"Probably failing to plan for the day after intervening in Libya." -President Barack Obama
Dated foreign policy ideology: Libya, Syria, Yemen
The year-long Saudi-U.S. bombing campaign has created a humanitarian disaster in Yemen. Syria, Libya and the bombing of Yemen have ties to a decades-old foreign policy ideology that involves regime change and proxy wars.
Bruce Riedel, who directs the Intelligence Project at Brookings Institute, put the war in Yemen into stark terms, noting that 20 million Yemenis “are facing a humanitarian catastrophe.” He added that by refueling aircraft and providing ordinance, intelligence, and logistics to the Saudis, the U.S. “is a partner in this war.” He added that “if the United States of America and the United Kingdom tonight told King Salman that this war has to end, it would end tomorrow.”
"Part of our pitch (for a broader, progressive foreign policy) is that we are just miserably resourced to try to gain influence in the world, and the only way in which we are largely able to do that today is with our military and with military sales."
"As a broader question of American foreign policy, maybe a 20 to 1 balance of military to foreign aid spending is not the right way to win friends and punish adversaries and enemies in the world, especially when every other country that is trying to grow influence has figured out that asymmetric influence is the way to go. We're an apple in a world full of oranges these days."
The video below describes how the record number of arms sales to Saudi Arabia gives them leverage over the United States.
America Is In A Proxy War With Itself In Syria: "Furqa al-Sultan Murad receives weapons from the U.S. and its allies as part of a covert program, overseen by the CIA, that aids rebel groups struggling to overthrow the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, according to rebel officials and analysts tracking the conflict."
Hillary Clinton Town Hall, March 14, 2016
Chris Matthews: We have over 100,000 people dead in Iraq because of that war that we started. We invaded. We invaded. We did the war. We were the war. And then you went into Libya and you supported regime change. Why do you keep wanting to do these things of regime change? What's in your thinking that says the United States government has some right and duty to go into Middle Eastern countries and knock off their leadership? And I think you were more aggressive in knocking of Bashar al-Assad, too... But the principle of regime change. What do you make of it? Constantly trying to knock off their leaders. Don't you support knocking off Assad, Bashar al-Assad?
"Americans aren't gonna do it."
"That's not us doing it."
Why did Hillary Clinton lie about an open secret?
It stems from her neocon ideology that supports counterproductive interventionist wars and regime change. As Senator Murphy stated, war and arms sales are the only influence that the United States has in the Middle East.
Town Hall Highlights, plus Sanders & Gabbard:
CIA lies promoted by Hillary Clinton and other neocons started the war in Iraq. CIA lies helped overthrow democratically elected leaders in South America and Central America. Lies were responsible for the Iran-Contra Affair. Lies were responsible for the assassination of Mossadegh in Iran.
CIA lies are responsible for drug trafficking and Contra cocaine trafficking into the United States during the glory years of America's racist war on drugs.
In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA: "While the Pentagon's actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against Islamic State, the CIA's backing of militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government in hopes of prodding the Syrian leader to the negotiating table."
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Enter the Lion's Den: CIA Director John Deutch holds a town hall meeting in Watts, Los Angeles, CA
Original Trumpian right-wing fear mongering in the 1980s from the video to the right: "Millions of Central American refugees will enter the United States and break our economy"
"Covert operations have never done this country any good. They may be of momentary advantage of the people who are in power at a particular moment. But in terms of the interest of this country as a whole, they have proven disastrous."
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LA Times: "Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war.... The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed... In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east." The last thing the United States should do is abandon the Kurds in Rojava (Northern Syria) once all this settles down.
Clinton also said in MSNBC town hall that we helped to take out Qaddafi out of loyalty to "European and Arab friends," including Saudi Arabia, a country that foments sectarian warfare, donates millions to the Clinton Foundation, and promotes a puritanical Salafist ideology that unfortunately spawns extremists. It would be a shame if America were involved in CIA backed regime change out of loyalty to the Saudis.
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NERMEEN SHAIKH: Glenn Greenwald, in one of your recent articles, you suggest that Hillary Clinton has demonstrated comparable support for what you call, quote, "the world’s worst despots."
