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1/ some insights on the Middle East, not from an expert but from a regular guy who lived there for a few years

What everyday locals relayed to me as the underlying political drivers:

1 - Palestine/Israel

There is deep seated anger about this
3/ Arabs feel a sense of injustice about the displacement of Palestinians. This is exacerbated by stories of continued human rights abuses
4/ against Palestinians e.g. in refugee camps, bombings of hospitals etc.

NOTE: I am only relaying what they say, not my opinion thereof
5/ the underlying narrative is that Israel is an illegitimate occupier and that Israel is enabled and supported by the USA
6/ their logic is that without US support, Israel will not survive. By supporting unjust Israel, the US is unjust, guilty by association

They believe that the US supports Israel to continuously destabilize the Middle East for the single most important US objective in ME

To control and get Middle East oil.

That, in their view is the underlying objective of the entire US Middle East policy.

(Sorry, numbering is getting confusing)

1 - Palestine/Israel
2 - Democracy vs Monarchy/Dictatorship etc

2 - Democracy

I could not determine a common view. It's important to understand that the Middle East is not a homogenous region.

Even within a single country like UAE there are difference between Emirates, just like between NY/CA and OK/WY

What was common though:

This was the subject they were most reluctant to discuss. I think it's because of there are many government informers & secret police

The press is also very supportive of the rulers and toe the line very well. There is variance of how it covers international news

When you so gain trust of locals they will tell you a few things. Desire/support of democracy is very different by country.
15/ E.g. in UAE there's very little desire for change to the status quo. There is true reverence for late Sh. Zayed al Nahyan
16/ There is also sincere admiration and respect for the achievements of the Maktoum family of Dubai. They will share no more than...
17/ Some historical tribal intrigue of how the Sheikh came to power, competition between tribes, between ruling families eg.
18/ "Friendly" rivalry between more traditional & Presidential Al Nahyan family of Abu Dhabi vs. more progressive VP Maktoum family Dubai
19/ But there is an appreciative acceptance of what Sh. Zayed & other rulers have accomplished to give them the unparalleled high standard

of living. It seems, stating the obvious, that the wealthier the country is per capita, the less desire there is for Democracy

I never heard any murmurings of dissent in UAE, Kuwait, Qatar. But there were in others, even Saudi. What several did tell me though:

