Tag Archives: Afghanistan

The More the West gets into the Middle East…The more Crazy Shit happens….

The Boston Glode has a piece pointing to the interventional policies of America and European countries and how those actions have resulted in violence, refuges and fears being thrown back at the West FROM the Middle East…..

George Bush probably NEVER though about this….

Barack Obama HAS…..

No modern day American President has been able to escape the pull of the Middel East though….

OUTSIDE POWERS HAVE been crashing into the Middle East for more than a century. At first we presumed that people there would not mind, or even that they would welcome us. Ultimately we realized that our interventions were provoking hatred and violent turmoil. We took refuge in another comforting illusion: that no matter how awful the reaction was, it would be confined to the Middle East.

At least since the 9/11 attacks 14 years ago, it has been clear that this is fantasy. Terrorism and mass migration are bitter results of outside meddling in the Middle East. They will intensify.

Interventions multiply our enemies. Every village raid, every drone strike, and every shot fired in anger on foreign soil produces anti-Western passion. Some are shocked when that passion leads to violent reaction. They should not be. The instinct to protect one’s own, and to strike back against attackers, is as old as humanity itself.

Horrific terror assaults cannot be justified as any kind of self-defense. Their savagery is inexcusable by all legal, political, and moral standards. But they do not emerge from nowhere. In countries that have been invaded and bombed, some people thirst for bloody revenge.

It was never realistic for the West — the invading world — to imagine that it is an impregnable fortress, or an island, or a planet apart from the regions its armies invade. This is especially true of Europe, which is literally just a long walk from the conflict zone. Now that Russia has joined the list of intervening powers, it too is vulnerable. So is the United States. We are farther away and protected by oceans, but in the modern world, that is not enough. Blowback is now global…..

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The US to slow troop withdrawal from Afghanistan….President looks for ISIS Ok from Congress…

Folks?

Gone are the days when President Obama could get away with hustling American (And other countries who come with American troops) troops OUT of the Middle east….

It’s the opposite now….

So lets just forget the President pledge to remove ALL combat troops form Afghanistan OR Iraq….

That call is going to land on the desk of the next American President….

The Obama administration is considering slowing its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan for the second time, according to U.S. officials, a sign of the significant security challenges that remain despite an end to the U.S. and NATO combat mission there.

Under the still-evolving plans, Army Gen. John F. Campbell, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, could be given greater latitude to determine the pace of the drawdown in 2015 as foreign forces scramble to ensure Afghan troops are capable of battling Taliban insurgents on their own, the officials said.

The options under discussion would not alter what is perhaps the most important date in President Obama’s plan: ending the U.S. military mission entirely by the time he steps down in early 2017.

But officials said Campbell might temporarily retain more than the 5,500 troops slated to remain in Afghanistan at the end of 2015, keep regional training hubs open longer than planned or reorganize plans to close bases including Kandahar Airfield, a major endeavor that would draw troops away from efforts to advise Afghan security forces…..

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The President will ask Congress for a new approval to continue his military campaign against the Islamic State….

He will NOT sign off on Congress limiting his ability to put US troops on a combat footing BACXK in Iraq or even Syria….That is something NO US President would agree to since there is some question weather the War Powers Act is even legal at all….

Look for approval in the end….The President WILL only agree to something that would leave wiggle room and ambiguity against his powers as Commander-in-Chief to set US Foreign Policy and the use of Force to do so…

The proposed new Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or AUMF, against the Islamic State “and associated forces” includes no geographic limitations, in keeping with the administration’s description of the group as seeking expansion beyond Iraq and Syria, and the Islamic State’s own claim to head a “caliphate” spanning the Muslim world.

The White House language prohibits the “enduring” deployment of U.S. ground forces,­ but it does not specifically ban limited boots on the ground if the president determines they are necessary, according to a senior administration official and lawmakers who have been briefed on the proposal. The official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the proposal, said the terminology refers to the use of Special Operations forces­ and other discreet missions.