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, two things. You know, that article that I wrote about Hillary Clinton grew out of the debate where she attacked Bernie Sanders for comments he made in the 1980s in which he said positive things both about Fidel Castro and also the Sandinistan government in Nicaragua, and she very self-righteously said, "How could you possibly praise a government that is oppressive and tyrannical." And yet, if you look at Hillary Clinton’s record, not in the 1980s, but far more recently, in the last five to six years, she has embraced and expressed extreme levels of support for some of the world’s most brutal and horrific dictators. She called President Mubarak of Egypt a close personal friend of her family and expressed all kinds of support for him at the time that the government, of which she was a part, was arming and funding him. She did the same with the Saudis. The Clinton Foundation has raised money from some of the worst and most oppressive dictatorships in the Persian Gulf, including the Saudis and the Qataris and the Emirates and the Bahrainis. Hillary Clinton, essentially, her record has been one of embracing and supporting, in all kinds of ways, the world’s worst tyrants.
She’s written op-eds in Jewish journals and in The Forward talking about the need to get even closer to Israel, if you can imagine that. And then the speech she just gave to AIPAC was about the most disgustingly militaristic, hawkish, pro-Israel speech, I think, that you could ever possibly hear, without the slightest even pretense of concern for people in Palestine or in Libya, where she supported a war that has caused great instability, or in Iraq, where she supported a war that has imposed huge amounts of suffering.
NYTimes:Bernie’s bold Israel heresy
Hillary Clinton always follows the money: AIPAC lobbies for Israel’s interests. But what about America’s? AJ+ questions the contradictions of the pro-Israel lobby on Capitol Hill.
HILLARY CLINTON: Many of the young people here today are on the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS. ... We must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Hillary Clinton addressing AIPAC. Glenn Greenwald?
GLENN GREENWALD: What she’s doing there is affirming one of the most vile slanders that currently exists. There is a campaign in the United States and in Israel to literally outlaw any advocacy of a boycott movement against Israel, similar to the boycott and divestment and sanctions campaign that brought down Israel and the United States’s closest ally, which was the apartheid regime in South Africa. Now you can certainly raise objections to the tactic of boycotting Israel, and lots of people have, but to render it illegal depends upon this grotesque equating of an advocacy of a boycott of Israel with anti-Semitism and then saying that because anti-Semitism should be banned from universities or from private institutions, that it should be literally outlawed, to ban advocating the boycott of Israel, as well. And people in Europe are actually being arrested for advocating a boycott of Israel. Students in American universities are being sanctioned and punished for doing so.
And what Hillary Clinton did was go before AIPAC and pander, as grotesquely as she typically does, by affirming this line that if you "malign," quote-unquote, the government of Israel and support a boycott of it, in opposition to their decades-long occupation of the Palestinians, it means essentially that you’re guilty of maligning the Jewish people. She is conflating the government of Israel with Jews, which, ironically enough, is itself a long-standing anti-Semitic trope. But it’s just part of her moving to the right in order to position herself for the general election by affirming some of the United States government’s worst and most violent policies.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: It is absurd for elements within the Netanyahu government to suggest that building more settlements in the West Bank is the appropriate response to the most recent violence. It is also not acceptable that the Netanyahu government decided to withhold hundreds of millions of shekels in tax revenue from the Palestinians, which it is supposed to collect on their behalf.
Full Frontline Documentary: Netanyahu at War
GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, I mean, a couple months ago, Donald Trump, on an MSNBC program, said, when asked about Israel and Palestine, that he thought the U.S. should be neutral in order to be a more effective arbiter, which until 20 years ago was a standard mainstream U.S. position, but now has become very shocking. Same with what Bernie Sanders just said. To hear a prominent American politician stand up and actually criticize Israel in such stark and blunt terms, calling them occupiers, essentially, and criticizing how they’re treating the Palestinians, is almost shocking to the ear. Hillary Clinton would never do it, nor would leading Republican politicians. And yet it’s really a very mild way to talk about Israel. And it shows just how far to the right the discourse has shifted in the United States when it comes to Israel, and how much a part of that rightward shift is Hillary Clinton, when you think about how almost shocking it is to hear pretty mild criticisms of Israel coming from Sanders or mild proclamations of neutrality coming from Trump.
Salt Lake City, Utah
March 21, 2016
Let me begin that I have a deep personal connection to Israel – and I am fairly certain I am the only U.S. presidential candidate to have ever lived on a kibbutz for a while.
America and Israel are united by historical ties. We are united by culture. We are united by our values, including a deep commitment to democratic principles, civil rights, and the rule of law.
