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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Jabhat al-Nusra, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Our Failed FP

3:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Somehow, I’d missed this earlier, most excellent post from Emptywheel… The Perils of “Strategic Messaging” And even ex-CIA Philip Giraldi had piled on yesterday… Failed by the Fourth Estate

Honestly, I think it’s far past time for some real Humility Now!

…Look, I was on the team after 9/11 that analyzed whether there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and I was the chief targeting officer charged with following Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The war in Iraq provided al Qaeda with a new front for its struggle with the West. After the invasion, Zarqawi — the man who would lead al Qaeda in Iraq — pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and, consequently, money and weapons flowed into the country. The United States didn’t “face down” al Qaeda in Iraq; it inadvertently helped Zarqawi evolve from a lone extremist with a loose network to a charismatic leader of al Qaeda. By extension, it would be safe to say that the al Qaeda in Iraq affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, exists because of the Iraq invasion, and likely would find new authority and power if the United States made Syria the next front for the global jihadist movement.

Finally, Diehl misinterprets the outcome of the Iraq War by arguing that “U.S. influence in the Middle East remained strong.” A year after the Iraq War, Pew conducted a survey that revealed the “vast majorities in predominantly Muslim countries continue to hold unfavorable opinions of the U.S.” Our influence has been further undercut by the fact that we are broke and our political system is dysfunctional. The U.S. government is currently operating under sequestration, struggling to fund some of the basic needs for places like Syria. It could still employ superior military power in Syria, but 10 years of war have taken a toll on its troops and materiel… And the Iraq War also left the American people wary of military engagements — and they are the ones who will pay the bills in money and in lives.

The argument that unleashing the U.S. military industrial complex can bring about desired results during a conflict should have been deflated, beaten, and buried by now. The winner of the Iraq War was humility, and it is a prerequisite for a wiser foreign policy. That’s the only lesson that matters.

Iraqi intelligence says Syrian and Iraqi Islamic extremist groups ramping up cooperation…

Funny how even ‘Benghazi, Benghazi’ Faux Spew gets it…

Video appears to show world’s most powerful rifle in hands of Syrian rebels

…“The video, showing jihadist rebels of the ‘Descendents of the Prophet Brigade’ firing one of the world’s most effective sniper rifles, should be cause for alarm,” said David Reaboi, of the Washington-based Center for Security Policy. “We don’t know who has been supplying this group (or the myriad others) with these weapons but, given the jihadist ideology of these groups, it’s only a matter of time until they’re turned on Americans or our allies and interests.”

“We’re unsure of how many they have,” Reaboi said. “Equally troubling, of course, is the training ground of the Syrian civil war itself; like the conflict in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we will be facing tested veteran jihadist fighters who don’t just leave the war when the one battle is over. I’m afraid we or our allies will have to face them shortly, and with exceedingly lethal weapons.”

Speaking of Benghazi… A Libyan Report Card…

…By these standards, many states in the world are weak. And Libya has gone from being a tyrannical state to being barely a state at all.

Given the calls for intervention in Syria, let’s consider Libya, where a modest intervention was tried… …Toppling an evil regime or stopping a war is a profoundly moral act. But taking moral responsibility for what happens next in a country is the hard part. Bosnia-Herzegovina, 18 years after the U.S.-led intervention and the Dayton Peace Accords, is a nasty, dysfunctional state. And Bosnia-Herzegovina has advantages that Libya and Syria simply do not have. It is next-door to the European Union and has a modern history of relatively strong institutional structures compared to much of the Middle East. Bosnia was in a relatively developed part of the Ottoman Empire; Libya and Syria were in much less developed parts. But because Washington tends to overestimate its own significance in terms of its ability to alter distant societies, the following pattern will continue to emerge: a terrible war resulting in calls for humanitarian intervention, an intervention in some cases, always followed by a blame game inside the Washington Beltway after the country has slipped back into tyranny or anarchy.

Meanwhile, here is a probability: Libya’s relatively short history as a strong state is over. It will go on and on as a dangerous and weakly governed area between Tunisia and Egypt. Its considerable oil resources can internally generate revenue for armed groups and politicians both…

Oh Joy… Obama to Host Leaders from Turkey, Jordan, Gulf States…

…President Barack Obama plans some intense Mideast diplomacy this month and next, welcoming leaders of Turkey, Jordan and two Gulf states for Oval Office talks on Syria and broader developments in the Mideast…

…The White House said talks will include Syria and counterterrorism cooperation, and underscore the strategic relationship between the U.S. and Turkey as NATO allies…

Asked if the visits are part of efforts to coordinate assistance to Syrian opposition forces, White House press secretary Jay Carney avoided an answer, keeping to the general description provided of the purpose of the visits.

