Posts tagged Middle East
Will the ‘Asian Rebalance’ Overstretch the U.S. Military?
Published by NextNewsNetwork
Published on Jan 30, 2014
WORLD | This week House Armed Services Committee held two hearings on the President’s Asia-Pacific “rebalance” and the challenges facing the U.S. and its allies in the region. This ‘rebalance’ is a contemplated shift in military emphasis to the far East.
The full Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday was called “Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific Region: Examining its Implementation.” And two Subcommittees–one on Strategic Forces, and the other on Seapower and Projection Forces–held a joint hearing called: “People’s Republic of China’s Counterspace Program and the Implications for U.S. National Security.”
But while such far-reaching issues are being debated, there are signs that America’s global policing is reaching its practical limit.
As quoted in a news release, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon said: “When the President framed [the concept of] ‘rebalance,’ he discussed how we could now safely turn our attention to Asia because the war in Afghanistan was receding and al Qaeda was on the path to defeat. I’m concerned those conditions haven’t panned out.”
Citing the vast array of U.S. military commitments, McKeon added: “Violence and instability rage in the Middle East and Africa. Preserving forces, readiness, and capabilities in the Asia-Pacific means less [forces] elsewhere. Can we afford to take the risk in CENTCOM or AFRICOM?”
AFRICOM is the African Command, while CENTCOM is the U.S. Central Command.
McKeon went on to say: “Budget cuts only exacerbate the problem, and in two years . . . military leaders are left with no choice but to cut strength, readiness, and capabilities. And that has consequences for our security and military commitments in [the Pacific Command] and across the globe, unless we adequately ‘resource’ defense.”
However, China’s actions are worrying some Congressmen. And this could loosen the government’s purse-strings.
Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes, a Virginia Republican, noted in an official statement: “China’s efforts to restrict free access to the global commons, including in outer space, pose a serious challenge to stability in the Asia-Pacific. Providing our military with the resources needed to counter potential asymmetric threats to U.S. space assets must be a critical priority for the Defense Department and the Congress.”
The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt offered his globalist perspective on the challenges of policing the Asia-Pacific region while the U.S. defense budget slowly shrinks: On Jan. 28, he wrote: “For the United States, it’s a classic challenge of alliance management: Be firm enough to deter any aggression by a potential foe, without being so unequivocal as to encourage reckless behavior by an ally.”
Hiatt added: “In this case, the best way to walk that ‘fine line’ is to be more, not less, present in the [Asia-Pacific] region. If the nations of East and Southeast Asia know they can count on a U.S. presence, they are more likely to band together to quietly resist Chinese bullying.”
The precise course of action to take may seem elusive at this time. However, these developments suggest a time will come when policing the globe nonstop will become too burdensome to sustain. Perhaps it’s time for other nations to take on more of their own defense needs. And we can all hope that the avoidance of a larger war in Syria and peaceful talks with Iran are the shape of things to come. Reducing global tensions is a wise policy.
