Monday, February 28, 2011

U.S. Warships move towards Libya

As the international community and the Obama administration dither, Col. Muammar Qaddafi regroups his forces in a final bid to cling to power. The behind-the-scenes talks between U.S., European and NATO officials about the possibility of flight restrictions over Libya may come too late if action isn't taken soon. Meanwhile, the U.S. military is repositioning its naval forces near North Africa indicating possible military steps to break the standoff between Muammar Qaddafi's army and rebel forces.

The U.S. naval forces that are being redeployed off the Libyan coast are the USS Enterprise from the Red Sea and the amphibious USS Kearsarge, which has a fleet of helicopters and about 1,800 Marines aboard. According to Fox News, the U.S. military is trying to figure out where to find a battalion of Marines to attach to the Marine Expeditionary Unit on board the USS Kearsarge. The unit's land troops are currently being used in Afghanistan, but the unit could be in a position to help a humanitarian effort in Libya if other troops are assigned from elsewhere.

Col. Qaddafi told Christiane Amanpour in a recent interview, "I'm surprised that we have an alliance with the West to fight al Qaeda, and now that we are fighting terrorists (Libyan rebels) they have abandoned us," "Perhaps they want to occupy Libya." Qaddafi went on to say that President Obama is a "good man", but said he appeared to be misinformed about the situation in Libya. "The statements I have heard from him (Obama) must have come from someone else," "America is not the international police of the world," Qaddafi added.

The Obama administration must take action now or it risks pro-Qaddifi forces regrouping and overtaking the rebel opposition. We saw what happened when President George H. W. Bush failed to help the Iraqis that were trying to oust Saddam Hussein after Operation Desert Storm. President Bush's failure to eliminate Hussein in 1991 contributed to President George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003. Let's not repeat that failure!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did Secretary Geithner violate federal law with Chinese favor?

In a recent Reuters story that discussed China's growing influence as America's largest creditor, it was reported that Treasury Secretary Geithner was asked for a special favor by a top Chinese money manager. What was this favor you ask? According to cables obtained and released by Wikileaks, in June, 2009, the head of China's powerful sovereign wealth fund met with Geithner and requested that he lean on regulators at the U.S. Federal Reserve to speed up the approval of its $1.2 billion investment in Morgan Stanley. Although the cables do not mention if Geithner took any action, China's deal to buy Morgan Stanley shares was announced the very next day.

According to the Reuters story, the two Treasury officials to whom the cables were addressed, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Robert Dohner and Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Monetary and Financial Policy Mark Sobel, declined through a spokesperson to comment for this story. Oddly enough, the State Department declined to comment as well. I don't pretend to be an expert in this field, but I would think if Secretary Geithner did in fact act upon this request, he would be in violation of federal law. We know from Secretary Geithner's Senate confirmation hearings that he violated US tax laws to the tune of $35,000, so it's not hard to imagine he feels he is above the law.

I have contacted Congressman Issa's office and requested they look into this possible federal violation. Congressman Issa and his staff have their hands full investigating possible crimes committed by the Obama administration, but this is something that needs to be looked into. If Secretary Geithner didn't break the law, great let's move forward, but if he has, he needs to prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You can read the Reuters story here and if you're so inclined, contact Rep. Issa here.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Iranians protest regime-Will Obama get it right this time?

Thousands of angry Iranians take to the streets and try their hand (again) at regime change. The Basij have been deployed to the streets of Iran to prevent an Egyptian-style revolution and it's being reported that at least one protester has been killed. "There are dozens of police and security forces in the Vali-ye Asr Avenue ... they have blocked entrances of metro stations in the area," a witness told the Reuters news agency.

According to The Guardian, the riot police and government-sponsored plainclothes basiji militia used teargas, wielded batons and opened fire to disperse protesters who chanted "death to the dictator", a reference to both Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A reformist website is reporting the phone lines of Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader, have been cut and his house cordoned off by police cars. Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, a fellow opposition leader, have been under house arrest since last week, with Iranian authorities refusing a request by them to stage Monday's rally.

Debkafile is reporting the slogans brandished by the demonstrators in Iran called for Freedom! Death to the Dictator! and "Mobarak, Ben-Ali, novbat-e-Seyyed-Ali!" They were telling Seyyed-Ali aka supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that it was his turn to go after the Egyptian and Tunisian rulers. Another sign read: "Not Gaza, not Lebanon, but Tunis, Egypt and Iran," an expression of contempt for Iran's meddling in Hizballah and Hamas affairs and its cost to the Iranian people. We will see if the Obama administration has learned any lessons from their mistakes in Egypt and Iran.