“There are obviously a number of issues for these leaders and the president to discuss, including Syria, including his recent visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, including the broader developments in the Arab Spring so he looks forward to these visits and they reflect his commitment and interest in the region and in our policies toward the region,” Carney said…

Meanwhile… Assad to world: Be careful what you wish for…

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned in comments broadcast on Friday that the fall of his regime would produce a “domino effect” that would destabilise the region “for many years”

*gah*

by CTuttle

A Fact Check on our Failed Foreign Policy

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Why is it that most of our Western MSM aren’t teeing off on that Grey Lady bombshell by David Sanger…? Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria, I mean seriously…?

Is it because we’re using the very same, Libyan template, or more specifically, what we really were doing in Benghazi…?

To start off, please read our official ‘Fact Sheet’ that Foggy Bottom touts…U.S. Government Assistance to Libya… Do take note of this…[Editor's Note: Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens died from injuries he sustained in an attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, September 11, 2012. Secretary Clinton's Remarks; Statement] And, why is it that when you search the DoS website to locate the Benghazi ‘diplomatic mission’, you won’t find it…?

Could it be that it never existed until ‘Ambassador’, err.. ‘Envoy’ Stevens first stepped ashore, of a freighter ship… U.S. envoy Chris Stevens arrives in Libya to help opposition fighters…

Chris Stevens, a former U.S. Embassy official in Tripoli and the highest-ranking U.S. representative to travel to Libya since the uprising began, will explore ways to open the funding spigots for an opposition movement that is desperately short of cash and supplies, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.

“We’re well aware that there’s an urgency,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. “The Transitional National Council does need funding if it’s to survive, and we’re looking for ways to assist them.”

But Stevens, who was expected to remain in Benghazi for several days, brought no fresh promises of political or military support from Washington, which has declined so far to either arm the rebels or grant symbolically important diplomatic recognition. Italy joined France and Qatar on Monday as the first states to formally recognize the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government of Libya, with Kuwait and several other countries considering similar moves.

From Wiki on Benghazi…

…On 15 February 2011,[13] an uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi occurred in the city.[14] On 21 February, the city was taken by Gaddafi opponents, who founded the National Transitional Council days later.[15] On the 19th of March it was the site of the turning point of the 2011 Libyan civil war, when the Libyan Army attempted to score a decisive victory against the NTC by attacking Benghazi, but was forced back by locals resistance and intervention from French Air Force authorized by UNSC Resolution 1973 to protect civilians, allowing the rebellion to continue…

Now, if I haven’t been clear enough… Deadly Attack in Libya Was Major Blow to C.I.A. Efforts Benghazi was the Salafist heart and soul of the NTC, and, it was NATO bombs(and Israeli) that toppled Gaddafi…!

Btw, as Libya’s National Congress just ‘elected’ it’s third Prime Minister, in nine months, another Nato stoolie…!

Anyways, so how’s that Democracy working…?

Ali Zidan elected Libya’s new prime minister

…Local observers see him as a liberal with a strong personality, says the BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli.

He served the former transitional government as its Europe envoy, and was seen as a key player in convincing the ex-French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, to support the uprising against Colonel Gaddafi.

His election comes at a critical time, with security still not established across the country and western Libya seeing outbreaks of renewed violence, our correspondent adds…

Now, let’s truly follow the Money…

…In the years since the first post-9/11 invasion, “real” reasons have abounded regarding the various countries provided with “democracy” by the United States.

These reasons include vast oil reserves, oil pipelines,[1] opium fields, strategic positioning, no-bid contracts for the defense industry and military-industrial complex, and mineral deposits.

All of these suggestions are both completely valid and accurate.

Yet, as mentioned above, there is rarely only one reason for such an undertaking of military force.

However, there is one reason for military intervention that is rarely discussed, even in the alternative media, in this context – the goal of total domination by the private central banking system. {…}

Libya

Yet, if developing an Iraqi central bank before the bombs finished dropping seems a bit premature, consider the case of Libya and the NATO-backed Libyan terrorists who announced the creation of a new central bank of Libya before foreign forces ever became involved.

Libya, of course, is an example of a much more successful model of government-run central banking. Regardless of Ghaddaffi’s individual and personal crimes or his iron-fisted nature, it cannot be denied that the living standards of the Libyan people were far above that of any nation in Africa.