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Posted by Chris Rossini
Special Edition of The Robert Wenzel Show: Hillary Mann Leverett on U.S. Foreign Policy
Published by CongressmanRonPaul
When Will We Attack Syria? Plans, rumors, and war propaganda for attacking Syria and deposing Assad have been around for many months. This past week however, it was reported that the Pentagon indeed has finalized plans to do just that. In my opinion, all the evidence to justify this attack is bogus. It is no more credible than the pretext given for the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the 2011 attack on Libya. The total waste of those wars should cause us to pause before this all-out effort at occupation and regime change is initiated against Syria. There are no national security concerns that require such a foolish escalation of violence in the Middle East. There should be no doubt that our security interests are best served by completely staying out of the internal strife now raging in Syria. We are already too much involved in supporting the forces within Syria anxious to overthrow the current government. Without outside interference, the strife—now characterized as a civil war—would likely be non-existent. Whether or not we attack yet another country, occupying it and setting up a new regime that we hope we can control poses a serious Constitutional question: From where does a president get such authority? Since World War II the proper authority to go to war has been ignored. It has been replaced by international entities like the United Nations and NATO, or the President himself, while ignoring the Congress. And sadly, the people don’t object. Our recent presidents explicitly maintain that the authority to go to war is not the U.S. Congress. This has been the case since 1950 when we were taken into war in Korea under UN Resolution and without Congressional approval. And once again, we are about to engage in military action against Syria and at the same time irresponsibly reactivating the Cold War with Russia. We’re now engaged in a game of “chicken” with Russia which presents a much greater threat to our security than does Syria. How would we tolerate Russia in Mexico demanding a humanitarian solution to the violence on the U.S.-Mexican border? We would consider that a legitimate concern for us. But, for us to be engaged in Syria, where the Russian have a legal naval base, is equivalent to the Russians being in our backyard in Mexico. We are hypocritical when we condemn Russian for protecting their neighborhood interests for exactly what we have been doing ourselves, thousands of miles away from our shores. There’s no benefit for us to be picking sides, secretly providing assistance and encouraging civil strife in an effort to effect regime change in Syria. Falsely charging the Russians with supplying military helicopters to Assad is an unnecessary provocation. Falsely blaming the Assad government for a so-called massacre perpetrated by a violent warring rebel faction is nothing more than war propaganda. Most knowledgeable people now recognize that the planned war against Syria is merely the next step to take on the Iranian government, something the neo-cons openly admit. Controlling Iranian oil, just as we have done in Saudi Arabia and are attempting to do in Iraq, is the real goal of the neo-conservatives who have been in charge of our foreign policy for the past couple of decades. War is inevitable without a significant change in our foreign policy, and soon. Disagreements between our two political parties are minor. Both agree the sequestration of any war funds must be canceled. Neither side wants to abandon our aggressive and growing presence in the Middle East and South Asia. This crisis building can easily get out of control and become a much bigger war than just another routine occupation and regime change that the American people have grown to accept or ignore. It’s time the United States tried a policy of diplomacy, seeking peace, trade, and friendship. We must abandon our military effort to promote and secure an American empire. Besides, we’re broke, we can’t afford it, and worst of all, we’re fulfilling the strategy laid out by Osama bin Laden whose goal had always been to bog us down in the Middle East and bring on our bankruptcy here at home. It’s time to bring our troops home and establish a non-interventionist foreign policy, which is the only road to peace and prosperity.
This week I am introducing legislation to prohibit the Administration, absent a declaration of war by Congress, from supporting — directly or indirectly — any military or paramilitary operations in Syria. I hope my colleagues will join me in this effort.
Submitted by Tyler Durden
Don’t Show Obama This Report About Who Really Is Behind The Syrian Chemical Attacks
As we showed mere days ago, it appears the truth of who the real puppet-master in the Middle-East is becoming plainer to see. The incredibly frank discussion between Saudi’s spy-chief Prince Bandar and Russia’s Putin exposed a much deeper plot is afoot and the following details from the actual people on the ground in the chemically-attacked region of Syria suggest Obama is playing right into the Saudi’s plan. While Obama is ‘certain’ that the chemical attacks took place on al-Assad’s orders, as MPN reports, “from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.”
The narrative for public consumption is well-known and quite clear – it was all as-Assad’s fault. And yet…
Related post, as linked above: Meet Saudi Arabia’s Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War
25 Quotes About The Coming War With Syria That Every American Should See
If Barack Obama is going to attack Syria, he is going to do it without the support of the American people, without the approval of Congress, without the approval of the United Nations, and without the help of the British. Now that the British Parliament has voted against a military strike, the Obama administration is saying that it may take “unilateral action” against Syria. But what good would “a shot across Syria’s bow” actually do? A “limited strike” is not going to bring down the Assad regime and it is certainly not going to end the bloody civil war that has been raging inside Syria. Even if the U.S. eventually removed Assad, the al-Qaeda affiliated rebels that would take power would almost certainly be even worse than Assad. Even in the midst of this bloody civil war, the rebels have taken the time and the effort to massacre entire Christian villages. Why is Barack Obama so obsessed with helping such monsters? There is no good outcome in Syria. The Assad regime is absolutely horrible and the rebels are even worse. Why would we want the U.S. military to get involved in such a mess?