The approval would expire in three years, allowing a new president and Congress to decide whether it needs to be extended or expanded.

It would also repeal the 2002 AUMF under which George W. Bush invaded Iraq but would leave in place the 2001 authorization against the al-Qaeda perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Both have been cited by the Obama administration as legal justification for its military action in Iraq and Syria….

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The US has shipped a LOT of stuff home from Afghanistan last year…

The Washington Post has a list…..

More on the numbers…..

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With Karzai gone Afghanistan will allow American Troops to stay….

The President can stop pretending he was going ship ALL of the American Combat troops back home from that country….

I mean after the situation going on in Iraq?

Why would the Afghan’s NOT want to have some American troops in the background?

A senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama says Afghanistan will sign a deal Tuesday to allow American soldiers to remain in the country past the end of the year.

John Podesta made the comments Monday at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Podesta said he didn’t know if newly inaugurated President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai would be the official signing the deal for Afghanistan, but said he would sign it on behalf of the U.S.

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The Liberal media doesn’t believe the President on his war on terror…Red State

WaPo might be insinuating Obama’s strategy won’t work

I’ve been doing a lot of WaPo reading lately, and I’m starting to notice a trend there and in the rest of the liberal media – there is a definite wariness on the part of the journalism elite regarding the Middle East. They posted a story with a headline you might not expect to see from them, “As U.S. takes on the Islamic State, al-Qaeda remains degraded but not defeated”:

As the United States mobilized against new Islamist enemies this month, the voice of an aging adversary echoed in the distance.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of al-Qaeda’s founders and its leader for the past three years, released a video announcing the formation of a new affiliate in India and lamenting the turmoil being caused by the rival Islamic State in Syria.

“Oh mujahideen, unite and reject differences and discord,” he said in a pleading tone that seemed to underscore the declining relevance of al-Qaeda’s core, the
Pakistan-based group that orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

But Zawahiri was silent on a far more sensitive project — the creation of a cell in Syria dedicated to plots against the United States — that once again made predictions of the demise of al-Qaeda’s core seem premature.

The news came out that during the initial bombing runs over ISIS, there was also a strike on a group called “Khorasan,” which was organized by one of the three masterminds of Al Qaeda, Zawahiri. See, we set this timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from parts of the Middle East, which terror groups (like Al Qaeda and ISIS) picked up on and simply decided to outlast. The WaPo is exactly right in calling it a “dormant fight.”

If you’re not working pulling out a weed by the root, it will simply grow back…..

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Is this a post against Obama and and FOR American combat solders fighting directly against the Islamic State?

Or  JUST for an Republican righty to assume the Presidency in 2016?

It’s interesting while some of us HOPE for NO reintroduction of American combat troops in Iraq…

Some are giving Obama a HARD time for trying to keep our men and woman out of the fight….

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As the President moves to go after ISIS/ISIL… What to do with Congress?

Does the President have to keep going back and forth to Congress every time he does something ?

He HAS done at least four letters to them recently on his actions ….

But he has NOT spelled out in some sort of detail and LONG TERM strategy on dealing with ISIS/ISIL….

As the United States military’s intervention in Iraq intensifies, so does the debate between legislative and executive branch officials about President Barack Obama’s muscular use of war powers.

In the past ten weeks, Obama has authorized the first U.S. combat operations in Iraq since the war ended in 2011, and sent in roughly 1,000 U.S. troops.

The U.S. operation in Iraq is likely to extend beyond the 60-day limit under the War Powers Resolution that triggers congressional approval, meaning Obama may need a different authority to continue the fight. The president has used the sweeping 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force, or AUMF, to fight terrorist groups across the globe, but many argue it was primarily intended to authorize combat operations in Afghanistan, which officially end in December. The latest Iraq intervention represents what may be Congress’s last, best opportunity to rein in the dramatic expansion of the commander-in-chief’s authority to wage war that has occurred in the last 13 years.