Even the regime’s penchant for cruelty seems to have shown signs of fading in recent years. After all, even as the assault on Libya began taking form, the UN Human Rights Council was set to praise Ghadaffi on the improvement made to the legal protections afforded its citizens such as “bettering its ‘constitutional’ framework” and “making human rights a ‘priority.’”

Left to its own devices the Libyan regime had managed to take a country mainly made up of desert and warring tribal factions and form a cohesive nation-state which afforded its people with comforts not seen inside the borders of “world leaders” like the United States and Britain. {…}

…Prior to the success of the “peaceful Libyan protesters” (some proved to be al-Qaeda extremists) with the help of the United States, France, and the rest of NATO, Libya created its own money, the Dinar, through its central bank. Unlike “free” nations such as the United States, which has farmed out its Constitutional responsibility to private banks, the Libyan issuance of currency was an entirely government-based affair.

In addition, according to Patrick Henningsen of Market Oracle on March 28, 2011, “Libya also holds more bullion as a proportion of gross domestic product than any country except Lebanon, according to the London-based World Gold Council using January data from the International Monetary Fund.”

In fact, Ghaddafi was working toward backing the Dinar with the country’s vast gold reserves, thus posing a big threat to the world of fractional reserve fiat bankers.

All of these advancements were thrown away and destroyed with the NATO-backed assault on Libya and the subsequent murder of Ghaddaffi. What did emerge, however, was the new Libyan central bank.

Announced relatively early on in the destabilization campaign, the Transitional National Council declared the “Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.” It is also noteworthy to mention that immediately after the official creation of the new bank, the newborn institution actually signed an oil deal with Qatar, an Anglo-American client state and brother-in-arms of brutality.

Geopolitics aside, the very description of the new Libyan Central bank, the Central Bank of Benghazi, leans toward the fact that the new bank is the opposite of the old one – meaning, the new bank is private. Furthermore, the new bank is not beholden to the Libyan government (where one exists or may exist in the future) but operates independently “as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya.”…

Wtf, Over…? *gah*

by CTuttle

‘Syrian Rebel: Uprising Hijacked by Extremists’

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

CBS’s Holly Williams filed this report today…

…In a new video, men crouching against a wall are about to be killed by an angry mob. Syrian opposition groups said the men who died were members of a family with links to the Assad regime.

The killers were rebels fighting in an increasingly chaotic conflict.

Human rights groups — as well as the rebels’ own leadership — condemned the deaths as summary executions.

However, in a sprawling refugee camp on the Syria-Turkey border, Syrian refugees defended the killings. Many of the men there are rebel fighters.

“If we had a state, we could have taken those men to court,” said Mohammad Hajhasan through a translator. “But we’re in the middle of a revolution, and they were war criminals.” {…}

We want a democracy in Syria,” Mohammad said. “But only if it’s within an Islamic state.

Others disagree. Jamil Saeb, who led protests in Syria in the early days, said he wants a Western-style democracy, and claimed the uprising is being hijacked by Islamic extremists.

“The West isn’t doing enough, and other countries like Saudi Arabia are pushing their Islamic agenda by giving the rebels financial support,” Saeb said.

The Syrian opposition is divided, and there are fears that if and when the Assad regime falls there’ll be continued violence between rival factions…

I really do have to hand it to Faux Spew to actually post the most honest headline I’ve seen today…

With diplomacy dead, US banks on Syrian rebel win

…With Syrian diplomacy all but dead, the Obama administration is shifting its focus on the civil war away from political transition and toward helping the rebels defeat the Syrian regime on the battlefield…

…It’s a scenario analysts see as unlikely, even as the opposition gains ground in Aleppo, Damascus and elsewhere, and as the cadre of high-level defections from Assad’s government grows. Prime Minister Riad Hijab and two other ministers became the latest to abandon Assad on Monday, rebels said.

The defections are “the latest indication that Assad has lost control of Syria and that the momentum is with the opposition forces and the Syrian people,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

“The regime is crumbling,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said. {…}

…Ventrell said the goal of much of the recent diplomacy was to help the opposition come up with a post-Assad plan that would be as cohesive as possible…

…The approach is one that American officials liken to a “soft landing.” The goal would be to avoid the power vacuum of post-Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by salvaging as many elements of the state as possible, and avoiding new insurgencies from emerging.

“We want to get there in a way that’s a softer landing,” a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “We don’t want to see the institutions just melt away.”

