The Future of the Mideast

Here is a question for those that are not meek…..what will be the future of the Middle East?  And of course those “people” on the Right will have all sorts of clever yet disgusting thoughts to spew….but this is a serious question that needs some thought.

Now I know I will get all kinds of comments ranging from the typical to the sublime….not one of them show any sort of thought….but they must say something….even if it is dead wrong.

When this bout of barbarism is done and make no mistake it will end…..the Middle East will be a different place….I think it will be nothing like what most Western envision when asked this question…..

While embedded with U.S. Special Operations Forces in 2007, I witnessed firsthand America’s incredible ability to apply technology to the battlefield. The digital map layered on Iraq’s topography was rich with satellite feeds, drone surveillance, heat maps of local violence, real-time situation reports from troops on the ground, and other forms of human and signals intelligence. With about two hours’ notice, special ops teams could strike anywhere in the country. During the so-called surge, the “op tempo” was relentless, and yet the coalition’s ability to hold Iraq together was fleeting at best. One cool and cloudy night, while walking around Balad Air Base northwest of Baghdad with a senior commander, I asked him point- blank, “Are all these gizmos necessary because you can’t speak Arabic?”

Political goals imposed on a complex cultural geography from halfway around the world stand little chance of surviving even a year. And the post-colonial map of the Middle East has lasted not even a century, and in many cases not even half that. Now it is time for the Arab world to build a new map for itself, to evolve from Sykes Picot towards a Pax Arabia.

Source: The Future of the Mideast: A decentralized, Networked Pan-Arabism transcending Sykes-Picot? | Informed Comment

Before that there should be some consideration in the possibility of the US disengaging from the region as soon as possible……let’s be honest…..foreign oil is NOT as important today as it was 20 years ago….so a disengagement would not hurt this country at all….with the exception of the M-IC that is making billions off of war and destruction.

truemapofmiddleeastThomas_Map-01

Our disengagement could be bring a speedy end to this conflict cycle that we have created…..

The Orlando and San Bernardino shootings have led important personalities to make several suggestions, both workable and unworkable. These range from banning the entry of Muslim immigrants into the United States to tighter gun control. However, hardly anyone seems to have asked the fundamental question: why have some radicalized inhabitants of broader Middle Eastern origin developed such hatred for Americans that they are willing not only to inflict tremendous suffering on innocent civilians, but also to lay down their own lives in the process?

The answer lies in the history and extent of American involvement in the broader Middle East ranging from Turkey to Pakistan, what has been called the “arc of crisis”. The United States was often involved on the wrong side of the internal and regional conflicts in this region, supporting authoritarian regimes to maintain control over restive populations. More important, the extent of its involvement—especially in the post–Cold War era—has far exceeded its economic and strategic interests in the region.

Source: It’s Time for America to Disengage From the Middle East | The National Interest Blog

Next week I will return to posting on my research on terrorism…I have been helping a my friend by teaching a bloc in his course…..sorry for the delay but I have been working my skinny butt off….

Hillary’s Neoconservatives

Yes I know I have been railing against a Clinton presidency because of her ties with the hawks in Washington….I am hoping that some will read and understand just how important it is to NOT vote for a pro-war candidate….granted I am a small voice but I will not give up.

As much as I have written I still find some good articles about Clinton and her ties with the neocons……like this one in The American Conservative……

The Hillary Clinton campaign has recently been trumpeting endorsements from neoconservatives. The candidate’s embrace of figures such as Robert Kagan, Max Boot, and Eliot Cohen—all once regarded as anathema to the contemporary left—has engendered a wave of pushback from progressive critics.

Jane Sanders, wife of Bernie, is the most recent high-profile objector, publicly expressing queasiness about Clinton’s perceived allying with “architects of regime change.” Now, predictably, the pushback has been met with its own pushback, including from Brian Beutler of The New Republic, who cautions progressives not to fret.

Source: Hillary’s Neoconservatives | The American Conservative

Please for the sake of your country and your military….learn everything about the candidates and their plans for the use of force…..it may effect someone in your family…is that too much to ask?

Clinton and Syria

According to most pundits Clinton will win this election in a landslide…..(God help us)…..if true Clinton’s biggest problem will be….what to do with Syria……does she have a plan?

The American Conservative has a couple of good pieces about Clinton and Syria…….and her possible plan/s………

In a seemingly full-throated promise to voters in Scranton, Pa. on Monday, Hillary Clinton said adding “American ground troops” in the war against ISIS in Syria “is off the table.”

But every message coming from her surrogates in the media and in the Washington defense establishment has been that she will “lean in” harder in Syria, and whether you want to call it “added ground troops” or something else, everyone in her orbit is calling for expanded U.S. intervention—including personnel and firepower—in the region, even at the risk of confrontation with Russia.

Source: Clinton’s Syria War Plans | The American Conservative

She may go full-throat into Syria to appease her M-IC handlers……in true neocon fashion…..

