iran in its recent ban, and repeating anti-Iranian rhetoric, seems to believe in a more directly confrontational approach.
When it comes to US foreign policy, the recent executive order and the dramatic response to it, lay bare the fact that there is great disagreement within the halls of power. As the delusion of a unipolar world is being so obviously eroded, independent countries with planned economies emerge, and the world continues to see an economic crisis, such intense disagreements among the ruling elite of the United States are to be expected.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Copyright © Caleb Maupin, New Eastern Outlook, 2017