Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pentagon and CIA begin to shore up faltering Arab regimes


Washington and Tel Aviv preside over a violent roll-back of the Arab Revolution from Benghazi to Bahrain....
UN "No-fly Zone" appears to have been a diplomatic strawman to give Qaddafi cover to hit Benghazi hard as UN coalition bickers over details....

February , 2011 -- Pentagon and CIA begin to shore up faltering Arab regimes...


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/opinion/11iht-edwheatcroft11.html


Pentagon and CIA drawing line in the sand in protecting Algerian, Yemeni and other regimes....

The Obama administration has ordered the Pentagon and CIA to draw a "line in the sand" to prevent the popular overthrow of other U.S. client dictatorial regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. The order comes after a New York Times report that Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates covertly supported Obama's envoy Frank Wisner, Jr's message of support and encouragement for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before his ouster by the Egyptian military following the democratic opposition uprising in Egypt.

Using the CIA's and Mossad's contrived constructs of two "straw-man" terrorist organizations -- Al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) -- created to justify U.S. military and security support for the oil states of the Arabian peninsula and U.S. natural gas interests in the Sahel region, the Pentagon has stepped up military support for Yemen's dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh and Algerian leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Under the rubric of the Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP), the United States, with the cooperation of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance to Algeria's security police and military. The TSCTP was formerly known as the Pan-Sahel Initiative. The Algerian security police have used U.S.-supplied lethal military and non-lethal crowd control equipment, including night-vision equipment, armored high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, global positioning systems, and secure radios, to forcibly put down pro-democracy protesters in Algiers who want the Bouteflika regime to follow in the steps of the Mubarak regime in Egypt and resign. Similarly, in Egypt, security police used U.S.-supplied tear gas and canisters on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Among the chief suppliers of military and security equipment to Algeria are Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, AM General, and Northrop Grumman.

In neighboring Morocco, TSCTP military assistance, including that provided through International Military Training and Education (IMET) programs, has been used to put down demonstrators in Western Sahara, illegally occupied by Morocco, who support the POLISARIO liberation movement. U.S. and neocon propagandists have falsely accused POLISARIO of links with AQIM. Tuareg liberation movements across the Sahara are also accused by the Pentagon and its neocon operatives of having ties to AQIM. However, the charges are a ruse to protect the operations of U.S. and other western natural gas and oil operations in the Sahara, particularly in southern Algeria where the United States has helped set up a regional military command center.

The events in Tunisia and Egypt have also brought out protesters in Morocco who want a curtailment of the powers of Morocco's pro-U.S./Israeli monarchy but who face a military and security force armed to the teeth by the United States and Israel....

U.S. military training for North Africa's autocratic regimes is provided annually during the Pentagon's OPERATION FLINTLOCK military exercise. Last year's exercise, conducted from May 3 to 22, included military forces from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Niger, Chad, and Nigeria. French and British troops also participated in the operation. Another Pentagon program that is involved in providing security assistance to the Algerian regime is Operation Active Endeavor.

U.S. Special Forces reportedly maintain a permanent presence in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania where they support local military operations against groups accused of being allied with AQIM and another insurgent group, now thought to be very few in numbers -- the Salafist movement and an Islamist group accused of having links to Al-Qaeda. The Salafist movement in Algeria, GSPC, was announced by Al-Qaeda's Egyptian number two man, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, to have merged with Al- Qaeda on September 11, 2006, creating AQIM. The announcement appears to have been another U.S. and Israeli intelligence-contrived ruse to justify stepping up U.S. military and intelligence support for the regimes in Algiers, Tunis, Rabat, and Nouakchott. In fact, many of the Islamist "militants" arrested by local military and police forces in the Sahel region and accused of being AQIM and Salafist "terrorists" are merely small-time criminals involved in smuggling drugs and weapons across poorly-protected national borders.

One of the chief Pentagon supporters for U.S. client-dictators across the Sahel to the Horn of Africa is Vicki Huddleston, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for African Affairs, who maintains particularly close connections to Algeria's military and security hierarchy, including Defense Minister-Delegate Abdelmalek Guenaizia and African and Maghreb Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel.