Kelley Vlahos reminds us why Clinton is likely to be very hawkish as president:

But every message coming from her surrogates in the media and in the Washington defense establishment has been that she will “lean in” harder in Syria, and whether you want to call it “added ground troops” or something else, everyone in her orbit is calling for expanded U.S. intervention—including personnel and firepower—in the region, even at the risk of confrontation with Russia.

We have good reason to believe this because Clinton and her supporters repeatedly keep saying that this is the kind of foreign policy her administration will have. Clinton has made no secret of her support for “no-fly” and safe zones in Syria, and she has chosen a running mate who shares her views on these issues. While Democrats overall might be divided on Syria policy, the Democratic ticket is not: both nominees favor a more aggressive, militarized U.S. role in the Syrian conflict. That is the policy a Clinton administration is very likely to start implementing next year if, as seems likely, she prevails in the fall. A vote for Clinton is almost certainly a vote for an expanded war in Syria, and the public needs to understand that this is what we will get by entrusting her with the presidency.

Source: A Clinton Win Means An Expanded War in Syria | The American Conservative

Something the military has to look forward to…..a bigger and wider footprint for the US troops…..

A Clinton win will be bad for the country but a windfall of profits for the M-IC………

The voters and the people of this country deserves better than a continuous war for a generation…..but will we step up and tell the candidate that this all MUST stop?  (He asked knowing full well the answer is NO!)

There Is “Your Dictator” And Then There Is “Ours”

Ever noticed the the US seems to have blinders on when it comes to some dictators?  That is until they are NO longer needed.  Just look at Noriega, Saddam, Mubarak….these men were perfectly fine as long as they were useful….and then we dropped the hammer on them…..turning them from “good guy” to “evil dictators”…..we have a long history of backing the wrong dudes.

As long as these strongmen play ball with the US and its corporations then they are free to do as they please….but as soon as they run afoul of the corporate structure then they must go.  Saddam is a good example….he was a fine “ally” until he nationalized the oil industry and cut out the massive profits for oil companies and then he had to go…..and he finally did.

It is fascinating how some are dictators and others we will tolerate their abuses…….

Sometimes it seems that if not for double standards, Official Washington would have no standards at all – especially when it comes to outrage against some “strongmen” and excuses for others, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

The United States has been, and continues to be, selective about which foreign strongmen it does and does not support. Among the latter, there have been Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela (who was not as autocratic as publicly portrayed), Fidel Castro in Cuba, and Vladimir Putin in Russia. These are just a few of those recent rulers who have drawn the wrath of the “democratic” exemplars in Washington. That wrath often includes economic strangulation, CIA plots and even invasion.

In the meantime, another group of autocrats is well tolerated by the U.S. Among this group are Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Egypt’s General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and various European rightwing politicos such as Viktor Orban of Hungary. Each of these strongmen shows little tolerance for dissent and a ready willingness to exploit racially tinged nationalism.

Source: Washington’s Outrage and Excuses – Consortiumnews

Who will be the next strongman to feel the wrath of a nation like the US?

The Ghost Of Bin Laden

That would be OSAMA with an “S”…just in case there are any Breibart trolls in hiding.

The day is 02May2011….Obama (with a “B”) announced the news that Osama bin Laden, head of Al-Qaeda, has been killed in Pakistan….and the country went into a euphoric celebration….vengeance has been ours.

Since that day all AQ communications has come through the new leader of the group, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, that is until now…..the ghost of Ossama has spoken through his son, Hamza……

The son of al-Qaeda’s slain founder Osama bin Laden has urged Saudis to “overthrow” the kingdom’s “oppressive and tyrannical” rulers to free themselves of US influence.

In an audio message released by the militants’ media outlet, Hamza bin Laden urged the Saudi tribes to join the Yemen-based al-Qaeda franchise to “gain the necessary experience” to “wage jihad” against the House of Saud.

“There must be an uprising against the American agents, [true] Islamic law ruling the land and the overthrow of the criminal ruling family, which has turned the Land of the Two Holy Mosques into a kingdom of [the West and Iran],” bin Laden said.

Source: Bin Laden’s son calls for uprising against Saudi king

The apple does not fall from the tree….now does it?

The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies

You would think that the US would have learned their lesson with regime change…….Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria……none have gone according to plan and never will.

I wrote an article awhile back along these lines…..

The end result of this conflict in Syria is two-fold….one to rid the landscape of ISIS and two to rid the country of Assad, a regime change….. I understand the urgency of the defeat of …

Source: The Problem With Regime Change – In Saner Thought

The problem is that we keep using the same tactics over and over…tactics that worked in the 1950’s but today they are a waste of time……

“Regime change” or destabilizing sanctions are Official Washington’s policy options of choice in dealing with disfavored nations, but these aggressive strategies have proved harmful and counterproductive, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Many variables are involved in the messy predicaments in the Middle East, but one way of framing the history and issues of U.S. policy toward the region is in terms of the approaches that have been taken toward so-called rogue regimes. That term, one should hasten to add, obscures more than it enlightens. But it has been in general use for a long time. Take it as shorthand to refer to regimes that have come to be considered especially troublesome and are subjected to some degree of ostracism and punishment.