They think their governments use anti-US, Israel/Palestine narrative to re-direct Arab anger away from their own gov toward US/Israel
23/ it seems like a contradiction but much of the Middle East is. They are angry about Palestinian issue, not that angry at their gov but
24/ many recognize the use of Palestinian issues by their governments.
25/ Religion. This is obviously a very complex subject and I'm not going to try to analyze that so I will relay my personal experience
26/ I lived & travelled in Middle East for many years. I did not change my lifestyle at all. Most of the Middle East is not fundamentalist
27/ in UAE my wife walked around in her regular clothes. Our Muslim Arab friends went on our boat where all women were in bikinis
28/ all our Muslim friends were drinking alcohol. Some Muslim women slept with western non-Muslim men. There are clubs, bars...
29/ and even the UAE locals & non-local other Muslims drink, dance & meet people. As long as they are not in local dress.
30/ the same is true in many other ME countries. Even prostitution is an open secret. If you checked into many hotels in Bahrain...
31/ they would offer to send women to your room or all you had to do was ask. Even the Saudis would drive across the causeway to Bahrain
32/ every weekend and go out to the clubs, bars and would drink and pickup women and prostitutes. Even in Saudi, in the compounds where..
33/ westerners live, they employ brewers & distillers and make beer & alcohol & have home bars. Lebanon for instance was very open
34/ It used to be called the Paris of the Middle East. I went to some of the most amazing bars, clubs anywhere in the world in Lebanon
35/ and even Egypt and Jordan and of course in Israel. My UAE local friends are regular guys. They are Muslims who would check into hotels
36/ for days, tell their wives/girlfriends they were traveling on business and they would party, drink and have fun.
37/ My point with saying all that is that the majority of the people I met in the Middle East were regular people. They would tell me they..
38/ are Muslims. Some would pray 5 times a day, some wouldn't. All of them, during Ramadan, v would sleep all day, which really defeats the
39/ whole point of enduring the suffering/discomfort of fasting and then we'd go eat big feasts at the hotels at night.
40/ Many of those people are Muslim because there parents told them they are Muslim. The same that many Christians are Christian because
41/ their parents told them they are Christian. Do they go to church every Sunday, follow the rituals of their religion? No....
42/ they just try to live a decent life, based on their Christian values, most of which are shared by atheists or agnostics. They believe
43/ in God but live a life very similar if not identical to many non believers. If in America today you tried to guess someone's religion
44) purely by observing their daily life and but asking their religion, you couldn't accurately do it. And my point is, that holds true...
45) for most everyday people in the Middle East. I'm not saying they don't identify as Muslims, but if you observed their choices, you could
46/ easily mistake them. In my group of friends there were Christians, Muslims, Druze, Atheists. You would not tell which was which.
47/ from my observation only, the most devout fundamentalist Muslims were the Pakistani laborers. Not the white collar Pakistanis working
48/ in the banks or oil companies. Mostly the construction workers, laborers, taxi drivers. There was a definite correlation between..
49/ income, education level and religious identifiable observable behavior. (Yes profiling). And you would be wrong to think that ...
50/ society was structured along religious lines. It's not. It's "class" based, just like anywhere else in the world. And also Nationalist.
51/ The lower on the social structure (education, wealth, income) people were, the more they stayed in their groups. Higher up were more
52/ willing to have friends etc across nationality, religion, and across income wealth, but not across many levels. There are minimum entry
53/ requirements. So the glaring truth is that there were wealthy local Gulf Arab Muslims who would be friends with many westerners
54/ regardless of their religion while they would not befriend Pakistanis Muslim laborers. Society in the Middle East is not divided by..
55/ religion among everyday people. But I cannot deny this: I took this in Beirut, Lebanon. A result of the civil war.
56/ I am not going to claim it was a religious war or a political war. But the point is, I took that picture while I was with Muslim
57/ friends. I am not a Muslim. If any Muslim, Druze, Christian or anybody else would try to harm us, we would have defended ourselves
58/ here is the kicker. I am an atheist. (I am going to lose some followers having said that). But if I didn't tell you could've thought I
59/ was a Christian or a Muslim. If you lived with me for 20 years you would not be able to tell. That is true for many people in the ME
60/ So what is my point with all of this?

I am a Trump supporter. Viciously so.

I support his Travel Ban.

I support the wall.

One of my very best friends is a Gay Muslim

I am an atheist

I am the godfather of his Muslim daughter. She is his biological daughter

Her mother is Russian

He has 3 Muslim brothers

Let me repeat:

I am a white Male legal immigrant from South Africa

I am an atheist

My goddaughter has a gay Muslim father & Russian mother

He chose me over his 3 Muslim brothers

I have 3 children. He is the godfather of my eldest daughter

I support the travel ban

We are processing my Muslim friend & god-daughter's immigration petition at the moment

My neighbor of 1 year is Mexican. A legal immigrant.
We became friends.

I support the wall.
So does he, he is a Trump supporter

So is his girlfriend.

She is Korean. A legal US immigrant.

She is a Trump supporter.
67/ Go ahead. Try to all me an Islamophobe or a Racist or anti-Gay or Xenophobe because I am a Trump supporter. I don't fit into your box

I have high hopes for the future and here is why.

Marxism destroyed South Africa. I left & went to live in Middle East, then Europe.
69/ I realized my lifelong dream 2 become an American.

But for a few years I saw a repeat of South Africa

The growth of Marxist subversion
70/ Even at the highest levels of our government

I thought it was the beginning of the end for the USA that I came here for

But then..

Came Donald Trump.

Prior to politics, I did not like him much. But when I heard his message, I was hooked.

He was going to..

Make America Great Again. The America I came here for was coming back.

And I thought ISIS would completely destroy the Middle East

The Middle East that was good to me, where many of my loved ones live

But now I see change

ISIS is being defeated

Saudi Arabia is implementing reforms

I see cooperation between Arab states and Israel

The Middle East will see peace & normal life

I don't see significant signs of saving Europe & my ancestral Germany but I have hope that Europe will turn itself around.

Thank you @realDonaldTrump

Thank you to all #MAGA & Trump supporters
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