The irony is that Obama just one year ago declared he would cut back the very authority his aides are now reconsidering. He pledged to chart a new path forward when he laid out his vision for a new comprehensive national security strategy to guide U.S. foreign policy.

“The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old,” Obama said at National Defense University in May 2013. “Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states. So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.”

Today, gone is the talk of curbing unbound presidential powers to wage war. As the clock ticks, and Obama extends air attacks on Islamic State fighters, administration officials argue that the commander-in-chief is operating within his authority.

“We comply with the War Powers Act and informed Congress on how many people we have,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday. “This is not about mission creep.”

But Obama’s team quietly is considering whether they can use the original AUMF to shore up the president’s authority to conduct the growing U.S. military operation in Iraq….

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Open Thread for August 10, 2014….The World IS Crazy….

Afghanistan….

Gaza…..

Iraq…..

The Ukraine…..

Africa…..

Central America….

Take your pick……

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Looking back at the Gulf of Tonkin and Iraq, Afghanistan and even the Ukraine…

Politico is out with a piece that reflects on the US and Vietnam in the case of the Vietnamese attack on the US Destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, that started the move to the Vietnam War…..

The piece asks that American Governments should stop and take the other sides view into account when moving getting involved in a conflict….

As in Iraq….The piece points out , the US often has its mind made up on getting involved somewhere and really does NOT consider ALL the options and issues it will face, after things get rolling….President Bush wanted  Democracy spread thru out the Middle East, which we now know is  an alien concept for the region (the ‘Arab Spring’ hasn’t done to good)…..

Again in Iraq, some in the US Government Military, who follow orders from their commander-in – chief, quietly wonders what was gonna happen AFTER they fought their battle, but their worries where not addressed by the President who sent Paul Bremer in to completely mess things up…..

America finds itself in the same place in Iraq (where the ISIS/ISIL militants have TONS of US tax payer war equipment to help them set up their own new Islamic State), AGAIN and the countries military leaders in the same place , AGAIN , as they are asked to leave Afghanistan…..

As the piece points out?

History does in fact repeat itself and the same mistakes it would appear….

Today many Americans still believe that their leaders mistook Vietnamese nationalism for internationalist communism. In fact, Hanoi’s leaders were committed Marxist-Leninists. Many of them trained in the Soviet Union, and their ruthless land reform policies led North Vietnamese officials to murder tens of thousands of peasants in the 1950s. But their desire to unify their country under communism no doubt contained strong nationalist elements as well, as evidenced by their decision to pursue military action in the south before sufficiently building a strong socialist state in the north. None of this means that the Johnson administration was wise to escalate the conflict, or to confuse Hanoi’s designs with Moscow’s. Its program of massive bombing no more deterred Le Duan than VC attacks deterred America. Neither side grasped the other’s intentions. Americans never stopped to ask whether Vietnam was central to their national interest. The Tonkin to Pleiku period should have been a time to reconsider whether the United States truly would “bear any burden” to block communism.

Yet once attacked, Americans felt duly wronged. Revenge is a powerful motive, one that easily overrides good judgment. The Senate overwhelmingly endorsed the Tonkin Gulf resolution. Only two senators voted against it.

Did Americans learn from Tonkin? The lead-up to the most recent war in Iraq had a depressingly reminiscent feel. A president seemed intent on invading, presuming to liberate a foreign people that perhaps were not as eager for American liberation as Washington thought. The president failed to fully consider their point of view, just as the public failed to ask how long we would need to stay or how welcome we would be. And in 2002, when George Bush requested a congressional blank check, only 23 Senators and 133 Congressmen voted against the Iraq War Resolution. The great majority in both houses of Congress went along uncritically, only later regretting their insouciance. How many Americans today feel that the war in Iraq warranted the cost in lives and treasure? The question was never whether Saddam was a bad man; it was whether the Iraqi people truly wanted what America hoped to give them. The answer required thinking hard and learning much about the other side.

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The President is looking for legislation to authorize action outside 9/11 groups…

…from Politico….