It isn’t as if it is even possible for the U.S. military to resolve the conflict that is going on in that country. At the core, the Syrian civil war is about Sunni Islam vs. Shia Islam. It is a conflict that goes back well over a thousand years.
Assad is Shiite, but the majority of Syrians are Sunni Muslims. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been pouring billions of dollars into the conflict, because they would love to see the Assad regime eliminated and a Sunni government come to power in Syria. On the other side, Iran is absolutely determined to not allow that to happen.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have no problem with using Sunni terrorists (al-Qaeda) to achieve their political goals. And as a very important ally of the Saudis, the U.S. has been spending a lot of money to train and equip the “rebels” in Syria.
But there was a problem. The Syrian government has actually been defeating the rebels. So something had to be done.
If it could be made to look like the Assad regime was using chemical weapons, that would give the U.S. government the “moral justification” that it needed to intervene militarily on the side of the rebels. In essence, it would be a great excuse for the U.S. to be able to go in and do the dirty work of the Saudis for them.
So that is where we are today. The justification for attacking Syria that the Obama administration is giving us goes something like this…
-Chemical weapons were used in Syria.
-The rebels do not have the ability to use chemical weapons.
-Therefore it must have been the Assad regime that was responsible for using chemical weapons.
-The U.S. military must punish the use of chemical weapons to make sure that it never happens again.
Unfortunately for the Obama administration, the world is not buying it. In fact, people are seeing right through this charade.
The U.S. government spends $52,000,000,000 a year on “intelligence”, but apparently our intelligence community absolutely refuses to see the obvious. WND has been able to uncover compelling evidence that the rebels in Syria have used chemical weapons repeatedly, and yet government officials continue to insist over and over that no such evidence exists and that we need to strike Syria immediately.
Shouldn’t we at least take a little bit of time to figure out who is actually in the wrong before we start letting cruise missiles fly?
Because the potential downside of an attack against Syria is absolutely massive. As I wrote about the other day, if we attack Syria we have the potential of starting World War 3 in the Middle East.
We could find ourselves immersed in an endless war with Syria, Iran and Hezbollah which would be far more horrible than the Iraq war ever was. It would essentially be a war with Shia Islam itself, and that would be a total nightmare.
If you are going to pick a fight with those guys, you better pack a lunch. They fight dirty and they are absolutely relentless. They will never forget and they will never, ever forgive.
A full-blown war with Syria, Iran and Hezbollah would be a fight to the death, and they would not hesitate to strike soft targets all over the United States. I don’t think that most Americans have any conception of what that could possibly mean.
If the American people are going to stop this war, they need to do it now. The following are 25 quotes about the coming war with Syria that every American should see…
1. Barack Obama, during an interview with Charlie Savage on December 20, 2007: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
2. Joe Biden, during a television interview in 2007: “The president has no constitutional authority … to take this nation to war … unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof we are about to be attacked. And if he does, if he does, I would move to impeach him.”
3. U.S. Representative Ted Poe: “Mr. President, you must call Congress back from recess immediately to take a vote on a military strike on Syria. Assad may have crossed a red line but that does not give you the authority to redline the Constitution.”
4. U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader: “I see no convincing evidence that this is an imminent threat to the United States of America.”
5. U.S. Representative Barbara Lee: “While we understand that as commander-in-chief you have a constitutional obligation to protect our national interests from direct attack, Congress has the constitutional obligation and power to approve military force, even if the United States or its direct interests (such as its embassies) have not been attacked or threatened with an attack.”
6. The New York Times: “American officials said Wednesday there was no ‘smoking gun’ that directly links President Bashar al-Assad to the attack, and they tried to lower expectations about the public intelligence presentation.”
7. U.S. Senator Rand Paul: “The war in Syria has no clear national security connection to the United States and victory by either side will not necessarily bring in to power people friendly to the United States.”