Details of Huddleston's October 2009 meeting in Algiers with senior Algerian officials remain shrouded in secrecy, according to the Algerian newspaper Liberté in an October 20, 2009 article. However, many in the Algerian opposition believe that Huddleston was discussing the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Algeria. Huddleston also had a meeting at the Algerian Defense Ministry at which "military and technical cooperation" was discussed. A prior visit by officers of the US European Command to Algiers concentrated on the training of Algerian intelligence, special security police, and gendarmes by Pentagon-and CIA-supplied instructors. There were also reports that Saudi Arabia covertly financed the purchase from the United States of armored security vehicles by Algeria and Mauritania for use against anti-regime activists...

Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, a known supporter of Israeli interests, also has established close ties with Algeria's leaders, notably Foreign Minister Ahmed Ouyahia. Just as with Israel's special relationship with Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, Tel Aviv has established close links with the leaders of other Arab dictatorships, including Algeria, using trusted American interlocutors like Jeffrey CIA Feltman and Huddleston. Huddleston has a long resume that includes past postings in locations where the CIA has been engaged in major covert activities: she was George W. Bush's head of the US Interests Section in Havana in 2002 where she was engaged in anti-Castro activities and ambassador to Ethiopia, where she helped provide political and military support to that nation's dictator Meles Zenawi.

As with Algeria, the Pentagon has been supplying the Saleh regime in Yemen with massive amounts of military and security hardware. US Special Operations forces have been training Yemeni security forces who have targeted Shi'a Zaidi tribal members in north Yemen and South Yemeni secessionist forces in the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, a formerly socialist nation that was forcibly kept within Yemen in a 1994 civil war, a war in which the Clinton administration provided north Yemeni forces with military hardware and satellite and communication intelligence.

The Pentagon has justified its $150 million in military and security assistance to Yemen for fiscal year 2010 by claiming it is needed to fight "AQAP," another CIA- and Mossad-constructed "Al-Qaeda" franchise. The Pentagon has doubled military assistance to Yemen for fiscal year 2011 to $250 million. The assistance, which almost mirrors that given to the Algerian regime, includes night-vision equipment, armored vehicles, Humvees, Huey helicopters, and communications and Internet surveillance systems. Yemeni forces have used their U.S.-supplied military hardware and training to brutally suppress pro-democracy demonstrations in Sanaa, Aden, and other cities in the country.

While the Obama administration offers platitudes to the pro-democracy wave sweeping the Arab world, the military assistance provided by the Pentagon and CIA to repressive regimes speaks for itself. The last-ditch efforts by the Pentagon, State Department, and CIA to save the Mubarak regime in its final days will be repeated in Algiers, Sanaa, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Riyadh, Manama and the capitals of other U.S. client states in the North Africa and Middle East region....While US/Israeli Psyops will be rekindled in Iran with "tweeting" Gucci revolutionaries in a vain attempt at destabilizing Iran...

FY 2011 official US military assistance to client dictatorships in North Africa and Middle East

Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) $20,000,000

IMET - Algeria $ 950,000

IMET - Yemen $ 1,100,000

Foreign Military Financing - Yemen $ 35,000,000

Yemen for fiscal year 2011 - $250 million


2011 -- Hillary Clinton on her way out; Obama has lost faith in her loyalty to him

Obama seething over Clinton, Biden, and Gates backroom foreign policy....
Our normally reliably informed sources are reporting that President Obama, upset that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had urged him, under false pretenses, to name as the president's special envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner, Jr, has strongly privately suggested that Clinton ought to submit her resignation. Obama has also, according to our sources, offered the Secretary of State job to Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who has signaled his willingness to accept.

Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, according to a New York Times report, backed the naming of Wisner, a long-time CIA agent-of-influence who has operated under State Department official cover as a diplomat for decades, is a close personal friend of Egyptian ex-President Hosni Mubarak, a relationship developed when Wisner served as President Reagan's ambassador to Cairo.

Obama, according to our sources, was unaware of Wisner's close ties to Mubarak and was shocked to discover that Clinton, Biden, and Gates were aware that Wisner was offering lightly-conditional U.S. support to Mubarak, while Obama was urging a quick transition of power. It was the vote of confidence in Mubarak from the trio of Clinton, Biden, and Gates that delayed, for an entire day, Mubarak's previously-reported departure from office. Mubarak was given the false impression by Wisner that the Egyptian leader had the full support of Clinton, Biden, and Gates and, therefore, the president also. It was not the case.

It turns out that Clinton, Biden, and Gates were following the dictates of key players in the pro-Mubarak Israel Lobby in Washington and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York rather than from the policy-makers in the office of the President. We have also learned that Obama is scaling back Biden's involvement in fundamental foreign policy issues, preferring his interaction with key foreign governments, especially those in the Middle East, to be limited to public diplomacy and social functions.