A top White House official suggested Saturday that Congress pass new legislation to support President Barack Obama’s authority to act against an array of terrorist groups not clearly linked to the September 11 attacks.

White House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco said the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed three days after the 2001 strikes is dated and becoming less useful as radical groups with an anti-American bent metastasize to various parts of the world.

“The 2001 AUMF has provided us authority to go after terrorist actors and address the threats that they pose that fit within that definition. We are now 13, 14 years on from that and we’re seeing the emergence of other actors,” Monaco said during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum. “I think there absolutely is a reason to have an authority to enable us to take the fight to these evolving terrorists that we’ve talked about.”

In a speech last year, Obama said the U.S. shouldn’t be “on a perpetual wartime footing” and he appeared to call for a wind-down of the 2001 measure, which was akin to a declaration of war.

“Groups like [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States,” the president said at the National Defense University in May 2013. “Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states. So, I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further.”

However, Monaco indicated Saturday that White House views refining the use-of-force measure as potentially encompassing a definition of the enemy that would actually be expanded from the current measure, which is limited to entities linked to the 2001 attacks and associated forces….

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The piece ends with this…..

In a letter to Congress Friday, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said that even if that AUMF is repealed, the president would act militarily to protect American interests and would “consult closely with leaders in Congress” about such moves.

No American President is going to give up the right to act against a group that would threaten Americans anyplace on the planet….

No Congress or American Court would challenge the President’s Right to do so….

And NO President is NOT gonna advise the senior leaders and committee chairs before or after they  move to do so….

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Americans want nothing to do with world problems…Poll

The Politico Poll paints a picture of a purely isolationist view of American’s wants….

It should be music to Rand Paul’s ears….

But will not stop the American President from being engaged on the world problems, but will give him pause in thinking of ‘boots on the ground ‘ anywhere….

Amid deepening violence across Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Americans are recoiling from direct engagement overseas and oppose U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine by large margins, according to a POLITICO poll of 2014 battleground voters.

The survey provides a unique look at the foreign policy attitudes of voters who will decide the most competitive Senate and House races this fall. It shows an intensely skeptical view of American military intervention:

Asked whether the U.S should do more to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, just 17 percent answered in the affirmative. Thirty-one percent said the current policy is correct and 34 percent said the U.S. should be less involved. The poll was completed before the downing last week of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the civilian airliner that was apparently attacked over eastern Ukraine.

More than three-quarters of likely voters say they support plans to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. Only 23 percent oppose the plan.

Forty-four percent of likely voters favor less involvement in Iraq’s civil war, versus 19 percent who favor more involvement and 23 percent who say the current level of involvement is appropriate.

A 51 percent majority said the situation in Iraq affects U.S. national security “a little” or “not at all.” Forty-two percent said it affects U.S. national security “a lot.”

Likely voters prefer less involvement in Syria’s civil war over more involvement, 42 percent to 15 percent. Twenty-six percent of likely voters support the current, limited level of involvement.

On the issue of foreign policy specifically, voters say they trust Republicans over Democrats by 7 points, 39 percent to 32 percent. Twenty-eight percent said they were unsure which party to trust.

The picture that emerges from the survey is consistent across issues of foreign policy and national security: Americans are profoundly wary of getting entangled overseas and seem to be skeptical of the value of projecting U.S. power on foreign conflicts. Republicans are modestly more hawkish than Democratic and independent voters, but a majority of self-identified GOP voters support pulling out of Afghanistan and maintaining or reducing involvement in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.

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President Obama asks for lower Defense Oversea Contingency Operations Money…

The President had put in an estimate for $80 Billion originally with his budget…

But he is now only asking for $58B for Defense and $7.3B for the State Department…

That’s a little more than 20% LESS that what he thought he’d need….

The money will go to Iraq, Afghanistan and other oversea’s operations….

That total includes new requests to support European security over the short term and a new counter-terrorism fund that Obama says is necessary to help combat terrorists across the Middle East and Africa.

