The Targets: MENA and way beyond in EURASIA.....
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz
Remarks at the Defense Programs Conference, Arlington, Va., March 2, 2011
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"From ongoing operations to future acquisition programs, the Department of Defense is strengthening its efforts to distinguish between capabilities that are actually required versus those that are merely desired. This will translate to approximately 100-billion dollars in DoD-wide efficiencies over the next five years, which then can be transferred to war-fighting capabilities and requirements, and modernization or recapitalization efforts."
"looking to the future, we are planning our force structure to be at least equally versatile, including being prepared for higher-end conflict involving aggressive actors. To that end, we continue to recognize the growing interconnectedness in the land, maritime, air, space, and cyber environments, and the need to strengthen Joint and Inter-agency collaboration. We know that now, more than ever, our ability to operate in any single domain relies on a substantial level of control in the others. This complexity increasingly requires a wide-angle view of the operating environments, to ensure that our domain control efforts are undertaken through close collaboration with our Joint partners, and that our intended effects span multiple domains as necessary."
There are many ways to view this moment of strategic inflection, so to conclude, I offer only three thoughts for your consideration today.
First, we require more efficiency, agility, and responsiveness, as I have outlined so far. If we are to address the root causes of explosive cost growth in many of our Major Defense Acquisition Programs, we must be innovative in advancing immature technology more efficiently. We must be firmly committed to stemming the tide of readiness shortfalls and widening gaps in manufacturing technology. And, we must work to shift the manufacturing focus earlier in the acquisition process, so that we can deliver better, rapid-response solutions where 10- to 15-year development cycles are insufficient in keeping pace in our highly dynamic environment.
Second, we require straight, candid talk from everyone—investors, manufacturers and service providers, and the government. We need honest and realistic evaluations of requirements and capabilities, pricing and time-lines, and development and delivery. With the confluence of ongoing fiscal pressures and strategic uncertainty, there is no trade space to do otherwise, so as I said recently, we can’t afford to over-promise and then under-deliver. Quite simply, there is neither time nor patience......
The status quo enthusiasts at the State Department and its unofficial overseers at the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, among others, are desperately trying to come to grips with the collapse of Pax Americana/Judaica in the Middle East and North Africa.
For decades, the power centers of the United States and Israel have been content to rely on intractable Arab dictators like Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh, Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, and a series of octogenarian Saudi kings, to maintain the status quo in the Middle East. Using the bogeyman of "Al-Qaeda" and "Islamists" to mask the suppression of the Arab popular masses, U.S., and quietly, Israeli interests, have supported the Arab strongman as a hedge against full democracy in the Middle East. Republican and Democratic administrations in the United States, heavily influenced by the Israeli Lobby, as well as Labor, Likud, and Kadima governments in Israel have been content to overtly or covertly cuddle Arab dictatorships in Tripoli, Cairo, Tunis, Sana'a, and Riyadh, while mere lip service has been paid by those regimes to the Palestinian cause, and the status quo reigned supreme in the region...
As seen with the electoral victory of Hamas in Palestine after the Bush administration pushed for free and fair elections for the Palestinian parliament in 2006 and substantial electoral support for Hezbollah and allied political parties in Lebanon, not to mention the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in post-military tutelage Turkey, democracy in the Middle East can be detrimental for the interests of U.S. neoconservatives, corporate globalists, and Israeli and North American Zionists.
Feeding into Israel's desire to maintain the status quo has been the close financial relationship its major companies, particularly the Mossad-linked Zim Shipping, has maintained with Arab regime companies like Dubai Ports World. In addition, an overarching secret relationship between Mossad and Arab spy chiefs like Egypt's Omar Suleiman, the chief of Egypt's General Intelligence Directorate, and various Saud family chiefs of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate, has ensured for Israel a heretofore secret relationship between Tel Aviv and various Arab dictatorships and monarchist regimes from Morocco to Syria, to Bahrain.