Israel is one of America’s closest allies, and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing Israel’s survival, but alsoto its people’s right to live in peace and security.
Our disagreements will come and go, and we must weather them constructively.
America and Israel have faced great challenges together. We have supported each other, and we will continue to do just that as we face one of the greatest challenges facing any country: resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I am here to tell you that, if elected president, I will work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel. But to be successful, we have to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people, where in Gaza, they suffer from an unemployment rate of 44 percent – the highest in the world – and a poverty rate nearly equal to that. There is too much suffering in Gaza to be ignored.
The road towards peace will be difficult. We all know that. I cannot tell you exactly how it will look – I do not believe anyone can – but I believe firmly that the only prospect for peace is the successful negotiation of a two-state solution.
The first step in the road ahead is to set the stage for resuming the peace process through direct negotiations. This is no small task. It means building confidence on both sides, offering some signs of good faith, and then proceeding to talks when conditions permit them to be constructive.
This will require compromises on both sides, but I believe it can be done. I believe that Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community can, must, and will rise to do what needs to be done to achieve a lasting peace. (Continued below)
Foreign Policy Insight: Understand Past Mistakes
Peace will require that organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel. It will require the entire world to recognize Israel.
Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence.
But peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights, and economic wellbeing for the Palestinian people.
Peace will mean ending what amounts to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders,and pulling back settlements in the West Bank, just as Israel did in Gaza – once considered an unthinkable move on Israel’s part.That’s why I join much of the international community, including the U.S. State Department and European Union, in voicing my concern that Israel’s recent expropriation of an additional 579 acres of land in the West Bank undermines the peace process and, ultimately, Israeli security as well.
It is absurd for elements within the Netanyahu government to suggest that building more settlements in the West Bank is the appropriate response to the most recent violence. It is also not acceptable that the Netanyahu government decided to withhold hundreds of millions of Shekels in tax revenue from the Palestinians, which it is supposed to collect on their behalf.
But, by the same token, it is unacceptable for President Abbas to call for the abrogation of the Oslo Agreement when the goal should be ending the violence.
Peace will also mean ending the economic blockade of Gaza. And it will mean a sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so that Israel and Palestine can both thrive as neighbors. Right now, Israel controls 80 percent of the water reserves in the West Bank. Inadequate water supply has contributed to the degradation and desertification of Palestinian land. A lasting a peace will have to recognize Palestinians are entitled to control their own lives, and there is nothing human life needs more than water.
Peace will require strict adherence by both sides to the tenets of international humanitarian law. This includes Israeli ending disproportionate responses to being attacked, even though any attack on Israel is unacceptable.
Of course, I strongly object to Hamas’ long held position that Israel does not have the right to exist. Of course, I strongly condemned indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israeli territory, and Hamas’ use of civilian neighborhoods to launch those attacks. I condemn the fact that Hamas diverted funds and materials for much-needed construction projects designed to improve the quality of life of the Palestinian people, and instead used those funds to construct a network of tunnels for military purposes.
However, let me be very clear: I – along with many supporters of Israel – spoke out strongly against the Israeli counter attacks that killed nearly 1,500 civilians, and wounded far more. I condemned the bombing of hospitals, schools and refugee camps.
Today, Gaza is still largely in ruins. The international community must come together to help Gaza recover. That doesn’t mean rebuilding factories that produce bombs and missiles”, – but it does mean rebuilding schools, homes and hospitals that are vital to the future of the Palestinian people.
These are difficult subjects. They are hard to talk about both for many Americans, and for Israelis. I recognize that, but it is clear to me that the path to peace will require tapping into our shared humanity to make hard but just decisions.
I cannot tell you when peace will be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians. No one knows the exact order that compromises will have to be made to reach a viable two-state solution. But as we undertake that work together, America will continue its unwavering commitment to the safety of Israeli citizens and the country of Israel.
Of course, beyond the Palestinian question, Israel finds itself in the midst of a region in severe upheaval.
First, the so-called Islamic State – ISIS – threatens the security of the entire region and beyond, including our own country and our allies. Secretary of State Kerry was right to say that ISIS is committing genocide, and there is no doubt in my mind that the United States must continue to participate in an international coalition to destroy this barbaric organization.
So far, this effort has had some important successes, as airstrikes have degraded ISIS’s military capacity, and the group has lost more than 20 percent of its territory in the past year.
But we are entering a difficult period in the campaign against ISIS.