Part of the new fund would go toward directly supporting rebel groups fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, handing Congress the political hot potato of determining whether to support arming and training the rebels.

Although the OCO request was smaller than the “placeholder,” officials renewed their caution to Congress that the war account spending will not decline at the same rate as the American troop presence in Afghanistan, which is set to fall from about 33,000 today to about 9,800 by the first of next year.

“Although the FY 2015 OCO request reflects a transition as the United States concludes combat operations in Afghanistan partway into the fiscal year, most costs will not decline precipitously,” wrote Brian Deese, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

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Obama…Iraq could happen in Afghanistan also….

The President expresses his concern that the religious factor in the Middle East could come down in Afghanistan if and when American troops are withdrawn…

Part of this conversation one would image to make sure the Afghan’s don’t tell the US/NATO to pack up EVERYONE and leave…

The sad truth IS despite the comment by Obama?

There could be US and allied troops in Afghanistan for a LONG time….

Afghanistan could be gripped by Iraq-style sectarian violence after the full withdrawal of American troops by the end of 2016, President Obama acknowledged in an interview airing Monday.

But, the president said, the U.S. ultimately can not afford to keep a military presence there in perpetuity, and Afghan leaders must take responsibility for their own security.

In an interview with MSNBC airing Monday, Obama was asked if the sectarian violence gripping Iraq was reason to reevaluate his strategy for Afghanistan. Republican critics have charged that the rise of Sunni extremist groups in Iraq was partially attributable to the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December, 2011.

“No,” Obama responded. “I think that what we have done assuming that the Afghans sign a security agreement that gives our troops immunity — which the Iraqis declined to do — we’re prepared to have a residual force that helps to continue to train their forces, to continue to help stabilize the situation as you have the new government coming in.”

Last month, Obama announced that about 10,000 troops would stay in Afghanistan at the end of this year, and then gradually draw down over the next 24 months.

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The next American President…Note Obama will decide if American troops are to leave the Afghan country in total…

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Afghanistan will hold final Presidential runoff election June 7….

Both of the men running have pledged to sign off on letting America and NATO keep upwards of 10,000 combat troops in their country past the end of this year, and American goal….

Afghanistan’s presidential elections are headed for a runoff after full preliminary results released Saturday showed the front-runners failed to win to a majority and avoid a second round of voting.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah garnered 44.9 percent of the vote, followed by ex-Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai with 31.5 percent, said election commission chairman Ahmad Yousuf Nouristan. The candidates are vying to replace President Hamid Karzai, the only president Afghans have known since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban’s hard-line Islamic regime.

“According to our findings it seems that, this election will go to the second round,” Nouristani said. “We have a tentative schedule of June 7th to start the second round.”

The preliminary results are to be finalized on May 14 after investigations into fraud complaints. But those investigations are unlikely to invalidate enough votes change the outcome that points to a second round. Electoral law requires a runoff between the top two candidates if no one gets a majority.

The eventual election winner will oversee a tumultuous period as the U.S. and NATO are expected to withdraw most of their troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Karzai, whose relations with Washington have sharply deteriorated, was constitutionally barred from running for a third term

Both Abdullah and Ahmadzai have promised a fresh start with the West and have vowed to move ahead a security pact with the U.S. that Karzai has refused to sign. That pact would allow a small force of American soldiers to stay in the country to continue training Afghan army and police to fight the Taliban.

The preliminary results were from about 6.6 million valid votes counted by the election commission….

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President Obama…Putin and the American ‘light footprint’…..

Over the last two weeks the world has watched as Russian President Putin mass troops and move them across the Crimea to take control of that region FROM the Ukraine without a shot fired…..

While Americans really could be much bothered with the action….

Millions of people in the Balkans and the Pacific have to be a little worried when they go to sleep at night….America that great beacon of free will and democracy  with all it’s military might is tired of sending its sons and daughters in harms way these days….

Ten seconds after the British Parliament voted to NOT David Cameron on supporting his friend Barack Obama in raising an iron fist against Syria for using chemical weapons it was over….