Three basic approaches are available in formulating policy toward such a regime: (1) keep ostracizing and punishing it in perpetuity; (2) try to change the regime; or (3) negotiate and do business with it, to constrain it and to influence its actions. There are some contradictions between the approaches. Any regime that is led to believe that it is going to be overturned anyway, or that it will be perpetually punished anyway, lacks incentive to make concessions in a negotiation.

Source: The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies – Consortiumnews

How long will the idiots keep using flawed intel and a bigger flawed tactic before we realize that regime change is not our forte?

This election as important as it is holds NO answers to the problems we face….just more years of the status quo.

Stupidity….and that’s the name of that tune!

Full text: Donald Trump’s speech on fighting terrorism

Most visitors here know that I am a foreign policy wonk…..I judge candidates on how they will handle the international relations of this country.  I am a natural born skeptic (my grandfather would be proud)……

While I am not a supporter of Trump he has made some interesting statements on foreign policy….to be fair he has also made some of the dumbest statements on record….

The other day he made what was billed as a foreign policy speech….and I would like to post the text here in case someone may have missed the speech….and might be interesting in reading it so that do not have to depend on the regurgitation of others (probably not)……

Donald Trump’s remarks on terrorism on August 15, as prepared for delivery.

Source: Full text: Donald Trump’s speech on fighting terrorism – POLITICO

The AP also has a breakdown on his speech…..

Donald Trump on Monday will call for a new ideological test for admission to the United States, vetting applicants on their stance on issues like religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights. The policy would represent a significant shift in how the U.S. manages entry into the country.

In a speech in swing state Ohio, Trump will also call for “foreign policy realism” and an end to nation-building if elected president. And he’ll argue that the United States needs to work with anyone who shares the mission of destroying the Islamic State group and other extremist organizations, regardless of other disagreements.

“Mr. Trump’s speech will explain that while we can’t choose our friends, we must always recognize our enemies,” Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said.

The Republican nominee’s foreign policy address comes during a rocky stretch for his campaign. He’s struggled to stay on message and has consistently overshadowed his policy rollouts, including an economic speech last week, with provocative statements, including falsely declaring that President Barack Obama was the “founder” of the Islamic State.

Source: Associated Press

There are a lot of sources (some not as reliable as I would like) that see his rambling speech as mostly gibberish…..

Donald Trump delivered what one analyst calls a “surprisingly serious” speech on foreign policy and counterterrorism Monday—but serious may not equal coherent. Many analysts were taken aback by the mix of proposals in the speech, which included policies favored by the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, along with ideas dating back to the Cold War and some touches that were pure Trump. A roundup of reactions:

  • Some elements of Trump’s speech on the war on “radical Islamic terrorism” were familiar, but what was new was “alarming,” according to the Los Angeles Times editorial board. His calls for a Cold War-style “ideological screening test” and a Commission on Radical Islam could be “catastrophically counterproductive,” they write—and “would punish thoughts rather than deeds,” as well as encourage newcomers to the US to conceal their beliefs.
  • Former Bush administration official Peter Feaver tells the New York Times that he gives Trump credit for the “surprisingly serious” speech, but a striking amount of it “depends on counterterrorism ideas developed by the Bush administration.” The “good parts are not new,” and “the new parts are not good,” he says.
  • Robert Burns at the AP believes there was a lot more Obama than Bush in Trump’s disdain for nation-building. Obama ditched Bush’s large-scale projects in Iraq and Afghanistan while “trying to keep enough US influence there to prevent those two countries from crumbling,” he writes, noting that Trump’s argument that the US should have seized Iraq’s oil isn’t nation-building, it’s “nation-grabbing.”
  • John Noonan, Jeb Bush’s former national security adviser, tells NBC News that Trump is completely correct about Obama’s contribution to the rise of ISIS, and not much else. “The rest of his foreign policy is an absolutely blathering jumble of nonsense,” he says. “I can’t in good conscience sign my name to it.”
  • At Politico, Nahal Toosi looks at the “extreme vetting” proposal that has replaced Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration and finds numerous problems. She notes that focusing on regions with a “history of exporting terrorism” would include much of Europe, even if only Islamist-inspired terrorism is included.
  • Trump seemed bored by much of his own speech and only seemed excited when congratulating himself on his prescience or accusing Hillary Clinton of “wanting to be ‘America’s Angela Merkel,'” per the Lexington column at the Economist. The article notes that real Cold War veterans will find this election very strange. “The party of Eisenhower and Reagan has nominated a man who calls looting of foreign assets the highest priority for America in war, and who sucks up to Russia,” it says.
  • Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post is equally scathing in his fact-checking of the speech. Kessler debunks claims, including the notion of an Obama “apology tour” in 2009, and notes that Trump was not an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War until well after it began—and that he has apparently forgotten that he “was a fervent advocate of intervening in Libya.”

Sorry he still has not convinced me that he has an adequate grasp on international situations……especially from someone that wants to be the world leader as president of the United States……