Gates has announced he is leaving his post during 2011, however, Obama now needs Gates's continued support to shepherd a Defense budget, minus key pet weapons systems, through a hawkish Republican House of Representatives.

However, it is Mrs. Clinton who has earned Obama's focused anger. The White House was shocked when Wisner, after having returned from Cairo, told the Munich Security Conference by a video-link from New York that a temporarily leadership role for Mubarak was required during the transition phase in Egypt. Wisner also echoed the views of the Israel Lobby that America's primary position in post-Mubarak Egypt was a firm commitment to the peace treaty with Israel and freezing out the Muslim Brotherhood from any political power. Except for the peace treaty issue, Wisner's comments largely contradicted Obama's policy but reflected those of Clinton, Biden, and Gates.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told a news conference: "Former Ambassador Wisner is not an employee of the government . . . his views on who should or shouldn't be the head of Egypt don't represent the views of our administration." But unbeknown to Obama and Gibbs, Wisner's views did represent those of a significant faction of the administration.

What infuriated Obama was Clinton's brash lie after she listened to Wisner's video speech in Munich, enunciating views that she supported: "Oh, we all respect Frank and his service for many years, and appreciate his travel to Egypt. But he does not speak for the administration." Clinton had also stated in Munich that the administration supported the Muslim Brotherhood's participation in the Egyptian political dialogue but she covertly was undermining any role for the Muslim Brotherhood in encouraging Wisner's comments to the security conference.

Obama was also irked by Wisner's comments -- and Clinton's covert support for them -- to the Munich conference, made to key American allies and showing them that the United States appeared to have different policies on the events unfolding in Egypt. Witnessing America's schizophrenic foreign policy in Munich were British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Obama was required to personally call both leaders, as well as others, to explain that what Wisner stated publicly and what Clinton reportedly said privately were not the president's policy. Obama has let it be known that he will not be embarrassed again by Clinton and that is what is prompting his desire for her resignation and her replacement by Kerry. Obama relied on Kerry to interface with Egyptian leaders to fully delineate Obama's policies amid the confusion created by Clinton, Biden, and Gates....


How can the US vociferously support the pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran while maintaining a muted response to the demonstrations in Bahrain? If the demonstrations succeed in Bahrain and a pro-Iranian Shia group comes to power, it could affect the operations of the US Fifth Fleet, the headquarters of which are located in Bahrain.

The spread of the unrest in the Gulf region could impact on oil security. Mrs.Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, and Mr.Robert Gates, the US Defense Secretary, are reported to have contacted their counterparts in Bahrain and urged restraint.Obama's spokesman Jay Carney has said the President's view is that "we oppose the use of violence by the government of Bahrain." If the US is not careful in handling the issue, it may end up by playing into the hands of Iran. At present, both the US and Iran face an equal dilemma in Bahrain, but the ultimate advantage could be with Iran if the protest movement picks up further momentum

There is considerable nervousness in the Gulf Countries.Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Co-operation Council consisting of Bahrain,Oman,Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates held an emergency meeting in Manama on February 17 and said in a statement: "Our security is a collective responsibility and there is no question of accepting foreign interference."

The crisis in Bahrain poses a ticklish situation for Indian workers---particularly India Muslims, many of whom are believed to be Sunnis. If the Shia's ultimately succeed, local anger could turn against the Sunnis from South Asia, who will be suspected of letting themselves be used by the Sunni rulers to suppress the movement....


Bahrain is "Westernized" and utterly corrupt....

Bahrainis peacefully demanded political reforms, Regime responded killing peaceful protesters...

Bahrainis, especially majority Shiites, came out in an unprecedented peaceful demonstration demanding constitutional reforms seeking political freedom and justice. However the autocratic minority Sunni regime responded with violent crackdown raining death and destruction.

As a result the people who once asked for political reforms now demand the removal of the king and his regime to pave the way for a government run by an elected parliament.

Bahrain, with a chain of 30 islands and a territory of 717 sq kilometers, has a population of around 800,000 of which around three quarters are Shiites. They accuse the regime of shutting them out of housing, healthcare and government jobs. They also complain of unemployment and poverty and accuse the government of employing expatriates - according to 2010 UN figures there were 235,108 expats.