President Obama isn’t ready to stand up for any direct confrontation it would appear…

Sure he sent American Navy SEALS to take over a cargo ship for Libya, and sure he’s likely to get 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan…..And yes there are American ‘trainers’ in Africa….

But the President just dropped a budget that includes cuts in foot soldiers…..

And the guy in the top ranks of the 2016 GOP Presidential sweepstakes is a confirmed isolationist….

All of this ‘pullback’ IS gonna be noticed by the other’s out there….

Russia President Putin surely gambled on the fact that Americans’ don’t have the will power now to stand for much of a fight if he starts grabbing land…..

And the Chinese are flexing in the Pacific….

The best weapon the US has had seems to be an economic one….

And it HAS brought good results….

But American is try to climb out of an economic hole right now…

The Republican budget cuts aren’t helping the economy either not that they care it seems…

photo…nydailynews.com

All of this adds up to a President who pledged to undo the George Bush years of ‘I don’t give  shit’ of what they think of us….To the now worries of …..’will the American’s back ANYBODY?’

Of course it isn’t THAT simple….

We gave up American men and women in Iraq and the place has worst violence than it did before we rolled into the country….Afghanistan is , for all we’ve done there just Kabul, while the war lords continue to run the place…Pakistan has its own troubles and despite the noise probably is happy to have US drones going after the guys in the hills….

So , while the US does still conduct limited actions around the globe…..

It appears that it’s reluctance to increase its military and to use force in a large way may provide opening for others to take aggressive moves in their interests without worrying about the Americans  to come to  rescue of those they’ve vanquished…

The White House was taken by surprise by Vladimir V. Putin’s decisions to invade Crimea, but also by China’s increasingly assertive declaration of exclusive rights to airspace and barren islands. Neither the economic pressure nor the cyberattacks that forced Iran to reconsider its approach have prevented North Korea’s stealthy revitalization of its nuclear and missile programs.

In short, America’s adversaries are testing the limits of America’s post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan moment.

“We’re seeing the ‘light footprint’ run out of gas,” said one of Mr. Obama’s former senior national security aides, who would not speak on the record about his ex-boss.

“No one is arguing for military action, for bringing back George Bush’s chest-thumping,” the former aide said. At the same time, he said, the president’s oft-repeated lines that those who violate international norms will be “isolated” and “pay a heavy price” over the long term have sounded “more like predictions over time, and less like imminent threats.”

Mr. Obama acknowledges, at least in private, that he is managing an era of American retrenchment. History suggests that such eras — akin to what the United States went through after the two world wars and Vietnam — often look like weakness to the rest of the world. His former national security adviser Thomas Donilon seemed to acknowledge the critical nature of the moment on Sunday when he said on “Face the Nation” that what Mr. Obama was facing was “a challenge to the post-Cold War order in Europe, an order that we have a lot to do with.”

But while Mr. Donilon expressed confidence that over time the United States holds powerful tools against Russia and other nations, in the short term challengers like Mr. Putin have the advantage on the ground.

Not surprisingly, the testing of administration policy at a time the president is politically weakened at home has sparked a critical question.

Is it Mr. Obama’s deliberative, pick-your-battles approach that is encouraging adversaries to press the limits?

Or is this simply a time when exercising leverage over countries that defy American will or the international order is trickier than ever, and when the domestic pressure to stay out of international conflicts is obvious to overseas friends and foes alike?

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Fareed Zakaira says the US has NOT helped the Middle East…..

CNN reporter, Fareed Zakaira, makes his views known US Foreign Policy in the Middle East in a Washington Post Op-Ed piece….

He argues that the American policy of active engagement in the basically religious conflicts in the region upset the balance of power….He writes that instead of trying to settle Sunni and Shia issue’s by compromise…When the US and the West intervene and back one group….The other gets group gets oppressed and tends to resort to violence….

Zakaira voice something I have poised here in the past….That is…By going to war with Iraq….George Bush destabilized THAT country and left Iran without a natural buffer…..