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Washington Thinks You Are Stupid — Paul Craig Roberts
There’s the old saying that if the government fears the people, there is liberty, but if the people fear the government there is tyranny. The criminals in Washington not only do not fear us, they do not respect us. Washington looks upon Americans as stupid sheeple.
Washington believes that it can tell the population anything and the people will believe it. For example, the official line is that the recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009. Many Americans believe this even thought they have not personally experienced economic recovery. Indeed, they are sinking further into poverty and near poverty.
And don’t forget those nonexistent weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein was alleged by Washington to possess. Or the Gulf of Tonkin fake event when Washington claimed that its warship was attacked by North Vietnam. Really, the list of official lies is very long. Anyone who believes anything that Washington says is too naive to be let out of the house alone. But Americans believe the lies, because that is what they think patriotism requires.
Relying on the proven gullibility of the bulk of the US population, Washington claims to have uncovered an al Qaeda plot to attack US embassies across North Africa and the Middle East. To foil the plot, Washington closed 19 embassies for the past week-end and for this week also.
Washington has not explained how closing the embassies foils the plot. If al Qaeda wants to blow up the embassies, it can blow them up whether they are open or closed.
If al Qaeda wants to kill the embassy personnel, they can kill them at home or on the way to work or later in the embassies when the alert passes.
I only check in with the presstitute media in order to ascertain whether my current estimate of their prostitution for Washington is accurate. Possibly I missed some expression of skepticism about the latest terrorist threat. But I did hear NPR’s account. Back in the Reagan years, NPR was an independent voice. Today it is part of the presstitute media. NPR lies for Washington with the best of them.
The US media has ignored the obvious fact that as soon as the American population, Congress, and Washington’s puppet allies, such as Germany, made an issue over the NSA’s clearly unconstitutional and totally illegal universal spying, the Obama regime pushed the Fear Button and hyped a new terror plot in order to shut up critics and bring Congress and Germany back in line.
Washington proclaimed that a “threat” was discovered that al Qaeda–an organization that Washington is using in Washington’s effort to overthrow the Assad government in Syria and one that is enriched by US military contracts to affiliated groups in Afghanistan–was going to blow up US embassies in the Middle East and North Africa. Washington did not explain why al Qaeda, a recipient of Washington’s largess, was going to turn off the money spigot by attacking US embassies.
I am surprised that bombs haven’t been set off in the embassies in order to prove the value of the National Stasi Agency’s spying, thereby shaming those in Congress and among the puppet states in Europe who object to the spying.
Once you give a moment’s thought to Washington’s claim, you see that Washington is proving its impotence by hyping such non-existent threats. Officially, the US has been at war with al Qaeda since October 7, 2001. The “superpower” has been battling a few thousand lightly armed al Qaeda for almost 12 years, and what is the result?
Despite Washington’s claims to have killed al Qaeda’s top leaders, including Osama bin Laden himself, Washington has lost the war. Al Qaeda has grown so powerful that it not only fights in Syria, with Washington’s help, against Assad, but also has prevented the US military from occupying Afghanistan. Moreover, in addition to al Qaeda’s military success against the “superpower” and the chaos that al Qaeda continues to produce in Iraq, al Qaeda now is so powerful that it can shut down US embassies all across the Middle East and North Africa. The “threat” which was supposed to boost the NSA’s position actually proves Washington’s powerlessness.
We an only pray that soon al Qaeda shuts down Washington itself. Imagine the sense of American liberation if Washington simply was shut down, or even better if Washington could be put under Punjab’s magic blanket and disappeared. For the 99 percent, and the rest of the world, Washington is nothing but an oppressor.
Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org
About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
NY Times Admits: Al-Qaeda Terror Threat Used to “Divert Attention” from NSA Uproar
Some analysts and Congressional officials suggested Friday that emphasizing a terrorist threat now was a good way to divert attention from the uproar over the N.S.A.’s data-collection programs, and that if it showed the intercepts had uncovered a possible plot, even better.