Btw, folks, lets remember the long standing fact that Oily Bomber, nor even Shrillary, at Foggy Bottom nor any other foreign locales, have not once sat in the same room, much less, talk to anybody even remotely related to the Assad regime…! Just like the failed single roll of the dice that Oily Bomber had gambled on with the Iranians…!

What seems to be the problem with even talking to our supposed Adversaries…? I do seem to recall a ‘hotline’ that we’d set up between the Kremlin and the White House, and was manned 24/7…! What ever happened to even that semblance of old-fashioned Diplomacy…?

Here’s some other analysis from the disaffected ‘populations’ I’d seen today…

Obama brings Erdogan in to bat..

Here’s an excellent synopsis of the ever enigmatic Kurdish Question…!

And, it should be noted that Pepe Escobar, once again, cuts to the quick…

Syria’s Pipelineistan war

This is a war of deals, not bullets

Deep beneath “Damascus volcano” and “the battle of Aleppo,” the tectonic plates of the global energy chessboard keep on rumbling. Beyond the tragedy and grief of civil war, Syria is also a Pipelineistan power play.

More than a year ago, a $10 billion Pipelineistan deal was clinched between Iran, Iraq and Syria for a natural gas pipeline to be built by 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field, traversing Iraq and Syria, with a possible extension to Lebanon. Key export target market: Europe.

During the past 12 months, with Syria plunged into civil war, there was no pipeline talk. Up until now. The European Union’s supreme paranoia is to become a hostage of Russia’s Gazprom. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversify Europe’s energy supplies away from Russia.

It gets more complicated. Turkey happens to be Gazprom’s second-largest customer. The whole Turkish energy security architecture depends on gas from Russia — and Iran. Turkey dreams of becoming the new China, configuring Anatolia as the ultimate Pipelineistan strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi and Iranian oil and gas to Europe.

Try to bypass Ankara in this game, and you’re in trouble. Until virtually yesterday, Ankara was advising Damascus to reform — and fast. Turkey did not want chaos in Syria. Now Turkey is feeding chaos in Syria…

Seriously, Wtf, over…? *gah*

by CTuttle

The Tea Party Travesty

6:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

20,000 Tea Partiers, Congressman…? Really…?

As MSNBC reported…

Located at the West Front of the Capitol in the grassy area below the steps, are according to two Capitol Hill Police officers between 1,500 to 2,000 Tea Party protesters.

Interestingly, Faux Spew boasted…

…Thousands of Tea Partiers descended upon the Capitol in an effort to derail the march toward "Obamacare" by pressuring undecided lawmakers to vote "no" Sunday.

At times protestors broke into chants of "Kill the bill!"

More than 60 Tea Party affiliates organized the event in the four days since Tuesday’s rally after organizers were flooded with requests to hold another one for those who couldn’t take off of work for the first one.

I do suppose 1,500 to 2,000 does qualify as ‘thousands’…

As Roll Call reported today, Rep. Nunes (R) wasn’t the only Repug trivializing the sordid affair…

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a leading voice in the tea party movement, said Sunday that protesters’ recent use of racial and homophobic slurs toward Members of Congress was no big deal.

“I just don’t think it’s anything,” King said, emphasizing that the incidents were isolated. “There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn’t walk through. I wouldn’t live to get to the other end of it.”

To focus on a few incidents is “embellishing something that is determined to undermine the people,” said the Iowa conservative.

I found it interesting that certain MSM outlets, namely Faux Spew and the AP, completely ignored the Tea Partiers’ significant digressions for an entire news cycle. My daily rag which uses the AP feed, only featured a photo of the Tea Party and not one word of their actions. However, Faux Spew finally acknowledged the sordid affair today. Whom did they trot out to do so…? Why… RNC Chairman Michael Steele, of course…! Who else…? Gird thy loins…

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele and one of the organizers of Saturday’s Tea Party rally strongly condemned the racial slurs that some black lawmakers alleged were yelled at them by some health care protesters as they headed for a procedural vote at Capitol Hill.

"I absolutely think it’s isolated," Amy Kremer, the grassroots coordinator of the Tea Party Express, told Fox News on Sunday. "It’s disgraceful and the people in this movement won’t tolerate it because that’s not what we’re about."

Steele rejected the notion that the incident may make any association with the Tea Party Movement a danger.

"It’s not a danger," Steele told NBC’s "Meet the Press on Sunday." "It’s certainly not a reflection of the movement or the Republican Party when you have idiots out there saying stupid things."

Huh…???

Think what would happen if a Code Pink lady spat on Boehner…! Do you suppose Boehner would drop the charges against her…?

I can only imagine what the headlines would look like then…!