The United States lost a lot of credibility with our regional allies for their bungling of the Egyptian crisis. The United States needs to do all they can to support the Iranians in their quest for regime change. The State Department and the Obama White House couldn't stay focused during the Egyptian crisis and it is being reported Obama is furious with Secretary of State Clinton for Obama's failure. Let's take a seat, grab an adult beverage and see what transpires this time.


Iran: Execute Protest Leaders

Iranian lawmakers are calling for the execution of two leading figures behind the mass anti-government protests that have rocked Tehran and other cities in the Islamic Republic. READ FULL STORY

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Egyptian President Mubarak resigns, gives power to military

According to Fox News, the head of the Egyptian ruling party says he expects President Muburak to respond to protesters demands tonight. Egyptian military officials say the armed forces' supreme council has been meeting all day long and will issue a communique shortly. In a statement televised on state television, the army said it had convened the meeting in response to the current political turmoil, and it would continue to convene such meetings according to Al Jazeera. Thursday's meeting was chaired by Defense Minister Mohamed Tantawi rather than President Muburak.

The announcement came as doctors in white lab coats and lawyers in black robes streamed into Cairo's Tahrir Square Thursday, linking striking workers with anti-government protesters to create powerful new momentum for calls to oust Mubarak. With its efforts to manage the crisis failing, the government threatened the army could crack down by imposing martial law.

This story is still Developing!

Embattled Egyptian President says he will pass on some of his authority to Vice President Suleiman, but will stay in office until the presidential elections in September. VP Suleiman spoke after Mubarak and called on protesters to go home and go back to work. Suleiman urged protesters not to listen to "international pressure", which may have been a slap at U.S. President Obama and his failed handling of the Egyptian crisis. President Obama seems to be confused and in over his head when it comes to the unfolding events in Egypt. There are reports that Saudi King Abdullah is furious with Mr. Obama and his apparent betrayal of President Mubarak. Sources disclose that the call, which Obama put into King Abdullah, brought US/Saudi relations into unparalleled crisis and placed the entire edifice of US-Iran and Middle East policies in jeopardy.

Friday, 02/11/11. President Mubarak resigns and hands over power to military.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

U.S. Navy takes position near Suez Canal

Just when it seemed the violence was easing in Egypt new clashes have erupted in southern Egypt. AFT is reporting that three people have been killed and 100 others were wounded. The latest violence comes after Vice President Omar Suleiman stated the uprising cannot continue to be tolerated. Suleiman promised the opposition during negotiations that the government would embark on a far-reaching set of reforms to include amending the constitution. The government also made pledges not to harass protesters and to investigate election fraud and official graft while hinting darkly at foreign influence in the protests.

Egypt could be on the verge of financial breakdown as large sections of its economic machinery are shut down by spreading strikes and workers' revolts against managements appointed by the Mubarak regime. The Obama administration is apparently readying the U.S. Navy in case military force is needed to keep the all important Suez Canal open for business. Debkafile is reporting the USS Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group, which consists of six vessels, has taken the strategic point opposite Ismailia between the west bank of the Suez Canal and its eastern Sinai bank. Helicopters on some of their decks are there to transport the 2,200 marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which has been bolstered by two special operations battalions. The flotilla has a rapid strike stealth submarine, the USS Scranton, which is designed to support special forces' operations.

The Suez Canal and its 120 mile supply route has for years served as a vitally important passageway for oil. World oil prices were trading at their highest level in three years this week amid the revolt in Egypt, which for decades has served as a major petroleum transit route. So it would make perfect sense that the U.S. military would take a vital interest in the free flow of traffic in the Suez Canal. It's also being reported that since the uprising began in Egypt two weeks ago, more than 1,000 Hamas terrorists have infiltrated North Sinai from the Gaza Strip and seized control of the region. They were followed by Al-Qaeda cells which redeployed from Iraq in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has established a command center in North Sinai for coordinating its operations with the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.

The Egyptian crisis is far from over and many surprises remain to be seen. Will the United States military or the international community take control of the Suez canal? Will Hamas and Al-Qaeda take advantage of this crisis and set up shop in the Sinai? Stay tuned for further developments!


Saudis told Obama to back Mubarak

Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up President Mubarak if the White House tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt. In a testy personal telephone call on January 29, King Abdullah told President Obama not to humiliate Mr Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the US withdrew its aid programme, worth $1.5 billion annually. America’s closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian President must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity. “Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the King is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated,” a senior source in the Saudi capital told The Times. Two sources confirmed details of the King’s call.

The Times

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