- NY Times article from August 2, 2013: Qaeda Messages Prompt U.S. Terror Warning
Nothing about the above quote should surprise any of my readers, we all know the sick, twisted mindset of those involved in the Military-Industrial-Wall Street complex. What’s more shocking is the fact that these folks so openly admit it to the New York Times, albeit in a typical anonymous and cowardly fashion. Let’s not forget what Robert Shapiro, former Clinton official and Obama supporter told the FT in July 2010:
The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership. He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.
I discussed the above quote and related topics in my 2010 piece: The Dangers of a Failed Presidency. Well, if Mr. Shapiro thinks President Obama didn’t have credibility in 2010, one can only imagine what he thinks today. That is precisely what makes the current moment so extraordinarily dangerous. From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — The United States intercepted electronic communications this week among senior operatives of Al Qaeda, in which the terrorists discussed attacks against American interests in the Middle East and North Africa, American officials said Friday.
It is unusual for the United States to come across discussions among senior Qaeda operatives about operational planning — through informants, intercepted e-mails or eavesdropping on cellphone calls. So when the high-level intercepts were collected and analyzed this week, senior officials at the C.I.A., State Department and White House immediately seized on their significance. Members of Congress have been provided classified briefings on the matter, officials said Friday.
“Unusual,” but somehow also extremely convenient for this to occur just as public opinion turns against the NSA and near passage of the Amash Amendment.
Image added to Mike’s original post.
Unspecified al-Qaeda “Threat” Leads to Embassy Closures
WASHINGTON – The State Department announced the closure of embassies in the Middle East and issued a worldwide travel alert to all Americans that would run through August 31.
This was done in response to an unspecified threat by what was described as “al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations [who] continue to plan terrorist attacks in both the region and beyond.” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that this action was taken “out of an abundance of caution.”
In recent weeks, anonymous government sources have claimed that terrorist groups have changed their communications and operational protocols as a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding NSA surveillance activities.
Posted by Judy Morris
The Crazy Neocon Newtster is Channeling Ron and Rand Paul on Foreign Policy
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a leading neoconservative hawk and staunch supporter of Israel, says the U.S. military interventions he has long supported to promote democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere have backfired and need to be re-evaluated.
“I am a neoconservative. But at some point, even if you are a neoconservative, you need to take a deep breath to ask if our strategies in the Middle East have succeeded,” the 2012 Republican presidential hopeful said in an interview.
Mr. Gingrich supported the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, but he said he has increasingly doubted the strategy of attempting to export democracy by force to countries where the religion and culture are not hospitable to Western values.
“It may be that our capacity to export democracy is a lot more limited than we thought,” he said.
Mr. Gingrich at times has expressed doubts about the U.S. capacity for nation-building, but he said he now has formed his own conclusions about their failures in light of the experiences of the past decade.
“My worry about all this is not new,” Mr. Gingrich said. “But my willingness to reach a conclusion is new.”
Mr. Gingrich said it is time for Republicans to heed some of the anti-interventionist ideas offered by the libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, and Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, tea party favorite and foreign policy skeptic.
Posted by Judy Morris
What REALLY Caused the Coup Against the Egyptian President
The protests in Egypt against president Mohammed Morsi were – according to the BBC – the largest in history.
The Egyptian military threw Morsi out in a coup today.
(The U.S. backed Egypt’s previous dictator, as well).
Support of Western intervention in Syria was also one of the main causes of the recent enormous protests in Turkey … which came close to toppling the Turkish leadership.
Indeed, the American government has been providing arms, money and logistical support to Al Qaeda in Syria,Libya, Mali, Bosnia and other countries – and related Muslim terrorists in Chechnya, Iran, and many other countries. So moderate Arabs all over the Middle East and North Africa are becoming furious at U.S. interventionist policies.
Note: The coup is a set-back for the U.S., because Egypt – unlike Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran – isn’t on the 20-year-old list of countries targeted for regime change.
Read the rest at Zero Hedge, here.
Image added to original post.