For the CIA, the collapse of client regimes in the Arab world threatens to unmask the involvement those regimes had with the CIA's secret kidnapping and torture 'extraordinary rendition" program. If the Saudi regime collapses, there is a distinct possibility that embarrassing documents could be released on the biggest neocon and Zionist conspiracy of all time: the 9/11 attack on the United States that ushered into being a darkly draconian "new world order" that not only trashed the U.S. Constitution but saw the Pentagon engage in the wholesale murder of Muslims around the world in a bloody "new crusade" with the deployment of the infamous White House Murder INC, and armed drones, "precision-guided" missiles," contract assassins, and cluster bombs.
The status quo supporters in Washington and Tel Aviv realize that popularly-elected Arab governments, after they sort out their domestic problems, will take a new look at Israel's genocidal treatment of the people of Lebanon and Palestine and U.S. and Israeli military and commercial interests throughout the Middle East and North Africa. U.S. military and intelligence bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Syria, Iraq, Djibouti, Morocco, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria will be put on the chopping block and leave the Pentagon's global imperialist construct faster than a head leaves the body of some unfortunate convicted criminal on a block in Riyadh's infamous "chop chop square."
Attempts by everyone from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Qaddafi to the pro-Israeli and neocon propagandists at CNN and Fox News to discredit the Arab uprisings by linking them to Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood and the fake CIA and Mossad contrivance known as "Al Qaeda" have been proven to be mere pabulum for the ignorant consumers of what passes for "news" these days...
And while President Obama and his UN ambassador, Susan Rice, celebrate the independence of Africa's newest Pentagon and Zionist vassal state of South Sudan, they find it difficult to swallow the re-appearance of an independent South Yemen and an autonomous Shi'a Houthi region in post-Saleh Yemen. In addition, the popular revolt against the Barzani and Talabani ruling oligarchs in Iraqi Kurdistan poses a distinct threat to U.S. oil company plans and "Greater Israel" desires by Zionist expansionists for Iraqi Kurdistan...
It is clear that the popular revolt of the Arab people that is sweeping across the sands of North Africa and the Middle East will soon sweep across "Saudi" Arabia. The Saudi propaganda machinery has been working overtime to hype the recent return of the ailing Saudi king, Abdullah, to the country from surgery in USA... One Saudi police official stated: "King Abdallah's return is good news for all people in the Kingdom because everybody loves him."
After the Saudi regime's lack of response to disastrous flooding in Jeddah and a nationwide crackdown on anything that looks like a public protest by Arabia's increasingly restive youth, the comment by police official Brigadier Yahiya Al-Biladi is worthy of the televised statement of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, dubbed "Baghdad Bob," Saddam Hussein's disingenuous minister of information during the U.S. military's initial occupation of Baghdad, that there are "no American troops" in Baghdad as an American tank appeared behind him.
The Saudi regime is clearly worried over the recent rise of Arabia's first opposition political party, the Al-Ummah Islamic Party, a coalition of Arabian democratic opposition, as well as moderate Islamic factions.
Despotic regimes like those of Qaddafi, Mubarak, Saleh, Assad, Nouri al Maliki in Iraq, Israel, and the Saudis will always rely on the specter of "terrorists" to legitimize their continued hold on power. Writing in the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi on February 14, Arabian academic Madawi al-Rashid described the phenomenon with regard to the Saudi regime: "As is always the case with shaking systems, the Saudi regime will turn to its survival mechanisms. It will bring up the danger of terrorism to horrify the people and the outside world. The legions of allegiance with their long lists of pictures of sleeping cells and active cells will appear at the right moment. The pictures will show the booby traps and the computer discs to show how important the regime is in combating the looming danger. The regime may also resort to the government media organs specialized in producing horror documentaries with their fictitious pictures and well known chants. Then the hypothetical media will appear and air the farewell letters that usually precede the bombing operations."
Supporting this intelligence agency construct of the phony "Al Qaeda" will be operations like the Washington-based "Search for International Terrorist Entities" (SITE), a Mossad operation that feeds fake "Al Qaeda" video and audio tapes, in addition to statements pulled from dubious websites, to the U.S. corporate media for maximum air time and print space.