The government in Baghdad has yet to achieve a sustainable political order that unites Iraq’s various ethnic and sectarian factions, which has limited its ability to sustain military victories against ISIS. More inclusive, stable governance in Iraq will be vital to inflict a lasting defeat against ISIS. Otherwise, ISIS could regain its influence or another, similar organization may spring up in its place.
In Syria, the challenges are even more difficult. The fractured natured of the civil war has often diluted the fight against ISIS there – exemplified by the Russian airstrikes that prioritized hitting anti-Assad fighters rather than ISIS. And, just like in Iraq, ISIS cannot be defeated until the groups that take territory from ISIS can responsibly govern the areas they take back.
Ultimately, that will require a political framework for all of Syria.
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WOLF BLITZER: Here's the question. It appears to me that Saudis have lost a lot of confidence in the U.S. right now. Have you heard that?
REPRESENTATIVE TULSI GABBARD: I've read reports of that and different analyses of it. But I think, we should ask the reverse question. What is the United States doing to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for being the #1 promoter of radical Islamic extremism, not only in their own country, but around the world? ...Spending hundreds of billions of dollars in funding madrassas and schools and books and media outreach to try to influence people toward this ideology that's fueling ISIS, fueling Al-Qaeda. What to speak of the direct and indirect support that Saudi Arabia and some of these other Gulf countries gives directly to the enemy that we're supposed to be fighting and defeating. So, I think it's an important time and question for us in the United States to ask, 'Is Saudi Arabia willing to be our ally?'
TULSI GABBARD: ...And if they are, they need to stop this funding, stop the support of Islamic extremists,stop promoting that ideology, and stand with us to focus on defeating our enemy, ISIS.
WOLF BLITZER: Hundreds of billions of dollars?
TULSI GABBARD: Hundreds of billions of dollars. Funding schools, building schools, paying extremist imams to teach this radical Islamic ideology. Paying for media outreach. Printing of books and textbooks all around the world.
Saudi Arabia: #1 Promoter of Salafist Extremism
While the U.S. has an important role to play in defeating ISIS, it must be led by the countries in the region, some of whom have for too long not only turned a blind eye to violent extremism, but have encouraged and funded it. I agree with Jordanian King Abdullah who said this is nothing less than a battle for the soul of Islam and that the Muslim nations themselves will have to win it on the ground.
Now, I am not suggesting that Saudi Arabia or other states in the region invade other countries, nor unilaterally intervene in conflicts driven in part by sectarian tensions.
What I am saying is that the major powers in the region – especially the Gulf States – have to take greater responsibility for the future of the Middle East.
What I am saying is that countries like Qatar – which intends to spend up to $200 billion to host the 2022 World Cup – can do more to contribute to the fight Against ISIS. They have $200 billion to host a soccer event, yet have done very little to fight ISIS.
What I am saying is that countries in the region – like Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s 4th largest defense budget – has to dedicate itself more fully to the destruction of ISIS, instead of other military adventures like the one it is pursuing right now in Yemen. (continued below)
The United States has every right in the world to insist on these points. Remember it was the United States that reinstalled the royal family in Kuwait after Saddam Hussein’s invasion in 1990– at the cost of American lives. And it was the United States that defended the Gulf States from further aggression from Iraq by keeping Saddam Hussein contained for over a decade.
But wealthy and powerful nations in the region can no longer expect the United States to do their work for them. We are not the policeman of the world. As we continue a strongly coordinated effort against ISIS, the United States and other western nations should be supportive of efforts to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda – but it is the countries in the region that have to stand up against these violently extremist and brutal organizations.
I realize that will not be easy. I realize that there are disagreements between different countries in the region about how ISIS should be dealt with. I realize different countries have different priorities. But we can help set the agenda and mobilize stronger collective action to defeat ISIS in a lasting way.
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After five years of brutal conflict, the only solution in Syria is a negotiated political settlement. Those who advocate for stronger military involvement by the U.S. to oust Assad from power have not paid close enough attention to history. That would simply prolong the war, and increase the chaos in Syria, not end it.
I applaud Secretary Kerry and the Obama administration for negotiating a partial ceasefire between the Assad regime and most opposition forces. The ceasefire shows the value of American-led diplomacy, rather than escalating violence.
It is easy to use a war to remove a tyrant from power – but it is much more difficult to prevent total chaos afterward.