Zakaira may be right in his thinking….

But he forgets that people in HIS occupation, the media, work very hard to showcase violence around the world …And often put American President’s in a corner but slyly pushing them to act to quell violence that may show on the evening news…..

President Obama, with the help of the British Parliament has refrained from sending more combat troops to the region….But he and this nations military are holding their breaths for Hamid Karzai to approve the US/NATO troops behind as they extract themselves from Afghanistan….

As I write this Maliki in Iraq is asking for more American/NATO trainers and arms in his country’s Sunni vs Shia fight…..

And of course the fighting in going on in Syria, and spilling over into Iraq, while Lebanon has the same problems….

Zakaira doesn’t give an answer for the pictures of refugee’s and fighting…..

Or people getting gassed…..

Over the past few months, the Middle East has become an even more violent place than usual. Iraq is now once again home to one of the most bloody civil wars in the world, after Syria of course, which is the worst. Watching these horrors unfold, many in the United States are convinced that this is Washington’s fault or that, at the very least, the Obama administration’s “passive” approach toward the region has allowed instability to build. In fact, the last thing the region needs is more U.S. intervention.

The Middle East is in the midst of a sectarian struggle, like those between Catholics and Protestants in Europe in the age of the Reformation. These tensions are rooted in history and politics and will not easily go away.

Three factors have led us to this state of affairs. First, the structure of Middle Eastern states. The modern Middle East was created by the colonial powers at the end of World War I. The states the British and French created, often with little forethought, were composed of disparate groups that had no history of being governed as one entity. Iraq, for example, was formed by putting together three Ottoman provinces that had little in common.

The colonial powers often chose a set of rulers who came from a minority group. (It was a cunning strategy. A minority regime always needs the help of some outside force to rule.) Thus the French, when facing a nationalist insurgency in Syria in the 1930s and 1940s, recruited heavily from the then-persecuted Alawite minority, which came to dominate the army and, in particular, the officer corps of the country.

The second factor at work has been the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism…..

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photo…newsharvard.edu

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Gates on his book…Glad he did it…Hillary and Biden would make good President’s…

photo…nydailynews.com

In his first public interview after the first views of his book, ‘Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War’, on his tenure as Secretary of Defense….Robert Gates said that Hillary Clinton would be a good Commander-in-Chief and that Joe Biden would make a good President….

Gates got asked the question one would think , because the media has focused on Gates annoyance at Hillary’s comment that she opposed the Bush military surge in Iraq for ‘political’ reasons against Obama in 2008….And that Gates complained that Biden had been wrong on US Foreign Policy for ‘decades’….

I have pointed out here that Gates DID intact ALSO say that Clinton had done a good job as Secretary of State and that Biden was on the whole pretty good also…..

Gates went on in the CBS ‘This Morning’ interview to caution people to look at his book in its entirety …Not just accept the media short points….

The book is some 600 pages long and will be out in a few days….

Gates defended his coming out with the book while President Obama was still in office and the President has had only kind words about Gates doing so….

Gates, a Republican, has plenty of praise for Clinton in the book, but he also says that she opposed the 2007 surge in Iraq for political reasons, because she was about to run against then-Sen. Barack Obama, who had opposed the Iraq War from the start.

He was much harsher on Biden, accusing him of being wrong on every foreign policy decision for the last 40 years.

In his first television interview since excerpts of his book were released last week, Gates said on CBS that he did not regret publishing his memoir while President Obama is still in office and the U.S. military is still in Afghanistan.

“You have to look at the entirety of the book, and the fact it deals with getting into wars, getting out of wars,” Gates said. “And frankly it seemed to me with my experience and perspective of working for two presidents and having been secretary for four-and-a-half -years, I didn’t think that waiting until 2017 to weigh in on these issues, and in a comprehensive and thoughtful way, made any sense.”

Gates said that he felt the reaction to the book — which is not officially released until Tuesday — reflects the polarization of the political process in Washington.

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