Dr. Al-Rashid correctly predicts what will happen as the Saudi regime is pushed against the ropes: "The Saudi regime may also resort to smaller dangers, such as Huthism on the southern border. It will also ring the alarm bell against sleeper cells that it discovers on the coasts of the Gulf. It will then turn to the hotline with Obama to warn against vipers and the heads of vipers hoping to find a listening ear. The Saudi regime is experiencing its worst days although one man's meat is another man's poison since its treasury is overflowing with dollars due to the rise in oil prices because of the repercussions of the Egyptian crisis... However, this regime is groaning under the weight of real fears concerning its continuance in view of it being the sole regime taking a stand that is hostile to the aspirations of the enraged people of the largest Arab country in addition to it being the safe haven of deposed dictatorships. The Saudi regime has lost a central ally [Mubarak] who was capable of softening Arab stands against it. It has also been deprived of the most important side in the evil so-called axis of moderation. Moreover, Saudi influence has eroded in sensitive regions, such as Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and now Egypt for supporting the stubborn tyrant."
As if on cue from Riyadh and the Saudis' allies in Washington, the Saleh regime in Yemen has warned about the Houthi threat in north Yemen and "Al Qaeda" in the secessionist south. The State Department continues to insist that core members of the Al-Ummah Party in Arabia are "terrorists" linked to the fantasy "Al Qaeda."
Dr. Al-Rashid provides a roadmap for the future of the Arabian peninsula, a "road map" that is discomforting to the "road map" makers of the State Department and its Israel Lobby masters: "The Saudi regime has nothing left except frail alliances with small Arab mini-states that will play an important role in the coming stage since they are subject to the coming explosion. After Egypt, the Saudi regime will put its financial weight behind Yemen and the sergeant. Although this weight will not be decisive in confronting the will of the Yemeni people, it will try as much as possible to postpone the revolting pocket in the south until further notice."
Already, the U.S. and British puppet regimes on the Gulf are beginning to feel the domestic political heat. Bahrain's opposition is now calling for the ouster of the Al-Khalifa royalist family; Kuwait's Sabah royal clan, propped up by U.S. military forces, has brutally put down protests by that nation's stateless Bidoon nomadic people; and Oman, which has only experienced peaceful protests, has now seen its first violent opposition to the regime of Prince Charles' good friend, Sultan Qabus bin Said.
Omani helicopters have attacked protesters on the Globe Roundabout, renamed by protesters "Reform Square," in the northern port town of Sohar with tear gas and "shells." Two protesters were reportedly killed in the attack. Omani protesters reacted by burning down a police station and the governor's residence and vandalizing a supermarket. Protests against the corrupt Qabus regime have spread from Muscat, the capital, to Shinaz in the north, Sur to the south of Muscat, and Salalah in the far southern and independent-minded Dhofar province, which borders secessionist South Yemen where the Southern Mobility Movement (SMM) is leading the opposition to the Saleh regime. Anti-Sana'a demonstrations have hit Mukallah, the capital of South Yemen's Hadhramaut region, mirroring the protests against the Muscat regime taking place in Salalah to the north.
When the Arab revolt finally reaches the United Arab Emirates, it will come from Oman and first hit one of the poorer emirates, Fujairah, which, unlike the wealthier emirates on the Gulf, is on the Arabian Sea, north of Muscat and Suhar, Oman. Lying within Fujairah and near the port town of Khor Fakkan, often used by vessels of the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquartered in Bahrain, is an Omani enclave, which itself contains a Fujairan exclave, a geographic situation in which the Omani revolt will be certain to have an effect. While their fellow UAE citizens in Dubai and Abu Dhabi enjoy luxurious shopping centers, golf courses, and hotels, the people of Fujairah have been confronted with steep food prices and the use of their emirate as a garbage dump for the wealthier emirates on the Gulf and a MOSSAD listening station across from Isran.....
