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by CTuttle

MENA Roundup: Reading The Tea Leaves…

6:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Can the United States Think Strategically About Iran, China, and the Deepening Ties Between the Persian Gulf and Rising Asia?

… As we write,

While no single factor explains the relative decline of American standing and influence in world affairs, one of the most important is the failure of American political and policy elites to define clear, reality-based goals and to relate the diplomatic, economic, and military means at Washington’s disposal to realizing them soberly and efficaciously. Defining such ends and relating the full range of foreign policy tools to their achievement is the essence of what is known among students of international relations and national security practitioners as ‘grand strategy.’ Questions of grand strategy are becoming an increasingly important element in America’s emerging national security narrative—because of accumulating policy failures, relative economic decline, and the rise of new power centers in various regional and international arenas.

To explore what is wrong with contemporary American grand strategy and what it would take to put that strategy on a sounder course, our article evaluates “Washington’s posture toward two regions where the effectiveness of American policy will largely determine the United States’ standing as a great power in the 21st century: the Middle East (with a focus on the Persian Gulf) and rising Asia (with a focus on China).” As we explain,

Fundamental flaws in America’s stance vis-à-vis these critical areas have contributed much to the erosion of the United States’ strategic standing. Over time, deficiencies in policy toward each of them have become synergistic with deficiencies in policy toward the other. Recovering a capacity for sound grand strategy will require a thoroughgoing recasting of American policy toward both—and a more nuanced appreciation of the interrelationship between these vital parts of the world for U.S. interests.

We have come more and more to appreciate that recasting American policy in this way must necessarily be preceded by a kind of “cultural revolution” in the United States. Since the end of the Cold War, American foreign policy has been increasingly driven by a grand strategic model—we call it the “transformation model” in our article—in which “the United States seeks not to manage distributions of power but to transcend them by becoming a hegemon, in key regions of the world and globally.” Such a commitment to hegemony—an assertion of military, economic, and ideological dominance that aims to micromanage political outcomes in far-flung parts of the world and to remake, or at least to subordinate, vital regions in accordance with American preferences—is deeply problematic, strategically as well as morally

From the NY Fed in ’06…

Recycling Petrodollars

In recent years, oil-exporting countries have experienced windfall gains with the rise in the price of oil. A look at how oil exporters “recycle” their revenues reveals that roughly half of the petrodollar windfall has gone to purchase foreign goods, especially from Europe and China, while the remainder has been invested in foreign assets. Although it is difficult to determine where the funds are first invested, the evidence suggests that the bulk are ending up, directly or indirectly, in the United States

Some more PetroDollar background…!

Now, Isn’t it fascinating that our own Allies are beginning to ignore our ridiculous Iran Sanctions…?

As I wrote last January…Screwing the Petro-Pooch…!

Moving along to Syria…

There is no ‘noble war’ that will justify this bloodshed

“…The rebels, with the concurrence of their outside backers in Riyadh, Doha, Ankara and Washington, have steadfastly rejected jaw-jaw in favour of war-war. The leader of the newly created Syrian National Coalition, Moaz Al Khatib, rejected the latest call by UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Foreign Sergei Lavrov to attend talks with the Syrian government. Mr Al Khatib insists that Bashar Al Assad step down as a precondition to talks, but surely Mr Al Assad’s future is one of the main points for discussion.The rebels, over whom Mr Al Khatib has no control, have not been able to defeat Mr Al Assad in almost two years of battle. Stalemate on the battlefield argues for negotiation to break the impasse through acceptance of a transition to something new….”

Some more thought-provoking treatises to mull over…Regimen of Permanent WarsThe US War Machine…!

And, finally, as I once wrote, What a Wicked Web We Weave…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Al-Nusra Runs Rampant In Syria

9:16 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

C’mon, folks…! Was there ever any doubt as to the Saudi/Qatari, Petrobuck-fueled, Wahabbist influence…?