Some of the Shiite villages lack even basic needs in contrast to the mansions of the elite in exclusive areas. The island is ruled by Khalifah family, Sunni Muslims, which captured power in 1783 after expelling the Persians who still view Bahrain as a renegade province exacerbating sectarian tensions.

The two sides do not trust each and the suspicion has been deep rooted and historic.

Bahrain, a British protectorate under the 1861 Treaty with UK, became independent on 15 August 1971. In February 2002 the country became a hereditary monarchy with a toothless and cosmetic bicameral legislature and a powerless consultative Council.

The political system is a medieval style autocratic tribal rule as in the case of rest of the Gulf countries. Sunnis dominated by the ruling Khalifa family remain a privileged lot with all the powers and perks. They control the armed forces, the government, government machinery, business, wealth, land, exclusive beaches and almost everything other than the air which the Khalifas cannot prevent the Shiites from breathing.,

As in the case of all pro western countries Bahrain too is westernized and corrupt. Liquor flows freely and some areas known for prostitution involving Muslim women from poverty stricken North Africa , Central Asia and several other countries including Iraq where women who once lived a decent life but driven to poverty following the US invasion. Friday is usually a Holy Day for Muslims worldwide. However here in Bahrain it is a day of fun, wining, dining and sinning starting from Thursday onward. Saudis and others from the region flock to the island for their weekend fun and sin.

People in general resist this shameful state of affair. However they are helpless as speaking about this means asking for trouble .Thus they suffer in silence with deep frustration.

Though a tiny island Bahrain has huge regional and international political dimensions and implications. For example Iran has been sympathetic towards the Shiites. This causes serious concern in Saudi Arabia which has a sizable suppressed Shiite population in its eastern region known for its oil wealth which is controlled by the Saudi ruling family. To ward off any potential Iranian threat Saudi Arabia built multibillion dollar causeway linking Bahrain with Saudi mainland.

Bahrain is also the home for US Navy's Fifth Fleet which is a shield for American forces against many countries "especially Iran, spy on Iran and controls the Strait of Hormoz. Thus it would do everything to ensure that the regime remains in power.

It was under such circumstance that the Bahrainis, encouraged by political developments in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan,Yemen and Algeria, came out on peaceful demonstrations on 14 Monday 2011 to draw attention to their longstanding grievances. They called for a new constitution that would move the country toward democracy as well as limited state control for the monarchy over top government posts and all critical decisions.

The regime responded with force using clubs, tear gas and live ammunition killing a peaceful demonstrator and injuring many enraging all alike.

The ruler King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah apologized.

The death prompted the opposition to call for massive participation. When the people gathered for the funeral the regime, once again, unleashed violence killing more peaceful demonstrators. In a single pre-dawn assault on Thursday by riot police on protesters sleeping in the Pearl Square four people were killed, 231 wounded and 60 others were missing,. The attack has been strongly condemned by members of the international community, including the United Nations.

One columnist said "The king Hamad has blood on his hands after his mercenary security forces - Pakistani, Indian, Syrian and Jordanian - with no previous warning, attacked sleeping, peaceful protesters at 3 am on Thursday at the Pearl roundabout. Altogether seven peaceful demonstrators were killed, hundreds injured and scores disappeared-some believe killed. In the midst eighteen members of the Bahrain parliament resigned from their posts to protest against the violent crackdown.

Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Kassim who described the killing as massacre warned that Bahrain's Shia uprising has just begun and if Manama fails to satisfy the people's legitimate demands for change quickly, it will pay a heavy price. He urged Bahraini authorities to release innocent prisoners and to fight the widespread corruption .He also criticized Manama for not trying to prevent the spread of atheism in the country, warning that if the government does not change its policy, in the near future, atheism will prevail.

In this volatile and tense environment King Hamad praised the troops for what he described as their "bravery". This was not only provocative but also insult to peaceful demonstrators. The inevitable result was the people who for political reforms now demand the removal of the king himself and his government .....

Shiites dug in at Pearl roundabout, Bahraini version of Cairo's Tahrir Square, stating they will not leave until their demands are met....

The US, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf rulers will not allow the fall of King Hamad and his regime. Change of regime means a nightmare scenario for US and the Gulf States as it would be tantamount to handing over power to a pro Iranian Bahrain....

In Bahrain it is Iran vs. US, Britain, Israel and the Gulf sheikhdoms which were brought under US security umbrella during the past two decades. Perhaps it is time for serious and meaningful reforms meeting some of Shiites' demands?





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