King Farouk of Egypt, ousted in a 1952 CIA-orchestrated military coup code-named by Langley "Project FF" -- or "Project Fat Fucker," said in 1948, "The whole world is in revolt. Soon there will be only five Kings left—the King of England, the King of Spades, the King of Clubs, the King of Hearts, and the King of Diamonds."
It is now 2011 and the whole world is in revolt again. King Farouk's prognostication may be playing out six decades later. De facto "kings" like Mubarak, Qaddafi, Saleh, Tunisia's Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, have been or are being swept away with the potentates of the Gulf and the Assads in the queue. Next on the chopping block are U.S.-supported African dictators like Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia, Blaise Campaore in Burkina Faso, Ali Bongo in Gabon, Paul Biya in Cameroon, and a number of others. There are renewed stirrings against U.S.-backed regimes in Thailand, Afghanistan, South Korea, Philippines, Colombia, Panama, and other countries.
The world has never been more united in opposition to the global elites and oligarchs who actually run the planet. But as the peoples of the world unite against the globalists billionaires and their uniformed centurions, the dangers have also never been greater. Currently, the "cognitive infiltrators" and professional agents provocateurs have been content to sow dissension among the forces of opposition to the global elite. With that strategy failing, the elites are prepared to take more direct action, the bloody type we have already witnessed being used against demonstrators on the streets of Tunis, Cairo, Tripoli, Baghdad, Mosul, Sana'a, Aden, Damascus, Manama, Kuwait, Sohar, and Algiers.
The momentum, for the time being, is with the people of the world in their joint struggle with the elites and their military and media battalions. In a Cuban prison sits a CIA spy, Alan Gross, joined in Pakistani jail cells by CIA agents Raymond Davis and Aaron Mark DeHaven, alias Ahmed Haroon, because Cuba and Pakistan can now stand up to an arrogant Central Intelligence Agency and an equally arrogant Obama administration. Both countries are now in a position to demand the swap of their citizens in the United States, imprisoned on trumped up "terrorism" charges, in return for the repatriation of the hapless CIA spies...
The changing face of regions of the world where the United States has held supreme dominance for the two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union means that the Pentagon, rather than plan for war, should prepare for permanent retreat... National Security Agency eavesdroppers in places like Djibouti, Beirut, and Bahrain should start packing up their head phones and code books, the Navy should prepare to pull its fleet out of Bahrain and head back to Norfolk and Jacksonville, and the expat employees of the Saudi Arabian American oil company (ARAMCO) should start making reservations for one-way flights home from Arabia. BP should be prepared to renegotiate Libyan oil contracts with a post-Qaddafi government and illegal Jewish settlers on the West Bank should start contemplating what veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas suggested they ought to do: move back to Europe and America.
With the collapse of Pax Americana/Judaica and the redrawing of Middle Eastern and South Asian maps comes a stark new reality: it will no longer be business as usual for those who have called the shots for so long. It is about time...
By Pepe Escobar
Picture a feudal, or neo-medieval, paradise, the former home of legendary Sindbad the Sailor, absolutely ruled by an unmarried, slim, lute-playing septuagenarian who prefers to live alone in his palace; paradigm of discretion Sultan Qabus bin Sa'id. That, in a nutshell, is Oman.
Oman practices Ibadi Islam - neither Sunni nor Shi'ite - also found in selected latitudes in northern and eastern Africa. This couldn't be further apart from Wahhabism, or al-Qaeda style jihadi fanaticism. In Omani terms, Ibadi Islam involves finding the right mix between tribal custom and the state apparatus (Qabus is very fond of consultations with tribal leaders).
Washington - and London - absolutely love Qabus; the graduate of the Sandhurst military academy in Britain is a lover of Mozart and Chopin, and his strategic acumen is compared to Singapore's founding father Lee Kwan Yew. (When I went to Oman I actually felt I was in an Arabian Singapore. It helped that I had lived in Singapore. Everything in Oman is too neat - and too Disneyland-perfect, in a Singaporean Stepford Wives way.)