Islamist Factions Imposing Saudi-Style Religious Codes on Residents…

…The police are charged with enforcing an extremely harsh interpretation of Sunni Islam, and while the rebels insist they are aimed at “fighting crime,” the locals say that mostly they are forcing people to pray and stopping women from driving cars.

Women are expressing serious concern about the trend, saying that they were on board for a “revolution for freedom” but the rebels are determined to take away social and individual freedoms they enjoyed under the Assad regime.

Secular rebel factions insisted that the entire story was “made up” by the regime to discredit the rebellion, but Islamist factions seemed to endorse the move, saying that a virtue-and-vice squad is “part-and-parcel of the freedom revolution” and that since Sunnis are a majority in Syria they have a right to impose such rules on society.

So, now get a load of this Hof Guff…

Syria’s Time Is Running Out

…”…the United States and others should immediately establish security assistance relationships with this new government, providing arms and training…Although the administration has so far resisted arming the opposition, arms are now the coin of the realm for anyone wishing to influence the course of Syria’s future. The United States and its allies — most notably Turkey — must dominate the logistics of external arms transfers, ensuring that weapons go to those advocating a non-sectarian, decent political system for Syria and are denied to those seeking a sectarian outcome…The negative reaction of the mainstream Syrian opposition to the U.S. designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organization is understandable. ….. the timing of the designation was amateurishly lamentable — unnecessarily neutralizing the impact of U.S. recognition of the Syrian Opposition Council…”

Huh…?

Anyways, some real insight…

Civil war at stalemate, says Russia

…Syria’s civil war has reached stalemate and international efforts to persuade President Bashar Al Assad to quit will fail, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday.

Mainly Sunni Muslim rebels seeking to overthrow Assad are fighting on the edge of the capital Damascus and expanding southwards from their northern strongholds in Aleppo and Idlib into the central province of Hama. {…}

… But Lavrov said the Syrian president was not about to bow to pressure from opponents or more sympathetic leaders in Moscow and Beijing.

“Listen, no one is going to win this war,” he told reporters aboard a government plane en route to Moscow from the Russia-EU summit in Brussels. “Assad is not going anywhere, no matter what anyone says, be it China or Russia.”

Lavrov said Russia had rejected requests from countries in the region to pressure Assad to go or offer him safe haven, and warned that his exit might lead to an upsurge in fighting.

He also said Syrian authorities were gathering the country’s chemical weapons in one or two areas and that they were “under control” for the time being. “Currently the (Syrian) government is doing all it can to secure (chemical weapons), according to intelligence data we have and the West has,” he said. {…}

In Aleppo, rebel leader Colonel Abdel-Jabbar Al Oqaidi said his fighters considered the skies above Aleppo to be a no-fly zone and repeated a warning that they would attack planes using the city’s airport.

Snipers fired at an airliner preparing to take off from Aleppo on Thursday, forcing it to abandon its departure.

“The airport was being used as a military airport to transport troops and (Iranian) Revolutionary Guards,” Oqaidi told Reuters. “We forbid planes from flying in Syrian air space. We will set up a no-fly zone.”

What a D*ckhead, no…?

And, if there’s any doubters left amongst ya… An insight into Syria’s frontline…

Btw…

…According to Lavrov, American partners recognise that the major threat will be posed if chemical weapons fall into the hands of terrorists.

“We tell them – you do back the opposition, including its armed struggle. Thus, it may happen what you fear. We determine the priorities. No clear answer is available yet,” Lavrov said.

The minister stressed that Russia re-checked all rumours related to chemical weapons. “Till now, according to our data, which is correlated with the West, chemical weapons are under control. The Syrian authorities concentrated their arsenals in one or two centres. Earlier, all was strewn across the country.” “This is the important problem. Everyone should realise that ‘the hands’ should not provided aid that continues to be rendered,” the minister added.

According to Russian and American special services, the Syrian government does everything possible to safeguard chemical weapons, Lavrov pointed out.

Fancy that…! So we have purported Scud-Style missiles being lobbed, but, no real proof, and, we’re all supposed to Arm Cheer the USA FSA on…!

*gah*