In 632 when Europe was deep into the barbaric aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire the prophet Muhammed died. Succeeding him spawned a division that explains a good deal even today when we should have matured enough to know that blood is not as important as Bruce Springsteen says it is. The persistence of tribalism is proof that binary thinking, either or, them or us, is still powerful in a world that should know better.


The tribal division in Islam is between Sunni and Shia. Saudi Arabia is mainly Sunni and Iran is mainly Shia. These nations are home to forces whose rivalry is as toxic as, our rivalry with Russia was when Russia was the Soviet Union.

A binary is any division: by blood, tribe, ideology, propaganda. All pointless excuses for economies that thrive on a binary mentality.

A strange omission

The New York Times editorial embedded below makes no mention of this fundamental division of the Muslim world, but it is worth noting in explaining why trump is consorting with the Saudis. The Saudis are vital to Trump's big oil interests. The one percent loves the Saudis. The Bushes fell all over them. If there is a Bannon-Geller-Trump war against Muslims it will be aimed at Iran.

Human rights

The Saudis do not like Human Rights in relation to groups like females. Trump is silent. Melania smiles. We shall see if tomorrow's speech carries the slightest suggestion of concern for global application of such things as democracy, tolerance, and helpfulness.

What to make of it?

What are we to make of actualities that can be readily perceived? Trump has just bestowed a massive weapons trove we paid for to the Saudi's, enriching the one percent and guaranteeing no good to Yemen folk and any others the Saudi's want to cancel. This will not make Iran feel more secure. It makes more war than peace.


The Saudis have invited all but Iran to their Muslim summit tomorrow. Trump does not like Iran even though it is a nation of some advancement save in human rights. It would be lovely if Arabs of all tribes would be nice to Israel considering history. It would be lovely if Trump could flag tribalism as a no-no and exhort the nations to make peace and respect women.

But the message delivered thus far is make Iran the villain. Whose hands are clean?

Obama is still around

Barack Obama is present with President Trump in Saudi Arabia. They hate him there. He wanted an Arab Spring and a little human rights action. That was enough to frost the Princes. US interest would vanish if we did the right thing about energy, returning only if we wanted to support universal human rights. It appears that Trump is there for the one percent and to keep short-term profits flowing while the earth pays him no mind and continues to warm.