American love is helped by the sultan having given a big hand to George H W Bush during the first Gulf war in 1991 against Iraq's Saddam Hussein, and extending the favor to George W Bush, allowing for 20,000 US troops to hang out in Oman before the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. To top it off, the deepest stretch of the exceedingly strategic Strait of Hormuz - essential for the navigation of supertankers in the Persian Gulf - lies in Omani territory.
Sorry to intrude on your idyll
Qabus, in power since 1970, may still not be an object of revulsion in his Gulf of Oman paradise. But his - and Oman's elites - time may be running out under the relentless great 2011 Arab revolt clock.
In The Economist's shoe-thrower index, Oman is in no less than sixth place, right behind Hosni Mubarak-deposed Egypt and way ahead of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali-deposed Tunisia and Khalifa-in-peril Bahrain. Half the population of less than three million is less than 21 years old. Unemployment is rife - especially among the youth carrying a useless diploma. Of a total of up to 40,000 high school graduates a year, only a few find a job.
This could not but spell major trouble. Bloggers and tweeters from Oman stress there have been demonstrations in Sur and the crucially strategic ports of Salalah (in the south, near Yemen) and Sohar (where the police used live ammunition, killing a 15-year-old boy; the Omani police - as well as the Mukhabarat - is trained in Jordan). No less than 3,000 protesters were fought with tear gas. The road from Sohar to al-Ayn - across the border in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - was shut down.
The protesters are basically complaining about miserable wages, compared to relentless, rising inflation; and that most jobs go to foreigners (employed by foreign corporations) or to Omanis from the capital Muscat.
Peaceful protesters say they won't relent until they get better pay. The sultan has preemptively raised the national minimum wage from US$316 a month to $520; protesters want "not less than $1,300". And more: better pensions; free further education for all Omanis; and even the resignation of the government. During the weekend, the sultan also reshuffled his cabinet and the government announced 50,000 more jobs, plus unemployment benefits. The protesters' reaction: "Mere words".
What's also crucial is that none of this is being fully reported in the Gulf. Al-Jazeera is eerily quiet. Al-Arabiyya - a House of Saud mouthpiece - is also very quiet. Not to mention broadcasters in Oman itself. Al-Jazeera has been heavily criticized in many quarters for weeks on its sloppy coverage of Bahrain - compared to a 24/7 blitzkrieg when it comes to Egypt or Libya. This has raised ample suspicion that for the emir of Qatar, there's "fight for democracy" (in northern Africa) and "fight for democracy" (in the Gulf).
Sohar - the former home of Sindbad - 80 kilometers from the UAE border and 200km from the capital Muscat, deserves very close attention. It is Oman's industrial powerhouse - harboring one the world's biggest port development projects plus a refinery, a petrochemical complex, an aluminum smelter and a steel factory. Oil workers in Sohar are now becoming protesters. It's not far fetched for them to block pipeline exports as a means of pressuring the sultan. Oman pumps around 860,000 barrels of oil a day and exports roughly 750,000 barrels.
The global economy knows the Persian Gulf is its number one oil hub. The paranoid notion that the Strait of Hormuz would be shut down by Iran in a war against the US/Israel was always a chimera fabricated by neo-cons. Reality is now spelling another scenario; real democracy intervening in "beacon of stability" Oman.
From the point of view of the global economy, the fight for democracy could become a nightmare scenario. Were both Libya and Oman to go totally out of the market, the global economy would lose 2.5 million barrels of oil a day, 3% of what it consumes. There's no evidence Saudi Arabia could compensate for it without pushing their equipment and infrastructure to the limit. Translation; oil may go beyond $150 a barrel in a matter of days. And this without even factoring possible March protests in Saudi Arabia.
Oman is not exactly an accident of history like the Gulf sheikhdoms - which were basically a "string of pearls" in the British empire's naval highway along the Indian Ocean. No wonder imperialist-in-chief Lord Curzon called them "petty Arab chiefships" (arguably that has not changed much under imperial US administration). As far as Washington is concerned, Oman remains the proverbial "stable US ally" - with its highly US-trained navy attached and, crucially, deployed right at the mouth of the exceedingly strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Oman is not exactly a recent family hacienda established in the desert - like the House of Saud. The ruling dynasty - al-Bu Sa'id - has been in power longer than the US has been a country.