Just look at the cost we have paid in Iraq – a war I was proud to oppose. Just look at the chaos in Libya. It is my firm belief that the test of a great nation, with the most powerful military on earth, is not how many wars we can engage in, but how we can use our strength to resolve international conflicts in a peaceful way. Yes, the military option should always be on the table, but it should be the last resort. And the use of military force should always – always – have to pass a basic test: will it make America and our allies more safe?
Now, we all agree that Iran must not get a nuclear weapon.
Where we may disagree is how to achieve that goal. I personally supported the nuclear deal with the U.S., France, China, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran because I believe it is the best hope to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
I believe we have an obligation to pursue diplomatic solutions before resorting to military intervention – and more often than not, diplomacy can achieve things that military intervention cannot. That is why I supported the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table and allowed us to reach an agreement.
But let me tell you what I firmly believe. The bottom line is this: if successfully implemented – and I think it can be – the nuclear deal will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And preventing Iran from getting the bomb makes the world a safer place.
Does the agreement achieve everything I would like? Of course not.
But to my mind, it is far better than the path we were on with Iran developing nuclear weapons and the potential for military intervention by the U.S. and Israel growing greater by the day.
I do not accept the idea that the “pro-Israel” position was to oppose the deal. Preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon will strengthen not only America’s security, but Israel’s security as well. And I am not alone in that idea. While Prime Minister Netanyahu is vocally opposed to the accord, his is hardly a consensus opinion in Israel. Dozens of former security officials, including retired Army generals and chiefs of the Shin Bet and Mossad intelligence agencies support the agreement.
But let me be clear: if Iran does not live up to the agreement, we should re-impose sanctions and all options are back on the table.
Moreover, the deal does not mean we let Iran’s aggressive acts go unchecked. The world must stand united in condemning Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests as well as its continued support for terrorism through groups like Hezbollah.
Going forward, I believe we need a longer-term vision for dealing with Iran that balances two important objectives.
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But, second, we must also leave the door open to more diplomacy to encourage Iranian moderates and the segments of the Iranian people – especially the younger generations – who want a better relationship with the West. While only a small step in the right direction, I was heartened by the results of the recent parliamentary elections in which Iranian voters elected moderates in what was, in part, a referendum on the nuclear deal.
Balancing firmness with willingness to engage with diplomacy in dealing with Iran will not be easy. But it is the wisest course of action to help improve the long-term prospects of stability in the Middle East – and to keep us safe.
These are but some of the major issues where the interests of Israel intersect with those of the United States. I would address these issues and challenges as I would most issues – by having an honest discussion and by bringing people together.
There has a disturbing trend among some of the Republicans in this presidential election, and it takes the opposite approach: to divide us and pit us against each other. The Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, suggested limiting immigration according to religion and creating a national database based on religion. That not only goes against everything we stand for as a country, it would also hurt us significantly in our relations with other counties.
Time: "Most American evangelicals are likely not even familiar with the Christian leaders gathered at this event, even though the headliners are the Rick Warrens, Cardinal Dolans, and even Pope Francises of their own Eastern Christendom communities, who also met with Obama at the White House on Thursday: Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Raï, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East; Gregorios III Laham, Melkite Greek Catholic Patirarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem; Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East; Aram I Keshishian, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church; Metropolitan Joseph Al-Zehlawi, Archbishop of New York and All North America for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria; Ibrahim Ibrahim, Bishop Emeritus of Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle.
Whether or not Cruz meant to rile up the crowd to rally his own base or whether it was all a giant mistake is hard to parse. Whatever the case, it caused quite a stir. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and another speaker at IDC’s conference, calls Cruz’s performance “bizarre” yet “expected.”
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John McCain Calls Out Jeff Sessions on the Senate Floor for Sneaky Defense Department Waste: "It used to be called the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about when he was leaving office. It is now the military industrial congressional complex that puts in a 2,000-page bill a requirement to build a $225 million ship that nobody wants and that the Navy doesn't need, for the second year in a row... So the appropriators–the Senator from Alabama–again added a $225 million ship that the Navy neither wanted nor needed, which was made and manufactured in Mobile, AL...We owe them an accountability of why we would spend $800 million a year to keep a company in business...We owe them an explanation of why we would over the last 2 years spend $450 million for two ships that the Navy neither wants nor needs because they are made in Mobile, AL." –Senator John McCain, January 27, 2016 Senate Session