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by CTuttle

Neocon Coup or What…?

6:08 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Col. Pat Lang wrote yesterday…

“McCain to hold up Dempsey for renewal… “

Why do the people of Arizona keep electing McCain? His behavior grows increasingly bizarre. He has descended into a search for self-importance expressed through an evident desire to see unending war as the future of America. Perhaps members of congress should be periodically examined for evidence of mental illness.

Senator McCain seems to think that he can run the foreign policy of the United States from his seat in the senate. McCain does not seem to remember that he was defeated by Obama and therefore is not in charge of foreign policy nor does he command the armed forces. Ah! I may be wrong. Perhaps that is all he remembers…

…Obama would do well to defend Dempsey and to stand by him. If he does not, then he will see power slip away from him even more rapidly than it has thus far. pl

From Thursday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, McInsane’s hombre, Lindsey Graham (R-AIPAC)…

Yesterday, WH Spokesman, Jay Carney opined…

Assad will never rule all of Syria again: White House

Bashar al-Assad will never rule all of Syria again, the White House has said, asserting that his iron-clad rule was now over.

“Basically the dictator of Syria and the ruler, the iron-clad ruler of Syria, is over. And while there are shifts in momentum on the battlefield, Bashar al-Assad, in our view, will never rule all of Syria again,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday.

Carney said the US was providing assistance to the opposition and humanitarian relief to the Syrian people who have been miserably affected by repressive regime of Assad.

The US is ramping up its assistance, he added.

“Our goal is to strengthen the cohesion of the opposition and the effectiveness of the Supreme Military Council in their efforts to defend themselves against a repressive regime that has shown no boundaries in its willingness to kill civilians,” he said.

“We are daily contact with the Supreme Military Council to discuss what we can do to help support their needs, and that effort continues,” the official said.

Noting that the US was constantly assessing the situation in Syria, he said there was no question the situation on the ground was serious and has been for some time.

“We are focusing our efforts to help bring about the day when a transition can take place that will help Syria turn the corner towards a cessation of violence and reconciliation and the possibility of a government that respects the rights of all of Syria’s people,” Carney said.

Au contraire, mon frere…! From Bloomberg today…

U.S. Military Intelligence Warned No Quick Fall for Assad

The U.S. military intelligence agency warned the Obama administration early in the Syrian uprising that dictator Bashar al-Assad would be able to hold onto power for years even in the face of widespread opposition, the deputy head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said.

The DIA predicted Assad would remain in power until at least the start of 2013, a classified assessment more pessimistic than the early public statements by administration officials.

David Shedd, No. 2 in the Defense Intelligence Agency, said today that the Syrian civil war is now likely to continue for years, whatever Assad’s fate. The country faces the prospect of “unfathomable violence” and growing power there by Islamic radicals, including those allied with al-Qaeda, he said.

“My concern is that it can go on for a long time, as in many, many months to multiple years,” he said, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. “And the civilian casualties, the enormous flow of refugees and the dislocation and so forth and the human suffering associated with it will only increase in time.’ {…}

Shedd described what has become an open-ended sectarian conflict between Syrian Sunnis and Shiites, fueled by outside players such as Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and al-Qaeda. Sunni Persian Gulf nations, the U.S., U.K. and France are providing aid to the opposition. Russia supports the Syrian government.

There are 1,200 opposition factions in Syria, which highlights what has been the administration’s concern about being able to sort out secular moderates from radical Islamists for aid, Shedd said. The radicals, such as the al-Nusra Front, are the most effective opposition fighters, he said.

“It’s very clear that over the last two years they have grown in size, they’ve grown in capability and ruthlessly have grown in effectiveness,” he said of the radical Sunni Islamist elements of the opposition. “Their ability to take the fight to the regime and Hezbollah in a very direct way has been, among those opposition groups, the most effective one.”

Wtf, over…? This is the very same crap I’ve been pointing out since the outset…!

When all else fails, send in the 82nd Airborne…! *gah*

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

“It’s Just Damage Limitation Now”

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

My only regret of living here in the tropics is having to get up at two in the morning, to catch ‘Up’…!

Now, there was a flurry of news and views, all across Asia and the Middle East, that bears noting…

In Afghanistan, with the sudden halt in joint ISAF operations

Afghanistan: “It’s Just Damage Limitation Now”

Why did you write No Worse Enemy: The Inside Story of the Chaotic Struggle for Afghanistan?

I’d been travelling to Helmand for five years, first in 2007 with the Brits, then later mostly with the U.S. Marines, covering every major operation since the war in the south was taken seriously.

Despite new troops, extra resources and new polices, it kept getting worse.

It was more dangerous for me and the troops I was with, Afghan security forces didn’t seem to be improving, and perhaps most importantly, locals were not being won over but instead were complaining of civilian casualties, damage to their homes, being inconvenienced and disrespected, or preyed upon by the Afghan police.

Yet in the second half of 2010, statements from Kabul, Washington and London kept talking of progress, goals being met and the Taliban being on their last legs.

This was the exact opposite of what I had been seeing, so I felt that I had to write this book

Et Tu, Brute…? Crocker: Taliban Infiltration Worse Than US Will Admit

Now, It’s rather amusing that neocons luminaries, such as Ross Douthat: It’s not about the video, and, Jennifer Rubin, recognize the problem, but can’t see the forest for the trees…

White House dumps false cover story on embassy attacks?

For a week various Obama administration figures, including the White House press secretary, have insisted that the attacks on U..S. embassies in the Middle East were a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video. But that excuse has not held up to even superficial scrutiny… {…}

I’m not sure what that even means. But in any case, the administration, perhaps recognizing their cover story on the attacks was blown, is now backpedaling fast.

There is all the more reason now to get to the bottom of this, to hold hearings and for the president himself to answer questions. If it is now conceded that this was more than a spontaneous uprising the questions remain: Was there an intelligence failure? And is the president’s purported Middle East policy a flop?

Jennifer did cite Foggy Bottom’s and the WH’s frantic back-pedaling…

Ms. Nuland…

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