But let's add some juice to all this "stability". Oman has harbored one of the most sophisticated opposition movements in the whole Arab world - largely embodied by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman. Some of its leaders were co-opted by the sultan, but the progressive, modernizing impetus remain.
As much as the US State Department goes out of its way to stress Oman respects human rights, political rights remain close to zero. No free press, no free speech, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of religion. Oman may not be ultra-repressive Saudi Arabia, or Wild West Yemen - but it's not Scandinavia either (Washington think tank types insist on comparing the sultan to Scandinavian prime ministers).
The great 2011 Arab revolt is, to quote Bob Dylan, "driving 90 miles an hour in a dead-end street" in Bahrain; is about to make a pit-stop in Saudi Arabia; and it has already hit Oman. The septuagenarian sultan has diabetes, no heirs to his throne, and is now officially puzzled by unemployed youth and angry workers right at this doorstep. Beware of humanitarian imperialism possibly rearing its ugly head in Libya. But all eyes should focus on the Strait of Hormuz; on the Omani, not the Iranian, shore....
WASHINGTON—After weeks of internal debate on how to respond to uprisings in the Arab world, the Obama administration is settling on a Middle East strategy: help keep longtime allies who are willing to reform in power, even if that means the full democratic demands of their newly emboldened citizens might have to wait.
Instead of pushing for immediate regime change—as it did to varying degrees in Egypt and now Libya—the U.S. is urging protesters from Bahrain to Morocco to work with existing rulers toward what some officials and diplomats are now calling "regime alteration."
Read more ....
Comment: When I read the following ....
Instead of pushing for immediate regime change—as it did to varying degrees in Egypt and now Libya—the U.S. is urging protesters from Bahrain to Morocco to work with existing rulers toward what some officials and diplomats are now calling "regime alteration."
.... I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally .... the White House is starting to appreciate the consequences of what their actions and words may mean in the Middle East, and that maybe a more prudent and less vocal policy is in order.
I guess the realization that the following scenario is now possible in the Middle East, made them wake up to what is happening there. In addition, their eyes are now on this country, and they are fearful of what may happen there, especially on the price of oil.
Now if they can also realize the following .... I will be even more optimistic on our future in the Middle East....
The strategic assumptions behind "Operation Libya" are reminiscent of previous US-NATO military undertakings in Yugoslavia and Iraq.
In Yugoslavia, US-NATO forces triggered a civil war. The objective was to create political and ethnic divisions, which eventually led to the break up of an entire country. This objective was achieved through the covert funding and training of armed paramilitary armies, first in Bosnia (Bosnian Muslim Army, 1991-95) and subsequently in Kosovo (Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), 1998-1999). In both Kosovo and Bosnia, media disinformation (including outright lies and fabrications) were used to support US-EU claims that the Belgrade government had committed atrocities, thereby justifying a military intervention on humanitarian grounds.
Ironically, "Operation Yugoslavia" is now on the lips of US foreign policy makers: Senator Lieberman has "likened the situation in Libya to the events in the Balkans in the 1990s when he said the U.S. "intervened to stop a genocide against Bosnians. And the first we did was to provide them the arms to defend themselves. That's what I think we ought to do in Libya." (Clinton: US ready to aid to Libyan opposition - Associated, Press, February 27, 2011, emphasis added
The strategic scenario would be to push towards the formation and recognition of an interim government of the secessionist province, with a view to eventually breaking up the country.
The Opera Benghazi, the next Les Miserables, will soon be coming to a theater near you.
The code language is growing. "'They have betrayed us," Ahmed Malen, one of the revolutionary volunteers pasting anti-Gaddafi posters on walls in Benghazi. "If they kill us all, the west will have blood on its hands. They do not believe in freedom. They are cowards.'"